Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Lakes coal trade off 13 percent in August

9/30 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes in August totaled 3.6 million net tons, a decrease of 13 percent compared to a year ago. However, the August 2008 total was a bit depressed, so as a result, this August’s shipments are almost 23 percent off the month’s five-year average.

The top coal cargos remained in the 66,000-67,000 ton range in August. Ships have benefited from higher water levels.

For the year, coal shipments stand at 17.8 million tons, a decrease of approximately 25 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is more than 28 percent off the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - September 30

Twin Ports - Al Miller Twin Ports vessel traffic was light Tuesday as ships got under way again following Monday’s high winds. In port early Tuesday was Maritime Trader loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior. Paul R. Tregurtha was due at Midwest Energy Terminal in the evening. Mondays weather affected nearly all of the vessels of Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet. In its late afternoon report, the fleet listed its vessels status: Edgar B. Speer was downbound in the St. Marys River but was giving no ETA for Gary; Edwin H. Gott was anchored in the St. Marys River; Presque Isle was loading at Calcite and expected to reach Duluth on Sept. 30; Arthur M. Anderson was anchored in the St. Clair River; Cason J. Callaway was anchored in the Straits of Mackinac; and John G. Munson was anchored in upper Green Bay.


Carferry Badger wraps up sailing season

9/30 - Ludington, Mich. Honks, smiles, waves, wind and rain greeted the S.S. Badger on its final sailing of the season Sunday night as it arrived back in Ludington just after 7 p.m.

Michelle Jensen was among the hundreds of well-wishers — most in their vehicles due to the weather — who lined Stearns Park, the Loomis Street boat launch and the carferry dock to welcome the Badger home. Jensen chose the carferry dock as a parking spot.

“I try to come down every year,” she said. “It’s kinda sad. It signals the end of summer.”

After the carferry operation was in bankruptcy in 1990 and went a year and a half without sailing, then made a comeback as a passenger vessel, the community rallied, she said. Now more people make an effort to outwardly support the Badger and what it means to the local economy.

As the Badger sounded its last whistle, she — and dozens of other supporters — honked car horns in response.

The carferry cut its season short by two weeks, ending during the weekend in order to get it in dry dock as soon as possible for its five-year inspection. The Badger engine room will be winterized this week, then the carferry will be towed across to a shipyard in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., returning to Ludington after inspection is done.

The ferry should be laid up for winter by Saturday, then towed over depending on the weather and availability of tugs.

“We’re hoping that the ship will head to Sturgeon Bay shipyard on Oct. 3 or 4,” said Kari Karr, Lake Michigan Carferry marketing director. “It should be there a few weeks.”

Wind was a steady 20 to 25 mph, gusting higher, during the evening and rain came down steady but fairly light as the Badger became visible and made it into the harbor.

Work is already under way to prepare the Badger for winter.

“The next few days will be very busy, with a large crew working to remove all of the food and beverage items, supplies, gift shop inventory, linens, personal items, cash registers, televisions, and anything that would be sensitive to the cold from the Badger,” Karr said. “The ship will also undergo a thorough cleaning, with galley equipment being steam cleaned and sanitized. Once the cleaning work is finished, the water lines throughout the ship — including restrooms, both galleys, bar areas, staterooms, and all of the crew quarters — will be drained and winterized. The engine room will also be carefully winterized to ensure that the ship’s unique propulsion system does not suffer damage from freezing temperatures.”

Ludington Daily News


Rare September windstorm whips up waves, sand and spectators on Lake Michigan

9/30 - Muskegon, Mich. ¬– It blew and blew and blew Monday, kicking up waves as tall as two-story buildings all along the west shoreline of Lake Michigan.

The rare September spectacle, with winds gusting to 45 mph, forced the Lake Express Ferry to shut down service Monday and Tuesday. It also caused 9,000 homes and businesses in Muskegon County to lose power by late Monday, including 1,700 in Norton Shores and 1,400 in North Muskegon.

But for many, the storm provided a grand sand and water show, prompting people to jump into their cars throughout the day and cruise to their favorite beach on West Michigan’s shoreline.

Cars lined up out to the road near Fisherman’s Parking Lot in Grand Haven as spectators waited for a chance to nab a spot and watch the action from their cars. The wind had knocked down branches and caused some power outages, including at key intersections in Muskegon where traffic lights weren’t working by late afternoon.

At midmorning, winds at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility on the Muskegon Channel reported winds of 43 mph and gusts to 51 mph. In open Lake Michigan waters, a NOAA buoy off South Haven reported winds of 35 mph and gusts to 44 mph, with waves building to 11 feet.

Storm conditions actually softened as the day went on with mid-lake waves down to 9.5 feet and sustained winds in Muskegon down to 35 mph. The National Weather Service said winds would continue to gust to near 60 mph in the evening. The high-wind warning will be in effect until 5 a.m. Tuesday, Freeman said.

The windy conditions also brought surfers to Grand Haven State Park, much to the chagrin of public safety officers. “These conditions are unsafe and persons should not venture out onto the pier or into the waters of Lake Michigan,” said Lt. Renee Freeman. The Grand Haven Public Safety Department had not closed the pier as of Monday afternoon, but authorities were monitoring the situation at the beach closely. Surfers were out at Grand Haven beach by 10 a.m., Freeman said. But she said officers did not receive calls about pier jumpers.

Graham Wasson and his friend, Graham Knight, were two of those surfers. Wasson, dressed in a wetsuit to brave water temperatures that dipped to 43 degrees, said he’d been standing on the pier when a wave came crashing over the top and carried him away. “I got washed about 10 feet off the pier and flew through the air and landed next to another kid who was surfing there,” he said, still holding his board and looking at the water.  “It’s addictive, like a vortex of spinning waves and water. It’s deafening sound and constant excitement. That’s what keeps you on your toes.” 

Will Beaton, a long-time surfer and local meteorologist, said the experience of surfing in strong waters is one many sports enthusiasts enjoy, but experience is important. “I would not recommend it at all for swimmers; it’s really dangerous without a floatation device,” he said. “If we lost our board, we would be just as bad off as the swimmers.”

Meanwhile, a small group of people stood around at Pere Marquette with hoods pulled tightly over their faces to avoid the blowing sand. Many held cameras to document the crashing waves.

Lake Express — the high-speed ferry service between Milwaukee and Muskegon — canceled its two round trips for Monday and expected to be out of service again Tuesday because of the early fall storm. “It’s big,” Ken Szallai, president of the Lake Express ferry service and a longtime Great Lakes mariner, said of the storm. “I’ve seen these kinds of conditions in November or December, but I can’t remember this within our sailing season.”

The National Weather Service in Chicago reported that a deep, low-pressure system over far northern Lake Superior and a corresponding cold front stretching across Lake Michigan caused the strong thunderstorms Sunday night and heavy rains. During a 24-hour period, Muskegon recorded 1.36 inches of rain, the weather service said.

As the low pressure moved Monday to Lake Huron and then east and north toward Lake Ontario, winds will strengthen before falling off Tuesday morning, meteorologists say. The National Weather Service said conditions seen Monday were rare for Michigan even in November and December.

Muskegon Chronicle


Minntac in Mountain Iron returns to full production

9/30 - Duluth, Minn. – For the first time since 2008, the Iron Range’s largest taconite facility returned to full production when Minntac fired its fifth line back up last week. About 960 people are now back to work at the Mountain Iron facility, according to Mike Woods, president of United Steelworkers Local 1938. Minntac’s owner, U.S. Steel Corp., recently also announced plans to soon resume production at Keetac, a Keewatin facility that last produced pellets in December. Keetac employs about 400 people when it is up and running at full strength. Some of those workers will be back on the job this week.

Duluth News Tribune


Coast Guard requests public assistance to identify a suspected hoax caller

9/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service is requesting assistance from the public to identify a suspected hoax caller who contacted U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie on VHF-FM Channel 16 between Sept. 12-27, 2009.

The first call was received on Sept. 12, at approximately 2:23 a.m., from the motor vessel Magyver stating, “Mayday…taking on water in the St. Marys River.” Click here to hear the call. Another call was received on Sept. 12, at approximately 11:37 p.m., from the motor vessel Banana stating, “We are taking on water.” Click here to hear the call. A third call on Sept. 27, at approximately 12:37 a.m., from the motor vessel Fox stating, “Mayday, Mayday, this is the Fox…Mayday, Mayday. We’re taking on water. The Fox is taking on water. I’m by…the Sugar Island…” Click here to hear the call.

"This suspected hoax caller is placing your Coast Guard in unnecessarily dangerous situations and wasting your tax dollars every time they call," said Capt. Mark Huebschman, Commanding Officer of Sector Sault Ste. Marie. "We urge anyone with information to contact the Coast Guard."

If you have any information leading to the identity of this suspected hoax caller, contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie at (906) 635-3319.


Updates - September 29

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 30

On September 30, 1896, SUMATRA (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 845 gross tons, built in 1874, at Black River, Ohio) was loaded with rail road rails in tow of the steamer B.W. ARNOLD in a storm on Lake Huron. The SUMATRA was blown down and foundered off the Government Pier at Milwaukee. Three of the crew were lost. The four survivors were rescued by the ARNOLD and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The SUMATRA was owned by the Mills Transportation Company.

The 660-foot forward section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) was side launched on September 30, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by Bay Shipbuilding Co. Renamed b.) WALTER J. McCARTHY, JR. in 1977.

The ARTHUR SIMARD entered service on September 30, 1973, sailing to Montreal, Quebec, to load gasoline.

The GOVERNOR MILLER was towed down the Welland Canal on September 30, 1980, in tow of TUG MALCOLM, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN on her way to Quebec City.

The ROBERT C. STANLEY departed light on her maiden voyage from River Rouge, Michigan, on September 30, 1943, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota, to load iron ore.

On September 30, 1986, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel CARIBOU ISLE struck a rock in Lake Huron's North Channel and began taking on water. C.C.G.S. SAMUEL RISLEY arrived and helped patch the ship. The pair the departed for Parry Sound, Ontario.

On September 30, 1888, AUSTRALIA (wooden schooner, 109 foot, 159 gross tons, built in 1862, at Vermilion, Ohio) was carrying cedar posts from Beaver Island to Chicago when she encountered a gale. She was laid on beam ends and sprung a leak. She headed for shelter at Holland, Michigan, but struck a bar and foundered in the mouth of the harbor. The wreck blocked the harbor until it was removed on October. 5 Her crew was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

On September 30, 1875, AMERICAN CHAMPION (wooden scow-schooner, 156 tons, built in 1866, at Trenton, Michigan) dropped anchor to ride out a gale near Leamington, Ontario, on Lake Erie. The chains gave way and she struck a bar and sank to the gunwales. The crew of eight spent the night in the rigging and the next day a local woman and her two sons heroically rescued each one.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection, and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Early fall weather on Great Lakes delays shipping

9/29  - The weather on Monday delayed many ships as a lower pressure system swung over the region bringing high winds and low water levels.

Among vessels waiting for weather early Tuesday morning were Alpena, Cason J. Callaway and Olive L. Moore, anchored in the Straits area near St. Ignace, the Canadian Enterprise north east of Mackinac Island. Burns Harbor, Edwin H. Gott, Presque Isle, tug Undaunted and barge, American Century were at anchor in the lower St. Marys River. Manistee was anchored in the lee of Whitefish Point while the Paul R. Tregurtha was anchored in eastern White Fish Bay in Goulais Bay. The tug Karen Andrie and her barge were off Alpena anchored in Thunder Bay. They were joined Monday night by the Michipicoten and Maumee. On the lower lakes, Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder were docked in the St. Clair River, Adam E. Cornelius was waiting in the Detroit River's Belle Isle Anchorage, Charles M. Beeghly was waiting at Zug Island for water levels to rise in the Rouge River and the Quebecois was in the Ojibway Anchorage in the lower Detroit River.

The low water had many vessels stopped or anchored in Lake Erie. Robert S. Pierson and CSL Assiniboine were stopped in western Lake Erie waiting for water levels to rise to enter Toledo. Indiana Harbor was anchored off Monroe, Mich. waiting to enter to deliver coal. In the Colchester Anchorage were the Pineglen and Montrealais, Algolake was waiting off Sandusky and the Mississagi off Wheatly, Ont.

All the Great Lakes were covered by gale warnings, and Lake Michigan was covered by a storm warning. The dropping pressure and westerly gales caused the water level to drop in the western basin of Lake Erie as winds pushed the water to the other side of the lake in what is known as a seiche.

The water rose at Buffalo on Monday from +25 inches at 9 a.m. to + 87 inches at 3:30 p.m. On the other side of the lake at Monroe, Mich., the water was at +23 inches at 4:40 a.m. and had dropped to -29.6 inches by 5 p.m.

The forecast Monday:
Lake Superior: Northwest gales to 45 knots becoming north gales to 40 knots by mid Monday afternoon. Scattered showers, waves 10 to 15 feet.
Lake Michigan: Storm Warning in effect through Tuesday afternoon, northwest gales to 45 kt. Showers, waves 14 to18 feet
Lake Huron: West winds 20 to 25 knots with gusts to 30 knots Monday morning, increasing to 35 knot gales Mondays afternoon. Showers, waves 4 to 7 feet building to 8 to 12 feet late.
Lake Ontario: Gale warning in effect through Tuesday morning. Monday south winds 15 to 25 knots becoming southwest and increasing to 35 knot gales. Showers, chance of thunderstorms, waves 4 to 6 feet building to 6 to 9 feet.
Lake Erie: Gale warning and low water advisory through Tuesday morning. West gales to 35 knots increasing to 40 knots. A chance of showers, waves 8 to 11 feet.


Port Reports - September 29

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes came in Saturday with a load for the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg. A frequent visitor in past years, this was its first visit of this season.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena was in port Sunday morning loading cement for Green Bay. As of Monday it was anchored in the Straits of Mackinac waiting on weather. On Monday, the tug Karen Andrie with the tank barge Endeavor were anchored off Alpena in Thunder Bay.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge were inbound the Saginaw river late Sunday afternoon, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload. Also inbound late Sunday was American Century, calling on the Consumer’s Energy dock to unload coal.


Dredging needed to keep Port Stanley a storm shelter

9/29 - London, Ont. – Shutting down the only deepwater port on the north shore of Lake Erie could result in Port Stanley losing business and mariners losing their lives, warns one captain who says he can no longer make it a port of call unless it's dredged.

Ralph Watson of London, captain of the 41-metre J. R. Rouble, has written a letter with his concerns to consultants considering the future of the silt-clogged harbor.

"It will be truly sad if something isn't done to ensure Port Stanley remains a viable commercial harbor and a safe haven for mariners," he wrote consultant Mark Conway. Conway's, firm, N. Barry Lyons Consultants, has been retained to develop plans for the port if the Municipality of Central Elgin accepts it from Transport Canada.

Conway says residents favor a harbor for recreational watercraft and fishing tugs, so he's proposing a dredge depth of 2.4 metres, which would exclude most commercial boats and shipping.

Watson's boat, owned by Talisman Energy, supplies and services a barge at Talisman's offshore gas wells.

The last time Watson was in port, in 2008, he heard his hull scraping the sandy bottom. He won't be back, "not until it changes. It was bad then, it could only be worse now."

Watson's concern about the loss of a safe haven on the Canadian side of a lake known for its ability to quickly turn violent, was echoed by a spokesperson with the Canadian Coast Guard. And Watson's bosses at Talisman would like to see the port able to accept its boats in case drilling resumes off Port Stanley in the lake's central basin.

Watson knows well the shallow lake and its quickly changing moods.

"As a mariner, you can get stuck out on the lake and the wind comes up pretty quickly and the waves come up quickly," he said. "If we have to get to harbor, there is only one -- Port Stanley. There are other harbors along Lake Erie, but you can't get into them because they are too shallow."

The J. R. Rouble needs 3.6 metres -- without considering the shallowing effect created by big waves.

The skipper said fishing boats and pleasure craft face "big trouble" without sufficient depth.

"You are taking options away from people, pleasure boaters or commercial vessels," he said, adding loss of life is possible if a boat tries for the harbor in pounding waves but can't enter.

Watson has suggested Elgin County buy a scow and hire a crew to dredge Port Stanley on an ongoing basis.

Lawrence Swift, a coast guard spokesperson based in Sarnia, said he shares Watson's concern about safe harbors for mariners.

"If there are fewer safe havens along the shoreline, you need to consider that," he said.

Swift said the nearest coast guard search and rescue bases are at Amherstburg at the west end of the lake and at Port Dover in the eastern basin.

Scott Tompkins, Talisman's superintendent for Ontario, said the firm may someday resume drilling off Port Stanley and would like to have enough water in the port for its boats.

On a daily basis, a boat of Talisman divers enters and leaves the port, but it follows the trail of commercial fishing tugs and has had few problems.

But bigger boats such as the Rouble would be out of luck, he said.

London Free Press


A glimmer of hope for lighthouses

9/29 - The lousy Michigan economy is hurting those pillars of light that dot the state's shorelines. The Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program saw a dip in grant applications for preservation projects in fiscal year 2009.

"We can only attribute that to nonprofits that are finding it a little more challenging to raise the match money," said Brian Conway, state historic preservation officer.

But a national effort could help lighthouse stewards get the match money they need.

A bill introduced by Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, and other colleagues would provide up to $20 million a year for three years to preserve and rehabilitate historic lighthouses in Michigan and other coastal states.

The National Lighthouse Stewardship Act would redirect tonnage taxes that ships pay when they enter the United States to lighthouse preservation, said Kirk Lindquist, past president of the Michigan Lighthouse Fund and member of the Michigan Lighthouse Project.

He said the tax was established more than 200 years ago for the lighthouse system, but the money collected has since been redirected for other purposes. The act would allow the money to go back to lighthouses.

"It's traditionally and historically for lighthouse restoration, and it's still generating money," he said of the tax.

Grant trouble

Michigan could benefit the most because it has more lighthouses than any state. Lindquist said the money could help lighthouse stewards come up with the matching funds they need for a state grant.

The State Historic Preservation Office awards up to $40,000 per project, with that money coming from a portion of the fees from the Save Our Lights license plates. Conway said the sales generate an average of $150,000 to $170,000 a year.

This year, the office awarded $79,048 for projects at the Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse, South Fox Island Lighthouse, Gull Rock Lighthouse and Manitou Island Lighthouse.

The total was down from 2008, when eight grants totaling $215,800 were handed out, and from 2007, when eight grants totaling $233,300 were awarded.

Lighthouses can lure tourists, and the number of visitors to each site varies.

Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, said the national Pure Michigan ads are drawing out-of-state guests.

But Ceil Heller, president of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, which operates three lighthouses, said visitor totals and gift shop sales were down because the poor economy is keeping people away.

That doesn't help to fund needed projects, such as a seawall at Big Sable Lighthouse that was estimated to cost more than $1 million.

"We don't have that kind of money," Heller said.

Detroit Free Press


Updates - September 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - September 29

September 29, 1930, for the first time in the history of Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the boats of the fleet loaded more than one million tons in a seven-day period. The 64 Pittsburgh boats loaded 1,002,092 tons of cargo between 9/23 and 9/29.

The J. H. SHEADLE (Hull#22) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched September 29, 1906 , for the Grand Island Steamship Co. (Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.) Renamed b.) F. A. BAILEY in 1924, c.) LA SALLE in 1930. Sold Canadian in 1965, renamed d.) MEAFORD, and e.) PIERSON INDEPENDENT in 1979. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1980.

Henry Ford II, 70, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, passed away on September 29, 1987. Mr. Ford's namesake was the Ford Motor Company self-unloader.

On September 29, 1986, the Polish tug KORAL left Lauzon, Quebec with the JOHN E. F. MISENER and GOLDEN HIND enroute to Cartagena / Mamonal, Columbia, for scrapping.

September 29, 1892 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was launched.

On 29 September 1872, ADRIATIC (3 masted wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 129 net tons, built in 1865, at Clayton, New York as a bark) was in tow of the tug MOORE along with three other barges in Lake Erie in a heavy gale. She became separated from the tow and foundered. The entire crew of 7 was lost. The wooden schooner DERRICK was used in salvage operations. On 29 September 1854, she had just positioned herself above the wreck of the steamer ERIE off Silver Creek, New York on Lake Erie when she went down in a gale. She had spent the summer trying to salvage valuables from the wreck of the steamer ATLANTIC.

On 29 September 1900, the steamer SAKIE SHEPARD was re-launched at Anderson's shipyard in Marine City. She had been thoroughly rebuilt there during the summer.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Port Reports - September 28

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite Saturday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Calumet River - Dan Fletcher
Friday afternoon the St. Marys Challenger was heading down river to open water after spending the previous 24 hours unloading in Lake Calumet. Maumee waited for her to clear the breakwall before heading in and passed the 92nd street bridge at about 2:30 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saturday,Adam E. Cornelius departed about 8 p.m.


Coast Guard evacuates ATV rider

9/28 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit medically evacuated a 32-year-old male from Pelee Island, Ontario, following an accident on an ATV Saturday at approximately 6:45 p.m.

"Apparently, he didn't see a ditch at the last minute, and his ATV flipped," said Lt. Ian Stal, Air Station Detroit HH-65C rescue helicopter pilot. "He sustained lacerations to the cheek and bruises to the hips and chest."

The Detroit aircrew transferred the Ontario native from a Canadian ambulance service and placed him in a Stokes litter for safe hoist. The aircrew then delivered him to awaiting Emergency Medical Services for transport to the Windsor, Ontario Airport. Upon transport, the man was in stable condition and not able to walk.

The Coast Guard received a call from a nurses’ station on Pelee Island that a man had an accident on an ATV shortly after 6 p.m. Initially, he went riding on Pelee Island at approximately 4:30 p.m.

The Coast Guard worked closely with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Trenton to locate and provide immediate medical attention


Concert proceeds to support Port Huron lighthouse

9/28 - Tickets go on sale Tuesday for a benefit concert hosted by the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light at McMorran Auditorium Nov. 13.

The concert includes Lee Murdock and his “Songs of the Great Lakes,” as well as local musician Cliff Erickson and local band the Voo Doo Doctors.

There will also be a shop featuring lighthouse items.

Tickets cost $20 for festival seating, and will be available at the McMorran box office in Port Huron. They will also be sold at three Port Huron Museum sites in the city: the main museum, Thomas Edison Depot Museum, and the Huron Lightship.

The Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light is dedicated to raising money to restore and preserve the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. Membership information will be available at the concert.

Port Huron Time Herald


Lock break halts Ohio River traffic

9/28 - A lock break has occurred on the Ohio River near Warsaw, Ky., according to the Army Corps of Engineers. The break stopped traffic on the Ohio River about 65 miles northeast of Louisville, Ky.

Corps spokesman Todd Hornback called the break, which happened Sunday morning, "catastrophic." No injuries were reported.

All traffic on the river has been stopped in both directions since about 9 a.m., Hornback said. It was not known what caused the break. Engineers were going to the site, about 65 miles northeast of Louisville.

The locks are 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide.

One of the broken portions is known as a miter gate, Hornback said. The Corps of Engineers, on its Web site, says a miter gate "has two leaves that provide a closure at one end of the lock." They are so named because the two leaves meet at an angle pointing upstream and resembling a miter joint, the Web site said.

Engineers hope to have the river back open as soon as possible, Hornback said, but an exact time frame was not known.



Updates - September 28

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 28

On September 28, 1980, BURNS HARBOR entered service, departing Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, bound for Superior, Wisconsin, to load pellets.

THOMAS WILSON left Toledo on September 28, 1987, in tow of the tug TUSKER for overseas scrapping. WILSON has been laid up since December 16, 1979.

On 28 September 1891, THOMAS PARSONS (2 mast wooden schooner, 135 foot, 350 tons, built in 1868, at Charlotte, New York) was carrying coal out of Ashtabula, Ohio, when she foundered in a storm a few miles off Fairport in Lake Erie.

On 28 September 1849, W.G. BUCKNER (wooden schooner, 75 foot, 107 tons, built in 1837, at Irving, New York) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan when she sprang a leak, then capsized. The man to whom the cargo belonged was aboard with his wife and five children. One child was washed overboard while the wife and three children died of exposure. The schooner ERWIN took off the survivors plus the bodies.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


Today in Great Lakes History - September 27

September 27, 1959 The West Neebish Channel, through which downbound traffic normally passes, was temporarily closed to permit dredging to the maximum Seaway depth of 27 feet. Two way traffic was instituted in the Middle Neebish Channel until dredging was completed.

On 27 September 1877, the HIPPOGRIFFE (wooden schooner, 295 tons, built in 1864, at Buffalo, New York) had just left Chicago for Buffalo, loaded with oats, on a fine day with clear weather. The crew saw EMMA A. COYNE (wooden schooner, 155 foot, 497 tons, built in 1867, at Detroit, Michigan) approaching from a long way off loaded with lumber. The two vessels' skippers were brothers. The two schooners collided about 20 miles off Kenosha, Wisconsin. The COYNE came along side and picked up the HIPPOGRIFFE's crew a few minutes before that vessel rolled over and dove for the bottom.

The CITY OF GENOA arrived with the first cargo of iron ore for the new factory at Zug Island. Reported in the The Detroit Free Press on September 28, 1903.

The H. M. GRIFFITH experienced a smoky conveyor belt fire at Port Colborne, Ontario on September 27, 1989. Repairs were completed there.

The ROGER M. KYES proceeded to Chicago for dry-docking, survey and repairs on September 27, 1976. She had struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976 sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others.

The GEORGE M. HUMPHREY under tow, locked through the Panama Canal from September 27, 1986, to the 30th on her way to the cutters torch at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The tanker IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (Hull#137) was launched September 27, 1947, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, Ontario. Renamed b.) SEAWAY TRADER in 1979, sold off the Lakes in 1984, renamed c.) PATRICIA II, d.) BALBOA TRADER in 1992.

September 27, 1909 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 entered service after being repaired from her capsizing at Manistique, Michigan the previous May.

On 27 September 1884, WALDO A. AVERY (wooden propeller, 204 foot, 1,294 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan. Her construction had been subcontracted by F. W. Wheeler & Co. to Thomas F. Murphy.

On 27-29 September 1872, a big storm swept the lower Lakes. Here are the Lake Huron tragedies. The barges HUNTER and DETROIT were destroyed. The tug SANDUSKY rescued the 21 survivors for them. The schooner CORSAIR foundered off Sturgeon Point on Saginaw Bay at 4 p.m. on Sunday the 29th and only 2 of the crew survived. The barge A. LINCOLN was ashore one mile below Au Sable with no loss of life. The barge TABLE ROCK went ashore off Tawas Point and went to pieces. All but one of her crew was lost. The schooner WHITE SQUALL was sunk ten miles off Fish Point -- only one crewman was saved. The schooner SUMMIT went ashore at Fish Point, 7 miles north of Tawas with two lives lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Detroit Free Press.


Algoma Discovery grounds in Germany

9/26 - 3 p.m. update - Algoma Discovery was freed by tugs at about 7:15 p.m. local time and will be inspected before continuing her trip to Italy.

7 a.m. update
Algoma Discovery remained with her bow stuck deep in mud Saturday morning. Ten tugs could not free her Friday evening after off loading cargo and pulling through high tide. The next attempt will start Saturday evening after further lightering and dredging. On scene are two floating cranes, barges, an anti-pollution ship (as a precaution, there is no damage or environmental concerns) and the tugs.

Original Report - Algoma Discovery was outbound Friday morning with steel from Bremen, Germany, to Ravenna, Italy, when she grounded in the mud after losing steering. There was no reported damage and crews were lightering her cargo in an effort to pull her free by several tugboats. The Algoma Discovery was transiting the tidal waters of the River Weser between Ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven.

The 726-vessel, formerly the Daviken, is owned by Algoma Shipping Ltd., a subsidiary of the Great Lakes-based Algoma Central Corp., and is under charter to Fednav.

Bernd Vothknecht


Union pickets delay loading laker at Superior dock

9/26 - Superior, Wisc. – Striking members of United Steelworkers Local 5000 blocked the loading of an American Steamship Co. laker at Superior’s Midwest Energy terminal for a couple hours Wednesday evening. About 80 members of the union went on strike last week, after they were locked out of the six former Oglebay Norton ships they now staff for American Steamship.

American Steamship did not return calls to its headquarters in Williamsville, N.Y., Thursday afternoon regarding the status of the dispute.

Bryan Toderick, a striking wheelsman for the American Victory, took part in a picket at Midwest’s gates Wednesday. He said longshoremen and railroad workers refused to cross their line. Consequently, there were no workers to load coal onto the American Century when it arrived at Midwest at about 8 p.m., said Toderick, who said he and colleagues maintained the picket until about 9:30 p.m., and then left, allowing the vessel to be loaded.

Toderick said the picket demonstrated the union’s ability to disrupt American Steamship’s operations if it won’t return to the bargaining table.

USW Local 5000’s contract with American Steamship expired in July, and negotiations bogged down over disagreements about plans that could allow the carrier to further reduce staffing on ships and begin charging crew members for health insurance costs formerly covered by the company.

Toderick said American Steamship attempted to impose a contract, and resorted to a lockout when it was rejected by the union. He said the lockout triggered a strike. American Steamship has staffed the American Century with replacement workers, and has been hiring others to take the place of striking crew members on other vessels, as well.

Toderick said he was moved by the support landside union members have demonstrated for his local. “I was overwhelmed by the solidarity they showed,” Toderick said of Wednesday’s picket. “I almost had tears in my eyes.” He observed that Local 5000 has received more support from landside union members than from its colleagues on the water, as neither the American Maritime Officers nor the Seafarers International Union have chosen to recognize their plight. “I’ve been at this for 30 years, and it’s kind of like a kick in the pants when our brothers and sisters on the water won’t even stand behind us,” he said.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 26

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The Twin Ports were busy overnight. At 1 a.m. Friday, Montrealais was loading taconite pellets at the CN/DMIR ore dock, Algowood was unloading salt at the Cutler Salt dock in Duluth while a short distance away, Indiana Harbor was making the turn into the ship canal on its way out of port with a load of coal. About 7:30 a.m., Mesabi Miner was backing up St. Louis Bay to dock at Midwest Energy Terminal to load.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Robert S. Pierson came in early afternoon with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island next to the power plant in Grand Haven. While the Pierson was still unloading, the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 brought in a load for the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg. Both were still unloading about 4 p.m.

Milwaukee, Wisc. - John Monefeldt
H. Lee White was in Friday morning at the Greenfield Coal dock unloading. Thursday morning, St. Marys Conquest was unloading at her dock.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Early Friday morning, the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity tied up at Lafarge to load cement for Milwaukee. Thy were outbound in the bay before 7 a.m. Fleetmate tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were expected in port Saturday morning.

American Mariner arrived at Stoneport late Friday afternoon to load cargo. Arthur M. Anderson was at anchor nearby during the evening, waiting for a clear dock.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Calumet called on the Sargent dock in Essexville on Thursday, dropping her entire cargo there; once finished she turned and was headed for the lake later in the day. Also inbound on Thursday was the tug Gregory J. Busch and the deck barge STC 2004. The pair called on the Bay Aggregates dock, where they remained until late, when they continued upriver to their dock in Carrollton. Outbound on Thursday were the tugs John M. Selvick and Steven Selvick along with their barges. They had been unloading equipment at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville.
Friday morning saw Agawa Canyon inbound for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee and the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The Agawa Canyon was outbound for the lake Friday evening, passing the upbound Moore and Kuber, at Sargent Zilwaukee.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Manistee was loading salt at Cargill Friday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Steamship’s Adam E. Cornelius arrived with wheat from Cennex Harvest States in Duluth at 9 p.m. on Friday. She pulled straight in for General Mills without tug assistance by using her thrusters to maneuver upriver and make the dock at the Frontier Elevator.


Port Authority gets grant to put in Jet Express terminal

9/26 - Lorain, Ohio - – It’s only been operating for a few months, but the Jet Express shuttle is getting a terminal at Black River Landing thanks to a $475,000 grant arranged by U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley Township. The project will include the development of a terminal with restrooms, waiting areas, ticketing and administrative offices. Funding will also provide lighting and security, dock improvements and parking.

The Jet Express travels to the Lake Erie islands and shuttles fans to Cleveland Browns games.

Work on the terminal will start in the spring, according to a Sutton spokeswoman. The earmark to the Lorain Port Authority from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration covers 100 percent of the cost of the project, she said.

The Lorain Port Authority owns a 51 percent interest in the 147-passenger shuttle, while the Put-in-Bay Boat Line Co. owns the remaining 49 percent and operates the business.

Ben Fligner, chairman of the Lorain Port Authority board, said the Port Authority “will really be able to turn the port into a center of activity and main transportation hub to get people up and down the county. Any time you get multiple people coming down to an area, it will attract business to that area. For the first time ever, we’re promoting regional cooperation here. This is just fantastic.”

The Chronicle-Telegram


Hamilton, Halifax explore formalized shipping links

9/26 - Halifax – The Great Lakes port of Hamilton is looking at Halifax as its deep sea connection to international markets.

