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Lakes coal trade slows a bit in November

12/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2.6 million tons in November, a decrease of 3 percent from a year ago. Shipments were affected by weather-related delays.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.5 million tons, a slight decrease from a year ago. Loadings on Lake Michigan totaled 209,000 tons, a decrease of 33 percent compared to a year ago. Lake Erie was the one port range to register an increase. Loadings totaled 840,000 tons, an increase of 9 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 21.4 million tons, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to the same point last year. The deficit was much worse earlier in the season when heavy ice blanketed the Lakes. As April came to an end, shipments were down nearly 48 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

Green Bay shipping season continues smooth sailing

12/19 - Green Bay, Wis. – After the earliest end to the shipping season in Green Bay history last year, companies with docks along the Fox River are breathing a sigh of relief.

By early December last year, ships battled several inches of ice, and by December 15th, the shipping season ended. For an $88 million dollar a year industry, losing time ships can sail is costly.

“When the raw materials are delivered by ship, that’s the most cheapest way to transport them and it helps these companies weather the winter, whereas if they start running out of product mid-winter they have to then switch modes of transportation to truck or train which is at a higher cost to them,” says Dean Haen, Brown County Port Director.

Haen adds that some of that additional cost is ultimately passed on to the consumer.

But this year, it’s a much different scene on the Fox River with open water instead of ice. Cement supplier Lafarge is awaiting at least one more ship carrying 1,200 tons of cement, critical for its winter supply.

“That affects us in spring when they start road construction and building construction, there’s a tendency to be a shortage at that time of the year,” says terminal manager Jim Haese.

Port officials expect ships to sail into Green Bay through the end of the month, and maybe longer.

Each day will help make up for the headaches caused by last year’s frigid winter.

“We lost a month in the beginning of the year due to persistent ice conditions and us having a little bit more time at the end is welcomed,” says Haen.

WBAY

 

Port Reports -  December 19

Silver Bay, Minn.
Joseph L. Block will be making a rare trip to the lower lakes. She will load in Silver Bay for Cleveland and then backhaul a coal cargo from Toledo.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Fleetmates James L. Kuber and Manitowoc arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore on a sun-splashed Thursday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoma Enterprise arrived at 9:55 a.m. Thursday and headed to the Jonick dock.

Port Colborne, Ont. – John Kees
Algoway is at the Port Colborne Stone Dock, Wharf 12 on the Welland Canal for repair/replacement of its damaged unloading boom. The broken end of the boom is currently on the wharf. It looks as if it will be laying up there for the winter as it has many mooring lines and one of its anchors on the dock. At present no other ships are tied up in Port Colborne

Erie, Pa.
The McKee Sons and tug Invincible departed long term lay-up Tuesday with a reported destination of Muskegon. The pair had been in lay-up since December 2012.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was unloading at LaFarge Thursday morning. American Mariner was downbound on Lake Huron with an ETA for Buffalo of 11 p.m. Friday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Wednesday night was Whitefish Bay heading down with a cargo of coal from Duluth for Quebec City and Lubie down for Montreal.

Early Thursday morning the Birchglen went up for Hamilton, Ont., and Thalassa Desgagnes went up at 02:51am for Sarnia, Ont. Barnacle went down at 6:35am destined for Kaliningrad, Russia. The Algoma Montrealais, what is very likely her final upbound before being retired, went up at 7:54am heading to Thunder Bay, Ont. Sten Bergen was up at 12h42. Performance tug went up at 1:43pm and Robinson Bay tug & barge up to Clayton, NY at 1:55pm. The Eider came down at 3:56pm for Les Escoumins, QC., and the Federal Yukina at 6:57pm down for Montreal, QC. Through Thursday evening and night expected through are Sundaisy E up for Hamilton, Ont., and Pacific Huron with a cargo of grain from Duluth down for Gibraltar.

Expected through early Friday morning are Victorious articulated push tug with John J. Carrick barge for Oshawa Ont., American Fortitude in tow of tug Ocean Ross Gaudreault, assisted by Jarrett M, up for Port Colborne, Ont., Mapleglen up for Ashtabula and Jana Desgagnes down for Montreal, QC.

 

Lookback #397 – Former Shura Kober sent out a distress call on Dec. 19, 1998, and then disappeared

12/19 - The Shura Kober was one of the many Soviet freighters to fly the “Hammer and Sickle” on the Great Lakes. The ship was built at Rostock, East Germany, in 1971 and made its first trip through the Seaway that year.

The 350-foot-long vessel operated for the Russian government for many years but, in the end, had several owners and four different names. It did not come back through the Seaway under any of the subsequent names.

It was renamed Albena in 1997, Peggy M. and then Marelie in 1998 but did not last long under the final name. The ship was trading on the Mediterranean when it sent out a distress signal on Dec. 19, 1998. That was the last that was heard from the Marelie. The 27-year-old vessel is believed to have gone down north of Cyprus and there were no survivors.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 19

On 20 December 1944, the icebreaker MACKINAW (WAGB-83) was commissioned in the U. S. Coast Guard.

The b.) SAMUEL MATHER, a.) WILLIAM MC LAUGHLIN was towed from Ashtabula, Ohio on December 20, 1975, to Port Colborne, Ontario where her boilers were converted to oil-fired burners by Herb Fraser & Associates and renamed c.) JOAN M. MC CULLOUGH (C.370162), renamed d.) BIRCHGLEN in 1982 and scrapped at Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1988.

Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC's scrapping process was completed in Superior, Wisconsin on December 20, 1985.

The CRISPIN OGLEBAY of 1908, hauled her last cargo, a load of salt, into Rochester, New York on December 20, 1973, and then was laid up at Kingston, Ontario, for the winter.

The keel was laid for the PERE MARQUETTE 22 on December 20, 1923.

In 1910, the PERE MARQUETTE 18 was launched at South Chicago. She was the only Great Lakes carferry to be built in Chicago.

December 20, 1979 - The Interstate Commerce Commission approved the termination of the C&O's Milwaukee run. C&O ended the run the following year.

On 20 December 1867, ALIDA (wooden propeller packet/tug, 81-foot, 58 gross tons, built in 1856, at Saginaw, Michigan) had her boiler explode in the Saginaw River. She caught fire and burned to a total loss. This little packet/tug was the only steamer to regularly venture up the Saginaw River beyond the mouth of the Flint River.

On 20 December 1873, the Great Western ferry MICHIGAN was finally launched at the Jenkins yard in Walkerville, Ontario. Her launching was originally scheduled for 18 December, but she stuck on the ways. She was built for use on the Detroit River and her dimensions were 282 feet x 72 foot 6 inch beam.

1963: CORFU ISLAND, a Seaway trader in 1959, was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Grindstone Light, Magdalen Island. The engine broke down in heavy weather but all on board were saved.

1965: CASABLANCA went aground at Santo Antao Island, Cape Verde, and became a total loss. The small Dutch freighter had been a pre-Seaway trader in 1957.

1973: A fire broke out in the accommodation area of the MEDATLANTIC while enroute from Valencia, Spain, to Casablanca, Morocco. There was extensive damage. The ship was declared a total loss and broken up. It had been a Great Lakes trader as a) HELGA SMITH and b) MICHIGAN and was last inland in 1961.

1975: CARITA drifted ashore on Cape Breton Island after a power failure two days earlier. All on board were saved but the hull broke into four pieces. It was outbound from Thunder Bay with a cargo of peas and oats for Port au Spain, Trinidad, on its only trip to the Great Lakes.

1976: MEDUSA CHALLENGER stranded in Lake St. Clair when winds and ice pushed the ship aground.

1979: FLORES, a pre-Seaway trader in 1958, was laid up at Baia, Italy, with collision damage when it got loose and went aground during a Dec. 20-21 overnight storm and became a total loss

1985: The former Israeli freighter NAHARIYA grounded off Darien Rock, Trinidad, as f) GUAICAMACUTO and sank enroute from Venezuela to El Salvador. The ship had first come through the Seaway in 1962.

1986: The former HARALD RINDE first traded through the Seaway in 1968. It dragged anchors off Istanbul and went aground on this date as e) YAVUZ SELIM. The ship capsized Dec. 31 and became a total loss.

2005: FEDERAL KIVALINA got stuck in the ice at Lock 7 while downbound and tugs were needed to free the ship the next day.

2010: ORNA was hijacked on the Indian Ocean and taken to Somalia for ransom. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) ST. CATHARINESS, b) ASIAN ERIE, c) HANDY LAKER, d) MOOR LAKER and e) ORNA. It was later set on fire by the pirates but eventually released when a ransom was paid. It was spotted anchored off Sharjah, on Nov. 20, 2012, and the after end appears to have been completely gutted by the blaze.

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

 

American Fortitude tow heads for Port Colborne

12/18 - The American Fortitude scrap tow, that began in Toledo and was planned to end in Texas, will now be towed to Port Colborne. The tug Ocean Ross Gaudreault is leading the tow with Jarrett M acting as the trailing tug again. The tow departed the Cote Ste Catherine wharf Thursday morning at 8:45 a.m. and proceeded down to the turning basin below the lock.

The tow began from Toledo and was planned to end in Texas. The tow reportedly was denied clearance through the Seaway and is now heading back down for scrapping at International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne.

Ron Beaupre

 

CSL St-Laurent sets sail on maiden voyage, completing CSL’s Trillium Class

12/18 - Montreal, Que. – The second of Canada Steamship Lines’ two new Trillium Class Great Lakes bulk carriers, CSL St-Laurent, was delivered on Nov. 26 and set sail on her maiden voyage on Dec. 13. She departed at 20:00 CST from Yangfan shipyard on Zhoushan Island, China, en route to Canada where she is set to operate throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

The vessel is commanded by Captain Kevin Crouse and Chief Engineer Paul Beaudet, and is expected to take approximately 50-60 days to complete her voyage.

CSL St-Laurent marks the successful completion of CSL’s newbuild program, which began with the delivery in December 2012 of the award-winning Trillium Class self-unloading laker Baie St. Paul. Three other Trillium Class self-unloading Lakers have since been introduced to the Great Lakes fleet (Baie Comeau, Thunder Bay and Whitefish Bay), and two bulk carriers, CSL St-Laurent and her sister ship, CSL Welland, will both begin operating at the start of the 2015 season.

The Trillium Class newbuild program also oversaw the delivery of three Panamax self-unloaders for CSL Americas (Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin, CSL Tecumseh and CSL Tacoma) and two other vessels of the same class and design for Norway-based Torvald Klaveness.

“CSL St-Laurent is a huge milestone in CSL history. Her maiden voyage completes one of the greatest newbuild programs in CSL’s 100-year history – one that will bring significant competitive advantage to our customers for years to come. These ships are the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by a great many talented CSL employees,” said Louis Martel, President of Canada Steamship Lines.

CSL St-Laurent features an IMO Tier II compliant main engine as well as the latest environmental and safety technologies. Like all Trillium Class vessels, she will use less fuel, reduce emissions significantly, and provide overall operational efficiency to the benefit of customers and the environment alike.

The maiden voyages of CSL St-Laurent and CSL Welland have them on a course that will take the ships across the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the east coast of North America to her new home in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

CSL

 

Cleveland budgets for 2015 port investments

12/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted this week to accept an annual budget for 2015; it includes $20 million in capital investments to enhance maritime operations and sediment management.

“This budget allows the Port to continue investing in our strategic priorities in maritime, sustainability, river renewal, and development finance, while ensuring our overall financial stability,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO, Port of Cleveland.

The strength of the Port’s balance sheet also allows it to continue investing in its European liner service, Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), which was launched in April. The Port is expanding CEE service in 2015 to two sailings a month between Antwerp and Cleveland, as announced in September.

“Our experience and discussions with shippers revealed that it is critical we offer more frequent sailings to better serve the needs of those moving containerized freight into global markets,” said Friedman.

Port of Cleveland

 

Port Reports -  December 18

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel loadings Wednesday. Due in on Thursday will be the Cason J. Callaway arriving in the morning, followed by the Lewis J. Kuber at noon. John G. Munson is also due in on Thursday, arriving in the late afternoon. Due in on Friday will be the Calumet arriving in the early morning to load. There is nothing due on Saturday.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded on Wednesday and was due to depart around 1 p.m. Also due in on Wednesday was the Arthur M. Anderson, arriving in the late evening to load at the South Dock. Expected to arrive on Thursday will be the Joseph H. Thompson in the morning for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Due in on Sunday will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the early morning for the North Dock and the Philip R. Clarke, also in the early morning for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algosteel was expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock on Wednesday to load in the late morning, however, they were delayed by high winds and went to anchor in the Western end of Lake Erie to wait for the winds to subside. Philip R. Clarke was also expected to arrive and load at CSX on Wednesday in the early evening. The John J. Boland is due at CSX to load on Thursday in the early morning followed by the Saginaw also on Thursday in the early afternoon. The Midwest Terminal Stone Dock appears to be closed for the season as nothing is scheduled for that dock. Due at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore is the John J. Boland, arriving in the early evening on Wednesday. Manitowoc is due at Torco to unload iron ore on Thursday in the late evening. Other vessels in port included the tug John Francis, saltwater vessel Whistler and the tug Paul L. Luedtke.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Tuesday evening the Manitoba came down and into the Port of Johnstown to load soybeans.

Early Wednesday morning the Algoma Navigator went up for Burns Harbor at 3:36am, Claude A. Desgagnes up for Toledo at 4:05am and the Algonova up at 5 am. Later Wednesday the Algosar was up to Sarnia, Ont. at 6:40am, tug Jarrett M. at 12:35pm down to Quebec and Lugano down with a cargo of grain from Toledo for Quebec City, QC at 2:46pm. Manitoba departed Port of Johnstown down for Quebec at 4:32pm. Expected through Wednesday night was Lubie down for Montreal, QC. and Whitefish Bay with a cargo of coal from Duluth for Quebec City, QC.

Early Thursday morning expected through are the Birchglen up for Hamilton, Ont. and Thalassa Desgagnes up for Sarnia, Ont.

 

Seaway notice #23 – Ice boom, Melocheville Anchorage

12/18 - Mariners are advised that the ice booms in the Melocheville anchorage area of the Beauharnois Canal have been installed. Use of the anchorage is not recommended.

 

Lookback #396 – Carmi A. Thompson blown loose in gale force winds on Dec. 18, 1921

Gale-force winds pounded the eastern end of Lake Erie 93 years ago today. The shipping season was almost over and many vessels had tied up for the winter and their crews had gone home.

The bulk carrier Carmi A. Thompson was along those spending the winter at Buffalo and it broke loose in the storm of Dec. 18, 1921. The 550-foot-long vessel, a member of the Producers Steamship Co., was pulled from the dock and blown ashore wedged between the Merton E. Farr and Louis W. Hill.

