Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay returns to Cleveland following 14-month overhaul

9/30 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay returned to homeport in Cleveland Tuesday following a 14-month Service Life Extension Project at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore.

SLEP is a major mid-life overhaul that is expected to extend the cutter's service life 15 years.

Morro Bay is one of nine 140-foot WTGB icebreaking tugs built between the late 1970s and early 1980s in Tacoma, Wa. Having served on the Great Lakes, mid-Atlantic and New England waterways for more than three decades, the WTGBs were due for a mid-life overhaul. Morro Bay is the first of the class to undergo SLEP.

Major SLEP work items included renewal of the crew's berthing and messdeck, comprehensive navigation and steering systems upgrades, main propulsion motor overhaul, and installation of a new engine room water-mist fire fighting system and a modern small boat davit system.

Additionally, the icebreaking bubbler system located on the fantail was decommissioned, and a new bubbler system was installed in the engine room. This large diesel engine and its compressor required plenty of space, so the ship's service diesel generators were moved to make room. The cutter was also sandblasted and painted top to bottom, stem to stern.

With the cutter in SLEP, Morro Bay's crew maintained icebreaking proficiency by crew-swapping with the cutter's sister ship Neah Bay, also homeported in Cleveland, during the 2014-2015 icebreaking season.



Bay Shipbuilding tug and barge christening held Tuesday

9/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding Co./Fincantieri held a christening for the tug Leigh Ann Moran and the barge the Mississippi Tuesday morning in Sturgeon Bay.

The owner of the tug is Moran Towing Corp., which is leasing the tug for five years to Chevron Shipping Co. The tug is named after longtime Chevron employee Bill Engibous' wife, Leigh Ann Engibous. The Engibouses – who have both worked for Chevron – and their four children attended the event at Bay Ship. The Mississippi is named after the state where Leigh Ann Engibous was born and where the couple met and married.

The ATB type tug Leigh Ann is 121 feet long and 36 feet wide. The tug and barge are expected to head to Corpus Christi, Texas, to be turned over to the Chevron Shipping Co.

A number of local dignitaries, including Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham and state Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, attended the event along with more than 500 Bay Ship employees.

Paul R. Tregurtha, founder and chairman of Moran Towing Corp., gave the ceremony’s opening address.

"It’s so great to see all of you who have physically have hands on doing the welding, bending the pipe, putting in the electrical things," Tregurtha said to the crowd. “It’s because of your work and pride you obviously take in efficiency, that we have this beautiful tug and barge. I can assure you we will make you proud of how we are going to use it."

Francesco Valente, president and CEO of Fincatieri, praised the Bay Ship workers and called Tuesday a “great day.”

"I say it’s a great day as it marks the continuation of a great partnership between Bay Shipbuilding, Moran and Interlake (Steamship Co.),” Valente said.

Bay Shipbuilding still has another tug and barge to complete for Moran.

Bill Engibous christened the Mississippi and Leigh Ann christened her namesake. The Rev. Anthony Birdsall blessed the tug and barge. Leigh Ann Engibous called the tug being named after her “amazing.”

“It’s something I never thought would happen to me,” she said after the ceremony. A number of her friends came along to witness the ceremony.

Green Bay Press Gazette


CSL retires Birchglen and Mapleglen as part of fleet renewal program

9/30 - Montreal, QC – In the past week, Canada Steamship Lines bid farewell to two distinguished ladies – Birchglen and Mapleglen– as they set sail on their final journey. The two bulk carriers are en route to Turkey, where they will be responsibly recycled at an eco-friendly shipyard.

The dismantling of the two mature vessels is part of CSL's fleet optimization and capacity management programs. Since 2012, the Great Lakes shipping company has introduced six new state-of-the-art Trillium Lakers and taken four older and less efficient ships out of service.

"Great Lakes shipping is a mature market, it isn't growing," said Allister Paterson, President of Canada Steamship Lines. "Our Trillium program has always been about renewing our fleet, not growing it."

As new ships equipped with advanced technology continue to improve the operational and environmental performance of Great Lakes shipping, companies like CSL must adapt to maintain a fine balance between new tonnage and market demand.

"CSL invested in the most efficient, safe, and environmentally-responsible ships for the future of Great Lakes shipping," noted Paterson. "Now it is time to responsibly recycle some of the vessels that have defined our past."

The recycling of Birchglen and Mapleglen is scheduled to begin at a facility in Aliağa, Turkey, in mid-October, and will be conducted in full compliance with international rules and regulations, and with CSL's own rigorous ship recycling policy.

Birchglen was delivered from a Scottish shipyard in 1983 and began serving Canada Steamship Lines in 2002 when CSL bought the vessel from Fednav. The ship made history in July 2010 when she carried the largest cargo of windmill parts into the Great Lakes from Gros Cacouna, Quebec, to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Mapleglen was built in Hoboken, Belgium in 1981 and was purchased by CSL in October 2008. She was a steady workhorse for the company until 2014.

Canada Steamship Lines


Port Reports -  September 30

Lorain, Ohio – Drew Leonard
Joseph H. Thompson passed under the Henderson bridge at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday.


Lookback #682 – Joe S. Morrow sank City of London on Sept. 30, 1913

The steel steamer Joe S. Morrow was no match for the wooden freighter City of London when the two collided in Lake Erie off Point Pelee 102 years ago today. The overwhelmed City of London sank as a total loss. The hull was considered a hazard to navigation and had to be dynamited in 1914.

Joe S. Morrow had been built at Lorain in 1907 and served several owners, including the well-known Cleveland Steamship Co., the Interlake Steamship Co., American Steamship Co. and Kinsman Marine Transit, as well as the Red Arrow Steamship Co. of the Reiss fleet, all without a change in name.

Only 440 feet long, it found a niche later in its career as a grain carrier delivering smaller loads to smaller storage elevators. It usually discharged at Buffalo before loading coal for the trip back up the lakes. On occasion, Joe S. Morrow was known to come down the Welland Canal for Oswego, New York.

Joe S. Morrow unloaded its last cargo at Cleveland in Nov. 1973. It was sold to Marine Salvage and came down the Welland Canal, under tow of the tugs C.O. Paradis and Oklahoma on Dec. 3,1973, and spent the winter on the St. Lawrence. Following a resale to Spanish shipbreakers, it departed behind the tug Jantar, and in tandem with Henry LaLiberte, on April 19, 1974. The trio arrived at Santander on May 8, delivering the two veteran lake freighters for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


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 railroad 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 was 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.

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

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.

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 then 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.

1906: The first FAYETTE BROWN ran into the pier entering Lorain, became disabled and stranded on the beach. The ship was refloated with considerable damage. It last operated as c) GLENMOUNT in 1923 and was scrapped about 1928.

1913: CITY OF LONDON sank off Point Pelee, Lake Erie after a collision with the JOE S. MORROW. The hull was later dynamited as an obstacle to navigation.

1964: DUNDRUM BAY was a pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes on charter to the Hall Corporation. The vessel was driven aground on this date as f) ESITO near Necochea, Argentina, while traveling in ballast. The hull broke in two and was a total loss.

1965: PROTOSTATIS, a Greek Liberty ship, went aground on Traverse Shoal, Lake Ontario, while enroute from Detroit to Genoa, Italy, with a cargo of scrap. The vessel was lightered and refloated with the aid of tugs. It went to Kingston to anchor and reload in the shelter of Wolfe Island.

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


Canada Steamship Lines expands saltwater fleet

9/29 - While we won't see these ships on the Great Lakes, Canada Steamship Lines has added two newly-purchased vessels to their ocean-going operations. One has been given a name that will bring back memories to many of our readers.

The historic name of Donnacona is again sailing in the CSL fleet. This new ship was acquired from Stema Shipping and will serve in Australian coastal service. The self-unloading bulk carrier was built at Neuenfelde, Germany, and completed on May 23, 2001, for Stema Shipping. It has operated as a) Stones around Europe until being sold to CSL in May 2015.

The 546 foot 11 inch long Stones headed from Hamburg to Australia via Port Said, the Suez Canal and on to Thevenard, Austrailia. There the 28,115 deadweight capacity vessel was renamed b) Donnacona.

The first Donnacona was a small bulk carrier and then package freighter built in 1900, for trading through the St. Lawrence and Third Welland Canal of the day. It joined the original CSL fleet in 1913 and was requisitioned for saltwater service during World War 1. Donnacona foundered in the Atlantic on Sept. 19, 1915, after heroically battling a storm for 16 days. The vessel, on a voyage from Sydney, NS, to Maryport, U.K., with ferro-manganese ore, finally succumbed to the elements and, once they realized their vessel was doomed, the crew scuttled the ship to make sure it did not fall into enemy hands. All on board were saved.

The second Donnacona shares the record of having the longest tenure in the CSL fleet. It was built as W. Grant Morden in 1914 and was renamed b) Donnacona (ii) in 1925. This 625 foot long bulk carrier was the largest Canadian ship on the Great Lakes when it was launched on April 4, 1914. As such, it set a number of Great Lakes cargo records including those for oats, wheat, iron ore and barley. It carried its final cargo in 1969. Following a sale to Spanish shipbreakers, Donnacona was towed to Bilbao arriving on July 12, 1969, to be broken up. With 56 years in CSL service, it shares the company longevity record with the Midland Prince.

The new Donnacona replaces CSL Pacific, which had provided excellent service to the company since 2000 and had previously sailed as a) Selwyn Range and b) River Torrens. This 1977-vintage bulk carrier had worked along the south and east coasts of Australia with trips to New Zealand and Tasmania. It also carried sand from China to Japan for two years. This vessel arrived at Xinhui,China, for dismantling on April 8, 2015.

The second new addition to the CSL fleet is CSL Frontier. This 646 foot, 8 inch long by 105 foot, 8 inch wide self-unloader had been built at Ulsan, South Korea, and completed on Nov. 14, 2001, for Gypsum Transportation Ltd. Originally the Gypsum Centennial, it operated along the Atlantic seaboard carrying gypsum from Hantsport or Little Narrows, Nova Scotia, to U.S. destinations. In recent years the vessel has worked around West Africa carrying iron ore from Sierra Leone. It will now trade on behalf of CSL Americas.

Skip Gillham


Time tested: Superior's Fraser Shipyards celebrates 125 years

9/29 - Superior, Wis. – In the shadow of the Blatnik Bridge, with traffic streaming noisily overhead, shipyard mechanics and crewmembers crawled about a rapid response craft belonging to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The vessel was on blocks like a coupe in the driveway, but in the water it can hit upwards of 55 mph. There aren’t many vessels on the water that can outrun it, said James Farkas, senior vice president of operations for Fraser Shipyards Inc.

The twin-engine vessel wouldn’t be finished until it received a fresh coat of paint. “The Coast Guard is very particular about the look of their vessels,” Farkas said.

The Coast Guard craft seemed to stand as a metaphor for Fraser Shipyards. Now celebrating its 125th year, the 60-plus-acre shipyard has experienced a series of iterations — becoming more nimble with each one.

It’s still a home to some of the more modest-sized wintering lake freighters that will anchor or nestle into its two dry docks for maintenance and repairs.

“We’re more of a repair yard now,” said Farkas in talking about lake freighters, “as opposed to a construction yard.”

Lately, Fraser Shipyards also has embraced mining by fabricating steel drums and other structures for the Iron Range. Under the moniker of its Duluth-based corporate holding company, Capstan Corp., the yard has even tackled aluminum construction with the subsidiary Lake Assault Boats — swift craft engineered from scratch that are favored by law enforcement and fire-and-rescue agencies.

The shipyard also will assemble crews at a moment’s notice to work off-site. Their mechanics will pile into a heavy-duty pickup and haul out at any hour to ports across the Great Lakes in the name of service and repair.

Just before Labor Day, Fraser sent a crew sailing down U.S. Highway 2 across Wisconsin to Escanaba, Mich., for repair work there.

“It’s a revenue thing,” Farkas said. “A ship that’s sitting is not making revenue.”

The yard’s ability to jump to work at a moment’s notice recalled a letter it once received in the middle of the last century from the late Henry Steinbrenner, a shipping magnate and father of the late George Steinbrenner, the famous New York Yankees owner.

One of Henry Steinbrenner’s ships was damaged and couldn’t make it to one of his yards in Lake Erie. It docked for repairs in the finger of water called Howard’s Pocket that Fraser calls home in east Superior.

“He was so impressed with the work and speed,” said Joel Johnson, whose family used to own the shipyard. “It was faster out than what his own shipyards would do. Anything coming up this way later he said he’d use Fraser. It was kind of a neat letter.”

Johnson is the owner of Lakehead Boat Basin on Park Point. He was 2 years old when his grandfather and uncle, Henry and Eigil Knudsen, respectively, sold the shipyard. Johnson, 63, learned the maritime industry at the knee of his grandfather. Though never a shipbuilder, Johnson took over the Lakehead marina when he was 14 and has been there since, training generations of his own.

Johnson recalled riding through neighborhoods with his Grandpa Hank. They’d stop and mingle. A one-time shipbuilder, and a primary philanthropist for Superior’s first hospital, Hank always carried a pack of spearmint gum. He would pick out a stick of gum and snap it in two, lighting the nostrils of a young neighborhood kid with the scent.

“We gotta share,” Hank would tell the young boy before handing over the gum.

“I learned a lot from him,” Johnson said. “People nowadays learn business or social skills. Looking back, it was one of those lessons. You gotta share a little bit.”

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority, in its winter 2003 magazine, described Fraser Shipyard as starting when Alexander McDougall moved his whaleback shipbuilding operation from Duluth to the underdeveloped strip in Superior. It rose to prominence after McDougall installed the first of its “graving” or dry docks, built of timber. It was the first dry dock on Lake Superior and, for a while, the largest on the Great Lakes. Thirty lake vessels and 25 oceangoing vessels were built there through World War I.

But after pumping out ships and barges for many years — going from its original American Steel Barge Co., to Superior Ship Building Co., to American Ship Building Co. — it felt its age.

The Knudsen family resurrected the yard when they owned it from 1945 to 1959. They blended their small machine shop, Northern Engineering, into the yard, and that business still specializes in marine repair to this day.

Johnson recalled tales passed down from his grandfather about mid-century glory years at the shipyard. Crews of 400 employees turned the shipyard into a bustling industrial enterprise. There were sometimes up to 20 architects on staff, directing work on an endless stream of vessels.

An employee at the yard, Robert M. Fraser, took over in the late 1950s, following Eigil (Ike’s) death. Bursting with enthusiasm, Fraser led the shipyard into a renaissance — the first vessel-lengthening projects — halving freighters and adding whole new sections in the middle — replacing boilers, converting ships to self-unloaders and installing bow thrusters.

“My grandfather couldn’t run it by himself,” Johnson said, describing how Fraser was chosen over other interested parties for his vigor and ability to keep the yard as local as possible and away from those who would revamp the mission.

“The fact that the company has been rooted in the Twin Ports for 125 years is testament to their craftsmanship and resiliency in riding the commodity cycles we all experience,” said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Al Jacobson has worked for Fraser since 1971. Outfitted in gray bib overalls, he’s looking forward to the day he retires this December. At 63, he’s sharp-minded and lean in the frame. Working in a steel shop will do that to a man.

“I enjoy it myself,” he said. “I get along with the foreman and I listen to what everyone has to say.”

With the garage doors open on a sunny day, he cut steel on a table using a brilliant blue flame. He’ll also operate rolling machines that bend the heavy metal.

“I made a whole mess of bilge plates last year,” he said.

Fraser might not bustle with 400 employees any longer, but it’s still a viable home for Northland boilermakers, machinists, mechanics and engineers all the same.

“Fraser is a very major industry in our community,” said Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen. “They’ve employed a lot of people over the years and they continue to be a strong member of the community. I appreciate their presence every day.”

The shipyard continues to adapt in the ever-changing industry. Most American shipbuilding has migrated to the Gulf of Mexico. The 1,000-foot vessels that sail the lakes today have pressed the yard to improve, and it’s in the midst of a multiphase, $10 million update that is adding to its total dock footage.

Farkas said he’s just now looking ahead to the winter season, hoping for another shipping offseason of berthings that amount to the busiest time of year at the yard, when 15,000 to 20,000 hours of work comes available.

There’s a sign at the entrance to the Fraser yard that said the company is hiring. Farkas said he figures to be lining up a half-dozen or more ships in the coming months that will berth through the winter at Fraser and at other docks around the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Fraser’s foothold in the largest loading harbor on the Great Lakes helps make it the viable business it continues to be. Repairs can be made on the fly, minimizing downtime for loading and unloading vessels. Ships coming out of winter layup can load and go as soon as the season begins anew every March.

Even after 125 years of familiarity, it’s not taken for granted.

“Fraser Shipyards has played an important role in the evolution of the Port of Duluth-Superior and the entire Great Lakes maritime industry as they’ve built, serviced and repaired multiple generations of bulk freighters,” Coda said. “It’s part of the critical infrastructure needed to operate a port of this magnitude.”

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  September 29

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson and her tug were in port in Monday. They departed around 5:30 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was departing the Welland Canal and headed for Buffalo 3:30 p.m. Monday.


Lookback #681 – Former Ace stranded and sank off Canada's West Coast on Sept. 28-29, 1946

Ace was one of the World War One “lakers.” It was built at Lorain, Ohio, as a) Lake Frohna and delivered to the U.S. Shipping Board on July 8, 1919. The ship left for the Atlantic and service between U.S. East Coast ports and the United Kingdom.

After being laid up at Staten Island, the Lake Frohna was sold and returned to the Great Lakes in 1924 for the Minnesota-Atlantic Transit Co. and began sailing as b) Ace in 1925. It was rebuilt as a package freighter and saw service between Port Huron and Duluth but later traded east to Buffalo.

The 261 foot long carrier was requisitioned for World War Two service and delivered to the United States Maritime Commission at Boston in Sept. 1941 for work under the U.S. Army Quartermaster's Corp. Renamed c) Brig. Gen. M.G. Zalinski, the ship saw service on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The vessel was on a voyage from Seattle, Wash., to Whittier, Alaska, with army supplies when it stranded in a driving rain during the night of Sept. 28-29, 1946, and sank within 20 minutes near Pitt Island, British Columbia. The crew were rescued by the tug Sally N. and taken to the fishing village of Butedale.

The hull was discovered resting upside down on the bottom in June 2011. The cargo of bombs and munitions remains on board and, although at a depth of over 80 feet of water, they are still considered a hazard.

Skip Gillham


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.

1974: J.A.Z. DESGAGNES and HAVRE ST. PIERRE collided while trying to pass on the St. Lawrence. The former often visited the Great Lakes but was scrapped in Croatia as e) A. LEGRAND in 2003-2004. The latter, originally a Dutch coastal vessel, worked on the St. Lawrence and around Eastern Canada but was deleted from Lloyds Register in 1999.

1982: ATLANTIC SUPERIOR went aground off Wellesley Island in the American Narrows of the St. Lawrence. This new member of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet was released October 1 and repaired at Thunder Bay. It was back on the Great Lakes in 2012.

EASTERN FRIENDSHIP first came to the Great Lakes in 1986. It had been stranded off the coast of Bangladesh as d) TONY BEST since April 10, 1993. While refloated on June 21, the anchors dragged on July 24 and the ship went aground again. The hull later cracked and the ship sank on this date in 1993.

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


Mapleglen sailed Sunday for Aliaga, Turkey, scrapyard

9/28 - The Canada Steamship Lines’ bulk carrier Mapleglen (iii) departed Montreal under her own power for a rendezvous with Turkish shipbreakers at Aliaga on Sept. 27. The vessel shows an ETA for Oct. 17.

Mapleglen was originally part of the Fednav fleet. It was built at the Cockerill shipyard in Hoboken, Belgium, with a launching date of Jan. 19, 1981. The vessel was completed as a) Federal Maas (i) in April and was soon engaged in Seaway service.

On the first visit to the Great Lakes in 1981, Federal Maas arrived at Toronto with a mixed cargo that included steel, aluminum, coffee, brandies, herbs and bicycle rims. The 730 foot long by 76 foot, 3 inch wide freighter was registered at 21,661 gross tons and able to carry 35,630 tons deadweight at saltwater draft. Burmeister & Wain diesel engines provided 11,600 bhp of power.

The ship was a regular Seaway trader although it was idle at Antwerp, Belgium, for part of 1987. Registry was changed from Belgium to Cyprus later in 1987.

An unusual cargo was delivered to Montreal on June 17, 1992. On board Federal Maas was a vintage Swedish steam locomotive for the tourist run between Ottawa, Ont., and Wakefield, Que. This had been loaded in Germany.

During the 1993 season, Federal Maas set a Great Lakes record for a saltwater vessel by loading 25,747 metric tonnes of wheat at Thunder Bay.

After making five trips through the Seaway in 1994, this ship was sold to Lake Michigan Inc. and registered in the Marshall Islands as b) Lake Michigan. On the first trip upbound through the Seaway on April 28, 1995, Lake Michigan was carrying steel for delivery to Toronto, Hamilton and Toledo.

In August 1995, Lake Michigan loaded in Brazil and took on 25,100 tons of steel for Sorel, Hamilton, Detroit and Chicago. It also had 4,000 tons of pig iron for New Haven, CT and 1,000 metric tonnes of granite for Quebec City. On the way out of the lakes, the ship loaded 25,214 M.T. of low sulfur coal at Superior for El Ferrol, Spain.

Lake Michigan was a regular trader in and out of the Great Lakes from 1995 through 2008. It was on freshwater each of those years except for 2005 when it concentrated on deep-sea routes. Steel bars and coils, were major cargoes during these years but the ship also carried potash, wheat, corn, pea beans, flaxseed, coke and sunflower seeds.

Lake Michigan was sold to Canada Steamship Lines and registered at Montreal on Oct. 22, 2008. The ship visited the Great Lakes, still as Lake Michigan but with a C.S.L. stack, later in the year. It was sailing under the Canadian flag and then renamed c) Mapleglen (iii) in 2009. The latter was upbound in the Seaway for the first time on Sept. 24, 2009, and headed from Quebec City to Hamilton.

Mapleglen served C.S.L. until tying up at Montreal on Dec. 24, 2014. The vessel remained idle through 2015 until departing, under its own power, for the scrapyard, on Sept. 27.

Skip Gillham, Ron Beaupre


Bramble shakes out the bugs in Lake Huron

9/28 - Port Huron, Mich. – Problems with a generator, problems with mooring equipment — the volunteer crew members of the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble were having problems Saturday getting the ship ready for sea trials in lake Huron.

“Welcome to the military,” shouted one crew member. “Hurry up and wait.”

Eventually the 71-year-old Bramble, with a crew of 29 volunteers, left its berth at the Bean Dock at about 12:45 p.m. and cruised majestically beneath the Blue Water Bridge and into Lake Huron.

Retired Coast Guard Capt. Charlie Park was happy to be aboard.

Park, who lives in Yorktown, Va., with his wife, Carol, was the captain of the Bramble and was based in Port Huron from 1978 to 1980. “Every old Coast Guardsman is drawn to be back on his old ship,” Carol Park said.

“I’d come back tomorrow if they’d let me,” Charlie Park said.

Bob and Carol Klingler own the Bramble, which was decommissioned in 2003. They purchased it from the Port Huron Museum in 2013.

The ship’s first set of sea trials was in June — the first time it had been under its own power since 2008. “You run everything and quite frankly you shake out the bugs,” Klingler said. “The ship’s been sitting for a while. We shook out the bugs and we repaired the bugs.”

The crew Saturday was able to do tests at the dock and conduct a man overboard drill.

Pat Shirkey, of Marysville, was one of the volunteers aboard the Bramble. “I am very fortunate to be on this,” she said. “It’s fun and it’s a good experience — and I love the water.”

Dan Gallagher, of the Lakes Pilots Association, was in charge of guiding the Bramble through the St. Clair River and into Lake Huron. He said having the ship moored at the Seaway Terminal’s Bean Dock is an asset for the community.

Klingler said the Bramble, because of its history and the history it preserves, is like a time capsule. “It’s been around for 70-some years,” he said. “It actually has been under Coast Guard usage for 60. ...

“It has years of people’s lives that have been on board,” he said. “You’re looking at 60 years of actually having about 50 people on board every day.”

Park said he was having a good time. “I always have fun,” he said. “I’m 73 years old. In a few years when they bring me here in a wheelchair ... I would still want to be here.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  September 28

Port Inland, Mich.
Joseph L. Block arrived a on Sunday in the morning. They will be heading to Cedarville for arrival in the late evening Sunday. Also due is the Wilfred Sykes in the early morning on Monday. John G. Munson is due on Tuesday in the late afternoon. On Wednesday, Port Inland is expected to have a scheduled power outage from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Cedarville, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Sunday in the late evening, coming from Port Inland.

Grand Haven, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes arrived mid-morning Sunday to unload slag.

Stoneport, Mich.
John D. Leitch made a rare appearance loading at Stoneport on Saturday and they were due to depart at 3 a.m. on Sunday, September 27. There were no vessels expected at Stoneport for Sunday. Due to arrive on Monday is the Philip R. Clarke in the early morning to load.

Calcite, Mich.
Buffalo loaded on Saturday and was expected to depart around 7 p.m. There are no vessels scheduled until Wednesday, when the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann are expected to arrived in the late afternoon for the South Dock. H. Lee White is expected to arrive on Thursday in the late evening for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
A busy Sunday in Toledo had the Michipicoten expected to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock to unload during the late afternoon. Also due is the Saginaw on Wednesday, September 30 in the early morning, followed by the Frontenac on Saturday, October 3 in the late afternoon/early evening. At the Torco Dock, the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber were expected to arrive on Sunday in the late afternoon/early evening unloading taconite. Also due at Torco is the Manitowoc, expected to arrive on Thursday, October 1 just after midnight. CSL Assiniboine is due on Wednesday, October 7 in the late afternoon and the James L. Kuber is due back at Torco on Monday, October 12 in the late evening. Vessels due at the CSX Coal Dock to load include the tug Victory and the barge James L. Kuber on Monday, September 28 in the early morning. Algoma Enterprise is due on September 28 in the late evening. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula are due at CSX on Thursday, October 1 in the morning. H. Lee White is due at CSX on Sunday, October 4 in the early morning. American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Tug Jane Ann IV and barge Sarah Spencer remain in lay-up at the Ironhead Shipyard drydock. Several other vessels were in port on Sunday, among them the tug Paul L. Luedtke. Three vessels were docked along the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock – the Frontenac, the saltie Palabora of Antigua/Barbuda flag and the Orsula of the Marshall Islands flag. Tug Mississippi was also tied-up along the Maumee River, and further upriver was the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation unloading cement at the Lafarge.


New Fednav ships in Canada

9/28 - Federal Barents, a new vessel built in Japan at the Oshima Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. of Oshima, Japan for Fednav, arrived in Montreal on September 26 and departed on Sunday, September 27 for Hamilton, Ont., and its first ever visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Federal Barents arrived in Sorel, Que., to discharge cargo on September 25 and departed Sorel on September 26 heading to Montreal.

Federal Barents is one of a new class of ships being built for Fednav at the Oshima yard. There are three other vessels in the series, the first one being the Federal Baltic. Federal Beaufort also recently visited the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Another in the class is the Federal Bering, due in Quebec City on October 3. Federal Beaufort was the first in the series to come inland on September 2 when she delivered cargo to Ashtabula, Ohio and Burns Harbor, Ind., before loading grain products in Thunder Bay, Ont., for Veracruz, Mexico.

The four new Fednav ships are registered in the Marshall Islands. Each vessel is around 200 meters in length and a beam of 23.76 meters. One noticeable difference when compared to their other Fednav fleetmates built in Japan at Oshima, is the new vessels have four deck cranes on them whereas their fleetmates have three.