Hamilton Port Authority recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Halifax Port Authority with the view of strengthening a short-sea shipping link between the two centres.

"Right now our specialty is containers and we move heavy containers overseas," Bruce Wood, president and CEO of the Hamilton authority, said Tuesday.

"We are obviously in a strong steel area. We have two steel plants up and running and the largest group of companies in Ontario surrounding us who are scrap dealers and second-hand product dealers. There is a strong demand for that particular steel offshore if conditions are right."

Mr. Wood also said there are other companies the Hamilton port is hoping to attract for export cargo.

The Hamilton Port Authority has a wholly owned shipping company, Sea3 Inc., which operates a short sea service between Hamilton and Montreal. The tug and barge operation, which has a capacity of 260 heavy containers (20-foot units) offers a fixed weekly service between the two ports.

"It is the first serious movement of containers on the Great Lakes," Mr. Wood said. "Stage two is to continue to grow it and we see Halifax as a good opportunity."

The Port of Halifax will offer Hamilton destinations not available through Montreal, Mr. Wood said and "we think there are some inbound cargo opportunities that can come from Halifax to the Great Lakes."

The Hamilton spokesman said there will likely be a requirement for a container vessel for a Halifax service. He expects a vessel with a container capacity of 300 to 500, 20-foot containers will be needed to make a service viable.

Halifax Port Authority president and CEO Karen Oldfield said the memorandum of understanding allows Halifax to explore "the potential for short-sea shipping links with Hamilton in a more formalized way."

The Halifax Herald


Senate passes $400M Great Lakes bill

9/26 - Washington, D.C. – The Senate easily passed legislation Thursday containing $400 million for Great Lakes restoration by deterring invasive species, cleaning up highly polluted sites and expanding wetlands.

The funding level for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative falls short of the $475 million passed by the House in June and supported by the President.

Andy Buchsbaum, the Great Lakes project director at the National Wildlife Federation, said environmentalists will work with House-Senate conferees to try to ensure the final bill has the $475 million funding level.

"This is an unprecedented funding level for cleanup of the Great Lakes, and absolutely critical to bringing the lakes back to health," Buchsbaum said.

The Great Lakes funds are contained in the $32.2 billion Interior Department appropriations bill, which passed by a 77 to 21 vote.

The senators said the bill also contains $129 million for wastewater and drinking water projects in Michigan, and several million for other projects, including:

• $100,000 to build a seawall to protect Big Sable Lighthouse.
• $1 million to stabilize deteriorating buildings of the historic Quincy Smelting Works, located within the Keweenaw National Historical Park.
• $1 million to buy 15 parcels of land for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
• $300,000 for the Oakland-Macomb Interceptor Drainage District to help construct a 21-mile sewer line to transport sanitary sewage from over 300,000 residents of Oakland and Macomb counties to Detroit for treatment.
• $300,000 for Port Huron to prevent overflow of untreated sewage into waterways.
• $2.8 million for the Ottawa National Forest to buy the Prickett Lake property and protect the watershed of Ottawa National Forest and Sturgeon River Gorge Wilderness.

"This bill will help restore the Great Lakes, provide communities with clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, protect and improve public lands and parks, and preserve key facets of Michigan's heritage," Levin said.

Stabenow added: "These projects will help safeguard and care for our state's most precious natural treasures. Michigan families and tourists alike should have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful parks, lighthouses, and lakeshores for years to come.

A recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general concluded that at the current pace it could take more than 77 years to clean up the most polluted areas of the Great Lakes.

But Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union worries that the Great Lakes cleanup will include "padding and waste" at a time of record national debt.

In addition to cleaning up the Great Lakes, the federal funds will create jobs.

Because of Michigan's outsized footprint in the Great Lakes region -- 58 percent of the Great Lakes' U.S. shorelines are in Michigan, as are 44 percent of the contaminated "areas of concern" in U.S. feeder rivers and harbors -- it stands to end up with a large portion of the restoration money.

Chad Lord, Great Lakes program director at the National Parks Conservation Association, says if the $475 million level is appropriated, it would represent nearly a doubling of the federal government's yearly commitment to the Great Lakes.

Already the federal government appropriates about $550 million a year to Great Lakes programs in other appropriations bills, which environmentalists expect will continue. If all goes as advocates hope, Congress could end up pumping about $1 billion to the Great Lakes in fiscal year 2010.

"It's so important to get the higher $475 million funding level of the House bill," Lord said. "The difference in the money is huge in terms of how many toxic areas can be cleaned up and how many wetlands projects are done."

The White House this week issued a statement urging "the Congress to fully fund the President's request of $475 million."

That level includes:

• $146 million for cleaning up pollution in sediment in feeder rivers and harbors before it flows into the Lakes.
• $105 million to protect and restore habitat and wildlife.
• $97 million to stop "nonpoint" pollution, such as farm fertilizer and oil runoff, that closes beaches and leads to fish kills.
• $65 million to evaluate how the Lakes and wildlife are responding to cleanup efforts.
• $60 million for combating zebra mussels and other invasive species, which the EPA has estimated cause up to $5 billion in damage a year in the Great Lakes basin by destroying fisheries, clogging power plants' pipes and reducing property values.

Lawmakers from Michigan and other Great Lakes delegations are circulating a letter to urge their colleagues to support full funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Lynn Vaccaro, project coordinator of the Michigan Sea Grant, has predicted that Michigan could get one-third of the money.

The other Great Lakes states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Only Michigan lies completely within the basin.

Vaccaro, drawing on an analysis by the Brookings Institution, predicts that if $475 million were appropriated annually over five years, about $2 billion to $4.3 billion in economic activity could be generated in Michigan.

That prediction foresees more spending on everything from fishing bait and beer to binoculars and charter boats. The value of homes in cleaned up areas would rise as well, the analysis claims.

Detroit News


Updates - September 26

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 26

September 26, 1930, the schooner OUR SON, originally launched in 1875, sank during a storm on Lake Michigan. Seventy-three year old Captain Fred Nelson the crew of OUR SON were rescued by the self unloader WILLIAM NELSON.

September 26, 1937, the Canadian Seaman's Union signed a tentative wage contract. Sailors would continue a two watch system (working 12 hours every 24 hours) and be paid the following monthly wages: Wheelsmen and Oilers - $72.50, Watchmen and firemen - $67.50, Second Cooks - $52.50, deckhands and coal passers - $50.00, porters - $45.00, Chief Cooks on the Upper Lakes - $115.00, and Chief Cooks on Canal boats $105.00.

September 26, 1957, Taconite Harbor, Minnesota loaded its first cargo of 10,909 tons of taconite pellets into the holds of the Interlake steamer J. A. CAMPBELL.

On 26 September 1892, JOHN BURT (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 348 gross tons, built in 1871, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying grain in a strong northwest gale. Her rudder broke and she was blown past the mouth of Oswego harbor and was driven hard aground. Two died when the vessel struck. The U.S. Lifesaving Service rescued the remaining five crew members. The vessel quickly broke up in the waves.

The CHI-CHEEMAUN cleared the shipyard on September 26, 1974.

The H. M. GRIFFITH was christened on September 26, 1973 at Collingwood for Canada Steamship Lines.

The C.C.G.S. GRIFFON (Hull#664) was launched September 26, 1969 by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec for the Canadian Coast Guard.

ROGER M KYES returned to service on September 26, 1984, she had grounded off McLouth Steel and ended crosswise in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel a month before. She was renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

The BELLE RIVER was side swiped by the Liberian FEDERAL RHINE, of 1977, at Duluth on September 26, 1985. Both vessels received minor damage.

On 26 September 1914, MARY N. BOURKE (wooden schooner-barge, 219 foot, 920 gross tons, built in 1889, at Baraga, Michigan) was docked at Peter's Lumber Dock in St. Mary's Bay, 15 miles north of St. Ignace, Michigan. The crew was awakened at 9:30-10:00 p.m. by smoke coming from her hold and they escaped. The BOURKE burned to the waterline and the fire spread ashore, destroying the dock and a pile of lumber.

At 3:00 a.m., 26 September 1876, the steam barge LADY FRANKLIN burned while moored near Clark's dock, about three miles from Amherstburg, Ontario in the Detroit River. One life was lost. This vessel had been built in 1861, as a passenger steamer and ran between Cleveland, Ohio and Port Stanley, Ontario. In 1874, she was converted into a lumber freighter, running primarily between Saginaw, Michigan and Cleveland. The burned hull was rebuilt in 1882.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection, and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 25

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Century completed loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal on Thursday morning and was followed into the dock by Indiana Harbor. Montrealais was expected later in the day to load taconite pellets at the CN/DMIR ore dock.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
After unloading coal early Thursday morning in Munising, Manitowoc sailed west and arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock early Thursday afternoon to load taconite. Also on Thursday, tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock. The pair was expected at the Upper Harbor ore dock Thursday evening.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Dick Lund
Arthur M. Anderson departed its lay-up berth at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay late Thursday morning.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Maumee docked at Construction Aggregates in Ferrysburg at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The vessel came in light to take out a load of sand. It is the port’s first boat in 12 days. The last was the Manitowoc on Sept. 12.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Mississagi arrived at the Verplank dock in Holland shortly before 8 a.m. on Thursday. It delivered a load of road salt and departed at about 1 p.m.


Lake Carriers hails effort to build new Coast Guard icebreaker for lakes

9/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – A new Great Lakes icebreaker took a giant step toward reality Thursday thanks to legislation passed by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), Committee Chairman, included a provision in the Coast Guard Authorization Act directing the service to spend $153 million to build a new heavy icebreaker for assignment to the Great Lakes.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Congressman’s efforts,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing U.S.-Flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes. “When the economy is hitting on all cylinders, our members can move 20 million tons of cargo during periods of ice cover. Those cargos of iron ore, coal, and other commodities are key to keeping the economy strong.”

The U.S. Coast Guard has eight vessels stationed on the Great Lakes with icebreaking responsibilities. The newest, the Mackinaw, was launched in 2006 and has performed admirably. Two other vessels that were built this decade have proven less effective. Five other vessels date from the 1970s and are now subject to frequent breakdowns.

“We know the Coast Guard crews are doing their very best, but in particular, the vessels built in the 1970s just can no longer reliably meet the needs of commerce,” said eakley. “In March and April of 2008, our members suffered more than $1.3 million in ice-related damages to their vessels because the Coast Guard could not adequately maintain the shipping lanes.”

Weakley also noted that as the United States looks explore new opportunities in the Arctic, it is imperative the Coast Guard maintains a cadre of sailors with icebreaking experience. This new Great Lakes icebreaker will improve the efficiency of Great Lakes winter sailing and at the same time improve the nation’s ability to operate in the polar regions.

Shipments of dry-bulk cargos on the Great Lakes generally begin in early March and extend until the end of January. The ice that forms can be 3-4 feet thick. Windrows, slabs of ice piled atop one another by the wind, can be 12-15 feet high. Although some vessels have ice-strengthened hulls, commerce cannot move with any certainty unless the Coast Guard is breaking ice “Cargos carried during the ice season are key to keeping American industry competitive,” said Weakley. “The steel mills and power plants need to keep stockpiling costs to a minimum.”

Lake Carriers’ Association.


Ship traffic sinking leads to woes for boatwatchers

9/25 - Sarnia, Ont. – It hasn't been a great year for ship watching on the St. Clair River.

Like so much of what's happening these days, the recession gets the blame for the reduced volume of lake freighter traffic moving in recent months.

"It's down a good 40 to 50 per cent," said Peter Werle, at the Great Lakes Maritime Centre in Port Huron, which offers a prime spot for ship watchers.

"This morning was a busy morning but that's a rarity these days."

Michel Drolet, vice-president of the Canadian Shipowners Association, estimated that Great Lakes traffic by its member companies is down 20 to 25 per cent this year. "This is due to the iron ore not moving," he said. "Salt's not moving, coal's not moving."

The raw materials of industry aren't being used like they once were because of the recession, Drolet said. "We're hoping to see a recovery soon."

A few association members have been sending out more ships recently, but that is just to resupply some customer inventories that are getting low, he said.

"We don't think it is a sign of a strong recovery," he said. "The ships were doing pretty good last year. This year has been pretty bad for everybody."

One of the big reasons is that steel mills on the lakes have been closing, so less iron ore and coal is being shipped.

"The raw material is not moving," Drolet said, "so the ships are not busy."

Werler said that has taken a particular bite out of the traffic going by the centre.

"A lot of your traditional freighters that you see go by are steel haulers."

Bruce Mair, officer in charge at the Sarnia Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre, said the number of ships using the waterway last month was down by about one-third compared to last year.

"To me, that indicates some of the fleets are tied up to the wall and aren't moving this year," Mair said. "We had one ship indicate already in late August that was his final trip of the season."

That's early, Mair said. "Usually we expect them to be running to December, if not January."

Drolet said he doesn't expect this season's drop in traffic on the lakes will mean less business for the Sarnia companies that repair and service freighters over the winter.

The ships, many of which are getting older, will continue to need the maintenance work that was planned for the coming winter, Drolet said.

"What was being planned to do, over a long period of time, is still going to happen," he said. "What you've seen the year before will probably be reflected this year."

The association represents 68 Canadian-owned vessels on the Great Lakes. Drolet said there are about 40 more vessels regularly working the lakes that aren't Canadian owned.

The Sarnia Observer


Policy needed for waterway says Thunder Bay CEO

9/25 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The head of the local port authority says government needs to develop a marine policy for the province’s marine highway in order for the shipping industry to become more competitive and sustainable.

The issues are outlined in a study of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system. Members of the Ontario Marine Transportation Forum met Wednesday to discuss the study. Thunder Bay CEO Tim Heney said the study was done by the OMTF partnered with the provincial government so people have a better understanding of how important the 3,700 kilometre system is.

"The objective overall is to raise the awareness and understanding of the system in the Ontario government and ultimately to develop a marine policy for the province," Heney said.

Heney said the study outlined three key issues surrounding the water. One is the economic impact of the system and how under-utilized the Great Lakes and St, Lawrence Seaway system is. Heney provided a new 12 hectare port in Thunder Bay that could be used to transport renewable energy sources to power plants as a local example.

"It’s all about captitalizing on that opportunity," Heney said.

Another issue is the sustainability of Canada’s ageing lake fleet. He said the average age of a ship on the system is 45 years old. Under current regulation, a company has to pay a 25 per cent import duty to bring a new ship onto the water if it was built elsewhere. Heney said Canada doesn’t have the capability to build ships so companies have to purchase elsewhere.

The third issue of the study is the diversification of new cargo. Heney said the lack of policy inhibits shippers from expanding into new types of cargo for new economic opportunities.

"These are things that we need to highlight and we need support from not only the port users but the government in Ontario and the federal government to realize that potential," said Heney. "We need to make the politicians understand it, the value of the system…it’s still the longest inland waterway in the world…we need to release the potential."



Two men rescued from Lake Erie

9/25 - Toussaint River, Ohio - Two fishermen are drying out Thursday morning after being plucked from Lake Erie.

The U.S. Coast Guard, federal and several state of Ohio-county response agencies were called to a western part of the lake between Toledo and Port Clinton about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, after the men's 10-foot boat capsized.

One of the fishermen notified the Coast Guard after he drifted to shore with his capsized boat. Once ashore, he located a security guard at Camp Perry and contacted the Coast Guard.

His 66-year-old partner had floated away while he attempted to right the boat. At approximately 10:15 pm, several hours after the fishermen went in to the water, firemen were able to locate the missing fisherman and pulled him from the cold water.

WWJ News


Bid to sink warship near Kingston treading water

9/25 - Kingston, Ont. – The federal government would love to see the decommissioned HMCS Terra Nova sold to a local diving group that wants to turn it into a diving attraction.

The diving group would love to have it.

But plans to sink the 112-metre anti-submarine destroyer escort near Gananoque are facing an opponent more formidable than anything the ship faced on active service: provincial regulations.

Michael Ryan is a member of the Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association, a group of divers that has been trying to turn the boat into a diving attraction for several years.

He says the biggest holdup to date has been the Ontario government, and the maze of agencies that need to be consulted for the plan to proceed.

"We are still very interested in having it," he said yesterday, "but there isn't a policy for this sort of thing in Ontario, and we're having a hard time with all the agencies we have to consult to get permission to do this."

Most ships that are deliberately sunk are done so in salt water, not in the Great Lakes. Scuttling a ship at sea is not always easy, but there is a procedure in place.

While there are many wrecks in this area regularly explored by divers, they got there by accident over the years, not as a result of a planned sinking.

The diving group not only has to consult with the Ministry of Environment and other agencies with a mandate to preserve the ecosystem and aquatic life, but also with agencies such as the culture ministry.

"They want to make sure we're not dropping it on something else that might be on the bottom of the lake," Ryan explained.

The old destroyer would be cleaned up so it does not present an environmental dangers, have its interior cut apart so it doesn't present any hazards a diver could get snagged on, and then sunk in a place and in a depth of water where it wouldn't present a hazard to other boats.

The area being looked at for the Terra Nova is just east of Gananoque, in about130 feet of water four kilometres east of Brown's Bay.

The $2-million project has the enthusiastic support of local politicians who are eager to reap its economic benefits, and number of area councils have passed resolutions supporting the idea.

Proponents have said it could attract up to 6,000 divers annually, generating $8 million a year for the region's tourism economy.

The Department of National Defence, which reissued tender papers for the Terra Nova and a decommissioned sister ship this week, also wants the ship gone.

It has been tied up in Halifax for more than a decade while a new home for it is sought. As long as it stays there, besides the cost of stripping out asbestos and other components, Canadian taxpayers are footing bills for its storage, monitoring and regular hull repairs to fix leaks.

Documents on the state of the Terra Nova and HMCS Gatineau hint at the rough shape the vessels are in, citing hull leaks, rust, mould growth and possibly dangerous air quality below decks.

The divers won't buy the boat until they have what is known as a sink permit in hand from the government because the government requires that buyers tell them what they plan to do with the ship before they buy it as a condition of sale.

"We need to have that permit, because if we can't sink it, we're not allowed to really do anything else with it, and I don't really have a use for 450 tonnes of floating scrap steel," Ryan said.

The group will continue meeting with government officials and says such projects typically take at least four or five years to being to completion.

Kingston Whig Standard


Updates - September 25

Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 25

In tandem tow, the MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK JR. arrived at Vigo, Spain, on September 25, 1985. The MENIHEK LAKE was scrapped at Vigo, and the FALK was towed to Gijn, Spain, for scrapping.

The HENRY C. FRICK departed Bay City on her maiden voyage on September 25, 1905 and rammed and damaged the Michigan Central Railroad Bridge at Bay City.

On 25 September 1869, COMMENCEMENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 75 foot, 73 tons, built in 1853, at Holland, Michigan) was carrying wood in her hold and telegraph poles on deck from Pentwater, Michigan, for Milwaukee when she sprang a leak 20 miles off Little Sable Point on Lake Michigan. The incoming water quickly overtook her pump capacity. As the crew was getting aboard the lifeboat, she turned turtle. The crew clung to the upturned hull for 30 hours until the passing steamer ALLEGHENY finally rescued them. COMMENCEMENT later washed ashore, a total wreck.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 24

Gladstone, Mich. – Dick Lund
The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber, which has mainly carried limestone this year, arrived in Gladstone Tuesday afternoon and delivered a load of coal to Upper Lakes Coal Co. This is the pair's first-ever visit to Gladstone (at least under this configuration and name).

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
After unloading during the early morning hours on Tuesday, Calumet and Dorothy Ann - Pathfinder were outbound from the Saginaw River later in the morning. Arriving early on Wednesday, the tug John M. Selvick and the tug Steven Selvick, each with a deck barge, called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. Both barges carried large pieces of equipment for the power plant. They remained at the dock late Wednesday night. Also inbound on Wednesday were the tug and barge combo Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber. The pair lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, before continuing upriver during the afternoon to finish at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. The Moore and Kuber were outbound late Wednesday evening.


Shipbuilder Marinette Marine seeks jobs beyond Navy

9/24 - Marinette, Wisc. – The shipyard built and delivered the first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom, and is building another vessel in that class, the Fort Worth. Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Va., are competing to secure a Navy contract that could see one of those two companies building as many as 55 Littoral Combat Ships. Marinette Marine Corp. is the builder for Lockheed Martin.

"We're bidding on multiple other programs," said Richard McCreary, Marinette Marine Corp.'s president and chief executive officer. "We're clearly not going to put all our eggs in one basket. However, LCS is the biggest basket."

While the commercial side of the ship industry is slower, McCreary said the governmental and military sectors continue to show steady activity.

"On the government side, it's a very busy time," he said.

The company is going after a pair of research ships and multiple patrol boat contracts, and is waiting to hear on a design award for pair of Navy oceanographic ships.

"When we look a little further out to the end of 2010 into 2011, there's the off-shore patrol cutter for the Coast Guard, which could be for 25 ships in the 300-foot range … and (we've) teamed with Boeing on the Ship-to-Shore Connector program," McCreary said. "That's a large hovercraft that can carry the M-1A1 battle tank from ship to shore at about 60 knots."

While company officials await information from the government before determining how production would play out if Lockheed Martin is awarded the Littoral Combat Ship contract, Marinette Marine could see up to 25 vessels built at the facility.

That could mean some of the work would be outsourced to Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay.

"One of the potentials, if this gets into a multiple ship award program … is that Bay Shipbuilding could end up building blocks for Marinette and we'd ship them across the bay," McCreary said.

"That's a little farther downstream because our business is such that we'd have to have multiple, multiple ships under order before we would actually need that capacity."

The Littoral Combat Ship is built in modular sections. More than 40 of those sections make up the completed ship.

Fincantieri Marine Group is the parent company of Marinette Marine and Bay Shipbuilding.

Joe North, Lockheed Martin's director of the Littoral Combat Ship program, said they are applying lessons learned with LCS-1 to speed production and lower cost on future ships.

The design has also been stabilized, which will require fewer changes during the production process.

Green Bay Press-Gazette.


Unmanned research sub launched in Lake Superior

9/24 - Minneapolis, Minn. – The $74,000 robot vessel can take scientific measurements and costs far less to operate than a boat with a crew.

An unmanned research submarine - painted yellow - was launched in Lake Superior this week.

The vessel is on a two-week test drive that scientists hope will prove the feasibility of using a submarine to monitor the lake more cheaply and reliably than is possible with manned boats.

"It fills a sampling niche by swimming the lake without us having to be out there," said Jay Austin, a physicist at the University of Minnesota Duluth who is overseeing the sub's operation. "Being on a boat for two weeks would be terribly expensive."

This appears to be the first time an unmanned submarine has been deployed in a fresh-water lake, although they have been used in the world's oceans for several years, Austin said.

"The idea's been around a very long time, and the founder of modern oceanography had a vision of robots prowling the seas, making measurements all the time," he said. "But for a long time, the technology just wasn't there."

The sub, nicknamed the Gitchie-Gami in honor of Superior's original name, has been tracing a path near Two Harbors. Austin planned to reprogram it today to send it toward the Wisconsin shore.

It's recording water temperature and conductivity during the two-week test. "I picked a simple mission to start with, not far from home, away from the shipping lanes," he said. "I'm interested in how the temperature structure changes near the coast."

Austin said he hopes eventually to use it to study water clarity, oxygen levels, nutrient levels and underwater organisms.

The 7-foot submarine is powered by batteries and uses a bellows to change its buoyancy, gliding forward as it rises and falls.

Austin has programmed it to surface every three hours and transmit data about its location and collection to his office in Duluth.

Formally known as an electric glider, the sub cost about $74,000 and was paid for in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As for the color, "yellow's the international color of research," Austin said. "It's an easy color to see in the water, so it's very typical to paint your equipment yellow. I've got a research buoy that's the same color."

Star Tribune


Updates - September 24

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 24

The EDMUND FITZGERALD's first cargo of taconite pellets was loaded September 24, 1958 at Silver Bay, Minnesota for Toledo, Ohio.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 entered service September 24, 1924.

In early morning fog on the St. Clair River on September 24, 1962, the J L REISS was hit three glancing blows by U.S. Steel's SEWELL AVERY. The AVERY had lost control just below Robert's Landing and crossed the channel from the Canadian side and struck the J.L. REISS which was proceeding slowly by radar on the U.S. side.

On September 24, 1952, the CHARLES .L HUTCHINSON entered service. This vessel was renamed b.) ERNEST R BREECH when it was sold to the Ford Motor Company in 1962, and it was given its present name, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, when it was sold to Kinsman Lines in 1988. Sold Canadian in 2005, and renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT. She sails today as the motorship e.) OJIBWAY.

On September 23, 1991, J.W. MC GIFFIN rescued several people in a 24 foot pleasure craft off Presque Ile State Park. The group had been disabled since the day before. They were taken aboard the McGIFFIN and their boat taken under tow. The MC GIFFIN was rebuilt with a new forward section and renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA in 1999.

September 24, 1924 - The PERE MARQUETTE 22 arrived at Ludington, Michigan on her maiden voyage.

On 24 September 1902, H.A. BARR (3 mast wooden schooner, 217 foot, 1,119 gross tons, built in 1893, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was in tow of the 'saltie' THEANO with a load of iron ore in a storm 30 miles off Port Stanley in Lake Erie. She broke her tow line in giant waves and foundered. THEANO rescued her crew.

On 24 September 1879, the tug URANIA was towing the schooner S V R WATSON into Sand Beach at about noon when the schooner struck the tug amidships, cutting a hole in the hull and sinking her in three fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 23

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
After spending the afternoon out in the Saginaw Bay waiting for water levels to come back up, Algoway finally came into the river Monday night and traveled upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Not far behind was the Dorothy Ann and her barge Pathfinder, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. Overnight, the Calumet arrived, heading upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. Algoway was preparing to depart the Sargent dock at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. Dorothy Ann & Pathfinder were also expected to be outbound later in the morning.

St. Catharines, Ont. – Paul Beesley
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon departed the Seaway Marine & Industrial Ltd shipyard in Port Weller Tuesday morning after a long refit. The Griffon now has a new crane, and she also received a state-of-the-art gyro-compass and much needed work on her propulsion and generating equipment. With these improvements she should be able to serve on the Great Lakes for another 10 years. Her destination is the Coast Guard base at Prescott, Ontario.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
John Spence and its barge were in at the McAsphalt dock unloading Monday morning. They departed in mid-afternoon.


Zebra mussels make it to Isle Royale

9/23 - Duluth, Minn. – Zebra mussels have invaded Isle Royale National Park, with Park Service officials Monday confirming the finding for the first time.

Park officials are concerned because Isle Royale holds one of the region’s largest remaining populations of native mussels on small lakes on the island. Zebra mussels have in many cases wiped out native mussel populations across the Great Lakes.

“A lot of the boats that come here come from harbors that have zebra mussel problems on other parts of [Lake Superior],” Isle Royale superintendent Phyllis Green said. “But we may never know exactly how they got here.”

Green said her staff will do more than try to prevent the spread of mussels to inland waters. Green is calling for an all-out effort to eradicate the existing colony from the park’s Lake Superior waters.

A colony of mussels was found at the west end of the island in Washington Harbor last week. A single zebra mussel also was found at the east end of the island.

Park Service officials say they believe the mussels are the smaller zebra mussels and not their larger cousin, the Quagga mussel, which is considered more menacing because it can reproduce in deeper, colder waters.

Isle Royale, Lake Superior’s largest island, sits about 15 miles from Grand Portage off Minnesota’s North Shore.

The finding comes 20 years after zebra mussels first were confirmed in Lake Superior in the Duluth-Superior harbor. Though the mussels can’t move far on their own, they often are spread by boaters and anglers when the thumbnail-size critters hitchhike in bait buckets and on other gear or even in engine cooling lines and attached to hulls.

They also can hitchhike in the ballast water of larger ships, although ballasted ships aren’t common in waters adjacent to Isle Royale.

Green said divers already have pulled 24 mussels off the Windigo dock. They haven’t found any more but are continuing to search, she said.

Green said crews will continue to take water samples to check for zebra mussel larvae called veligers. She said it’s unclear if the mussels were mature enough to reproduce. It’s possible the Park Service could poison water near the dock to kill additional larvae.

Green made headlines in 2007 when she began treating ballast water in the park’s Ranger III ferry boat that brings passengers and supplies to the island from the mainland — the first boat to regularly treat ballast on the Great Lakes. So far, tests show the treatment has been working to kill any living organisms in the ballast tanks.

Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species expert for Minnesota Sea Grant, said efforts to eliminate established populations of zebra mussels have generally been successful only in controlled areas, such as flooded mine pits. One eradication effort at New York’s Lake George may show signs of success, he said.

“There haven’t been many cases of actually eradicating an established population in a natural lake,’’ Jensen said. “They’d have to be very localized to have any success. But maybe they caught it early enough.’’

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - September 23

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 23

September 23, 1922, the 306 foot NEPTUNE loaded the first Head-of-the-Lakes cargo of pig iron at Zenith Furnace, Duluth, Minnesota. The 5,000 tons of malleable pig iron was delivered to Buffalo, New York.

September 23, 1975, the HERBERT C. JACKSON lost power while upbound on Lake Superior. She was towed back to the Soo by the USS straight decker D. G. KERR.

September 23, 1952, the steamer CHARLES L HUTCHINSON became the first boat christened at Cleveland since the early years of World War II. The 644 foot HUTCHINSON, Captain T. A. Johnson, is the new flagship of the Pioneer fleet and one of 35 boats in the three fleets operated by Hutchinson & Co. Renamed b.) ERNEST R. BREECH in 1962, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT in 1988. Sold Canadian in 2005, and renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT. She sails today as the motorship e.) OJIBWAY.

On 23 September 1910, the BETHLEHEM (steel propeller package freighter, 290 foot, 2,633 gross tons, built in 1888, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise when she went ashore in a gale on the SW side of S. Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. Lifesavers and the crew unloaded her over several days. Although battered by several storms while ashore, she was eventually pulled free and repaired. She lasted until 1925, when she was scrapped.

The scow WAUBONSIE was launched at the Curtis yard in Fort Gratiot, Michigan on 23 September 1873.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Port Reports - September 22

Twin Ports Report – Al Miller
After emerging from temporary layup on Sunday, Adam E. Cornelius was under the spouts at HSC elevator in Superior on Monday. Elsewhere, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for St. Clair and Algolake was loading taconite pellets at the CN/DMIR ore dock. Mesabi Miner was due at Midwest Energy Terminal later in the day to load for Presque Isle power plant near Marquette.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena loaded cement at Lafarge Monday morning and departed for Superior, Wisc. Manistee was tied up in the Thunder Bay River Monday morning unloading a cargo of road salt. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were expected in port Tuesday afternoon.


Mesabi Nugget project forges ahead despite economy

9/22 - Duluth, Minn. – The sea of vehicles crowding the approach to Mesabi Nugget bespeaks the project’s scale.

Somewhere between 600 and 700 contractors are on the job most days, working to launch the Iron Range’s newest taconite processor.

At the peak of activity, about a month ago, upwards of 800 tradespeople were working to construct the $270 million plant that will transform taconite into pig iron.

On-site, north of Aurora, seven massive cranes swivel and swoop, delivering steel components to scurrying workers. Skid loaders, mobile booms, delivery trucks and all manner of construction machines weave through the scene, as though performing an intricately choreographed dance.

The rising plant and the swarm of construction workers go unnoticed by most motorists whizzing past on neighboring Highway 135.

“Our project is kind of tucked back in a corner of the woods, and when people actually come out and see it, they almost always say, ‘Holy smokes!’ ” remarked Dave Bednarz, vice president of iron resources for Steel Dynamics Inc., which is developing the plant in conjunction with Kobe Steel.

Undeterred by recession

Construction of the facility began in 2007 and has not stopped despite a bruising economic downturn that has curbed taconite production throughout the region.

Staying the course has not been easy, Bednarz said.

“We never stopped work on the project or put it on hold, but for a couple of months we did sort of take our foot off the gas a little bit,” he said. “As a company, we had a responsibility to look at the amount of money we were spending here.”

Originally, Steel Dynamics aimed to have Mesabi Nugget begin production by the third quarter of this year, but now Bednarz predicts a November or December startup.

Revised timeline or not, the project’s continued progress in the face of eroding domestic steel production and waning prices made a distinct impression on Peter Kakela, a professor at Michigan State University and a respected monitor of the taconite industry.

“I view it as a real positive sign that the work at Mesabi Nugget has been going ahead despite what the mining industry has gone through these past six months,” he said. “Steel Dynamics has been the driving force, and it showed they still have a lot of confidence in the future.”

Frank Bailey, a foreman for Jamar Co. and a member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 589 in Hibbing, credits the construction of Mesabi Nugget, combined with the revamping of Minnesota Power’s Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, for keeping him employed.

“If we didn’t have this project, about 50 percent of our local would probably be unemployed,” he said.

Bailey said there has been enough work even to draw distant tradespeople into the Northland, as most other locals elsewhere in the state are scratching for work.

Of course, the construction jobs will disappear when the plant is completed, but Mesabi Nugget is expected to employ about 65 people on an ongoing basis. The plant is designed so it could eventually triple in size, if demand warrants. In its initial configuration, Mesabi Nugget should be able to annually produce 500,000 metric tons of pig iron.