The Carmi A. Thompson was not released until Jan. 5, 1922, and was found to have damaged 156 hull plates. These were repaired or replaced and the ship returned to service later in the year.

The vessel had been built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1917. It later joined the Midland Steamship Co. and traded on their behalf until sold to Comet Enterprises, part of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. in 1962. It was renamed Thorold the next year and served as the company flagship for a time.

A steering problem resulted in the Thorold hitting a wall In the Welland Canal in August 1971 and the ship received temporary repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks. It was retired at the end of the season and, following a sale to Marine Salvage for scrap, arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, on Dec. 18, 1971, 50 years to the day it ran into trouble at Buffalo.

Thorold was renamed Thoro, freeing the name for a new addition to the Q. & O. fleet, before it was broken up in 1972.

One of its foes of 1921, the Merton E. Farr, was later sold to Misener and sailed as their Nixon Berry from 1966 until scrapping at Vado, Italy, in 1970. The other, the Louis W. Hill, was a sister-ship to the Carmi A. Thompson. This vessel is still with us as the historic museum vessel Valley Camp at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 18

The 425-foot Finnish tanker KIISLA ran aground while transiting the North Entrance of Buffalo Harbor on the 29th of December 1989. The ship was inbound with xylene for the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda when it strayed from the navigation channel due to reduced visibility from heavy snow squalls and grounded near the #1 green buoy of the Black Rock Canal. She was towed off the rocks by tugboats from Buffalo and then tied up at the Burnette Trucking Dock (formerly the Penn Dixie Dock) on the Buffalo River for Coast Guard inspection. A diver found a 47-inch by 5-inch crack below the waterline at the #1 ballast tank, with a large rock firmly wedged in the outer hull plating, but with no damage to the inner hull or cargo tanks. The ship was cleared to head back to Sarnia to off-load her cargo before repairs could be made.

In 1921, 94 vessels were laid up at Buffalo with storage grain when a winter gale struck. The 96 mile-per-hour winds swept 21 vessels ashore and damaged 29 others. Three weeks were required to restore order to the Buffalo waterfront.

Canada Steamship Lines NANTICOKE (Hull#218) was launched December 18, 1979, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The tug AMERICA freed the ore carrier IRVING S. OLDS in 1956, after the OLDS grounded entering the River Raisin from Lake Erie. The OLDS stuck at a 45-degree angle to the channel, while entering for winter lay up.

Canada Steamship lines GEORGIAN BAY (Hull#149) was launched during a snowstorm on December 18, 1953, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

JOHN T. HUTCHINSON was laid up for the last time December 18, 1981, at Cleveland, Ohio.

On December 18, 1921, gale force winds drove the CARMI A. THOMPSON ashore at Buffalo, New York where she was laid up with grain for winter storage. She ended up wedged between the LOUIS W. HILL and the MERTON E. FARR. The THOMPSON was released on January 5, 1922, but required the replacement of 156 hull plates before her return to service.

The Goodrich Transit Co.’s ALABAMA (Hull#36) was launched in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. Reduced to a barge in 1961.

On 18 December 1899, 115 (steel whaleback barge, 256 foot, 1,169 gross tons, built in 1891, at Superior, Wisconsin) was carrying iron ore in a storm on Lake Huron when she broke from her tow steamer well out in the lake. She went ashore five days later at Pic Island off Thunder Bay, Ontario, and broke up. Her crew was thought to be lost, but they showed up days later after a long trek through the wilderness.

On 18 December 1959, BRIDGEBUILDER X (propeller tug, 71 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio) foundered in a storm while enroute from Sturgeon Bay to N. Fox Island on Lake Michigan. Two lives were lost. She had been built as the fish tug PITTSBURG. In 1939, she was converted to the excursion boat BIDE-A-WEE. Then she was converted to a construction tug for the building of the Mackinac Bridge and finally she was rebuilt in 1958, as a logging tug.

1909: Ice punctured the hull of the F.A. MEYER, formerly the J. EMORY OWEN, on Lake Erie while enroute from Boyne City, Michigan, to Buffalo with a cargo of lumber. The crew was rescued by the sailors aboard MAPLETON.

1915: The canaller PRINCE RUPERT, requisitioned for World War 1 service, was lost at sea enroute from Newport News, Virginia, to Trinidad with a cargo of coal. It foundered P: 34.40 N / 74.45 W.

1932: A fire in the coal bunker of the BROWN BEAVER, laid up at Toronto with a winter storage cargo of wheat, brought the Toronto Fire Department to extinguish the blaze.

1947: The tug EMERSON was Hull 5 at the Collingwood shipyard and completed in 1903. The ship stranded at Punta Sardegna, in the Maddalena Archipelago, as f) GIULIANOVA. The hull broke in two January 8, 1948, and sank.

1950: The tug SACHEM sank in Lake Erie and all 12 on board were lost. The hull was later located, upright on the bottom. It was refloated October 22, 1951, reconditioned and returned to service. The ship became c) DEREK E. in 1990.

1962: RIDGEFIELD, a Liberty ship that visited the Great Lakes in 1961 and 1962, ran aground at the east end of Grand Cayman Island in ballast on a voyage from Maracaibo, Venezuela, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The hull was never removed and visible for years.

1968: The Canadian Coast Guard vessel GRENVILLE was trapped in an ice flow and rammed against the St. Louis Bridge along the Seaway. The crew was removed safely by stepping on to the bridge before the ship sank. It had been retrieving buoys. The hull received considerable ice damage over the winter but was refloated in June 1969, towed to Sorel and scrapped.

1975: TECUN UMAN visited the Seaway in 1969. It disappeared without a trace in heavy seas 250 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, enroute from Mobile, Alabama, to Port Cartier, Quebec, as b) IMBROS. All 22 on board were lost.

1985: FEDERAL ST. LAURENT (ii) collided with the Mercier Bridge in the Seaway with minor damage to both the ship and the structure. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, as c) DORA in 2003.

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

 

Lakes limestone trade dips in November

12/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 2.7 million tons in November, a decrease of 4.4 percent compared to a year ago. Limestone cargos also trailed the month’s long-term average by 9.2 percent. The trade was impacted by weather in November, with many vessels anchoring or taking longer routes to avoid heavy weather.

Year-to-date the limestone trade stands at 25.7 million tons, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The gap has narrowed considerably since the spring when heavy ice delayed full-scale resumption of limestone loadings. At the end of April, shipments were down 54 percent. Even come the end of July the trade was 6 percent off last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Steel shipments into Port of Milwaukee approach pre-recession peak

12/17 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Steel shipments into the Port of Milwaukee have rebounded strongly this year, with tonnage hitting its second-highest level since 1970.

A mixture of coil, structural and plate steel now being unloaded off a ship called the Federal Mattawa will bring the port's steel imports for 2014 to 179,000 tons.

Steel imports peaked here in 2006, at 201,000 tons. They fell dramatically as the economy slid into recession, bottoming out at 61,000 tons in 2011.

With the recovery and increased manufacturing activity, imports have risen again. The most dramatic gains have come this year, with tonnage up about 60% from 2013.

The Federal Mattawa, which carried steel from Germany, Finland and the United Kingdom, will be the last ship bringing overseas cargo to Milwaukee before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for the season later this month.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Port Reports -  December 17

Erie, Pa. – Jeffery Benson
The barge McKee Sons / barge Invincible departed Erie Tuesday afternoon after spending nearly 2 years in layup. Waterfront reports indicate the McKee Sons will be taken to Muskegon, Mich., after which the tug will go to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. McKee Sons has been chartered for several years by Grand River Navigation, however it appears that arrangement is now at an end.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through town Monday evening and night were the Algoma Olympic for Baie Comeau, QC and the Thunder Bay for Quebec City, QC.

Early Tuesday morning the CSL Niagara went down for Quebec City, QC. Tuesday, Stella Polaris headed down for Montreal, QC at 7:09am and CSL’s Oakglen up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 10:16am, Nogat down for Montreal, QC at 11:09am, Ocean Laprairie tug for Quebec at 11:28am Vega Desgagnes up for Sarnia, Ont. at 12:19pm and the Flintersky up to Windsor, Ont. at 2:41pm. Expected through Tuesday night are the Kaministiqua up for Hamilton, Ont., and the Federal Saguenay down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC, and well as Manitoba heading down and presumably into Port of Johnston, Ont.

Expected through early Wednesday morning are all upbound, Algoma Navigator for Burns Harbor, Claude A. Desgagnes for Toledo and Algonova.

 

What to do with Marquette’s old ore dock?

12/17 - Marquette, Mich. – One of the big questions at the Marquette City Commission meeting on Monday was what to do with the old ore dock.

G.E.I. Consultants prepared and presented a report highlighting the current state of the ore dock, and some recommendations for its future. According to G.E.I. reps the ore dock is in great condition.

It was built in 1931, and ceased operations in the early '70s. Since then, despite foregoing routine maintenance, the ore dock is structurally sound.

Still, according to Mike Carpenter of G.E.I Consultants, "They would want to do a fair amount of restoration to the structure. Take care of all of those areas where the concrete's popped off, and where the reinforced steel is showing. The bumpers all around the perimeter of the structure are all deteriorating. Those should probably be replaced."

For the future recommendations include do nothing but start routine maintenance to prevent deterioration; update the structure and make it publicly accessible; or, have the city sell it or keep it for commercial or private use.

Right now the commission has not made a decision and plans to discuss the options in the future.

UpperMichiganSource.com

 

More cargo moving this year on the St. Lawrence Seaway

12/17 - Sarnia, Ont. – Strong grain and steel shipments fueled a 5% increase in cargo moving so far this year through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

That strong shipping season came during the first year Sarnia Harbour on the St. Clair River had been owned and operated by the city after it took over responsibility for the facility in March from Transport Canada.

"We've had a pretty good year, so far," said Peter Hungerford, the city's director of economic development and corporate planning. "We didn't have the benefit of a lot of detailed records from Transport Canada, in terms of past usage," he said. "But our sense is that we've had, I'll say, at lease an average year, if not better than average, in terms of the number of ships that we have coming in and out."

Approximately 30 ships have stopped at the Cargill grain elevators in Sarnia so far this year, he said.

Hungerford said the seaway reported 3,452 transits through its system through the end of November this year, compared to 3,511 during the same period in the previous shipping season. "But their general cargo is up, a lot," he said. "The liquid bulk was down, the dry bulk was up, the coal was down, the iron ore was down, the grain was up a lot."

Across the seaway, as of the end of November, grain shipments were up 44% over 2013. The seaway also says its overall cargo totals are expected to finish ahead of 2013, by the time the system is scheduled to close on New Year's Eve.

The seaway reported that nearly two million tonnes of new business helped offset decreases in iron ore and coal shipments this year. Salt shipments, for example, were up 47%. Construction and automotive manufacturing in Canada and U.S. is said to have help increase steel shipments by 80%.

Hungerford said Sarnia officials are also hopeful they'll see a good winter at the harbor that earns the city fees from the ships using the facility. "We've had a lot of interest from the shipping companies, making arrangements for ships to come in."

During a good year, eight to 10 ships spend the winter at Sarnia Harbor for repairs and maintenance, helping boost the local economy. But, how many ships end up in harbor each winter can be dictated by the weather, Hungerford said.

"They could plan on sending us 10 ships, but if they get caught somewhere by ice, we wouldn't get as many," he said. "But, we believe that we're going to have a full harbor. The North Slip, the Government Dock and the Sydney Smith Wharf will have ships."

Hungerford said Cargill has also taken ships at its docks, some winters. Sarnia Observer

 

Lookback #395 – Third Stadacona ran aground at Little Current on Dec. 17, 1977

There have been four ships named Stadacona in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet although only three have traded on the Great Lakes. The third Stadacona had loaded iron ore pellets at the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current when it ran aground 37 years ago today while departing the port.

Stadacona was stuck for several days, which is never a good thing this late in the year, before being refloated.

The vessel was built at Port Arthur, ON and launched as Thunder Bay on Aug 2, 1952. It served C.S.L. mainly on the upper lakes as a straight deck bulk carrier until the Seaway opened in 1959. The 663 foot, 3 inch long steamer was rebuilt as a self-unloader, back at Port Arthur, in 1968 and operated briefly before becoming Stadacona the next year.

Stadacona kept busy in the ore, coal and stone trades until tying up at Windsor on July 31, 1990. Following a sale for scrap, it departed under tow on Sept. 21, 1992, and eventually found its was to Zhangjiagang, China, arriving in tandem with the retired Whitefish Bay, in Feb. 1993.

Interestingly, the newly built Thunder Bay and Whitefish Bay left China for Great Lakes trading on behalf of Canada Steamship Lines 20 years after their namesakes arrived in the country to be dismantled.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 17

While breaking ice off Colchester Reef, Lake Erie on 17 December 1917, the HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wis., formerly a.) PILLSBURY) was in a collision with the MIDVALE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 8,271 gross tons, built in 1917, at Ashtabula, Ohio). The PILLSBURY sank in thirty feet of water 4 1/2 miles from Colchester Reef. Her crew walked across the ice to the MIDVALE. The wreck was located on 24 April 1918, four miles from its original position, with seven feet of water over her and raised later that year to be repaired.

C. L. AUSTIN was launched December 17, 1910, as a.) WILLIS L. KING (Hull#79) at Ecorse, Mich., by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

With an inexperienced Taiwanese crew, boiler problems and the collapse of Lock 7's west wall in the Welland Canal, the departure of SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) was delayed until December 17, 1985, when she departed Chicago, Illinois, under her own power.

Paterson’s NEW QUEDOC sank at her winter moorings at Midland, Ont., on December 17, 1961, with a load of storage grain. The sinking was caused by the automatic sea valves that were accidentally opened.

The ROGERS CITY was laid up for the last time at Calcite, Mich., on December 17, 1981.

On December 17, 1955, in heavy fog, the B.F. AFFLECK collided head-on with her fleetmate HENRY PHIPPS in the Straits of Mackinac. Both vessels were damaged but were able to sail under their own power for repairs.

In 1905, the Anchor Line steamer JUNIATA was launched at the yards of the American Shipbuilding Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The JUNIATA was the first large passenger boat built in Cleveland since the NORTH LAND and NORTH WEST. Today the JUNIATA exists as the National Historic Landmark MILWAUKEE CLIPPER in Muskegon, Mich.

On 17 December 1875, the steamboat JENNISON of Captain Ganoe's line, which ran between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, burned at Grand Rapids. She was laid up for the winter just below the city on the Grand River. She was insured for $12,000.

1957: The Great Lakes-built LAKE HEMLOCK foundered in Long Island Sound.