Denny Dushane


$77,000 lens to be installed Monday in historic Buffalo Lighthouse

9/28 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The long-awaited installation of the Buffalo Lighthouse lens will begin at 9 a.m. Monday, the Buffalo Lighthouse Association announced.

The new Fresnel lens is an example of the classic lighthouse lens used in the mid-19th century. The updated version was made from optical acrylic by Dan Spinella of Artworks Florida, which specializes in Fresnel lens reproductions and restoration, said Michael Vogel, Lighthouse Association president.

The $77,000 lens will emit low-level lighting so it won’t be mistaken for a working aid to navigation. Third-order lenses were used in major harbor lights and could be seen 16 miles out.

The public is invited to watch the placement of the lens, which is expected to take much of the day, said Vogel. A $5 gate fee will be charged to help in restoration efforts. People are asked to bring blankets or chairs to sit on. Active or retired military with ID will be admitted freee. T-shirts marking the 30-year restoration effort will be available for sale.

Buffalo News


Lookback #680 – Former Andros Transport began to flood off Trinidad on Sept. 28, 1998

The Greek freighter Andros Transport was built at Tokyo, Japan, and completed on Aug. 30, 1972. The 539 foot, 2 inch long Fortune Class bulk carrier initially sailed on saltwater routes but came through the Seaway for the first time in 1978.

The ship was sold and registered in Liberia as b) Sport in 1988 and then c) Marika Stravelakis in 1993. It continued under the same flag when it was resold and renamed d) Grigoroussa in 1997. It was soon a casualty.

On Sept. 28, 1998, flooding began in the engine room while the vessel was sailing, in ballast, off Trinidad. The crew was removed and the stricken ship was taken in tow to Port au Spain, Trinidad. It arrived safely only to be declared a total loss.

Following a sale to Mexican shipbreakers, the vessel was taken to Tuxpan, arriving under tow on Dec. 4, 1998, for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 28

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Atlantic Patriot, Ebroborg, Erria Swan, Federal Barents, Foresight, Kirkeholmen, Lena J, Nordana Emilie, Nordana Sarah, Sundaisy E., and TransHawk


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 had 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.

1921: The W.H. RITCHIE caught fire and sank at Port Arthur, ON where it had become a bulk grain transport vessel. The remains were uncovered during dredging work in 1961.

1946: BRIG. GEN. M.G. ZALINSKI, built at Lorain in 1919 as a) LAKE FROHNA and later operated inland in the package freight trade as b) ACE, hit the rocks off Pitt Island, British Columbia. The vessel was enroute from Seattle to Whittier, Alaska, with a cargo of army supplies, and sank in 20 minutes. All on board were rescued by the tug SALLY N. and taken to the fishing village of Butedale.. The hull was located in June 2011 and is upside down.

1960: CHICAGO TRIBUNE and SHENANGO II were both damaged in a collision in the St. Clair River off Marysville.

1973: FRANK R. DENTON and FEDERAL SCHELDE (i) collided in the St. Marys River with minor damage to both ships. The former was scrapped at Ashtabula in 1985-1986. The latter began Seaway service when new in 1968, returned as b) C. MEHMET in 1977 and was delivered to the scrappers at Nantong, China, on March 16, 1999.

1998: ANDROS TRANSPORT, a Fortune Class cargo ship, first came through the Seaway in 1978. Flooding occurred in the engineroom in the Caribbean off Trinidad as d) GRIGOROUSSA on this date while traveling in ballast. The crew of 15 were removed and the ship was towed into Port au Spain. It was declared a total loss, sold to Mexican shipbreakers, and arrived at Tuxpan, under tow for dismantling on December 4, 1998.

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


Birchglen headed to Aliaga for scrapping

9/27 - The bulk carrier Birchglen (ii) departed Montreal under her own power on Sept. 25, 2015. The destination was Aliaga, Turkey, where the vessel will be broken up for scrap. It currently shows an ETA for Aliaga of Oct. 17. This is the first of three ocean/laker sisterships to be dismantled. The other two continue to serve on the Great Lakes as Spruceglen (ii) and Kaministiqua.

Birchglen was built at the Govan Shipyard in Govan, Scotland. The ship was christened Canada Marquis on April 15, 1983, and it departed for the Great Lakes on July 11. The new carrier was upbound in the Welland Canal for the first time on July 23.

Canada Marquis, and her sisterships, were designed to carry a good payload on the Great Lakes while having deep-sea capabilities. This allowed the vessel to operate year around for much of its career.

The ship joined the Misener Transportation Co. fleet and often carried grain from Great Lakes elevators direct to overseas destinations. The 730 foot long by 75.95 foot wide vessel was registered at 21,549 gross tons.

During the first winter, Canada Marquis carried coal from Sydney, NS, to Santos, Brazil, and then loaded grain in Argentina and Brazil for Bremen, West Germany. It also took grain from Quebec City to Tilbury, England, before returning to Seaway service.

The following fall, Canada Marquis loaded grain on the lakes for Leningrad, Russia, and topped off at Baie Comeau for the trip overseas. It arrived for discharge on Jan. 2, 1985. It followed this voyage carrying European grain from Hamburg to Leningrad.

In Dec. 1985, Canada Marquis cleared Toledo with grain for Seaforth, England, and then hauled more European grain to Leningrad before returning to the Great Lakes with a cargo of Swedish steel. On Nov. 26, 1987, Canada Marquis was anchored off Trois Rivieres, QC, when it was struck by the Yugoslavian freighter Split and sustained damage to the port bow.

On Sept. 12, 1988, Canada Marquis was unloading steel at Chicago when the crane collapsed, resulting in damage to the hatch combings and punching a hole in the tank tops. Then, on March 17, 1990, the vessel was rammed from behind by the tanker British Tay when heavy ice stopped forward movement in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The trailing vessel was not as quick to halt its forward momentum. After being repaired at Lauzon, QC, Canada Marquis was placed under the flag of the Isle of Man.

In 1991, this ship joined Fednav as b) Federal Richelieu and made it first trip through the Welland Canal on April 13, 1991. But later in the year, the vessel was resold and registered in the Philippines for Maple Shipping. It continued on charter to Fednav but the name was changed to c) Federal Mackenzie (ii).

Federal Mackenzie was also a regular Great Lakes trader and, on Dec, 7, 1991, loaded the first cargo of sunflower seeds at Superior, Wis., since 1988.

Federal Mackenzie ran aground in the St. Lawrence, not far from Contrecoeur, QC, on July 14, 1993, and had to be lightered to P.S. Barge No. 1 before floating free. There was no hull damage.

On April 10, 1999, this ship was the first deep-sea trader to Duluth-Superior for the season and it took on soybeans for Naantali, Finland. It continued to trade in and out of the lakes carrying various cargoes including flax seed and corn, potash, sand and steel.

The name was changed to d) Mackenzie in 2001 when the ship moved under M. & N. Shipping Corp. with Panamanian registry. It was back through the Seaway for the first time under this name on June 21, 2001, with steel for Hamilton and Burns Harbor. On the second inland voyage later in the year Mackenzie brought sugar to Toronto.

The ship was resold to Canada Steamship Lines late in 2002 and renamed e) Birchglen (ii) at Montreal on March 7, 2003. The latter was upbound in the Welland Canal for the first time on April 2, 2003.

During the winter of 2003-2004, the ship made two trips with bauxite from Amazon River docks to Port Alfred, QC.

On July 10, 2010, Birchglen made history by carrying the largest cargo of windmill components into the Great Lakes. These came aboard at Gros Cacouna, QC, and were stored on deck and in the cargo holds. They were delivered to Burns Harbor, Ind., and were to be used in a windmill farm near Bloomington, Ill. It was reported that the voyage saved the use of 402 highway trucks.

Birchglen operated through the 2014 season and then tied up at Montreal. No work could be found to keep the ship in service and it remained idle until its departure for overseas on Sept. 25.

This is not the first former member of the C.S.L. fleet to end its days at the Turkish scrapyard that has a good reputation for being environmentally friendly. Previous company ships to be broken up at that location have included Fort Chambly, Georgian Bay, Manitoulin, the former French River as Nova, the former Winnipeg (ii) as Algontario, Halifax, Saguenay (iii), and Richelieu (iii), as well as their deep-sea self-unloaders CSL Bergen, CSL Shannon and CSL Tiber.

Skip Gillham


Door County Maritime Museum launches tower campaign

9/27 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum has launched its largest fundraising campaign since the construction of its waterfront museum in Sturgeon Bay nearly 20 years ago.

Calling it a “major step forward,” the museum is expanding its Sturgeon Bay facility with a one-of-a-kind 11-story tower that will serve both as an observation platform for the community’s harbor as well as additional space for an array of state-of-the-art exhibits for all ages.

The campaign “Reaching New Heights in Our Maritime Heritage” will ultimately produce an addition that will promote northeastern Wisconsin’s shipbuilders and maritime-related businesses as well as the world’s most extensive navigable waterways system.

The Sturgeon Bay facility is one of three facilities operated by the museum, the others are open seasonally at Cana Island and Gills Rock. Sturgeon Bay’s museum was first housed in the former Roen Steamship Company offices until the current 20,000 square foot waterfront building opened in 1997. Since then hundreds of thousands of visitors have visited the museum with its emphasis on shipbuilding, lighthouses, marine innovation and the more recently added Great Lakes tug John Purves.

The project will allow the museum to take a major step towards 21st century modernization, joining a growing trend among museum across the country.

The project addresses two major shortcoming with the current building – space and self-sustainability. The new floor plan would increase retail space for an expanded museum store that is key to sustainable development.

While the expansion project will include an expanded lobby and museum store, the highlight will be the elevator ride to the 10th floor observation deck with its 360-degree view of Sturgeon Bay. Guests will be able to see downtown Sturgeon Bay to the north and south as well as seeing commercial and recreational boat traffic in the harbor.

From here, visitors will have a simulated lighthouse experience by climbing the spiral staircase to the 11th floor beacon enclosure and open observation deck. The museum sees the tower project as another piece in the city’s waterfront redevelopment, significantly impacting the economy of the local and greater Door County community.

Door County Marine Museum


Lookback #679 – Ogdensburg stranded near Blanc Sablon, QC, on Sept. 27, 1991

Always a barge, the Ogdensburg had a variety of duties after its days of hauling rail cars back and forth across the St. Lawrence between Ogdensburg, N.Y. and Prescott, Ont.

The 290 foot long vessel was built at Lorain, Ohio, and completed in Oct. 1930. It was ordered by the Canadian Pacific Car and Passenger Transfer Co. and was able to carry up to 21 rail cars on its three sets of tracks.

The tug Prescotont pushed Ogdensburg across the St. Lawrence until it was transferred to Windsor in 1971. It broke loose there on Feb. 1, 1973, but was retrieved and resumed service. In later years it was used to carry containers.

McKeil Marine purchased Ogdensburg in 1988 and they brought the barge to Hamilton late in the year. It headed down the Seaway, tow of J. Manic, on July 27, 1991, for Newfoundland service across the Strait of Belle Isle.

It broke loose while loaded with heavy construction equipment and stranded 24-years ago today near Blanc Sablon, Que. The hull was ripped open and the ship settled on the bottom. After a successful salvage, the ship was towed to Hamilton and rebuilt as a floating drydock for Heddle Marine. The first customer was the Hamilton Transfer.

Skip Gillham


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 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.

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

GEORGE M. HUMPHREY under tow, locked through the Panama Canal from September 27, 1986, to the 30th on her way to the cutter’s 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. On Lake Huron, the barges HUNTER and DETROIT were destroyed. The tug SANDUSKY rescued the 21 survivors from 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.

1911: The water-logged wooden steamer THREE BROTHERS was beached off South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan. The cargo of lumber was salvaged but the 23-year-old vessel was left to rot.

1912: The wooden steamer GEORGE T. HOPE, loaded with 2,118 tons of iron ore, foundered in Lake Superior near Grand Island when it began leaking in heavy weather. All on board were saved.

1934: SASKADOC departed Erie, Pa., for the short run to the Welland Canal with 7,500 tons of coal and the hatches left open. The vessel encountered a storm on the lake, developed a list and arrived 11 hours late.

1943: NORMAN B. MACPHERSON, a small canaller in the Upper Lakes fleet, went aground on Hammond Shoal in the American Channel of the St. Lawrence near Alexandria Bay, N.Y.

1969: OPHELIA was a Great Lakes caller before the Seaway opened. The West German freighter also made 16 trips inland from 1959 to 1964. It was under Greek registry when it was abandoned off Sibu, Sarawak, with a fire in the engine room, on this date in 1969. The vessel was enroute from Sibu to Kuching, China, and the hull drifted aground as a total loss.

1991: OGDENSBURG was built as a barge to ferry rail cars across the St. Lawrence between Prescott and Ogdensburg. The vessel had joined McKeil as a regular deck barge in 1988 and broke loose in a storm on this date in 1991 while working off Blanc Sablon, Q.C. carrying heavy construction equipment. Refloated, the hull was towed to Hamilton and became one of three former railway barges rebuilt as a floating drydock.

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


U.S.- flag carriers lose nearly $250,000 waiting 20 days for MacArthur Lock to reopen

9/26 - Cleveland, Ohio – The 20-day closure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, cost U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators nearly $250,000.

A misalignment of the miter gates forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the lock on July 29 and it remained out of service until August 17. During those 20 days, U.S.-flag lakers were delayed 77 times for a total of 6.5 days. The cargos delayed topped 1.8 million tons.

“The lengthy failure of the MacArthur Lock adds more urgency to our efforts to build a second Poe-sized lock,” said James H.I. Weakley, president of Lake Carriers’ Association.

“The MacArthur Lock is 72 years old and the Poe Lock is 46 years old. We must renew this vital infrastructure. Most of the iron ore that feeds our steel mills transits the Soo Locks. Likewise for the low-sulfur coal that generates electricity at many Great Lakes powerplants. Without shipping through the Soo Locks, industrial America will be brought to its knees.”

Seventy percent of U.S.-flag carrying capacity on the Lakes is restricted to the Poe Lock by the length or beam of the vessel. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acknowledges the Soo Locks are the single point of failure for the Great Lakes navigation system. Congress has authorized building a second Poe-sized lock, but the project has not moved forward because a flawed study puts its benefit/cost ratio below 1.0.

“Everyone knows the assumption that the railroads could absorb the 60 million tons of cargo the Poe Lock handles each year is off base,” added Weakley. “Furthermore, many steel mills lack rail access, so without Great Lakes shipping, that industry and others would all but cease to exist.”

Weakley stressed the solution is very simple. “A new, better-focused study must be conducted so this vital infrastructure project can move forward. At the behest of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Corps revisited the assumptions included in its original economic analysis of the project, and its findings should prompt a full re-evaluation of replacing the MacArthur Lock with a Poe-sized lock.”

Lake Carriers’ Association


More layoffs planned at Keetac taconite operations

9/26 - Duluth, Minn. – More employees at U.S. Steel's Keetac taconite operations in Keewatin will lose their jobs in another round of layoffs unveiled this week.

Some of the plant's 412 union workers had remained on the job since U.S. Steel announced it was idling the plant last March. The company now has informed state officials, as required by law, that employees who had been kept on for maintenance projects over the summer will be laid off in October.

"U.S. Steel has advised employees that its Minnesota Ore Operations Keetac plant will continue to be temporarily idled due to our current inventory levels and the company's ongoing adjustment of its steelmaking operations throughout North America," the company said in a statement this week. "The ongoing operational adjustments are a result of challenging market conditions that reflect the cyclical nature of the industry. Global influences in the market, including a high level of imports, unfair trade and reduced steel prices, continue to have an impact.

"The company has issued Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notices related to the temporary idling. The WARN notices advise that layoffs would commence on or after Oct. 11."

State Rep. Tom Anzelc of Balsam Township called it "another blow" to the mining industry.

"We are all very concerned and especially worried about the future of Keewatin Taconite," he said. "It's more bad news and we will continue to have bad news until the worldwide market stabilizes and prices go back up to a reasonable level."

The Keetac workers will join their fellow workers on layoff in what has been a bad year for the Iron Range. Workers at Cliffs Natural Resources' United Taconite as well as Mesabi Nugget and some Magnetation plant employees remain on layoff.

Most workers at U.S. Steel's Minntac operations are said to be back to work after summer layoffs.

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback #678 – Our Son lost in heavy weather on Sept. 26, 1930

By 1930, the wooden schooner Our Son was among the last Great Lakes built ships of this type still operating in the bulk trades. It got caught in a storm 85 years ago today and sank in Lake Michigan about 40 miles WSW of Big Sable Point.

The 190 foot long schooner was built at Black River, Ohio, and completed by Capt. Harry Kelly in 1875. It worked in a variety of trades during its 55 year career and was owned by Winand Schlosser at the time of its loss. The ship could handle up to 1,000 tons of iron ore or 40,000 bushels of grain.

A cargo of pulpwood was on board in what proved to be the final voyage of Our Son. It had been loaded for the Central Paper Co. dock at Muskegon, MI when hit by heavy weather.

All on board Our Son were picked up by the crew of the William B. Nelson. The steamer circled the stricken vessel three times pouring oil on the seas to calm them before all seven sailors on board were saved. The captain of the William B. Nelson received a Gold Medal from the U.S. Congress for his heroism.

The William B. Nelson will be remembered by some under its later name of c) Ben E. Tate. This latter ship lasted until scrapping at Bilbao, Spain, in 1969.

Skip Gillham


Charlot had an interesting Great Lakes connection

The Charlot made only a one-way trip into the Great Lakes. It came upbound through the old St. Lawrence Canals as scrap metal in the holds of one or more barges. Their destination was River Rouge, Mich., for melting down and recycling into new automobiles for Henry Ford. The latter had purchased a number of similar ships, too large for the old canal system. They were broken up at U.S. East Coast shipyards and loaded into other smaller ships he also bought for scrap and towed them to his steel plant at River Rouge.

Charlot had been built by the Submarine Boat Co. at Newark, N.J. The 335 foot, 8 inch long by 46 foot, 3 inch wide vessel was ordered by the U.S. Shipping Board but not completed until March 27, 1919. By then the war was over.

Charlot served on saltwater routes and had a capacity for 5,200 tons. It cleared Philadelphia for Hamburg, Germany, on May 25, 1921, but had to put into St. John's, Newfoundland, due to a malfunctioning feed water pump. It departed there on June 8 but ran into a massive iceberg in thick fog the next day and limped back into port with a mangled bow and in leaking condition.

The U.S. Shipping Board sent the Bannack to reload the cargo for Hamburg. The work was completed in early July and Charlot headed to New York for repairs while Bannack sailed overseas.

There is no evidence Charlot ever sailed after that. The vessel was laid up at Philadelphia when sold to Henry Ford in Aug. 1925, and taken to Chester, Pa., for scrapping on Jan. 12, 1926. It was then sent, as cargo, for its most unceremonious trip into the Great Lakes.

Skip Gillham, from Newsnow, with research assistance from Paul Denby and Bill Schell.


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 26

September 26, 1930, the schooner OUR SON, launched in 1875, sank during a storm on Lake Michigan about 40 miles WSW of Big Sable Point. 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 crewmembers. The vessel quickly broke up in the waves.

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

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

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 sideswiped 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 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.

1979: MAHONI, an Indonesian-registered freighter, went aground on the west coast of Taiwan and was abandoned by the crew. The ship was refloated in June 1980 and sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers for scrapping at Kaohsiung. It had been a Seaway saltie as b) CLARI beginning in 1968 and returned as c) ARNIS in 1970.

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


Lookback #677 – Former Truth bombed and damaged on Sept. 25, 1980

The Norwegian vessel Truth was built at Uddevalla, Sweden. It was launched on April 14, 1956, and completed the following October for deep-sea service on behalf of Kr. Knutsen. The 469 foot, 4 inch long vessel was registered at 8,737 gross tons and had a carrying capacity of 12,600 tons deadweight.

Truth was an early visitor to the St. Lawrence Seaway coming inland to the Great Lakes in 1961, the third year of operation for the magnificent new waterway.

The ship operated for another decade until, in 1971, it was sold and registered in the Somali Republic under the name b) Harmony. It became c) Cretan Harmony, with registry in Cyprus, in 1974 and d) Kimberley, same flag, in 1976.

A sale to the Endeavour Bay Shipping Co. Ltd. in 1977 placed the ship under Greek registry as e) Laky. It had the misfortune of being a victim of the war between Iran and Iraq a few years later. The vessel was bombed by aircraft at Umm Qasr, Iraq, 35 years ago today and became a total loss. While the remains may still be there, I suspect they were eventually broken up for scrap or towed away for the same fate.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 25

In tandem tow, 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.

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. 1922: AUBE, on her first trip back under this name, went aground off Carleton Island, while carrying 65,000 bushels of grain. Tugs released the stranded vessel the following day.

1978: FRANQUELIN (ii) went aground in the Seaway below Beauharnois. Once refloated, the ship went to Canadian Vickers in Montreal for repairs and was caught there in a labor dispute.

1980: DERWENTFIELD, a British-flag freighter, first came through the Seaway in 1975. The ship grounded on this date as c) CAVO ARTEMIDI off Brazil, while enroute from Vitoria, Brazil, to Rotterdam, Holland, with a cargo of pig iron and broke in two as a total loss.

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


Port Reports -  September 24

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor found three Interlake vessels in port. James R. Barker unloaded coal, Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore and Kaye E. Barker waited at anchor to load.

Grand Haven, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes arrived late Tuesday to unload slag at the Verplank dock. She departed early Wednesday for Cedarville, Mich.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday, both English River and Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement.


Bill proposed to ban shipment of crude oil on Great Lakes

9/24 - Lansing, Mich. – The environmental threat to the Great Lakes posed by the transport of oil on and underneath its waters has prompted two Michigan’s U.S. senators to craft a bill aimed at reducing the likelihood of a catastrophic spill.

The legislation calls for a ban on tankers and barges transporting crude oil through the Great Lakes, but U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, said Wednesday no crude oil is currently being shipped through the lakes.

The bill also requires a “top-to-bottom” review of the region’s pipeline system. Oil pipelines, particularly a pair that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac, have become a hot-button issue since a rupture of a pipeline near Marshall five years ago resulted in the largest in-land oil spill in U.S. history.

The Pipeline Improvement and Preventing Spills Act — announced Wednesday by Peters and Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing — would have no immediate impact on the region’s pipelines. Conservation and environmental groups have called for the Mackinac pipelines, operated by Alberta-based Enbridge Energy, to be shut down.

The company also operates the pipeline that ruptured near Marshall in 2010, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

“...Michiganders know all too well that a pipeline break can have devastating consequences for our environment and our economy,” Peters said Wednesday. “One can only imagine what a disaster it would be for a similar oil spill to occur in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest system of fresh surface water.

“This commonsense legislation will help us prevent an oil spill in the Great Lakes, whether it’s a tanker accident or a pipeline leak in the Straits of Mackinac, so that we can protect and preserve this ecological treasure for generations to come.”

The bill also attempts to address what Stabenow and Peters identify as problem areas in spill response planning — preparing for cold weather conditions and the effectiveness in doing oil clean-up in fresh water. Both legislators said U.S. Coast Guard officials have indicated that the region is not prepared for a major spill during winter.

“Given the fact we’ve had nearly complete ice coverage over the Great Lakes the last two seasons ... if you had an spill or break in the middle of winter, it’s difficult to clean up given the currents in the Straits of Mackinac,” Peters said. “How would you clean that up?”

The proposed legislation also:

• Calls for adding all areas in the Great Lakes where pipelines cross open water to the federal government’s list of High Consequence Areas — triggering tighter criteria for new pipeline installations.

• Requires federal studies evaluating the risks posed by pipelines in the Great Lakes and proposing alternatives for the two lines in the Straits of Mackinac.

• Covers an assessment and improvement of oil spill response plans.

• Requires providing more information and transparency on the risks posed by pipelines.

“Another pipeline break like the one that dumped a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River would be devastating for our Great Lakes, waters and wildlife,” Stabenow said in the release. “This bill requires a thorough review and plan to minimize risks and prevent catastrophic oil spills.”

Earlier this month, Gov. Rick Snyder called for the creation of a Pipeline Safety Advisory Board to “ensure safety, upkeep and transparency of issues related to the state’s network of pipelines.”

“While pipelines are an efficient way to deliver necessary energy to power our homes, our communities and our economy, pipeline spills also have negatively impacted our natural resources in the past,” Snyder said in a statement. “We remain fully committed to protecting our Great Lakes and natural resources, and this board will be charged with continuing the important work of safeguarding our environment while ensuring safe, affordable and reliable energy.”

Attorney General Bill Schuette also addressed rising concerns over pipelines in July. He released the findings of a pipeline task force convened the previous year that included a ban on heavy crude oil being transported through Enbridge’s Mackinac pipelines.

The company, however, said it had no plans to ship heavy crude through those lines. An Enbridge spokesman said the submerged pipelines carry only light crude oil and natural gas liquids.

This week, the U.S. Coast Guard, along with local, state and federal officials, will conduct an emergency response drill simulating an oil spill in the straits.

Detroit News


Port of Monroe getting $3M state loan for dredging, other improvements

9/24 - Monroe, Mich. – State officials have announced approval of a loan for improving access and activity at the Port of Monroe on Lake Erie.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said Tuesday that the Michigan Strategic Fund is loaning up to $3 million to the city of Monroe to dredge the River Raisin and make other upgrades to the port. The project aims to expand trade routes and cargo opportunities at the port that serves as a gateway to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The project will get $3.6 million in local and school tax revenue for brownfield redevelopment. That will be used to repay the state.

Officials say the improvements are designed to attract new cargo opportunities and benefit the port's existing tenants. They include DTE Energy and Ford Motor Co.

Associated Press


Lookback #676 – Bayton damaged at Canadian Lakehead by explosion on Sept. 24, 1952

The bulk carrier Bayton joined the Mathews fleet in 1922 and moved to the Colonial Steamship Co. of Capt R. Scott Misener in 1933. Mathews had gone into receivership on Jan. 8, 1931, and the ship saw brief service, in the grain trade under charter to Toronto Elevators, in 1931,1932 and 1933.

Among the 1932 cargoes was a trip to Chicago to load soybeans for transshipment through the old canals. When Bayton unloaded at Port Colborne on April 19, it was noted as the first shipment of soybeans into that elevator.

Bayton was loading grain at Pool 4A in the Canadian Lakehead 63 years ago today when the structure exploded. The blast rained large chunks of concrete down to the deck of the unsuspecting freighter, resulting in damage to the ship and injuries to the crew. One person died.

The ship was repaired and continued to sail for Misener until June 1966. Its last cargo was a load of coal from Ashtabula to Hamilton. When the vessel arrived at Port Colborne, on June 6 , it was retired due to engine problems, shaft damage and bow dents. Bayton was towed to Ramey's Bend on July 2 after being purchased by Marine Salvage.

Bayton was resold for use as a breakwall at Burns Harbor, Indiana. It departed under tow of the tugs Atomic and Amherstburg, on Sept. 9, 1966, and was sunk, with other vessels, during the construction project.

When its work was completed, the remains of Bayton, reported to have been broken in two while on the bottom, were raised and broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


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 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 renamed 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 towline 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.

1901: M.M. DRAKE was towing the schooner barge MICHIGAN across Lake Superior when the latter began to sink. The steamer came alongside to take off the crew when a towering wave bashed the two vessels together resulting in heavy damage. Both vessels went down, but all except one sailor were rescued by the passing ships NORTHERN WAVE and CRESCENT CITY.