Many of Mesabi Nugget’s key future operators have been involved in designing and building the facility, including plant manager Jeff Hansen, who has been shepherding the project for more than eight years. Other members of his future operations team also have been on the job for months, if not years, and Hansen expects to reap the benefits.

“When we have a problem on a Saturday night, we’ll have people involved who know every bolt and valve in the place and who will know how to fix things. That’s invaluable,” he said.

Breaking new ground

Mesabi Nugget will operate the world’s largest rotary-hearth furnace. It’s 60 meters in diameter — roughly two-thirds the length of a football field.

“This project has the potential to change the way iron mining takes place,” Bednarz said. “It hasn’t been an easy time to keep a project going, but that’s part of what our company is about. One of our hallmarks is to be on the cutting edge of technology.”

The plant will produce nuggets with an iron content of about 97 percent.

Conventional taconite plants typically produce pellets with an iron content of about 65 percent.

Steel Dynamics plans to use Mesabi Nugget’s output to feed its electric arc minimills and produce flat-rolled steel. This will open a new market for Minnesota taconite mines, which have traditionally sold pellets to integrated steel producers operating large blast furnaces.

Bednarz said Mesabi Nugget will perform the same job that it now takes a pellet, sinter and coke plant plus a blast furnace to accomplish.

What’s more, Steel Dynamics said Mesabi Nugget is expected to use 30 percent less energy than an integrated steelmaker would consume to make the same quantity of product. Another advantage is that the process is projected to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and pollutants by about 40 percent, compared with traditional methods.

“I do feel it [Mesabi Nugget] is potentially a very important next step in iron mining,” Kakela said, noting that the process should make for more efficient transport of iron from the Range.

Such industry innovation is nothing new, said Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota.

“Iron mining is often thought of as a mature industry, but the Mesabi Nugget project is yet another example of how the industry keeps reinventing itself,” he said.

Mesabi Nugget plans to eventually mine its own taconite from an adjacent ore body once exploited by LTV Steel Mining Co. But the company has yet to complete work on an environmental impact study, which is a necessary precursor to the issuance of any mining permits.

That impact study could be completed and approved by the fourth quarter of 2010, said Kirk Rosenberger, a principal planner and project manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Until then, Mesabi Nugget will need to buy iron concentrate from other producers on the Range. In anticipation of its approaching startup, Mesabi Nugget has been buying concentrate for several months from Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay and from Magnetation Inc., an outfit reclaiming iron from old mine tailings near Keewatin.

Mesabi Nugget has been receiving 50 to 60 truckloads of concentrate per day, as it stockpiles material to be used once production begins. In this way, too, Bednarz said his company is supporting more jobs on the Range.

Duluth News Tribune


Future of border patrol boats is on Detroit River

9/22 - Detroit, Mich. – The latest border patrol boat was on the Detroit River Monday, a 43-foot boat with a quartet of 350-horsepower engines. That’s the most horsepower that can be run with the 20,000-pound boat, given the effective power-to-weight ratio, said Thomas Norton, director of the National Marine Center under the Department of Homeland Security.

The boat, called an Advanced Concept Demonstrator Vessel, is a $900,000 prototype, here to test what could be coming in the next generation of border patrol boats.

It has about 500 more horsepower than the current generation of 39-foot patrol boats, with top speeds close to 75 m.p.h., compared to a top speed of about 62 m.p.h. for the current boats. The boat is a delicate balance of racing versus maneuverability and Monday morning, the crew demonstrated that by doing donuts at nearly top speeds, heeled over so far, the rail was nearly in the water.

Perhaps more importantly, its suite of electronics includes cameras that can lock on and track suspects, even producing photos that can be used in court. The camera can effectively see for about one mile, and, using heat sensors, acquire targets up to three miles away.

“On the current interceptors, there’s no optical camera,” said Marine Interdiction Agent Josh Johnson of Port Angeles, Wash.

It’s not known how many of the new boats may eventually patrol the Great Lakes. The boat is undergoing testing in various venues around the country. Afterward, recommendations will be made about any suggested changes or modifications in the prototype.

Currently there are two of the older generation, 38-foot boats posted on the Great Lakes, at Port Huron and Sandusky, Ohio. The third is in Port Angeles.

Detroit Free Press


Welland Canal BoatNerd gathering '09 a hit

9/22 - Thorold, Ont. - Nearly 70 boat watchers attended various functions of the 2009 Welland Gathering held last weekend.

Although ship traffic in the canal was slow, attendees enjoyed outstanding weather and a Saturday morning tour of the International Marine Salvage scrap yard in Port Colborne which included a look at the final stages of cutting on the Calumet.

Meetings on Friday and Saturday evening featured special presentations by author DArcy Jenish, Steve Hinchcliffe, Paul Beesley and Buck Longhurst, in addition to slide collections by several of the assembled group. A large array of door prizes that were received from assorted marine related organizations were distributed to those attending the evening sessions.

The City of St. Catharines Welland Canals Centre offered discounts to those attending, and a Sunday morning reception and video screening was capped with a drawing for a large basket of prizes, won by Angie Williams. Kara Barclay also won a prize.

Next year's gathering at the Welland is Sept. 17-18.


Updates - September 22

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 22

On September 22, 1958, the EDMUND FITZGERALD entered service, departing River Rouge, Michigan for Silver Bay, Minnesota on its first trip. The FITZGERALD's first load was 20,038 tons of taconite pellets for Toledo. The vessel would, in later years, set several iron ore records during the period from 1965 through 1969.

While in ballast, the ROGER M. KYES struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976, sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others, whereupon she proceeded to Chicago for dry docking on September 27, 1976, for survey and repairs. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

While being towed from Duluth, Minnesota by the Canadian tug TUSKER on September 22, 1980, the D G KERR rammed into the breakwater at Duluth causing $200,000 in damages to the breakwater. The tow apparently failed to make the turning buoy leaving Duluth Harbor.

On September 22, 1911 the HENRY PHIPPS collided with and sank her Steel Trust fleet mate, steamer JOLIET, of 1890, which was at anchor on the fog shrouded St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ontario. The JOLIET sank without loss of crew and was declared a total loss. The PHIPPS then continued her downbound journey and collided with the Wyandotte Chemical steamer ALPENA, of 1909, that incurred only minor damage.

The T.W. ROBINSON and US.265808 (former BENSON FORD departed Quebec City in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR bound for Recife where they arrived on September 22, 1987. Scrapping began the next month in October.

MATHILDA DESGAGNES was freed from polar ice in the Arctic on September 22, 1988, by the West German Icebreaker Research Vessel POLARSTERN.

September 22, 1913 - The ANN ARBOR No. 5 struck bottom in the Sturgeon Bay Canal and damaged her rudder and steering gear. After undergoing repairs at Milwaukee, she was back in service the following October.

On 22 September 1887, ADA E. ALLEN (wooden propeller steam barge, 90 foot, 170 gross tons, built in 1872, at Walpole Island, Ontario.) caught fire while moored at Amherstburg, Ontario. She was cut loose and set adrift to prevent the fire from spreading ashore. She drifted to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island and burned to a total loss.

On 22 September 1882, Mr. H. N. Jex accepted the contract to recover the engine and boiler from the MAYFLOWER, which sank in the Detroit River in 1864. He was to be paid $600 upon delivery of the machinery at Windsor, Ontario. He succeeded in raising the engine on 12 October and the boiler shortly thereafter.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 21

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Adam E. Cornelius on Sunday came out of temporary layup in Superior's East End and by late afternoon was turning into St. Louis Bay apparently on its way to load. At the same time, John G. Munson was unloading coal at the CLM dock in Superior. USCGC Hollyhock left Fraser Shipyards on Friday and spent the weekend tied up behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner unloaded western coal from Superior at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock Sunday afternoon. She was expected to load ore at the Upper Harbor later in the evening. American Mariner opened the Shiras Dock for the season back on April 22 with a cargo of coal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saginaw departed at 7 p.m. Sunday, headed for Toledo, Ohio.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Redhead was escorted into Redpath by Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie Saturday afternoon. The tugs returned to Hamilton afterwards. Also in port was Clelia II, bunkered by Hamilton Energy, which also returned to Hamilton when its job was done.


Updates - September 21

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 21

On 21 September 1892, the whaleback steamer JAMES B. COLGATE (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 308 foot, 1,713 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co. (Hull #121) at W. Superior, Wisconsin. She only lasted until 1916, when she foundered in the "Black Friday Storm" on Lake Erie with the loss of 26 lives.

ALGOWAY left Collingwood on her maiden voyage in 1972, and loaded salt for Michipicoten, Ontario on Lake Superior.

On 21 September 1844, JOHN JACOB ASTOR (wooden brig, 78 foot, 112 tons, Built in 1835, at Pointe aux Pins, Ontario but precut at Lorain, Ohio) was carrying furs and trade goods when she struck a reef and foundered near Copper Harbor, Michigan. She was owned by Astor’s American Fur Company. She was reportedly by the first commercial vessel on Lake Superior.

On 21 September 1855, ASIA (2-mast wooden schooner, 108 foot, 204 tons, built in 1848, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying corn from Chicago for Buffalo when she collided with the propeller FOREST CITY off the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay. ASIA went down in deep water in about 10 minutes, but her crew just had enough time to escape in her boat. The schooner HAMLET picked them up.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, B.G.S.U. and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Three vessels visited the Upper Harbor on Saturday. Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in the morning to unload stone into the hopper and was followed by Michipicoten in the early afternoon to load ore. When Michipicoten departed later in the afternoon, fleetmate Robert S. Pierson took her spot on the north side of the ore dock to load ore.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River late Friday, calling on the GM dock in Saginaw. She finished her unload and was outbound Saturday morning, passing through Bay City during the afternoon. The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society held its annual ride day on Saturday, allowing members to ride both the Hiawatha, which is the last operational walking-beam side-wheeler in the world, and the historic tug Jill Marie, which was built in 1891.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Saginaw was at anchor off Buffalo Harbor and waiting for the tug Washington to tow her up to the ADM Standard Elevator late Saturday night. They had been waiting on the hook since 3 p.m. because the ADM mill does not have a security guard on the property until midnight. The English River is due to arrive in the morning from Port Colborne and Saginaw would like to go up the river first so it does not have to maneuver around another ship at the Ohio Street bend. English River was still upbound in the Welland Canal around the Thorold area at 10 p.m. Saturday.


The ghost fleet of the recession anchored just east of Singapore

9/20  – The tropical waters that lap the jungle shores of southern Malaysia could not be described as a paradisical shimmering turquoise. They are more of a dark, soupy green. They also carry a suspicious smell. Not that this is of any concern to the lone Indian face that has just peeped anxiously down at me from the rusting deck of a towering container ship; he is more disturbed by the fact that I may be a pirate, which, right now, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.

His appearance, in a peaked cap and uniform, seems rather odd; an o¬fficer without a crew. But there is something slightly odder about the vast distance between my jolly boat and his lofty position, which I can't immediately put my finger on.

Then I have it - his 750ft-long merchant vessel is standing absurdly high in the water. The low waves don't even bother the lowest mark on its Plimsoll line. It's the same with all the ships parked here, and there are a lot of them. Close to 500. An armada of freighters with no cargo, no crew, and without a destination between them.

Navigating a precarious course around the hull of this Panama-registered hulk, I reach its bow and notice something else extraordinary. It is tied side by side to a container ship of almost the same size. The mighty sister ship sits empty, high in the water again, with apparently only the sailor and a few lengths of rope for company.

Nearby, as we meander in searing midday heat and dripping humidity between the hulls of the silent armada, a young European offi¬cer peers at us from the bridge of an oil tanker owned by the world's biggest container shipping line, Maersk. We circle and ask to go on board, but are waved away by two Indian crewmen who appear to be the only other people on the ship.

'They are telling us to go away,' the boat driver explains. 'No one is supposed to be here. They are very frightened of pirates.'

Here, on a sleepy stretch of shoreline at the far end of Asia, is surely the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history. Their numbers are equivalent to the entire British and American navies combined; their tonnage is far greater. Container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers - all should be steaming fully laden between China, Britain, Europe and the US, stocking camera shops, PC Worlds and Argos depots ahead of the retail pandemonium of 2009. But their water has been stolen.

They are a powerful and tangible representation of the hurricanes that have been wrought by the global economic crisis; an iron curtain drawn along the coastline of the southern edge of Malaysia's rural Johor state, 50 miles east of Singapore harbour.

It is so far off the beaten track that nobody ever really comes close, which is why these ships are here. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies.

So they have been quietly retired to this equatorial backwater, to be maintained only by a handful of bored sailors. The skeleton crews are left alone to fend off the ever-present threats of piracy and collisions in the congested waters as the hulls gather rust and seaweed at what should be their busiest time of year.

Local fisherman Ah Wat, 42, who for more than 20 years has made a living fishing for prawns from his home in Sungai Rengit, says: 'Before, there was nothing out there - just sea. Then the big ships just suddenly came one day, and every day there are more of them.

'Some of them stay for a few weeks and then go away. But most of them just stay. You used to look from here straight over to Indonesia and see nothing but a few passing boats. Now you can no longer see the horizon.'

The size of the idle fleet becomes more palpable when the ships' lights are switched on after sunset. From the small fishing villages that dot the coastline, a seemingly endless blaze of light stretches from one end of the horizon to another. Standing in the darkness among the palm trees and bamboo huts, as calls to prayer ring out from mosques further inland, is a surreal and strangely disorientating experience. It makes you feel as if you are adrift on a dark sea, staring at a city of light.

Ah Wat says: 'We don't understand why they are here. There are so many ships but no one seems to be on board. When we sail past them in our fishing boats we never see anyone. They are like real ghost ships and some people are scared of them. They believe they may bring a curse with them and that there may be bad spirits on the ships.'

As daylight creeps across the waters, flags of convenience from destinations such as Panama and the Bahamas become visible. In reality, though, these vessels belong to some of the world's biggest Western shipping companies. And the sickness that has ravaged them began far away - in London, where the industry's heart beats, and where the plummeting profits and hugely reduced cargo prices are most keenly felt.

The Aframax-class oil tanker is the camel of the world's high seas. By definition, it is smaller than 132,000 tons deadweight and with a breadth above 106 feet. It is used in the basins of the Black Sea, the North Sea, the Caribbean Sea, the China Sea and the Mediterranean - or anywhere where non-OPEC exporting countries have harbours and canals too small to accommodate very large crude carriers (VLCC) or ultra-large crude carriers (ULCCs). The term is based on the Average Freight Rate Assessment (AFRA) tanker rate system and is an industry standard.

A couple of years ago these ships would be steaming back and forth. Now 12 per cent are doing nothing

You may wish to know this because, if ever you had an irrational desire to charter one, now would be the time. This time last year, an Aframax tanker capable of carrying 80,000 tons of cargo would cost £31,000 a day ($50,000). Now it is about £3,400 ($5,500).

This is why the chilliest financial winds anywhere in the City of London are to be found blowing through its 400-plus shipping brokers.

Between them, they manage about half of the world's chartering business. The bonuses are long gone. The last to feel the tail of the economic whiplash, they - and their insurers and lawyers - await a wave of redundancies and business failures in the next six months. Commerce is contracting, fleets rust away - yet new ship-builds ordered years ago are still coming on stream.

Just 12 months ago these financiers and brokers were enjoying fat bonuses as they traded cargo space. But nobody wants the space any more, and those that still need to ship goods across the world are demanding vast reductions in price.

Do not tell these men and women about green shoots of recovery. As Briton Tim Huxley, one of Asia's leading ship brokers, says, if the world is really pulling itself out of recession, then all these idle ships should be back on the move.

'This is the time of year when everyone is doing all the Christmas stu¬ff,' he points out.

'A couple of years ago those ships would have been steaming back and forth, going at full speed. But now you've got something like 12 per cent of the world's container ships doing nothing.'

Aframaxes are oil bearers. But the slump is industry-wide. The cost of sending a 40ft steel container of merchandise from China to the UK has fallen from £850 plus fuel charges last year to £180 this year. The cost of chartering an entire bulk freighter suitable for carrying raw materials has plunged even further, from close to £185,000 ($300,000) last summer to an incredible £6,100 ($10,000) earlier this year.

Business for bulk carriers has picked up slightly in recent months, largely because of China's rediscovered appetite for raw materials such as iron ore, says Huxley. But this is a small part of international trade, and the prospects for the container ships remain bleak.

Some experts believe the ratio of container ships sitting idle could rise to 25 per cent within two years in an extraordinary downturn that shipping giant Maersk has called a 'crisis of historic dimensions'. Last month the company reported its first half-year loss in its 105-year history.

Martin Stopford, managing director of Clarksons, London's biggest ship broker, says container shipping has been hit particularly hard: 'In 2006 and 2007 trade was growing at 11 per cent. In 2008 it slowed down by 4.7 per cent. This year we think it might go down by as much as eight per cent. If it costs £7,000 a day to put the ship to sea and if you only get £6,000 a day, than you have got a decision to make.

'Yet at the same time, the supply of container ships is growing. This year, supply could be up by around 12 per cent and demand is down by eight per cent. Twenty per cent spare is a lot of spare of anything - and it's come out of nowhere.'

These empty ships should be carrying Christmas over to the West. All retailers will have already ordered their stock for the festive season long ago. With more than 92 per cent of all goods coming into the UK by sea, much of it should be on its way here if it is going to make it to the shelves before Christmas

But retailers are running on very low stock levels, not only because they expect consumer spending to be down, but also because they simply do not have the same levels of credit that they had in the past and so are unable to keep big stockpiles.

Stopford explains: 'Globalisation and shipping go hand in hand. Worldwide, we ship about 8.2 billion tons of cargo a year. That's more than one ton per person and probably two to three tons for richer people like us in the West. If the total goes down by five per cent or so, that's a lot of cargo that isn't moving.'

The knock-on effect of so many ships sitting idle rather than moving consumer goods between Asia and Europe could become apparent in Britain in the months ahead.

'We will find out at Christmas whether there are enough PlayStations in the shops or not. There will certainly be fewer goods coming in to Britain during the run-up to Christmas.'

Three thousand miles north-east of the ghost fleet of Johor, the shipbuilding capital of the world rocks to an unpunctuated chorus of hammer-guns blasting rivets the size of dustbin lids into shining steel panels that are then lowered onto the decks of massive new vessels.

As the shipping industry teeters on the brink of collapse, the activity at boatyards like Mokpo and Ulsan in South Korea all looks like a sick joke. But the workers in these bustling shipyards, who teem around giant tankers and mega-vessels the length of several football pitches and capable of carrying 10,000 or more containers each, have no choice; they are trapped in a cruel time warp.

There have hardly been any new orders. In 2011 the shipyards will simply run out of ships to build

A decade ago, South Korean President Kim Dae-jung (who died last month) issued a decree to his industrial captains: he wished to make his nation the market leader in shipbuilding. He knew the market intimately. Before entering politics, he studied economics and worked for a Japanese-owned freight-shipping business. Within a few years he was heading his own business, starting out with a fleet of nine ships.

Thus, by 2004, Kim Dae-jung's presidential vision was made real. His country's low-cost yards were winning 40 per cent of world orders, with Japan second with 24 per cent and China way behind on 14 per cent.

But shipbuilding is a horrendously hard market to plan. There is a three-year lag between the placing of an order and the delivery of a ship. With contracts signed, down-payments made and work under way, stopping work on a new ship is the economic equivalent of trying to change direction in an ocean liner traveling at full speed towards an iceberg.

Thus the labors of today's Korean shipbuilders merely represent the completion of contracts ordered in the fat years of 2006 and 2007. Those ships will now sail out into a global economy that no longer wants them.

Maersk announced last week that it was renegotiating terms and prices with Asian shipyards for 39 ordered tankers and gas carriers. One of the company's executives, Kristian Morch, said the shipping industry was in uncharted waters.

As he told the global shipping newspaper Lloyd's List only last week: 'You have a contraction of oil demand, you have a falling world economy and you have a contraction of financing capabilities - and at the same time as a lot of new ships are being delivered.'

Demand peaked in 2005 when, with surplus tonnage worldwide standing at just 0.7 per cent, ship owners raced to order, fearing docks and berths at major shipyards would soon be fully booked. That spell of 'panic buying' has heightened today's alarming mismatch between supply and demand.

Keith Wallis, East Asia editor of Lloyd's List, says, 'There was an ordering frenzy on all types of vessel, particularly container ships, because of the booming trade between Asia and Europe and the United States. It was fuelled in particular by consumer demand in the UK, Europe and North America, as well as the demand for raw materials from China.'

Orders for most existing ships to be delivered within the next six to nine months would be honored, he predicted, and the ships would go into service at the expense of older vessels in the fleet, which would be scrapped or end up anchored off places like southern Malaysia.

But, says Wallis, 'some ship owners won't be able to pay their final installments when the vessels are completed. Normally, they pay ten per cent down when they order the ship and there are three or four stages of payment. But 50 to 60 per cent is paid on delivery.'

South Korean shipyard Hanjin Heavy Industries last week said it had been forced to put up for sale three container ships ordered at a cost of £60 million ($100 million) by the Iranian state shipping line after the Iranians said they could not pay the bill.

'The prospects for shipyards are bleak, particularly for the South Koreans, where they have a high proportion of foreign orders. Whole communities in places like Mokpo and Ulsan are involved in shipbuilding and there is a lot of sub-contracting to local companies,' Wallis says.

'So far the shipyards are continuing to work, but the problems will start to emerge next year and certainly in 2011, because that is when the current orders will have been delivered. There have hardly been any new orders in the past year. In 2011, the shipyards will simply run out of ships to build.'

Christopher Palsson, a senior consultant at London-based Lloyd's Register-Fairplay Research, believes the situation will worsen before it gets better.

'Some ships will be sold for demolition but the net balance will be even further pressure on the freight rates and the market itself. A lot of ship owners and operators are going to find themselves in a very difficult situation.'

The current downturn is the worst in living memory and more severe even than the slump of the early Eighties, Palsson believes.

'Back then the majority of the crash was for tankers carrying crude oil. Today we have almost every aspect of shipping affected - bulk carriers, tankers, container carriers... the lot.

'It is a much wider-spread situation that we have today. China was not a major player in the world economy at that time. Neither was India. We had the Soviet Union. We had shipbuilding in the United Kingdom and Europe.

'But then, back in those days the world was a very different place.'

Daily Mail


Ralph Knechtel, former captain, dies at Kalamazoo

9/20 - Ralph Knechtel, 85, of Alpena, Mich., died Sept. 6 at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. He was the captain on the S.T. Crapo from July 1975 until his retirement in 1986. Services were held eariler in the month and interment was at Grace Lutheran Cemetery.


Updates - September 20

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson, Heron Bay and Red Wing galleries updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 20

John Jonathon Boland was born on 20 September 1875, in New York. Along with Adam E. Cornelius, he formed the partnership of Boland and Cornelius in 1903, and was one of the founders of the American Steamship Company in 1907. He died in 1956.

On September 20, 1986, vandals started a $5,000 fire aboard the laid up NIPIGON BAY at Kingston, Ontario, where she had been since April, 1984.

GEORGE A. STINSON's self-unloading boom was replaced on September 20 1983. The boom had collapsed onto her deck due to a mechanical failure on the night of April 19, 1983, at Detroit, Michigan. No injuries were reported. She continued hauling cargoes without a boom until replacement. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

On September 20, 1980, the EDGAR B. SPEER entered service for the U.S. Steel Fleet.

The CHARLES E. WILSON sailed light on her maiden voyage from Sturgeon Bay September 20, 1973, bound for Escanaba, Michigan, to load ore. She was renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

The CHARLES M. WHITE was christened at Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20, 1951.

On 20 September 1873, W. L. PECK (2 mast wooden schooner-barge, 154 foot, 361 gross tons) was launched at Carrollton, Michigan.

On 20 September 1856, COLONEL CAMP (3-mast wooden bark, 137 foot, 350 tons, built in 1854, at Three Mile Bay, New York) was carrying wheat to Oswego, New York, when she collided with the wooden steamer PLYMOUTH and sank in just a few minutes. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Steel shipping season begins at Port of Milwaukee

9/19 - Milwaukee, Wisc. - Things will be bustling at the Port of Milwaukee over the next couple of months. More than a dozen ocean-going freighters will deliver loads of steel.

The late season deliveries of steel coincide with the harvest season here. Some of the ships will leave Milwaukee loaded with grain, headed for ports in Europe and North Africa. The ships must make their way out of the Great Lakes before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for winter.

Port Director Eric Reinelt says steel accounts for less tonnage than road salt and cement that arrives at the docks. But, Reinelt says that unlike those commodities, steel-handling requires more workers, and that produces ripple effects through the local economy.



Port Reports - September 19

Twin Ports Report – Al Miller
The CHS grain elevator in Superior remained busy Friday with Gordon C. Leitch loading in berth 1 and Federal Matane tucked into berth 2. Indiana Harbor departed early in the morning with coal loaded at Midwest Energy Terminal. USCGC Hollyhock is out of drydock but remained in Fraser Shipyards. American Mariner was due in late with limestone for the CLM dock. Once that’s done, it will shift to Midwest Energy Terminal this weekend to load coal destined for the Shiras power plant in Marquette.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Manistee arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock Friday afternoon to load taconite. She sailed light from Duluth after unloading salt. The visit to Marquette was a first since her days with American Steamship Company as Richard J. Reiss.


New era for Michigan mining: Industry revival sparks jobs vs. environment debate

9/19 - Marquette, Mich. – Upper Peninsula mines have called the fathers, brothers, sons and, eventually, the mothers and daughters of the region's families to work for more than a century.

Days spent in the dark and the dirt searching for copper, iron and nickel put food on the table and carved out a rugged identity for Michigan's northernmost territory.

Only two mines still operate - a far cry from the industry's heyday. The loss of that economic cornerstone, coupled with the national financial crisis, hit the region hard and pushed unemployment levels far above average.

Mineral companies are once again looking to the Upper Peninsula for a "new era in mining," which could begin with the opening of a new nickel mine this spring. Their interest has risen with commodities prices, and the value of nickel reached record highs just two years ago partially because of its value in new battery technologies.

Company officials are approaching communities with the promise of new jobs, investment and money to aid governments and schools. Companies are buying and leasing mineral rights in anticipation of a new wave of mines. The first such project, Kennecott Minerals' proposed Eagle mine near Marquette, is getting its share of support from elected leaders and citizens and providing the first test of state mining laws enacted four years ago. At least two other companies are investigating mine projects.

Environmental groups find the rush to bring in mining projects alarming. Mining can harm streams and groundwater and the effects could be felt for decades. The risk of long-term damage, they say, is not worth the short-term economic gains, particularly in an area as unspoiled as the Upper Peninsula.

Mark Onkalo of Republic, 30 miles west of Marquette, isn't so certain. The 50-year-old Onkalo is part of a long line of men who made their living in the mines, including a great uncle who died in a cave-in. Onkalo is going on his 14th month without work.

"There are so many people out of work right now, millwrights are a dime a dozen," said Onkalo, who hopes to land a job at the Eagle mine if the project goes ahead. "It's terrible for me right now. I'm down to my last (unemployment) extension check."

Those are the factors environmentalists are trying to overcome in their opposition to not only the Eagle project, but also the wave of mines that could follow if Kennecott is successful.

"Places like the Upper Peninsula are rare now to find," said Joe Saari, a retired history professor and president of the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. "And if we let them go because we think like we did in the 19th and 20th centuries - that you can never exhaust these resources or ever pollute this water so much that it won't be usable and healthy for us - we're wrong. We've seen that it can happen."

Company pitches the pluses

Somewhere underneath the ground out here on the Yellow Dog Plains - roughly 30 miles northwest of Marquette - is a chunk of ore worth anywhere from $3 billion to $6 billion or maybe more. It's exactly the kind of high-grade nickel and copper lode Kennecott hoped to find when it began explorations in the Upper Peninsula a decade ago.

Yet it sits in amid land held dear by those who enjoy the outdoors as well as the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The entrance to the mine would be at the base of Eagle Rock, a place where Keweenaw community members go for celebrations and contemplation.

To drum up support for the Eagle Mine venture, company officials tick off a list of benefits to the community:

• 500 jobs for construction of the mine and the redevelopment of a mill site in Humboldt.

• As many as 200 full-time jobs once the mine and mill are online.

• Tax boosts for local government, school district and more than $100 million in revenue for the state.

• Construction of a $50 million 22-mile road through western Marquette County.

In a place like Marquette County, where the unemployment rate is 10.6 percent, or in neighboring Baraga County, where that number soars to 24.5 percent, such investment is water in the desert.

"Generations of families have been supported by the mining industry and had a great life in the Upper Peninsula," said Lois Ellis, vice president of economic development for the Lake Superior Community Partnership. "So a lot of the population views the project positively as something we're good at and something that can contribute positively to the economy."

If work on the Eagle project gets under way this spring as the company plans, it will likely be the first of many new mines. Kennecott has identified 150 sites for potential operations in the Upper Peninsula and the company is spending as much as $5 million a year on exploration.

Two other companies have contacted Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality about potentially filing for mining permits. Orvana Minerals is looking at a copper ore body south of White Pine. Canadian company Aquila Resources announced this summer it intends to open a gold and zinc mine near Stevenson, possibly as soon as 2012.

Acid mine drainage feared

There is nothing subtle about the mining process. At the most basic level, it's tearing minerals from the ground for processing and, environmentally speaking, it's a process with a spotty history.

Kennecott's owner, London-based Rio Tinto, is the second-largest mineral company in the world and has experience mining on six of the seven continents. Many of those projects have stirred up controversy over harm caused to the surrounding areas.

Company mines in places like Alaska and Utah are at or near the top of the federal Environmental Protection Agency's lists for toxic releases in those states. Environmentalists are threatening a lawsuit against Kennecott over pollution at the Flambeau Mine in Ladysmith in northwest Wisconsin.

For conservationists in the Upper Peninsula, the worry is acid mine drainage -- sulfuric acid created by digging for metals like nickel and copper working its way into local waters. And the area targeted by the Eagle project, they argue, is particularly vulnerable.

"Ninety five percent of mines -- underground sulfide mines that occur near surface water or groundwater -- pollute," said Michelle Halley, an attorney with the National Wildlife Federation who has challenged the state permits issued to Kennecott's Eagle project in court.

"That's a risk that's just too great to bear for the Yellow Dog Plains, the Salmon Trout River and the Yellow Dog River. In a worst-case scenario, as our experts predict, the roof of the mine caves in and takes the river with it. There is no contingency plan adequate enough to deal with that problem."

In addition, Eagle's critics point out that the jobs created are short-term -- up to eight years before the mine is expected to play out. The money that comes along with the mine, they said, will only be a temporary boost.

And finally, they point to the state's compensation. If Kennecott stands to reap billions from the Eagle mine, they ask, why is Michigan only getting $100 million from it?

Firm touts safeguards

Not surprisingly, company officials have a different take. Their mine in Salt Lake City ranks second on the national toxic release inventory simply because it moves more material than almost any other mine in the nation -- as much as 500,000 tons of rock a day.

And the Flambeau mine, they argue, is a model program that received no environmental violations from the state during its operation in the mid-1990s or afterward.

Jon Cherry helped Kennecott remediate its Utah mine site before coming to Michigan as the Eagle project manager.

He said he is confident the company's investment in the latest environmental safeguards -- including liners to prevent drainage, and water treatment plants at the mine and the mill -- make the mine a safer bet than those that came before.

"One hundred years ago they just started mining and you ended up with what you ended up with," he said. "Today, it's much more (protective) environmentally with a lot more rules and regulations, which I think is a good thing."

Halley and others, however, want the company to put its money where its mouth is. "Those same Kennecott people have been challenged under oath to guarantee that the mine will not pollute and the technology they propose will operate as planned," she said. "And they won't guarantee it."

Asked if it's fair for any company to be expected to issue a guarantee like that, Halley responded: "It's fair when you have the world's largest freshwater resource at stake."

Detroit News


Bay City man to speak about his experiences of his great-grandfather, a ship salvager

9/19 - Bay City, Mich. – James M. Reid never met his great-grandfather, but for the last 15 years he has followed in his footsteps.

"I've kind of lived the life," said Reid, of Bay City about his great-grandfather who was a ship salvager in the late 19th century.

"I've found some of his ships -- some of his ships have burned and sank -- I found where they were at and I dove on them. I've taken photographs and touched his ships, it's very impressive," said the 65-year-old great-grandson.

On Saturday, Reid will discuss a book he is writing about the accomplishments and life of his great-grandfather, also named James Reid, and his own adventure in following the man's path.

The speech is part of the 25th annual meeting of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History. The group is in Bay City for a three-day conference.

Members of the international group -- made up of research librarians, historians, museum employees and others interested in maritime history -- gather to share ideas and resources.

Reid's speech is a part of an event happening from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Delta College Planetarium & Learning Center, 100 Center in downtown Bay City. Reid is expected to talk from 11 a.m. to noon.