1964: The former T-2 tanker GOOD HOPE, operating as a bulk carrier, ran aground in a blizzard at Ulak Island, in the Aleutians, as d) SAN PATRICK. The ship had loaded wheat and cattle feed at Vancouver for Yokohama, Japan, and all on board perished. It had been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1972: THOMAS SCHULTE began Great Lakes trading in 1957 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. It was sailing as c) CAPE SABLE when it sank with the loss of 13 lives in a gale 100 miles west of La Corunna, Spain. The vessel was enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Algiers, Algeria, with general cargo when it went down.

1977: STADACONA (iii) went aground after clearing the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current with a cargo of ore pellets. The ship was stuck for several days.

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

 

Congress offers strong support for Jones Act

12/16 - Washington, DC – The United States Congress last week enacted the strongest statement of support for the Jones Act and the American domestic maritime industry since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

The measure was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 3979), which noted that the national security benefits of the domestic maritime industry and the Jones act are “unquestioned.” The bill states that the Jones Act and the American domestic maritime industry are vital to “the national security and economic vitality of the United States and the efficient operation of the United States transportation system.” The legislation has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and is expected to be signed into law by the President.

Sen. John McCain recently vowed to work to repeal the act.

“Today, Congress reaffirmed its support for the American domestic maritime industry, the Jones Act, and the critical role both play in the national security and economic vitality of our nation,” said American Maritime Partnership Chairman Tom Allegretti.

“It is hard to imagine a more emphatic and unambiguous statement of support for the Jones Act than this legislation. The fact that it originated from both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees is only further evidence of the national security benefits of the Act and the American domestic maritime industry. In fact, this is the strongest Congressional statement of support for the Jones Act since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.”

The Congressional statement of support for the Jones Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act specifically states:

“The national security benefits of the domestic maritime industry are unquestioned as the Department of Defense depends on United States domestic trades’ fleet of container ships, roll-on/roll-off ships, and product tankers to carry military cargoes;

“The Department of Defense benefits from a robust commercial shipyard and ship repair industry and current growth in that sector is particularly important as Federal budget cuts may reduce the number of new constructed military vessels; and

“The domestic fleet is essential to national security and was a primary source of mariners needed to crew United States Government-owned sealift vessels activated from reserve status during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in the period 2002 through 2010.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) recently noted the Jones Act contributions to America’s national security, saying “without the Jones Act, vessels and crews from foreign nations could move freely on U.S. waters, creating a more porous border, increasing possible security threats and introducing vessels and mariners who do not adhere to U.S. standards into the bloodstream of our nation.”

According to a report from the Lexington Institute, “Without the Jones Act, the Department of Homeland Security would be confronted by the difficult and very costly task of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing all foreign-controlled, foreign-crewed vessels in internal U.S. waters.”

American Maritime Partnership

 

Port Reports -  December 16

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Monday at the Upper Harbor found John J. Boland loading ore, Hon. James L. Oberstar unloading coal and Herbert C. Jackson and Michipicoten at anchor, waiting to load ore.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson loaded Monday and was due to depart around 11:30 a.m. Also due in on Monday was the Algorail, expected to arrive in the late evening to load. The Pathfinder is due in on Tuesday in the early evening to load. Due to arrive on Wednesday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon to load.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel arrivals on Monday. Due in on Tuesday will be the John G. Munson, arriving in the morning for the North Dock, followed by the Great Republic, also on Tuesday in the late afternoon, for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday. Also due at CSX was the Cason J. Callaway on Monday in the early afternoon to load. Philip R. Clarke is due at CSX on Wednesday in the morning, to be followed by the Algosteel also on Wednesday in the late morning. John J. Boland is also due at CSX on Wednesday in the early evening. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock and it appears that this dock is closed for the season. Due at the Torco Dock is the John J. Boland, arriving on Wednesday in the late morning to unload iron ore. The Manitowoc is due on Thursday in the late evening, followed by the James L. Kuber on Friday in the early morning. Lakes Contender rounds out the schedule, also arriving on Friday during the late morning at Torco to unload. Vessels in port at the time of this report included tug Paul L. Luedtke, tug John Francis, tug Barbara Andrie and a barge at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock along with the saltie Heloise. Cason J. Callaway was unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Saginaw was also in port and may have been departing after unloading a grain cargo from Thunder Bay. Further upriver was the tug Karl E. Luedtke.

Precott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Sunday night the Vancouverborg, Mamry, Algoma Guardian, Federal Rhine and Algoma Montrealais all sailed through.

Early Monday morning, the Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge and the Baie Comeau went through. Monday, Orla at 5:55am and Spruceglen at 7:52am both went up for Thunder Bay. The Juno came down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC at 2:49pm and the Baie St. Paul sailed through at 6:38pm heading up to Conneaut, Ohio. Expected through Monday evening and night are Algoma Olympic down for Baie Comeau, QC and Thunder Bay down for Quebec City, QU.

Early Tuesday morning expected through is CSL Niagara heading down to Quebec City, QC

 

National Museum heads toward 1,500 new members

12/16 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio has announced that 1,429 people joined the museum since its opening week in late April of this year.

To reach 1,500 new members by the end of the year, the museum is offering a special holiday package for subscribing members. In addition to the traditional benefits, new members will receive the museum’s complimentary 2015 Calendar, as well as a free signed and numbered lithographic print of Kinsman Independent, Kinsman Enterprise or the Joseph Frantz. The prints are by James Clary, who has been painting Great Lakes scenes for decades.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

 

Lookback #394 – Cabot rolled on its side and sank at Montreal on Dec. 16, 1966

The Cabot was a coastal freighter for the Clarke Transportation Co. and operated by Newfoundland Steamships between Montreal and Newfoundland. The ship had been built by Davie at Lauzon, in 1965 and rolled on its starboard side and sank while loading at Montreal on Dec. 16, 1966.

The 470 foot, 11 inch long vessel had just finished loading when it went over at 3 a.m., 48 years ago today. Two lives were lost and another nine on board received injuries.

Cabot was righted on Jan. 18, 1967, and repaired for a return to service. It last operated in the freight trade in 1982 and was laid up at Montreal and then Sorel before being sold to Upper Lakes Shipping.

ULS brought Cabot to Port Weller Dry Docks on May 17, 1983, where the forebody was cut off and towed to Port Maitland for scrap. The stern, with engine room and accommodations, was then joined to the forebody of Northern Venture to form Canadian Explorer. The latter was retired in Dec. 1997 and the stern from the Cabot was cut off in 1998 and joined to the Hamilton Transfer to form Canadian Transfer.

The latter vessel became a self-unloader in the U.L.S. fleet and then spent 2011 as Algoma Transfer before being retired at Goderich on Dec. 23. The ship remained idle there until departing under tow of the Leonard M. on May 22, 1914. It arrived at Port Colborne two days later for scrapping by International Marine Salvage, so after serving three ships, the last of the Cabot that survived the accident of 48 years ago today has been broken up.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 16

In 1949, the tow line between the tug JOHN ROEN III and the barge RESOLUTE parted in high seas and a quartering wind. The barge sank almost immediately when it struck the concrete piers at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Eleven crewmembers, including Captain Marc Roen, were safely taken off the barge without difficulty.

On 16 December 1922, the JOSHUA W. RHODES (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,871 gross tons, built in 1906, at Lorain, Ohio) struck bottom in the middle of the St. Clair River abreast of Port Huron, Michigan. Damages cost $6,179.32 to repair.

In 1983, HILDA MARJANNE's forward section, which included a bow thruster, was moved to the building berth at Port Weller Dry Docks where it was joined to CHIMO's stern. The joined sections would later emerge from the dry dock as the b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

IMPERIAL BEDFORD (Hull#666) was launched December 16,1968, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co.

Canada Steamship Lines’ J.W. MC GIFFIN (Hull#197) was launched December 16, 1971, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards.

Litton Industries tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE departed light from Erie, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1973, on its maiden voyage bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. This was the latest maiden voyage date at that time. There, the PRESQUE ISLE loaded 51,038 long tons of taconite pellets for delivery to Gary, Indiana. After this ice-covered trip, the vessel returned to Erie for winter lay-up. PRESQUE ISLE was the second thousand-foot vessel on the Great Lakes (the Erie-built STEWART J. CORT which came out in 1972, was the first).

While in tandem tow on the way to scrapping with the former Ford Motor Co. steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, BUCKEYE MONITOR developed a crack in her deck amidships. The crack extended down her sides to below the waterline and she sank at 0145 hours on December 16, 1973, at position 43¡30'N x 30¡15'W in the North Atlantic.

BENSON FORD, a) RICHARD M. MARSHALL made her last trip to the Detroit’s Rouge River where she was laid up on December 16, 1984.

The PIC RIVER was the last vessel to use the old Welland City Canal on December 16, 1972, as the new Welland by-pass opened the following spring.

WOLFE ISLANDER III arrived in Kingston, Ontario on December 16, 1975. Built in Thunder Bay, she would replace the older car ferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA on the Kingston - Wolfe Island run.

WILLIAM A. IRVIN sustained bottom damage in Lake Erie and laid up December 16, 1978, at Duluth, Minnesota.

The Maritimer THOMAS WILSON operated until December 16, 1979, when she tied up at Toledo. During that final year, the vessel carried only 30 cargoes and all were ore.

On 16 December 1906, ADVENTURER (wooden propeller steam tug, 52 foot, built in 1895, at Two Harbors, Minnesota) broke her moorings and went adrift in a gale. She was driven ashore near Ontonagon, Michigan on Lake Superior and was pounded to pieces.

On 16 December 1954, the 259-foot bulk carrier BELVOIR was launched at the E. B. McGee Ltd. yard in Port Colborne, Ontario. She was built for the Beaconsfield Steamship Co. and sailed in the last years before the Seaway opened. During the winter of 1958-59, she was lengthened 90 feet at Montreal. She left the lakes in 1968, and later sank in the Gulf of Honduras with the loss of 21 lives.

1939: GLITREFJELL was torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea by U-59 while sailing southwest of Norway. The vessel was newly built when it first came to the Great Lakes in 1934.

1941: The Norwegian freighter NIDARDAL, best remembered as LAKE GORIN, a World War One-class laker, foundered in the Atlantic P: 56.07 N / 21.00 W enroute from Freeport, Bahamas, to Manchester, England, with sulphur.

1962: ARISTOTELES of 1943 sank in the Atlantic 250 miles off Cape Vincent, Portugal, after developing leaks. The vessel, enroute from Detroit to Calcutta with steel, had first come inland in 1961. All on board were rescued by the Liberty ship HYDROUSSA, which had also been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1964: DONNACONA (ii) was disabled by a fire while downbound in Lake Huron and the forward cabin was burned out before a distress call could be sent. The ship was found, brought to safety and repaired.

1966: CABOT was loading at Montreal when the ship rolled on her side at Montreal and sank in 30 feet of water. Two lives were lost. It was righted on the bottom and refloated in January 1967 for a return to service. The stern of this vessel was cut off to help form CANADIAN EXPLORER in 1983 and has been part of ALGOMA TRANSFER since 1998.

1975: THORNHILL (i) went aground in the St. Marys River, was lightered and released.

1979: ARCHANGELOS ran aground in the St. Lawrence while outbound from the Great Lakes with a cargo of scrap. The ship was lightered and released December 21. It had to spend the winter in the harbor at Port Weller as it was too late to depart the Seaway that year.

1980: D.G. KERR (ii), enroute overseas to Spain for scrapping, was lost in the Atlantic, after it began leaking in bad weather.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Johnson, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series and the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

Port Reports -  December 15

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel arrivals Sunday and none scheduled for Monday. Two vessels are due Tuesday for the North Dock. The John G. Munson arrives first in the early morning. The Great Republic is due in Tuesday at noon.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calumet loaded on Sunday and was expected to depart around 5 p.m. Two vessels are due in on Monday with the Joseph H. Thompson arriving first in the early morning followed by the Algorail during the late evening. The Pathfinder is due to arrive on Tuesday during the late evening. Due Wednesday will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. were expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore on Sunday during the late evening hours. Also due at Torco will be the John J. Boland expected to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon. There is nothing due or scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. This dock may also possibly be closed for the season. Due at the CSX Coal Dock is the H. Lee White expected to arrive on Monday in the early morning hours. Also due at CSX on Monday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the late morning hours. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the saltwater vessel Heloise of Panamanian flag at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie with a barge was also at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The saltwater vessel Lugano from Switzerland arrived in port from Hamilton and headed upriver to load at one of the grain elevators. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port as was the Saginaw upriver unloading a grain cargo from Thunder Bay at one of the elevators. American Valor remains in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks.

Oshawa, Ont.
Reports indicate the saltwater vessel Lake Ontario could not enter Oshawa due to excess drafts for this time of the year. Currently anchored at Port Weller Amchorage. Emergency dredging has been mentioned. No word of Seaway inspection on vessel.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Saturday night and early Sunday morning the Algoma Progress went up and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin down to Port Cartier, QC and the Pineglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

Sunday Duzgit Dignity at 11:35am and Adfines Star at 1:46am both came up for Mississauga, Ont., and the Flinter America up for Toledo at 2:16pm. The Manitoba came up at 4:04pm for Thunder Bay, Ont. and Thalassa Desgagnes down for Montreal, QC at 4:21pm

Expected through Sunday evening and night are Vancouverborg down for Montreal, QC., Mamry with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC., Algoma Guardian up for Thunder Bay, Federal Rhine up for Hamilton, Ont. and Algoma Montrealais loaded with grain for Port Cartier, QC. The Montrealais will further load iron ore at Port Cartier destined for Defasco, Hamilton, Ont.

Early Monday morning expected through are the Everlast articulated push tug with Norman McLeod barge, Baie Comeau down to Quebec City, QC and the Spruceglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Santa Claus’ “existence in doubt”

12/15 - According to Lloyds Registry, Santa Claus is listed as “existence in doubt.” As a result, the former petroleum and chemical tanker was deleted from their listing on Sept. 6, 2011. The “jolly old” tanker was a Great Lakes and Seaway trader under four earlier names.

The vessel was built by Robb Caledon Shipbuilding at Dundee, Scotland. The 431 foot ton tanker was launched on Oct. 19, 1971, and completed as Jon Ramsoy for Norwegian flag service.

The vessel first appeared in the Seaway in 1974, perhaps on charter to the Hall Corporation, as the ice-strengthened tanker was purchased by them before the end of the year. It was registered in Canada under Scotia-Toronto Dominion Leasing on Oct. 9, 1974, as b) Doan Transport.

The ship spent its first winter carrying caustic soda from Texas to Port Alfred, Quebec. The following winter the ship returned to the Atlantic and operated between Montreal, Freeport, Bahamas, Beaumont, Texas, and Rotterdam, Holland, on behalf of Dow Chemical.

Doan Transport struck a swing bridge at Thunder Bay on Oct. 2, 1976, resulting in heavy damage to the structure but only minor damage to the ship.