1915: WESTERN STAR ran aground on Robertson Rock, Georgian Bay, while enroute to Little Current with a cargo of coal. The ship was badly damaged and early attempts to refloat the freighter failed. It was not released until September 18, 1917, and was rebuilt at Detroit. The ship returned to service as b) GLENISLA in 1918 and was scrapped at Hamilton as c) PRESCOTT in 1962-1963.

1937: NEEBING foundered with the loss of 5 lives in western Lake Superior while towing the barge COTEAU in a heavy storm. The crane-equipped ship was approaching the Nipigon Strait, with a load of gravel for Red Rock, ON at the time. Nine sailors were rescued.

1947: MILVERTON, downbound with a cargo of coal, and TRANSLAKE, upbound with crude oil, collided near Iroquois, ON. The latter got caught in the current and veered to port resulting in the collision. The former, one of the few oil-burning canal ships, had the fuel lines rupture, caught fire, drifted downstream and grounded at the head of Rapide Plat. The ship burned for two days and 11 sailors were killed. Despite the heavy damage, MILVERTON was refloated, repaired and later sailed as c) CLARY FORAN and d) FERNDALE (i) before being scrapped at Hamilton in 1963.

1952: BAYTON was loading at Pool 4A Elevator at the Canadian Lakehead when there was an explosion at the elevator and chunks of concrete rained down on the deck of the Colonial Steamship Co. (Misener) steamer. One person was killed and nine more were injured.

2008: DRAGOMIRESTI was a Romanian freighter that first visited the Seaway in 1992 to load a food aid cargo in Thunder Bay for Sudan & Yemen. The ship was driven aground as j) CHUN JIANG, about 22 miles from Macao in Typhoon Hagupit. The crew were removed by helicopter.

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.


Foreign Steel, Vessel Repairs, and a Broken Lock Combine to Cut U.S.-Flag Lakes Float 10 Percent in August

9/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – Continued high levels of steel imports, coupled with three large vessels idled for repairs and a lengthy closure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, cost U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleets more than 1.1 million tons of cargo in August. The fleet moved 9.9 million tons of raw materials in August, a decrease of 10.3 percent compared to the 11 million tons hauled a year ago.

The iron ore trade was most affected by steel imports and vessels being out of service. Shipments totaled just 4.3 million tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to a year ago. It takes on average 1.5 tons of iron ore to make a ton of steel in a blast furnace, so with foreign steel corralling more than 30 percent of the market, a downturn was inevitable. Also, the three large vessels idled for some or all of the month are active in the ore trade and have a combined per-trip capacity of more than 200,000 tons. One of the idled vessels returned to service on August 28. The other ships did not sail again until September 19.

Coal shipments were also affected by the temporary loss of carrying capacity. Two of the idled 1,000-footers also regularly work the coal trade. Each can carry more than 60,000 tons per trip, so their temporary lay-ups were a factor in the 12-percent dip in coal loadings.

Limestone was the bright spot in August. Shipments in U.S. bottoms totaled more than 3 million tons, an increase of 14 percent compared to a year ago.

The failure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on July 29 also impacted the month’s totals. The lock did not reopen until August 17. More than 70 cargos in U.S.-flag lakers totaling 1.6 million tons were delayed more than 150 hours by the closure during August. Vessels are already operating at their most efficient speed, so most of those 150 hours cannot be recouped.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag carriage stands at 52.4 million tons, an increase of 6 percent compared to the same point in 2014, but a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association 


Port Reports -  September 22

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn - A-397 arrived about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday and was unloading asphalt at Noco in Tonawanda.


OSHA cites U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for safety violations

9/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Saying he welcomes another set of eyes at the Soo Locks, Area Engineer Kevin Sprague of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicated the necessary corrections are already underway following a U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection.

OSHA issued a notice on Monday of 23 violations following the inspection earlier this year. The list included a lattice boom crawler and barge mounted crane in disrepair, dangerous confined space hazards, improperly secured scaffolds, guard floor openings, stairways lacking handrails and improperly stored gas cylinders. The citations also address shortcomings in fire extinguisher training, sling, crane and other equipment inspections, inadequate protection from operating machinery parts and inadequate respiratory protection.

"We'll have them all corrected," said Sprague. "We're looking at this as a positive. We want to improve and we welcome that third set of eyes.'

OSHA. In a press release announcing the citations, noted the March 2015 inspection at the Soo Locks was the first of its kind at the facility.

The OSHA press release went on to note that penalties are not imposed upon federal agencies that are found in violation. It further added that the recent violations would have cost a private-sector operation nearly $125,000.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has 15 business days from receipt of OSHA's notice to comply, request an informal conference with the area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Sprague observed that some of the violations date back to the time of construction, when there were fewer rules and regulations to govern what went on inside the facility. For example, the lack of a stairway handrail was found on a short — three-to four step landing.

He further indicated that other violations were easily corrected such as modifying the storage of gas cylinders and conducting fire extinguisher training.

"We do operate under our own safety manual," said Sprague of the safety precautions that have been in place for decades. "We try to comply with all of the rules all of the time."

Soo Evening News


Whistles on the Water Saturday in St. Clair

9/23 - St. Clair, Mich. – The annual Whistles on the Water steam whistle blow will be Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Palmer Park in St. Clair.

Whistles on the Water is an annual event along the St. Clair River that loudly celebrates Michigan's maritime history. Over 100 steam whistles, many from ships that serviced ports in the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, will be blown throughout the day, sharing the sounds of a past when lake and river travel was powered by steam.

Kids and kids-at-heart are welcome to take a turn blowing a whistle.

This event takes place at the north end of Palmer Park in downtown St. Clair. Seating is available.

The St. Clair community has built a custom trailer that includes a portable steam boiler and equipment needed to blow steam whistles. Collectors and museums will bring historic ship whistles to the event; many have not been heard in years.


Tickets Still Available for Great Lakes Maritime Institute Annual Dinner

9/23 - Tickets are still available for the Annual Dinner of the Great Lakes Maritime Institute, which will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at the Blossom Heath Inn in St. Clair Shores. (Note: The reservation deadline has been extended to September 27).

Guest speaker David Coleman will make a presentation regarding whaleback steamers on the Great Lakes. Also, author Patrick Livingston will be on hand to sign his new novel "A Day at Bob-Lo" which will take readers back to a perfect summer day at Detroit's favorite island playground. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


Lookback #675 – Former Fernleaf and Aalsum detained by war on Sept. 23, 1980

The 1980s war between Iran and Iraq led to a number of ships being detained or outright attacked during the conflict. Several had Seaway connections including one that came to the Great Lakes under a pair of names.

Fernleaf had been built at Tonsberg, Norway, and was launched on Sept. 29, 1964. It was completed in Feb. 1965 and made three trips through the Seaway that first season. The 541 foot long member of the Norwegian flag Fernley & Eger fleet was back inland again in 1967.

The bulk carrier was sold to Dutch flag interests and renamed b) Aalsum in 1973 and was a Seaway trader as such in 1974.

On Dec. 22, 1977, Aalsum ran aground at Rimouski, QC after having loaded lumber, for Belfast, Northern Ireland. The ship was released, with the aid of the tug Leonard W., on Christmas Day.

Aalsum moved to Panamanian registry as c) Iniciativa in 1978 and did not return to the Great Lakes. It was detained at Basrah, Iraq, 35-years ago today, and held captive during the conflict. The ship was listed as a total loss in Dec. 1981 and was reported on fire on April 26, 1982.

The hull was released in 1993 and, while renamed d) Dolphin V. and registered in the United Arab Emirates, this was only for convenience. Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the vessel arrived at Gadani Beach on Dec. 27, 1993, and was broken up by Ahmed Maritime Breaker (Pvt) Ltd. in the weeks ahead.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 23

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Amur Star, Atlantic Patriot, BBC Mississippi, Blacky, Eva Schulte, Fivelborg, Industrial More, Med Arctic, Nordana Emma, Palabora, Palau, and Victoriaborg.

New Video on our YouTube Channel


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, 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, was 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. 1935: HURRY-ON was a Great Lakes visitor in 1934 when it loaded bagged flour at Port Colborne. The ship was lost off Port Hood Island, near Judique, NS, after developing leaks and a list. The lifeboat swamped twice and five were lost.

1961: CRYSTAL JEWEL, inbound for London in thick fog, was in a collision with the B.P. Tanker BRITISH AVIATOR. The captain was seriously injured and his daughter was killed. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes in 1960 and was enroute from Duluth to London with a cargo of grain at the time of the accident. The vessel grounded and, after being released, was taken to Rotterdam where the entire mid-ship superstructure was replaced. The ship made many more trips through the Seaway and returned as b) MELTEMI in 1970. It was scrapped at Busan, South Korea, after arriving as d) TETA on July 17, 1979.

1980: FERNLEAF first visited the Seaway in 1965 and returned as b) AALSUM in 1974. The ship was detained at Basrah, Iraq, in 1981 as c) INICIATIVA on this date in 1980 and declared a total loss in December 1981. It was salvaged in 1993 and renamed d) DOLPHIN V but perhaps only for a trip to the shipbreakers. The vessel arrived at Gadani Beach December 27, 2003, and dismantling began at once.

2000: Vandals attacked the museum ship NORGOMA at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., breaking windows, light fixtures and setting off fire extinguishers, leaving an estimated $15,000 in damage.

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


Port Reports -  September 22

Buffalo. N.Y. – Brian W.
Tug Rebecca Lynn an barge A-397 is expected around noon Tuesday.

Erie, Pa. – Gene P.
Joseph H. Thompson and tug Jr. arrived early morning on Monday. After unloading stone at the old ore dock, she departed under a blue sky but in a strong northeast wind at 3:15 p.m.


Lookback #674 – Oceanic Klif aground near Canary Islands on Sept. 22, 1979

The deep-sea general cargo ship Oceanic Klif had been built at Imabari, Japan, and completed as a) Kasaga Maru in February 1966. The 361 foot long freighter was initially registered in Japan and able to carry in the range of 6,225 tons of cargo.

It was sold in 1970 and re-registered in Greece as b) Oceanic Klif. As such, the vessel was a Seaway visitor for the first time the next year.

The final cargo proved to be a load of calcinated bauxite taken aboard at Kamsar, Guinea, with Port Alfred, Quebec, as the destination. The Oceanic Klif had stopped at Las Palmas, Canary Islands, and was outbound from there, for Canada, 36-years ago today when the vessel grounded in Pos. 28.10 N / 15.24 W.

The crew was forced to abandon ship and it was soon listed as a total loss. Skip Gillham


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, the 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, but 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.

1917: The wooden steamer WILLIAM P. REND, a) GEORGE G. HADLEY, foundered off Alpena while carrying livestock. All 9 crewmembers were rescued.

1951: The Liberty ship THUNDERBIRD visited the Seaway in 1959. Earlier, on this date in 1951, the ship received major bow damage from a head-on collision with the Chinese freighter UNION BUILDER (built in 1945 at Brunswick, GA as a) COASTAL RANGER) at the entrance to Colombo, Ceylon. THUNDERBIRD was also a Great Lakes trader as d) NEW KAILING in 1964 and scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1967.

1979: OCEANIC KLIF first visited the Seaway in 1971. The ship stranded near Las Palmas, Canary Islands, while on a voyage from Kamsar, Guinea, West Africa, to Port Alfred, QC with calcinated bauxite and was abandoned by the crew.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Superior, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departed Duluth at noon on Saturday with a cargo of coal. The McCarthy has been laid up in Superior since early June.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleet mates Michipicoten and James L. Kuber loaded taconite on Sunday at the LS&I Upper Harbor ore dock.

Port Inland, Mich.
Lee A. Tregurtha loaded in the morning, with the Wilfred Sykes loading in the afternoon,

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
James R. Barker departed Sturgeon Bay overnight on Saturday, after having spent about a month undergoing various work including repairs to her engines. She was upbound in eastern Lake Superior on Sunday night, bound for Duluth and a load of coal.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algorail was in port on Sunday.


U.S. maritime industry stakeholders rally behind strong Jones Act

9/21 - New York, N.Y. A number of U.S. maritime industry stakeholders rallied together in a strong show of support for the Jones Act during an industry event in New York last Wednesday, sending a clear message to opponents that any attempt repeal the 95-year-old law is severely misguided and not in the best interest of the American people.

In his keynote presentation kicking off the third annual Tradewinds Jones Act Shipping Forum, U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen offered what some are saying are his strongest words yet in support of the Jones Act, a cabotage law that requires goods shipped between U.S. ports be transported on U.S.-built, U.S.-owned and U.S.-crewed vessels.

Special focus was given to Hawaii and especially Puerto Rico, whose governor, in the midst of an insurmountable debt crisis, is seeking a five-year waiver from the U.S. government that would exempt the commonwealth from the law.

“Pilgrims did not land at Plymouth Rock, Betsy Ross did not sew or design the United States flag and the Jones Act is not responsible for the cost of gasoline, the cost of groceries in Hawaii, the debt in Puerto Rico or snowy roads in New Jersey,” Jaenichen said in his keynote address.

“These are all tall tales. They are embellishments. They are outright falsehoods,” he said.

Perhaps most notable, Jaenichen was very clear that the Jones Act is not about protecting domestic trade, rather the reason the Jones Act exists today, above all else, is to support national defense.

Echoing Jaenichen’s comments, Tom Allegretti, Chairman of the American Maritime Partnership, addressed attendees about the overwhelming support for the Jones Act in Congress. In his remarks, Allegretti said that the strong support is due to the industry’s longstanding positive impact on national, economic and homeland security, noting that any attempt to include an amendment of the Jones Act in pending legislation is a “vote subtractor” that could hurt Congressional progress.

The Jones Act has been criticized this past month by opponents of the law who are actively working to tie the debt crisis in Puerto Rico to the maritime industry, and the Jones Act in particular. Allegretti went on to outline why any connection between the Jones Act and a debt relief package in Congress would actually hurt more than it helps.

“Some in Puerto Rico have suggested that a Jones Act exemption be included in the legislative package under the erroneous theory that the Jones Act is bad for Puerto Rico. But here’s the kicker: If Congress did that include an anti-Jones Act amendment in the package the chances of the overall package getting enacted into llaw would diminish. That’s because the presence of an anti-Jones Act amendment would reduce or subtract the number of members of Congress who would vote for the overall bill. So Puerto Ricans would be undermining and maybe eveen sabotaging their own assistance package by including an anti-Jones Act amenddment in it,” said Allegretti.

Congressional support was apparent earlier this year when Senator John McCain filed a Senate floor amendment to repeal the Jones Act, which was overwhelmingly disputed by members in both chambers of Congress. “Ultimately, several weeks later, facing almost certain defeat, [Sen. McCain] withdrew his amendment and did not offer it. We believe his amendment would have failed overwhelmingly. Even Sen. McCain jokingly admitted that his strategy for repealing the Jones Act was to ‘pray to the patron saint of lost causes.’ In other words, there is no appetite in Congress to change the Jones Act,” said Allegretti.

In fact, support in Congress for the Jones Act couldn’t be any stronger, according to the AMP. Last December, Congress enacted the strongest endorsement of the Jones Act in history in a resolutions included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014.

While hosting Wednesday’s “Innovation and Opportunities” panel focusing on prospects in the Jones Act shipbuilding market, Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) President Matthew Paxton hailed the innovation in the U.S. domestic shipbuilding and repair industry and noted the industrial base as a crucial element of America’s national, homeland and economic security.

Kicking off the panel, Paxton talked about current innovations within the industry, saying, “This is an exciting time for the nation’s shipbuilding industry because new LNG-powered vessels under construction are on the cutting edge of maritime innovation. U.S. shipbuilders are driving innovation and investing right here in America with world leading LNG technology.”

Paxton was referring to the recent launch of the world’s first (and second) LNG-powered containerships being built for Tote Maritime at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

According to the American Maritime Partnership, the domestic maritime industry is made up of more than 40,000 American vessels and sustains nearly 500,000 American jobs, $28.95 billion in labor compensation, and more than $92.5 billion in annual economic output. In addition, for every one shipyard job, five more are created and the industry contributes over $6.4 billion in GDP to the U.S. economy every year, according to MARAD.

If there was one take away from the event it was this: the Jones Act as we know it is not going anywhere.



U.S. Steel Canada threatens to leave Canada if court rejects request

9/21 - Toronto, Ont. - U.S. Steel Canada Inc. is threatening to cease operating in Canada by the end of the year if an Ontario Superior Court judge rejects its request to stop paying municipal taxes, halt payments into pension funds, and cut off health care and other benefits to 20,000 retirees and their dependents.

A decision by the company’s parent, United States Steel Corp., to shift production of high-value-added steel to U.S. mills means the Canadian unit requires a “business preservation order” that will allow it to keep operating, U.S. Steel Canada said in a court filing.

Unless the court approves U.S. Steel Canada’s motion to conserve cash by slashing spending, “we don’t see any way to avoid ceasing operations at the end of 2015,” the company’s president, Mike McQuade, said in a separate memo to employees.

The prospect of a shutdown of operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., comes as U.S. Steel and its Canadian unit prepare to enter mediation efforts after a year of protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

The companies’ actions are in part a response to a move by the United Steelworkers union to seek an injunction to prevent U.S. Steel from shifting production of 180,000 tons of high-value-added steel to U.S. mills and out of the Canadian operations.

The mediation hearing has been scheduled for next week to examine the proposed shift in production as well as the overall restructuring process, which includes the potential sale of the Canadian assets, possibly back to U.S. Steel.

The proposed actions to be taken if mediation fails will “provide the company with the necessary breathing space to continue its operations while continuing its restructuring efforts,” William Aziz, chief restructuring officer of U.S. Steel Canada, said in a court filing.

The business preservation order would also halt the potential sale of the company, except for operations in Hamilton, which include a shuttered blast furnace and 813 acres of land that are polluted by more than a century of steel making.

Halting benefit payments is an attack on pensioners, the most vulnerable people represented by the union, said Gary Howe, president of Steelworkers Local 1005, which represents about 600 active workers in Hamilton and 9,000 retirees.

“In my view, it’s a ploy to soften us up for mediation so we’re more agreeable with what U.S. Steel’s claims are,” Mr. Howe said.

The court filing said 20,600 former salaried and unionized employees and their spouses and dependents will no longer receive compensation for prescription drugs, dental care, hospital stays and glasses. The move would save U.S. Steel Canada about $3.6-million a month.

Mr. Aziz acknowledged that shifting production will cut the Canadian unit’s revenue by $42-million this year alone and make the operations “significantly less attractive to a potential purchaser.”

Mr. Aziz, who was appointed with the approval of the parent company, complained that Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel would not give U.S. Steel Canada or its lawyer access to additional information it requested on the decision to shift the steel production.

The municipalities of Hamilton and Haldimand will not receive $1.4-million and $896,000 in taxes, respectively, in the fourth quarter of this year if U.S. Steel Canada’s move is approved.

The Ontario government also has a big stake in the outcome because it’s on the hook for a large share of the Canadian unit’s pension deficit of more than $800-million.

Former Toronto-Dominion Bank chairman Ed Clark, a special adviser to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, said Friday that he preferred to “duck the question” of how negotiations are going and what role the provincial government is playing in seeking a buyer for the company.

Globe and Mail


Lookback #673 OOliver Mowat sank following a collision on Sept. 21, 1921

9/21 - The Oliver Mowat was a three-masted schooner involved in the Lake Ontario coal trade. The 136 foot long sailing ship had been built at Millhaven, Ont., and completed in 1873.

The vessel was owned by Capt. T.L. Van Husen when it was lost 94-years ago today. It had taken on a cargo of coal at Sodus Point, NY for a cross take sail to an Ontario port when it was in a collision with the steel steamer Keywest (i). The accident occurred on a clear night, near Pennicon Shoal, at about 2300 hours.

Oliver Mowat sank between the Main Duck and False Duck Islands and three members of the crew lost their lives. Only two of the sailors on board were rescued. Later, the masts of the sunken sailing ship were dynamited as they were considered a hazard to navigation.

The Oliver Mowat was named for a Canadian lawyer, writer and politician who served, for 24 years, as the third Premier of the province of Ontario.

Skip Gillham


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.

1907: The passenger ship PICTON, a) CORSICAN caught fire and burned at the dock in Toronto. The hull was later converted to a barge and was, in time, apparently abandoned near the Picton Pumping Station.

1907: ALEX NIMICK, a wooden bulk freighter, went aground near west of Vermilion Point, Lake Superior, and broke up as a total loss. The vessel was enroute from Buffalo to Duluth with a cargo of coal and six lives were lost

1921: The 3-masted schooner OLIVER MOWAT sinks in Lake Ontario between the Main Duck and False Duck Islands after a collision with KEYWEST on a clear night. Three lives were lost while another 2 sailors were rescued from the coal-laden schooner.

1924: The whaleback self-unloader CLIFTON, the former SAMUEL MATHER, foundered in Lake Huron off Thunder Bay while carrying a cargo of stone from Sturgeon Bay to Detroit. All 25 on board were lost.

1946: A second typhoon caught the former Hall vessel LUCIUS W. ROBINSON as b) HAI LIN while anchored in the harbor at Saipan, Philippines, on a voyage to China.

1969: AFRICAN GLADE, a Seaway caller in 1963, lost power in the Caribbean as c) TRANSOCEAN PEACE and was towed into Port au Spain, Trinidad. The repaired ship departed for Durban, South Africa, in April 1970 only to suffer more boiler problems enroute. The vessel was sold for scrapping at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, later in the year.

1977: HELEN EVANS suffered steering problems and went aground on Whaleback Shoal while upbound with iron ore in the St. Lawrence. There was minor damage and the vessel was released September 23.

1982: CALGADOC left the Great Lakes in 1975 and saw service in the south as b) EL SALINERO. The ship sank on this date in 1982 on the Pacific off the coast of Mexico.

1985: ELTON HOYT 2ND struck the 95th Street Bridge at Chicago and headed to Sturgeon Bay for repairs. 1988: The small tug MARY KAY sank in a Lake Ontario storm enroute from Rochester to Oswego. The former b) CAPT. G.H. SWIFT had recently been refitted and went down after a huge wave broke over the stern. It had seen only brief service on Lake Ontario after arriving from the Atlantic in 1987.

1993: The tug DUKE LUEDTKE sank in Lake Erie about 12 miles north of Avon Point when the ship began taking water faster than the pumps could keep up. One coastguardsman was lost checking on the source of the leak when the vessel rolled over and sank.

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


Jack Purvis to be inducted into Great Lakes Marine Hall of Fame

9/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan - Captain Jack Purvis, who was raised in Gore Bay, is to be inducted into the Great Lakes Marine Hall of Fame later this month in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

“Jack was born in Sault Ste. Marie but was raised here in Gore Bay by his parents,” said local shipping expert Buck Longhurst.

“I worked for him at Purvis Marine Limited (in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario),” said Mr. Longhurst. “He was a good fellow to work for and he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He worked very hard to get his business going and is a shrewd businessman.”

“Jack went from being a teacher of high school chemistry and physics to open this business which is now the second largest Canada flag tug and barge operator on the Great Lakes,” said Mr. Longhurst.

Captain John Wellington, president of the Sault Historic Sites, provided the inscription-information that will be on Mr. Purvis hall of fame museum award.

“Raised on Manitoulin Island, Jack was involved in the family’s commercial fishing business of James Purvis and Son based out of Quebec Harbour at Michipicoten Island. Schooled at St. Andrew’s College and the University of Western Ontario, Jack retired after a ten year career of teaching high school chemistry and physics at Bawating High School (in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) to pursue a full-time hobby of tug boating.”

“In 1967 he purchased the tug Rocket from Abitibi Paper Company and in 1975 he started Purvis Marine Ltd, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with the small tug ‘Rocket’ and a barge for work on the North Channel building docks and break walls for homeowners,” said Mr. Wellington. ‘Captain Purvis foresight and business acumen developed PML into one of the largest and most versatile marine contracting firms on the Great Lakes. Over the years, PML has accumulated a diverse fleet of tugs, barges and a crane-equipped bulk freighter servicing the Great Lakes, east coast of Canada and the Arctic. This fleet includes a tug moved overland from a remote Canadian inland lake, a tug delivered from England which arrived ice-covered in late December and a barge converted from the former car ferry ‘Chief Wawatam.’

“These vessels all became viable endeavours because of Captain Purvis ability to recognize potential and overcome obstacles,” continued Mr. Wellington. “PML also operates a wharf and tanker terminal, cargo handling facilities, a floating dry dock ship repair and salvage operations. The physical locations of PML stretch from the Upper St. Mary’s River to the lower harbor of Sault, Ontario.”

“As a local business owner and employer, Captain Purvis has received numerous awards from the Sault, Ontario community including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award, the Sault Ste. Marie Medal of Merit, the Paul Dalseg Community Achievement Award, and the Skipper Manzzutti Award for Business Achievement.

Mr. Wellington explained, “the marine Hall of Fame started in 1955 by the Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Chamber of Commerce to honour an outstanding marine person. A blue ribbon comprised of the marine editors of the marine publications located in the major American and Canadian cities surrounding the Great Lakes submitted names of individuals for consideration and determined who the honoree would be leach year. A banquet was held in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to honour the individual and was attended by representatives from all facts of the marine industry.”

“In 1968 through the efforts of Thomas Manse, a Sault Ste. Marie resident, marine enthusiast and publisher of “Know Your Ships,” the Republic Steel vessel ‘Valley Camp” was brought to Sault Ste. Marie to become a marine museum,” continued Mr. Wellington. “A marine hall of fame with plaques of the individual honourees was eventually established on the Valley Camp.”

“The Chamber of Commerce continued the Marine Man of the Year tradition until 1983 when it was discontinued,” said Mr. Wellington. “In 1993 Sault Historic Sites celebrated the 25th anniversary of the museum ship ‘Valley Camp.’ It was decided then by Sault Historic Sites to revive the tradition of a Maritime Man of the year. The tradition has continued since then under the auspices of Sault Historic Sites, Sault Locks Visitors Centre Association and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. A plaque of each year’s honoree is added to the Marine Hall of Fame on the ‘Valley Camp.’

Manitoulin Expositor


Port Reports -  September 20

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algorail has been anchored outside the Lorain harbor since Saturday about 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Winds were from the west at 20 mph and water levels in Western Lake Erie have been fluctuating as the water is push to the eastern end of the lake.


Lookback # 672 – Edgar Jourdain wrecked at Foxe Basin, Canadian Arctic on Sept. 20, 1980

The Canadian coastal freighter Edgar Jourdain was built at Collingwood as Hull 154. It was completed in May 1956 and left the Great Lakes as a) Montclair. The 240 foot, 6 inch long vessel was owned by the Montship Lines and registered in Great Britain.

Montclair was designed for pre-Seaway trading and handled general cargo as well as having two tanks for carrying tallow.

Once larger Montship vessels were in Great Lakes/Seaway service, Montclair was sold for Canadian coastal service. It became b) Pierre Radisson in 1961 and traded to the Eastern Arctic. It also came through the Seaway in 1965.

It was resold to Chimo Shipping in 1972 for similar work as c) George Crosbie and was a Seaway caller in 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976 before joining Jourdain Navigation as d) Edgar Jourdain later in 1976. This was also a Seaway traveler in 1979 but was lost the next year.

Edgar Jourdain was wrecked at Foxe Basin, off Hall Beach, while delivering cargo on Sept. 20, 1980. The ship went aground and was not able to be salvaged. The anchors were dropped and the vessel was holed.

Sometime during the night of Dec. 15, 1982, the ship, apparently locked in the ice, was refloated by a storm and high tide. No trace has ever been found, to my knowledge, and the Edgar Jourdain simply drifted away into deeper water and sank.


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 could be fabricated. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

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

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.

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.