"I think he has a great story to tell," said Ron Bloomfield, director of operations and chief historian of the Bay County Historical Society.

Reid's great-grandfather, James Reid (1849-1913), owned Reid Wrecking and Towing Co., which operated throughout the Great Lakes during the mid- and late-19th century.

He was part of more than 50 major salvage jobs, his great-grandson said.

The journey of researching his relative has been emotional, Reid said.

"I have grown to like James Reid. He is kind of a special person to me now," Reid said. "To touch one of his ships that he owned ... it's kind of sentimental."

The public is welcome attend Saturday's speeches. Seating is limited. Admission is $20 or $35 including lunch.

Call Bloomfield at (989) 893-5733 for tickets or more information.

The Bay City Times


Still room on cruise to benefit the former Bob-Lo boat Columbia

9/19 - Detroit, Mich. – This afternoon the tour boat Friendship will host a fund raising cruise to benefit the historic Detroit River steamer Columbia. If you wish to join the cruise please call 248 546 9712.


Updates - September 19

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - September 19

At Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, a hand-operated ferry carried pedestrians across the Chicago River. The ferry operator would pull on a rope, hand over hand, to move the ferry across the river. At a signal from schooners, the rope was dropped and the schooner would sail over it. On 19 September 1856, the rope was dropped but the impatient passengers picked it up to move the ferry themselves. The incoming schooner snagged the rope and the ferry was spun around and capsized. 15 people were drowned.

When Cleveland Tankers new SATURN entered service and made her first trip to Toledo, Ohio on September 19, 1974, she became the first of three tankers built for the fleet's modernization program.

The EDGAR B. SPEER departed the shipyard on her maiden voyage for U.S. Steel on September 19, 1980, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota where she loaded her first cargo of taconite pellets.

The twin screw rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN of 1903, was laid up in the spring of 1965, at the old Pennsylvania Dock at Cleveland, Ohio and later at dockage on the Old River Bed where she sank on September 19, 1969.

September 19, 1997 - officials at Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. announced that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be converted to a barge.

On 19 September 1893, SAMUEL BOLTON (wooden schooner-barge, 150 foot, 330 gross tons, built in 1867, at Bangor, Michigan as a schooner) was loaded with lumber and being towed in fog in Lake Huron. She got lost from the tow and drifted ashore near Richmond, Michigan where she broke in two and was then torn apart by waves. She was owned by Brazil Hoose of Detroit.

On Saturday, 19 September 1891, at 11:00 a.m., the whaleback steamer CHARLES W. WETMORE left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania loaded with the materials to build a nail mill, iron smelter and shipyard for the new city of Everett, Washington. Her skipper was Captain Joseph B. Hastings and she had a crew of 22.

On 19 September 1900, the Great Lakes schooner S L WATSON foundered off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She had been sent to the Atlantic the previous autumn by her owner J. C. Gilchrist of Cleveland.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

U.S., Canadian Coast Guard train together on Lake Superior

9/18 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Trying to co-ordinate clean-up of an oil spill in northern Minnesota comes with its fair share of challenges for the Canadian Coast Guard.

First and foremost, the logistics of transporting equipment and personnel across a much tighter American border is a major stumbling block.

Then there’s the matter of communications. In a Blackberry-crazed world, cellular phones and other mobile devices are rendered all-but-useless in the black fly coated wilderness, a signal-free zone that likely drives the teenagers living nearby crazy.

It’s those types of kinks both the Canadian and American sides were trying to work out during two days of co-operative exercises on Lake Superior, in a tiny weather-sheltered inlet lapping at the shores of the Grand Portage Casino and Hotel.

Larry Trigatti, superintendent of environmental response with the Canadian Coast Guard, said the training is part of a longstanding agreement between Canada and the United States to work on joint efforts of pollution response.

"We test various components of the plan, which allows us to cross the border back and forth. What we’re trying to do today is we tested our ability to move equipment quickly, efficiently, and tried to do a little deployment today to demonstrate the capacity that we have," Trigatti said.

The exercise was split into two parts. On Tuesday officials from both sides, including environmental protection agency representatives, American coast guard personnel and local officials, spent the day in Thunder Bay conducting table-top exercises.

On Wednesday they put those theories to the test in a simulated disaster.

"Today we’re putting some of what we tested into action, particularly the movement of equipment across the border. That was one of our big targets. It’s people, it’s equipment and we’re going to run a bit of boom (lines) and our (mobilize) MI-30 skimmers, just to test them out and make sure the equipment is running," Trigatti said.

The skimmers, operated on small, metallic coast guard barges, use larger spinning discs to help suck the oil off the surface, transporting it into inflatable bladders which are then taken to shore for proper disposal.

In the event of a real disaster, Trigatti continued, the Americans might not be able to respond as quickly as their Canadian counterparts, which is why it’s imperative to forge the type of agreements the two sides have already agreed upon.

Depending on the location, deployment can happen quite quickly, he added.

"It’s a combination of things," he said. "The Coast Guard maintains assets, large ships, throughout the Great Lakes. We have a base in Thunder Bay … We try to be highly mobile. Time and speed and distance are our enemies, in a way, and what we try to do is to keep it down to a dull roar."

That would suit Chris Royal just fine.

The chief of contingency planning for the Sault Ste. Marie branch of the United States Coast Guard, Royal said it’s good practice for both sides, who not only get hands-on experience, but also familiarize themselves with their cross-border colleagues.

"It helps us work through any issues we may have in a real event and to build relationships both with the Canadians and our other state and local partners," Royal said.

Steven Leppala, a Duluth-based emergency response specialist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said those relationships are important to build trust, knowing what can be expected when disaster strikes.

It’s all that more important given the remote location, he said.

"The closest equipment is actually in Thunder Bay, and for all of the Minnesota north shore, this area is probably the most sensitive," Leppala said.  The two sides meet annually at different locations around the Great Lakes, though exercises like Wednesday’s are not always on the agenda, Trigatti added.

TB News Watch


Port Reports - September 18

Twin Ports – Al Miller
For the first time in many weeks, CHS elevator in Superior was hosting two vessels Thursday morning. Kaministiqua was loading in berth one and Federal Matane was loading in berth 2. Gordon C. Leitch, anchored out on the lake, was expected to take over berth one after Kaministiqua finished there. Elsewhere, Quebecois was loading ore at the CN/DMIR ore dock, Manistee was expected to arrive with salt, and Indiana Harbor was due later in the day to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. After leaving the CHS elevator Wednesday morning, Spruceglen pulled into the Duluth port terminal and spent the day there apparently undergoing repair. The vessel was there Wednesday afternoon ballasted over on its port side.


Plans discussed for Duluth’s old cement terminal

9/18 - Duluth, Minn. – The next chapter of Duluth’s renaissance could involve what may seem like an unlikely structure: the old LaFarge cement terminal.

Developer Alessandro Giuliani has obtained an option to purchase the waterfront facility and is exploring whether the site could accommodate the same types of retail, commercial, residential and hospitality development now seen in Canal Park.

But in order to see his dream through to reality, Giuliani will need to convince the city of Duluth to revisit the current zoning of the property as “industrial waterfront.” He also hopes to enlist the Duluth Economic Development Authority as a partner in developing the area. DEDA owns the property next to LaFarge, what it calls Lot C. Giuliani may have taken his baby steps toward his goal of redeveloping the waterfront land Wednesday, when the authority unanimously passed a resolution of intent “to give consideration to a future private- driven economic development project that requires the combined LaFarge/DEDA Lot C properties.”

Heidi Timm-Bijoux, DEDA’s interim director, said the resolution indicates DEDA’s willingness to work with Giuliani or any other developer interested in putting together a plan for the property as a whole. Giuliani believes he can make a strong case for reimagining the future of the LaFarge terminal.

“The site still has industrial potential, but it’s not the best use for the property. I think everyone realizes that this is one of the last jewels of Duluth’s waterfront,” he said. “We have an opportunity to do something spectacular here.”

Giuliani has a penchant for redeveloping old industrial sites in Duluth. He is now in the midst of an ambitious effort to transform the former Clyde Iron industrial complex in Duluth’s Lincoln Park/West End neighborhood into a development that includes a hockey rink, athletic center, restaurants, retail stores and a hotel.

As he has done at Clyde, Giuliani hopes to make new use of some of LaFarge’s old structures, including the massive silos previously used to store cement there. In the Twin Cities, some old grain elevators have been converted to housing.

Giuliani said he sees value in saving and reusing old structures. “It’s a piece of our history, and it has a certain ambiance,” he said. “It’s also something unique.”

Duluth News Tribune


Cruise kicks off Bob-Lo boat restoration

9/18 - Detroit, Mich. – Remember riding the boat to Bob-Lo Island? Remember the names of those two boats?

One was the Ste. Claire, the other Columbia. The latter is now the focus of the SS Columbia Project, committed to restoring the National Historic Landmark Vessel to its former glory. Readers can relive those memories at the project's first official fund-raising event, a cruise on the Detroit River aboard the M.V. Friendship, 2-5 p.m. this Saturday.

The event will celebrate the beginning of work on the ship and to raise awareness and resources for the full restoration of the SS Columbia, the Bob-Lo boat that plied the waters of the Detroit River for 89 years.

From 19-year-old deckhand to full captain of the Columbia, Captain Art Herrala will be on board to share 43 seasons of life stories, including, finding the love of his life because of the Columbia. Joel Stone of the Detroit Historical Society, who crewed as a DJ aboard the Columbia, is compiling music for the cruise to span the 89 years of the ship's journeys to Bob-Lo Island.

Guests are invited to bring their own memorabilia, share memories, and reminisce about this magnificent floating time machine as they dine on pizza delivered by the J.W. Westcott II mail boat and view both the Columbia and its sister ship, the Ste. Claire. Guests will have the opportunity, if they would like, to share their memories on camera for the benefit of generations to come.

Participants will begin their journey back in time steps from where the Columbia was launched 107 years earlier.

The Friendship will depart from the dock behind Portofino Restaurant, 3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte. The dock adjoins the site where the Columbia was built in 1902. Boarding will begin at 1:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $30 per person. Additional information about the cruise and the SS Columbia can be found at or by calling (212) 228-3128.

Built in 1902, the Columbia is America's oldest surviving passenger steamship, and one of only two remaining works by one of our greatest naval architects, Detroit native Frank E. Kirby.


NOAA develops Great Lakes algal bloom forecasts

9/18 - Traverse City, Mich. - An experimental system that uses satellite data and computer modeling will help forecast the direction and intensity of ugly, smelly algae blobs in the Great Lakes, U.S. scientists said Thursday.

The system was brought online this summer for Lake Erie, where the problem is particularly acute. But it eventually may be used elsewhere in the lakes and along ocean coasts, where harmful algal blooms cause more than $82 million in damage a year.

"With this new forecast, we now have an idea of when and where blooms are predicted to occur" and can warn local health departments and managers of parks, city water systems and other agencies, said Sonia Joseph of the NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health.

Warmer and shallower than the other Great Lakes, Erie is plagued by algae such as microcystis, a blue-green variety. The toxins it produces can cause skin rashes and, for swimmers who ingest them, diarrhea and nausea. They also foul the drinking water and cause fish kills. The algae can form an unsightly beach scum that chases away summer tourists.

Microcystis also has turned up in Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. A green algae called cladophora has blanketed some Lake Michigan beaches.

Scientists are investigating the resurgence this decade of algal blooms, a big problem in parts of the Great Lakes before governments restricted use of phosphate laundry detergents in the 1970s.

Among the suspected culprits in their return are fertilizer runoff and invasive zebra and quagga mussels, which gobble up some algae types but don't like others, including microcystis.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed the new forecast system, based on one designed for Florida's Gulf coast in 2004.

It blends data from commercial and government satellites, including MERIS, an imaging spectrometer operated by the European Space Agency that observes water colors. The information can be used in calculations that pinpoint likely microcystis blooms.

Scientists gather water samples to confirm the findings and assess the concentration of algae cells. Computer models are used to project where the blooms are likely to go in the next few days, enabling managers of public agencies to prepare.

The system has been used this summer to track a large bloom that developed in Maumee Bay near Toledo, Ohio, said Julie Dyble, an aquatic biologist with NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. It been most visible when calm waters let the algae rise to the surface.

Funded jointly by NOAA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year's demonstration project cost $269,500. Plans calls for another demonstration in 2010 with roughly the same budget.

Satellite imagery has been used previously to analyze Great Lakes algae blooms, but not to forecast their movement, said Rick Stumpf, an oceanographer with NOAA's National Centers for Coastal and Ocean Science.

Despite its usefulness in tracking algal blooms, the system cannot predict when they will form, Stumpf said. But NASA recently agreed to finance a separate study of that question.

The Associated Press


Updates - September 18

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 18

On September 17, 1898, KEEPSAKE (2-mast wooden schooner, 183 foot, 286 gross tons, built in 1867, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying coal from Ashtabula when she was struck by a terrible storm on Lake Erie. Her rudder was damaged, a sail torn away and her bulwarks were smashed. The CITY OF ERIE saw her distress signals at 3:30 a.m. and came to help. With the CITY OF ERIE's searchlight shining on the doomed schooner, a huge wave swept over the vessel taking away everything on deck and snapping both masts. The crew, some only half dressed, all managed to get into the lifeboat. They rowed to the CITY OF ERIE and were all rescued. Three days later, the other lifeboat and some wreckage from the KEEPSAKE were found near Ashtabula by some fishermen.

GRIFFON (Hull#18) was launched September 17, 1955, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Beaconsfield Steamship Ltd., Montreal, Quebec. Renamed b.) FRANQUELIN in 1967, c.) EVA DESGAGNES in 1987. Sold foreign in 1989, renamed d.) TELCHAC, scrapped at Tuxpan, Mexico, in 1992.

On September 17, 1985, PATERSON suffered a crank case explosion as she was bound for Quebec City from Montreal. She was repaired and cleared on September 21. Renamed b.) PINEGLEN in 2002.

On September 17, 1830, WILLIAM PEACOCK (wood side wheel steamer, 102 foot, 120 tons, built in 1829, at Barcelona, New York) suffered the first major boiler explosion on Lake Erie while she was docked in Buffalo, New York. 15 - 30 lives were lost. She was rebuilt two years later and eventually foundered in a storm in 1835, near Ripley, Ohio.

On September 17, 1875, the barge HARMONY was wrecked in a gale at Chicago, Illinois, by colliding with the north pier, which was under water. This was the same place where the schooner ONONGA was wrecked a week earlier and HARMONY came in contact with that sunken schooner. No lives were lost.

On September 17, 1900, a storm carried away the cabin and masts of the wrecked wooden 4-mast bulk freight barge FONTANA. The 231-foot vessel had been wrecked and sunk in a collision at the mouth of the St. Clair River in the St. Clair Flats on August 3,1900. She had settled in the mud and gradually shifted her position. She eventually broke in two. After unsuccessful salvage attempts, the wreck was dynamited.

Tragedy struck in 1949, when the Canada Steamship Lines cruise ship NORONIC burned at Pier 9 in Toronto, Ontario. By morning the ship was gutted, 104 passengers were known to be dead and 14 were missing. Because of land reclamation and the changing face of the harbor, the actual site of Noronic's berth is now in the lobby of the Harbour Castle Westin hotel.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 17

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The Twin Ports were busy Wednesday morning, with Paul R. Tregurtha sidling into the dock at Midwest Energy Terminal just minutes after Spruceglen departed with a load of coal. Elsewhere in port, Kaministiqua was preparing to load at the CHS elevator in Superior and Joseph L. Block was unloading stone at the CN/DMIR ore dock. Montrealais was anchored out on the lake waiting for the Block to depart so it could load taconite pellets at the ore dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Century arrived on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload. Inbound later in the day was the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge. The pair called on the SEM Materials dock in Essexville. This is the first commercial traffic on the Saginaw River since September 10.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Phill Z. and Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson was assisted out of Buffalo by tugs Wednesday, departing the Buffalo River around 1 p.m.


Lake Michigan levels are up and continuing to rise

9/17 - Muskegon, Mich. – The steady rise of Lake Michigan water levels continued this summer as the big lake was nearly a foot higher at the end of August compared to a year ago.

Wet weather throughout the Great Lakes basin has contributed to the rise in lake levels, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts wetter-than-normal conditions through February.

That might mean Lake Michigan could continue to rise. But since the lake was at historic lows in 2007, it remains today at 3-4 inches below historical averages, according to the Army Corps.

"We had a very wet August across the Great Lakes," said Keith Kompoltowicz, an Army Corps meteorologist in the Detroit District Office. "We usually see Lake Michigan decline in the month of August, but in fact it stayed steady this year."

Precipitation in Muskegon for the three summer months was just 0.1 inch above normal through August, and Detroit was up 0.79 inches for the period. Chicago had 1.29 inches of rain above an average summer.

That and two consecutive winters with average or above snowfall have sent Lake Michigan up 11 inches at the end of August compared to 2008. Water levels were as high in August 2009 as any August since 1997, according to Army Corps water level records.

Boaters and commercial shippers are pleased with the cyclical increases in water levels but beach-goers are finding less real estate.

The increasing Great Lakes water levels this summer seem to fit cyclical patterns that had record high water in 1986 bracketed by historic low levels in 1964 and 2007. But some climate scientists are predicting global climate changes could dramatically drop lake levels over the next century.

A United Nations report on climate change in 2007 suggested Lake Michigan could drop 5 feet in the next 100 years. Such reports caused alarm at a time when low water was causing problems in commercial shipping and recreational boating.

"If we continue to see these (wet) conditions over the next six months, as we are predicting, there will be an increase in water levels vs. the long-term averages," Kompoltowicz said.

Muskegon Chronicle


Public vote on Port Stanley harbor rejected

9/17 - Port Stanley, Ont. – Central Elgin has rejected a public vote on whether the municipality should accept Port Stanley harbor from the federal government.

In a unanimous vote, council shot down the bid for a public say on the contentious issue.

The Central Elgin Ratepayers Association sought the vote before the municipality signs any deal for the contaminated and silt-filled harbor with Transport Canada. The ratepayers have argued they don't want to see Central Elgin assume any additional costs that would add to already high property taxes.

But citing an administration report about the estimated $28,000 to $34,000 cost of a vote on the question and likely low voter turnout, council members said ratepayers will have to trust them to do the right thing. Council is on record as stating it will not sign any deal that adds any financial burden to Central Elgin.

Helen Garton, vice-president of the ratepayer group, said she was not surprised by the rejection, given council's handling of the divestiture talks.

"We have another meeting on Sept. 28 and we'll have to decide what our next steps will be," she said.

Talks between the local municipality and Transport Canada have been underway for about five years, under a cloak of secrecy demanded by the federal department. Meanwhile, the harbor, not dredged since 2001, is off limits for commercial shipping and potential ferry operators.

A $100,000 feasibility study into the future of the port under local control has concluded residents want only shallow dredging because the majority don't want a return to a commercial harbor. That study is still underway and is looking at a revitalized port that focuses on a recreational and commercial fishing role. Transient marinas, a new Stork Club and other amenities are favored.

Meanwhile, Transport Canada has refused to clean up the port area which is riddled with chemicals from its commercial past, including arsenic, toluene, selenium, lead, mercury, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Mercury and PAHs have been swept out into Lake Erie and have been found at the intake pipe for the Elgin Area water supply system that supplies drinking water to area communities all the way to London.

A separate study to identify potential threats to that water system is underway.

The London Free Press


Sanitary & Ship Canal reopens after 'electrified water' concerns

9/17 - Chicago, Ill. – The U.S. Coast Guard has re-opened the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to some recreational boaters following a four-week closure over safety concerns about increasing the voltage in an underwater electric fish barrier.

Boats greater than 20-feet long must first seek permission from the coast guard to pass through that narrow section of canal near Romeoville under their own power. Previously, the coast guard had required all recreational vessels to be towed across the electrical barrier. Safety concerns still prohibit passage by all personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks, rafts, shells, or sailboats without a motor.

"There are very serious risks associated with coming in contact with electrified water." Capt. Luann Barndt, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, said in a statement. "We want to ensure people understand all the risks before they decide to request permission to transit through the safety zone."

The Army Corps of Engineers increased the electrical output in August to bolster its defenses against the invasive Asian Carp, which have been steadily making their way up the canal and toward Lake Michigan.

But that increase raised questions about how recreational boaters could be affected, which led the Coast Guard to issue a travel restriction across that popular area and drew criticism from dozens of boaters.

To request permission for travel from the coast guard, a representative can be reached at VFH-FM Channel 16 or (630) 336-0296.

WGN News


Retired policeman recalls Noronic fire

9/17 - Toronto, Ont. – 60 years later, rescuer still recalls in detail the tragic ship fire in Toronto harbor

For six decades, Ronald "Andy" Anderson has lived with the memory of one of the worst disasters in Toronto's history. The early morning hours of Sept. 17, 1949, when the country's largest luxury cruise ship, Noronic, burst into flames in the Toronto harbor, killing 119 passengers, injuring hundreds and scarring the city in its aftermath.

At 86, Anderson can still recount the tragedy as if it happened yesterday.

He was then a 26-year-old veteran-turned-police officer working the midnight shift on the accident squad, patrolling the streets east of Yonge St., throughout the night. Years earlier, the young paratrooper had fought in Normandy, France, drove tanks toward the Baltic to stop the advance of the Russians and had seen first-hand the horrors of Nazi concentration camps.

At home, Anderson once again found himself on the front lines. Anderson and his partner, Const. Warren Shaddock, were among the first rescuers to arrive on scene. They reached the blazing ship to see passengers with burns running out of the Canadian Steamship Passenger Terminal. "The pier side was total chaos with flames and noise," said Anderson, the last remaining rescuer from the night. "When we were looking west from Lakeshore Road, the flames were higher than the terminal."

Shaddock, who had served as a medic in World War II fighting in Italy, quickly took on the role of a paramedic, wrapping the injured in blankets and giving them first aid.

Anderson, with little hesitation, stripped off clothes and dove into the cold, oil-slicked water near Pier 9 and the flaming wreckage to help pull people and bodies to shore.

"There wasn't even time to think. You just had to find a way to make yourself useful at the time," said Anderson, as he shows a photo taken that night of him leaving the still-flaming boat after hours of rescue.

With the help of fellow policemen, Anderson hauled dozens of people out of the water using a makeshift raft and rope. There were few ambulances at the time, so taxis drove the injured to St. Michael's Hospital and the Toronto General Hospital. Once the hospitals were full, the Royal York Hotel set up a makeshift clinic in its lobby.

At the time, it was impossible to estimate how many people had perished. But when the morgues could take no more, the bodies were laid out in rows on tables at the Canadian National Exhibition's Horticultural Building.

"There was no refrigeration in the building, no air conditioning," said Anderson.

"So the odor was quite overwhelming."

In the days following, Anderson would help lend his services to help identify the bodies – many of them charred beyond recognition. Coroners and forensic scientists from around the province were called in to help.

Since that day, Anderson has never been able to return to the building. "Never again did I go to the Horticultural Building. It has bad memories for me."

In the royal commission investigation that followed, it was found that a burning cigarette in a linen closet was to blame, as was the fact the ship had been coated with layers of flammable paint. The commission also severely criticized the ship's captain and crew.

"Nothing worked on the ship," said Anderson. "The water pumps, the fire extinguisher. Nothing worked. They didn't even have a telephone line connected to the land yet."

Sixty years later, little remains of what Anderson remembers. Many of his colleagues who were with him that night have passed away. The Westin Harbour Castle hotel now stands at the site of Pier 9. Yet, Anderson admits it is an experience almost impossible to forget. "It was unbelievable. One of those things you remember forever."

Toronto Star


Updates - September 17

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - September 17

On September 17, 1898, KEEPSAKE (2-mast wooden schooner, 183 foot, 286 gross tons, built in 1867, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying coal from Ashtabula when she was struck by a terrible storm on Lake Erie. Her rudder was damaged, a sail torn away and her bulwarks were smashed. The CITY OF ERIE saw her distress signals at 3:30 a.m. and came to help. With the CITY OF ERIE's searchlight shining on the doomed schooner, a huge wave swept over the vessel taking away everything on deck and snapping both masts. The crew, some only half dressed, all managed to get into the lifeboat. They rowed to the CITY OF ERIE and were all rescued. Three days later, the other lifeboat and some wreckage from the KEEPSAKE were found near Ashtabula by some fishermen.

GRIFFON (Hull#18) was launched September 17, 1955, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Beaconsfield Steamship Ltd., Montreal, Quebec. Renamed b.) FRANQUELIN in 1967, c.) EVA DESGAGNES in 1987. Sold foreign in 1989, renamed d.) TELCHAC, scrapped at Tuxpan, Mexico, in 1992.

On September 17, 1985, PATERSON suffered a crank case explosion as she was bound for Quebec City from Montreal. She was repaired and cleared on September 21. Renamed b.) PINEGLEN in 2002.

On September 17, 1830, WILLIAM PEACOCK (wood side wheel steamer, 102 foot, 120 tons, built in 1829, at Barcelona, New York) suffered the first major boiler explosion on Lake Erie while she was docked in Buffalo, New York. 15 - 30 lives were lost. She was rebuilt two years later and eventually foundered in a storm in 1835, near Ripley, Ohio.

On September 17, 1875, the barge HARMONY was wrecked in a gale at Chicago, Illinois, by colliding with the north pier which was under water. This was the same place where the schooner ONONGA was wrecked a week earlier and HARMONY came in contact with that sunken schooner. No lives were lost.

On September 17, 1900, a storm carried away the cabin and masts of the wrecked wooden 4-mast bulk freight barge FONTANA. The 231-foot vessel had been wrecked and sunk in a collision at the mouth of the St. Clair River in the St. Clair Flats on August 3,1900. She had settled in the mud and gradually shifted her position. She eventually broke in two. After unsuccessful salvage attempts, the wreck was dynamited.

Tragedy struck in 1949, when the Canada Steamship Lines cruise ship NORONIC burned at Pier 9 in Toronto, Ontario. By morning the ship was gutted, 104 passengers were known to be dead and 14 were missing. Because of land reclamation and the changing face of the harbor, the actual site of Noronic's berth is now in the lobby of the Harbour Castle Westin hotel.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lakes ore trade still on a slow bell in August

9/16 - Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 3,251,657 tons in August, a decrease of 52 percent compared to a year ago. Although the steel industry was bringing some capacity back on line in August, stockpiles of ore were generally sufficient to meet immediate needs.

Assuming water levels have peaked for the year, then so have iron ore cargos. One cargo topped 68,000 tons in August. The record set in a period of high water in 1997 is 72,300 tons. Vessels wont be able to carry that much iron ore again until the Great Lakes navigation system is restored by dredging to project dimensions.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 16.1 million tons, a decrease of 59 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease is slightly less 56.4 percent when compared to the trades 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - September 16

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Mesabi Miner departed Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior early Tuesday bound for Monroe and St. Clair in Michigan. Spruceglen was due at the terminal later in the day to load a cargo for New Brunswick. With taconite production reviving in Minnesota, the vessels of Great Lakes Fleet are again becoming regular callers in Two Harbors. Presque Isle was there Monday, and undergoing minor repairs before departing. Edwin H. Gott is due there Thursday, and Edgar B. Speer on Saturday.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
The saltie Amalia arrived at KK Integrated Logistics in Menominee on Tuesday. The ship passed Menominee North Pier Lighthouse around 2:45 p.m. CDT and proceeded up the Menominee River. After passing through the Ogden Street Bridge the ship headed further upriver to the turning basin (west of KK) before heading back downriver to the KK East Dock where they will load wood pulp over the next couple days.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Tuesday the tug Manitou departed from the CSX Dock Frog Pond area with the former railroad carferry Pere Marquette No. 10 bound for the Dean Scrapyard at Lasalle, Ont., for scrapping. The Frog Pond is now completely empty of vessels, which has not happened in decades.

Sam Laud departed from her layup berth at the CSX Docks Tuesday morning. Michipicoten was at the Kraft Elevator unloading grain. When finished unloading she will proceed over to the CSX Dock to load coal. American Mariner arrived at the Torco Dock complex Monday evening for repairs to the bow area, repairs were completed and the Mariner departed from the Torco Dock Tuesday afternoon. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes were at the B-P Dock. Tuesday afternoon had the Maumee inbound Toledo Ship Channel bound for the A.R.M.S. Dock to unload salt and the tug Sea Eagle with the barge St. Marys Cement were bound for the St. Marys Cement Dock to unload cement. The tug Kathy Lynn and related dredge equipment were dredging the ship channel in the Maumee River by the Coast Guard Station. The tug William C. Gaynor and related dredge equipment were dredging the ship channel north of Buoy 38 in Maumee Bay.

The next scheduled coal boats for the CSX Docks are Michipicoten Tuesday evening, Calumet and Canadian Olympic on Thursday, Mckee Sons Saturday, CSL Niagara on Sunday followed by Manitowoc, Saginaw and Lee A. Tregurtha on Monday. The next scheduled ore boats for the Torco Ore Dock are CSL Niagara Saturday, Lee A. Tregurtha on Monday followed by American Mariner on Tuesday. The next scheduled stone boat for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algomarine on Wednesday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and her barge departed the Black Rock Canal around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Herbert C Jackson was reportedly delayed by a problem with the Ohio Street Lift Bridge and was not towed up the river to the ADM Standard Elevator until 3 p.m. Tuesday. She will likely depart late Wednesday morning or early afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. – Frank Hood
English River arrived in Toronto overnight Monday to Tuesday. She backed into her dock beside the saltie Eider.


Keewatin taconite workers being called back

9/16 - Duluth, Minn. – Some laid-off Keewatin Taconite workers will begin getting letters this week calling them back to work.

Steelworkers Union 2660 President Jack Thronson said he received a call Monday afternoon from U.S. Steel saying production will start soon. U.S. Steel idled KeeTac in December, leaving about 400 people out of work.

Thronson said maintenance workers and management will be brought back first. While maintenance workers do repairs, management will decide which jobs need to be started immediately.

Thronson said he was not given a timetable for restarting the plant, but he said all 325 union members will be brought back eventually.

Duluth News Tribune


Report says Great Lakes toxic cleanups lagging badly

9/16 - A U.S. federal report says the government is moving so slowly to clean up the most polluted sites in the Great Lakes that it will take 77 more years to finish the job at the current pace. The inspector general's office with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the report this week.

It deals with 31 so-called “areas of concern,” which are river bottoms, harbors and other spots where sediments are heavily contaminated with toxic chemicals.

The report estimates it will cost more than US$2 billion to finish the cleanup. It calls on EPA to establish a plan with clear lines of authority and accountability for each site. The report says the agency has agreed to develop a limited management plan but hasn't gone far enough.

The Associated Press


Book signing by Dennis Hale at Ashtabula museum

9/16 - Ashtabula, Ohio – Author Andrew Kantar's newest book, "Deadly Voyage," deals with the tragedy of the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell in November 1966. Kantar is the Professor of English at Ferris State University in Michigan and has two other books about sinkings on the Great Lakes.

On Saturday, September 26, with the admission fee of $4, the public will receive a tour of the Ashtabula Maritime Museum and be able to meet Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the wreck, who will be signing books from 1 to 3 p.m. Museum members enter for free. The books are on sale at the museum.


Updates - September 16

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 16

On September 16, 1893, HATTIE EARL (wooden schooner, 96 foot, 101 gross tons, built in 1869, at South Haven, Michigan) was driven ashore just outside the harbor of Michigan City, Indiana, and was pounded to pieces by the waves. No lives were lost.

At about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, September 16, 1990, the inbound motor ship BUFFALO passed close by while the tanker JUPITER was unloading unleaded gasoline at the Total Petroleum dock in the Saginaw River near Bay City, Michigan. As the BUFFALO passed the dock's aft pilings broke off and the fuel lines parted which caused a spark and ignited the spilled fuel. At the time 22,000 barrels of a total of 54,000 barrels were still aboard. Flames catapulted over 100 feet high filling the air with smoke that could be seen for 50 miles. The fire was still burning the next morning when a six man crew from Williams, Boots & Coots Firefighters and Hazard Control Specialists of Port Neches, Texas, arrived to fight the fire. By Monday afternoon they extinguished the fire only to have it re-ignite that night resulting in multiple explosions. Not until Tuesday morning on the 18th was the fire finally subdued with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard's BRAMBLE and BRISTOL BAY. The tanker, which was valued at $9 million, was declared a total constructive loss, though the engine room was relatively untouched. Unfortunately the fire claimed the life of one crew member who drowned attempting to swim ashore. As a result the Coast Guard closed the river to all navigation. On October 19th the river was opened to navigation after the Gaelic tugs SUSAN HOEY and CAROLYN HOEY towed the JUPITER up river to the Hirschfield & Sons Dock at Bay City (formerly the Defoe Shipyard) where a crane was erected for dismantling the burned out hulk. Her engines were removed and shipped to New Bedford, Massachusetts, for future use. The river opening allowed American Steamship's BUFFALO to depart the Lafarge dock where she had been trapped since the explosion. JUPITER's dismantling was completed over the winter of 1990-91. Subsequent investigation by the NTSB, U.S. Coast Guard and the findings of a federal judge all exonerated the master and BUFFALO in the tragedy. .

Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. purchased all nine of the Soo River's fleet on September 16, 1982, for a reported C$2.5 million and all nine returned to service, although only four were running at the end of the season.

The NORISLE went into service September 16, 1946, as the first Canadian passenger ship commissioned since the NORONIC in 1913. .

On September 16, 1952, the CASON J. CALLAWAY departed River Rouge, Michigan, for Duluth, Minnesota, on its maiden voyage for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. .

On September 16, 1895, ARCTIC (2 mast wooden schooner, 113 foot, 85 gross tons, built in 1853, at Ashtabula, Ohio) was rammed and sunk by the steamer CLYDE in broad daylight and calm weather. ARCTIC was almost cut in half by the blow. The skipper of CLYDE was censured for the wreck and for his callous treatment of the schooner's crew afterwards. Luckily no lives were lost. .

On September 16,1877, the 46 foot tug RED RIBBON, owned by W. H. Morris of Port Huron, Michigan, burned about 2 miles below St. Clair, Michigan. Capt. Morris ran the tug ashore and hurried to St. Clair to get assistance, but officials there refused to allow the steam fire engine to go outside the city. The tug was a total loss and was only insured for $1,000, half her value. She had just started in service in May of 1877, and was named for the reform movement that was in full swing at the time of her launch. .

On September 16, 1900, LULU BEATRICE (2-mast wooden schooner, 72 foot, 48 gross tons, built in 1896, at Port Burwell, Ontario) was carrying coal on Lake Erie when she was wrecked on the shore near the harbor entrance at Port Burwell in a storm. One life was lost, the captain's wife. .

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Cargo total down more than 40 percent in August

9/15 - The season-long slump in U.S.-Flag shipping on the Great Lakes continued in August. The major U.S.-Flag carriers hauled only 7.2 million tons of dry-bulk cargo, a decrease of more than 40 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

Although the nation’s steel mills are reporting small increases in production, the August iron ore total was one of the lowest recorded this season: 2,049,093.

The coal trade was lackluster in August. The peak of summer normally has the region’s utilities taking every ton they can get, but shipments in U.S.-Flag lakers totaled 2.4 million tons, a decrease of 17.2 percent.

The 38 percent decrease in limestone cargos was not unexpected. Demand is so down that four vessels that depend on the stone trade were out of service for lengthy periods of time in August.

Higher water levels did allow for one iron ore cargo to top 68,000 tons. Even so, the cargo was roughly 4,000 tons below the record for U.S.-Flag lakers. Furthermore, the Lakes should soon begin their seasonal decline, so the lack of adequate dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will more and more impact cargo totals in the fourth quarter.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 35.6 million tons, a decrease of 43.6 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe, loadings in U.S. bottoms are down 45.3 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - September 15

Owen Sound, Ont. - Erich Zuschlag
After a long lay up, the Ojibway left her dock beside the grain elevator and backed out of Owen Sound harbor and into the sound and Georgian Bay.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Eider departed Redpath Sugar dock over the weekend, only to dock in the slip that English River usually docks at, just south of Polson Street.


Lake Express surviving poor economy, bad weather

9/15 - Muskegon, Mich. - The operators of the Lake Express high-speed ferry between Muskegon and Milwaukee have faced down the current economy and challenging summer tourist season to survive the 2009 sailing year.

Company officials say that their special offers such as "kids ride free" and a discounted round-trip fare on certain crossings have kept the turnstiles moving in a difficult year.

Their "kids ride free" promotion has been extended through the rest of the sailing season, which ends Nov. 1. For a family of four, it saves $115 for a one-way trip and $196 for a round trip, according to the company.

Also this fall, Lake Express has a 15 percent college student discount rate.

Wisconsin-bound riders in September will receive half-off cards from the Greater Milwaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau for admissions to attractions such as the Harley-Davidson Museum and Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

With competitor the S.S. Badger announcing last week that it will cut its 2009 sailing season two weeks short due to an early hull inspection at a Wisconsin shipyard, year-end business has been brisk, Lake Express officials said.

"We began receiving calls that very day, and we've been receiving a steady flow of bookings ever since from passengers having to rebook reservations," said Aaron Schultz, director of sales and marketing for Lake Express.

The Badger -- the historic auto-passenger ferry that runs a route between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis. -- and Lake Express have done battle this summer with aggressive fare discount programs. Lake Express President Ken Szallai said the discounts worked in keeping customers on board. A $91 one-way fare coupled with a $19 return fare has been discontinued.

"Much to our delight, people have responded to our fare programs this summer," Szallai said. Neither Lake Express nor the Ludington-based Lake Michigan Carferry provide ridership numbers for competitive reasons.

"From our point of view, so far this has been a successful season," Szallai said at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend. "We seriously began the year not knowing where we would be. By the end of July, we were hitting our projected numbers."

August was a tough month -- not because of the economy but because of the weather. Not only was it cool and wet, which put a damper on the region's tourism industry, but Lake Michigan churned up several days of high waves and winds.

Szallai said that for safety reasons, Lake Express canceled nearly a dozen crossings during August. "August weather was more typical of September or October," he said.

"We look forward to our post-Labor Day business, and then we will begin planning for next season," Szallai said. "Like everybody else, we want to see the economy pick back up."

This is the Milwaukee-based service's sixth season.

The Muskegon Chronicle


Seaway Marine Transport loans MaK engine to Georgian College

9/15 - Seaway Marine Transport (SMT) and its parent companies, Algoma Central Corporation and Upper Lakes Shipping, are working closely with Georgian College’s Great Lakes International Marie Training Centre to address the impending shortage of qualified marine engineers in Ontario and the Great Lakes marine industry.

SMT has loaned a MaK 6M25C diesel marine engine to the college, making Georgian the only school in North America to have this equipment located on site. Having the engine available for training purposes positions the college as a highly-capable MaK training centre. Mariners previously had to travel to Germany for this quality of training.

The partnership between Georgian, SMT and Toromont/Caterpillar (the makers of the MaK engine) creates a win-win-win situation for all involved, says Capt. John Greenway, Vice President Operations for SMT. Toromont and Caterpillar reinforced the partnership by donating four $1,000 scholarships to Georgian for students studying in marine programs. These include: MaK Award for Advance Skills Training, Toromont Cat Entrance Award, Toromont Cat Leadership Award and Toromont Cat Award of Merit.

This partnership will help us to develop an interactive, state-of-the-art engine familiarization, maintenance and plant management course to address the needs of marine companies in North America, he says. Offering this type of hands-on education locally with Toromont instructors will allow us to provide a cost-efficient MaK training course with significant value to the end user.

Georgian and Toromont/Caterpillar are working closely with input and involvement from the marine industry to develop an engine training course on new MaK diesel main engines and generators.

Course development is currently underway to address both junior and senior engineering officer levels, utilization of simulation models and scenarios, and plant efficiency and environmental management related to the MaK engine. The multi-million-dollar investment will propel post-secondary students enrolled in marine programs at Georgian to the front of the class in terms of access to technological innovations in marine engines, says Capt. Peter Buell, Director, Great Lakes International Marine Training Centre.

Having the MaK engine on campus will allow both post-secondary marine cadets and professional mariners to train on the most up-to-date relevant equipment available in the marine industry today, he says. The addition of the MaK engine to our marine simulation and training centre will put us on the forefront of marine training in North America and beyond.

For more information please visit


Group brings restoration to South Fox Lighthouse

9/15 - South Fox Island - On the tip of this windswept Lake Michigan island, amid tangled overgrowth and mountains of cobble pushed ashore by ferocious gales, stands a forgotten maritime monument in the midst of a makeover.

The beacon that warned ship captains of the treacherous South Fox Shoal in 1867 is long dim; the lighthouse now a shadow of its former self. Iron-grated windows, loose boards and graffiti on nearby buildings tell a story of better days long gone.

Its slow, steady deterioration might have continued were it not for a small group of dedicated volunteers, members of the Fox Island Lighthouse Association. The Northport-based nonprofit organization began making improvements to the site in 2006.

"I went ashore at South Fox in 2003, having just visited St. Helena Island, where there is an amazing lighthouse restoration, and said: 'If they can do that there, we can do it here,' " said Philip von Voigtlander, a FILA board member, avid sailor and project manager for the South Fox Island lighthouse.

"The most unique thing about it, in Lake Michigan, is its isolation. That's why (South Fox) is such a big light station. People had to live there. There was no place to go, no appreciable local community."

The light station, about 17 miles offshore, has seven structures, including its 132-foot light tower, which previously stood on Sapelo Island, Ga., from 1905 to 1933.

It was decommissioned and barged to South Fox Island in 1934 to replace the 60-foot-high tower there with something more visible.

The buildings, including the assistant lightkeeper's house, boat house, oil house, carpenter shop, fog signal building and well house, have been in need of repair. The station was abandoned by the U.S. Coast Guard in the late 1950s.

It was acquired by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in the early 1970s from the U.S. Department of Interior. The 115-acre parcel was conveyed to Michigan's state parks program with the idea of providing residents with a unique park-like experience.

But the DNR's plans to create a Harbor of Refuge there for boaters never materialized. And so it sat.

State park officials say they have no plans for the lighthouse. It is a long way off-shore, and funding priorities have shifted. They are glad, however, for any help they can get to keep it from deteriorating further.

"We're just looking to try to preserve the history there," said Anna Sylvester, regional state parks supervisor in Roscommon. "There are seven structures, and that is unique for Michigan lighthouses. That the whole complex is intact is rare.

"This group has been wonderful, helping us preserve a relic that is a vital part of Michigan history."

FILA volunteers take it upon themselves to travel out to the island when weather permits, using their own boats or one owned by the organization. Work trips become multiple day commitments because of the distances and the uncertainty of weather, von Voigtlander said.

The group has cleared thickets, applied paint, replaced broken windows, shored up foundations and excavated truckloads of cobble from the inside of the boat house where the launch rails were buried by the inwash of stones. Group members recently reshingled the workshop roof with cedar.

"Our goals were simple: stabilize the buildings and stop the deterioration," von Voigtlander said.

The group's long-term vision includes full restoration, possibly even a light-keeper's program on the island where visitors pay to come and stay for a week, living in the facilities and doing any work that is needed.

"It's a cool opportunity," said Sylvester, who manages four lighthouses, including Grand Traverse, Sturgeon Point and Tawas Point.

"Grand Traverse and Tawas Point have keepers. Keepers at Tawas Point pay $275 fee per person for a week and get to become the keepers of the property for a week, doing maintenance and giving historical tours."

Von Voigtlander said creating a safe harbor will be critical for that to happen. The pier washed away years ago. Any boats anchored there are vulnerable to the wind and waves. One volunteer lost his boat in August after it overturned at anchor during a storm.

"Becoming a harbor of refuge will be the biggest project," von Voigtlander said. "That will be critical in the long run if this is ever to become a tourist destination for lighthouse aficionados who are looking to score as many lighthouses as possible. This one is hard to get to."

FILA president John McKinney, a Traverse City resident, said the island's remoteness fostered neglect over the years, something he found attractive.

"The appeal of South Fox lighthouse is that no one was helping it, including the state of Michigan, its owner," McKinney said. "What drew me there is that it was pretty much abandoned and isolated. We could possibly be the only ones helping it."

The Grand Rapids Press


Updates - September 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 15

On 15 September 1886, F. J. KING (wooden schooner, 140 foot, 280 tons, built in 1867, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois. She sprang a leak and sank in a heavy southwesterly gale three miles off Rawley Bay, Wisconsin. Her crew reached shore in the yawl. Her loss was valued at $7,500.

The A. H. FERBERT of 1942 was towed out of Duluth by the Sandrin tug GLENADA September 15, 1987; they encountered rough weather on Lake Superior and required the assistance of the another tug to reach the Soo on the 19th. On the 21st the FERBERT had to anchor off Detour, Michigan, after she ran aground in the St. Marys River when her towline parted. Her hull was punctured and the Coast Guard ordered repairs to her hull before she could continue. Again problems struck on September 24th, when the FERBERT went hard aground at the Cut-Off Channel's southeast bend of the St. Clair River. Six tugs, GLENADA, ELMORE M. MISNER, BARBARA ANN, GLENSIDE, SHANNON and WM. A. WHITNEY, worked until late on the 26th to free her. The FERBERT finally arrived in tow of GLENSIDE and W. N. TWOLAN at Lauzon, Quebec, on October 7th.

The steamer WILLIAM A. AMBERG (Hull#723) was launched September 15, 1917, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the Producers Steamship Co., (M. A. Hanna, mgr.). Renamed b.) ALBERT E. HEEKIN in 1932, c.) SILVER BAY in 1955, d.) JUDITH M. PIERSON in 1975 and e.) FERNGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario, in 1985.

On September 15, 1925, the JOHN A. TOPPING left River Rouge, Michigan, light on her maiden voyage to Ashland, Wisconsin, to load iron ore for delivery to Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) WILLIAM A. REISS in 1934, she was scrapped at Alang, India, in 1994.

On September 15th, lightering was completed on the AUGUST ZIESING; she had grounded above the Rock Cut two days earlier, blocking the channel.

September 15, 1959, was the last day the U.S. Coast Guard Buoy Tender MESQUITE was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

MIDDLETOWN suffered a fire in her tunnels on September 15, 1986. Second and third degree burns were suffered by two crew members. She was renamed f.) AMERICAN VICTORY in 2006.

In 1934, the ANN ARBOR NO 6 collided with the steamer N. F. LEOPOLD in a heavy fog.

September 15, 1993 - Robert Manglitz became CEO and president of Lake Michigan Carferry Service after Charles Conrad announced his retirement and the sale of most of his stock.

On 15 September 1873, IRONSIDES (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 220 foot, 1,123 tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) became disabled when she sprang a leak and flooded. The water poured in and put out her fires. She sank about 7 miles off Grand Haven, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. Reports of the number of survivors varied from 17 to 32 and the number lost varied from 18 to 28.

On 15 September 1872, A. J. BEMIS (wood propeller tug, 49 tons, built in 1859, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire while underway. The fire originated under her boiler. She ran for shore but sank 3Ú4 mile short, about six miles from Alpena, Michigan. No lives lost.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Mesabi Miner unloaded Western coal into the hopper on a foggy Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor. The trip was her first after a lengthy lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.

Goderich, Ont. - David Cooper
Sunday morning, Michipicoten was on the north side and later moved to the grain elevators where she was unloading.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C Jackson arrived off Buffalo for the ADM Standard Elevator Sunday morning. She remained at anchor a few miles out on the lake at 1 p.m. that afternoon. There were no other vessels in the river at the time and no activity at the tug dock; it is unknown why they were waiting.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes and John McCreery
Sunday, John D Leitch arrived at 8 a.m. with coal from Ashtabula for Dofasco. Her next port of call will be Goderich. Frontenac finished her unload of ore from Nanticoke while Montrealais was being emptied of her Duluth ore cargo at Dofasco. Both ships departed for the canal mid afternoon just ahead of the arriving Federal Pride. Quebecois then arrived with more ore from Duluth, and the Gordon C. Leitch made an unexpected brief stopover before departing at 3a.m. for Superior, Wisc. Quebecois was unloaded in less than15 hours and departed by 9 a.m. the following morning, headed in ballast back to Duluth, as was fleet mate Montrealais. Meanwhile the Algosoo, which arrived late on the 11th with sand from Brevort, remains in port along with the laid up Canadian Leader.

Canadian Provider departed her winter lay up at 12:45 pm. for Thunder Bay but returned to Hamilton at 7 p.m. with unknown problems. The tug Omni Richelieu departed at 3:30 p.m. and the tug LaPrairie departed at 4:30 p.m.


Coast Guard evacuates crewman from merchant vessel American Century

9/14 - Bayfield, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a crewmember aboard the merchant vessel American Century who was complaining of chest pains Sunday at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Coast Guard Station Bayfield launched a 30-foot response boat and Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter after receiving a call from MedAir about the American Century crewmember.

The crew of the Coast Guard response boat reached the American Century first, which was underway approximately 40 miles northwest of the Apostle Islands, and took the distressed crewmember onboard.

“We weren’t sure what was wrong, but he was very pale and very weak,” said Petty Officer Chris Lavalle, coxswain at Station Bayfield.

The man was then transported to Bayfield, where local emergency medical services airlifted the man to a Duluth, Minn., hospital.


Special presentations planned at Welland Gathering this weekend

9/14 - Four featured speakers have been lined up to make presentations at this years Annual BoatNerd Welland Canal Gathering. On Friday evening, Steve Hinchcliffe will discuss "The Four Welland Canals" followed by author D'Arcy Jenish, author of "The St. Lawrence Seaway; Fifty Years and Counting.” Each presentation will run 30 minutes or less and will be followed by a slide show from attendees. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the group. We will have a laptop and digital projector available, so bring a CD or DVD of your best stuff.

On Saturday evening, special presenters will be Paul Beesley, speaking on "My 35 Years in the Canadian Coast Guard," and author Buck Longhurst, who wrote the book "Ships That Have Served Manitoulin.”

The evening meetings will be held at the Canadian Corps Association #22, 7 Clairmont Street, Thorold. Doors will open at 6 p.m. to visit the vendor tables. The presentations will start at 7:30 p.m. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) should send an e-mail . Other details about the weekend events are available at at this link

The weather forecast looks like a favorable weekend is in store. Highs 60-70’s and mostly sunny.


Updates - September 14

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 14

September 14, 1962, the HORACE S. WILKINSON was involved in a collision with the Canadian freighter CAROL LAKE in the Welland Canal. Rather than repair the WILKINSON, Wilson Marine had her towed to Superior, Wisconsin, for conversion to a barge. All cabin superstructure, the engine, boilers, and auxiliary machinery were removed. The stern was squared off and notched to receive a tug. The WILKINSON was renamed WILTRANCO I and re-entered service in 1963, as a tug-barge combination with a crew of 10, pushed by the tug FRANCIS A. SMALL of 1966.

September 14, 1963, the BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, Captain Earl C. Bauman, received a National Safety Council Award of Merit for operating 1,001,248 consecutive man-hours without a lost time accident. This accomplishment required 15 years, 600 round trips, and 1,200 passages through the Soo locks.

Captain Albert Edgar Goodrich died on September 14,1885, at the age of 59, at his residence in Chicago. He was a pioneer steamboat man and founded the Goodrich Transportation Company, famous for its passenger/package freight steamers on Lake Michigan.

The J. J. SULLIVAN (Hull#439) was launched September 14, 1907, at Cleveland, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the Superior Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.). Renamed b.) CLARENCE B. RANDALL in 1963. She was scrapped at Windsor, Ontario in 1988.

On September 14, 1871, R. J. CARNEY (wooden barge, 150 foot, 397 gross tons) was launched at Saginaw, Michigan.

The 203 foot wooden schooner KATE WINSLOW was launched at J. Davidson's yard in East Saginaw, Michigan, on 14 September 1872.

The steamer ASIA sank in a storm off Byng Inlet on Georgian Bay September 14, 1882. Over 100 people lost their lives with only two people, a man and a woman, rescued. ASIA was built in St. Catharines, Ontario, in 1873, and was bound from Collingwood, Ontario, to the French River and Canadian Sault.

Data from: Clive Reddin, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Ore shipments resume in Cleveland

9/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader delivered the first iron ore shipment of this season to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal. This is the first delivery since Arcelor Mittal announced that they were going to refire the blast furnace at their Cleveland operation.

Bill Kloss


Great Lakes historic group lauds museum ship's savior

9/13 - Toledo, Ohio – Paul C. LaMarre III walked into an unenviable situation shortly after the city of Toledo hired him to oversee the Willis B. Boyer museum ship: It decided to cut off funding for the vessel, docked at International Park.

Mr. LaMarre's decision to fight for the freighter's future two summers ago, instead of washing his hands of it, will be honored next weekend when he picks up the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History's 2009 Award for Historic Preservation.

The award recognizes "an individual who has made a major contribution, over many years, to the preservation of Great Lakes maritime history," according to a letter written by Bob O'Donnell, chairman of the history association's awards committee. The award is to be presented Sept. 19 in Bay City, Mich.

Originally the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, the Boyer was the world's largest freighter at the time of its 1911 launch and loaded its first cargo, a shipment of coal, at the Maumee River dock where it now is moored.

"I'm humbly honored that the Great Lakes historic preservation community recognizes the importance of the effort it took to save this ship, and that the Boyer/Schoonmaker is important to the history of the Great Lakes as a whole," Mr. LaMarre said yesterday.

The vessel last plied the Great Lakes under its current name in 1980, in the employ of Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Co. Toledo acquired it in 1986 and for more than a decade arranged with volunteers to manage it.

But in 2007, city officials declared they no longer could afford to provide for staffing or upkeep, and said it would end Mr. LaMarre's seasonal contract to oversee the ship that June. That spring, Mr. LaMarre persuaded the port authority's board of directors to negotiate with the city to take over the ship, a deal consummated last year. In the meantime, Mr. LaMarre spearheaded a publicity campaign that boosted both attendance and volunteer support.

"It was a grass-roots campaign that touched the hearts of the Toledo community," Mr. LaMarre said.

Mr. LaMarre, whom the port authority hired in 2007 as a special assistant to then-President James Hartung and who now is the agency's manager of maritime affairs, credited Mr. Hartung with sharing his vision for preserving the Boyer, which faced dereliction on Toledo's waterfront, if not scrapping, had it gone unstaffed and unmaintained.

"If there was anybody who recognized the importance and value of that historic vessel, it was him," Mr. LaMarre said, noting that he has invited Mr. Hartung and wife Anna Hartung to accompany him, his wife, and his father to the ceremonial awards dinner.

The Boyer could be moved to a slip near the Toledo Maritime Center as part of a proposed move to Toledo by the Great Lakes Historical Society's museum in Vermilion, although dredging the slip is expected to cost $2 million and the museum move is not yet a certainty.

"Paul has been instrumental not only in the preservation of the Boyer but also with the port authority's recent conversations with the Great Lakes Historical Society on the potential relocation of its museum to the Maumee riverfront," said Michael Stolarczyk, port authority president. "His efforts with this project could bring a fantastic part of Great Lakes history right here to our community. Paul is well-deserving of this honor and is a true asset to the maritime industry."

Chris Gilchrist, the historical society's executive director, said Mr. LaMarre, at 28, is the youngest person to win the association's preservation award, and it's valuable to have "somebody who is making a difference at the beginning of their career."

The award not only validates Mr. LaMarre's work, Mr. Gilchrist said, but also recognizes the port authority "for stepping up and providing its resources" to help preserve the Boyer at a critical transition time.

Toledo Blade


Updates - September 13

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 13

On 13 September 1894, the GLOBE (steel propeller package freighter, 330 foot, 2,995 gross tons) was launched by the Globe Iron Works (Hull #53) at Cleveland, Ohio. She was lengthened to 400 feet and converted to a bulk freighter in 1899, when she was acquired by the Bessemer Steamship Company and renamed JAMES B. EADS. She lasted until 1967, when she was scrapped at Port Weller Drydocks.

On 13 September 1872, the wooden schooner RAPID left Pigeon Bay, Ontario bound for Buffalo, New York with 5000 railroad ties. While on Lake Erie, a storm blew in and Capt. Henderson decided to turn for Rondeau. While turning, the vessel capsized. Annie Brown, the cook, was trapped below decks and drowned. The seven other crew members strapped themselves to the rail and waited to be rescued. One by one they died. Finally, 60-hours later, the schooner PARAGON found the floating wreck with just one man, James Low, the first mate, barely alive.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD's sea trials occurred on September 13, 1958.

The HOFFMAN (United States Army Corps of Engineers Twin Screw Hopper Dredge) collided with the Japanese salty KUNISHIMA MARU at Toledo, Ohio, September 13, 1962. Reportedly the blame was placed on the pilot of the Japanese salty. Apparently the damage was minor.

On September 13, 1968, the AUGUST ZIESING grounded in fog two-hundred yards above the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River. The grounded vessel swung into the shipping channel blocking it until September 15th when lightering was completed.

September 13, 1953 - The PERE MARQUETTE 22 made her second maiden voyage since she was new in 1924. She was cut in half, lengthened, had new boilers and engines installed.

On 13 September 1875, CITY OF BUFFALO (wooden schooner, 91 foot, 128 tons, built in 1859, at Buffalo, New York, as a propeller canal boat) beached and sank after striking a rock in the St. Marys River. The tug MAGNET worked for days to release her before she went to pieces on 19 September. No lives were lost.

On 13 September 1871, the bark S D POMEROY was anchored off Menominee, Michigan, during a storm. Archie Dickie, James Steele, John Davidson and James Mechie were seen to lower the yawl to go to shore. Later the empty yawl drifted ashore and then the bodies of all four men floated in.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Cliffs Natural Resources announces higher production expectations

9/12 - Cliffs Natural Resources, the parent company of United Taconite on the Iron Range, announced increased sales volumes and production expectations in its North American operations this year.

The company said it expects sales volume of about 16 million long tons of iron ore in 2009, an increase from previous expectations of 13 to 14 tons. The estimate of iron ore equity production volume is gauged to rise two million tons to 17 million.

The production increases back up United Taconite’s announcement last week. The subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources said a gradual increase in production would occur at three locations at the Iron Range. For about 400 hourly workers, increased production represents a return to a 40-hour workweek through this year.

“As our customers are increasing steel production and restarting blast furnaces in North America and Europe, we are seeing modest improvements in orders and in market expectations for steelmaking raw materials,” Donald J. Gallagher, president of Cliff’s North American business unit, said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to monitor the markets closely to ensure we adjust production appropriately to meet demand as needed.”

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 12

Twin Ports – Al Miller
After a couple of slow days, Twin Ports vessel traffic picked up considerably on Friday. Federal Hudson was loading grain at the Peavey elevator and BBC Louisiana was at CHS 1. A vessel that appeared to be Cedarglen was anchored off shore awaiting its turn at the CHS berth. Paul R. Tregurtha departed from Midwest Energy Terminal, and was scheduled to be followed by Atlantic Erie and Mesabi Miner. Saturday also should be busy, with callers expected to include the passenger vessel Clelia II and a lineup at Midwest Energy Terminal that includes Charles M. Beeghly, American Century and Canadian Transport.

Green Bay – Scott Best
Thursday afternoon the Calumet arrived in Green Bay with a small load of coal for Georgia Pacific from South Chicago. The Calumet traveled up river through the bridges and was tied up at Georgia Pacific just before 5PM, and by 8:30PM they were backing out of the slip. Friday evening the John G Munson is due in with a load of stone for Great Lakes Calcium dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The American Mariner was at the Gateway Terminal with Pet-Coke on Friday.


Grand Haven officials move to preserve lighthouses

9/12 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The Grand Haven City Council has formed a group that it hopes will grow into a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining two lighthouses. The picturesque structures stand on the south pier at the end of the Grand River's channel into Lake Michigan. They are owned by the federal government and maintained by the Coast Guard.

Nonprofit groups are being encouraged to apply for ownership of lighthouses nationwide to help the government shed the cost of preservation. Council members voted this week to create the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy.

The Grand Haven Tribune says the city has until the end of November to apply to the National Parks Service for ownership of the historic lighthouses.

Grand Haven Tribune


Ferry service for Down River Michigan?

9/12 - Luna Pier. Mich.- Can the City of Luna Pier sustainn a ferry service to Cedar Point, Put-in-Bay, the Downriver area and other destinations along Lake Erie's vast shoreline? Could Luna Pier and Monroe County become destination points for tourists from the Detroit and Cleveland areas?

Those are just some of the issues local, state and county tourism officials weighed at an exploratory meeting Wednesday in Luna Pier. More than a dozen people came to the conclusion that the city's waterfront, central location and pristine beach offered great potential for developing both a destination point and an attraction for tourists.

"We are that gateway to Michigan," Greg Stewart, city administrator, said. "We can be a dynamic welcome center for the state and help entice them to move through the state." An estimated 30,000 vehicles pass going north on I-75 every day or about 16 million during the year. Getting just a few of those motorists to stop in Luna Pier would help boost the local economy, said Randy A. Mielnik, from the city's planning firm of Poggemeyer Design Group. "People love the water," Mr. Mielnik told the group. "If we could just capture a small percentage of that, it would add to the economy."

Two men from the Jet Express shuttle service in Port Clinton, Ohio, attended the session and then joined in a tour of the Clyde R. Evans Walking Pier where the proposed ferry service would drop off and load passengers. "Luna Pier would be a nice, straight shot to the islands," Lance Woodworth, director of operations and captain for Jet Express, said after the meeting. "It's 35 miles one way, so this would save people drive time."

Jet Express operates four vessels two that carry 380 passengers and two that haul 147 passengers. The ferries carry an estimated 250,000 customers annually from Port Clinton, where it owns a parking lot that can accommodate up to 2,000 vehicles. Up to 100 more people a day are taken by boat from the firm's hub in Lorain, Ohio, near Cleveland. The ferry is interested in expanding its service to other ports in Michigan.

"Monroe County has always intrigued us," Mr. Woodworth said. "It's a straight shot across the lake and puts us in reach of the southeast Michigan market."

He said his company was approached by private individuals within the past couple of years about starting a ferry service here, but the discussions never went anywhere. "A lot of it comes down to government funding," he said.

Last year, city resident Michael Lucarelli, Mayor Mary Liske and Terry Murphy, owner of a lighthouse business in Luna Pier, came up with the idea of launching a water shuttle to resorts in the area. Mr. Lucarelli and Mr. Murphy also have proposed the city build a replica of the former lighthouse at Turtle Island and use that as a landmark or to house a restaurant near the waterfront. Mayor Liske said a museum showing some of the 116 lighthouses in Michigan also has been proposed as a catalyst for redeveloping the waterfront.

Mr. Lucarelli said Luna Pier's location offers the opportunity to attract tourists. "This ferry is a high priority and important for this small community," Mr. Lucarelli said. "We're the only Michigan port to the islands and the shortest route to the islands."

The shuttle would have other economic benefits besides spurring tourism, officials believe. It would also assure the city of a future tax base for supporting city services when Consumers Power's aging Whiting Power Plant is mothballed. The plant generates about 60 percent of the city's tax base, but won't be around forever, Mr. Stewart said. "We do need to think about our future," he noted. "The governor and state are not (actively pursuing coal plants) for energy."

John Patterson, president of the Monroe County Convention & Tourism Bureau, said the county attracts an estimated 20 million people a year, with more than a third of those headed to Cabela's in Dundee. Millions also enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and other recreational pursuits in the region. "We have 40 miles of lakefront, but there is not one restaurant or hotel with a view of the lake," Mr. Patterson said. "Many of the calls we get are where can I get a meal or an activity on the lakefront? Luna Pier and Monroe County could become a destination point for them to stay, explore, experience and spend some money.

"There is not a lot of public access to the lake," Mr. Patterson said. "Luna Pier is the only natural resort area where businesses can locate. We see this as a catalyst for a hotel convention project we've been seeking for 12 years. ... The opportunity here is huge." Among the steps the city is taking to develop its waterfront is to create a downtown development authority and district that could capture property tax increments from the district and use them to make public improvements such as the lighthouse. The city council must first pass an ordinance creating the district and then will appoint a committee to oversee it.

Mayor Liske said called the city's beach one of the best in Michigan and said the city was "pointing well to becoming a gateway, destination and attraction."

Among those present was Michael Mendez, the regional representative from the governor's office, and JoAnn Nisley from the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce.

The Monroe News


Dock wall project gets $2 million boost

9/12 - Superior, Wisc. - State Senator Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and State Representative Nick Milroy, D-Superior, today applauded an announcement by Gov. Jim Doyle to award a $2 million harbor assistance grant to support a dock wall repair project at Gavilon Grain in Superior.

The $2 million represents 80 percent of the costs of the project, which will allow Gavilon to make substantial repairs to a deteriorating dock wall. In addition, this winter the state awarded the third largest Harbor Assistance grant to date of $3.7 million to Fraser Shipyards in Superior to assist with an extensive harbor expansion project. The two lawmakers have communicated extensively with Doyle and Congressman Dave Obey, who have both been strong advocates of the Fraser project, on ways to continue to move forward on this three phase $10 million endeavor.

“The state has seen the importance of these vital investments in the northern Wisconsin industries that support shipping on the Great Lakes,” Jauch said. “These companies are the life blood of the region, but their infrastructure is in need of repair. The Harbor Assistance program is an important part of keeping this economic engine in the north viable.”

The Harbor Assistance funding for the Gavilon Grain dock wall project is now available so that the repairs can be completed this winter. The two lawmakers noted that this assures the need for skilled trades jobs during a time when shipping shuts down as Lake Superior freezes.

“The Harbor Assistance Program represents an important public-private partnership that supports job creation and retention. There is no better example of government actively supporting an industry that provides so many jobs to the area,” added Milroy. “Governor Doyle understands the need to continually invest in our harbors so that Superior will continue to be poised as a shipping destination in the Great Lakes.”

Since coming to the Legislature, Jauch has actively worked to improve harbor assistance funding. As a member of the 2007-2009 Budget Conference Committee, he worked with Governor Doyle to insert $12 million in bonding authority for the Harbor Assistance Program because it has been so successful in helping communities improve their commercial ports.