During the experiment with all season navigation, Doan Transport carried cargoes to Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay in January and February 1977. When the Welland Canal opened for the season on April 4, 1977, Doan Transport was the first downbound customer.

The vessel continued Great Lakes and saltwater service but did have some engine trouble at Thunder Bay on Dec. 5, 1983, and had to leave the lakes under tow. It passed down the Welland Canal Dec. 11, 1983, between the tugs Salvage Monarch and Helen M. McAllister.

This was among the Halco tankers to be acquired by Enerchem Transport Inc. in 1986. The ship was renamed c) Enerchem Catalyst and remained active around the Seaway system. On Jan. 13, 1989, the vessel went aground near Round Island in the Straits of Mackinac and had to be lightered to Enerchem Refiner before it could be released.

Then, on Nov. 28, 1996, the vessel stranded near the breakwall while leaving Port Borden, Prince Edward Island. Enerchem Catalyst was in ballast and was pulled free by Irving Hemlock.

The vessel joined Algoma Tankers Ltd. In 1999 and was renamed d) Algocatalyst. It saw Great Lakes and St. Lawrence service but passed down the Welland Canal for the last time on April 25, 2004.

The ship was laid up at Sorel and sold becoming e) Catalyst but did not depart as such until Feb. 8. 2005.

After brief service, the ship was resold in 2006 and renamed f) Santa Claus. It was registered in the Comoros Islands and appears to have been in service around Nigeria. It was likely laid up for a time or perhaps unceremoniously broken up hence the decision, by Lloyds, to list Santa Claus as “existence in doubt.”

Skip Gillham

 

Lookback #393 – Former Alikrator caught fire off Spain on Dec. 15, 2008

The Greek freighter Alikrator was built at Sedota, Japan, and launched on March 31, 1982. The 567 foot, 7 inch long by 75 foot, 2 inch wide bulk carrier first came to the Great Lakes in August 1983 headed for Chicago before loading grain at Sarnia for the return voyage to the sea.

The ship was re-registered in Bahamas in 1996 and then sold and renamed Doxa, Cyprus flag, in 2002. As such, it never entered the Seaway.

A fire broke out in the accommodations area while the ship was moored in the Arousa Estuary, off Vilagarcia, Spain, eight years ago today. The crew evacuated but one member was lost and another eight sailors received injuries. Rescue vessels put out the fire.

Doxa was towed to Vilagarcia for inspection and the news was not good. Damage exceeded the insured value of the vessel so it was towed to Kynasoura, Greece, and laid up as a total loss.

Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, the ship's name was modified to become c) Ado and it was towed, as such, to Aliaga, arriving on June 29, 2009. The hull was broken up by Avsar Gemi Sokum Ltd. for recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 15

On 15 December 1902, the TIONESTA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 340 foot, 4,329 gross tons) was launched at the Detroit Ship Building Company, Wyandotte, Michigan (Hull #150) for the Erie & Western Transportation Company (Anchor Line). She was christened by Miss Marie B. Wetmore. The vessel lasted until 1940, when she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

ROBERT KOCH went hard aground December 15, 1985, on Sheldon Point off Oswego, New York, loaded with 2,000 tons of cement, when her towline parted from the tug R & L NO 1. Dragging her anchors in heavy weather, she fetched up on a rocky shelf in 16 feet of water 300 yards off shore. She spent the winter on the bottom but was released in July 1986 and taken to Contrecoeur, Quebec, for scrapping. The dismantling was finally completed at Levis, Quebec, in 1990-1991.

NORTHCLIFFE HALL departed Kingston on December 15, 1974, headed for Colombia with a load of newsprint. She traded briefly in the Caribbean and then laid up at Houston, Texas, later to return to the lakes.

On December 15, 1972, GEORGIAN BAY was reported as the last ship to pass through the city of Welland as the new $8.3 million by-pass channel was to be ready for the beginning of the 1973, shipping season. (Actually two other ships, the TADOUSSAC and PIC RIVER, followed her through.)

The JOHN E. F. MISENER, a.) SCOTT MISENER, was laid up for the last time on December 15, 1982, at Port McNicoll, Ontario.

JOE S. MORROW (Hull#350) was launched December 15, 1906, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

RED WING was laid up for the last time at Toronto on December 15, 1984, due in part to the uneconomical operation of her steam turbine power plant.

The self-unloader ROGERS CITY cleared Lauzon, Quebec, on December 15, 1987, in tow of the Maltese tug PHOCEEN on the first leg of her tow to the cutter’s torch.

On December 15, 1988, Purvis Marine's ANGLIAN LADY departed Mackinaw City with the CHIEF WAWATAM under tow, arriving at the Canadian Soo the next day. During the winter of 1988-89, Purvis removed items tagged by the state of Michigan (including the pilot house) and began converting her into a barge.

On 15 December 1888, GEORGE W. ROBY (wooden propeller, 281 foot, 1,843 gross tons,) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#45).

Below is a winter lay-up list as published in the Port Huron Times on 15 December 1876. At Port Huron -- Steam barges: ABERCORN, BIRKHEAD, BAY CITY, H D COFFINBURY, WILLIAM COWIE, N K FAIRBANK, GERMANIA, GEORGE KING, V H KETCHUM, MARY MILL, MARY PRINGLE, E W POWERS, D F ROSE, SALINA, TEMPEST. Propellers: CITY OF NEW BALTIMORE. Tug: CORA B Schooners and Barges: T Y AVERY, BUCKEYE STATE, GEORGE W BISSEL, KATIE BRAINARD, D K CLINT, DAYTON, S GARDNER, A GEBHART, C G KING, T G LESTER, MARINE CITY, H R NEWCOMB, J H RUTTER, REINDEER, C SPADEMAN, SAGINAW, ST JOSEPH, TAYLOR, TROY, C L YOUNG, YANKEE. At Marysville -- D G WILLIAMS, 7 tow barges, JUPITER, and LEADER.

1915: The passenger and freight steamers MAJESTIC and SARONIC of Canada Steamship Lines caught fire and burned while laid up at Point Edward, Ontario.

1952: The three-masted barquentine CITY OF NEW YORK came to Chicago for the World's Fair in 1933 and was also on display at Cleveland while inland. The famous ship had been active in Antarctic exploration and the Arctic seal hunt. The shaft broke on this date in 1952 and the vessel stranded off Yarmouth, N.S. Released at the end of the month, the vessel caught fire and stranded again off Chebogue Point as a total loss.

1973: RICHARD REISS (ii) broke loose in a gale at Stoneport, Michigan, and went aground with heavy bottom damage. The ship was refloated, repaired at South Chicago, and returned to service in 1974. It has been sailing as d) MANISTEE since 2005.

1983: CARIBBEAN TRAILER spent much of the summer of 1983 operating between Windsor and Thunder Bay. It was outbound from the Great Lakes when it was caught pumping oil in the St. Lawrence. The vessel remained active on saltwater routes until arriving at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on August 29, 2009.

1987: The French bulk carrier PENMARCH began regular Seaway service when new in 1974. It was also back as b) PHILIPPI in 1985 and became c) MIMI M. in 1987. The ship was attacked by Iraqi aircraft December 15 and again on December 16, 1987. It reached Bushire, Iran, December 22 with heavy damage and was ultimately sold to shipbreakers in Pakistan.

2008: ALIKRATOR began Great Lakes trading in August 1983. It was moored in the estuary at Vilagarcia, Spain, as b) DOXA when a fire broke out in the accommodations area. One life was lost and another 8 sailors injured. The ship was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) ADO on June 29, 2009.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 14

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater
Beaver Island Ferry Emerald Isle departed Bay Shipbuilding for Lake Michigan on Saturday morning.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
The Algoma Harvester went up Friday night headed for Thunder Bay, ON. Through early Saturday morning the MCT Stockhorn up to Hamilton, Ont., Frontenac down and into the Port of Johnstown, Ont. to unload salt, Chestnut up to Hamilton, Ont., and Algoma Discovery down to Baie Comeau, QC. Saturday morning the Fortunagracht came up for Hamilton, Ont. at 6:08am, Jarrett M tug also up to Hamilton, Ont. at 06:26am, Algoma Spirit down for Baie Comeau, QC at 7:25am, Algoeast up to Nanticoke at 7:54am, Atlantic Huron down to Sydney, Australia at 9:43am, the Federal Schelde down to Quebec City, QC at 10:39am.

Through Saturday afternoon we had the John B. Aird down for Port Cartier, QC at 12h38, Ina down for Port Gent, Belgium at 2:40pm and the Vega Desgagnes down to Montréal, QC at 3:37pm. The Frontenac departed the Port of Johnstown in ballast up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 3:37pm, clearing town at 3:43pm. The Spartan tug and Spartan II barge headed up at 4:48pm to Chicago, Algonova down to Tracy, QC at 5:14pm, Algocanada up to Sarnia, Ont. at 5:21pm and the Ojibway came down at 5:53pm for Port Cartier, QC.

Expected through Saturday night are Algoma Progress down to Port Cartier, QC., and upbound Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin.

Early Sunday morning, expected to sail through is the Pineglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Last survivor of Chicago’s 1915 Eastland disaster dies

12/14 - Chicago, Ill. – The last known survivor of the 1915 capsizing of the Eastland in the Chicago River that killed 844 people has died.

Marion A. Eichholz, 102, formerly of Berwyn, Illinois, died Nov. 24, according to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society and her death notice.

Eichholz turned 3 a week before she boarded the SS Eastland on July 24, 1915, with her mother and father for Western Electric Co.’s annual employee outing to Michigan City, Indiana.

The vessel rolled to its port side around 7:30 a.m. on the rainy morning with an estimated 2,500 people aboard and its bowline still tied to the wharf between Clark and LaSalle streets.

In the end, 22 entire families were among the 844 who died.

Though just a toddler, Eichholz recalled some vivid memories of the day in an account published on the historical society’s website:

“My mom … and my dad … were seated on the upper deck, and I was standing by mom’s chair. Suddenly, the boat listed and I fell against the railing. Mom pulled me back to her side.

“People began to panic, and women were running and screaming. Dad picked me up in his arms, stood on the railing, and jumped into the river,” she said in the account.

Her mother was thrown a rope after going into the water while still seated in the boat, she said.

“I remember Dad swimming with me in one arm. I was crying, and my strap slippers were dangling from my ankles. We were picked up by a tugboat and brought to shore,” she said in the account.

Eichholz is survived by a sister and seven nieces and nephews, according to her death notice.

Chicago Tribune

 

Lookback #392 – Winnipeg aground in Detroit River on Dec. 14, 1992

The last trip of the 1992 season for the Winnipeg was interrupted on Dec. 14, 1992, when the ship went aground in the Detroit River. The vessel was down bound with a cargo of grain but it stranded 22 years ago today.

The ship required considerable assistance to float free and this involved lightering some of the cargo and the use of tugs. The vessel was released from its perch on Dec. 18, reloaded and cleared to proceed. When it finally departed the St. Lambert Lock at Montreal on Dec. 22, it proved to be the last ship of the season down bound in the Seaway.

Winnipeg was not a stranger to trouble under its previous name of Cartiercliffe Hall and later as Algontario. It had caught fire and burned off Copper Harbor, Lake Superior, with the loss of seven lives on June 5, 1979, and, during repairs at Collingwood, a shipyard accident left one worker dead and another injured.

Later, as Algontario, the ship grounded at Johnson's Point in the St. Mary's River while up bound with cement on the first trip of the 1999 season and was laid up for five years before being repaired. The ship put in another five years of trading before tying up at Toronto on July 4, 1999.

It moved again, under tow, on May 25, 2011 and this time the final destination was the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey. Algontario arrived there Aug. 5, 2011, and was soon broken up for recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 14

On 14 December 1902, JOHN E. HALL (wooden propeller freighter, 139 foot, 343 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was towing the barge JOHN R. NOYES (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 333 gross tons, built in 1872, at Algonac, Michigan) on Lake Ontario when they were caught in a blizzard-gale. After a day of struggling, the NOYES broke loose and drifted for two days before she went ashore and broke up near Lakeside, New York without loss of life. The HALL tried to run for shelter but swamped and sank off Main Duck Island with the loss of the entire crew of nine.

On December 14, 1984, WILLIAM CLAY FORD laid up for the final time at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

The JIIMAAN was towed out of dry dock at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on December 14, 1992, by the tugs JAMES E. McGRATH and LAC VANCOUVER to the fit out dock for completion.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE was sold for scrap in 1988, and was towed up the Welland Canal on December 14, 1988, by the tugs THUNDER CAPE and MICHAEL D. MISNER to Port Colborne, Ontario.

On December 14, 1926, W.E. FITZGERALD was caught in heavy seas and suffered damaged frames and hull plating. Repairs consisted of replacing nearly 25,000 rivets and numerous hull plates.

The package freighter GEORGE N. ORR, a recent war acquisition from the Canada Atlantic Transit Company, was wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island, on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

On 14 December 1883, MARY ANN HULBERT (wooden schooner-barge, 62 gross tons, built in 1873, at Bayfield, Wisconsin) was carrying railroad workers and supplies in tow of the steamer KINCADINE in a storm on Lake Superior. She was sailing from Port Arthur for Michipicoten Island. The HULBERT was overwhelmed by the gale and foundered, The crew of five plus all 15 of the railroad workers were lost.

December 14, 1903 - The PERE MARQUETTE 20 left the shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio on her maiden voyage.

1977: SILVER FIR, outbound from Great Lakes on her only trip inland, went aground at Squaw Island, near Cornwall and was released two days later.

1991: The small tug HAMP THOMAS sank off Cleveland while towing a barge. They were mauled by 12-foot waves but the barge and a second tug, PADDY MILES, survived as did all of the crew.

1997: CANADIAN EXPLORER of Upper Lakes Shipping and the ISLAND SKIPPER collided in the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois with minor damage. The former reached Hamilton and was retired. The latter was repaired and resumed service. It revisited the Great Lakes as late as 2010.

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

 

Great Lakes levels now above average

12/13 - Traverse City, Mich. – Scientists say the longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it's uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend.

The slump began in the late 1990s. It continued for 15 years, culminating early last year when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set low-water records. Since then, levels have sharply rebounded.

In September, the levels of all five of the Great Lakes were above average for the first time since the drop-off began, said Drew Gronewold of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Between January 2013 and this November, Lake Superior rose 2.3 feet, while Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 3.2 feet.

Gronewold and Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the recovery is due primarily to heavy rain and snowfall in the region over the past two years.

Associated Press

 

CSL St-Laurent readies for long journey home to Canada

12/13 - The CSL St-Laurent, the second of two Trillium Class bulk carriers built for Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) in China, is preparing for its long trip home to Canada. The vessel has an ETA for Davao, Philippines of December 19 at 8 a.m. where they will take on fuel. Once the vessel departs from China it is expected to take 50 to 60 days to cross the Pacific Ocean and transit the Panama Canal before they arrive in Canada. Meanwhile, sistership and fleetmate CSL Welland departed on its maiden voyage November 5 and is nearing the Panama Canal. They are still in the Pacific Ocean and off of South America and should be reaching the Panama Canal possibly within the next few days to as much as a week.