1970: MARATHA ENDEAVOUR, enroute from Chicago to Rotterdam, broke down in the Atlantic and sent out a distress call. The ship was taking water but survived. The 520-foot long vessel had been a Seaway trader since 1965 and returned as b) OLYMPIAN in 1971. The ship arrived at Huangpu, China, for scrapping as c) HIMALAYA on January 9, 1985.

1980: The Canadian coastal freighter EDGAR JOURDAIN was built at Collingwood in 1956 as MONTCLAIR. The ship had been a pre-Seaway trader to the lakes and returned as b) PIERRE RADISSON in 1965, c) GEORGE CROSBIE in 1972 and d) EDGAR JOURDAIN beginning in 1979. It was wrecked at Foxe Basin, off Hall Beach in the Canadian Arctic, after going aground. The ship was abandoned, with the anchors down, but disappeared overnight on December 15, 1982, while locked in shifting pack ice. It is believed that the vessel was carried into deeper water and, at last report, no trace had ever been found.

1982: BEAVERFIR served Canadian Pacific Steamships as a Seaway trader beginning in 1961. The ship stranded off Barra de Santiago, El Salvador, as d) ANDEN in a storm on this date in 1982 after dragging anchor. Sixteen sailors from the 26-member crew perished.

2011: MINER, a) MAPLECLIFFE HALL, b) LEMOYNE (ii), c) CANADIAN MINER broke loose of the tug HELLAS and drifted aground off Scaterie Island, Nova Scotia, while under tow for scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey. The ship was a total loss and, in 2013, was still waiting to be dismantled and removed.

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


Lakes limestone trade up 4 percent in August

9/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone from U.S. and Canadian quarries on the Great Lakes totaled 3.9 million tons in August, an increase of 4 percent compared to a year ago, and even more, 10 percent, when compared to the month’s long-term average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries in Michigan and Ohio approached 3.3 million tons, an increase of 6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries in Ontario dipped by a couple boatloads.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 17,857,335 tons, an increase of 13 percent compared to the same point in 2014. Loadings out of U.S. quarries are 11 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Shipments from Canadian quarries have surged by 23 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  September 19

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 was at Lafarge on Thursday unloading some type of cargo. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were also in port on Thursday.

The Alpena returned Friday night to load another cargo of cement.

Lorian, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga entered the harbor in the early morning.


Corps of Engineers: Channel at "High Risk of Failure"

9/19 - Manistee County, Mich. – The channel connecting Portage Lake and Lake Michigan is a high risk of failure. That's according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Thursday, representatives from the Corps were in Onekama, Mich., to talk about the options to repair the channel.

They discussed two possible fixes: rebuilding the existing structures or building a new structure with rocks.

But both face the same challenge, finding the money to pay for it. The cost to repair the existing channel structure could be close to $6 million.

The Portage Lake channel was built in 1939. It's basically wood pilings with a concrete cap on top. Congress designated Portage Lake a Harbor of Refuge in 1883. But history doesn't count for much when it comes to Federal dollars.

When paying for harbor repairs, maintenance, and operations, it's the large commercial harbors that usually get funding first.

"And that's, typically, your heavy commercial tonnage; your iron ore, coal, or gravel," says David Wright, Chief of Operations, Detroit District with the Corps. "So a harbor like Portage Lake, it doesn't have any commercial industry so it doesn't have any commercial tonnage. So, that's always going to be a challenge to get funding for the harbor."

"What they're saying right now is, without money we're sorry," says Chuck May, Chair of the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition. "We're sorry. Even if it falls in."

And the channel falling is a very real possibility. Especially at times of low water, those wood pilings are showing signs of rot. Already, on the south wall, you can hear and see water sloshing on both sides of the concrete structure.

"The Corps has said this is code red," says May. "This is at risk of imminent failure. If during the winter, a storm comes in and breaks that wall down, it is only a matter of a small amount of time before it closes that channel or narrows that channel down to where it is much less navigable."

A recent study suggested that if the channel failed, it would equate a loss of $18 million to the community around Portage Lake.

"If the channel collapsed, I think you'd see a collapse of property values which generates an enormous amount of taxes for the county, local school district, the county," says David Meister, Supervisor of Onekama Township. "You could see values drop in half. It would be substantial."

Thursday's meeting brought together the Corps plus representatives from the Department of Agriculture, Michigan's two senators and local leaders, to figure out a way to get the ball rolling towards a solution.

"This is encouraging to me that we get some people involved, we get multiple sources of funding, maybe get the design work done quickly so we have something that's shovel ready, as they say," says Meister. "And then move to the next step which may be to collaborate with a bunch of different agencies and try to get this funded."

And funding, obviously, is the key. It's estimated that a design to repair the channel will cost in the neighborhood of $250,000. There's already an effort to raise that money locally, rather than wait for funding from Washington.

One comment from someone at Thursday's meeting, "If the channel fails, Onekama dies."

Up North Live


Seaway Notice to Shipping: Shoaling at Galop Island

9/19 - Click here to view


Lookback #671 – A.A. Parker foundered off Grand Marais on Sept. 19, 1903

It was 112 years ago today that a late summer storm caught the wooden bulk freighter A.A. Parker downbound on Lake Superior for Cleveland with a cargo of iron ore. The ship had loaded at Superior, Wis., and had passed Grand Marais on the journey east only to sink with a loss valued at $75,000.

When leaks developed, an attempt was made to return the ship to the safety of Grand Marais but this effort did not succeed. All of the crew was rescued thanks to the marvelous work of local lifesavers who risked their own lives to assist the helpless sailors.

A.A. Parker had been built by Thomas Quayle & Co. and completed at Cleveland for Capt. Thomas Wilson in 1884. It was designed for the ore, coal and grain trades and initially sailed as a) Kasota.

The ship sank in the Detroit River, following a collision with the City of Detroit, on July 17, 1890, and was rebuilt as A.A. Parker in 1892. Another mishap found this vessel aground while up bound in the St. Clair River on Oct. 26, 1900. It stranded during an attempt to avoid the sunken barge Martha. A.A. Parker was lightered and released on this occasion only to be lost on Sept. 19, 1903. The doomed ship had been sailing for the Gilchrist Transportation Co. since 1901.

In July 2001, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society reported that the remains of the hull had been located and filmed extensively. It lies in large pieces about four miles from Grand Marais.

Skip Gillham


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. 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 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.


Lakes ore down 19 percent in August

9/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 5.9 million tons in August, a decrease of 19 percent compared to a year ago. High levels of steel imports continued to depress the trade, but another factor was that three of the largest U.S.-flag lakers were undergoing repairs during the month. These vessels have a combined per-trip capacity of more than 200,000 tons.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5 million tons, a decrease of 26.5 percent compared to a year ago. These were the ports impacted by the three 1,000-footers being out of service for the majority of the month. One of the vessels sailed again on August 28. The other two vessels are expected to return to service by September 20.

Loadings at Canadian ports in the Seaway nearly doubled to 921,000 tons.

Through August, the Lakes/Seaway ore trade stands at 33.5 million tons, a near carbon copy of a year ago, and a slight decrease compared to the long-term average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Cruise ship anchors in Traverse City

9/18 - Traverse City, Mich. – A unique sight in Grand Traverse Bay Wednesday as a cruise ship put down anchor. It was the German vessel MS Hamburg.

The ship is carrying several hundred visitors, mostly from Germany, on a tour of the Great Lakes. As the Hamburg anchored in West Grand Traverse Bay today, those working on the bay say it had everyone talking.

“I've been down here all day and the folks that have been hanging around down here at Clinch Park talking about it has been nothing but positive. The boat is out of Montreal so there's some mystery and some interest there with just. We're not used to seeing that in this bay,” said Mike Sutherland of 231 Outfitters.

The cruise ship of mostly German visitors made their way in and out of local businesses like the Cherry Republic. The store says it made for a fun afternoon.

“We've had Germans, we've had Austrians today, just a lot of people trying our products. It’s kind of interesting, I got to serve wine to people today in the winery talking to them about how they're enjoying the trip to Traverse City,” said Assistant Manager Todd Gyulveszi.

Businesses also say it's exciting to see Traverse City becoming a destination for international visitors.

“We’re the Great Lakes Riviera to be honest with you. It’s a great place to come everyone knows the amount of accolades this town has gotten over the last couple years from magazines talking about what a great place it is, I think it's a great stop,” said Gyulveszi

The ship is now headed for Mackinac Island before cruising back to Montreal.

9 & 10 News


Port Reports -  September 18

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manistee was headed to the concrete plant early Thursday. She departed mid-morning.


Dispute over U.S. Steel Canada restructuring sent to mediation

9/18 - The dispute between United States Steel Corp. and its stakeholders over the future of U.S. Steel Canada Inc., has been sent to mediation by the Ontario Superior Court judge overseeing the Canadian unit’s restructuring.

The issues in dispute between the United Steelworkers union, the Ontario government, salaried active and retired employees, and a former president of its predecessor company Stelco Inc. on one side and U.S. Steel on the other, will be examined by former Ontario Superior Court associate chief justice Douglas Cunningham in a three-day session scheduled to begin next week. Russel Metals Hamilton plant takes coiled rolls of steel and cuts them down into plates for which then can be turned into products, including heavy machinery.

“The mediation shall address the feasibility of a comprehensive agreement among the parties,” Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel said in an order. The mediation will also address a business plan for the Canadian unit, its potential sale, the shift of production of high value-added steel to the United States and U.S. Steel’s claim of more than $2-billion against the Canadian unit.

U.S. Steel Canada has been operating under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act since last September, but the announcement by its parent company that it plans to shift production of about 180,000 tons of high-quality steel annually out of its Canadian operations has sparked an imminent crisis in the restructuring.

“I think we’re at the brink here,” one source familiar with the process said Wednesday after lawyers involved in the restructuring held a closed-door session with Justice Wilton-Siegel. The steelworkers union, which represents employees at the company’s mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., has said it will seek an injunction to stop the shift of production of automotive-grade steel to U.S. mills operated by the Pittsburgh-based giant.

Shifting production would diminish the value of the Canadian assets in the eyes of potential buyers, steel industry sources said. U.S. Steel has started a sales process that has led to a bid by one competitor – Essar Steel Algoma Inc., which is based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., but has the backing of a deep-pocketed parent company in India.

Potential buyers also need to wonder whether other steel-making contracts will be shifted out of Canada, leaving the Canadian operations to depend entirely on the spot steel market.

Stakeholders have questioned whether U.S. Steel actually wants to sell U.S. Steel Canada – it has also bid for the assets – or use the restructuring process to avoid a pension liability of more than $800-million and an unknown environmental liability at the Hamilton site, where steel has been made for more than 100 years.

“The worst-case scenario is that they want to mothball everything, pick up the pieces and leave and not have any liability,” said one source.

U.S. Steel bought Stelco Inc. in 2007. Stelco had undergone a two-year CCAA process that led to its purchase by a group of investment funds.

But U.S. Steel’s history in Canada has been one of confrontation. The company locked out unionized workers in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., during three of four sets of contract negotiations and broke commitments made to the federal government when Ottawa approved the purchase of Stelco under the Investment Canada Act.

U.S. Steel said it was forced to halt steel production in Canada because of the recession, but the broken promises led to the first prosecution of a company under the Investment Canada Act.

That legal dispute was eventually settled, but U.S. Steel and the federal government have refused to release details of the settlement and Judge Wilton-Siegel denied requests by the union and other stakeholders that the agreement be made public.

Globe and Mail


Lookback #670 – Lackawanna sank in collision off Point Edward on Sept. 18, 1909

The American package freight carrier Lackawanna was in a collision with the Chieftain in the St. Clair River, off Point Edward on Sept. 18, 1909. The former ship lost steering and was struck in the starboard bow sending the 278 foot long steel-hulled vessel to the bottom.

The damaged Lackawanna was salvaged and, following repairs, resumed service. It was one of a number of Great Lakes vessels sold for saltwater service during World War One. Too large for the existing locks leading to the sea, Lackawanna was cut in two at Buffalo in 1916.

The ship was towed from the Great Lakes in sections and re-assembled at the Davie shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec, for saltwater service. Lackawanna likely served in the coastal coal trade and was noted laid up at Boston before being sold for scrap. It was towed to Baltimore on April 8, 1929, and broken up.

Lackawanna had been built at Cleveland in 1888 and saw service for the Lackawanna Transportation Co., Boland & Cornelius, and had some charter work to the Soo Line while on the Great Lakes.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 18

On September 18, 1855, SEBASTOPOL (wooden side-wheel steamer, 230 foot, 863 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing on Lake Michigan in a gale. Her cargo included copper, tin, lead and iron ingots, safes and general merchandise. Her skipper misread the shore lights while she was coming in to Milwaukee and she stranded 500 feet from shore, broadside to the storm waves which pounded her to pieces. Most of the crew and 60 passengers were saved with the help of small boats from shore, but about 6 lives were lost. This was the vessel's first year of operation. Her paddlewheels were 50 feet in diameter.

On September 18,1679, GRIFFON, the first sailing ship on the upper Lakes, left Green Bay with a cargo of furs. She left the explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, behind. GRIFFON never reached her planned destination.

E J BLOCK, a.) W. R. WOODFORD of 1908, returned to service on September 18, 1946, as the first large bulk freighter powered by a diesel-electric power plant and one of the first equipped with commercial radar on the Great Lakes. She lasted until scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1988.

On September 18, 1959, the HENRY FORD II ran aground in the St. Marys River and damaged 18 bottom plates.

LAKE WINNIPEG was the first vessel to enter the Nipigon Transport fleet. She loaded her first cargo of 22,584 gross tons of iron ore clearing Sept Isles, Quebec, on September 18, 1962, bound for Cleveland, Ohio.

The Pere Marquette carferry CITY OF MIDLAND 41 (Hull#311) was launched on September 18, 1940, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corporation at a cost of $2 million. She was named after Midland, Michigan, for one of the Pere Marquette Railway's biggest customers, Dow Chemical Co. She was christened by Miss Helen Dow, daughter of Willard H. Dow, president of Dow Chemical Co. Converted to a barge in 1998, renamed PERE MARQUETTE 41.

On September 18, 1871, E. B. ALLEN (wooden schooner, 111 foot, 275 tons, built in 1864, at Ogdensburg, New York) was carrying grain when she collided with the bark NEWSBOY and sank off Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron.

On September 18, 1900, the large steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON was taken from her launch site on the Black River in Port Huron out to the St. Clair River. The tug HAYNES was at the bow and the tug BOYNTON at the stern. It took an hour and a half to maneuver through the various bridges. Newspapers estimated that a couple thousand persons watched the event. Once the WILSON made it to the St. Clair River, she was towed to Jenks Shipbuilding Company where she was completed and received her machinery.

1909: LACKAWANNA lost steering and sank in the St. Clair River with a hole in the starboard bow after a collision with the wooden schooner CHIEFTAIN off Point Edward.

1918: BUFFALO, formerly the Great Lakes package freighter a) TADOUSAC, b) DORIC, was torpedoed by U-117 and sunk off Godfrey Light and Trevose Head, Cornwall, UK

1942: ASHBAY traded on the Great Lakes for Bay Line Navigation from 1923 until 1935 when it was sold for Brazilian coastal service. The ship was sunk by gunfire from U-516 on this date at the mouth of the Marowyne River, Brazil, as c) ANTONICO and 16 lives were lost.

1942: NORFOLK, enroute from Surinam to Trinidad, was hit, without warning, by two torpedoes from U-175, on the starboard side near the British Guiana Venezuela border. The Canada Steamship Lines ship went down in minutes. Six lives were lost was well as the cargo of 3055 tons of bauxite destined for Alcoa.

1958: ASHTABULA sank in Ashtabula harbor after a collision with the inbound BEN MOREELL. All on board were rescued but there were later two casualties when the captain committed suicide and an insurance inspector fell to his death while on board.

1970: HIGHLINER was heavily damaged amidships as d) PETROS in a fire at Tyne, UK. The vessel was not repaired and, after being laid up at Cardiff, was towed to Newport, Monmouthshire, for scrapping on June 12, 1972.

1978: The British freighter DUNDEE was a pre-Seaway trader into the Great Lakes and returned through the new waterway on 14 occasions from 1959 to 1962. It foundered in the Mediterranean as g) VLYHO near Falconera Island after an engine room explosion caused leaks in the hull. The vessel was enroute from Chalkis, Greece, to Tunis, Tunisia, at the time.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Fraser Shipyard reaches 125-year milestone

9/17 - Superior, Wis. - If you've driven over the Blatnik Bridge from Duluth to Superior, you have probably seen a ship being repaired or built at the Fraser Shipyard at some point.

Fraser Shipyards has been around since 1890, and the company is celebrating 125 years of business in the Twin Ports this year.

Senior Vice President James Farkas said the secret to keeping a business afloat for that long is keeping up with the times.

"I think it's important that, again, we recognize what the customers require and how do you add value," Farkas said. "And you add value by having a trained workforce and continuing to work to ensure your workforce is trained to do the jobs that they need to do, communicate with your customers, you work with the community, with the environmental agencies."

Such a long, involved history in the Twin Ports means it's about time to bring in some experts, which is where Shana Aue comes in. Aue is a special collections librarian at UWS, and she is in charge of the massive archive of Fraser Shipyards documents and blueprints donated by the company, maritime museum and others.

"Fraser's one of the longest. They've gone through various names, but they've been there for a very long time," Aue said. "A lot of companies unfortunately have gone out of business or been bought by a larger firm, so they're no longer really the local company. And that's something that's really special about Fraser."

Most of the archived materials are still being processed, but Aue said a lot of the items are from the 1950s to the 1980s.

"There were a lot of big technological advances in shipping during those years, and a lot of them happened right here at Fraser," Aue said. "So that's just really exciting to learn how much was going on in our community and still is."

Many of Fraser's employees are third-generation workers. Farkas said the Shipyards hopes to recruit fourth-generation employees in the future. The company also hopes to continue to expand its customer base, and a sales manager said Fraser also is looking to begin some non-maritime manufacturing.



Harbor tour aimed at scoring funding for clean-up projects

9/17 - Duluth, Minn. – The Vista Fleet became a funding platform Tuesday for environmental agencies that are hoping for state funding to help clean up the Duluth-Superior Harbor.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency invited the Senate Capital Investment Committee for a first-hand look at successful clean-up project for contaminated sites in the harbor, as well as sites that still need millions of dollars in funding to restore.

"The hands on, feet on the ground, is so much more helpful than just sitting in committee down in St. Paul, and I think all of the people I have talked to have appreciated that opportunity,” said Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, chairman of the Senate Capital Investment Committee.

There are 43 contaminated sites across the Great Lakes from decades-old industrial companies when pollution regulations were not in place, according to officials with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.



Lookback #669 – Former Marly scuttled under tow for Capetown on Sept. 17, 2001

The Marly was a general cargo carrier that came through the Seaway in 1982. The ship had been built by Rickmers Werft and launched as a) Susanne on June 15, 1976. It was delivered to Ebert Lund's Rederi on Oct. 8, 1976, for service under the flag of Norway.

The 457 foot, 10 inch long freighter could carry 15,449 tons of cargo deadweight and was operated by a crew of 28 sailors. Each had a single cabin and the vessel had a small cinema and swimming pool on board for their traveling pleasure.

Susanne was sold to South Boston & Quincy Shipping Inc. and registered in Liberia as b) Marly in 1979. They had the ship visit the Great Lakes in 1982 but it was sold for continued service as c) Taichee in 1984. Another sale in 1976 led to the final name of d) Bismihita'la, still Liberian registry, in 1986.

On Aug. 30, 2001, this vessel began flooding in #2 hold and took on a significant list 500 miles off Capetown, South Africa. The ship was en route, in ballast, from Durban, South Africa, to Santos, Brazil, when the trouble developed.

Power was lost and the drifting ship sent out a distress call. The Muriel Yorke arrived on the scene and was able to save 25 of the sailors but another three perished when their lifeboat drifted under the propeller of the rescue ship.

Bismihita'la was taken in tow for Capetown but it became evident that this effort was doomed so a decision was made to scuttle the vessel on Sept. 17, 2001, sending it to the bottom in a position recorded as 25.2 S / 09.23 E.

Skip Gillham


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 crankcase 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.

1909: The towline connecting the ALEXANDER HOLLEY and SIR WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN broke in a Lake Superior storm and the former, a whaleback barge, almost stranded on Sawtooth Shoal. The anchors caught in time and it took 5 hours to rescue the crew.

1980: HERMION began Great Lakes trading shortly after entering service in 1960. The vessel stranded as d) AEOLIAN WIND, about a half mile from Nakhodka, USSR, during a voyage from North Vietnam to Cuba. The ship was refloated on October 8, 1980, and scrapped in 1981 at Nakhodka.

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


Feds will continue investigating cold-rolled steel imports

9/16 - The U.S. International Trade Commission found grounds to continue an investigation into U.S. whether China and six other countries have been dumping cold-rolled steel in the United States.

The Netherlands escaped further scrutiny.

A ruling is expected by Sept. 25 in a similar case involving hot-rolled steel, another major product made at Northwest Indiana's mills. U.S. Steel Gary Works, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor, ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor and U.S. Steel's Midwest Plant in Portage all make hot-rolled and cold-rolled products.

The ITC determined China, Brazil, India Japan, Korea, Russia and the United Kingdom have been dumping cold-rolled steel flat products at less than fair value. The board also concluded the governments of Brazil, China, India, Korea and Russia have been subsidizing their steelmakers, enabling them to sell steel in the United States for less than what they sell it for in their domestic markets.

ITC board members also voted to end an investigation into Dutch steel dumping.

ArcelorMittal USA, U.S. Steel, Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics and other major domestic steelmakers filed a trade case complaining that eight countries were dumping cold-rolled steel products that are used in cars, appliances, shipping containers, construction products and electrical equipment. In all, more than 10,900 steelworkers in the United States manufacture such products.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will now continue the investigation on imports from Brazil, China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the UK. Last year, those countries sent an estimated $1.2 billion worth of cold-rolled products to the United States, capturing an estimated 9.3 percent of the market.

A preliminary determination on countervailing duties is expected on Oct. 21, and a similar ruling on antidumping tariffs should take place on Jan. 4.

NWI Times


Breakwalls and Docks #49 – Gladstone sunk as a breakwall at Point Edward in 1923

(Note: Another former freighter has been found to have served as a breakwall and qualifies for inclusion in this series – any added information is welcome – SG.)

The wooden freighter Gladstone was built at Cleveland in 1888 and spent most of its years in the Bradley fleet. The 303 foot long vessel had survived a grounding in Lake St. Clair on Sept. 25, 1898, and lost its barge Pasadena in the Keweenaw Waterway on Oct. 8, 1906.

Gladstone joined the Joan Steamship Co. in 1918, but was lost during the winter when it sank at the moorings in St. Clair, MI. The hull was raised and pumped out in the spring but was found to be too twisted and broken for any return to trading.

The ship was stripped out and, in 1923, sold and towed to Point Edward, ON for use as a breakwall by a local yacht club off Canatera Park north of Sarnia. A fire destroyed much of the remains of the ship in 1936, leaving some wreckage on the bottom.

While much of this was reported as removed about 1963, Dive Ontario noted that the engine, steel frames and the propeller were still visible in the late 1970s.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #668 – Former Bjorgsund developed leaks in Pacific and sank on Sept. 16, 1975

The tanker Bjorgsund was built at Gothenburg, Sweden, by Eriksbergs M/V and launched on Oct. 14, 1953. The 559 foot, 4 inch long liquid cargo carrier was completed in December and entered service, under Norwegian registry, for Halmar Bjorge.

The ship was primarily a saltwater trader but it did come to the Great Lakes for a single trip in 1966.

In 1968, the vessel was sold to the American Computer Leasing Corp. for operation under Attica Maritime Ltd. It was renamed b) Amerifn for continued ocean trading under the flag of Liberia. This registry was changed to Greece in 1971.

Fire broke out on board while traveling in the Pacific on Sept. 11, 1975. The ship was carrying a cargo of molasses from Manzanillo, Mexico, to the United Kingdom, and was headed for the Panama Canal at the time.

Five days later, and 40 years ago today, the tanker began developing serious leaks off Costa Rica and sank in Pos. 8.36 N / 84.39 W.

Skip Gillham


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.

1892 The wooden propeller VIENNA sank in foggy Whitefish Bay after beiing hit broadside by the wooden steamer NIPIGON. The latter survived and later worked for Canada Steamship Lines as b) MAPLEGRANGE and c) MAPLEHILL (i) but was laid up at Kingston in 1925 and scuttled in Lake Ontario in 1927.

1901 HUDSON was last seen dead in the water with a heavy list. The steeel package freighter had cleared Duluth the previous day with wheat and flax for Buffalo but ran into a furious storm and sank in Lake Superior off Eagle Harbor Light with the loss of 24-25 lives.

1906 CHARLES B. PACKARD hit the wreck of the schooner ARMENIA off Midddle Ground, Lake Erie and sank in 45 minutes. All on board were rescued and the hull was later dynamited as a hazard to navigation.

1937-- The large wooden tug G.R. GRAY (ii) of the Lake Superior Paper Co., got caught in a storm off Coppermine Point, Lake Superior, working with GARGANTUA on a log raft and fell into the trough. The stack was toppled but the vessel managed to reach Batchawana and was laid up. The hull was towed to Sault Ste. Marie in 1938 and eventually stripped out. The remains were taken to Thessalon in 1947 and remained there until it caught fire and burned in 1959.

1975 BJORSUND, a Norwegian tanker, visited the Seaway in 1966. The 22--year old vessel began leaking as b) AMERFIN enroute from Mexico to Panama and sank in the Pacific while under tow off Costa Rica.

1990 JUPITER was unloading at Bay City when the wake of a passing shipp separated the hose connection spreading gasoline on deck. An explosion and fire resulted. One sailor was lost as the ship burned for days and subsequently sank.

2005 Fire broke out aboard the tug JAMES A. HANNAH above Lock 2 of the Welland Canal while downbound with the barge 5101 loaded with asphalt, diesel and heavy oil. City of St. Catharines fire fighters help extinguish the blaze.

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


Police divers searching for man who jumped from freighter

9/15 - Ludington, Mich. – The Michigan State Police Dive Team was in Ludington Monday searching Lake Michigan for the body of Jerald Glenn Rinaldi who jumped off the Stewart J. Cort on Aug. 23 off Big Sable Point. The team did not have divers in the water in the area of Lake Michigan where he disappeared, but rather a remote underwater vehicle, according to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, who requested the MSP's help.

Detectives from the Mason County Sheriff's Office learned that Rinaldi jumped from the ship after a disturbance in his room. Cole has said because Rinaldi hasn't been located that the investigation into his death would remain an open case.

Rinaldi was believed to be intoxicated and the ship’s captain and first mate were summoned and confronted him about his alcohol use because the ship has a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. Cole said at some point during that confrontation, Rinaldi ran to the rail on the starboard side of the ship and eventually jumped.

Volunteers searched area beaches in the days after Rinaldi's apparent death, but did not find signs of him.

Ludington Daily News


Lorain Lighthouse named best on Lake Erie

9/15 - Lorain, Ohio – The Lorain Lighthouse again was named the best along the Lake Erie shore, according to awards presented by Lake Erie Living magazine. For the second year in a row, the Jewel of the Port of Lorain captured the top honor of Best Lighthouse, as awarded in Lake Erie Living magazine’s annual Best of Lake Erie issue.

The magazine considers lake-related businesses and attractions in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ontario. The Lorain Lighthouse Foundation, oversees fundraising, maintenance and improvements.

The lighthouse draws visitors from out of Lorain and out of state. Its popularity is not necessarily a surprise because people who love lighthouses will search them out, said Rick Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority.