The Harbor Assistance Program has a long history of providing substantial grants in northern Wisconsin. In 2006 Governor Doyle presented the Superior port with a $1.8 million grant that resulted in Hallett Dock Co. relocating a bulk terminal to Wisconsin. In addition, the Harbor Assistance Program in 2004 awarded $1.1 million to complete dredging and rebuild a 1,250 foot pier at the General Mills grain elevator in Superior.

The Superior Telegram


Updates - September 12

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 12

On 12 September 1903, the R E SCHUCK (steel propeller bulk freighter, 416 fott, 4713 gross tons) was launched by the American Ship Building Company (Hull #327) at Lorain, Ohio for the Gilchrist Transportation Company. She was purchased by the Interlake Steamship Co. (Pickands, Mather & Co., Mgrs.) in 1913, and renamed b.) HYDRUS. However, she foundered in the "Big Storm" of 1913, on Lake Huron with all hands; 24 lives were lost.

On 12 September 1902, EXPERIMENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 65 foot, 50 gross tons, built in 1854, at St. Joseph, Michigan) was carrying fire wood in a storm on Lake Michigan when she went out of control in the harbor at St. Joseph, Michigan after swerving to miss an unmarked construction crib. She wrecked and was declared a total loss. Her crew was rescued by the Lifesaving Service. Three days later she was stripped and abandoned in place.

The ROGER BLOUGH was laid up at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin from September 12, 1981, through 1986, because of economic conditions.

CANADIAN PIONEER was christened at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on September 12, 1981, by Mrs. Louise Powis, wife of the Chairman and President of Noranda Mines for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. Renamed b.) PIONEER in 1987, she operates in ocean service flagged from Vanuatu.

CARTIERCLIFFE HALL, a.) RUHR ORE, was towed by the tug WILFRED M COHEN to Collingwood, Ontario for repairs from a June 5th fire and arrived at Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. on September 12, 1979. Renamed c.) WINNIPEG in 1988, and d.) ALGONTARIO in 1994.

Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Limited at Collingwood, Ontario closed the yard on September 12, 1986, after 103 years of shipbuilding. She was famous for her spectacular side launches. 214 ships were built at Collingwood.

While unloading steel in South Chicago from the a.) CANADA MARQUIS on September 12, 1988, a shore side crane lifting a pay loader into the hold, collapsed onto the ship. CANADA MARQUIS had a hole in her tank top and damage to her hatch coaming. She sails today on the ocean and lakes today as e.) BIRCHGLEN, for CSL.

On 12 September 1900, ALBACORE (2 mast wooden schooner, 137 foot, 327 tons, built in 1872, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) had a storm blow out her sails, driving her into the seawall at Fort Bank just east of Oswego, New York where she broke up. The tug J NAVAGH tried unsuccessfully to save her. Her crew of 7 was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

After an extremely dry summer, forests were burning all over the Great lakes region in the Autumn of 1871. The smoke from these fires affected navigation. Newspaper reports stated that on 12 September 1871, 38 ships and four strings of barges anchored near Point Pelee on Lake Erie due to the restricted visibility caused by the smoke from the forest fires.

On 12 September 1900, the schooner H W SAGE was raised by the Mc Morran Wrecking Company and was then towed to Port Huron for repairs. She had sunk near Algonac, Michigan in a collision with the steamer CHICAGO on 30 July 1900.


Algoma Central releases statement on Algoport

9/11 - “Algoma Central Corporation regrets to announce the loss of the Algoport, a jointly owned vessel with its partner, an unrelated party, in Seaway Marine Transport.

The Algoport broke up in heavy seas in the Pacific Ocean on September 6 local time while under tow enroute to the Chengxi Shipyard in China. There were no injuries, loss of life or environmental impact. The vessel’s aft end was to be refurbished and fitted to a new forebody currently under construction at the shipyard.

The Corporation expects to record a gain of approximately $2 million in the third quarter of 2009 as the insurance proceeds will exceed the net book value of the Algoport. The insurance proceeds will be used to source an alternate aft end to attach to the forebody under construction and it is expected there will be no material cash impact to the Corporation as a result.”

Algoma Central Corp.


Trade growth skips St. Lawrence Seaway

9/11 - - Trade and economic activity for Canada and the United States may be picking up after months of decline but there is little sign of that yet on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Cargo volume for the season through Aug. 31, reported Tuesday by the Canadian and U.S. Seaway administrations, fell 35 percent from the period a year ago, right around the rate of decline seen each month all spring and summer.

U.S. surface trade with Canada and Mexico increased 6 percent from May to June, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported, indicating a turnaround for general North American Free Trade Agreement traffic at the beginning of the summer. But the Seaway isn’t participating.

The St. Lawrence system carried 15.3 million metric tons from season-opening March 31, down 34.8 percent from the 23.5 million of the period a year ago. The decline was 35.7 percent for the first third of the season, through June 30, and down 37.7 percent through July 31.

The largest decline for the year-to-date was in iron ore for the steel plants of the United States and Canada, down 59.8 percent to 3.2 million metric tons from 7.9 million, but a month earlier that category was down 66.6 percent for the period (to 2.5 million metric tons) and through June it was down 58 percent. Some North American steel mills have just recently been refiring shut-down blast furnaces.

Coal for the steel mills and power plants through August was down 23.2 percent to 1.54 million tons, versus a 35.4 percent drop the month before and sliding 44.3 percent through June 30. Other bulk was down 32.6 percent through August 31 versus falling 36.9 percent through July 31 and a 37 percent decline through June 30.

In Canada, international merchandise trade figures to be released Thursday are expected by a consensus of economists surveyed to record a slim surplus, of about $92.6 million. This would follow monthly deficits that started last December after more than 30 years of consecutive monthly surpluses in goods trade. Trade figures for the United States also come out Thursday, and economists expect them to stay steady at a deficit of about $27 million.

The Journal of Commerce Online


Port Reports - September 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock late Wednesday evening. After unloading, the pair moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite and departed Thursday at sunrise. Fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha departed with a load of ore before sunrise.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Agawa Canyon was inbound early Thursday morning with a cargo of Salt for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She waited at the Essroc Dock in Essexville for the outbound Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber to clear, then resumed her trip upriver to Zilwaukee. The Canyon completed her unload and was outbound for the lake Thursday evening. Also outbound on Thursday were the Calumet River Fleeting tugs John M. Selvick and Krista S., along with two barges. They had been unloading equipment over the past few days for the Consumers Energy power plant in Essexville.

The tug John M. Selvick called on the Consumers Energy dock on Wednesday with a couple of barges of equipment for Consumers. She remained at the dock late Wednesday evening.

Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber, workhorses of the Saginaw River, were back again on Wednesday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver during the evening to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. They were expected to be outbound Thursday morning.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Zelada Desgagnes arrived in Halifax September 10 for repairs. The ship grounded at Puvirnituq on September 1 while on a northern supply trip. Although temporary repairs were made at Inukjuaq, the ship has come to Halifax for drydocking and permanent repairs.


Wisconsin port in the running for national shipwreck center

9/11 - Port Washington, Wis. – Port Washington officials are preparing to pitch the city as the ideal spot to become headquarters for a Lake Michigan maritime sanctuary being considered by state and federal officials.

“I think it’s a perfect fit for Port Washington,” Mayor Scott Huebner said. “I think the coal dock is the perfect place for them to locate an office or anything else they are looking at.

“When you think what kind of an impact this could have on the city, it would be huge.”

State and federal officials stressed that they are only in the early stages of developing the proposed sanctuary, which would encompass an 875 square miles of Lake Michigan stretching from Port to Two Rivers in an attempt to protect the many shipwrecks in the area. This process, they said, could take years to complete.

But city officials, who met last month with representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state Historical Society to discuss the project, are excited about the potential involved, especially for the community chosen for the headquarters.

If the headquarters were in Port Washington, Huebner said, the facility could be incorporated into the community center planned for the coal dock, jump starting the development of what is expected to become one of the city’s premiere lakefront attractions.

The facility would be a draw for tourists, divers and researchers, bringing an influx of potential customers to downtown and reinvigorating the struggling shopping district, he said.

“It would be a regional draw,” Huebner said. “It would be a great boost to downtown and a great benefit to the Main Street program.” The potential for cooperative efforts with Discovery World in Milwaukee and for cooperative programs with area schools is great, he said.

Even if the city isn’t named the headquarters, Huebner said, it will still benefit from having a national maritime sanctuary on its eastern doorstep. “The sanctuary alone is going to be a boon to the area,” he said, noting it will draw people interested in maritime history and diving to the area.

“If some other community gets (the headquarters), we won’t be happy but we’ll work with them and get it going to benefit the entire area.”

The concept of creating a national marine sanctuary in the area was recommended by the Wisconsin Historical Society, which conducted a study of shipwrecks two years ago and found that the mid-Lake Michigan region was the best candidate. The area contains 33 known shipwrecks, including 14 intact wrecks, officials said.

“It has the oldest wrecks, a nice diversity of wrecks, and because the water is deeper they’re in good shape,” said John Broihahn, Wisconsin state archeologist with the Historical Society. “We think this is exciting, and a great opportunity for Wisconsin.”

A sanctuary is important to the area, Broihahn said, because “it’s another mechanism and way to help ensure the preservation of the western Great Lakes.”

It’s more than just preserving shipwrecks, he said, it’s preserving the cultural heritage of the state.

NOAA is the trustee for 14 marine protected areas encompassing more than 150,000 square miles of ocean and Great Lakes waters, including 13 national marine sanctuaries and the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii.

Among them is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center on the Thunder Bay River near Lake Huron in Alpena, Mich.

That 20,000-square-foot center includes a maritime heritage trail, research facilities, educational space, a 93-seat auditorium, archaeological conservation lab and climate-controlled artifact storage areas. Almost half of the center is devoted to state-of-the-art shipwreck and Great Lakes exhibits, including one where visitors can experience what it was like to be on the deck of a life-sized 19-century schooner during a storm.

“Every sanctuary does have an office, but the whole visitor center idea is relatively new,” said Ellen Brody, NOAA’s regional coordinator for the Great Lakes and northeast region. “I cannot promise there will be a visitor’s center. Every sanctuary is very individualistic, tailored toward the needs of that area.”

Brody said NOAA is interested in developing a sanctuary in partnership with the State Historical Society, noting there are more shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters listed on the National Register of Historical Places than in any other state.

The agency is in the information-gathering stage, she said, and officials have met with four communities — Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers — to get their feedback on the concept.

“This really is a very long process, and we’re just at the beginning,” she said, noting the process will include a series of public meetings and an environmental impact study.

Even the boundaries of the proposed sanctuary have not been determined yet, she said.

Brody said there is no timetable set on the development of a Lake Michigan sanctuary.

The Thunder Bay sanctuary took “a very long time” to develop, Broihahn noted, adding, “We’re hoping for something on the short end of ‘years.’”

Within a year or two, he said, they hope to know if a sanctuary will be developed in the state. But at this point, Broihahn said, officials are merely introducing themselves to communities and trying to get a feel for what people want and will support.

“What we’re interested in is trying to get a sense of the local environment and how all that would fit in with the creation of a sanctuary,” he said.

The four communities “have been very welcoming,” Broihahn said. “All these communities have a water focus and a heritage tourism focus. That’s why I think a sanctuary would work well in all those communities.”

In Port, state and federal officials were taken on a tour of the coal dock during their meeting to showcase it as a potential location for a sanctuary headquarters, Huebner said.

The city would be a great spot for the facility, he said.

“Port has a long history of embracing its maritime heritage,” he said. “We have our downtown right adjacent to the lake, which is conducive to holding meetings. We have charters, shops, the marina and beach all within a six or eight-block radius. In some other communities, it’s more spread out. We’re close to Milwaukee, have an established Maritime Heritage Festival and are part of the Harbor Towns Association.

“We’re going to do everything we can to bring this home and help get the sanctuary up and running.”

Ozaukee Press


Canadian Coast Guard commissions new science research vessel

9/11 - Burlington, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard has commissioned the CCGS Kelso, a new science research vessel.

The ceremony was held at the Canadian Centre of Inland Waters, where it will be based to support researchers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada gathering information about the biological, chemical and physical properties of Canada’s Great Lakes.

“As stewards of some of the greatest freshwater resources in the world, we are committed to understanding and protecting the Great Lakes.” said Minister Shea. “Having this state-of-the-art research vessel dedicated to our Great Lakes will greatly enhance our scientific understanding of issues affecting Canada’s inland waters.”

“The Coast Guard has a longstanding history in Burlington, and throughout the region,” said MP Young. “Our government is proud to have the Kelso serve in making a new contribution to the community and to Canadian science. We are confident the vessel will help our Coast Guard continue to perform at the high level of service that all have come to expect.”

The vessel, classified as a Near Shore Fisheries Research Vessel, has been in service since June 2009, and will assume the duties of the soon-to-be-retired CCGS Shark. CCGS Kelso is named after the late Dr. John Kelso, a Canadian scientist for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, who dedicated his life to advancing freshwater science.

Also attending was the Deputy Commissioner, Capt. René Grenier of the Canadian Coast Guard. The vessel was dedicated by Dr. Kelso’s widow, Mrs. Donna Kelso.


Dossin Maritime Groups Fair Winds Fall Dinner is Oct. 4

9/11 - Detroit, Mich. – Join the Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group at their Fair Winds Fall Dinner on Sunday, October 4, at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Guests will enjoy a reception, silent auction, dinner, raffle and a presentation titled “Lost Legends of the Lakes” by noted marine artist Robert McGreevy.

The cost for the event is $30 for Society/Dossin Maritime Group members and $40 for guests For more information visit


Updates - September 11

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 11

On 11 September 1899, the PENOKEE (3-mast wooden canaler schooner, 139 foot, 332 tons, built in 1872, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin), which was transferred to the Atlantic coast from Lake Erie in 1898, struck Romer Shoal off the shore of Staten Island and was wrecked. She was sailing from Norfolk, Virginia to Saco, Maine at the time. Her crew managed to reach the Life Saving Station through the heavy surf.

September 11, 1969, the Bethlehem steamer LEHIGH, Captain Loren A. Falk, delivered the first cargo to the new Bethlehem Steel mill at Burns Harbor, Indiana. The cargo consisted of 15,700 tons of taconite pellets loaded at Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.

On 11 September 1883, EXPLORER (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 33 gross tons, built in 1866, at Chatham, Ontario) struck rocks and went down on Stokes Bay on the outside of the Bruce Peninsula. Her crew was visible from shore clinging to the wreck until the vessel broke up. All five were lost.

The GEORGE M. HUMPHREY, of 1927, was patched and refloated on September 11, 1944. She had sunk in 80 feet of water after a collision with the steamer D.M. CLEMSON, of 1916, off Old Point Light, on June 15, 1943. On May 6, 1944, the barges MAITLAND NO. 1 and HILDA were employed as pontoons for the salvage operation positioned over the sunken hull. Cables were attached to the HUMPHREY's hull and to the barges. The hull was raised through a series of lifts which allowed it to be brought into shallower water. Partial buoyancy was provided by the HUMPHREY's ballast tanks which were pumped out to about 25 percent of capacity. The HUMPHREY was patched and refloated on September 11, 1944. She was taken to the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. first for an estimate of repairs which totaled $469,400, and then was towed to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for reconditioning which was completed at a reported cost of $437,000. Captain John Roen's Roen Transportation Co. assumed ownership on September 18, 1944, and the next year the ship was renamed b.) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN. She re-entered service on May 1, 1945, chartered to the Pioneer Steamship Co. on a commission basis. Renamed c.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1948, and d.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1958. She was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1988.

September 11, 2001, the former Bob-Lo boat STE. CLAIRE was towed from Detroit to Toledo by Gaelic's tug SHANNON. In August, 2005, she was taken to Belanger Park in River Rouge and in the Spring of 2006 she was returned to Nicholson's Slip in Ecorse by Gaelic's tugs PATRICIA HOEY and CAROLYN HOEY.

On September 11, 1987, while in lay-up at Point Edward, Ontario, the FORT YORK caught fire which gutted her bridge.

Carrying cargoes off the Lakes, the CANADA MARQUIS departed Halifax bound for Philadelphia with a cargo of grain. The HON. PAUL MARTIN departed Halifax the same day on her way to Tampa with a load of gypsum.

The HORACE JOHNSON sailed on her maiden voyage light from Lorain, Ohio, on September 11, 1929, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load iron ore.

On 11 September 1895, S.P. AMES (2 mast wooden schooner, 61 foot, 43 gross tons) was driven ashore at Pointe aux Barques, Michigan in a storm. She was quickly stripped before she went to pieces. She had been built in 1879, at Montrose, Michigan, in farm country, well inland, on the Flint River by Mr. Seth Ames. He wanted to use her to return to sea, but he died the day before her hull was launched.

On 11 September 1876, the schooner HARVEST HOME sank on Lake Michigan while bound from Chicago for Cleveland with a load of scrap iron. She was about 26 miles off Grand Haven, Michigan. The crew were taken off by the schooner GRACIE M. FILER just as the boat was going down.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


No rebound in Lakes limestone trade in August

9/10 – Cleveland, Ohio - The recession kept its grip on the Great Lakes limestone trade in August. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled only 3,048,988 net tons, a decrease of 31.4 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease was slightly larger when compared to the month’s 5-year average: 32.7 percent.

The weak demand for stone took its toll on the U.S.-Flag Lakes fleet. Several vessels that are heavily engaged in the trade were forced to lay-up for periods of time during the month.

One bright spot was that higher water levels allowed one vessel to carry 52,243 tons of limestone in one trip. This is one of the largest loads for that vessel in some time. Nonetheless, the cargo still represented less than a full load. If the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was dredging the Great Lakes Navigation System to project dimensions, the vessel would have loaded another 1,800 tons.

For the year, the limestone trade stands at 13.4 million tons, a decrease of 34.6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 40.5 percent below the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

Lake Carrier's Association


Canadian Navy vessel arrives in Sarnia

9/10 - Sarnia, Ont. - Tom and Faith Hamilton were in for a pleasant surprise when they brought their relatives down to the Blue Water Bridge, Wednesday.

The Sarnia couple, along with family from Florida, witnessed the arrival of the HMCS Ville de Quebec as it passed under the bridges around 2:30 p.m. “We picked the right time to come,” said Hamilton, who wasn’t expecting the ship to go by. “We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know when.” “It’s quite interesting,” his wife added.

Dozens of curious residents lined the waterfront with cameras and binoculars to get a glimpse of the Canadian warship — a 134-metre patrol frigate currently on a tour of the Great Lakes. The ship is will be docked offshore on Lake Huron, with transportation to the vessel via the Duc D’Orleans from the Sarnia Yacht Club.

The tour's goal is to acquaint Canadians beyond the Maritimes with what the navy is all about, said Lt. Al Blondin. "Canadians inland in our main urban centres aren't quite as familiar with our whole mission and purpose," he said. "This particular deployment will focus on connecting with Canadians, and there's also going to be a pretty large recruitment drive."

The Ville de Quebec and its 225-member crew, which became famous for protecting cargo vessels from pirates off the Coast of Somalia in late 2008, hosted an invitation-only reception Wednesday night. Public tours were scheduled for this afternoon until 8 p.m.

The ship — which carries a Sea King Helicopter and is capable of speeds of more than 29 knots — was named after a Second World War era corvette that escorted convoys between New York and St. John's N. L. in 1941, and in the Mediterranean between Gibraltar and African ports in 1942 and 1943. “It’s pretty cool,” said Sarnia resident Heather Nordell, whose father, Robert Garrison, was on the original ship during the second world war.

Nordell has a wealth of memorabilia documenting her father’s time on the vessel, including photos, documents and even an official record book of his service in H.M.C. ships. In 1994, the year after his death, the family received an invitation to the official launch of the new Ville de Quebec in Quebec City.

“The crew had been prompted about our father and new dates, places and tours he had participated in,” she said. “It truly was a wonderful event and honour to the original crew of this ship. “He was a very proud Canadian and very proud of serving for his country.”

The Sarnia Observer


Port Reports - September 10

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet arrived at the Brewer dock in Holland shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday to deliver stone.

Chicago, Ill. - Dan Fletcher
Just after noon the Charles M. Beeghly was heading North on Lake Michigan after visiting the North America Terminal. She's due to Superior late on  September 11 around 23:00. Calumet was in town loading at KCBX.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug John M. Selvick called on the Consumers Energy dock on Wednesday with a couple of barges of equipment for Consumers. She remained at the dock late Wednesday evening. Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber, workhorses of the Saginaw River, were back again on Wednesday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver during the evening to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. They were expected to be outbound Thursday morning.

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham & Barry Hiscock
Algomarine has been fitting out the last couple weeks, and has taken on ballast, usually indicating an imminent departure. She's been laid up in the north slip since early in the season. She departed around midnight Wednesday.

Halifax, Ont. - Mac Mackay
McAsphalt Marine's new articulated tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick arrived in Halifax Wednesday morning to unload an asphalt cargo. This is their first arrival in a Canadian port since they were built in China earlier this year. The tug's name revives that of the laker built in 1895 as Victory for Interlake Steamship Company. Upper Lakes acquired the ship in 1940 and renamed her Victorious. That ship was sunk off the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in 1969 as a breakwater.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tug/Barge Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock late Wednesday evening. After unloading, the pair moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite and departed Thursday at sunrise. Fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha departed with a load of ore before sunrise.

Sturgeon Bay
Mesabi Miner departed Wednesday from lay up.


Whaleback Meteor restoration takes shape

9/10 - Superior, Wis. - Imagine the Frank D. Rockefeller afloat north of the SS Meteor’s current location.

People could still walk around it on an expanded Barker’s Island, but access to the ship would be found through a skywalk from an adjoining interpretive center. The center would tell the story of shipbuilding in the Twin Ports, Alexander McDougall’s dream of an international shipping company and the novel whale-like ships his company American Steel Barge Co., built, and the story of the one-of-a-kind ship. The depression left in its wake would become a reflecting pool.

The Meteor won’t look like it does today. It would look like the Frank D. Rockefeller that sailed the Great Lakes, circa 1925.

That’s the image emerging for restoration of the one-of-a-kind whaleback and people can see it for themselves next week during the annual “McDougall’s Dream” fundraiser. Renderings and site plans for the proposed restoration will be available for public viewing during the event. Plans for the ship include garnering recognition as a national historic landmark.

“Now that we’re getting close to knowing the budget for the first phases of the project, we’ll focus on preparing materials for fundraising,” said Susan Anderson, director of Superior Public Museums, which manages the city’s three museums. The goal is to raise money on a national scale to save the last remaining whaleback and last known novel ship built in a period of experimentation.

Restoring the ship is expected to be costly.

“The first phase is basically going to take the ship from where it is now, buried in the sand, and move it about 50 feet to the north of the island where it will be forever and permanently displayed on a set of piers,” Anderson said.

A set of supports spaced correctly to stabilize the ship just above the water; ballast would balance the back-heavy ship, said Roger Pellett, one of the volunteers who has been working to research the Meteor’s history for a historic structures report. That report will provide the basis for having the ship declared a historic landmark, aid with fundraising and serve as the guide for restoration.

“People can’t see what the ship really looks like,” Pellett said. “So what we’re going to do is elevate the ship and the actual water level of the lake … What the public is going to see is concrete piers. If you’re standing next to the ship, you’re actually going to be able to look down as see what the entire hull of the ship looks like.” Elevating the ship will allow museum officials to better maintain it, and provide the public with a full view of the ship.

Floating the ship again will mean expanding the island, said Port and Planning Director Jason Serck, who has had preliminary discussions with regulatory agencies about the proposed project. He said the only difficulty he anticipates is mitigation for the water lost. An embankment around the ship would create a modified dry dock of sorts in which the ship would remain. Boardwalks along those embankments would allow visitors to see all sides of the ship as they do today. Once moved, the ship would be restored to a period of significance in its history.

The Meteor, launched as the Frank D. Rockefeller in 1896, served many purposes over the years – hauling everything from grain and iron ore to sand and cars before it was damaged when it struck a break wall and was abandoned during World War II. The war likely saved the 36th of McDougall’s 44 whaleback ships because the war shipping administration ordered it repaired. In 1943, Cleveland Tanker converted it to a petroleum tanker and it sailed that way until 1969.

“The major modifications happened for economic as well as technical reasons,” Anderson said. “… During her life, she had so many purposes to stay economically viable, which is one reason she lasted so long. All of these major structural modifications are kind of a hodgepodge, a culmination and accumulation of all these different lives that she led. So we’re going to strip that all back so that she will be as close as we can get her to Frank Rockefeller.”

Pellett said they would like to get the Meteor back to what it looked like in 1896, but it’s not possible because it would mean destroying historic artifacts not original to the ship. “You just can’t get there from here,” Pellett said. “For example, the ship’s boilers, which are historical artifacts themselves, were built in 1916. To destroy those, and put in fake ones that look like they were built in 1896, just doesn’t make any sense.”

Anderson said she envisions a future for the ship where people can experience it as the people who sailed it might have – a hot, noisy engine room, crowded crew cabins and an aromatic galley. The adjacent interpretive center will make it a year-round facility and a destination where the community can keep coming back and learn or do something new.

“The ship is going to look much, much different than it does today,” Pellett said.

Source: Superior Telegram


Turning an old freighter into a cottage at DeTour

9/10 - DeTour, Mich. - The several-ton chunk of freighter first arrived in Detour on a barge four years ago. And you can still hear the sounds of the house movers, as they finish up the cement foundation. But the owner doesn't mind the slow process. Marc VanderMeulen is standing three decks up on his forward bow. And he almost forgets he's on dry land.

"When the waves are coming from the right direction, if you stand in the right place you, I get the impression that the boat actually moves, that you feel it rocking back and forth."

So this is your front porch? "Exactly."

The Louis G. Harriman spent her whole life at sea delivering cement from Alpena throughout the Great Lakes. Now onshore, she has a view of a key shipping route nestled between Lakes Superior and Huron, and the Canadian North Channel.

Not that Marc VanderMeulen and his wife, Jill, have much time to enjoy the view. "Would you pull the extension cord for me Jill, so I can plug in the grinder? They're doing much of the work of turning the ship into a summer cottage themselves.

That means vacations and weekends are spent out on deck, pounding and scraping chipped paint off the hull. And once that's done, they'll move to the inside, where much of the ship lacks basic creature comforts. It's mostly steel, toe-to-ceiling. it's dark, and cold, with tiny crew cabins. But up toward the top, just below the pilot house - the walls are covered in a cozy maple.

"These are the captain's Quarters, this would have been his office up in the front, here, and the bathroom with a full tub and shower." Jill VanderMeulen wants to restore this space to original condition. And she may one day use it as a Bed & Breakfast. That's a long-term vision.

For now, it's not clear what it'll take to even get the Louis G. Harriman's plumbing and electrical up to code. But it has been done before - with the forward cabins of another freighter - the Benson Ford, in Ohio.

There's all sorts of buzz about this project among freighter-watchers - here and elsewhere. Just down the street, "Boat Nerd" Cathy Kohring owns the local sporting goods shop. She's says passing ships frequently acknowledge the Louis G. Harriman. "Just last week from where I live, up the bay from them, I could hear a boat go by and I ran out to look and I realized they were saluting Marc and Jill. They're saluting the fact that that boat is there. It's kind of like a sign of respect."

"There's a boat salute going on right now."

"See, the Lee Tregurtha. That boat I sailed on for 8 days. Now he's gonna give two short. Oh, that's an awesome salute. Three long and two short. That's a master salute from the captain. It gets your (pounding chest) boat nerd juices going."

Marc and Jill VanderMeulen see those salutes as rewards for all their hard work on the Louis G. Harriman. And they work hard to get them - waving company flags - or a broom to get the ship's attention. Their obsession with Great Lakes freighters is what first brought them to vacation here in Detour.

Eventually they'd like to live here year-round. And even now, while commuting from Holland, it's full ahead for their five-thousand square foot retirement project.

Michigan Radio

Updated photo gallery


USCG establishes safety zone and regulated navigation area near Romeoville, Ill.

9/10 - The Coast Guard is establishing a safety zone and regulated navigation area on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Ill. This temporary final rule places navigational and operational restrictions on all vessels transiting the navigable waters located adjacent to and over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) electrical dispersal fish barrier system.

This temporary final rule is effective from 5 p.m. on September 9, 2009, until 5 p.m. on September 18, 2009. This temporary final rule is enforceable with actual notice by Coast Guard personnel beginning September 9, 2009.


Updates - September 10

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Layup List updated
Harriman Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 10

On 10 September 1890, the PORTER CHAMBERLAIN (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 134 foot, 280 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan) was floated free of the Wolverine Drydock in Port Huron, Michigan where she had steel arches installed. When she floated free, the arches broke in three places and she stayed in Port Huron to have them repaired.

September 10, 1952, the forebody and afterbody of the future JOSEPH H THOMPSON arrived at the American Shipbuilding yard in South Chicago. The two sections were delivered to the lakes via the Mississippi River and Chicago Ship Canal. The afterbody departed Baltimore, Maryland on August 2 and the forebody departed Pascagoula, Mississippi on August 21.

On 10 September 1884, the 137 foot steam barge HENRY HOWARD was sailing up bound with the schooner-barge GEORGE WORTHINGTON in tow when she caught fire near Harsen's Island at the mouth of the St. Clair River. The fire broke out near the HOWARD's engine room and spread rapidly. The vessel was beached on the island but the WORTHINGTON ran against her and was thus scorched. No lives were lost. The HOWARD was valued at $5,000, but only insured for $3,000 by her owners, B. Hoose and Julia Miner.

The whaleback tanker METEOR was towed from Manitowoc, Wisconsin by the tug JOHN ROEN IV to Superior, Wisconsin on September 10, 1972.

The KINSMAN ENTERPRISE turned 75 years old on September 10, 2002. When she entered service as a.) HARRY COULBY, on this date in 1927, the 631-foot bulk freighter was the third largest on the Great Lakes.

While up bound in the Welland Canal on September 9, 1986, it was noted that the port anchor of the J W MC GIFFIN was missing, her chain was almost touching the water. Rebuilt with a new cargo hold section by Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd., in 1999, renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA.

On 10 September 1909, COLUMBUS (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 136 foot, 439 gross tons, built in 1874, as the tug JOHN OWEN) burned to a total loss at her dock at Gargantua, Ontario in Lake Superior. She was cut loose and allowed to drift out into the bay where she sank. The top of her engine reportedly still shows above the water.

September 10, 1979 - The SPARTAN was laid up. She remains in Ludington, Michigan.

The barge N MILLS was launched at P. Lester's yard in Marysville, Michigan on 10 September 1870. Her dimensions were 164 feet x 30 feet x 12 feet.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Cleveland port officials want to start a shipping line with Montreal

9/9 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland port authority will apply for $35 million to $45 million in federal stimulus money to establish a shipping line with Montreal, in hopes of landing a regular flow of containers.

Tens of thousands of containers – trailer-sized units bearing all kinds of consumer and industrial goods – arrive daily at ports on the East, West and Gulf coasts. But they are much rarer on Lake Erie and other Great Lakes, whose coastal cities receive the lion's share of containers by truck and rail.

Since he arrived 2.5 years ago, port President Adam Wasserman, along with the port board, has made landing containers part of an overall strategy to offer cost-effective logistics to area businesses looking to move their products across the country and overseas.

The port will apply for a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish shipping containers and other cargo from Montreal. But Wasserman told a port board committee Tuesday that he did not expect to land the federal money. TIGER, which stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, is a $1.5 billion pot of stimulus money expected to draw more than $100 billion in applications by year's end, officials said.

So, while the likelihood of landing a grant is not high, the port can begin to sharpen its pitch for container development as it looks to other state and federal sources for money, Wasserman said.

Port officials have visited counterparts in Montreal and propose a once-a-week shipping line starting in 2011.

Most of the federal money would be used to retrofit an American-flagged vessel to handle containers and the six-day round trip through the St. Lawrence Seaway, said Patrick Coyle, the port's maritime director. Interlake Steamship Co., a Great Lakes freighter operator based in Richfield, is interested in the project, port officials said.

The federal money would also subsidize all operating costs in the first year and much of the next two years, Coyle told the board. The port would not sink money into the project under the current proposal.

Coyle said more than a dozen local companies expressed interest in moving products by container after comparing cost and delivery times with truck and rail. He declined to name any of the companies.

Coyle said he is exploring interest on the Canadian side in moving cargo through Montreal to Cleveland.

There is skepticism that the port will develop much of a container market. Among hurdles is the shutdown of the St. Lawrence Seaway for three months during winter. Coyle said the port could partner with trucking or rail operations to move containers during those months.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Port Reports - September 9

St. Marys River -
Fog closed the river again early Tuesday morning, sending American Century to anchor below the locks. Besides the Century, downbound traffic included Edgar B. Speer and the tour boat Keweenaw Star. The only upbounder was the Alpena, bound for Superior, Wis.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet arrived at the Brewer dock in Holland shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday to deliver stone.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena returned to service Monday after a temporary lay-up in Muskegon. It arrived in its namesake port early Tuesday morning to load cement for Superior, Wis. By daybreak the Alpena was out in the bay, disappearing on the horizon. Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation tied up at the Lafarge dock Tuesday evening to take on cargo also. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity is expected under the silos once Innovation departs.