Denny Dushane

 

Saltie ship, cargo in Green Bay port draws onlookers

12/13 - Green Bay, Wis. – A major employer in the Green Bay area got an early Christmas present Thursday. But what the roughly 200-ton item is, and how it got here, is what has some people very excited.

Like retired truck driver Tom Mileski.

“Something like that comes in, I’m driving by it, ‘Oooh!’ I was going over (Interstate) 43 and I looked down the river, ‘Oooh, that looks a little different down there,’” said Mileski, who likes to take photos, especially of ships.

The Port of Green Bay isn’t new to the shipping industry. But this ocean-going heavy cargo vessel – known as a ‘saltie’ – measures in at about 436 ft. long, which, believe it or not, is actually on the smaller side compared to its larger, fresh water bulk cargo brethren.

“Well, it’s different,” Mileski said of the MV Palmerton, owned by Germany-based Combi Lift, “I’m kind of curious about where they come from.”

The Palmerton’s last port of call was in St. Catherine, Ontario. But what it’s carrying is what has Scott Best snapping away pictures across from KK Logistics, as the Antigua-Barbuda-flagged ship docked on the Fox River Thursday morning.

“It’s a unique cargo and a unique ship, that’s for sure,” said Best, who often shares the photos he takes through Facebook and online websites, one called boatnerd.com. “This is definitely something unique for the Port of Green Bay.”

“It takes a lot to transport something that is nearly 200 tons and is basically the size of a three story house,” said Mike Kawleski.

“So it didn’t come from Amazon?” asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston. “Amazon doesn’t ship this one free,” Kawleski said, smiling.

Kawleski is the public affairs manager with the Georgia-Pacific in Green Bay.

The special cargo on the Palmerton is a natural gas boiler, made for the paper company. Kawleski says the boiler is a small (albeit large) part of the 95-year-old mill’s $80-million upgrade project. Georgia-Pacific says the boiler will produce steam for manufacturing, as well as electricity and help cut emissions by up to 80-percent.

“The original plan was to have the boiler offloaded (further up river) right at the Georgia-Pacific Broadway mill,” said Kawleski, “But the ship is a little too (wide) to get through the last bridge.”

Kawleski says the originally planned work-around was to have the ship deliver the boiler to a terminal just north of the problem bridge, but KK Logistics (about 2 miles downriver from the plant) was chosen at the last moment.

Kawleski says the boiler will be loaded on to a barge and shipped up the river to the mill on Friday.

Fox 11

 

Port Reports -  December 13

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the Great Republic brought a load of coal to Lafarge. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port on Thursday, waiting to load cement. Also on Thursday the Kaye E. Barker and tug/barge Joseph H. Thompson were anchored in the bay, likely due to weather. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Friday afternoon to load cement.

Calcite, Mich.
There were no vessel loadings at Calcite on Friday and nothing is due in until Tuesday, December 16, with early morning arrivals by the Great Republic and John G. Munson.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann were expected to arrive in the late evening hours on Friday to load. There are three vessels expected to arrive on Saturday with the Cason J. Callaway due in the early afternoon followed by evening arrivals of the Manistee and Calumet. Due to arrive on Sunday will be the Joseph H. Thompson in the late evening. The Algorail is due to arrive on Monday at noon and rounding out the schedule and due to arrive on Tuesday is the Pathfinder in the late evening.

Erie, Pa.
The USCG Hollyhock was in Erie Friday tending buoys. The tug Yankee was remodeled at DonJon shipyard and is undergoing sea trials in Lake Erie off of the Erie channel. At least 7 new GE locomotives are on the pier of Montfort terminal awaiting a saltie to take them presumably to Africa where other shipments have already gone. The McKee Sons is thought to be leaving within a week for Muskegon, Mich., after spending two years at dockside in Erie.

Toledo, Ohio
James L. Kuber arrived at the Torco Dock early on Friday morning to unload an iron ore cargo. Due next at Torco will be the Lewis J. Kuber on Saturday in the late afternoon. The Lakes Contender is due to arrive at the Torco Dock on Sunday in the late afternoon. Adam E. Cornelius is due at Torco on Monday in the late afternoon. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. The James L. Kuber was due at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Friday in the early afternoon. They are also due to load again at CSX on Saturday in the early evening. Also due at CSX will be the H. Lee White on Sunday in the early evening. Due at CSX on Monday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the late morning hours to load. The American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Vessels in port included the tug Paul L. Luedtke working off of Toledo, and the tug Barbara Andrie with a barge. Algoma Olympic was upriver at one of the Toledo Docks.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through town Thursday night and early Friday morning was the Heloise up to Toledo, Ohio, and downbounders Oakglen to Montreal, QC and the articulated push tug Everlast with Norman McLeod barge to Quebec.

Friday, Tim S. Dool came up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 8:07am, Cedarglen down at 8:29am followed by the Wilf Seymour tug with Alouette Spirit barge at 8:51am for Quebec City, QC. The Erieborg came down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montréal, QC at 9:29am. The CCGS Griffon departed Prescott Base at 10h00 headed east to Cornwall to deice buoys. The Catherine Desgagnes came down for Long Point at 11:17am and M/V Lake Ontario for Hamilton, Ont. at 4:10pm.

Expected Friday night was the Algoma Harvester up for Thunder Bay, Ont. and MCT Stockhorn up to Hamilton, Ont. Expected early Saturday are the Chestnut up to Hamilton, Algoma Discovery down to Baie Comeau, QC., the Frontenac down and into the Port of Johnston, Ont., and Fortunagracht up to Hamilton, Ont.

 

Lookback #391 – Canadian Enterprise sailed on maiden voyage on Dec. 13, 1979

12/13 - Despite the lateness in the season, Upper Lakes Shipping wanted to get their newly-built Canadian Enterprise some cargoes, so it sailed on its maiden voyage 35 years ago today. The vessel departed Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines and headed up bound through the Welland Canal for Conneaut, Ohio, to load coal.

This was the second new, Seaway-sized self-unloader to join U.L.S. from the Port Weller shipyard in 1979. In April, the Canadian Transport had also been completed for the company.

The 730-foot-long Canadian Enterprise has been active throughout the Seaway system and is often in the coal trade. On July 10, 1988, the ship loaded coal at Superior, Wis., and became the first Canadian ship to load such a cargo at that location.

Then, on May 7, 1998, the ship took on a record 32,366 tons of rock salt at Goderich, ON for Milwaukee. It also made the news on March 3, 2000 loading coal at Ashtabula, Ohio, for the short run across Lake Erie to Nanticoke, Ont. It was thought to be the earliest start of the season for the trans-Lake Erie coal trade.

Since 2011, this ship has sailed for the Algoma Central Corp. and was renamed Algoma Enterprise for the start of the 2012 season.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 13

On 14 December 1902, JOHN E. HALL (wooden propeller freighter, 139 foot, 343 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was towing the barge JOHN R. NOYES (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 333 gross tons, built in 1872, at Algonac, Michigan) on Lake Ontario when they were caught in a blizzard-gale. After a day of struggling, the NOYES broke loose and drifted for two days before she went ashore and broke up near Lakeside, New York without loss of life. The HALL tried to run for shelter but swamped and sank off Main Duck Island with the loss of the entire crew of nine.

On December 14, 1984, WILLIAM CLAY FORD laid up for the final time at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

The JIIMAAN was towed out of dry dock at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on December 14, 1992, by the tugs JAMES E. McGRATH and LAC VANCOUVER to the fit out dock for completion.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE was sold for scrap in 1988, and was towed up the Welland Canal on December 14, 1988, by the tugs THUNDER CAPE and MICHAEL D. MISNER to Port Colborne, Ontario.

On December 14, 1926, W.E. FITZGERALD was caught in heavy seas and suffered damaged frames and hull plating. Repairs consisted of replacing nearly 25,000 rivets and numerous hull plates.

The package freighter GEORGE N. ORR, a recent war acquisition from the Canada Atlantic Transit Company, was wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island, on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

On 14 December 1883, MARY ANN HULBERT (wooden schooner-barge, 62 gross tons, built in 1873, at Bayfield, Wisconsin) was carrying railroad workers and supplies in tow of the steamer KINCADINE in a storm on Lake Superior. She was sailing from Port Arthur for Michipicoten Island. The HULBERT was overwhelmed by the gale and foundered, The crew of five plus all 15 of the railroad workers were lost.

December 14, 1903 - The PERE MARQUETTE 20 left the shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio on her maiden voyage.

1977: SILVER FIR, outbound from Great Lakes on her only trip inland, went aground at Squaw Island, near Cornwall and was released two days later.

1991: The small tug HAMP THOMAS sank off Cleveland while towing a barge. They were mauled by 12-foot waves but the barge and a second tug, PADDY MILES, survived as did all of the crew.

1997: CANADIAN EXPLORER of Upper Lakes Shipping and the ISLAND SKIPPER collided in the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois with minor damage. The former reached Hamilton and was retired. The latter was repaired and resumed service. It revisited the Great Lakes as late as 2010.

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

 

Lakes ore trade finally shakes off last winter, in November

12/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 5.9 million tons in November, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. That increase finally pushed the year-to-date total ahead of 2013’s pace. Through November, shipments stand at 53,249,990 tons, an increase of 86,721 tons.

While the increase is minute, the achievement is huge. The winter of 2013/2014 was the most brutal in decades. The U.S. Coast Guard started breaking ice on December 6, the earliest on record. Iron ore shipments slipped 20 percent in December and then plunged 37 percent in January. A few cargos moved in February, but one voyage that should have taken 50 hours stretched 10 days.

Ice conditions worsened in March, and when the first convoy left Duluth/Superior at the western end of Lake Superior, one vessel had to return to port to repair ice damage. For the other two vessels, what should have been a 62-hour voyage to Gary, Indiana, proved to be an 11-day endurance contest. Although some iron ore was able to move out of Escanaba, Michigan, the trade’s March total was 43 percent behind a year ago.

There was little relief in April. The U.S. and Canadian coast guards had to convoy vessels across Lake Superior until May 2. It wasn’t until April 13 that a vessel was able to enter Marquette Harbor and load ore. As April came to an end, the Lakes iron ore trade totaled just 6.2 million tons, a decrease of 43 percent compared to the same point in 2013. Even at the end of June, iron ore cargos were still down by 17 percent. Between May and September, three U.S.-flag lakers that had not been scheduled to operate this season were activated to help narrow the gap in iron ore and other cargos.

Although ice has formed on Lake Superior and elsewhere two weeks earlier than last year, shipping has yet to be significantly impacted. Once vessels need assistance, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards will initiate icebreaking. Operation Taconite supports the movement of iron ore to steelmakers and western coal to utilities. Operation Coal Shovel keeps coal moving from lower Lakes ports.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Great Lakes water level slump over, future unclear

12/12 - Traverse City, Mich. – Scientists say the longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it’s uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend.

The slump began in the late 1990s. It continued for 15 years, culminating early last year when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set low-water records. Since then, levels have sharply rebounded.

In September, the levels of all five of the Great Lakes were above average for the first time since the drop-off began, said Drew Gronewold of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Between January 2013 and this November, Lake Superior rose 2.3 feet, while Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 3.2 feet.

Gronewold and Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the recovery is due primarily to heavy rain and snowfall in the region over the past two years.

They predict that levels will remain above normal for the next six months on all the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario, which may be a couple of inches below normal.

Beyond that, “it becomes difficult for us to predict whether or not water levels might drop again, stay at this level or go higher,” Gronewold said.

The recovery is good news for commercial shippers, recreational boaters and others who have had to worry about running around in harbors and shallow channels.

But Kompoltowicz says some owners of shoreline property are concerned about erosion.

Detroit News

 

Full steam ahead at Essar Steel Minnesota site

12/12 - Now that financing has been secured, it's full steam ahead for Essar Steel Minnesota. Eyewitness News took a tour of the construction site in Nashwauk on Thursday. It's been more than two years since we've been there.

CEO and President Madhu Vuppuluri was one of our guides. He told us that around 300 contractors and Essar Steel employees are working to put up the massive steel buildings and pour concrete.

"We have some crews working six days a week, and 10 hours a day," he said. It will ramp up to 700-800 workers. And they have one of the biggest cranes in the United States on site.

It's an aggressive schedule, because they want to have taconite pellets rolling off the line by the end of 2015.

Work had slowed on the project site after August of 2012. For 26 months, the company worked on securing the last piece of financing they needed, for the $1.8 billion dollar venture.

Vuppuluri said that Essar Global, their parent company, made a significant investment of around $800 million. The rest was from investors like a group of Indian banks, and most recently, North American financial institutions.

A great deal of the equipment needed to run the mine is already in storage. And most of the concrete foundations have been poured. Based on their internal timeline, Vuppuluri said that they are actually ahead of schedule.

When we asked him about the capacity of iron ore out there now compared to demand, and how their operation will fit in, he said that the 7 million tons produced at Essar each year will replace the tonnage that will be lost when the Empire Mine in Michigan closes.

Also, he acknowledged the low price of iron ore right now. "We are a long term player. We are still fully committed to this project. And we are confident we will definitely come out a winner, by virtue of technology and operating cost."

Vuppuluri said they will be the most environmentally-friendly taconite plant, because of the new technology they are using. Many of the buildings and equipment will also be bigger than the current plants.

The plan is to transport the Essar pellets from the site to the Twin Ports, and then ship them to Canada and Chicago.

Some contractors had experienced delays in payments to the tune of millions of dollars. But Essar said that all contractors on site are current with payments.

WDIO

 

Port Reports -  December 12

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Thursday at the Upper Harbor found Herbert C. Jackson loading ore, Presque Isle unloading coal and Lakes Contender at anchor waiting to load.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cuyahoga loaded on Thursday and was expected to depart around 6 p.m. Also due in on Thursday was the Joseph H. Thompson at noon. There are no vessels scheduled for Friday. On Saturday, four vessels are due to arrive with the Pathfinder arriving first in the early morning to load followed by Cason J. Callaway, Manistee and Calumet.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke loaded on Thursday and was expected to depart around 6 p.m. There are no vessels scheduled from Friday-Sunday. Great Republic is due to arrive on Monday in the late evening for the North Dock and the John G. Munson is due in on Tuesday in the early morning for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory are expected to arrive during the morning hours on Friday to unload iron ore at the Torco Dock. Making a rare visit to Toledo and the Torco Dock is the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore, due with an iron ore cargo on Saturday in the early morning. The barge Lakes Contender and the tug Ken Boothe Sr. are due at the Torco Dock to unload an iron ore cargo on Sunday in the early morning hours followed by the Adam E. Cornelius at noon. There is nothing scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Due at the CSX Coal Dock to load will be the James L. Kuber on Friday in the late morning; they are due to return to load on Saturday in the late afternoon. H. Lee White rounds out the CSX Coal Dock lineup, arriving on Sunday in the late evening to load. American Valor remains in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the John J. Boland, tug Barbara Andrie with a barge, Algoma Olympic and the Algomarine.