“Are we surprised? Not really because we know it’s a jewel out there and people know they can go out there and visit it now,” Novak said. In 2014, the building was painted. This summer the lighthouse got 34 new windows, 16 new doors, hinges and rebuilt locks.

Lorain Morning Journal


Port Reports -  September 15

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner is headed for Buffalo and should arrive Tuesday evening.

Erie, Pa. – Brian W.
Manitowoc is headed for Erie, Pa., with an ETA of around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.


Hamburg cruise ship docks in Milwaukee

9/15 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The Hamburg has returned to Milwaukee. The 15,000-ton, 420-passenger luxury cruise ship is touring the Great Lakes for the second summer in a row. The ship arrived in Milwaukee on Monday morning, and will allow passengers to tour all the sights Southeastern Wisconsin has to offer.

The ship's passengers are mostly European. During its current North American cruise, the Hamburg is making stops at other Great Lakes ports such as Chicago, Montreal and Toronto.

The cruise ship is currently docked in the Port of Milwaukee. Passengers will be able to take shuttles to a number of area destinations, from the Harley-Davidson Museum to the Milwaukee Public Market. They will even have the opportunity to check out some attractions outside the city.

CBS 58


Keweenaw Excursions plans three-day fall color tour

9/15 - Charlevoix, Mich. – Keweenaw Excursions is offering a three-day excursion that will take passengers on a northern Michigan boating excursion up the St. Marys River, through the Soo Locks and into Lake Superior aboard its 110-foot Keweenaw Star. The trip runs Monday, Sept.28 - Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The trip begins Saturday morning at the State Docks in the village of DeTour, in the eastern Upper Peninsula. From there, the Star will travel north to explore the tree-filled islands of Potagannissing Bay, through the North Channel of Georgian Bay and over to the Canadian town of Bruce Mines to view the lighthouse at McKay Point. From there, it’s west past Sister Rock lighthouse and through the narrows of the Wilson Channel, then over to the north side of St. Joseph Island, which should be ablaze in fall colors. Just past the Shoal Island Lighthouse, the Star enters the St. Marys River in the Middle Neebish Channel and heads north toward Sault Ste. Marie. The evening concludes with a trip through the Soo Locks and out into Lake Superior, before returning to Sault Ste. Marie for the night.

Sunday offers options for passengers. The first is to board a bus for trip to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in the town of Paradise, including a stop at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Those wishing to stay and explore Sault Ste. Marie can take in attractions such as the Museum Ship Valley Camp, Tower of History and the viewing platform for the Soo Locks, for up-closing viewing of the transiting freighters.

On Monday, the Star begins her voyage south down the St. Marys River, with passage through the famed Rock Cut and back to the dock in DeTour.

Cost for the excursion is $475 per person, based on double occupancy ($550 per person, single occupancy) and includes transportation, two night’s accommodations at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie as well as a gaming package and most meals. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 231-237-9365.

The Keweenaw Star offers a full cash bar with snacks, as well as a climate-controlled main cabin, full dining room, walk-around main deck and open-air top deck.

Operating since 2000, Keweenaw Excursions is owned and operated by brothers Jason and Kraig Funkey. The company originated in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and moved to Charlevoix in 2009. With a capacity of 130 passengers, the Keweenaw Star offers a range of cruises from mid-May through mid-October, including sunset tours, sightseeing trips and multi-day lighthouse and shipwatching cruises. The boat is also available for private charters, for events such as corporate outings, weddings, rehearsal dinners and reunions.

For more information, contact Keweenaw Excursions: 231.237.9365 |

Keweenaw Excursions


Lookback #667 – Manasoo foundered in Georgian Bay on Sept. 15, 1928

The passenger ship Manasoo had a very short career under this name. It began its maiden voyage on April 22, 1928, and sank in heavy weather late that summer after clearing the Manitoulin Island community of Manitowaning on Sept. 15.

This steel passenger ship was built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1888 and came to Canada for the Hamilton Steamboat Co. Originally known as a) Macassa, the ship worked on Lake Ontario routes and was rebuilt at Collingwood in 1904-1905 resulting in a vessel that was now 190 feet 3 inches long.

Macassa served a variety of owners and opened the port of Toronto for the year on several occasions including 1906, 1917-1921 and 1925. It was sold to the Owen Sound Transportation Co. at the end of the 1927 season and was rebuilt at Toronto as an overnight boat for passenger and freight service. It was renamed b) Manasoo early in 1928 and replaced the burnt Michipicoten.

Manasoo encountered heavy weather 87 years ago today and the cargo shifted before the vessel overturned just before 3 a.m. Seventeen lives were lost in addition to 46 head of cattle and a single automobile. Six on board survived but one of those succumbed in the lifeboat as they had to endure being adrift for 60 hours before being picked up by the Manitoba of the Canadian Pacific line. They were brought into Owen Sound.

An investigation blamed bad stowage of cargo, carelessness and neglect. As a result, the captain and first officer had their certificates cancelled.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 15

News Photo Gallery


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 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 about six miles from Alpena, Michigan. No lives lost.

1882: The wooden passenger steamer ASIA got caught in a wild storm crossing Georgian Bay, fell into the trough and sank stern first. There were 123 passengers and crew listed as lost while only two on board survived.

1915: ONOKO of the Kinsman Transit Company foundered in Lake Superior off Knife Point, while downbound with wheat from Duluth to Toledo. The crew took to the lifeboats and were saved. The hull was located in 1987, upside down, in about 340 feet of water.

1928: MANASOO, in only her first season of service after being rebuilt for overnight passenger and freight service, foundered in Georgian Bay after the cargo shifted and the vessel overturned in heavy weather. There were 18 casualties, plus 46 head of cattle, and only 5 survived.

1940: KENORDOC, enroute to Bristol, UK, with a cargo of lumber was sunk due to enemy action as part of convoy SC 3 while 500 miles west of the Orkney Islands. The ship had fallen behind the convoy due to engine trouble, and was shelled by gunfire from U-48. There were 7 casualties including the captain and wireless operator. H.M.S. AMAZON completed the sinking as the bow of the drifting hull was still visible.

1940: The Norwegian freighter LOTOS came inland in 1938 delivering pulpwood to Cornwall and went aground there in a storm. The ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine while about 15 miles west of Rockall Island, Scotland, while inbound from Dalhousie, NB for Tyne, UK.

1962” A collision between the HARRY L. FINDLAY of the Kinsman Line and the Greek Liberty ship MESOLOGI occurred at Toledo. The latter began Seaway service that year and made a total of six inland voyages. It was scrapped at Aioi, Japan, as f) BLUE SAND after arriving in November 1969.

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


Rouge River closed for bridge work

9/14 - Detroit, Mich. – The Rouge River will remain closed until September 18th to allow the new Fort Street lift span to be rolled into place. Tugs Capt. Dave and Titan have placed barges side by side across the river and heavy-equipment movers are rigging equipment to roll the semi-completed lift span from its temporary construction location on the southwest side of the river out to the northeast pier, where it will be connected to the already completed counterweights and lift mechanism. The new span will have only one leaf that lifts.

The current aerial photo on Google maps is fairly recent and shows where the lift span was constructed on the southwest shore.

It appears that the emergency dredging near Jefferson Avenue is completed and the Peter R. Cresswell was unloading at St. Marys Cement on Friday.

Tom Hynes


Jupiter Explosion: 25 years after 'hell visited the Saginaw River' in Bay City

9/14 - Bay City, Mich. – As a 20-year-old firefighter, only nine months into his career, Todd Shorkey had only heard stories about those "once-in-a-lifetime" fires.

These are the fires that are talked about for the rest of one's life. The type that a community never forgets. A fire so spectacular, so stupendous, so colossal that it requires you to freeze and let it soak in.

"Some people wait their whole career for a fire like this," Shorkey said. "I got it in the first nine months of my career."

Near the end of his 24-hour shift at about 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16, 1990, Shorkey was sipping a cup of coffee when a call came over the radio for a "boat fire." As he left the station and saw an incredible plume of black smoke rising over Bay City he quickly knew it was more than that.

This Wednesday, Sept. 16, marks the 25th anniversary of the motor vessel Jupiter explosion. While moored on the West Side of the Saginaw River, unloading 2.3 million gallons of unleaded gasoline at Total Petroleum, the tanker broke away from its lines after a freighter passed by it.

A former Bay City Times reporter described what happened next:

"As a soaking rain pelted the sailors, hell visited the Saginaw River."

At about 8:30 a.m. that Sunday, the Buffalo, a freighter measuring 635-feet long — nearly twice the length of the Jupiter — was heading up the Saginaw River to unload a cargo of coal and passed by the tanker. At the time of its passing, according to an accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the Jupiter broke away from its berth and its stern swung out into the river, rupturing the hose that was discharging gasoline to the pier and damaging the pipeline on the pier. Gasoline spilled on the pier and onto the deck of the Jupiter.

Electrical cables to two motor-operated valves that closed off the pipelines were torn apart, causing a spark that ignited the spilled gasoline.

It didn't take long before a series of massive explosions in the cargo tanks destroyed the entire middle section of the vessel.

"The flames were 20 to 30 feet in the air and the horrendous smoke ... it was unbelievable," Charles Prescott, the vessel's chief engineering officer, told a Times reporter following the explosion.

He later described the sound of the explosion as a "sonic boom."

"It was so terrible that paint and soot sifted down from overhead."

Members of the 17-man crew started evacuating the ship, some jumping into a cold Saginaw River. About 10 minutes later, a U.S. Coast Guard rescue crew was at the scene plucking sailors from the water.

More than a dozen crew members were injured — most treated for mild cases of hypothermia and minor burns and abrasions. Thomas Sexton, a crewman from Iowa, was the lone fatality. Sexton drowned while trying to swim to safety after the vessel exploded.

Dr. George Ascherl Jr., a radiologist who lives in Bay City, watched the horrific scene unfold from somewhere between 100- and 300-feet away. He was taking his sailboat, the Wild Irish, to Pier 7 Marina for the winter and was abreast of the Jupiter when it exploded.

"It was one of the most frightening scenes I've ever witnessed," Ascherl said this past week, nearly 25 years after the explosion. "The intensity of it all was something I'd only imagine seeing in a warzone."

Instead of continuing down the Saginaw River, Ascherl stood by to help the men who were jumping into the Saginaw River, he said. He negotiated his sailboat near the stern of the Jupiter. The ship's captain advised him to stand off, but stand by and not come any closer to the burning ship.

He then watched members of the crew take down the American flag that was flying on the windy day and evacuate their freighter.

Shorkey said he stood in disbelief when he arrived at the smoke-filled, fiery scene. "It was, by far, the most dramatic fire I've ever been to," said the 25-year veteran firefighter.

It was confusion at first, he said, and there were worries of more explosions. Firefighters established a water supply, stretched supply lines to the river and set up portable monitor guns, but their equipment couldn't reach the burning ship, Shorkey said.

The Jupiter burned furiously through the day and night, according to media reports. Knowing gasoline was still on board, officials thought the only strategy was to let it burn.

But the temperature of the fire was causing the Jupiter's hull to buckle. According to media reports, only 6 inches of the hull remained above the water line. Several other explosions throughout the day and into the evening made things worse. The "let-it-burn" strategy was thrown out.

Following the explosion, Total Petroleum officials called Texas-based Boots & Coots to battle the blaze. Officials from the company, now owned by Halliburton, arrived early Monday morning, bringing equipment and expertise to fight the fire.

Thousands of gallons of special foam was shot into the flames. Anything still burning needed to be extinguished because even the smallest flame could re-ignite the entire ship.

Actual firefighting started at 1:30 p.m. Monday and it took less than an hour for the team from Boots & Coots and the U.S. Coast Guard to put the fire out after it had burned for 29 hours.

But it wasn't done. At 9:30 p.m. that evening, after many members of the state and national media left the scene, the Jupiter began burning again. Firefighters again smothered the freighter with foam.

By Tuesday morning, the fire was finally out, but an investigation that would shut down the shipping channel for more than three weeks was just beginning.

The Jupiter explosion became one of those events that includes the question, "Where were you when it happened?"

Ron Bloomfield, director of operations and chief historian for the Bay County Historical Society, was traveling from Mount Pleasant to Delta College in Bay County and could see a mystery plume of black smoke from M-20.

"The whole way, I could see this massive plume of black smoke and had no idea what it was — you can't tell distance when you're traveling like that," Bloomfield said. "I thought, 'Is half of Bay City burning?' "

Saginaw River Marine Historical Society President Don Comtois was driving to Bay City from West Branch following engineer training.

"You could see this haze in the sky toward Bay City and one of the guys in our car got on his cellphone and was told a gasoline tanker exploded in Bay City," Comtois said.

"I would say for a disaster on the river, this ranks No. 1. During the lumber era, there were fires, but nothing that would even compare to what we had here with the Jupiter."

Former Times photographer Wes Stafford received a call that Sunday morning from cops reporter Tim Younkman, who told him a boat had exploded on the Saginaw River.

"My first question was, 'Do you think it's still going to be burning when I get down there?'" Stafford said.

Younkman told him, "I think so."

Two Times photographers were already at the scene, so Stafford was assigned to get aerial shots of the blaze in an airplane.

"That's when it really struck me," he said. "To see fire and smoke in the sky over Bay City was incredible."

Before learning of the blast, Stafford said he heard a "scrunching, screeching" sound that resembled a train derailment. "What I think I heard was the Jupiter's deck being peeled back."

"This was a spectacular fire as far as fires go," Younkman said. "The Wenonah was the most tragic in that 10 people died. This fire, we had one man die, which was bad, but considering what happened, the fact anyone survived was a miracle."

Remnants of the Jupiter remain in Bay County today.

A number of artifacts, including the Jupiter's transom, fire bell and American flag that flew on its stern are on display at Dobson's Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum, 3456 Patterson Road in Bangor Township. The items are owned by the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society.

Those interested can also see a life jacket salvaged from the freighter, part of a work boat and an old gauge. Outside the firetruck museum, buried in the growth of weeds and trees, is the Jupiter's mast. Amateur video of the response to the blaze runs on a loop inside the museum and several newspaper clippings are on display. A model replica of the freighter is encased in glass.

The Times' comprehensive coverage of the explosion and investigation, in addition to the Marine accident report by the National Transportation Safety Board, can be found in the library at the Bay County Historical Museum, 321 Washington Ave.

A federal investigation ultimately found Total Petroleum Co. responsible for the fire because of faulty moorings. Throughout the investigation, some officials alleged the Buffalo was traveling at too high of a speed, causing a wake and suction that pulled the Jupiter away from its moorings.

The total cost of the fire, including the Jupiter's value and overtime costs for local agencies was more than $6.1 million.

Today, Marathon Petroleum operates at the site at 1806 Marquette Ave., where the Jupiter was unloading gasoline. Ken Foster, a former manager at the plant who retired in 2011 and was on site the day the Jupiter exploded, said several training seminars, from firefighting to lifesaving, soon became standard protocol at the plant following the incident.

When freighters now pass by the gasoline terminal, for instance, all pumping operations are shut down until the vessel has cleared.

"The lessons we learned brought out a lot of good," Foster said. "We learned an awful lot."

M Live


Lookback #666 – Strange Attractor lost power departing Beauharnois on Sept. 14, 1998

Strange Attractor was built by the Hakodate Dock Co., at Hakodate, Japan, in 1978. It was launched as Graiglwyd but was known as a) Lantau Trader when it entered service that year for Crossfish Ltd., under the flag of Hong Kong.

Lantau Trader came through the Seaway in 1989. Following a sale to Freshwater Bay Shipping Ltd. in 1995, the ship returned inland as b) Strange Attractor on April 15, 1996, carrying a cargo of sand for Port Weller and Ashtabula. It departed with canola meal, peas and wheat that had been loaded at Thunder Bay.

There were three inland voyages in 1996 and 1997 and another four trips to our shores in 1998. The vessel lost power leaving the Upper Beauharnois Lock on Sept. 14, 1998, and, 17 years ago today, had to be towed from the north wall to the south wall until power could be restored.

Strange Attractor was a regular Seaway trader making a total to 20 voyages to the Great Lakes with the final trip in May 2005 delivering sugar to Toronto.

The bulk carrier was sold and renamed c) Strange Attractor I in 2005 and d) Orient Fuzhou in 2008. By now it was registered in Panama and operated on saltwater routes until resold to Turkish shipbreakers. It arrived at Aliaga on Aug. 7, 2009 and was broken up by Simsekler Gemi Sokum Ltd.

Skip Gillham


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.

1960: The Bahamas registered vessel ITHAKA stranded 10 miles east of Chhurchill, Manitoba, after the rudder broke and the anchors failed to hold in a storm. The ship had served on the Great Lakes for Hall as a) FRANK A. AUGSBURY and e) LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL (i), for Canada Steamship Lines as b) GRANBY and for Federal Commerce & Navigation as f) FEDERAL PIONEER.

1965: FORT WILLIAM, which recently entered service as a package freight carrier for Canada Steamship Lines, capsized at Pier 65 in Montreal. There was an ensuing fire when part of the cargo of powdered carbide formed an explosive gas and five were killed. The vessel was refloated on November 22, 1965, repaired, and still sails the lakes a b) STEPHEN B. ROMAN.

1970: The barge AFT, the forward part of the former STEEL KING (ii), arrrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, under tow of the tug HERBERT A. for dismantling. The barge had been part of a tandem tow with the dipper dredge KING COAL but the latter broke loose in a Lake Erie storm and sank.

1998: The Cypriot-registered STRANGE ATTRACTOR first came through the Seaway in 1989 as a) LANTAU TRADER. It returned under the new name in 1996 and lost power on this date in 1998 while leaving the Upper Beauharnois Lock and had to be towed to the tie up wall by OCEAN GOLF and SALVAGE MONARCH. The ship was soon able to resume the voyage and continued Great Lakes trading through 2003. It arrived for scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey, as d) ORIENT FUZHOU on August 7, 2009.

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


Bay Shipbuilding workforce is surging

9/13 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding Co. currently has a workforce of 675 people, expects that to expand by another 50, and will employ about 1,200 permanent and seasonal workers at the peak of the winter fleet work period in March, the company's human resources manager said Thursday.

Bill Behme presented a "State of the Shipyard" report to the Noon Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay, telling the Rotarians that the Sturgeon Bay firm owned by Fincantieri has contracts to build 11 vessels over the next two or three years. One of those vessels is due to be christened Sept. 29.

Bay Ship commands about 25 percent of all of the repair business on the Great Lakes, including the winter layover that usually results in 14 or 15 giant cargo vessels being parked at the yard from January to March. Most of the new builds are for businesses along the Gulf Coast.

"So much of this has to do with the Midwest work ethic, with the quality of the work that we put out, with the efficiency that we can do that," Behme said. "Obviously we can build these ships faster and more efficient here in Sturgeon Bay. It is a testament to the folks who've been working there for 20-30-40 years and to the new folks who are coming in that are jumping right on board."

In the last 18 months Bay Ship has increased its head count by about 20 percent, he said.

In response to a question, Behme expressed confidence that the 100 workers being displaced by the pending Palmer Johnson Yachts shutdown can find local work.

Palmer Johnson announced last week that it is moving its manufacturing operations to Europe, closing its facilities in Sturgeon Bay where the company was founded in 1918.

"Obviously we want to keep those folks in the county, you don't want to lose that knowledge," Behme said. "I know there are businesses up in the Industrial Park, as well as ourselves, that are chomping at the bit for skilled trades, for managers, for just about anything that they've got employed over there, and we, between ourselves and the Industrial Park companies, I think will easily absorb that 100 people that they have."

Door County Advocate


USACE permit requested for new limestone quarry, dock on St. Marys River

9/13 - Goetzville, Mich. – A company named Logistics 44 has submitted a permit application to the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct a dock to serve a new limestone quarry near Goetzville, Mich., on the St. Marys River, across from Lime Island at Raber Point. The proposed operation appears to be limited in size, with a 520-foot-long dock along a channel 80 feet wide and roughly 20 feet deep. It appears it would only load barges. The property appears to be owned by Stone Mountain Properties.

A public notice on the project was posted to the USACE Detroit District webpage on Friday, Sept. 11.

Tom Hynes


Lookback #665 – North American sank while under tow in the Atlantic on Sept. 13, 1967

The once popular Great Lakes cruise ship North American went to the bottom of the Atlantic off Nantucket Light while under tow 48 years ago today. The ship had been retired in 1964 and was headed to Piney Point, Md. for use as a training vessel by the Seafarer's International Union.

North American had been built at Ecorse, Mich., in 1913 for the Chicago, Duluth and Georgian Bay Transit Co. The 291 foot, 6 inch long steamer provided a wonderful cruise service and could accommodate 450 passengers.

The vessel was converted to burn oil in 1923 and a second stack was added. It operated on the upper Great Lakes but headed to the St. Lawrence to view the beautiful Thousand Islands in July 1958 when the Eisenhower Lock was opened that summer.

The ship stranded during another Thousand Islands voyage in 1960 and required the help of tugs to float free.

Smaller than running mate South American, North American was laid up and then sold to the Canadian Holiday Line in 1963 but was not a success. It was surrendered to a trust company, traded for 5,000 acres of Tennessee woodland, returned to the trust company after litigation and finally sold to the S.I.U.

The hull was found on the bottom of the Atlantic in July 2006. It rests about 140 miles off New England in 250 feet of water near the Continental Shelf.

Skip Gillham


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 200 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 - 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.

1967 – The former Great Lakes passenger ship NORTH AMERICAN sank in the Atlantic (40.46 N / 68.53 W) while under tow for a new career as a training ship at Piney Point, Maryland.

1988 – The Cypriot freighter BLUESTONE, at Halifax since August 19, had 3 crewmembers jump ship at the last minute claiming unsafe conditions due to corrosion in the tank tops, but this could not be checked as the vessel was loaded.

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


Algoma Central signs contracts for three Equinox Class self-unloaders

9/12 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation announced Friday that it is has signed conditional contracts to build three 740 foot Seaway Max self-unloading bulk freighters to join the company's Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway dry-bulk fleet.

These contracts, with Uljanik d.d. of Croatia, replace three of the contracts with a Chinese shipyard that were cancelled earlier this year. The agreements are contingent upon delivery by the shipyard of acceptable security for the construction installments required under the contracts.

These new Equinox Class ships will feature a boom forward configuration designed to provide greater flexibility in certain delivery situations. The vessels will have an overall length of 225.55 metres (740 feet) and a beam of 23.77 metres (78 feet), qualifying as Seaway Max size ships. The vessels will carry 29,300 tonnes at maximum Seaway draft.

The new Equinox vessels will have all of the features of the existing Equinox design, including the exhaust gas scrubber technology pioneered by Algoma on the Great Lakes in its first Equinox Class gearless bulk carriers. The first vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2018 with the balance of the ships delivered by the end of that year. Algoma is continuing discussions with other parties on further fleet renewal opportunities.

"Our experience with the Uljanik Group on the Equinox 650 Class project has given us confidence in the Shipyard's ability to deliver high-quality vessels on the agreed timelines,” said Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of Algoma.

"Our Equinox project has faced significant delays as a result of the financial problems encountered by Nantong Mingde shipyard. Working closely with Uljanik, we are confident in the continuation of Algoma's fleet renewal project."



USS Milwaukee commissioning set for Nov. 21

9/12 - Milwaukee, Wis. – At a press conference held at Discovery World, Mayor Tom Barrett announced that the USS Milwaukee, the fifth U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Cream City, will hold its commissioning on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. at Veteran's Park.

The event commemorates the day the U.S. Navy accepts the ship, which was built in Marinette, into its fleet for active duty.

"Today marks an exciting day as we prepare for an amazing event in Milwaukee this November," Barrett said. "The USS Milwaukee Commissioning is an event that appeals to many family generations, and I am eager to be a part of this national Naval tradition that will take place here in Milwaukee – its namesake city."

"The commissioning of the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) is an historic event, which supports the needs of the Navy and the ship's crews and creates awareness for the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and U.S. Navy," said Vice Admiral Dirk J. Debbink, U.S. Navy Reserve (Retired) Commissioning Committee Chair. "The USS Milwaukee Commissioning is a once in a lifetime event, and we anticipate that much of Milwaukee and even Wisconsin, will be a part of this Naval tradition."

The commissioning is free to the public; however, advanced tickets are required for admission. Order tickets here:


China woes sink St. Lawrence Seaway, Great Lakes shipping volumes

9/12 - Toronto, Ont. – The amount of cargo carried on the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes fell by more than 10 per cent in the first half of the shipping season, as Chinese demand for coal and iron ore wavered amid global economic uncertainty.

Shipments of ore fell by 16 per cent and coal volumes plunged by 38 per cent in the five months ending Aug. 31, compared with the year-earlier period, according to St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. It manages the Canadian portion of the 3,700-kilometre water route that links North America’s industrial and agricultural core with global and domestic ports.

Stephen Roach, Senior Fellow, Yale University's Jackson Institute of Global Affairs joins BNN to discuss the long-term implications of China's economic slowdown.

“The global slowdown is mainly driven by what is happening in China,” said Terence Bowles, chief executive officer of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Coal and ore “are two big cargoes for the seaway and demand has gone down, price has dropped and so has the amount of those products being shipped.”

Overall volumes are 1-per-cent lower than the Seaway’s five-year average, and Mr. Bowles said he is confident shipments will bounce back due to economic growth in Europe and strength in the United States and Canada. Twenty-five per cent of the seaway’s cargo involves overseas markets, while the remainder is shipped within the seaway to the dozens of ports in Canada and the U.S.

Shipping volumes were bolstered by a 9-per-cent rise in road salt, as well as construction materials destined for Toronto’s building boom and Montreal’s Champlain Bridge replacement. The bridge project, estimated to cost between $3-billion and $5-billion, has kept Canada Steamship Lines’ freighter Baie St. Paul busy, bringing 10 loads of stone from a Lafarge quarry near Montreal.

Grain shipments are down by 15 per cent, and the outlook for the final months of the shipping season is tempered by expectations that the crop in drought-stricken Western Canada will be about 20 per cent smaller.

The total Canadian wheat harvest is expected to be 25 million tonnes, down by 16 per cent from the previous year and a 34-per-cent drop from the record haul of 2013, Statistics Canada said.

The Port of Thunder Bay, which has the largest grain-storage capacity in North America, is home to eight terminals owned by Richardson International Ltd., Glencore’s Viterra and others. Separately, the port on Lake Superior said year-to-date grain shipments are 23 percent higher than the five-year average, as the carry-over from the 2013 bumper crop moves to markets around the world.

“We’re going pretty strong,” said Tim Heney, CEO of the Thunder Bay Port Authority. “It’s picking up now. The harvest is coming into the port.”

Thunder Bay’s grain volumes for the full season will be 7.5 million tonnes, down from last year’s 8.5 million tonnes, Mr. Heney said by phone.

The port’s volumes benefited from a 23-per-cent rise in general cargo, including wind turbines, gold-mining equipment on its way to an Ontario site and machinery and structural steel for Alberta, a list of goods that is more varied than in past years, Mr. Heney said.

Globe and Mail


Lookback #664 – Maryland lost 12 hatch covers in Sept. 12, 1953, storm on Lake Superior

The Maryland was crossing Lake Superior when it was attacked by a late summer storm on Sept. 12, 1953. The ship was mauled by the strong winds and 12 hatch covers were ripped off. To save his ship, the captain beached the 552 foot long bulk carrier near Marquette, Mich., and all 35 sailors on board were rescued 62 years ago today.

The Bethlehem Transportation Co. bulk carrier was salvaged on Sept. 17 but was declared a total loss due to the extensive bottom damage. The hull was taken to Duluth where it was repaired and sold to the Buckeye Steamship Co. It resumed trading in 1954 as Henry LaLiberte.