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham
Algomarine has been fitting out the last couple weeks, and has taken on ballast, usually indicating an imminent departure. She's been laid up in the north slip since early in the season.


Modification to Phase III of trial on stopping and positioning of vessels at Lock 3

9/9 - The lateral hydraulic assistance will be used for upbound vessels with beams of 22 metres or less at Beauharnois lock 3. This is to provide assistance to the vessels to get to their mooring position in the lock.

St. Lawrence Seaway Authority


Updates - September 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 9

On 09 September 1889, the FOLGER (wooden propeller wrecking tug, 69 foot, 64 gross tons, built in 1881, at Kingston, Ontario) was sailing upbound past St. Clair, Michigan when fire was discovered in her engine room. Her wheelsman stuck to his post as long as possible, trying to beach her at Courtright, Ontario, but the flames engulfed the vessel and all hands had to abandon her.

September 9, 1936, For the second consecutive day, boats of the Interlake and Pittsburgh fleets collided. The SATURN collided with the HENRY H ROGERS in heavy fog above Whitefish Bay. The SATURN continued upbound to repair damage at Superior Shipbuilding. The ROGERS continued downbound to South Chicago where the anchor of the SATURN was removed from the Mate's starboard cabin.

September 9, 1940, the steamer MARITANA, Captain Charles E. Butler, went to anchor in Whitefish Bay due to weather. When they retrieved their anchor the next day, they also recovered a second anchor. The second anchor had an oak stock 12 feet across and 17 inches in diameter. The 8 foot forged metal shank was stamped with a date of 1806.

On 09 September 1886, GENERAL WOLSELEY (wooden side-wheel steamer, 103 foot, 123 tons, built in 1884, at Oakville, Ontario) caught fire on her way to Dyer's Bay, Ontario. She was run ashore for the crew to escape near Cape Croker on Georgian Bay and burned to the water's edge.

The WOLVERINE (Hull#903) was launched September 9, 1974, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Union Commerce Bank (Ohio), Trustee (Oglebay Norton Co., mgr.), Cleveland, Ohio.

DETROIT EDISON (Hull#418) was launched September 9, 1954, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Ship Building Co. for the American Steamship Co. (Boland & Cornelius, mgr.) Buffalo, New York.

The Steamer PERE MARQUETTE 18 sank on September 9, 1910, with a loss of 29 lives. No cause for the sinking has ever been determined. The PERE MARQUETTE 17 picked up 33 survivors, losing 2 of her own crew during the rescue.

The first of two fires suffered by the Grand Trunk carferry GRAND RAPIDS occurred on September 9, 1980. The cause of the fire was not determined.

On 9 September 1929, the ANDASTE (steel propeller self-unloading sandsucker, 247 foot, built in 1892, at Cleveland, Ohio) was probably overloaded with gravel when she 'went missing' west of Holland, Michigan. The entire crew of 25 was lost. When built, she was the sister of the 'semi-whaleback' CHOCTAW, but was shortened 20 feet in 1920-21, to allow her to use the Welland Canal.

On 9 September 1871, Captain Hicks of the schooner A H MOSS fired the Mate, a popular fellow, in a fit of anger the same time that a tug arrived to tow the schooner out of Cleveland harbor. The crew was upset to say the least, and when the tow line was cast off and Capt. Hicks ordered the sails hoisted, the crew refused to do any work. The skipper finally raised the signal flags and had the tug towed his vessel back into the harbor. When the MOSS dropped anchor, he fired the entire crew then went ashore to hire another crew.

The ROY A JODREY (Hull#186) was launched in 1965, at Collingwood, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Authority wants to build a high-speed ferry boat

9/8 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has applied for federal funds to build a five-million dollar high speed catamaran passenger ferry to be based in Toledo.

NBC 24 news is told that the application was made in July for federal discretionary funds that are set aside for local ferry boat operations.

The Port Authority's Martitime Director, Paul LaMarre, says they hope to get approval for the funding yet this year so that construction could begin on a custom designed 150-passenger boat by this winter and that it could be finished and ready for launch by next summer. The Port Authority would have to partner with a commercial ferry boat operation, such as Jet Express which would be responsible for its operation and schedule. It is hoped that the boat could provide regular weekend runs to The Erie Islands from the Port Authority's new passenger ferry terminal on the riverfront. The terminal was built several years ago with the hopes that it would attract Great Lakes cruise ships and ferry operators, but that has not materialized.

La Marre says of the $5 million dollar price tag for a new boat, $4 million dollars would be paid for by federal funds, while the remainder could be picked in a partnership with a ferry boat operator.

A similar arrangement was worked out recently in Lorain, Ohio, between their local port authority and Jet Express which runs regular trips to the island areas from Port Clinton.

NBC 24


Port Reports - September 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Robert S. Pierson loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock and departed on a hot, hazy Labor Day afternoon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Indiana Harbor made her first appearance of the season on the Saginaw River, arriving Sunday morning to unload coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She completed her unload later in the day, backed from the dock out to entrance channel buoy 14, turned, and headed for the lake. Also inbound on Sunday was the Calumet with a split cargo for the Writ Stone docks in Bay City and Saginaw. After completed her unloads, she was outbound from the Sixth Street Basin in Saginaw early Monday morning. Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber were back again Monday morning, carrying a split load for the Sargent dock in Essexville and the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The pair completed unloading and were outbound for the lake from Sixth Street Monday night.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Monday, Federal Matane arrived in port at 8 a.m. Tim S. Dool departed at 11:30 a.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast. Diamond Star departed at 1:30 p.m. and arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 3:30 p.m. Saginaw arrived at 4 p.m. in ballast. Canadian Olympic departed Doafasco at 5:30 p.m. The tug Omni Richileau departed at 6 p.m. The CCGC Limnos arrived at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 7:30 pm. from duties at the Canadian National Exhibition airshow in Toronto. Canadian Provider, which is moored in Hamilton, is still undergoing pressure testing of her tanks which is part of the fitting out process after being laid up having extensive repairs completed since last December. She is expected to depart Thursday in ballast.


U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard assist with boat taking on water

9/8 - Niagara Falls, N.Y. - The U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard rescued a 57-year-old male and a 54-year-old female from a 28-foot pleasure craft that was taking on water approximately six miles north of the Niagara River Sunday at approximately 11 a.m.

"The engine compartment was full; there was water up to the deck. We and the Canadians both had dewatering pumps on board while towing it back to shore, which took about an hour and 45 minutes," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Jessica Jones.

A Coast Guard Station Niagara 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) crew and a Canadian Coast Guard Mark VII 23-foot small boat crew tied off to each side of the 28-footer and towed the it back to shore as the pumps removed the water.

Station Niagara brought aboard the man and woman on the 25-footer and transported them back to shore safely. Both were wearing life jackets and sustained no injuries.

The Niagara Falls, Ontario, couple contacted the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard on channel 16 after a two-foot gash in the hull caused the boat to take on water.


Former Boblo boat Columbia headed for the Hudson River

9/8 - Wyandotte. Mich. — Since June of 2006 not much has happened with the old Boblo boat Columbia. But appearances can be deceiving.

Three years ago a New York State-based nonprofit group purchased the steamer for service on the Hudson River.

Today, it still sits at its mooring place at the U.S. Steel dock in Ecorse, looking very much like a ghost ship — a shadow of its former self when it shuttled thousands of passengers back and forth each summer from Detroit to the popular island amusement park during its glory years.

Those who have had occasion to see the boat from the water probably could not perceive any improvements, but things are starting to move, according to Richard Anderson, president of the SS Columbia Project.

“Hull work has been done at Nicholson Terminal & Dock and asbestos abatement is done,” Anderson said. “The third stage is work on the superstructure and that will be done before the winter.”

When asked if he had a timetable for when the century-old boat would be ready for the long trip to New York, Anderson said funding is the key.

“I’ve learned not to predict timelines,” he said. “We want to make sure all the work is done so we are working hard at raising money. We are making progress. We thought it would be a much faster process, but we ran into an economic headwind.”

Sam Buchanan, a Brownstown Township resident who has been the shipkeeper since about 1995, when historian William Worden owned it, continues to keep an eye on the boat in Anderson’s absence.

Buchanan, who is captain of the J.W. Westcott II, has donated his services to the Columbia. He said he views himself as a liaison between the boat and the people in New York City.

The Columbia was built in 1902. Anderson said it combined a spectacular array of design, engineering and aesthetic innovations. At 207 feet long and 60 feet wide, it was designed to carry 3,200 passengers on five decks.

The Columbia and her sister ship, the Ste. Claire, were used for decades to transport visitors down the Detroit River to Boblo Island. The Ste. Claire currently is owned by Ron Kattoo, a Henry Ford Hospital physician, and his business partners. The Ste. Claire is further along in its restoration efforts than the Columbia. Plans call for it to reopen as a Detroit area attraction within the next couple of years.

Boblo, first opened in 1910, closed permanently in 1993 because of dwindling business. However, the boats were last used as ferries to the island in 1991.

A partially restored Ste. Claire has been open to the public sporadically over the past few years for historical tours and as a Halloween fright attraction, but the Columbia has been pretty much untouched until the SS Columbia Project purchased it.

The Columbia has deteriorated due to exposure to the elements and neglect. One person knowledgeable about the boat said that if work isn’t done right away, Columbia’s decks risk collapsing upon themselves.

Although some nostalgic fans of the Boblo boats initially expressed disappointment that the Columbia is being taken away from its home in the Detroit area, Anderson believes that most are pleased it is being saved.

In fact, the SS Columbia Project is so confident that people wish the project well, the group is holding a fund-raiser Sept. 19 aboard the M.V. Friendship, docked behind Portofino, 3455 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte.

The restoration and operation of the Columbia is planned in four distinct phases. The first is stabilization of the ship to prevent further weather decay. That is under way now.

Phase II will involve transporting and permanently relocating the ship from Detroit to New York City.

The third phase will be full restoration of the ship’s interior and exterior. In the final phase, it will enter into service and operate on the Hudson River and New York Harbor. Tentatively, that’s planned for 2011.

According to the group’s Web site, an operating Columbia will restore a historic transportation link between New York City and the Hudson River Valley by carrying students and tourists up the river on day trips.

The plan is for the vessel to serve as a floating mobile museum and cultural events venue.

Anderson said that although some people are skeptical about large-scale projects, he’s confident that his dream will become a reality.

He’s encouraged by a $750,000 challenge grant that the project received from the state of New York and said enthusiasm for the project is growing.

Anderson finds it difficult to contain his own enthusiasm for a subject matter that has fascinated him since childhood.

“When I was 10 years old I called the maritime museum so much they told me to come in and they would put me to work,” he said. “I would take a train or bus so I could volunteer. It’s a long-term, passionate interest.”

He said the SS Columbia is the oldest surviving passenger steamer in the country and is the best remaining work of one of America’s greatest naval architects, Frank Kirby. The boat has recently been designated a Priority 1 Threatened National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.

“The ship’s beautiful interiors were created in collaboration with the painter and designer Louis O. Keil, an artist of the Hudson River School,” Anderson said. “The ship is adorned with mahogany paneling, etched and leaded glass, gilded moldings, a grand staircase, and an innovative open-air ballroom.”

He said Columbia’s massive antique 1,200-horsepower, triple-expansion reciprocating steam engine remains onboard in working condition.

The Hudson River Valley is a fitting place to take the Columbia because of its historical ties to steamships.

Anderson said more than 2 million passengers annually traveled the Hudson during the steamboat’s heyday. As the automobile gained momentum, recreational travel on the river began to decline.

The last great steamboat, Alexander Hamilton, was retired in 1971, although Hudson River dayliners continued operations until 1987. However, none of the river icons survive.

As the oldest surviving passenger steamer, Anderson said a restored Columbia will carry on the grand tradition. He called the restoration of the Columbia “among the most ambitious maritime preservation projects yet undertaken in the United States.”

He said he is grateful for the generosity the people of the Detroit area have shown his group since he purchased the boat. He said they always will be welcome to visit the boat in New York after it is restored.

“We are expecting a wonderful event with Boblo stalwarts,” Anderson said about the Sept. 19 fund-raiser on the Detroit River. “This will be a crystallizing event and a great way to celebrate the end of summer.”

Joel Stone of the Detroit Historical Society will serve as disc jockey. He has compiled music spanning the years Columbia was in service, from 1902 to 1991.

Anderson is interested in capturing memories Detroiters have of the Columbia. A videographer will be on board the Friendship to document recollections area residents have of the venerable boat.

He also is trying to locate photographs of the boat’s interior taken prior to 1939, the year it underwent substantial remodeling.

“We want documentary evidence of her original splendor,” Anderson said. “Anyone with photographs, we would love to have that.”

For those interested in the Detroit River Cruise, it takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 and departs from the dock behind Portofino. Be prepared to board by 1:30 p.m. The donation price per person is $30. Complimentary pizza will be delivered by the J.W. Westcott II mail boat and a cash bar will be available. During the three-hour cruise, passengers will be able to view both the Columbia and the Ste. Claire.

Payment can be made via the Web site or by check payable to the SS Columbia Project and mailed to: SS Columbia Project, c/o Lori Feret, 1574 Westbrook Drive, Madison Heights, MI 48071-3045. The local contact phone number for tickets is 1-248-546-9712. Space is limited.

Columbia has strong local ties, including the fact that it was built by the Detroit Shipbuilding Co. at its Wyandotte Shipyard (formerly the Wyandotte Shipbuilding Co.).

The shipyard was at the foot of Pine Street. Portofino is on part of the property. Even more coincidental is the fact that the M.V. Friendship’s slip at Portofino is the same slip where the Columbia was launched in 1902.

“The Columbia is an amazing relic that has to be saved,” Anderson said. “The fact she is still here at age 107, despite years of neglect, is testimony of her design and workmanship.”

The News Herald


Services Tuesday for ship supplier Tim McCasey

9/8 - Timothy J. McCasey of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., died September 3 in Detroit from Mantle Cell Lymphoma. He was born in Sault Ste. Marie on October 27, 1947. After spending four years in the U.S. Coast Guard, McCasey worked for USS/Great Lakes Fleet/Soo Warehouse for 32 years and then for Soo Marine Supply for three years. A funeral mass will be held Tuesday, September 8, 11 a.m. at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church in Sault Ste. Marie, with Brother John Hascall officiating.

Soo Evening News


International Shipmaster’s Association offers two scholarships

9/8 - The International Shipmaster’s Association is currently seeking applications for two scholarships.

Cadet Scholarship Award
Eligiblity: Current 3rd Year Navigation & Engineering Cadets,
Attending Great Lakes Marine Schools in Traverse City, Michigan and Owen Sound, Ontario.
Criteria: This scholarship will be presented to the students who:
• Demonstrate interest in the Great Lakes Marine industry.
• By their academic record and personal motivation can be expected to graduate and receive a marine certificate to sail in the Great Lakes Marine Industry.
• Have provided reference letters.
• The student will have successfully completed at least one sea work term, and have .
received an above average evaluation.
• One award in Ontario, and one in Michigan

To Apply:
Submit a short essay, outlining yourself, career goals, and why you feel you are eligible for this award. (1 page max)
Supply a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or department head of the school, or from a Ship’s Deck or Engineering Officer to which the candidate was directly accountable during the work term.
Supply your resume and most recent grade report. All submission are to be made by email. Application deadline: November 1. Scholarship announcement date: January 15.

E-Mail Submissions Or Membership Requests To:
Isma Grand Lodge Scholarship Committee
Attn: Capt. Seann O’Donoughue
ISMA Scholarship Chairman

Selection committee determines the final selection of successful candidates. Presentation of this award is at ISMA AGM in February, at the annual convention, and at school awards ceremonies. Value: $500 per scholarship.

Hawse Pipe Scholarship Award
The International Shipmasters’ Association is currently encouraging unlicensed ship’s crew members who wish to upgrade their current certification to a higher rating, to apply for the Hawse Pipe Scholarship Award.

Applicants for this monetary award may be from the Deck or Engine room departments, part of the U.S. or Canadian Great Lakes commercial fleets, or employed aboard any other commercial vessel that operates on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system.

The applicant is to submit the application as an attachment to the Scholarship Chairman who will distribute the application to the Scholarship committee members for selection. Only Electronic Email submissions will be accepted.

• Submit a written letter to the ISMA scholarship committee describing your desire for a scholarship, including a description of your current marine career/vessels, and plans & aspirations for higher qualifications.
• Have a letter of reference submitted by your Captain / Chief Engineer or Mate, Engineer endorsing or embellishing your application for this scholarship.
• Be actively in the process of upgrading your certification/licensing.

Application deadline: November 1. Scholarship announcement date: January 15.
Submit Applications, or any inquiries to:
Capt. Seann O'Donoughue, ISMA Scholarship Committee Chairman

Application Information Required:
Name, digital & shore contact address and mailing information, Marine background, and history, number of years employed, explanation to committee of current status, rank, reasons for applying, current aspirations for success to next level/license, background information for the committee to base their decision on choosing the application for the award.

A selection committee determines the final selection of successful candidates. Presentation of this award is at the ISMA AGM in February, at the annual convention, and at school awards ceremonies. Value: $500 per scholarship.


Updates - September 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 8

September 8, 1936, the Interlake steamer CRETE and the Pittsburgh steamer CORNELL collided in heavy fog above Whitefish Point. After temporary repairs were made in the Weitzel lock, the CRETE proceeded to Chicago Shipbuilding to repair a damaged bow. The CORNELL proceeded to Manitowoc to repair damage to her starboard side just forward of her boiler house.

On September 8,1868, HIPPOCAMPUS (wooden propeller, 152 tons, built in 1867, at St. Joseph, Michigan) stranded in a storm off St. Joseph and was pounded to pieces. 36 of the 41 passengers were lost. Litigation continued until November 10,1884, when the owner was held innocent of blame in the U. S. Court at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The GEMINI (Hull#745) sailed on her maiden voyage in August, 1978, from Levingston Shipbuilding Co., at Orange, Texas, to load fuel oil at Baytown, Texas, for delivery at Detroit, Michigan. Passing up bound the next month on September 8 through the Welland Canal, GEMINI became the largest U.S. flagged tanker on the Great Lakes with a capacity of 76,000 barrels. GEMINI was renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

The W. E. FITZGERALD (Hull#167) was launched September 8, 1906, at Wyandotte, Michigan, by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the Chicago Navigation Co., Chicago, Illinois (D. Sullivan, mgr.).

The bulk freighter HENRY A. HAWGOOD was launched on September 8, 1906, at Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co. for Minerva Steamship Co. (W. A. & H.A. Hawgood, mgr.), Cleveland. Renamed b.) C. RUSSELL HUBBARD in 1912, and c.) W. W. HOLLOWAY in 1935.

The RADIANT departed the shipyard September 8, 1913, light on her maiden voyage bound for Montreal, Quebec.

September 8, 1970 - The MILWAUKEE CLIPPER made her last run from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On September 8, 1985, the downbound the Panamanian NORCHEM collided with the upbound CANADIAN PROSPECTOR near Kanawake, Quebec. PROSPECTOR had little damage but NORCHEM was ripped open near her port anchor.

On September 8,1885, ADVANCE (wooden schooner, 119 foot, 180 gross tons, built in 1853, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying wood when she became waterlogged and capsized in a gale and blinding rain near Port Washington, Wisconsin, in Lake Michigan. All but one of her crew of seven drowned when her yawl capsized in the surf.

On September 8,1871, the schooner MORNING LIGHT was sailing from Kelley's Island on Lake Erie with a cargo of stone for Marquette, Michigan, in heavy weather. Trying to enter the Detroit River, the crew miscalculated their position and ran the ship aground on Pointe Mouille, just below Gibraltar. The crew scuttled the vessel in the shallow water to save her from harm. The following day, the tug GEORGE N. BRADY was sent out with steam pumps and hawsers and the MORNING LIGHT was raised and towed to Detroit for repairs.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Al Miller, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Algoport sinks while under tow to China

9/7 The Algoport broke in half and sank overnight in heavy seas while under tow to China. The vessel was encountering rough seas from Tropical Storm Dujuan that had passed near the vessel's position. The tow was about one week away from its destination and the vessel sank in approximately 5,000 metres of water.

The crew of the tug Pacific Hickory managed to cut the tow wire before the vessel sank, and there are no injuries reported in the accident. While Algoport did have some fuel oil onboard to power its generators, the fuel is contained in the bunker tanks with all vents closed as a requirement of the tow. The tug reported that no signs of pollution or debris were evident after the vessel's sinking.

The 1979-built Algoport, part of the Algoma Central Corp fleet of self-unloaders based on the Great Lakes, was being towed to Chengxi Shipyard to have a new forebody attached over the winter.


Port Reports - September 7

Marquette , Mich. - Rod Burdick
After unloading coal late Friday evening in Munising, Manitowoc arrived at the Upper Harbor Saturday morning to load ore. The visit was her first of the season.

Munising/Marquette/Escanaba – Lee Rowe
Manitowoc arrived in Munising with a load of coal just before midnight on Friday to a welcoming committee on the beach as she passed through the channel. The beautiful weather allowed families to enjoy the ship's passing. She went on to Marquette to load ore on Saturday morning.

Joseph L Block arrived in Escanaba for a load of ore. The Escanaba ore dock had been down for repairs for a few days.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
St. Marys Challenger came through numerous salmon fisherman just off shore, crossing the pier heads at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It had a light load and was expected to depart about 6 p.m.

Manistee came in light about 11:30 Saturday morning, docking at Construction Aggregates in Ferrysburg to take on a load of sand. It was scheduled to depart later that day for St. Joseph where it will unload and then return for another load Sunday.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Wilfred Sykes tied up at the James DeYoung power plant in Holland at about 8:30 Friday morning to discharge a cargo of coal it had taken on at the KCBX trans-loading facility in Chicago. It departed in the mid-afternoon.

Calumet Harbor - Dan Fletcher
Saturday morning, St. Marys Challenger was easing her way into her berth. She was scheduled to be there for four or five hours, then head to Muskegon, Mich., for a reported two-week layup. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were also unloading at LaFarge in Lake Calumet.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City on Saturday. The pair unloaded there through the afternoon before departing and heading for the lake early Saturday evening.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday, CSL Assiniboine departed at 5 a.m. for Nanticoke. Diamond Star arrived off the Burlington Piers at noon only to find the Burlington Lift Bridge was stuck in a partly open position with only 50 feet of clearance. She finally entered the harbor at 2:30 p.m. when the bridge was fully raised to its 100-foot clearance. Her next port will be Bronte. Atlantic Erie arrived at 5 p.m. with gypsum from Nova Scotia.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and David Robinson
CSL Niagara arrived in port with salt Saturday morning. It was bunkered by Hamilton Energy, which came over from Hamilton to do the job. The Energy also bunkered Clelia II while it was in port. CSL Niagara departed for the Welland Canal in mid-afternoon. Around 3 p.m. CSL Niagara came out of the ship channel, made a very tight turn into the Eastern Gap unassisted and headed out on a direct course for the Welland Canal.

H.M.C.S. Ville De Quebec arrived in port Friday afternoon, assisted onto Pier 27 by LaPrairie. Also in port for the Canadian National Exhibition's air show were CCG Simmonds, CCG Shark and CCG Limnos, and the cruise ship Clelia II.


Updates - September 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 7

On September 7, 1978, the ROGER M. KYES lost all power in Lake St. Clair requiring tug assistance from the Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs MARYLAND and MAINE which escorted her to the Great Lakes Steel dock. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

The CADILLAC of 1943, was laid up on September 7, 1981, for the last time at Toledo, Ohio. She was later transferred to a West coast marine operation in preparation for conversion for a proposed container ship for service between Chicago, Detroit and Quebec City. However these plans never materialized.

On September 7, 1921, the D. G. KERR pulled up to the ore dock at Two Harbors, Minnesota to load exactly 12,507 gross tons of iron ore in the record breaking time of sixteen and a half minutes. This was accomplished through the cooperation of the dock superintendent, the dock employees concerned, the ship's captain and crew and the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. as a means of "showing up" the competition. Her time of arrival and departure to and from the dock took only nineteen minutes. For comparison, a good average loading time at that time was about three hours and forty-five minutes.

On September 7, 1975, on the St. Marys River loaded with iron ore pellets, the WILLIAM G MATHER, forced out of the channel by a salt water vessel, struck bottom. Upon proceeding further onto Lake Huron it was soon discovered that her pumps were unable to cope with incoming water caused by the damage. She was beached at Frying Pan Island (De Tour, Michigan) in 19 feet of water when it became evident they couldn't make dock.

On 7 September 1883, LAURA BELL (wooden schooner, 138 foot, 269 gross tons, built in 1870, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to Marquette, Michigan when she stranded off Shot Point, east of Marquette in Lake Superior. Her crew spent 3 days in her rigging and all but one was rescued by a tug from Marquette.

September 7, 1916 - The PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground 10 miles north of Milwaukee.

September 7, 1996 - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated the propulsion system of the BADGER a mechanical engineering landmark.

The launch of the 188 foot wooden schooner ELIZABETH A. NICHOLSON was set for 4:00 p.m., on 7 September 1872, at E. Fitzgerald's shipyard in Port Huron, Michigan. Just before 4:00 p.m., a telegram was received at the shipyard from Capt. Nicholson, the owner of the new vessel, which read, "Wait a while. We are coming." The launch was delayed until another dispatch was received which said to go ahead anyway. The boat Capt. Nicholson was on had broken down. The launch went well. The vessel was painted deep green with her name in gilt. All present cheered the sight, but there was no party afterwards. All of the food and beverages for the celebration were with Capt. Nicholson on the disabled vessel.

On 07 September 1883, the COLORADO (wooden schooner-barge, 118 foot, built in 1866, at Fairport, Ohio) was in tow of the steamer DON M. DICKINSON along with the schooner-barge N. P. GOODELL in a gale on Lake Huron. As the gale worsened, the string of vessels went to shelter in the harbor at Sand Beach (now Harbor Beach), Michigan. The COLORADO broke loose as they entered the harbor. Deckhand Abbot Way jumped on to the breakwater with a line to secure the COLORADO, but the line broke as soon as it went taut. It broke three times and the barge drifted out into the gale, stranding Mr. Way on the breakwater with six foot waves washing over it. He managed to get to the harbor light at the end of the breakwater and climbed up above the waves where he was stranded for two hours until the crew of the Lifesaving Station got to him. COLORADO beached herself with no loss of life. She was later recovered and lasted until 1902 when she was abandoned.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Tin Stackers - The History of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships. We Remember series


Updates - September 6

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - September 6

On August 29, 1872, a storm struck Lake Erie. On September 6,1872, nine days after she set sail from Port Colborne for Detroit, the schooner J. W. SARGENT was listed as missing in the Detroit newspapers, probably a victim of that storm. Later on the same day that the newspaper announcement was published, the SARGENT arrived in Detroit. Captain William Simms stated that the storm drove him south to Erie, Pennsylvania, where he sheltered for a few days. He sent a telegraph message to the ship's owner but the news was not relayed to Detroit. The SARGENT only lasted another three months. In November 1872, a storm got her on Lake Erie.

The BADGER was launched on September 6, 1952, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. A christening ceremony included the SPARTAN (launched earlier that year). The BADGER was named in honor of the University of Wisconsin. The BADGER was built by Christy Corporation, and is powered by two Skinner 4 cylinder Steeple Compound Uniflow Marine Steam engines, developing over 7,000 horsepower. She was the last of the large, coal-fired steamers to be built in the United States, and the only ship of her type still operating on the Great Lakes. The BADGER offers seasonal passenger service from Ludington, Michigan, to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, from mid May to early October.

The BELLE RIVER began her maiden voyage when she loaded 56,073 long tons of western coal at Superior, Wisconsin, on August 31, 1977, and arrived at Detroit Edison Co.'s Belle River power plant at Recors Point on September 6, 1977. Renamed in 1990, she sails today as b.) WALTER J. McCARTHY, JR.

On September 6, 1992, the H. LEE WHITE was in tow of the "G" tugs COLORADO and LOUISIANA entering the Trenton Channel when she struck a section of the toll bridge at Grosse Ile, Michigan, knocking down a 150 foot span immediately east of the main river channel. The WHITE was not damaged but a new section of the bridge had to be installed at a cost of $1.7 million. The bridge was back in service in late January, 1993. The U.S. Coast Guard investigated this casualty and their report states that it was the failure of the bridge tender to operate and open the bridge which caused this casualty. The Coast Guard found that the master of the WHITE was operating his vessel in a prudent and lawful manner including the use of whistle signals.

The CHARLES E. WILSON completed her sea trials in 1973. Renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

The GEORGIAN BAY collided with the steamer CHARLES HUBBARD in the fog-covered lower St. Marys River September 6, 1955.

On September 6, 1989, the twin screw rail car ferry GRAND RAPIDS left Muskegon, Michigan, in tow of the tugs ANGLIAN LADY and PRINCESS NO 1, and arrived at Port Maitland, Ontario, on September 11th. Scrapping was completed in the fall of 1994.

On September 6, 1887, BLUE BELL (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 84 foot, 122 gross tons, built in 1867, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying lumber from Wilt's Bay, Michigan, to Milwaukee when she missed the harbor entrance at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in a storm. She was driven ashore where she broke up. Her crew made it to the beach with the aid of the local U.S. Life Saving crew. The total loss was valued at $5,000.

On September 6,1871, the wooden schooner ROSA STEARNS, loaded with coal, was battling a storm for hours off Cleveland, Ohio. The ship was driven on the stone breakwater about 1 a.m. and was pounded to pieces. The crew jumped onto the breakwater and crawled to safety as the waves crashed over them.

Data from: Joe Barr, Jody L. Aho, Max S. Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Port Reports - September 5

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Friday included J. W. Shelley loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior and Presque Isle, which was at the CN ore dock to finish unloading stone before switching to load taconite pellets. Anchored out on the lake were Federal Hudson and Capt. Henry Jackman, which had its boom raised. The Jackman was expected to load at the CN ore dock later in the day. James R. Barker and Paul R. Tregurtha were both scheduled to arrive later in the day for Midwest Energy Terminal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn and A 397 departed about noon.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
As reported previously, the saltie Eider did not arrive last week as expected, having suffered engine problems at Iroquois. English River was in port Thursday morning. Canadian Olympic arrived with a cargo of salt just after noon. Canadian Navigator, which arrived at Redpath Sugar Monday afternoon, departed just after the Olympic arrived. The Navigator's spot at Redpath was filled up an hour later with the arrival of Eider, assisted by Omni Richelieu and LaPraire. Omni Richelieu returned to Hamilton, while LaPrairie tied up at Pier 27 next to Redpath.


Installation of a sector light on the Upper Beauharnois front range

9/5 - Mariners should be aware that a sector light has been installed on the Upper Beauharnois front range (N° 33 of the Coast Guard list of lights). This sector light was installed for the construction period of a pillar of the Highway 30 bridge. The rear range will be hidden partially or totally during the construction period and partially at the end of the construction. Note that the rear range light will remain in operation to permit its use as long as possible.


Soo, Canada recreational lock is open

9/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Parks Canada and the City of Sault Ste. Marie announced Friday that the recreational lock at the Soo is again in operation after the replacement of one of the two malfunctioning upstream valve gearboxes.

Further inspections and replacement of the final upstream valve gearbox are expected to take place mid-September.

These upgrades have been identified as part of the long-term investment in the sustainability of the recreational lock. Every effort is being made to keep service disruptions for boaters to a minimum for the remainder of the operating season.

Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Labor Day. From Tuesday, September 8 until Thursday, October 15 the recreational lock will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Soo Today


Cruise to benefit the former Bob-Lo boat Columbia

9/5 - Detroit, Mich. – On Saturday, Sept. 19 the tour boat Friendship will host a fund raising cruise to benefit the historic Detroit River steamer Columbia. Visit for more information.


Updates - September 5

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - September 5

September 5, 1899, the DOUGLASS HOUGHTON grounded at Sailors Encampment and sank when rammed by her barge, JOHN FRITZ. The HOUGHTON completely blocked St. Marys River traffic for five days. More than 300 boats were delayed at an estimated loss of $600,000.

On 05 September 1898, the MONTGOMERY (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 709 tons, built in 1856, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan as a passenger/package freight steamer) sank in 21 feet of water on Lake St. Clair after colliding with the whaleback barge 137 (steel barge, 345 foot, 2,480 gross tons, built in 1896, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) which was being towed by the ALEXANDER McDOUGALL (steel propeller semi-whaleback freighter, 413 foot, 3,686 gross tons, built in 1898, at West Superior, Wisconsin). The MONTGOMERY was raised and repaired. She lasted another two years before breaking up in a storm in 1901.

On September 5, 1964, the 730-foot bulk freighter LEECLIFFE HALL sank after colliding with the Greek ocean vessel APPOLONIA in the St. Lawrence River.