Rochester, N.Y. – Billy Allen
The Stephen B. Roman traveled up the river surrounded by a winter scene as it made its way to Lake Ontario at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
On Thursday the Algoma Equinox passed down to Port Cartier, QC at 9:02am, Whistler up to Toronto, Ont. at 11:17am, Algoma Hansa up to Oakville, Ont. at 11:54am, Stella Polaris up to Thunder Bay, Ont. at 2:23pm, Federal Mayumi down to Quebec City, QC at 2:38pm and Federal Kumano down to Montréal, QC at 5:06pm Expected through Thursday night is the upbound Heloise headed to Toledo, Ohio and Oakglen coming down. Early Friday morning, expected through are the articulated push tug Everlast with Norman McLeod Barge down to Quebec and the upbound Tim S. Dool headed to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Golden commodity: Road salt price skyrockets

12/12 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Scrambling to cope with tight supplies, private snow-removal contractors are paying soaring prices for road salt, and even commissioning oceangoing ships to ferry it to the Port of Milwaukee from as far away as Africa. The harsh winter of 2013-'14 all but exhausted the mountains of salt that had been stockpiled for use in clearing ice and snow from roads and parking lots in the region and beyond, contractors say.

Typically, there are still supplies left when spring arrives. Not so this past year.

"We and our customers started with essentially zero inventory," said Tara Hart, spokeswoman for Compass Minerals International Inc., one of the country's largest salt producers.

And with the big producers strapped for salt, their first obligation is to fill contracts with cities, counties and states, said Joe Kassander, vice president of Birchwood Snow & Landscape Contractors Inc., a Milwaukee firm that clears the lots at shopping centers and big-box stores across the state.

"So," Kassander said, "guys like me fly to Morocco, try to find salt and get it shipped back to Wisconsin."

Literally. Birchwood had little choice. The company clears some 35 million square feet of pavement for customers such as Home Depot, Woodman's, Kmart and Best Buy, typically on multiyear contracts, and knew it wouldn't be getting its usual supplies.

"Telling them we don't have salt is not acceptable," Kassander said.

He traveled to Morocco in July, checked the salt mined by a company called JMS and found it a little unusual — it's light brown — but more than acceptable.

He agreed to buy 26,000 tons and arranged to have it transported to Milwaukee on a Jamaican-flagged ship, the Puffin. The cost: $3.9 million. That works out to $150 a ton. Last year, Birchwood bought salt for $63 a ton.

And the Puffin, which arrived on Sept. 25, was only the first of three salt-laden vessels to dock here. Another major contractor, The MCR Group LLC, took deliveries from Venezuela in November and from Egypt this month.

Like Kassander, MCR owner Matt Ryan was boxed in by the shortage of salt from the usual suppliers.

"I might have got none," Ryan said. "It would have been very difficult." So he contracted for delivery of a total of 37,000 tons from Venezuela and Egypt, some of which he is selling to other contractors.

Ryan, Kassander and others said they knew of no overseas salt shipments landing in Milwaukee before. "Never," said Jim Bernhardt, owner of Metropolitan Maintenance & Landscaping Inc., West Allis.

Nor has Bernhardt, who has been in the business for 27 years, ever seen prices at their current levels — $125 to $200 a ton. "That's if you can find it," said Matt Stano, owner of Stano Landscaping Inc., Milwaukee.

Commercial customers can look for higher prices too. Last year Stano paid $65 to $75 a ton. This year, he said, he's paying twice that amount for some of the salt MCR bought in Egypt. "Our customers are going to have to pony up," he said.

The winter of 2013-'14 and its now notorious "polar vortex" socked much of the U.S. with extensive snow and cold. Milwaukee was in the middle of the mess, with the 10th-coldest winter on record and nearly 55 inches of snow — almost 20 above average.

"Contractors expect to go salting 30 times a year," Kassander said. "Last year we went salting 51 times." That sort of activity leveled the piles of stored salt and paved the way for this season's shortages.

Stano said the main suppliers — Compass, Morton Salt Inc. and Cargill Inc. — sliced allotments to private contractors by 50% or more.

Morton and Cargill didn't directly respond to inquiries about allotments for private contractors.

Hart, of Compass, said the company is "meeting all of our contractual obligations ... It may be less than what they got last year, but all of our customers from last year are getting something from us."

Much of the salt used here comes from underground mines in Ontario and Ohio. But more imports from overseas could be on the horizon.

"I think this is how it's going to be for awhile," Kassander said.

Ryan sees a need for a secondary salt market in Milwaukee and already is laying plans to do further importing. In the meantime, he and others are marveling at unprecedented price levels.

"The stuff is like gold," Ryan said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Deep-water port under development in Escanaba

12/12 - Escanaba, Mich. – Basic Marine has begun the development of Escanaba's north shore, which will become the home of a new deep-water port.

"The final plan is to be a deep water port, that's the objective of this whole thing. Initially, what we're striving to do is do ship repair," Lyle Berro, business development manager for Basic Marine, told the Daily Press of Escanaba. "This will be the only facility on the upper Great Lakes ... that will be able to take a loaded ore freighter and have it be able to come in and have repairs done on it."

To bring the company's plan to fruition, the property's shoreline needed to be dredged to allow ships access to the docks and pier being built. For a fully-loaded carrier to dock, the lake bottom needed to be dredged to around 26 feet.

Dredging the lake has produced large piles of sand on the shoreline, as well as large piles of wood debris from the original merchant dock that was built in the 1840s.

"This is the original merchant dock for Escanaba. The reason Escanaba is here is because of this lake frontage right here that we're working on," said Berro.

The new structures — a large stretch of concrete dock and the extension of a 450-foot pier to construct a 1,200-foot pier — will have their own effect for commerce and shipping even though the ships that dock in the deep water port will not be picking up or dropping off cargo.

"They'll tie up here in the winter time and once the shipping season starts again they'll be closer to the earliest opening ore shipping port on the Great Lakes, right here in Escanaba," explained Berro. "Basic Marine also has Basic Towing and they also have an icebreaking service and they'll be able to get the ships out into the bay, break ice up to the dock, and start the shipping season that much earlier because the ships will be right here."

In the beginning, Basic Marine will be able to host two or three ships, but eventually the goal is to have as many as 10 ships docked over the winter receiving repairs. Each ship will have it’s own work crew to ensure that the ship is ready when the shipping season opens in the spring.

"With ship repair winter tie up here, every ship will require between 20 and 50 skilled trades laborer people — welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, engineers — all kinds of skilled trades will be needed to do winter tie-up repairs," said Berro.

Berro also noted other industries such as machine shops and welding supply companies will benefit from the repairs being done at the new dock. Hotels, retailers, and restaurants could benefit from the people who come in with the ships when they arrive at the port.

"The economic impact once this is up and running will be immense," said Berro.

Associated Press

 

Port of Green Bay recovers after frigid start

12/12 - Green Bay, Wis. – Despite a late start due to ice, the Port of Green Bay has cleared a cargo figure it uses to mark a “good” year. Through the end of November, the port has handled 2 million tons of cargo, despite a harsh winter that left the Great Lakes frozen into the early weeks of the shipping season.

While cargo numbers for November were down about 24,500 tons from the same time last year, the year-to-date total crossed the 2 million mark, sitting at roughly 2.1 million tons.

“If we end up up for the year, we did it with about a month shorter shipping season because of the persistent ice conditions that existed last spring,” said Dean Haen, director of Brown County Port and Resource Recovery.

The 2013 cargo total for the port was about 2.2 million tons.

Increased exports of sand and petroleum products have offset decreases in the coal and cement coming into the port. Salt, liquid asphalt, and limestone imports helped bolster 2014 figures.

ACE Marine in Green Bay is manufacturing aluminum pieces for the Littoral Combat Ship program in Marinette and shipping them via barge from the port. ACE and Marinette Marine Corp. are both owned by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

More unusual cargo was expected to move through the port this week the delivery of a 200-ton natural gas boiler to the Georgia-Pacific’s Broadway Mill, located adjacent to the Fox River. The boiler was made in Canada and shipped to Green Bay on the 436-foot cargo ship Palmerton. An online ship-tracking website indicated the ship could be in Green Bay today.

The St. Lawrence Seaway said Tuesday its also expects its cargo levels to finish ahead of 2013 thanks to increases in grain and steel shipments.

“Renewed construction activity and automotive manufacturing lifted steel shipments by 80 percent to 2.2 million metric tons this season with ports including Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee and Cleveland all benefiting from the increase,” a monthly report stated.

Through the end of November, the seaway has handled 34.6 million tons of cargo, up about 5 percent from the same time last year.

The Great Lakes shipping season generally concludes in December, and Haen said matching last year’s cargo total isn’t out of the question, but it may be close.

“We’ve got ships moving and we’ve got a stretch of warm weather forecast ... so we should get to a normal closure time of Christmas,” he said.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

More Seaway saltie renames

12/12 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed, with each having made at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during their careers. BBC Shanghai, which made its first and only visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system in 2005, is now the Island Trader of Antigua/Barbuda. The tanker Clipper Kylie, which made its one and only visit inland during the 2007 season, is now the Fortune Jiwon of South Korean flag. Ditte Theresa, another tanker, which visited for the only time in 2003, is now the Bomar Sedna of Malta. The Italian-flagged Domenico Ievoli, another tanker, which came inland for the first and only time in 2005, is now the Medkem Two of Italy. Edgar Lehmann, which came inland for its only visit in 2009, is now the Annetta of Malta. The tanker Ternen, which came inland in 2011 for its only visit, is now the Atlantic Wind of Gibraltar. Ruth Schulte, which last visited in 2011 on its only inland visit, is now the Peninsula VIII of Isle of Man flag. This vessel carried the name Swartberg until November 2006, but later was renamed Clipper Tasmania from 2006-10. It also came inland under that name.

Denny Dushane

 

Lookback #390 – Sir James Dunn aground near Thousand Islands Bridge on Dec. 12, 1972

12/12 - The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier Sir James Dunn was on a late season run through the Seaway when it went aground in the vicinity of the Thousand Islands Bridge on Dec. 12, 1972. The grain-laden steamer was soon released and cleared the waterway with time to spare.

Sir James Dunn was a product of the Port Arthur shipyard and it was launched on Dec. 5, 1951. The vessel was christened by Lady Dunn and joined the C.S.L. fleet on May 1, 1952. The 663 foot, 3 inch long bulk carrier was soon at work on the upper lakes carrying iron ore and coal to Sault Ste. Marie and grain. Once the Seaway opened in 1959, the ship also made occasion trips to the St. Lawrence.

On another occasion, on Aug. 21, 1980, the ship went aground near Champlain, QC and had to go to Montreal for inspection. Then, on April 10, 1981, it got stuck below the Soo Locks but was released the next day.

Sir James Dunn last sailed in 1982 and tied up at Midland on Dec. 22. It remained idle until towed to Toronto in November 1988 for load soybeans for winter storage. It left there, also under tow, in August 1989 and reached Sorel on Aug. 11. From there the ship departed for Aliaga, Turkey, in tandem with her old running mate Georgian Bay, on Aug. 26, 1989.

The pair was delayed when the Sir James Dunn broke loose off the Azores and finally arrived at the scrap yard on Nov. 16, 1989. There the dismantling of the hull proceeded quickly.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 12

On 12 December 1898, FANNY H (wooden propeller tug, 54 foot, 16 gross tons, built in 1890, at Bay City, Michigan) was sold by J. R. Hitchcock to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. She underwent a major rebuild in 1908, when she was lengthened to 60 feet.

The push tug PRESQUE ISLE was launched December 12, 1972, as (Hull #322) by the Halter Marine Services, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana.

SPINDLETOP, e.) BADGER STATE was launched December 12, 1942, for the United States Maritime Commission.

WHEAT KING returned to Port Weller Dry Docks on December 12, 1975, for lengthening to the maximum Seaway size of 730 feet overall for the iron ore and grain trade, thus ending her salt water activities.

One unusual trip for the WOODLAND occurred when she arrived at Toronto, Ontario on December 12, 1987, to load a 155-foot, 135-ton self-unloading unit for delivery to the Verolme Shipyard in Brazil, where the Govan-built Panamax bulk carrier CSL INNOVATOR was being converted to a self-unloader.

On Monday December 12, 1898, the AURORA was fast in the ice at Amherstburg, Ontario, when a watchman smelled smoke. The crew tried to put out the fire, but to no avail. They were taken off the burning vessel by the tug C A LORMAN. The ship burned to the water's edge, but was salvaged and rebuilt as a barge.

On December 12, 1956, the once-proud passenger vessels EASTERN STATES and GREATER DETROIT were taken out onto Lake St. Clair where they were set afire. All the superstructure was burned off and the hulls were taken to Hamilton, Ontario, where they were scrapped in 1957.

On 12 December 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels at winter lay-up at Sarnia, Ontario: Schooners: MARY E PEREW, KINGFISHER, UNADILLA, ONEONTA, AMERICAN, J G MASTEN, PELICAN, UNION, B ALLEN, and CAMDEN; Brigs: DAVID A WELLS, WAGONER, and FRANK D BARKER; Barks: C T MAPLE, EMALINE BATES, and D A VAN VALKENBURG; Steamer: MANITOBA.

On 12 December 1877, U.S. Marshall Matthews sold the boiler and machinery of the CITY OF PORT HURON at auction in Detroit, Michigan. Darius Cole submitted the winning bid of $1,000.

1898: The wooden passenger and freight carrier SOO CITY sank at the dock in Holland, Mi after bucking ice while inbound.

1925: SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY stranded on a rocky shoal inside the breakwall at Fairport, Ohio. Hull repairs were listed at over $18,000.

1966: AMBROSE SHEA, a new Canadian carferry, was hit by a flash fire while under construction by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel, Quebec, and sustained over $1 million in damage. Completion of the vessel was delayed by 3 months before it could enter service between North Sydney, NS and Argentia, Newfoundland. The ship arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as d) ERG on June 22, 2000.

1972: SIR JAMES DUNN went aground in the St. Lawrence near the Thousand Islands Bridge while enroute to Sorel with grain.