This vessel had been built at Ecorse, Mich., in 1908 and had previously sailed as a) James Corrigan for the Frontier Steamship Co. before becoming b) Arthur E. Newbold for the Johnstown Steamship Co. in 1916. It joined Bethelem as c) Maryland in 1925.

Henry LaLiberte served Buckeye well and then joined Kinsman Marine Transit in 1969. It sustained steering damage backing from the Frontier Dock at Buffalo on Oct. 27, 1973, and was again declared a total loss.

This time there would be no reprieve and the ship was sold to Marine Salvage, resold to Spanish shipbreakers and towed down the Welland Canal on Dec. 8 for Montreal. It departed for overseas on April 19, 1974, in tandem with Joe S. Morrow and behind the tug Jantar. The two old lakers arrived at Santander on May 8, 1974, for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


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 firewood 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.

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.

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. Collship was famous for its 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 shoreside crane lifting a payloader 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 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 seven 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 McMorran 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.

1889: ROTHESAY, a wooden sidewheel passenger vessel, collided with the tug MYRA in the St. Lawrence between Kingston and Prescott. The latter sank with the loss of 2 lives. The former was beached on the Canadian shore where it settled and was abandoned. The wreck was dynamited in 1901 and part of it remains on the bottom in 35 feet of water.

1900: The wooden steamer JOHN B. LYON began taking water in a storm about 25 miles east of Ashtabula and sank in Lake Erie. There were 9 lost with only 6 rescued from the 19-year old vessel.

1917: GISLA was built at Wyandotte, MI in 1916 and went overseas for war duty. The vessel was hit by gunfire from U-64 in the western Mediterranean off Cape Palos, Spain, and sunk by a timed bomb. The ship was carrying nuts and vegetable oil from Kotonou, Dahomey, for Marseilles, France, when it was attacked.

1919: The wooden barge CHICKAMAUGA began leaking in huge seas off Harbor Beach, MI while under tow of the CENTURION and the ore laden vessel sank the next day. The crew of 10 was rescued by the JAMES WHALEN and the wreck was removed the following year.

1928: B.B. McCOLL was virtually destroyed by a fire at Buffalo while loading and had to be abandoned as a total loss. The ship was salvaged, rebuilt and last sailed as h) DETROIT. The ship was scrapped in 1982-1983 at Lake Calumet, IL.

1953: MARYLAND was mauled by a storm on Lake Superior and 12 hatch covers were blown off. The ship was beached near Marquette and all 35 on board were saved. The ship was abandoned but the extensive bottom damage was repaired and the ship resumed service as d) HENRY LALIBERTE.

1989: POLARLAND began visiting the Great Lakes in 1968 and returned as b) ISCELU in 1980, c) TRAKYA in 1981 and d) TRAKYA I in 1982. The ship was lying at Hualien, Taiwan, as e) LUNG HAO during Typhoon Sarah and got loose in the storm prior to going aground. The hull broke in two and was a total loss.

1989: SACHA, Liberian registered SD 14, began Seaway trading in 1973. It returned as b) ERMIONI in 1982. The ship stranded on the wreck of the ORIENTAL PEARL while approaching Bombay, India, from Tampa as d) SAFIR on December 22, 1984, and sustained considerable damage. This was repaired but SAFIR was lost after stranding on a reef off Tiran Island in the Red Sea on September 12, 1989.

2006: TORO went aground in the St. Lawrence off Cornwall Island with damage to the bulbous bow and #2 hold. The ship, enroute from Thunder Bay to Progresso, Mexico, with a cargo of wheat, was released September 18 and repaired at the Verreault shipyard in Les Mechins, QC before resuming the voyage on October 27. The vessel had previously visited the Great Lakes as a) LA LIBERTE, c) ASTART and d) ULLOA. It was still sailing as g) XING JI DA as of 2011.

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


Project cargo floats through the Seaway in August

9/11 - Washington, D.C. - While August is generally slower for Seaway traffic, U.S. ports handled a range of project cargo for their customers.

“During the month of August, high value project cargo was on the move throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Ships carried oversized cargo of wind components like towers, nacelles, blades and hubs; machinery, generators, and refinery equipment to the Ports of Cleveland, Toledo and Duluth. Clearly shippers chose to move heavy lift cargo via the Seaway System because of the economic benefits, safety and reliability of our waterway and its direct access to the heartland of North America.”

The 2015 shipping season has been a good year for project cargo shipments at the Port of Toledo. “Many of the project cargo shipments via the Seaway are in support of the regional oil and gas industry,” said Joe Cappel, Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. In August the port welcomed the BBC Ohio, delivering cargo for Husky’s Lima refinery, to her namesake state. Siemens natural gas turbines shipped from Charleston, South Carolina arrived in Toledo later in the month on the barge Sea Cresent for a new power plant in Oregon, Ohio. “In addition to project cargo handling at our general cargo facility, we are trans-loading oil and gas products at our new Ironville terminal from rail to truck. This is a great example of the diverse cargo handling capabilities of our stevedore, Midwest Terminals, and the importance of having unit train capacity and good intermodal connectivity,” Cappel added.

It has been an extremely busy summer for heavy-lift and project cargo handling in the Port of Duluth. Four of nearly two dozen vessels expected this year arrived in August to discharge wind turbine towers, nacelles and 49-meter blades for ALLETE Clean Energy’s Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota, plus components for that state’s oil and gas industry.

“We anticipate closing out this season on a high note here at the Clure Public Marine Terminal,” said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “There are another five ships on the horizon scheduled for later this fall, serving the wind, oil and gas, and pulp/paper industries in North America’s Heartland.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period April 2 to August 31 were 18.3 million metric tons, down 10.6 percent over the same period in 2014. U.S. grain shipments were up by nearly 70 percent in August over last year. The dry bulk category was up by 9 percent over 2014 with potash, stone and pig iron in the positive column, at 207, 62 and 122 percent respectively. The general cargo category was down 9 percent. Iron ore and coal remained down in August by 15 and 37 percent respectively. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 5 percent.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation


Seaway supports U.S. business expansion in key sectors

9/11 - St. Lawrence Seaway shipping posted strong gains in the first half of the season in shipments of U.S. grain, construction materials and heavy lift cargo for the renewable energy and manufacturing sectors, according to the latest figures released today. However, global weakness for some commodities has slowed overall tonnage results.

“The Great Lakes-Seaway trade corridor continues to support business expansion in key areas of the U.S. economy, from energy and automotive manufacturing to grain exports and construction,” said Stephen Brooks, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

According to figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, U.S grain shipments from April 2 to August 31 totaled 1.1 million metric tons, up nearly 70 percent over the same period last year. Dry bulk tonnage, including construction materials, tallied 5.4 million metric tons, up 9 percent. Business from North American renewable energy providers and manufacturers lifted year-to-date shipments of heavy machinery components (other general cargo) by 23 per cent and materials such as aluminum (domestic general cargo) via the St. Lawrence Seaway by 28 percent compared to the same period last year.

Aluminum, steel and project cargo have been the leading break bulk commodities at the Port of Toledo this year. "The majority of the aluminum and steel is coming in on barges from Canada this season," said Joe Cappel, VP of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "The aluminum is often stored on the LME or CME in our Foreign Trade Zone #8 for a period of time then eventually released into the marketplace and used mainly in the automotive industry. Typically after discharge, the barge continues up the Maumee River to one of our grain silos and loads grain to take back to Canada."

Many of the project cargo shipments to Toledo this season are in support of the oil and gas industry. In August the port welcomed the BBC Ohio, delivering cargo for Husky's Lima refinery. Siemens natural gas turbines shipped from Charleston, SC arrived in Toledo later in the month on the barge Sea Crescent for a new power plant in Oregon, Ohio.

The Port of Duluth-Superior received the final two of seven shipments of wind turbine components last week destined for a North Dakota renewable energy project now under construction by ALLETE Clean Energy. The port is expecting to receive another handful of heavy-lift and project cargo shipments for energy-related developments in North Dakota and Alberta this year.

Partnering with ALLETE Clean Energy to move a total of seven shipments of heavy lift and dimensional wind cargoes through the Port of Duluth this year demonstrates their commitment to clean energy,” said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth-Seaway Port Authority. “They managed to minimize overland carriage and capitalize on the efficiencies of waterborne transport via the Great Lakes-Seaway system.”

These areas of strength, however, were offset by a 16 percent decline in shipments of iron ore via the St. Lawrence Seaway, a 38 percent decrease in coal shipments, and a decline in Canadian grain cargoes compared to a blockbuster 2014. As a result, overall cargo tonnage on the Seaway from April 2 to August 31 was 18.3 million metric tons, down 10.6 percent from the same period in 2014.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Port Reports -  September 11

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The sailing brig USS Niagara will be in port and open for tours during Buffalo Maritime Fest on Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Wharf.


Port of Cleveland gets pacesetter award for growth in international trade

9/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland was presented with a Robert J. Lewis 2014 Pacesetter Award by the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) Thursday morning. The Pacesetter award recognizes the dramatic growth in international cargo, generated by the Port’s Cleveland Europe Express (CEE) liner service and its traditional line of non-containerized steel cargo.

Operated by Dutch ship owner Spliethoff Group, the CEE provides the Great Lakes’ only scheduled maritime access to European markets.

The growth produced by the CEE is “quite exceptional,” said SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton, who was on hand to present the award. Sutton noted a 35% increase in international cargo and 30 additional international ships traveling through the Seaway to or from Cleveland in 2014. The creation of the CEE was seen as a “breakthrough in St. Lawrence shipping,” said Sutton, who reported seeing increased awareness of and excitement for using the service in her travels on behalf of the SLSDC.

“The Port of Cleveland is honored to receive the Pacesetter Award,” said Will Friedman, Port President and CEO. “It’s more proof that our strategic investment in the liner service and our docks are paying off, and helping Northeast Ohio businesses connect to and compete in the global economy.”

An update on maritime delivered to the Board affirmed that the 2014 growth recognized by the Pacesetter Award has continued into 2015. Dave Gutheil, Port VP of Maritime & Logistics, stated that the CEE continues to increase volume significantly. The rise in shipping container traffic has been particularly dramatic.

“We are up nearly 475% just in the volume of shipping containers compared with last year,” said Gutheil. “The direct international connection the CEE provides is critical for our region to compete in the global economy.” Gross revenue generated by the CEE also has more than tripled as compared with this time in 2014.

Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation


Winning tickets drawn in Soo Locks Visitors Center Association raffle

9/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The winning tickets were drawn for the Soo Locks Visitors Center Association raffle at noon at the Soo Locks Visitors Center on Sept. 8. Proceeds from the raffle will be used to support ongoing improvements at the Soo Locks Visitors Center. The lucky winners are as follows:

1st place - Freighter trip with Interlake Steamship Company: Chet E. of Oshkosh, Wis.: 2nd place - Stay at the Crew Quarters at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum: Donna A. of Dearborn, Mich.: 3rd place - Stay at the Ojibway Ramada next to the Soo Locks: Bob P. of London, Ont.

Soo Locks Visitors Center Association


St. Catharines Museum invites Boatnerds on Sunday

9/11 - The St. Catharines Museum would like to invite the Boatnerds attending the Welland Canal Gathering to join them at 9 am-12 pm for coffee, tea and donuts on Sunday. Movie to be played at 9:30 am and raffle prize will follow.


Lookback #663 – Former French River caught fire at Diliskelesi, Turkey, on Sept. 11, 2005

While built for Canada Steamship Lines and its Great Lakes package freight trade, the French River carried eight names and saw service in many parts of the world.

The ship was Hull 170 from the Collingwood shipyard and began service on Aug. 25, 1961. It had only sporadic operation from 1973 until 1981 and was sold at least twice only to have the deal fall through.

It became b) Jensen Star in 1981 travelling to Algeria and Morocco before settling in on freight service between Windsor and Thunder Bay. Another sale in 1986 led to a new name of c) Woodland and, as such, the vessel saw service on the Great Lakes, to the Arctic, and south to Brazil.

In 1991, the ship became d) Woodlands for new owners and carried forest products, spent time on the Caribbean, made a trip overseas that included a stop in Malta before being laid up at Tampa and under arrest in 1997. It returned to service as e) Lorena I in April 1998 and was registered in Belize for trading down the west coast of South America and among the West Indies islands.

The ship returned to the Great Lakes for McKeil Marine in 1999, was given a refit and, in 2000, renamed f) Nunavut Trader. It left the Seaway under tow on its only trip in June 2003 and was renamed g) Nova D. at Montreal. It made two trips to the Arctic that summer while working as a barge under tow. After being idle at Montreal in 2004, the ship was registered in the Comoros Islands as h) Nova. It left for overseas, under her own power, on July 15, 2005, and was at Diliskelesi, Turkey, loading machinery 10 years ago today when fire broke out towards the bow.

The lines were cut and and Nova was taken from the dock and beached. When the fire was out the ship was brought back to the pier and declared a total loss. It arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on May 15, 2006, and was broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 11

1872, at Milwaukee, the 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.

Carrying cargoes off the lakes, CANADA MARQUIS departed Halifax bound for Philadelphia with a cargo of grain. HON. PAUL MARTIN departed Halifax the same day on her way to Tampa with a load of gypsum.

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 was taken off by the schooner GRACIE M. FILER just as the boat was going down.

1942: H.M.C.S. CHARLOTTETOWN, a Canadian naval corvette built at Kingston, ON in 1941, was torpedoed and sunk by U-517 on the St. Lawrence near Cap Chat, QC. Nine of the 64 on board were lost. 1946:

The former Hall freighter LUCIUS W. ROBINSON, heading for new service in the Far East as b) HAI LIN, ran into a typhoon on the Pacific during its delivery voyage but was unscathed.

1961: The retired PERSEUS, under tow for scrapping overseas, broke loose of the tug ENGLISHMAN, and was abandoned in rough seas near the Azores. It was later found drifting and taken in tow only to sink on September 21.

1968: GRINDEFJELL, a pre-Seaway and Seaway-era visitor for the Norwegian Fjell Line from 1953 to 1965, put into Mozambique as b) LENRO after fire had broken out in a cargo hold. The flames spread and, at one time the hull glowed red hot. The ship was gutted, later capsized and was abandoned as a total loss. The vessel was enroute from Assab, Ethiopia, to Rotterdam, with a cargo of bagged niger seed expellers and had to take the long way around due to the Suez Canal being closed. The hull was either scrapped or scuttled.

1987: An arson fire gutted the bridge and top deck of the laid up former C.S.L. package freighter FORT YORK at Sarnia. There had been another suspicious fire three weeks earlier that had been extinguished.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Historic tug L.L. Smith Jr. gets a new life

9/10 - Superior, Wis. – Mel and Carolyn Maierhafer posed on the deck of their new vessel, the L.L. Smith Jr., Wednesday so Marie Cooney could snap a picture. Her friends, she said, were not going to believe it. The vessel, part of the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s aquatic research and education program for three decades, had changed hands.

"I’m just tickled," said Cooney, who splits her time between St. Paul and Duluth.

Photo ops are one of the many perks to owning the tug boat, built in Knudsen Shipyards of Superior in 1950. It also offers museum-worthy pieces in the engine room and wheelhouse as well as plenty of busywork.

"Since we came up here, we’ve been working on it," said Mel Maierhafer of Fremont, Wis. The exterior of the cabin had already been sanded for painting and the head sported a fresh coat of primer. Work is often interrupted by visits from local residents eager for a tour of the historic boat, which has been anchored at Spirit Mountain Marina for the last five years.

"All this history," Maierhafer said. "I don’t know how many of these engines are left. Everybody who comes down is just amazed at this engine."

"Everyone just loves it," his wife said. "Of course, they don’t have to work on it."

One fellow stopped by seeking coffee Wednesday, something the couple has not yet stocked in the research area-turned-temporary-galley. "We’re going to stay here for a while, because we have some wonderful neighbors," Maierhafer said.

Eventually, the pair plan to move the Smith closer to Fremont for use as a summer lake cottage. But it will winter in Duluth. "It’s pretty hard to take it out of the community," Maierhafer said. "Everyone we talk to knows the L.L. Smith."

In 1978, UWS purchased the 58-foot harbor tug and repurposed it for aquatic research and fishery science. Four years later, its mission shifted to environmental education. Over the course of its stay with UWS, the ship welcomed college students, school groups, public officials and more.

"It has reached thousands of people in the Twin Ports area," said UWS Natural Sciences Department Chairwoman Mary Balcer. "For many of them, it was their first time out on Lake Superior."

From an environmental perspective, the program was highly successful. The hands-on work of collecting water samples, testing water quality and seeing lake microorganisms opened people’s eyes to a whole new world, Balcer said. "They were able to experience that lake and begin to understand their role in taking care of it."

Monetarily, however, the program wasn’t able to maintain its course. Changes in staffing and grant funding coupled with an aging vessel led to the permanent docking of the Smith in 2010. It went to auction on the Wisconsin Surplus Auction site this spring. When bids closed on Aug. 4, the Fremont couple had won the boat for $22,250. Or, more correctly, Maierhafer had. It was, he said, a case of raising his hand one too many times during the course of the online auction. While he’d purchased a generator and some rock hounding equipment through the government surplus auction site, this was the biggest win to date. His wife of 23 years didn’t say much about it at first.

"Since we’ve been up here and been working on it, she said the next time you want to bid on something like that, you let me know," Maierhafer said. "And I think she’s going to stand there with a hammer."

Quick decisions have led to many adventures for Maierhafer. It started when he walked into the Fremont Supermarket for a pack of cigarettes, and walked out owning the store. He’s also purchased a plane, a helicopter, a houseboat and motorcycles. "We’ve never owned a tugboat before," Maierhafer said.

At UWS, the decision on whether to replace the Smith remains up in the air. Campus administration and staff plan to meet to look at what the options are, Balcer said.

Research has continued at the college with the use of other vessels, including outboard motor boats and a 20-foot Bayliner. But the Smith was something special, with the ability to take groups of 30 passengers out at a time.

"The boat served a very important educational purpose her for 30 years," Balcer said. "It was able to get people out and give them a hands-on experience. Now it goes to a new stage."

Maierhafer, 75, expects they will spend the rest of their lives working on the Smith. "Maybe a little sooner," his wife said. "We’re both kind of workaholics."

Whatever pace they set, they plan to preserve the boat’s character. They own a piece of history, Maierhafer said, and they plan to enjoy it.

Superior Telegram


Detroit Port Authority open to selling $22M terminal building

9/10 - Detroit, Mich. – Four years after it opened, a publicly funded $22 million public dock and terminal building along the Detroit River could be up for sale if the price and other details are right, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority officials acknowledge.

The building next to the Renaissance Center was built to attract cruise ships. One cruise ship has docked in the past two years, though, and the building has been used primarily to host weddings and corporate events.

“There’s always been some question about, ‘Can you sell the building?’ We’ve had some discussions,” said John Loftus, who was hired last year as executive director of the independent authority that was created in 1978 to develop and promote waterway commerce and is governed by representatives from the state, city and Wayne County.

“If there is a better way for us to operate the building through a third party, I’m open to ideas,” Loftus said. “We can operate anywhere. I’m not closing the door on anything.”

Port officials have floated the idea of a sale past companies including Troy-based Continental Services, which has exclusive catering rights to the port building. The company is owned by Alex and James Bardy, who also operate a well-known political action committee, Sterling PAC of Continental Services, that has donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years to local officials.

Continental spokesman Stu Sandler described the talks as “more brainstorming than anything.” He said there were “no practical discussions on leasing or buying the building” because the likelihood of either is remote.

“Some have approached Continental, as well as other entities, about possible management options,” Sandler said in a statement. “Continental has great expertise and abilities that many have to come to rely on, so these conversations are not surprising.”

Huge obstacles could impede an outright sale. Because federal funds paid for more than 80 percent of construction costs, any sale likely would require repayment of those grants by the authority that operates on a $1 million budget comprised mostly of subsidies from the state, Wayne County and city of Detroit.

The discussions underscore the problems with the 21,000-square-foot building. Next to the Renaissance Center on Atwater and Bates, the facility is glass and steel — so heating and maintenance costs eat up 15-20 percent of the authority’s annual budget, Loftus said.

Two years ago, the authority used a separate $1 million federal grant to build a processing center for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the first floor of the building.

It was intended to process cruise ship passengers and includes X-ray machines, holding cells and a lab to test foreign produce. Customs officials refuse to use the space because it doesn’t meet their standards, though, and port officials say they can’t afford $170,000 computer and camera upgrades to make it suitable.

The authority’s offices are in about half the building, named after its funding champion, retired U.S. Sen. Carl Levin. Continental markets much of the rest as Waterview Loft@Port Detroit, which its website touts for its “elegance” and “urban chic” atmosphere. Wedding parties start at $18,500 for 100 people.

Continental officials said the contract was competitively bid and their events have brought 40,000 people to Detroit since 2013. The company also owns the Infinity and Ovation party yachts that pay the port $500 each time it uses the dock.

Between the parties and the dock fees, Continental expects to pay the authority $223,000 by the end of the year from 44 weddings, 41 corporate events and 38 dockings.

“We’re a big contributor to the port’s budget, and Continental is in no way impeding the core business of the authority,” said Steven Rybicki, a Continental vice president. “Our events are bringing people to Detroit who otherwise wouldn’t come.”

He defended wedding costs, saying they are all-inclusive and include the cake, flowers and disk jockey. Costs also are higher because events have to be planned to comply with Homeland Security guidelines, Rybicki said.

Loftus’ predecessor, John Jamian, told The News the building and dock were used for more events and community gatherings before his three-year contract wasn’t renewed last year. He supplied multiple photos showing cruise and Navy ships at the dock from 2011 to 2013.

“We had the place buzzing the whole time I was there,” Jamian said. “Sometimes, we had parties, but they were public parties. People involved in precincts, transportation meetings, (government) meetings. I had a plan for the whole space.”

Loftus said his primary goal is increasing economic activity at the port. He hosted a tour of lawmakers Tuesday in hopes of changing state law to allow ports to easily upgrade.

He said the building has great potential, despite recent issues. “I’m open to all options,” he said. “How do we make the best use of this great asset?”

Detroit News


Port Reports -  September 10

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge. Alpena arrived later in day, taking on another load of cement as well. Wednesday brought two more vessels to Lafarge, starting with the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation. Manistee arrived after 3 p.m. and unloaded cargo behind the hopper.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Mississagi was at the concrete plant unloading sand/gravel on Wednesday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday, the tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod unloaded fuel oil at the Oswego Steam Station.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Defiance-Ashtabula is on the way to Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna with stone from Calcite. Should be there Thursday late morning.


Lookback #662 – Former Ravnaas ran aground off Mozambique on Sept. 10, 1981

The Norwegian freighter Ravnaas dated from 1962 and construction at Goteborg, Sweden. The 475 foot 9 inch long general cargo carrier was powered by a Burmeister & Wain oil engine and entered service in June.

The vessel made a pair of Seaway trips in 1966 and two more in 1967. It was sold to Indonesian interests as b) Gemala in 1973 and put in eight more years of service.

Gemela was inbound from Aden and stranded off Maputo, Mozambique, on Sept. 10, 1981. The ship was refloated on Sept. 15 and eventually taken to East London, South Africa.

The damage was not repaired and, following a sale to shipbreakers in Bangladesh, the vessel departed under tow on May 6, 1982, for Chittagong. It was brought ashore at Fouzderhat Beach on Aug. 31, 1982, and broken up by Interways beginning in July 1983.

Skip Gillham


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 Harsens 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.

1910: PERE MARQUETTE 18, inbound for Milwaukee with 29 rail cars, began leaking and sank 30 miles off Sheboygan, Wis. There were 33 survivors but 29 were lost including the captain. 1918: The barge SANTIAGO, under tow of the small bulk carrier JOHN F. MORROW, sank in Lake Huron off Pointe aux Barques without loss of life. 1940: A.E. AMES was once part of Canada Steamship Lines. The vessel was sold for saltwater service about 1917 and was lost, via enemy action, as c) GINETTE LEBORGNE on this date in 1940 when it struck a mine on the Mediterranean, west of Sardinia, while returning demobilized troops from North Africa to France.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


USS Milwaukee damages more than 40 boats over Labor Day weekend

9/9 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The U.S. Coast Guard and Department of Natural Resources are investigating a Labor Day weekend incident in Door County’s Chambers Island that damaged more than 40 boats.

Witnesses said on Saturday at least 100 boats were docked near the Northern Cove of Chambers Island when a large naval ship from Marinette Marine did a test run, creating waves that were higher than five feet tall.

The Coast Guard confirmed that the ship was the USS Milwaukee, a 378-foot-long Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

When it passed, videos show people struggling to keep their boats from tipping. One boater told the local news that his anchor lines snapped from being tossed up and around, bouncing on the surge. Many boat tie-ups (several boats roped together) collided with one another, causing scratching, damage and flooding.

One boater said the worst thing “was the fear that came with it”—families with young kids rushing them to shore, and at least four Mayday radio calls. A woman badly injured her knee while trying to help control the boat, and later went to the Oconto Hospital and Medical Center. Door County EMS said they did not transport anyone to the emergency room.

Marinette Marine responded to request for comment saying they are aware of the incident. “Of course, our first and foremost priority is the safety and wellbeing of the boaters and bystanders and we are fully cooperating with authorities investigating the incident,” said Bethany Skorik of Marinette Marine.

The US Coast Guard and DNR have started a joint investigation. Chris Groth of the DNR explained that his department is responsible for recreational boaters, and the Coast Guard is responsible all commercial vessels.

One of the boaters told us there were at least 40 incident reports filed with the DNR when he went to file a report himself. He said Marinette Marine indicated they will work with insurance companies, adding it’s “unlikely” any of these boaters will end up paying out-of-pocket for the damage to their boats.



Port Reports -  September 9

Erie, Pa. – Gene P
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory unloaded stone in the port of Erie on Sunday after arrival mid- afternoon. On Monday she moved to the Montfort Terminal to be loaded with sand that was stored there obtained from Lake Erie by the sand dredger J.S. St. John. Monday evening the Kuber moved across the channel (several hundred yards) to unload the sand on Presque Isle State Park (north pier) where it will be used to replenish sand that was washed away on the beaches. For various reasons, the sand is unable to be unloaded directly from the St. John onto the park.


Lookback #661 – Andaste caught in a northwest gale on Sept. 9, 1929

The bulk carrier Andaste was listed as a steel monitor straight-back steamer. The 266 foot long vessel was built at Cleveland in 1892 and joined the Lake Superior Iron Co. It became part of the Cleveland-Cliffs fleet in 1898 and generally used in the iron ore trade. It was shortened to 242 feet in 1920-1921 enabling the vessel to travel through the third Welland Canal for Cliffs.

The vessel was sold to the L.D. Smith Steamship Co. in 1925 and converted to a self-unloading sand and gravel carrier. It came under the Andaste Steamship Co. in 1928 and was chartered to Construction Materials of Chicago. Sadly, service was brief.

Andaste was carrying gravel to Chicago when it was lost in Lake Michigan after encountering a strong northwest gale on Sept. 9-10, 1929. The vessel had no radio on board and simply disappeared. All 25 sailors perished.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 9

New drone Video on our YouTube Channel


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 towline 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 tow 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.

1924: A fire aboard the ship SOUTH AMERICAN at Holland, MI destroyed the upper works of the popular passenger steamer.

1964: A collision between the GEORGE R. FINK and the Swedish freighter BROHOLM occurred in zero visibility on Lake Huron just north of the Bluewater Bridge. The latter, on her only voyage through the Seaway, received a gash on the starboard side above the waterline while the former had only minor damage. BROHOLM arrived at Hsinkang, China, for scrapping as d) PROODOS on September 2, 1974.