The CHI-CHEEMAUN completed her sea trials on September 5, 1974, and then cleared the Collingwood shipyard on September 26th.

The BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS cleared Lorain on her maiden voyage September 5, 1942 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co..

The J. P. MORGAN, JR. returned to service September 5, 1948, after repairs suffered in an accident in June.

The NEW QUEDOC arrived at McLouth Steel, Trenton, Michigan on her maiden voyage September 5, 1960, with a load of Labrador iron ore. Renamed b.) QUEDOC in 1963. QUEDOC was scrapped at Curacao Island, Lesser Antilles in 1985.

The WYANDOTTE of 1916, a.) CONNEAUT, was towed down the Welland Canal on September 5- 6, 1973, on her way to the cutters torch at Santander, Spain.

On 5 September 1905, ABERCORN (wooden propeller 'rabbit', 126 foot, 261 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) burned at the dock at Goderich, Ontario, while unloading coal. She reportedly caught fire from the explosion of a signal lamp.

The schooner CALEDONIA, wrecked the previous autumn near the Fishing Islands on Lake Huron, was raised and arrived in Port Huron, Michigan, on September 5, 1882, under tow to be rebuilt.

Data from: Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lake Superior rockets up in August

9/4 - The level of Lake Superior shot up three inches in August, a month in which the big lake usually remains stable before starting its annual autumn decline.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Wednesday that the lake sits just four inches below its long-term average and two inches above the Sept. 1 level one year ago.

Rainfall across the Lake Superior basin was above average, including in Duluth, which received more than six inches in August, 1.8 inches more than usual. The lake usually rises from April to September, then falls during winter when most precipitation is locked in snow and ice.

Lake Superior generally has been inching closer to normal for the past two years after reaching unusually low levels in 2007.

The levels of Lakes Huron and Michigan fell an inch in August, compared to their usual two-inch decline for the month. The lakes now sit five inches below their long-term average but nine inches above the Sept. 1, 2008, level.


Port Reports - September 4

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
American Mariner arrived to load ore, and James R. Barker unloaded coal Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor.

Manistee, Mich. - Stephen Grima
The Tug Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 came into Manistee Thursday morning with a load of stone, heading to the Reiss Riley Dock

Hamilton, Ont. -
Canadian Provider is expected to being sailing next week. She will likely leave Hamilton on Tuesday or Wednesday in ballast to Thunder Bay for a load grain.


Seaway dredging operations U.S. waters

9/4 - Dredging operations will commence on or about September 7 through December 20 at the International Tangent between U.S. Lighted Buoy 1 and U.S. Lighted Buoy 3, and in the Wiley-Dondero Canal between Eisenhower and Snell Locks.


State IDs top spots in the Great Lakes to harvest the wind

9/4 - Detroit, Mich. - The northern shoreline of Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula and the middle of Saginaw Bay are the best locations for wind farms in Michigan's Great Lakes waters, according to a study by the Michigan Great Lakes Wind Council that was released Wednesday.

The report commissioned earlier this year, found that about 20 percent of Michigan's 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes territory have a depth of 100 feet or less, considered favorable for wind turbine construction. But most of that area is too close to shore, parkland, sensitive fisheries or is otherwise off-limits environmentally, the report said.

Wind turbines on the Great Lakes could produce large amounts of energy (up to two-thirds of the state's capacity, according to one estimate), but must contend with environmental, regulatory and financial hurdles, said John Sarver, a supervisor in the state's Bureau of Energy Systems.

Sarver said that, generally, offshore wind is stronger and more consistent than wind over land, and lake sites might eliminate conflict with residents, who often complain about the noise. But water-based turbines remain more expensive to build and the state has no permit process for them, he said.

Detroit Free Press


Labor Day Festival features ship rides

9/4 - Sheboygan, Wis. – The S/V Denis Sullivan, a 137-foot replica of a three-masted, 19th-century Great Lakes schooner, is heading to Sheboygan, where its 10-person crew will be offering people the chance to sail Lake Michigan the old-fashioned way.

The ship, whose homeport is the Discovery World Museum at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee, arrives tonight and will be open for tours and sailing trips from Friday to Sunday as part of the South Pier Labor Day Festival.

"You get to experience sailing a 150-ton ship through the water, and everybody gets to participate," said Jeff Phillips, marine operations manager at Discovery World. "Depending on weather conditions, they might even get a turn at the helm."

The free festival, which kicks off Friday at 4 p.m. and continues through Sunday, also features live music, a car show, carnival and arts and crafts.

The city's tourism department started the festival three years ago to attract visitors to the South Pier District. In past years the event has attracted about 5,000 people.

Boat tours will be offered for $5, while cruises will cost $25. More information is available at

The ship was launched in 2000 and is named after Denis Sullivan, a famed 19th century Irish-born sailor who came to Milwaukee in the 1870s and began a long career in the shipping industry.

While the ship replicates the cargo-hauling schooners of that era, today it's a floating classroom and laboratory for freshwater exploration and nautical training, according to Phillips.

Sheboygan Press


Updates - September 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson gallery updated
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 4

On September 4,1889, the new steamer CHEROKEE (wooden propeller freighter, 209 foot, 1,002 gross tons) arrived in Port Huron, Michigan, from M. P. Lester's yard in Marine City, Michigan, for the Phoenix Iron Works in Port Huron to installed the engine and boiler. Her outfitting was then completed by Carleton and Cole of Port Huron.

On September 4, 1876, CITY OF PORT HURON, a wooden steam barge, sank a few miles off shore near Lexington, Michigan, at about noon. She was heavily loaded with iron ore and sprang a leak at about 11 o'clock. Most of the crew managed to get on top of the cabin while two were in the forward rigging as she went down in 6 fathoms of water. The heavy seas washed over those on the cabin. Captain George Davis and two others floated ashore on wreckage while a fish boat picked up the five others. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


S.S. Badger will end season early for shipyard date

9/3 - Ludington, Mich. – The S.S. Badger will end its 2009 sailing season on Sunday, Sept. 27, rather than the originally published Oct. 11 date. "October is typically a marginal month in terms of profitability, and having the opportunity to take the Badger to the dry dock for its mandatory five-year inspection early in October will save the company money and avoid stormy weather later in the month," said Lake Michigan Carferry spokesperson Kari Karr. "We wanted to let our customers know about the schedule change well in advance so they don't have to alter their travel plans at the last minute."

The Badger will be towed by tug to Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for the out-of-the-water inspection in early October and be towed back to Ludington several weeks later. "Avoiding bad weather in late October or early November for the trip home is a real benefit," said company president Bob Manglitz. "The Badger is in very good condition, and we don't expect any surprises when the ship is in dry dock."

The historic 410' car ferry makes one round trip per day, offering fall bargains and a fun travel experience on Lake Michigan during one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. The popular "Kids Go Free" program is still in effect; new this month are a "Fall Senior Travel Package" featuring reduced passenger fares for those 55 and over plus coupons for discounts on food purchases, gift shop items, and stateroom rentals.

For passengers who don't fit into the age categories for kids or seniors, a new fall vehicle discount program allows for $10 off vehicle fares for each full-fare adult traveling with that vehicle. For information or reservations visit


Port Reports - September 3

Twin Ports – Al Miller
It appears that the Twin Ports are experiencing a mild version of the fall grain rush, with several salties and lakers arriving to load grain in recent days. Twenty years ago this annual event, caused by the late summer and fall grain harvest, could bring a ship to every elevator in port simultaneously with others waiting for berths. In recent years, however, the rush has been much more modest, and this season seems to be no exception. On Wednesday, Isadora was loading at CHS grain elevator, Vancouverborg remained at General Mills in Duluth, CSL Laurentien was loading at Peavey in Superior, and Federal Hudson was anchored on the lake waiting for a berth. Elsewhere early Wednesday, Canadian Enterprise was backing under the Blatnik Bridge on its way to dock at the Midwest Energy Terminal. Indiana Harbor and H. Lee White were expected there later in the day. John G. Munson was expected to arrive in the evening to unload stone at the Reiss Inland terminal up the St. Louis River.

Lake Ontario Ports - David Robinson
Wednesday afternoon the barge Endeavour and tug Karen Andrie sailed into Oshawa harbor. Later that evening, English River arrived at Toronto.


Minntac resumes third line; work force near capacity

9/3 - Duluth, Minn. – Nearly a thousand Minntac workers are on the job this week after the restart of a third production line last weekend.

Union leaders say they were told last month that two additional lines would be started in September, but until recently had no idea when exactly that would be and how many workers would be going back.

That uncertainty ended this weekend when a third production line was added, bringing back the majority of remaining laid off workers.

Some of the employees coming back to work had been laid-off for almost six months.

“We’ve got just about everybody back,” said Mike Woods, president of United Steelworkers Local 1938. “They came back this week. I think we’ve got about 35 people that remain on layoff right now.”

Woods said the third line was fired up on Sunday and started producing pellets on Monday.

That means Minntac is producing pellets on three of its five lines, with the addition of a fourth line possible this week.

Woods said that’s an indication that U.S. Steel must have orders for more steel.

About 360 Minntac workers had been operating one production line since June. A second was added in August, bringing employment at the plant back up to 770.

With the start of the third line this week, there are about 950 workers back at Minntac.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Erin DiPietro said the company is continuing to adjust production to stay in line with customer demand.

Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, said manufacturers have depleted steel reserves, and now they need more.

Pagel said the Cash for Clunkers program should result in an additional increase in steel production, but it is unclear how the program will affect long-term demand.

With the likely addition of a fourth line this week, Minntac would be producing at the same level it was before the economy soured.

Duluth News Tribune


United Taconite announces mining increase in Eveleth, other areas

9/3 - Duluth, Minn. – For about 400 hourly workers, the production increase at the subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources means progress toward a 40-hour workweek, according to a news release from the company Wednesday.

The workers have had a 32-hour workweek since November because of weak demand for iron ore.

Production increases through this year will occur at the Thunderbird Mine in Eveleth, Minn., in September, the Fairlane Plant in Forbes, Minn., in October and one of its two furnaces in early November.

Duluth News Tribune


Marine Hall of Fame Banquet planned at Soo

9/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Annual Great Lakes Marine Hall of Fame dinner and induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie. Interlake Steamship Co. Vice President Robert Dorn and the late Interlake V. P. Dewey Ashton are the 2009 inductees.

The Great Lakes Hall of Fame is dedicated to the memory of those explorers, inventors, shipbuilders, sailors and countless others who have made a contribution to the exploration and development of the Great Lakes through the eras of sail, steam and the present. All inductees have made a different, but significant, contribution to the Great Lakes. The honorees plaques are all displayed on the Museum Ship Valley Camp in the Soo.

The Annual Marine Banquet at the Twin Saults was started in 1955 as a continuation of the recognition of the annual opening of navigation on the St. Marys River. The first honoree was John J. Boland, Sr. Others honored over the years are a veritable who's-who of Great Lakes shipping. In 1963, agreement was reached with the Chamber of Commerce of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to broaden the scope of the annual affair to include Canadian interests.

This year’s banquet will be held at the Kewadin Casino beginning at 6 p.m. and tickets are available from the Soo Area Chamber of Commerce (906-632-3301) or the Convention & Visitors Bureau (906-632-3366). Tickets are $35 per guest and guests will receive $10 in casino chips.

The winner of the Soo Locks Visitors Association Interlake freighter trip raffle will be drawn at the banquet.


Updates - September 3

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 3

September 3, 1919, the WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE loaded a record 15,160 tons of soft coal at Toledo, Ohio for delivery to Gary, Indiana. The record lasted less than 24 hours as the D. G. KERR, Captain Harry Harbottle, loaded 15,532 tons of coal at the same Toledo dock for delivery to Gary, Indiana.

September 3, 1942, The 250 foot STEEL VENDOR, Captain G. L. Kane, sank at 3:45 a.m. on Lake Superior with a cargo of 3,000 tons of iron ore. The lone casualty was Oiler John N. Sicken. Twenty-two survivors were rescued by the CHARLES M. SCHWAB, Captain Alfred Drouillard, and 2 survivors were rescued by the WILLIAM G. CLYDE, Captain David M. LeRoy. Other boats standing by were the B. F. AFFLECK, ELBERT H. GARY, JOLIET, and EUGENE P. THOMAS.

September 3, 1957, the HARRIS N. SNYDER of the Boland & Cornelius fleet, Captain Elmer Murray and Chief Engineer Frank Mc Cabe, rescued 2 from the waters of Lake Michigan. Not only did the crew rescue Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Colby, but the crew used the unloading boom to recover their sailboat and place it on the deck of the SNYDER. The entire maneuver only required 55 minutes.

On September 3, 1899, the Great Lakes Towing Company's RED CLOUD (wooden propeller tug, 62 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing on Lake Erie for Lorain, Ohio when a storm forced her to head for port at Cedar Point, Ohio. However she was thrown on a reef and broke in two - a total loss. The crew made it to Sandusky, Ohio.

On September 3, the BELLE RIVER (now WALTER J. McCARTHY, JR.) set a then Great Lakes record for coal when it loaded 62,802 tons of coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal on its maiden voyage. This record has since been surpassed many times.

At Lorain, Ohio keel laying ceremonies for the 437 foot bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) took place on September 3, 1968, and was float-launched December 21, 1968, less ballast tanks because the existing dry dock wasn't wide enough to accommodate her 105 foot width.

SOODOC (Hull#210) of 1976, on her maiden voyage from Collingwood, Ontario, loaded salt at Goderich, Ontario, on September 3, 1976. Renamed b.) AMELIA DESGAGNES in 1990.

U.S. Steel's SEWELL AVERY was laid up for the last time September 3, 1981, at Superior, Wisconsin. She was towed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 1987, where the superstructure was removed and the hull was sunk for use as a dock.

The THOMAS W. LAMONT was laid up for the last time at Duluth’s Hallett dock #6A on September 3, 1981. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 1987.

The H. H. PORTER sailed on her maiden voyage for the Brier Hill Steamship Co. (Pickands, Mather, mgr.) on September 3, 1920, light from Lorain, Ohio, to load iron ore at Two Harbors, Minnesota. Renamed b.) WALTER E. WATSON in 1957 and c.) NATIONAL TRADER in 1973. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1978.

On September 3, 1985, PHILIP R. CLARKE plowed into the Drawbridge Cove Marina in Lorain's Black River damaging 5-10 small craft and sinking one at the steel dock. CLARKE managed to stop before hitting the Route 6 drawbridge.

On September 3,1887, BULGARIA (wooden propeller, 280 foot, 1,888 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan, by J. Davidson, as their hull number 16.

September 3, 1910 - The MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 (Hull#450) was launched in Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. for the Marquette & Bessemer Dock & Navigation Co. She was the replacement for the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 of 1905, (Hull#428), which foundered on Lake Erie, December 7, 1909.

On September 3, 1869, the 167 foot wooden propeller BOSCOBEL burned about two miles below St. Clair, Michigan. Three lives were lost. The ship was only about two years old and was in service of the New York Central Railroad, though owned by the Peshtigo Lumbering Co. of Chicago. The burned hulk was raised in 1876 and rebuilt as a schooner-barge at Algonac, Michigan. She lasted until 1909, when she sank on Lake Huron.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 2

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Saltie Isadora began loading Tuesday at CHS elevator in Superior after spending 10 days at anchor on Lake Superior waiting for its time charter to begin. Vancouverborg continued loading at General Mills in Duluth. James R. Barker was due in late at night for the Midwest Energy Terminal. Most of Great Lakes Fleets active vessels are due in port this week, with John G. Munson due at the Reiss Inland dock on Sept. 2 to unload before proceeding to Silver Bay to load; Presque Isle due at CN Sept. 3; and Edgar B. Speer due at CN to load pellets on Sept. 4.

Rogers City - James Olsson
Monday was an unusually busy day in Rogers City. The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber were in, the Saginaw pulled out for Frontenac to pull in and Joseph H. Thompson went to anchor.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey, Galen Witham and Hunter Maxon
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber moved upriver overnight from the Sargent dock in Essexville to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish unloading. As the pair vacated the Essexville dock, Invincible and McKee Sons took their place to lighter before continuing upriver to finish at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Both vessels were outbound during the day on Tuesday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Canadian Navigator arrived at Redpath Sugar overnight. Stephen B Roman arrived in Toronto port on Sept. 1.


Ken Elliott, active in shipbreaking and harbor development, dies

9/2 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Ken Elliott who scrapped ships in Hamilton under United Metals and Stratherne Terminals, passed away on Aug. 28 after a battle with cancer. Among his many business ventures was recycling old ships, and he was an acknowledged expert. Elliott was also a Hamilton Harbor commissioner for 10 years, during which, Hamilton Harbor became financially self- sufficient. Also a Hamilton Industrial commissioner, his years in office saw much of the harbor fully developed. Elliott’s son Wayne operates International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne, Ont.

Skip Gillham and the St. Catharines Standard


BoatNerd hits landmark with News Gallery photos

9/2 - Today marks the publication of the 900th News Thumbnail Photo Gallery. The photos make up 3.5 gigabytes worth of pictures – about 73,000 images. Previous to the thumbs the news page were text links on the news page. As broadband became more prevalent, BoatNerd went to this format. Thank you to all who have sent in photos for the gallery.


Updates - September 2

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 2

On 02 September 1902, the White Star Line’s TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) hosted President Theodore Roosevelt when he came to Detroit, Michigan, to speak to Spanish American War veterans. The vessel took the president and his party on a sight seeing tour up and down the river while flying the president's blue and gold flag from the main mast.

The BROOKNES (Hull #1177) was launched on September 2, 1970, at Glasgow, Scotland by Lithgows Ltd. for "Langra" Schiffahrsges G.m.b.H. & Co., Hamburg, Germany. Brought to the Lakes in 1976, converted to a self-unloader and renamed b.) ALGOSEA. She sailed most recently as c.) SAUNIERE.

ROBERT KOCH's first trip was on September 2, 1977, up the Welland Canal bound for Buffalo with cement.

The W. F. WHITE was one of the earliest ships built as a self-unloader on the Great Lakes. On her maiden voyage September 2, 1915, the WHITE loaded coal at Erie, Pennsylvania, and sailed for Menominee, Michigan. She was the largest self-unloading bulk carrier on the Lakes at that time with a cargo capacity of 10,500 tons.

The RALPH H. WATSON departed light September 2, 1938, from Detroit, Michigan, upbound to load iron ore at Duluth, Minnesota. She was built as part of a fleet modernization plan for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, of four new "GOVERNOR MILLER' class bulk carriers, the other two were the JOHN HULST and the WILLIAM A. IRVIN. The WATSON was only the fourth steam turbine powered vessel on the Lakes

HUBERT GAUCHER ran aground in the lower St. Lawrence on September 2, 1988. It took three tugs to free her, repairs took place at Quebec City.

ZIEMIA TARNOWSKA lost her engine while docking at Pier 24, in Cleveland, ramming the dock and caused about $100,000 in damage on September 2, 1988. The Polish vessel had minimal damage to her bulbous bow.

On 2 September 1851, BUNKER HILL (wooden sidewheeler, 154 foot, 457 tons, built in 1835, at Black River, Ohio) burned to a total loss at Tonawanda, New York.

The COLONEL ELLSWORTH (wooden schooner, 138 foot, 319 gross tons, built in 1861, at Euclid, Ohio as a bark) was beached on Whitefish Point in Lake Superior the entire winter of 1895-96. She was repaired and put back into service late in the summer of 1896. Then, on 2 September 1896, the newly rebuilt vessel collided with the schooner EMILY B. MAXWELL about 6 miles from White Shoals on Lake Michigan and sank at about 4:00 a.m. Her crew escaped in the yawl and was picked up by the MAXWELL.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - September 1

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Salties were the focus of Twin Ports vessel traffic early Monday, with Marinus Green loading at CHS elevator in Superior and Vancouverborg at the General Mills elevator in Duluth. Isadora remained at anchor on the lake. Elsewhere, American Century was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. Adam E. Cornelius remains in layup at Quebec Pier in Superior’s East End.

Bay of Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Dick Lund and Scott Best
The Marinette Marine-built tug Dublin Sea went out in the bay of Green Bay off Menominee, Mich., for its first round of sea trials on Friday. The tug was out for most of the day and was put through the paces. On Aug. 30, the Bay Shipbuilding-built barge DBL 185 was spotted in the large graving dock at Fincantieri/Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Both the tug and the barge have "Seattle, Washington" listed as their home ports, so they will probably be paired together.
Monday evening in Green Bay the tug G.L. Ostrander and her cement barge Integrity arrived on a beautiful summer evening and headed up the Fox River to Lafarge to unload.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
H. Lee White made her first visit of 2009 to the Saginaw River on Sunday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City during the late morning. Once unloaded, she backed from the slip and headed outbound for the lake later in the day. Monday evening saw Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber inbound for the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Monday, about 5 p.m., American Mariner was heading into the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna with pet coke from Chicago.

Hamilton, Ont.
Eric Holmes Saturday, Hamilton Energy arrived back in port at 4 p.m. from Port Weller. Canadian Prospector arrived at 6 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. On Sunday the Prospector departed at 9:30 a.m. for the canal. Quebecois arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. The tug William J. Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at 3 p.m. for the canal. Monday, Quebecois departed at 5 a.m. for Clarkson. John D. Leitch arrived at 3 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. Cuyahoga arrived at 3:30 p.m. in ballast.


U.S. Steel Canada may be forced to sell its assets

9/1 - Toronto, Ont. - Federal Court has granted intervener status to a company and a union that say they were affected by the closure of most of U.S. Steel's Ontario operations - a decision lawyers say could result in an auction of the steelmaker's Canadian assets. Lakeside Steel Inc., the junior Canadian company that successfully filed for intervener status in the case that will address whether U.S. Steel broke promises made to Ottawa, will argue that U.S. Steel's Canadian assets should be sold.

The court will decide whether U.S. Steel was justified in breaking production and employment guarantees it made to the federal government when it bought the former Stelco in 2006. Lakeside already owns Stelco's steel pipe and tubular assets, which it bought in 2005, a year after Stelco filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.

In court, Lakeside argued that as a customer of U.S. Steel it was affected by the closure of the company's mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont. It also described itself as "a ready, willing and able potential purchaser" of U.S. Steel's Canadian operations.

The United Steelworkers union was also granted intervener status in the case. Steelworkers lawyer Robert Champagne said more than 1,600 union members have been laid off by U.S. Steel and another 720 have retired since last November.

"These individuals and their families... suffered serious financial hardship, stress and uncertainty as a result of their layoffs or have found themselves in a position of having to take an earlier retirement than they might otherwise have wanted to take due to the uncertainty of their employment," Champagne argued in court, adding that the union has also suffered from a loss of dues, stature and bargaining power.

The union will ask for compensation for all affected workers, said Bill Ferguson, president of Steelworkers Local 8782 which represents U.S. Steel workers in Nanticoke.

"This was the first step in being able to recognize that it was an inappropriate act to close the mill in the first place... and it's the first step towards getting our blast furnace lit and running again," Ferguson said outside court. It will provide us with some consistency or some feeling of consistency anyway."

U.S. Steel lawyer Michael Barrack had argued that the rights of Lakeside and the United Steelworkers had not been affected by the shutdown and they could not ask for intervener status on solely economic grounds. He also argued that allowing them intervener status would create "open season" for anyone else who feels they should have a say, but prothonotary Martha Milczynski disagreed.

She will release her reasons in a written submission next week and the court will reconvene on Sept. 11.

U.S. Steel shut most of its Ontario operations this spring, amid a major downturn in the auto industry and other sectors that use steel produced at the plants.

As of May, the workforce at U.S. Steel's Canadian operations had shrunk to only 23 per cent of the more than 3,000 workers it promised to employ when it took over Stelco, according to the legal application made by the federal government. Since then, 800 workers have been recalled to the Hamilton plant.

The Pittsburgh-based company also repeatedly broke production promises it made, with the amount of steel produced by its Canadian operations as of May representing "a small fraction" of the amount it was required to produce on an annualized basis, the documents say.

The company has argued the global recession left it with no choice and it shouldn't be held responsible for "factors beyond their control."

The government is asking for a court order mandating U.S. Steel to meet its promises or face a $10,000 daily fine. Seeking a court order to force a company to maintain job commitments is an unusual step for Ottawa, but it reflects growing unease in the country about the takeover of Canada's steel and mining industries.

Canada's big steelmakers - the former Stelco, Dofasco, Algoma Steel and Ipsco - have all been acquired in recent years by foreign companies in a wave of consolidation.

Steel output has taken a beating from the recession, which has hurt demand for everything from vehicles to household appliances.

The Canadian Press


$1 billion proposed in 2010 for Great Lakes restoration

9/1 - Washington, D.C. - Congress is poised to nearly double its funding commitment to the Great Lakes, adding up to $475 million for restoration that would deter invasive species, clean up polluted sites and create jobs in Michigan and the region.

Earth-mover Craig Hamlin is encouraged because a surge in federal funds could mean new business.

Since home building went bust in Michigan, Hamlin has kept his business going by digging up land to create wetlands instead of basements.

"Great Lakes work is pretty much all there is," said Hamlin, whose bulldozers, other heavy equipment and crews are transforming 70 acres of corn and bean farmland in Newport into a wetlands habitat for migratory birds along Lake Erie.

"These Great Lakes jobs affect a lot of people," added Hamlin of Hamlin Grading in Stockbridge. "Beyond my own workers, probably another 150 people end up getting work, by making pipes, or pumps and other materials we use."

The unprecedented amount of money being considered for the Great Lakes reflects President Barack Obama's pledge on the campaign trail of $5 billion for large-scale restoration.

Obama asked Congress for $475 million to get started. Already the federal government appropriates about $550 million a year to Great Lakes programs, which environmentalists expect will continue. If all goes as advocates hope, Congress would be committing about $1 billion to the Great Lakes in fiscal year 2010.

"This is a Great Lakes president," said Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Flint, noting Obama built his career in Illinois. "He really cares about the Lakes because he knows them."

The House passed Obama's requested amount in June. The Senate seeks less money -- $400 million -- in a bill that could pass as early as mid-September.

Whatever funding level a House-Senate conference committee agrees on is expected to pass since it's part of a larger appropriations bill to fund the Interior Department.

"I'm very hopeful we'll get the higher level of funding," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

But spokesman Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union says pumping federal dollars into cleanup efforts might create jobs in the short term but will hurt businesses in the long run.

The jobs are "paid for by deficit spending," he said. "That means when Michigan business wants to borrow money to expand, they'll have trouble because the federal government will be swamping the credit market."

But advocates say the high funding levels mean more than jobs. They will also mean cleaner water for boaters, swimmers and wildlife.

They hope Congress will sustain funding at the higher level. The House bill asks the Environmental Protection Agency to draw up a five-year cleanup plan at the higher funding levels.

Lynn Vaccaro, project coordinator of the Michigan Sea Grant, predicts state programs could get roughly one-third of the money. She pointed out that 58 percent of the Great Lakes' U.S. shorelines are in Michigan, as are 44 percent of the contaminated "areas of concern" in U.S. feeder rivers and harbors.

Only Michigan lies completely in the basin. The other Great Lakes states are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Drawing on an analysis by the Brookings Institution, Vaccaro predicts that if $475 million was appropriated annually over five years, about $2 billion to $4.3 billion in economic activity could be created in Michigan.

That reflects expected spending increases on everything from fishing rods and beer to kayaks and charter boats. Plus, the value of homes and other property around previously contaminated areas would rise.

The funding boost would help businesses and wildlife groups alike.

For example, Michigan Ducks Unlimited received a $146,000 federal grant to help pay for the $220,000 wetlands project Hamlin is working on. With private donations falling off due to the economy, federal grants are critical to such groups.

"This money will be a two-fold blessing, both financially and ecologically," said Paul Hess, a biologist for Ducks Unlimited.

Depending on how much is appropriated, including separate outlays for sewage-facility upgrades, the health of the Great Lakes will show "significant improvement" within five years, with cleaner beaches, healthier fish, fewer invasive species and less pollution slipping into the system through rivers and streams, says Andy Buchsbaum, the Great Lakes project director at the National Wildlife Federation.

He said the funding would allow "us to start bringing the Great Lakes back to health rapidly and effectively."

The president's request includes:
• $146 million for cleaning up pollution in sediment in feeder rivers and harbors before it flows into the Lakes.
• $105 million to protect and restore habitat and wildlife.
• $97 million to stop "nonpoint" pollution, such as farm fertilizer and oil runoff, that closes beaches and leads to fish kills.
• $65 million to evaluate how the Lakes and wildlife are responding to cleanup efforts.
• $60 million for combating zebra mussels and other invasive species, which the EPA has estimated cause up to $5 billion in damage a year in the Great Lakes basin by destroying fisheries, clogging power plants' pipes and reducing property values.

The Senate version targets money similarly, but in smaller amounts.

Chad Lord, the policy director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says whatever amount Congress agrees on can only be a start.

"The problems are so huge that we'll need a sustained, multiyear commitment from both the administration and the Congress to fix 100 percent of the problems facing the Great Lakes," Lord said.

Detroit News


Algoma Care Bears raffle and book sale Sept. 10

9/1 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The Algoma Care Bears are hosting a fundraising raffle and book sale on Sept.10 outside their office building at 63 Church Street (at James) in St. Catharines. The event is being held in an effort to maximize fundraising dollars for the CIBC Run for the Cure.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure is the largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event in Canada. In 2008 over 170,000 participants raised over $28.5 million nationwide.

On October 4, Algoma Central Corporation will be participating once again with a team. Last year, teams raised more than 70 percent of all the donations collected in this extraordinary event to support breast cancer research, education and awareness programs.

We will be joining individuals coast-to-coast to honor survivors and remember those who have lost their battle with breast cancer.

Raffle items include sports tickets and golf at Legends of Niagara.


Updates - September 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery and more News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 1

September 1, 1880, the Cleveland Vessel Owners Association, later Lake Carriers’ Association, was created with Alva Bradley as its first president.

September 1, 1892, the upbound WESTERN RESERVE, flagship of the Kinsman fleet, sank approximately 60 miles above Whitefish Point. There were 31 casualties among the crew and passengers. The lone survivor was Wheelsman Harry W. Stewart.

On 01 September 1891, EDWARD H. JENKS (wooden propeller freighter, 119 foot over all, 180 gross tons, built in 1882, at Port Dover, Ontario as the passenger/package freight steamer E.M. FOSTER) was carrying limestone up the Detroit River during a foggy night when she collided with GEORGE W. MORLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 193 foot, 1,045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) in a misunderstanding of passing signals. Three were killed in the collision and the JENKS quickly sank at Ballard's Reef on the Detroit River. Her cargo kept her in place until she was recovered the following month and rebuilt.

Tragedy struck four days after the launch of the AGAWA CANYON, September 1, 1970, when the ship was rocked by an engine room explosion, killing one of the crew and injuring seven more. The AGAWA CANYON entered service in November, 1970, equipped with four 10 cylinder, two stroke cycle, single acting opposed piston diesel engines, built in 1970, by Fairbanks, Morse (Canada), Kingston, Ontario. Total bhp 6,680. Rated service speed: 12 knots (13.8 mph).

The TEMPLE BAR (Hull#101G) was launched September 1, 1970, at Govan, Scotland by the Govan Division of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. for Lambert Bros. (Shipping) Ltd., London, England. Renamed b.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1977, c.) LAKETON in 1984, d.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1986, and e.) ALGONORTH in 1987.

Upon her arrival at Quebec City on September 1, 1962, the LAKE WINNIPEG was the first vessel of the Nipigon Transport Ltd. (Carryore Ltd., mgr.) fleet.

The self-unloader B.H. TAYLOR (Hull#787) was launched September 1, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., the third self-unloader built for the Bradley Transportation Co., Rogers City, Michigan. Renamed b.) ROGERS CITY in 1957. Scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1988.

From September 1, 1947, to September 15, 1959, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

On 1 September 1854, ABIAH (2-mast wooden schooner or brig, 134 foot, 353 tons, built in 1848, at Irving, New York) was sailing light from Chicago, Illinois, to Oconto, Wisconsin, when she capsized and sank in a squall about 10 miles off Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The schooner L. LUDDINGTON rescued her crew and 2 passengers.

The 135 foot wooden schooner JOSEPH E. SPARROW was launched at Bangor, Michigan, on 1 September 1873.

On 1 September 1900, the Canadian steamer ADVANCE (wooden propeller package freighter, 168 foot, 1,178 gross tons, built in 1884, at St. Catharines, Ontario) was placed in service. In August 1899, when she was named SIR S. L. TILLEY, she had caught fire off shore, about 7 miles from Fairport, Ohio, and was destroyed. However, the hull was later recovered and used as the basis of the steamer ADVANCE. She lasted in this role until 1903, when she burned again.

September 1, 1919 - A switchman was killed in the yard at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, while the ANN ARBOR No. 6 was being loaded. This caused a delay of four hours in her sailing time.

September 1, 1931 - W. L. Mercereau retired as superintendent of steamships, a position he had held since 1899.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


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