1990: CLIPPER MAJESTIC was abandoned by the crew due to an engineroom fire off the coast of Peru. The vessel had been through the Seaway as a) MILOS ISLAND in 1981, MAJESTIC in 1989 and was renamed c) CLIPPER MAJESTIC at Toronto that fall. The damaged ship was towed to Callao, Peru, on December 13, 1990, and repaired. It also traded inland as d) MILLENIUM MAJESTIC in 1999 and was scrapped at Alang, India, as e) MYRA in 2012.

2009: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier SPRUCEGLEN (ii) went aground near Sault Ste. Marie and had to go to Thunder Bay for repairs.

2010: The tug ANN MARIE sank in the Saginaw River while tied up for the winter. It was salvaged a few days later.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Gordon Shaw, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Seaway benefits from boost in grain, steel

12/11 - St. Catharines, Ont. St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments are expected to top 2013's totals, powered by a grain exports and steel imports surge.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation reports its total shipments reached 34.6 million tonnes from March 25 to Nov. 30.

That's up 5% over the same period last year, and it's anticipated the full season will surpass last year's by a similar margin.

Bruce Hodgson, St. Lawrence Seaway director of market development, said a brutal winter meant the loss of about four shipping weeks due to drawn-out ice conditions.

"But then we rebounded, with grain continuing to be strong," he said. "And we expect it should remain strong until the end of the season."

Hodgson said the grain crop last year was a record one, with a "huge amount of carryover that was left in the system."

"And it was decent quality ... so once we got rid of the ice, we had a very strong start."

Grain shipments in Canada and the U.S. to Nov. 30 were at 10.1 million tonnes, up 44% over 2013. That's the most Canadian grain shipped through the Seaway for that period in 13 years.

Exports of grain through ports like Hamilton and Port Colborne are also significantly up this fall.

Meanwhile, boosted activity in construction and automotive manufacturing in Canada and the U.S. pushed up steel shipments by 80% this season to 2.2 million tonnes.

"Steel has been strong," said Hodgson. "The U.S. economy has shown good signs of recovery and a big part of what's driving our iron and steel is the auto sector, which continues to be strong."

The Seaway says nearly 2 million tonnes of new business also helped offset decreases that otherwise took place in iron ore and coal shipments this year.

"This certainly (positively) impacts our tolls and revenue," Hodgson said. 'And we are seeing next year continue to be strong for the iron and steel business."

The St. Lawrence Seaway is slated to close this year on New Year's Eve at 4 p.m. and is expected to re-open sometime in mid-to-late March. Last year's close took place on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Great Lakes steel production shoots up by 18,000 tons

12/11 - Raw steel production soared to 673,000 tons in the Great Lakes region last week, after a three-week surge sputtered out the previous week.

U.S. steel production increased by 2.2 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Local production rose by 18,000 tons, or about 2.7 percent. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District, typically the nation's second biggest steel-producing region, rose to 640,000 tons, up from 634,000 tons the previous week.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.877 million tons, up from 1.835 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 78 percent last week, up from 76.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 74.6 percent a year earlier.

U.S. mills shipped 8.5 million net tons in October, a 1.6 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Domestic steelmakers have been losing ground all year to imports, which captured 30 percent of the market share last month, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

A World Trade Organization ruling may affect America's ability to restrict the flood of imports. An appellate body sided with India on a case on whether the United States can assess the impact of both dumped and subsidized imports when determining the injury inflicted on U.S. steelmakers.

"The WTO decision today significantly weakens the effectiveness of U.S. trade laws. U.S. law expressly requires the ITC to cumulate dumped and subsidized imports when they are under simultaneous investigations," President and CEO Thomas Gibson said.

"The WTO Appellate Body has once again created an obligation not agreed to by our trade negotiators, and this ruling will make it very difficult for domestic industries to obtain an effective remedy when facing both dumped and subsidized imports at the same time. This ruling is very detrimental to steel businesses and workers who continue to battle a flood of dumped and subsidized imports coming into this country unfairly — and at record levels."

NWI Times

 

Port Reports -  December 11

Ship movements – Andre Blanchard
Ships currently in Hamilton, ON
Lugano - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7.
Wilfred M. Cohen - Tug - arrived Dec 8
Andean - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec. 6


Ships recently departed from Hamilton, ON
Spruceglen - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 for Quebec, QC
Algoma Olympic - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9.

Ships expected in Hamilton, ON
Sundaisy E - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 10
Ojibway - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 11
Peter R. Cresswell- Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 12

Ships Expected in Oakville, ON
Algoma Hansa - ETA: Dec 11 - Due to depart Quebec on Dec 9

Ships expected in Toronto, ON
Mr. Joe - Tug - ETA: Dec. 11
Whistler - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec. 11

Ships currently in Thunder Bay, ON
Algoma Montrealais - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 5.
Zelada Desgagnes - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8
Tecumseh - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 9
Federal Ems - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7

Ships recently departed from Thunder Bay, ON
USCGC Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) - Icebreaking Tug - departed Dec. 9
Algoma Spirit - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 for Baie Comeau, QC
Ina - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Vancouverborg - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9

Ships Expected in Thunder Bay, ON
Nogat - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
Federal Elbe - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10.
Federal Yukina - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
American Mariner - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Dimitrios K - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Algosea - Tanker - due Dec 11
Algosoo - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Algomarine - Bulk Carrier - due Jan 5

Ships currently in Trois-Rivieres, QC
Sundaisy E- Bulk Carrier - arrived on Dec 9 (passing through to Hamilton, ON)
Zeus I - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 9
Chestnut - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7
Melissa Desgagnes - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8
Federal Rhine - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8.

Ships recently departed from Trois-Rivieres, QC
Algowood - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Kom - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (leaving Great Lakes and Seaway)
Salarium - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Federal Skeena - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (leaving Great Lakes and Seaway)
Milan Express - Container Ship - departed Dec (passing through to Montreal, QC)
Algoma Navigator - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (passing through to Contrecoeur, QC)

Ships expected in Trois-Rivieres, QC
Australiaborg - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
Spartan/Spartan II - Tug and Barge - due Dec 10
MCT Stockhorn - Tanker - due Dec 12
Ultra Esterhazy - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 12
Lowlands Opal - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 15
Black Forest - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 18
Flevoborg - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 26

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Tuesday evening, Thalassa Desgagnes went up to Nanticoke, Ont., Kaministiqua down to Sorel, QC and the Shoveler headed up to Toledo.

Early Wednesday morning, Spruceglen went down to Quebec City, QC. Wednesday the Birchglen sailed down to Baie Comeau, QC at 4:46am, Algowood was upbound at 6:18am followed by the Ojibway headed up to Hamilton, Ont. at 6:50am. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin came down through at 10h15. Canadian Coast Guard Ship, Griffon arrived into home Port of Prescott at 11:17am and was secure in port at 11:27am. Iryda came down at 13h58, John D. Leitch was up to Burns Harbor at 6:05pm and Salarium came up and into the Port of Johnstown, 6:23pm. Algoeast headed down to Tracy, QC cleared town at 7:12pm

Expected through early Thursday morning, are Whistler up to Toronto, Ont. and Algoma Hansa to Oakville, Ont.

 

Traffic warning issued for Gladstone

12/11 - Commercial vessel traffic will be utilizing the port of Gladstone, Mich., beginning Saturday. The Tug Defiance with barge Ashtabula are expected to transit into and out of Little Bay De Noc December 13 through the 18th.

The Coast Guard is warning recreational users of the ice to use caution near the ice, and stay away from shipping channels and the charted Lake Carriers Association (LCA) track lines.

USCG

 

Cannon found in Detroit River going on display

12/11 - Detroit, Mich. – An 18th century British cannon that was found in the Detroit River in 2011 is going on display this weekend following a three-year restoration.

An event is planned Wednesday afternoon where the cannon will be shown to media. It will be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.

Detroit police divers found the cannon during a training exercise in July 2011. It was pulled out of the water a few months later.

The cannon was located 20 feet underwater behind downtown's Cobo Center. The Detroit Historical Society says that based markings on the cannon it was made in East Sussex, England, in the mid-1740s. It was embossed with the crest of King George II.

The Detroit Historical Society says the cannon likely was used in various conflicts before being moved to Fort Lernoult in Detroit. When the British abandoned Detroit in 1796 the society says the cannon probably ended up in the river after soldiers were ordered to destroy some weapons.

Several other cannons have been found in the same area of the river.

Detroit Historical Society Senior Curator Joel Stone and a team at the society's Collections Resource Center were key in the restoration project. Work on the cannon started in 2013 at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in suburban Detroit, where it was displayed for special exhibit.

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays at Belle Isle, an island park in the Detroit River. Admission is free.

Detroit Free Press

 

Two men hijack fishing boat to slip into United States

12/11 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The search continued Wednesday for two young men who hijacked a fishing boat on Lake Ontario in order to enter the United States from Canada Tuesday afternoon.

One of the men spoke only French and the other spoke both French and English, with a New Jersey accent, said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Michael Zimmerman.

A father and son said the men approached them at the Queenston, Ont. docks and offered to pay $200 to be taken out fishing. The father was unable to go out, but his 17-year-old son, who captained the boat, told Niagara County sheriff’s deputies that he took the two men late Tuesday morning for a day of fishing on Lake Ontario.

He said after about two hours on the water, they appeared to lose interest in fishing and offered to pay more to get closer to the U.S. side in order to take pictures. When they got closer, the teen said man with the New Jersey accent threatened him with a knife and told him to drop them off in the United States, according to the Niagara County sheriff’s report.

The captain brought the boat to shore near Fort Niagara and the two men fled on foot.

They are described as being in their mid-20s. The French-speaking man was about 6 feet tall and 175 pounds and wearing a bright blue coat and white winter hat. The other was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 200 pounds, with black hair and a short trimmed beard, wearing a black sweater, track pants and white Nikes.

Niagara County Chief Deputy Steven Preisch said Wednesday that his department and Border Patrol had extra units searching for the two men. He added that Lewiston-Porter Central School was in lockdown and restricted outdoor recess.

According to the Coast Guard, the teenager piloting the boat cooperated with the demands and took the men to shore near Four Mile Creek State Park in New York.

Both men had phones and began making calls as they fled the scene on foot.

The teen went to Station Niagara and reported the hijacking. Coast Guard crews completed a shoreline search with no sightings.

A resident in the 500 block of Lake Road told deputies that he had seen the two men in his backyard at the same time. The resident asked the men if they were OK and they held up their phones saying, “We’re all set.”

Zimmerman said Border Patrol’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team has been deployed since the incident is a crossborder crime. It includes Border Patrol, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, the officers at the ports and Homeland Security.

“For Buffalo-sector all of our border is a water border,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve seen boats come across, rafts come across, kayaks, canoes, pretty much anything that you can come across the water on. This is a little more uncommon because of the way they crossed.”

He said at this point they don’t know why the men crossed.

“There is always a concern for safety when someone enters the country illegally. But most of the time the goal of that incursion is to get to some location for whatever so the danger to the immediate public is fairly minimal,” Zimmerman said.

Once Coast Guard investigators gathered all the information and evidence they needed, they took the young captain and his vessel back to Queenston.

Anyone with information or who might have seen the men is asked to call 911, or Border Patrol at 1-800-331-0353 or their local police agencies.

Buffalo News

 

U.S. House OKs $300 million a year for Great Lakes

12/11 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House passed a bill Tuesday authorizing $300 million a year to be spent over the next five years on water quality efforts in the Great Lakes states.

The legislation, co-sponsored by several members of Michigan's congressional delegation, now goes to the U.S. Senate in the hopes it will be passed before year's end.

The measure doesn't guarantee funding for what's known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but at least provides a congressional authorization which members of the appropriations committee can use to justify including that spending in future appropriations bills.

Over the last five years, Congress has provided a total of $1.6 billion for the initiative, which helps to pay for water cleanup efforts in the Great Lakes states, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing runoff and restoring habitats.

Detroit Free Press

 

Lookback #389 – Clayton closed the old St. Lawrence Canals for the season on Dec. 11, 1954

12/11 - In less than five years the St. Lawrence Seaway would be open but, in the interim, the old St. Lawrence Canals were very busy. With smaller locks and narrower channels, the system was often choked with ice by early December. The 1954 season ended 60 years ago today with the upbound passage of the Clayton.

Clayton would only sail for another four years. It tied up at Ogdensburg, N.Y. with storage grain at the end of 1958 and was there when sold to Marine Salvage. Steam was raised for the trip to Port Colborne and it arrived there at noon on May 14, 1959.

This was one of several redundant Misener canallers tied up at Port Colborne and in 1960 it was broken up for scrap at Ramey's Bend.

Clayton had been built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson and launched as the first Farrandoc in May 1929. It crossed the Atlantic for service in the Paterson fleet and worked on their behalf until 1942. The ship was requisitioned by the United States Maritime Commission on Dec. 24, 1942, and delivered at Mobile, Alabama.

Farrandoc carried bauxite ore on behalf of the Alcoa Steamship Co., with registry in Panama, and then went overseas to serve the British Ministry of War Transport.

It was sold to Capt. Scott Misener late in 1946 and renamed Clayton in 1947.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 11

On 11 December 2002, after last minute dredging operations were completed, Nadro Marine’s tugs SEAHOUND and VAC took the World War II Canadian Naval Tribal-class destroyer H.M.C.S. HAIDA from her mooring place at Toronto’s Ontario Place to Port Weller Dry Docks where a $3.5M refit was started in preparation for the vessel to start her new career as a museum ship in Hamilton, Ontario.

TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193) was launched December 11, 1968, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The H. LEE WHITE collided with the Greek salty GEORGIOS on December 11, 1974, near St. Clair, Michigan, and had to return to Nicholson's dock at Detroit, Michigan for inspection.

On December 11, 1979, while about 11 miles off Manitou Island near the Keweenaw Peninsula, the ASHLAND's engine stalled due to a faulty relay switch. Caught in heavy weather and wallowing in the wave troughs, she put out a distress call. True to Great Lakes tradition, four vessels immediately came to her assistance: two 1,000 footers, LEWIS WILSON FOY and EDWIN H. GOTT, along with WILLIS B. BOYER and U.S.C.G. cutter MESQUITE.

WILLIAM CLAY FORD loaded her last cargo at Duluth on December 11, 1984.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 passed down the Welland Canal (loaded with the remnants of Port Huron's Peerless Cement Dock) on December 11, 1974, towed by the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and DANIEL MC ALLISTER on the way to Sorel, Quebec where she was laid up.

The fishing boat LINDA E vanished on Lake Michigan along with its three crewmen on December 11, 1998.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.’s WHEAT KING was laid up for the last time December 11, 1981.