1977: The British freighter PERTH began service to Canada in 1951 and ooperated into the Great Lakes until 1960. The ship ran aground about 200 miles south of Suez as e) GEORGIOS on this date but was later refloated and taken to Suez. The ship was arrested there and subsequently sank on October 1, 1979. The hull was likely refloated and dismantled at that location.

1993: INDIANA HARBOR received major hull damage when it struck Lansing Shoal. The ship was repaired at Sturgeon Bay.

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


Port Reports -  September 8

Goderich, Ont.
The Frontenac is out of temporary layup. She loaded salt on Monday.


Lookback #660 – Former lakes tug Patricia Hoey scuttled as artificial reef on Sept. 8, 2010

The tug Patricia Hoey was built at New Orleans, Louisiana, as a) Messenger in 1951 and came to the Great Lakes, via the Mississippi River system in 1984. It was towed to Detroit by the William A. Whitney in July 1984 and the cabin was rebuilt by Nicholson.

Renamed b) Patricia Hoey when the work was completed, the tug went to Toledo for harbor work later in 1984. It moved to the Great Lakes Towing Co. as c) New Hampshire (ii) in 1990 and then renamed d) Sea Tractor (ii) in 1998.

The latter came down the Welland Canal on Nov. 20, 1998, for a new career on saltwater but spent the winter at Oswego before continuing on to the Atlantic.

It was renamed e) Shark by Florida Marine Terminal Inc. in 2000. This vessel was scuttled as an artificial reef off Haulover Inlet, near Miami, on Sept. 8, 2010, which is five years ago today.

Skip Gillam


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.

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.

RADIANT departed the shipyard September 8, 1913, light on her maiden voyage bound for Montreal, Quebec.

September 8, 1970 - 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.

1860: The wooden passenger and freight steamer LADY ELGIN sank in Lake Michigan following a collision with the schooner AUGUSTA with an estimated 297 lost their lives.

1979: The Norwegian carrier INGWI first came through the Seaway in 1960 and made about 10 trips inland through 1967. The hull was reported to have fractured as b) OH DAI enroute from Singapore to Calcutta. The ship foundered in the Bay of Bengal but there was speculation at the time that this was an insurance fraud.

1980: The idle rail car ferry GRAND RAPIDS sustained fire damage from a blaze in the pilings at Muskegon, buckling plates on the car deck. It was extinguished by the U.S.C.G. and Fire Department.

2010: The tug MESSENGER came to the Great Lakes for the Gaelic Tugboat Co. in 1984 and was renamed b) PATRICIA HOEY. It was later sold and became c) NEW HAMPSHIRE and then d) SEA TRACTOR II before leaving the lakes, via Oswego, about 1991. It was known as e) SHARK when scuttled as an artificial reef near Miami, on this date in 2010.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Dock operator talks future of coal shipments from Twin Ports

9/7 - Duluth, Minn. – In her visit to the Port of Duluth-Superior last week, Betty Sutton singled out the port’s coal exports as one of its shining international success stories.

“Midwest Energy Resources Co., a major coal dock in Superior, handles low sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin, while Canadian lakers pick up and transload coal shipments along the seaway for export to Europe,” said Sutton, the top administrator for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., which manages the narrow waterway that connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.

She was describing a deal that was in place from 2011 to 2014, when Midwest Energy Resources, or MERC, partnered with Quebec Stevedoring’s Beauport Sector dock in Quebec City to develop a supply mechanism for customers of American coal in Northern Europe.

MERC President Fred Shusterich said that deal has since expired, with no replacement in place. It means 2015 won’t feature the same 1.69 million tons of coal being exported out of Duluth that 2014 did.

But it doesn’t mean the end of the practice altogether, said Shusterich, who was on hand for Sutton’s visit to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s offices.

“The market is somewhat flat, but we’re looking for re-entry in probably a year or two,” he said. “The energy market is in flux.”

From 2011 to 2014, freighters were leaving Duluth with 85,000 to 130,000 tons of coal, which was then transloaded in Quebec City onto salties bound for Rotterdam in the Netherlands or for the Baltic region, explained Shusterich, who is confident Duluth hasn’t seen the last of its coal exports.

“I can’t tell you when, but in a couple of years,” he said. “Everything in this business is cyclical. We’re always reformulating what we do. We have some customers looking at (exports) that have never been in our portfolio before, but they look to play a major role in our business in the next several years.”

Like in the United States, where coal has taken a substantive hit in the move toward clean energy, government imposition and price changes can play havoc on foreign markets, too. MERC has worked feverishly throughout the new energy revolution to upgrade its coal standards, including the addition of a number of infrastructural and best-practice measures to reduce dust to a minimum at its dock.

“People think all coal is dirty,” Shusterich said before describing the mountains of coal from the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming on the MERC dock as being distinguished by its low sulfur content — from 0.1-0.3 percent sulfur.

“That’s really low,” he said. “People think all coal is dirty, but everything you burn gives off carbon dioxide.”

In Japan, Shusterich said, the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has led to idling plants and diminishing capacity for that form of energy and resulted in more coal burning. He called Germany a huge market for coal.

Western coal from Wyoming, Montana and even Colorado is some of the cleanest in the world and has a viable future in the United States, Shusterich said. Domestic coal shipments on the Great Lakes are on their way to enjoying a five-year high, with 5.96 million tons having already moved through Lake Superior alone — a through-July number that eclipses full-season totals for each of the three previous years.

“Even in this country we’ll go from (coal) as a 51 percent baseload fuel to somewhere in the high 30s,” Shusterich said. “It still has to be one-third of the portfolio but people don’t talk about that.”

Duluth News Tribune


McKeil registers former saltie in Canada

9/7 - McKeil Work Boats Ltd of Hamilton, Ont., registered their latest acquisition in their home port on September 3. The Dutch-built Spavalda now flies the Canadian flag and carries the official number 839265. She has been painted in McKeil colors, but no new name or what her trade routes will be has been announced.




9/7 - C - T


Port Reports -  September 7

Brockville, Ont.
CCGC Samuel Risley passed Brockville on Saturday Sept 5 heading back to the lakes after a stint on the East Coast.


Virtual Buoys established at the Straits of Mackinac

9/7 - In eary September four buoys near the Mackinac Bridge started appearing on AIS maps. It is believed these are the first synthetic AIS Aids to Navigation to be established on the lakes. There is no AIS transmitter on the buoys. Instead a virtual signal is broadcast from a nearby AIS base station.

The details below are from a recent notice to mariners:
Straits of Mackinac - De Tour Passage to Waugoshance Point - Chart 14881 The following aids to navigation are scheduled to become Synthetic AIS ATON beginning late summer 2015. Synthetic AIS ATON is a signal broadcasted from an AIS base station to coincide with an existing physical aid to navigation. During periods when the aids are decommissioned for the season as advertised in the light list these aids will become Virtual AIS ATON. Virtual AIS ATON is a signal broadcasted from an AIS base station that is electronically charted, but non-existent as a physical aid to navigation.

Mackinac Bridge Lighted Bell Buoy "1" (LLNR 12625)
Mackinac Bridge Lighted Gong Buoy "2" (LLNR 12630)
Mackinac Bridge Lighted Bell Buoy "3" (LLNR 12645)
Mackinac Bridge Lighted Gong Buoy "4" (LLNR 12650)

Tom Hynes


Lookback #659 – Myrtis ran on shoal off Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Sept. 7, 1934

The British freighter Myrtis made annual trips to the Great Lakes, via the old St. Lawrence Canals from 1930 through 1934. The 971 gross ton carrier had been built at Montrose, Scotland, and completed in March 1905 as a) Pouvier.

Always a British flag steamer, the 210.6 foot long vessel was sold in 1914 and renamed b) Myrtis.

It was resold to John Davies in Sept. 1928 and, while most of its runs were on saltwater, this owner sent the ship to the Great Lakes for five consecutive years.

The vessel was wrecked on a voyage from Windsor to Charlottetown and Halifax 81-years ago today. Myrtis struck Tryon Shoal near Charlottetown on Sept. 7, 1934, and became a total loss. It was refloated on Sept. 10 and taken to Halifax likely to complete unloading.

Myrtis was broken up at Mostyn, Wales, by the Darwen & Mostyn Iron Co. beginning in June 1935.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 7

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Clipper Macau and Federal Beaufort.


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 7

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.

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.

RADIANT departed the shipyard September 8, 1913, light on her maiden voyage bound for Montreal, Quebec.

September 8, 1970 - 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.

1860: The wooden passenger and freight steamer LADY ELGIN sank in Lake Michigan following a collision with the schooner AUGUSTA with an estimated 297 lost their lives.

1979: The Norwegian carrier INGWI first came through the Seaway in 1960 and made about 10 trips inland through 1967. The hull was reported to have fractured as b) OH DAI enroute from Singapore to Calcutta. The ship foundered in the Bay of Bengal but there was speculation at the time that this was an insurance fraud.

1980: The idle rail car ferry GRAND RAPIDS sustained fire damage from a blaze in the pilings at Muskegon, buckling plates on the car deck. It was extinguished by the U.S.C.G. and Fire Department.

2010: The tug MESSENGER came to the Great Lakes for the Gaelic Tugboat Co. in 1984 and was renamed b) PATRICIA HOEY. It was later sold and became c) NEW HAMPSHIRE and then d) SEA TRACTOR II before leaving the lakes, via Oswego, about 1991. It was known as e) SHARK when scuttled as an artificial reef near Miami, on this date in 2010.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Lookback #658 – Former Kenneth towed into Haifa, Israel, on Sept. 6, 1970, after fire at sea

By the time the 20-year old Finnish freighter Kenneth came through the Seaway for the first time in 1959, it had already recorded many adventures.

The 300 foot long cargo vessel had been built at Helsingors, Denmark, and completed on Dec. 27, 1939, as Rita Maersk. The 1,880 gross ton escaped the clutches of the Nazi forces and was taken over by the United States Maritime Commission in 1941 and renamed b) Lawrin.

After two trips, the vessel was laid up at Boston only to be commissioned by the U.S. Navy as c) U.S.S. Pegasus on Dec. 31, 1941. Its early trips were to carry supplies to Iceland for American service and, beginning in Nov. 1942, it was used on the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to the end of 1944.

In Nov. 1942, the engine failed and the ship drifted for two days before being towed to Cuba for repairs. Later, it received storm damage at Norfolk, VA and, in April 1945, passed through the Panama Canal for service on the Pacific providing service during the send of war operations. The ship was decommissioned on April 19, 1946, becoming d) Lawrin once again as part of the Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay and then d) Rita Maersk later in the year.

It moved from Danish registry to the flag of Finland when the ship was sold and renamed f) Kenneth in 1950. It made one trip through the Seaway during the first year the new system was in service.

In 1966, the ship was sold to Greek interests and renamed g) Faliron and then h) Christina Maria in 1970. The latter was enroute from Alexandria, Egypt, to Tripoli, Lebanon, when it caught fire following an engine room explosion off the Israeli coast on Sept. 3, 1970. Abandoned by the crew, the gutted freighter was towed into Haifa, Israel, 45-years ago today. It was scrapped locally beginning in January 1972.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 6

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 a August 29 storm that struck Lake Erie. 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.

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, 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 that 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.

CHARLES E. WILSON completed her sea trials in 1973. Renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

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.

1908: The wooden steamer CHAUNCY HURLBUT began leaking and was beached at Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, along a rough and rocky shore. It became a total loss and the hull was removed in August 1910 and sunk in deep water.

2009: ALGOPORT ran into heavy weather from tropical storm DeJuan while under tow of the PACIFIC HICKORY, broke up and sank in the Philippine Sea about a week's tow from the destination of Jiangyin, China.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Jody L. Aho, Max S. Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Once shipwrecked, Hale lived to tell his tale

9/5 - In recounting his 38 hours adrift on frigid Lake Huron as a 26-year-old sailor, Dennis Hale told the News Tribune in 2012 that he underwent an out-of-body experience aboard the raft and was drawn up into the clouds where he met his mother and family.

"The time I was in the cloud all you could feel was love all around you," Hale said. "It was a beautiful thing. But eventually I was told I had to go back."

Following his rescue, Hale carried on for almost 50 years until his death Wednesday at age 75. He succumbed to cancer while he was among family members in his home state of Ohio.

Hale was the lone survivor of the Nov. 29, 1966 sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell that killed 28 crewmembers after severe weather saw the 603-foot freighter torn in two and disappear into roiling waters in the black of night.

"Everybody was just impressed or taken with him," said Ashland's Kristin Connell. "He just had that presence. You wanted to meet with him, to be around him and to hear him."

Connell arranged a standing-room-only speaking engagement featuring Hale in 2012 in Ashland. Hale recalled then working with Connell's father, who was taken off the Morrell with debilitating pneumonia a week before it went down.

"He remembered my dad distinctly being taken off on a stretcher," said Connell, who continued to stay in touch with Hale until his passing. "He was one of those guys. I was so fortunate and happy to have that opportunity to bring him up this way."

A watchman, Hale was roused from his cabin when the ship's duress began around 2 a.m. He boarded the raft shoeless and wearing nothing but his life vest, boxer shorts and a peacoat as the storm howled about him and three others aboard the raft.

For many years after his rescue, Hale was racked by survivor's guilt and used alcohol to ease his suffering.

"I was actually ashamed of what happened," he told the News Tribune in 2012. Davis Helberg, the retired longtime Duluth Seaway Port Authority director, described Hale recently as being "a lost soul" during those years.

Only after Hale began to tell his story of survival did he begin to experience deliverance from the grip of his guilt.

He gained confidence with each retelling until he began to speak prolifically about the adventure — always remembering to honor the dead as he visited and spoke in places throughout the Great Lakes region, including the Northland several times.

"I've found that it's very therapeutic for me to talk about what happened," Hale told the News Tribune in 2002, on the eve of his keynote speech at the annual Gales of November — a conference for Great Lakes shipping enthusiasts.

Hale spoke again at the event last year, to a smaller audience in a breakout session.

He published a book "Sole Survivor: Dennis Hale's Own Story" in 1996, and was the subject in a documentary film, in which he described himself as a fighter.

With the Morrell's stern half "still making steam and ablaze with light as it churned away into the darkness," wrote Robert Hemming in his book, "The Gales of November," Hale and three others were set adrift in the storm. Hours passed with deadly temperatures and conditions preying on the raft.

The ship had been bound for Taconite Harbor on its last voyage of the season. It featured five men from the Northland.

When Hale was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, he waved so feebly the movement was thought to be caused by the 'copter's rotor. He was found beneath the bodies of the three others who'd perished — Hale bearing witness to their final words.

Doctors credited Hale's survival to his youth and sturdy build; he was 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. That presence and the heft of his storytelling stilled a room.

"It's always very quiet when I talk about what happened," he told the News Tribune. "Always very, very quiet."

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback #657 – A. & J. Mid-America driven aground by typhoon on Sept. 5, 1964

Three A. & J.-named ships came through the Seaway in 1963. The U.S. flag freighters included two C-2 class cargo carriers and the Liberty ship A. & J. Mid-America.

The latter was built at Jacksonville, Fla., and completed in June 1944 as Hugh J. Kirkpatrick. The 441 foot, 6 inch long steamer helped carry wartime cargoes and was sold in October 1946 to the States Marine Corp. It remained under the American flag as b) Hoosier State and became c) Transamerican in 1955 and A. & J. Mid-America in 1963.

The latter made a single trip into the Seaway in 1963 but got into trouble a year later in the Far East. The vessel was lying at Hong Kong when typhoon Ruby struck the area on Sept. 5, 1964. A. & J. Mid-America was torn from its mooring and blown ashore on Lantau Island. Refloated on Oct. 5, the ship was driven ashore again, this time by typhoon Dot on Oct. 13. This time it was released on Oct. 21.

The aging Liberty moved under the flag of Liberia as e) Grand Hope in 1965 and then became f) Union Tiger in 1967 for Hapdong Shipping Co. Ltd., of South Korea. It was sold for scrap in 1969 and arrived at Inchon, South Korea, during April for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


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.

CHI-CHEEMAUN completed her sea trials on September 5, 1974, and then cleared the Collingwood shipyard on September 26th.

BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS cleared Lorain on her maiden voyage September 5, 1942 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

J. P. MORGAN, JR. returned to service September 5, 1948, after repairs suffered in an accident in June.

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 cutter’s 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.

1896: The Canadian passenger ship BALTIC, built in 1867 as FRANCES SMITH, burned at the dock in Collingwood. The hull drifted to shallow water and remained there for several years.

1964: A. & J. MID-AMERICA, a Seaway caller in 1963, was driven ashore at Lantau Island near Hong Kong by typhoon Ruby. The vessel was refloated October 5 but came ashore again days later during typhoon Dot on October 13. Refloated October 21, the vessel returned to service and was scrapped as e) UNION TIGER at Inchon, South Korea, after arriving in April 1968.

1964: The former HEMSEFJELL, a pre-Seaway trader, was also blown aground at Hong Kong as d) PROSPERITY during typhoon Ruby but released on October 5. It was scrapped in Thailand during 1972.

1964: The three-year old bulk carrier LEECLIFFE HALL sank in the St. Lawrence, 65 miles below Quebec City, following a collision with the APOLLONIA. Efforts to beach the ship failed and three lives were lost. The hull was dynamited as a hazard to navigation in 1966. The latter, a Greek freighter, had been a Seaway trader in 1964 and was repaired at Levis, QC. The ship was scrapped at Shanghai, China, as c) MAYFAIR after arriving on May 3, 1985.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


USCG helicopter crew hoists man from tug as storm system passes

9/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, hoisted a man experiencing chest pains from tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort Thursday morning. A Coast Guard flight surgeon said the symptoms appeared to be that of a heart attack and recommended the man be taken to a hospital as soon as possible.

The tug altered course to facilitate the evacuation due to heavy storms in the area and rendezvoused with the Coast Guard helicopter crew once conditions allowed. The helicopter crew hoisted the man from the tug and departed for Sturgeon Bay Airport.

Weather conditions diverted the helicopter crew from its original destination but the crew safely arrived at Ephraim-Fish Creek Airport in Ephraim, Wis., where emergency medical crews were waiting. The Coast Guard was notified via VHF-FM marine radio. The man’s condition is unknown.



Lake Superior level still above average

9/4 - Duluth, Minn. – Lake Superior remained at about the same level in August, a month the lake usually rises about one-half inch, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The lake now sits 6 inches above average but less than a half-inch above the Sept. 1, 2014 level. Water supplies to the big lake were higher than normal in August. The lake's August average level was the highest since 1997.

Lakes Huron and Michigan declined an inch in August, less than the usual 2-inch decline the lakes see for the month. As of Sept. 1, they sat 7 inches above their long-term average and 8 inches above the 2014 level at this time.

The upper lakes will begin their usual seasonal decline from September through about March.

Duluth News Tribune


Cruise ship docks in Port of Muskegon after problems with Holland

9/4 - Muskegon, Mich. – A cruise ship moored at the Mart Dock in the Port of Muskegon Wednesday morning after reportedly having problems making a stop in Holland. The 100-stateroom Pearl Mist is believed to be the first cruise ship to stop in the Port of Muskegon since cruise ships started running the Great Lakes in the late 1990s.

"It's kind of a nice way to show off Muskegon," said Muskegon County Board of Commissioners President Terry Sabo. "I am really excited." The ship was set to stay until mid-afternoon after fueling up and a day trip by passengers.

Most of the passengers who came ashore in Muskegon boarded charter buses – complete with Dutch-costumed tour guides – for the 50-minute drive into Holland. Several people got onto trolleys prepared by the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, or walked the three or four blocks into downtown Muskegon.

Gene and Dianna Howe of Arkansas walked out onto the balcony of their stateroom to see their surroundings. The couple said they planned to walk around downtown Muskegon later.

"At least here, you can walk into town," he said. "The other one, you had to get on the charter bus and take the tour."

Pearl Seas Cruises Vice President Judy Roman said the ship was diverted to Muskegon from Holland. "The city of Muskegon responded very quickly and they were very gracious," she said. "We really appreciate that, and all of the passengers were happy as well."

Port City Marine Services Capt. Edward Hogan helped handle logistics of the ship arriving in Muskegon. He said a berth at a dock in Holland had been taken by a freighter and a backup docking location in that city didn't work out.

"We were pretty excited" that the boat was headed to Muskegon, he said. "To get it here, we had to get coast guard authorization." Hogan said the U.S. Coast Guard verbally gave authorization Tuesday night for the passenger ship stop at Muskegon's Mart Dock.

Meanwhile, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce hurried to get a welcoming crew ready. "Very quickly, the Chamber of Commerce was able to get some things set up," Hogan said.



Global Report: Waning demand for commodities sends cargo ships to scrapyard

9/4 - As China’s slump deepens, it’s off to the scrapyard for a growing number of global cargo ships.

A drop in shipping rates amid the collapse in demand for coal, ore and other commodities has sparked a sharp rise in the number of ships yanked from the service and sold for scrap. Almost 6 per cent of the world’s fleet of ships that carry bulk commodities will be beached and sliced up for scrap metal this year, up from 2 per cent last year and topping the recent high of 2012’s 4.3 per cent, according to Clarksons PLC, a London-based ship broker.

“Business is good,” said Yogesh Rehani, director of operations at Global Marketing Systems Inc. (GMS), a buyer and recycler of ships. “The bulkers are a constant supply.” A closely watched measure of bulk shipping rates, the Baltic Dry Index, has fallen 21 per cent in the past 12 months, but is above a 30-year low touched in February. Prices for iron ore and Chinese imported coking coal have fallen 19 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, in the past 12 months as factories in the world’s second-biggest economy slow down amid falling demand.

Demand for iron ore and coal is not expected to recover until 2017, London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants Ltd. says. “The depressed state of the dry bulk sector has led to doubts about the future of many ship owners and their ability to withstand prevailing market conditions,” Drewry said in a report on Wednesday.

“In dry bulk [commodities], the market is absolutely terrible,” said Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst with Norway’s Arctic Securities AS.

Shipping companies that are taking deliveries of new vessels purchased many months ago in expectations that Chinese demand for raw materials would remain strong are now getting rid of their older freighters and downsizing their fleets. Scrapping ships gives companies cash, cuts expenses and helps support shipping rates by reducing the available global fleet.

“All the older vessels are not going out so because the rates are so poor it doesn’t make sense to run them,” Mr. Stavseth said in an interview from Oslo.

The net fleet size of dry bulk carriers is expected to grow by 2.5 per cent this year, compared with 2.2 per cent in 2014 and 3.3 per cent in 2013.

GMS’s Mr. Rehani would not say how many ships the company has bought and sold for scrap this year, but said the company has never been busier. Industry figures show about 100 of the largest bulk carriers, known as Capesize, are expected to be scrapped in 2015, the highest since 2012’s record.

GMS sends ships for recycling at breaking yards in five countries, including Pakistan, China and Bangladesh.

A bulk carrier, which can weigh 35,000 tonnes empty and stretch longer than four hockey rinks, has scrap value of as much as $12-million (U.S.), based on recycled steel prices of $310 to $330 a tonne. GMS takes 3 per cent of that sale, a margin Mr. Rehani said has been falling in recent years amid stiff competition.

“It’s a very high-risk and low-return business,” Mr. Rehani said. “Most of the time the ships are operating and they are run up to the beach. If they are dead ships, then they are towed and pushed up on to the beach.”

Once beached, the vessel is set upon by workers armed with torches and cranes.

Much of steel is sold locally and turned into reinforcement bars used in construction, while the power generators are sold to hotels or companies in remote areas for back-up electricity, said Mr. Rehani, a former freighter captain. It can take as long as four months to cut up a ship. “All of the stuff, the wood, the machinery, the ceramics, is put back into service.”

The type of ship GMS sells for scrap is a handy barometer of the state of the global economy. In 2013, the company saw a flood of container ships as Chinese consumer demand faltered. This year, Mr. Rehani said the company has also seen a lot of petroleum tankers, after crude prices plunged by 50 per cent a year ago.

The Globe and Mail


Lookback #656 – Salah El Din caught fire at Hamilton on Sept. 4, 1963

The Egyptian freighter Salah El Din received heavy damage from a fire at Hamilton on Sept. 4, 1963. The blaze gutted the bridge and crews quarters but did not spread to the explosives that were still in the forward cargo hold. Had they gone off, the damage would have been even worse.

In addition to the ship's personnel, local shore firemen fought the blaze and pumped so much water on board that the vessel developed a list and almost capsized from the weight of the water. Two firemen were injured and the Chief Steward of Salah El Din died in blaze.

After being pumped out and stabilized, the ship departed Hamilton under tow for Quebec City on Nov. 22, 1963, and was put up for sale “as is, where is.” It was sold, refitted at Houston, Texas, and returned to service under Liberian registry in March 1964 as d) Mercantile Victory.

But another fire, this in the engine room while sailing the Red Sea on April 23, 1964, resulted in additional damage. It proceeded, under tow, to Khorramshahr, Iran, likely to unload and then, also under tow, to Marseilles, France, arriving at the latter location during December 1964 for lay-up. Following a resale to Spanish shipbreakers, the fire victim of 52-years ago today arrived at Castellon under tow on May 10, 1965, and broken up.

Built at Los Angeles in 1944 as a) Atchison Victory, the 455 foot, 3 inch long Victory ship joined the U.S. Maritime Commission fleet with American President Lines serving as the manager. With the postwar dispersal of vessels, it was sold to British interests for brief work before joining the Khedivial Mail Line in 1947 as b) Mohamed Ali El Kebir. It was converted to carry 100 passengers in 1st class accommodations between Alexandria, Egypt, and New York in 1948.

The vessel was rebuilt to carry freight as Salah El Din in 1960. It made two trips through the Seaway in 1962 and the final, fateful, inland voyage in the late summer of 1963.

Skip Gillham


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 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.

1921: The former laker RANDOLPH S. WARNER was cut in two to leave the Great Lakes during World War One. It was rebuilt with the pilothouse amidships and sank on this date about 40 miles off the Bosporus after reportedly striking an unrecovered mine.

1926: HARSEN, loaded with a cargo of sand, capsized and sank in a storm 3 miles northeast of the Pelee Passage Light in Lake Erie. The wooden-hulled vessel was a total loss.

1961: IMPERIAL HAMILTON caught fire while loading ethyl gasoline at Sarnia and sustained considerable damage. Six on board were injured.

1963: The Egyptian freighter SALAH ELDIN, a former Victory ship, caught fire in the crew quarters in Hamilton but the blaze was extinguished before it reached the cargo hold. The vessel almost capsized due to the weight of water but it remained upright. Two crew were injured and the Chief Steward died. The ship was towed out by GRAEME STEWART and JAMES BATTLE on November 22, 1963, for Quebec City and sold as is, where it became d) MERCANTILE VICTORY after a refit at Houston, Texas. Another fire on April 23, 1964, this time in the engine room on the Red Sea shortly after re-entering service in March 1964, led to an eventual resale to Spanish shipbreakers. The vessel arrived at Castellon for dismantling on May 10, 1965.

1967: The tugs MICHAEL McALLISTER and AMERICA towed the retired passenger ship NORTH AMERICAN through the Welland Canal enroute to a new career as a training ship for the S.I.U. at Piney Point, MD.

1972: NORSE CORAL was new when it entered the Seaway in 1962 and returned as b) TOTEM STAR in 1963. The ship opened the Seaway season on April 8, 1964, and returned to our shores as c) SILVERBEACH in 1965. It sustained heavy damage off Victoria, BC while inbound from Hong Kong to Vancouver on this date due to a collision with the C.E. DANT. The two ships were locked together. They were towed to Victoria the next day and then separated September 6. The damage was repaired and the former lakes trader survived until scrapping at Xingang, China, in 1986.

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


Dennis Hale, sole survivor of Daniel J. Morrell wreck, dies

9/3 - Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of a Great Lakes shipwreck and well-known in ship, shipping and lighthouse circles, died Wednesday in Ashtabula, Ohio, after a battle with cancer. He was 75.

When Hale would travel the Great Lakes region telling his tale of survival after the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell in 1966 on Lake Huron, he often would say this about his ordeal: “I think somehow I give people a little hope in life, that life is a struggle, but if you have faith and determination you can go through life and come out ahead.”

Hale wrote the book “Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor” in 2010 about his survival and rescue. It was his second volume on the subject. He often said talking about the tragedy helped him to recover. The family will have a private funeral, with a public memorial to be held at a future date.

Port Huron Times Herald


Crowd greets Columbia tow as it arrives in Buffalo

9/3 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The nation’s oldest remaining excursion steamboat pulled into Buffalo Harbor like a ghost ship on Wednesday afternoon, conjuring up memories of how Buffalo’s own proud vessel – the beloved SS Canadiana – once plowed these same waters.

People lined up along the waterfront – from Erie Basin Marina to Canalside to the Buffalo River – snapping photos of the SS Columbia as it was towed to Marina A at Silo City on Childs Street, ending a journey from Toledo.

The Columbia – designed by the same architect as the Canadiana and her sister ship, the SS Americana – will remain in Buffalo for a year or two before moving on to New York City, where preservationist hope to restore it to working condition.

“Look at the size of that thing,” said Matt Bartochowski, 67, of Cheektowaga, as he and his wife, Diana, watched the Columbia come into Buffalo. “It’s a shame we had to lose something like that.”

Preservationists, of course, had tried to save the Canadiana – which shuttled generations from Buffalo to Crystal Beach – before it was eventually scrapped at Port Colborne, Ont. in 2004. But for a few minutes on Wednesday, as the Columbia floated by, people relived those memories of Crystal Beach and the Canadiana.

“It looks identical,” said Sam Guadagna, 84, of Williamsville, as he stood at Canalside and watched the Columbia. “I wish I was on it.”

Guadagna – retired captain of the Edward M. Cotter, Buffalo’s historic fireboat – worked on the Canadiana as a teenager selling concessions to the passengers. He reminisced about the dances on board and the three-hour lake tours on Sundays.

“She used to come in on the other side, turn around right here and park where the Little Rock is,” said Guadagna, as he pointed out toward the water. “I can still see it.”

Similar to the Canadiana, the Columbia shuttled people between Detroit and a Canadian amusement park. It carried as many as 3,200 passengers on five decks and included such features as sweeping stairways and a ballroom.

“It’s like a grand lady that’s in serious need of a makeover,” said Ron Reinhardt of the Town of Tonawanda, as he watched the Columbia, “but it’s pretty impressive.”

Reinhardt’s family came to Buffalo the year before the Canadiana stopped operating, but they never had a chance to get on board. He and his father, Arnold, stopped by Canalside Wednesday to watch the Columbia come in and get a sense of what it might have been like on the Canadiana.

“All of our relatives always talked about it,” Reinhardt said. “They had all these great stories of going over to Crystal Beach. It was basically a party all the way there. There’s a huge audience of people in Western New York who still have all these memories.”

The tug Michigan was on the bow for Wednesday’s tow, with assistance from the tug Washington, both of the Great Lakes Towing Co.

The public will be able to tour the Columbia in the spring.

Buffalo News


Port Reports -  September 3

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Wilfred Sykes left Bay Ship around 11 a.m. Wednesday after minor repairs and headed out to Lake Michigan.


Sturgeon Bay luxury yacht builder Palmer Johnson Yachts closing

9/3 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Luxury yacht builder Palmer Johnson Yachts in Sturgeon Bay informed its employees Wednesday that it will be closing. The closing was confirmed by the company, which says about 100 jobs will be affected.

Palmer Johnson Yachts says the company’s operations and employment have been diminishing along with its sales. Additional offshore competition also put pressure on the company. The company says these factors forced it to make the decision to close.

The company told its employees that it plans to close in 60 days. Bay Area Workforce is already working to help employees who will be losing their jobs to find new positions.



Thunder Bay Port Authority says spill cleanup almost complete

9/3 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Port officials in Thunder Bay are almost finished cleaning up nearly 200 litres of oil that spilled into the Great Lakes over the weekend.

The incident happened Sunday evening after the Michipicoten – a cargo ship – unintentionally released the fuel oil into Lake Superior. Tim Heney, the chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, told CBC News these spills are rare but must be dealt with in the proper manner.

"[Spills are] very uncommon, actually," Heney said. "But on the Great Lakes, no matter how small a spill is, it's reported. It's mandatory that the ship put into place a corrective plan. So that's what happened."

The Canadian Coast Guard said specialized floating barriers were effective in containing the wasted fuel. The process of cleaning up was also aided with the help of unique sponges that are able to absorb oil, but not water.

Provincial officials are tasked with disposing of the spilled oil.



Canadian Miner goes political: Group wants answers on wreck

9/3 - The Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association of Cape Breton is calling on all national political parties to provide policy responses addressing the case of the former laker Canadian Miner, a bulk carrier that wrecked on Scatarie Island in 2011.

In a news release, the association said it has two major concerns surrounding the government’s response to the wreck: a lack of a federal financial contribution to the salvage; and the lack of a plan to review federal regulations and avoid a repeat of the Miner experience elsewhere.

Although the vessel was wrecked while being towed under Transport Canada licensing, the federal government has repeatedly denied responsibility for cleaning up the wreck, and the Nova Scotia government was forced to embark on an emergency salvage effort. The Miner’s removal was slated to be completed by last November but was delayed when 26,000 litres of diesel fuel and 32 tonnes of asbestos were found in the wreckage. The vessel was finally salvaged this June at a cost of more than $12-million to the provincial government, and the cleanup is still underway.

Association president Amanda McDougall will send a letter to the leaders of all four political parties, as well as all federal candidates in the two Cape Breton ridings.

“Despite the undisputed fact that Transport Canada licensed the towing of the vessel, at the height of hurricane season, without securing adequate bond or insurance from the owners, the federal government has consistently refused to accept any responsibility for either the accident or its potentially devastating consequences on our fragile environment and fishing-dependent economy,” the letter reads.

It goes on to say on top of downplaying the potentially devastating consequences to Cape Breton’s environment and fishing-dependent economy, the government dramatically underestimated pollutants in the wreckage.

The letter then poses five questions: Would you support a comprehensive review of Transport Canada’s handling of the Miner? Would you support a review of existing federal licensing regulations surrounding the towing of disabled vessels in Canada? Do you agree that all licences should require insurance to cover remediation cost? Would you consider expanding the mandate of the federal Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund to pay for similar projects? And do you believe the federal government should negotiate a cost-sharing arrangement for the remediation of the MV Miner?

The association is requesting responses by Sept. 20 — the fourth anniversary of the wreck.

“We don’t want any other coastal community to live under a similar cloud of stress and uncertainty. And there will surely be another MV Miner somewhere, someday, unless prudent and responsible action is taken,” McDougall said. “The federal election campaign, we believe, is the perfect time to raise these issues.”

Halifax Herald News


Lookback #655 – George Stephenson blown aground on Sept. 3, 1905

The George Stephenson served the Bessemer Steamship Co., the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. and the Buckeye Steamship Co. without any change in name. The 432 foot long bulk carrier was built by F.W. Wheeler and completed in 1896.

Early on, the vessel set a Great Lakes record for carrying oats by loading 323,250 bushels or 6,137 tons from Chicago to Buffalo. This mark stood until 1898.

This ship made news again 110 years ago today when it was blown aground at Point Aux Pins, Lake Superior, during a late summer storm. Further damage was added when its consort barge, the John A. Roebling, struck the helpless freighter. Both ships were released and repaired.

George Stephenson was used by the Continental Grain Co. as a storage hull at Buffalo from 1959 until 1963. It was then sold to the Steel Company of Canada, via Marine Salvage, and towed down the Welland Canal on July 12, 1963, by the tugs Laurence C. Turner and North Carolina. Their destination was Hamilton where the aging laker was dismantled during 1963-1964.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 3

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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

1905: The GEORGE STEPHENSON was blown aground at Pointe Aux Pins, Lake Superior and struck by her consort barge JOHN A. ROEBLING. Both were released and returned to service.

1942: DONALD STEWART, a canal trader for Canada Steamship Lines, was torpedoed by U-517 and sunk while in a convoy on the Gulf of St. Lawrence while carrying barrels of aviation fuel and bulk cement for the air base at Goose Bay, Labrador. Three members of the engine room crew were lost.

1944: LIVINGSTON, a former Great Lakes canal ship, was torpedoed and sunk by U-541 in the Atlantic about 80 miles east of Cape Breton Island. Fourteen lives were lost but another 14 were spared and rescued.

1965: The tanker EASTERN SHELL sank the small wooden goelette MONT BLANC in a collision blamed on fog about 20 miles from Trois Rivieres. All crewmembers of the pulpwood carrier were rescued.

1970: KENNETH made a single trip to the Great Lakes in 1959. It caught fire in the engine room on this date off the coast of Israel while enroute from Alexandria, Egypt, to Tripoli, Libya, as h) CHRISTINA MARIA. The ship was abandoned by the crew, towed into Haifa, Israel, September 6 and sold to Israeli shipbreakers later in the year.

1998: ORKANGER, a chemical tanker that first came through the Seaway in 1977, began leaking while inbound at Rio Grande, Brazil, as e) BAHAMAS with 12,000 tons of sulphuric acid and sank in the harbor. The hull was eventually refloated but never repaired although it had subsequent renames and was reported as broken up in 2003 as h) ORIENT FLOWER.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Columbia tow departed Toledo Tuesday

9/2 - Toledo, Ohio – Great Lakes Towing tugs towed the former Boblo excursion steamer Columbia from Ironhead Marine Tuesday morning, bound for Buffalo, where it is expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon.

The tug Michigan was on the bow and the tug New Jersey was on the stern of the tow while in the Maumee River. Once the tow cleared the last railroad bridge and entered Maumee Bay the tug New Jersey was released from the tow. The tug Michigan then became the only tug to handle this tow for the trip across Lake Erie to Buffalo.

The Columbia underwent a $1.6-million US hull stabilization in Toledo. The total cost of the project is estimated at $18 million. So far, more than $3 million has been raised. The Columbia will eventually be put back to work as an excursion steamship connecting New York City to waterfront cities and towns along the Hudson Valley.

“There was a moment,” Liz McEnaney, executive director of the S.S. Columbia Project said, “when both tugs were spread apart, it looked like she was sailing on her own.”

“Seeing the boat out on the Maumee, it’s indescribable.”

McEnaney, and about a half dozen other key people in the recent history of the boat were standing in the Toledo Shipyard watching as the former Boblo boat Columbia was pulled from its dock and tugged off to New York where it will be restored and put to use.

“It’s quite an emotional day,” Ian Danic a member of the S.S. Columbia Project’s board of directors said. “It’s the development of a dream. Columbia is a great old vessel and bringing her back to life is a spectacular thing.”

Among the people gathered to watch as Columbia left the region was Sam Buchanan. He served as the caretaker for the boat from 2006 until last year when it was relocated to Toledo.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “I would rather see it where it is running than see it sitting in (Michigan) rotting. I’m happy to see it in good hands.” Buchanan said as long as the boat is running somewhere in the world he’s happy.

“It gives us a vacation spot.”

The iconic 113-year old steamer was built in Wyandotte and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For decades the Columbia, and its sister ship the SS Ste. Claire, ferried thousands of passengers from Detroit to Amherstburg’s Boblo Island Amusement Park. They largely sat unused and unprotected after they were decommissioned in 1991.

News Herald, Boatnerd staff


New research vessel christened in Cheboygan

9/2 - Cheboygan, Mich. – The United States Geological Survey Department celebrated its newest research vessel with a christening ceremony in Cheboygan. Acquiring the $5.6 million ship represents the final step by the USGS in modernizing and upgrading its Great Lakes Fleet.

Officials with the USGS believe that this new wave of modernization will allow their scientists to collect more data at a faster pace while maintaining a safer environment.

The christening of the new research vessel, the Arcticus, was a proud moment for all those invested in preserving the fishing industry of the Great Lakes as well as the economic health of the entire state.

"The economy of Michigan depends on our environment and we want to make sure it stays as good as possible," said Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek. "A new vessel like this, it's exactly what we need and I am happy to be supportive of these efforts."

There are five ships in the Great Lakes fleet. Each of the research vessels operates in different bodies of water. Arcticus will operate mainly in Lake Huron and will conduct lake wide fish surveys. It will also make reports on the health of Lake Huron's eco-system.

The USGS says that the information gathered by the Arcticus and the rest of the Great Lakes fleet will provide a better understanding of long-term fish population trends and how to protect them from threats such a invasive species.

The Arcticus has a cruising speed of 9.5 knots and can operate at sea for up to two weeks before having to return to port.

Up North Live


Port Reports -  September 2

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Wilfred Sykes arrived for minor repairs at Bayship on Tuesday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Three vessels called at Lafarge on Tuesday. Arriving first in the afternoon was the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula with a load of coal. Coming in behind the Defiance was the Alpena, ready to load another cargo of cement. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity waited out in the bay until the Alpena departed.


Marine News - Casualties & Demolitions - September 2015

9/2 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the September 2015 issue.

Forest Costa Rica was built in 1977 as the bulk carrier a) Ingrid Gorthon. The ship was constructed at Pusan, South Korea for Swedish flag service under the Gorthon Lines. It was rebuilt for the newsprint trade at Hamburg, Germany, in 1990-1991 and came through the Seaway for the first time on May 30, 2003, going to Cote Ste. Catherine with fiberglass fabric. The ship was sold in 2012 and renamed b) Forest Costa Rica and was operating under the flag of the Marshall Islands when sold to shipbreakers at Alang earlier this year. The vessel arrived on April 22, 2015, and was broken up by Bhikkamal Chhotelal beginning on May 6.

Ismael Mehieddine was built at Hiroshima, Japan, and launched on June 11, 1976. The 425 foot, 7 inch long bulk carrier entered service under Panamanian registry as a) Hand Fortune. It came to the Great Lakes for the first time in 1977. This ship was sold and registered in Greece as b) Kritonas in 1983 and was back through the Seaway again in 1987. The fifth and final name of Ismael Mehieddine was assigned in 2003 and that was the name carried to Gadani Beach when the 39-year -old freighter arrived for scrapping on April 27, 2015. Work on dismantling the hull began on May 1.

Jumbo Spirit was only a year old when it came through the Seaway for the first time on Oct. 27, 1996. The Dutch built heavy lift vessel was carrying machinery for Gary, Ind., and, on the way from the lakes, loaded at Toronto. In subsequent years, the 4,962 gross ton vessel returned inland from time to time. Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, Jumbo Spirit arrived at Aliaga on April 27, 2015, and was dismantled by Sok Gemi Sokum Ltd.

Great Lakes related:
CSL Pacific, while never a Great Lakes trader, was part of the international fleet of Canada Steamship Lines. The ship arrived at Xinhui, China, on April 8, 2015, for dismantling by Jiangmen Zhong Xin Shipbreaking. The 562 foot long vessel was built at Newcastle, Australia, and completed as a) Selwyn Range in 1977. It joined the Australia National Line and operated as a bulk carrier until being lengthened and rebuilt as a self-unloader at Nagasaki, Japan. This work was completed in July 1985. Now 594 feet, 10 inches long, the vessel returned to service as b) River Torrens. It became part of Auscan Self-Unloaders in 1999 for trading along the south and east coast of Australia. Following a refit at Shanghai, China in 2000, the ship resumed service as c) CSL Pacific. It had also worked in the sand trade to Japan before being sold for scrap.

Nelvana was too large for the locks of the Seaway but saw service along the St. Lawrence for both Upper Lakes Shipping and Algoma. It was sold to Leyal Gemi Sokum Ltd and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey on April 21, 2015. Scrapping got under way on April 28 and work on the dismantling of the hull is approaching completion.

Compiled by Rene Beauchamp, Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham


Lookback #654 – Aegis Wisdom damaged in a collision near Les Escoumins on Sept. 2, 1972

The Cypriot flag freighter Aegis Wisdom was completed at Bilbao, Spain, in May 1972. The vessel came to the Great Lakes that summer and loaded grain at Duluth for Russia. The 482 foot long carrier departed the American Lakehead on August 25 but ran into trouble on the St. Lawrence 43-years ago today.

It encountered fog while outbound and suffered heavy damage aft due to a collision with the inbound Italian freighter Libra. Aegis Wisdom had to be beached to keep it from sinking in deep water but was refloated, towed to Lauzon, and then Sorel, for temporary repairs. It was subsequently towed to Santander, Spain, by the tug Borac for permanent work in July 1973 and was re-registered in Greece when it re-entered service.

Aegis Wisdom traveled all over the world making stops at New Orleans, LA, Shanghai, China, Marseilles, France, Port Kremble, Australia, Hsinkang, China, Yokohama and Nagoya, Japan and the Persian Gulf. It was noted anchored off Lagos, Nigeria, on Aug. 15, 1975, as one of 400 ships waiting to unload.

It was sold and renamed b) Christine I in 1985, c) Rachel V. in 1988, and d) Angeliki II in 1992. Following a final sale to shipbreakers in India, the vessel arrived at Alang, on Jan. 14, 1997, and was broken up for scrap.

Libra, its combatant on the foggy St. Lawrence on Sept. 2, 1972, had not yet been a Seaway trader. The latter vessel waited until 1975 to venture inland. It was sold to Chinese shipbreakers as b) Depy in 1986 and had arrived at an unnamed mainland port by May 1 to be dismantled.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 2

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Chemical Aquarius, Clipper Macau, Erria Swan, Federal Beaufort, Federal Kumano, Foresight, Harbour Leader, HHL Elbe, HHL Tyne, Intrepid Canada, Jasmine C, MarBioko, Nordana Emilie, Palmerton, Pilica, Stella Polaris, Taagborg, and Trinityborg.


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 sightseeing 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.

1905 The large wooden schooner PRETORIA, which cleared Superior with ore under tow of the VENEZUELA, hit a fierce storm and the steering gear failed. The vessel fell into the trough after the tow line snapped and the barge broke up off Outer Island. Five crew were rescued and another five were lost.

1905 IOSCO and the schooner OLIVE JEANETTE foundered off Huron Island, Lake Superior, with the loss of 19 lives on the former and another 7 on the latter. Both were downbound with iron ore and were last seen near Stannard Rock. Also, the SEVONA stranded on a reef in a Lake Superior storm and broke in two as a total loss. Seven drowned from the bow section when they tried to come ashore on hatch rafts. The wreck was dynamited in 1909 after the boilers had been salvaged.

1914 THOS. R. SCOTT became waterlogged and sank during a storm in the deepest part of Georgian Bay off the east coast of the Bruce Peninsula. The ship was swamped in a storm while carrying lumber from Cockburn Island to Owen Sound and all on board were saved. The hull was located using sidescan sonar in 1994.

1926 BURT BARNES, a wooden three-masted schooner, foundered in Lake Ontario while carrying 210 tons of coal from Sodus Point to Picton. The crew abandoned the ship in the yawl boat near Picton and were blown across the lake and came ashore safely 12 miles west of Rochester.

1972 The Cypriot freighter AEGIS WISDOM and the Italian vessel LIBRA collided in fog on the St. Lawrence near Les Escoumins. The former, which had been launched in March, was on her first trip outbound from the Seaway and was heavily damaged aft. The vessel was towed to Lauzon for repairs and survived until scrapping at Alang, India, as d) ANGELIKI II following arrival on January 14, 1997. LIBRA, dated from 1965 but did not come to the Great Lakes until 1975. It was scrapped in Mainland China as b) DEPY in 1986.

1975 CHICAGO TRIBUNE, enroute from Thunder Bay to Collingwood with grain, went aground in Georgian Bay and had to be lightered by the CHARLES W. JOHNSON, working with the tug ROD McLEAN. After being released and unloaded, the ship went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Dock collapse closes Rouge River

9/1 - Detroit, Mich. - Early last week, after a cargo of stone was unloaded on it, the Carmuese Lime Dock (formerly Marblehead Lime) next the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on the Rouge River, collapsed. As is typical with a dock collapse, the pile of stone went straight down into the ground and the softer soil underneath broke through the riverbank and pushed out into the river.

It was apparent that something was amiss when the Algomarine, stern first with two harbor tugs, came to a gentle halt as they were about to enter the Jefferson Avenue Bridge span. After being surveyed it was determined that the water depth in the river in that area was reduced to 20 feet.

The Coast Guard has closed the river to navigation above the “forks” and dredging has commenced. The river is expected to be closed for approximately 30 days total.

Raw material deliveries have been halted to AK Steel at the end of the navigable stretch of the river in Dearborn, Mich. The Peter R. Cresswell was loaded with cement for St. Marys and could not reach the dock. Instead of a few hours unload, they are spending days unloading cement into an old shed on the Nicholson Dock where it is then trucked to St Mary's.


Massive cleanup plan emerging for U.S. Steel site in Duluth

9/1 - Duluth, Minn. – After years of neglect, the site of the long-closed U.S. Steel Duluth Works may be on the verge of revitalization.

Following decades of steel and cement production, the industrial property along the St. Louis River in western Duluth has the unfortunate distinction of being the most widely contaminated site to be identified in all the Great Lakes Rust Belt, according to Erin Endsley of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Endsley has been tapped to serve as project leader of a federal Superfund cleanup of the industrial wasteland which is estimated to harbor more than 1.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, both on solid ground and submerged throughout an adjacent estuary. That’s enough material to fill 103,125 four-axle dump trucks. If parked bumper to bumper, that number of trucks would form a line that stretches from Duluth past Chicago.

There’s no plan to haul all the contaminated sediment away. Much of it will be left in place or impounded in cells on site, which will be capped and monitored to detect any unwanted spread.

A noxious laundry list of contaminants can be found on the property, including heavy metals, petroleum products and a host of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — mostly leftovers from the incomplete combustion of fuels, including the petroleum coke that fed U.S. Steel’s blast furnaces from 1916 until steelmaking stopped in the 1970s, although other parts of the Duluth Works continued to operate until 1981.

John Peterson, a spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said the contaminants “present both human health and ecological risks at the site.”

“The EPA is working with U.S. Steel, under the authority of the Great Lakes Legacy Act to delineate the extent of contamination in St. Louis River sediments adjacent to the former U.S. Steel Duluth Works site, and to select and design a remedy for remediating these sediments,” he said.

Most of the site still is owned by U.S. Steel. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has acquired a small portion away from the river — the former Atlas Cement property — where it has been working to establish an industrial park. And the city owns a railroad corridor along the river.

Discussions about the scope of the remediation work and the future use of the property are likely to inspire lively debate as more details emerge about the cleanup, which Endsley aims to commence next year.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  September 1

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore at LS&I on Monday.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke is due in on Tuesday in the early morning. Herbert C. Jackson is due in on Wednesday in the early morning and the Wilfred Sykes is due on Wednesday in the early afternoon.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was at Port Inland on Sunday and was expected to depart around noon. Also due on Sunday was the Manitowoc, which anchored off and was due to take the dock upon the Sykes' departure. Due to arrive on Monday was the barge Pere Marquette 41/tug Undaunted during the late afternoon and the Sam Laud in the early evening. Manitowoc is due in on Tuesday in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. loaded on Sunday at the South Dock. There were no vessels scheduled to arrive Monday. Four vessels are expected to arrive Tuesday. Due in first is the Great Republic and H. Lee White, both in the morning. The Republic loading at the South Dock, while the H. Lee White will be at the North Dock. Buffalo is due to arrive late afternoon on Monday for the South Dock and the Herbert C. Jackson is due to arrive late evening for the South Dock. The barge Ashtabula, along with the tug Defiance, is expected to arrive on Wednesday in the early morning for an unknown dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore loaded at Stoneport on Monday and they were due to depart around 4:30 p.m. Also due at Stoneport on Monday was the Joseph H. Thompson in the late morning hours and they would be going to anchor and taking the dock upon the Kuber's departure. Due on Tuesday is the Philip R. Clarke in the late afternoon. Due in for Wednesday is the Michipicoten in the morning. Both the Lewis J. Kuber and the Joseph H. Thompson are due back on Thursday with the Kuber arriving in the early morning and the Thompson early evening. Friday arrivals show the Great Republic in the early afternoon and on Saturday, September 5th due to arrive is the John G. Munson at noon and the Lewis J. Kuber in the early afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory were expected to arrive on Monday evening at the Torco Dock. Also due at Torco will be the Hon. James L. Oberstar on Wednesday in the late morning followed by the Atlantic Huron on Saturday, September 5 in the late afternoon. The James L. Kuber returns to Torco on Monday, September 14 during the early afternoon. There is nothing so far scheduled for arrival at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels due at the CSX Coal Dock to load include the barge James L. Kuber/tug Victory on Tuesday in the morning, followed by the Algoma Transport also on Tuesday during the mid-afternoon. The barge Lakes Contender/tug Ken Boothe Sr. are due at the CSX to load on Wednesday in the early morning. Also due at CSX to load on Wednesday is the Hon. James L. Oberstar in the late afternoon. American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks and the barge Sarah Spencer/tug Jane Ann IV remain at the Ironhead Marine Drydock. Other vessels in port were the tug Genesis Victory with a barge and the Alpena delivering a cargo of cement for the Lafarge Dock. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was outside of Toledo in Lake Erie doing work.


Passenger liner Hamburg returning to Great Lakes

9/1 - The cruise ship Hamburg is due in Montreal on Sept. 6. The vessel, once it departs Montreal, is scheduled to go to Toronto, Ont., and do a series of cruises around the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway. Hamburg is best though remembered as the C. Columbus, built in 1997 and for years a regular visitor to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. The ship is still registered in the Bahamas but carries mostly German passengers.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #653 – Dronning Maud mined in North Sea on Sept. 1, 1916

9/1 - The Norwegian freighter Dronning Maud was chartered to Keystone Transports Ltd. for Great Lakes service. It first came inland in 1909 and was primarily used to carry coal from Erie, PA to Montreal.

The 229 foot long freighter had been built at Bergen, Norway, and completed in 1907. Later, in 1910, the ship was noted loading coal at Cleveland for Fort William, ON and then took on grain there for overseas delivery.

The 1,102 gross ton carrier struck a mine laid by UC-1 in the North Sea on Aug. 29, 1916. The loss occurred off the east coast of England, 99-years ago today. Dronning Maud was between Southall and Lowestoft when it hit the mine and the ship sank while trying to reach port.

Dronning Maud had loaded cement at London, England, and was on a voyage to Kem, Russia, when it was lost.

Skip Gillham


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.

1916 DRONNING MAUD, a Norwegian freighter visited the Great Lakes on charter to Keystone Transports beginning in 1909. It hit a mine in the North Sea on this date and sank off the east coast of England, between Southwall and Lowestoft.

1929 EDWARD BUCKLEY caught fire and was destroyed in the North Channel of Georgian Bay. The blaze broke out aft while enroute to Little Current to load pulpwood. The hull burned to the waterline and sank near Narrow Island Lighthouse. Local fishermen rescued the crew.

1936 The Canadian canaller BENMAPLE of the Port Colborne & St. Lawrence Navigation Company, sank in the St. Lawrence at about 0400 hours, near Father Point, after being hit in fog by the inbound liner LAFAYETTE. A wheelsman was killed but all others on board were rescued.

1983 INDIANA HARBOR sets a record loading 67,896 tons of iron ore at Escanaba.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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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