On 11 December 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels in winter lay-up in Port Huron: Sailing Craft: A H MOSS, FOREST HUNTER. MARY E PEREW, SEA BIRD, REINDEER, T S SKINNER, L W PERRY, ADAIN, LITTLE NELLIE, MAGGIE, PRINCE ALFRED, CAPE HORM, KITTIE, JOHNSON (wrecker), CHRISTIANA, HOWE, C G MEISEL, AUNT RUTH, W R HANNA, IRONSIDES, GOLDEN FLEECE, JOHN L GROSS, WARRINGTON, ANGLO SAXON, MOORE, LADY ESSEX, ANNIE, FORWARDER (sunk), GROTON, NORTHWEST, FRED H MORSE, GEM OF THE LAKES, D J AUSTIN, CZAR, JAMAICA, ANNIE (scow), AND HATTIE. Side wheel Steamers: 8TH OHIO, WYOMING (lighter). Propeller Steam Barges: W E WETMORE, SANILAC, CITY OF DETROIT. Tugs: KATE MOFFAT, TAWAS, HITTIE HOYT, FRANK MOFFAT, J H MARTIN, JOHN PRIDGEON, BROCKWAY, GLADIATOR, CORAL, GRACE DORNER (small passenger vessel), AND C M FARRAR.

On 11 December 1895, GEORGE W. ADAMS (wooden schooner-barge, 231 foot, 1444 gross tons, built in 1875, at Toledo, Ohio) was in tow of the steamer CALEDONIA with a load of coal, bound from Cleveland for Chicago. Her hull was crushed by ice and she sank near Colchester Shoals on Lake Erie. A salvage operation on her the following summer was a failure.

1911: A fire broke out in a wooden grain elevator at Owen Sound. The KEEWATIN was moored nearby for the winter but not yet locked in ice. The ship was moved to safety but the elevator was destroyed.

1963: MANCOX went aground in Lake St. Clair, near Peche Island, enroute from Sault Ste. Marie to River Rouge.

1984: The Yugoslavian freighter BEOGRAD, outbound in the Seaway with soybeans for Brazil, collided with the FEDERAL DANUBE at anchor near Montreal and had to be beached. The hull was refloated and arrived at Montreal for repairs on December 27. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as b) MURIEL in 1999. FEDERAL DANUBE (i) now operates for Canada Steamship Lines as c) OAKGLEN (iii).

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

 

“Remarkable” year of grain and steel boosts Seaway season

12/10 - With just one month left of the season, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments are expected to finish ahead of 2013 after a remarkable year of grain exports and steel imports.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, total cargo shipments reached 34.6 million metric tons for the period from March 25 to November 30 — up 5 percent over the same period last year. Seaway management expects the season will close ahead of last year by a similar margin.

Grain shipments (Canadian and U.S.) tallied 10.1 million metric tons, up 44 percent over 2013. The vast majority of that uplift has come from record Canadian crops, but U.S. grain to date is also up by 30 percent. Grain shipments through the Port of Toledo have been at their highest level in four years.

Renewed construction activity and automotive manufacturing lifted steel shipments by 80 percent to 2.2 million metric tons this season with ports including Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee and Cleveland all benefitting from the increase.

Nearly 2 million metric tons of new business also helped to offset decreases in iron ore and coal shipments this year. Close to a fifth of that total has been salt imports heading to destinations such as Detroit, Toledo and Milwaukee. These have been supplementing a huge demand by cities, towns, businesses, schools and hospitals for road salt from domestic mines. Salt shipments are up by 47 percent to 3 million metric tons.

Chamber of Marine Commerce

 

Sundaisy E freed from St. Lawrence River grounding

12/10 - Quebec City, Que. – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to Batiscan, Que., where the bulk carrier Sundaisy E ran aground Monday on the St. Lawrence River. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence. The vessel – which may have lost power due to a generator failure – was refloated Tuesday with the help of the tug Ocean Bravo, after which they were heading for a Trois-Rivieres anchorage. Sundaisy E was headed for Hamilton, Ont.

Canada NewsWire

 

McKeil Marine names newest tug

12/10 - Tim McKeil is the name selected for the latest tug to join the McKeil Marine fleet. Built in 1991 in Japan, the 4800 bhp tug was originally named Pannawonica 1. It was recently delivered from Australia via South Africa, to Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was registered in St. John's, Newfoundland December 9 as Tim McKeil.

Mac Mackay

 

Toledo river drawbridge opened for ship last week; now it's stuck in up position

12/10 - Toledo, Ohio – Officials in Toledo are trying to lower a river bridge that's stuck in the up position for the second time in a week.

The Martin Luther King Memorial drawbridge got stuck last Tuesday. Then it happened again Friday after it partially opened for a ship. It was still stuck open Monday.

WTVG-TV in Toledo reports that crews are dealing with electrical and mechanical issues as they try to figure out what happened.

The city says an electrical component that needs to be replaced wasn't immediately available, and a clutch may also have to be replaced.

The bridge, which sits over the Maumee River, first opened to traffic in 1914.

WTVG-TV

 

Steel shipments surge through the St. Lawrence Seaway trade corridor

12/10 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of 35 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to November 30. Total cargo volume is up 5 percent due predominantly to formidable tonnage of steel, salt, and grain shipments.

“Steel, salt, and grain tonnage numbers registered double digit increases (80, 48, and 44 percent, respectively) over last year’s performance,” said Administrator Betty Sutton of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Solid cargo improvement, continued infrastructure investments, and start-up of the first foreign liner service to a U.S. Great Lakes port in two decades (Spliethoff’s Cleveland Europe Express) are just three highlights in a season that has us optimistic about our System’s future.”

“The story in Milwaukee is steel,” said Paul Vornholt, Port of Milwaukee Acting Director. “November continued a year-long trend that has the Port of Milwaukee logging one of its highest tonnages of steel in recent decades. Among the factors affecting steel volumes are global and regional economic conditions, reliability, efficiency of delivering steel through the Seaway, and cost-effective port operations.”

Shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor are projected to exceed last year’s total by over 25 percent, with a steady stream of vessels scheduled through the end of the year. “If this pace continues, the port’s annual shipments could challenge the all-time record set in 1994,” said Jody Peacock, vice president for the Ports of Indiana. “We’re seeing major increases in our highest volume cargoes and steel is leading the way, up more than 100 percent year-to-date versus 2013. Grain and salt shipments are also more than double last year’s total, while limestone and project cargoes are on the rise as well.”

Also in November, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled an unusual project cargo shipment that included a fuel processing unit and heavy-haul trailer that weighed a combined 885,000 pounds. The large unit was unloaded at the port’s RO-RO (roll-on, roll-off) dock and had to be transported at night with a police escort over a pre-certified highway route to an Ohio refinery.

Despite some weather related delays, positive momentum continued into November at the Port of Toledo. Overseas salt, steel, and pig iron arrived on a parade of Polsteam, Canfornav and Flinter vessels at Midwest Terminals. Some of those vessels traveled just up the Maumee River to re-load Toledo soybeans for direct export. Shipments of corn and soybeans from ADM and The Andersons were also loaded onto lake vessels for export to Canada where some grain was then trans-shipped for overseas destinations. “I believe it’s fair to say that manufacturing has rebounded in the Toledo Region and industry is taking advantage of the Port for direct access to international suppliers of steel and raw materials,” said Joe Cappel, Director of Cargo Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “The combination of a strong demand for steel and aluminum, a good grain harvest and the opening of our new Ironville Terminal have been a recipe for success this season.”

Weather was also a factor at the Port of Oswego Authority in November. “While there were some delays, the port continues to be on target with aluminum shipments,” said Zelko Kirincich, Port Executive Director and CEO. “We received three shipments of aluminum on McKeil barges totaling 20,228 MT and we expect a peak in December as the season comes to a close.”

“In November, the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority handled 42,437 tons of material including steel and aluminum, said Executive Director John Loftus. “This is a nearly 7 percent increase over November 2013 and yet another example of southeast Michigan’s industrial growth and sustainability.”

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

 

Port Reports -  December 10

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded at the South Dock in Calcite on Tuesday and was expected to depart around 7 a.m. Due on Wednesday is the Philip R. Clarke arriving in the late evening for the South Dock. There is nothing scheduled from December 11-14.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Three vessels were scheduled on Tuesday, with the John G. Munson arriving first in the morning followed later in the day with the Great Republic in the late afternoon. Herbert C. Jackson is also due on Tuesday in the late evening. Two vessels are due in on Wednesday, with the Cuyahoga arriving first in the morning followed by the Pathfinder in the evening. Joseph H. Thompson will round out the schedule on Thursday arriving in the morning to load. There is nothing scheduled on Friday.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The tug G.L. Ostrander and the cement barge Integrity were inbound on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning. The pair called on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville to unload. They were expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway was expected to arrive in Toledo to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday in the late evening hours. Also due at CSX is the 1,000 footer Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which is due on Wednesday in the morning. The James L. Kuber has two trips scheduled at CSX, with the first one on Thursday in the late afternoon followed by a return on Friday in the late evening to load. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Due at the Torco Dock is the John J. Boland on Wednesday in the early morning followed by the James L. Kuber on Thursday in the morning. Due in on Friday is the Lewis J. Kuber, arriving during the late afternoon. American Valor remains in layup near the Lakefront Docks. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report, among them USCG Bristol Bay doing work in Toledo along with the tug Barbara Andrie and a barge. Tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port as was the salty Federal Schelde from Barbados further upriver at one of the grain elevators. Tug Wilf Seymour along with its barge Alouette Spirit were also upriver at one of the Toledo docks. Tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender departed Toledo early in the morning Tuesday after unloading iron ore at Torco. Entering port was the tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement for the St. Marys Cement Dock in Toledo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Lower Lakes Towing's articulated tug-barge Defiance-Ashtabula arrived with a load of sand out of Brevort, Mich., at 11 a.m. Tuesday for the Sand Supply Wharf on the City Ship Canal. They met a small Sevenson push tug and barge in the Buffalo River Entrance Channel, and the two sets of vessels passed their respective ways with no problems around 11:30. The Defiance-Ashtabula unloaded sand until 7 p.m. and then backed out for the lake, clearing the Buffalo breakwall around 8:15 p.m.

Ship Movements - Montreal to Great Lakes and Seaway ports – Andre Blanchard
Ships in Montreal then moving on to the Great Lakes/Seaway
Algoma Harvester - ETD: Dec 9, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Algoma Guardian - ETD: Dec 12, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Adriaticborg - ETD: Dec 9, then on to Baie-Comeau, QC
Americaborg - ETD: Dec 11, then on to Sorel, QC

Ships expected in Montreal then moving on to the Great Lakes/Seaway
Duzgit Dignity - ETA: Dec 13, then on to Mississauga, ON
MCT Stockhorn - ETA: Dec 11, then on to Hamilton, ON
Algoeast - ETA: Dec 11, then on to Sarnia, ON
Pineglen - ETA: Dec 12, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Oakglen - ETA: Dec 12, then on to Windsor, ON
Adfines Star - ETA: Dec 9, then on to Mississauga, ON

 

Two former Wagenborg vessels renamed

12/10 - Two former Wagenborg vessels, each making at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. Markborg, which carried that name from 1997-2002 before being renamed MSC Suomi from 2002-2004, is now sailing as the Bozok of Cook Islands registry. From 2004-14 the vessel reverted back to its original name of Markborg. She first came inland in 1997 and last visited as such in 2009. Her Wagenborg fleetmate Drecthborg, which first came inland in 2006 and last visited in 2011, now sails as the Svetlana of Malta registry. Prior to her rename, it held the name of Drecthborg until July 2000, at that time becoming the MSC Skaw from 2000-2002. It reverted back to Drecthborg from 2002-2003, before becoming the Normed Rotterdam from 2003-2005. At that time it took back the name of Drecthborg, and held that name from 2005 until 2014.

Denny Dushane

 

Coast Guard to clean, paint, repair lighthouse near Cheboygan

12/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to conduct repairs on an active aid to navigation located near Cheboygan, Mich., and is inviting the public to comment on the undertaking.

The ATON is the 14-foot Shoal Light, located in a narrow strait between Bois Blanc Island and Cheboygan.

Coast Guard crewmembers will conduct work that includes repairing or replacing hinges on warped shutters; repairing or replacing glass stops with new fasteners; cleaning and repainting the interior of the lighthouse and lantern room in the current color scheme; repairing glass and glazing; cleaning vents and installing new screens; and repainting the exterior of the lighthouse in the current color scheme.

The lighthouse was last repaired and repainted in 2002 by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. These repairs will not directly or indirectly alter any of the characteristics of the historic property.

USCG

 

Lookback #388 – John D. Leitch hit bottom above Eisenhower Lock on Dec. 10, 2005

The John D. Leitch is still an active traveler around the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence as part of the Algoma Central Corp. fleet. It has only had a few incidents since it was built by Port Weller Dry Docks in 1967.

Completed as Canadian Century for Upper Lakes Shipping, the 730-foot-long by 75-foot-wide self-unloader was designed to carry coal to Ontario Hydro's steam generated power plants. It had a single cargo hold for easier cleaning.

During the first year, Canadian Century delivered 1.7 millions tons of coal. As the years passed it carried other commodities including grain and taconite ore and set several cargo records.

The ship was given a new loop-belt unloading system in 1975-1976 after the original bucket elevator system was damaged. Then, in 2001-2002, the Canadian Century returned to Port Weller Dry Docks where it was widened to 78 feet increasing trip capacity by 1,450 tons of cargo. It resumed service as the John D. Leitch, honoring the long time owner and President of the Upper Lakes fleet.

It was nine years ago today, on Dec. 10, 2005, that the John D. Leitch hit bottom above the Eisenhower Lock while traveling downbound. The hull was opened and the leaking vessel was delayed for seven hours for temporary repairs before it was cleared to proceed.

In 2011, with the sale of the Upper Lakes fleet, the John D. Leitch joined the Algoma Central Corp. While most of the ships involved in the transaction were given new names, the John D. Leitch continues to serve Algoma with the name unchanged.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 10

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Americaborg, Deltuva, Florijngracht, Fuldaborg, Lugano, and Palmerton  

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 10

The steamer EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND loaded the last cargo of ore for the 1942 season at Marquette.

CEDARGLEN, a.) WILLIAM C. ATWATER, loaded her last cargo at Thunder Bay, Ontario on December 10, 1984, carrying grain for Goderich, Ontario.

Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950. She would later become b.) CLIFFS VICTORY.

IRVIN L. CLYMER was laid up at Superior, Wisconsin on December 10, 1985, for two seasons before returning to service April 30, 1988.

An explosion occurred in IMPERIAL LEDUC's, b.) NIPIGON BAY ) forward tanks on December 10, 1951. This happened while her crew was cleaning and butterworthing the tanks. Five crewmembers were injured with one eventually dying in the hospital. Multiple explosions caused extensive damage in excess of $500,000.

On December 10, 1905, WILLIAM E. COREY finally was pulled free and refloated after grounding on Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands in late November.

FRANK A. SHERMAN laid up for the last time at Toronto, Ontario on December 10, 1981.

Donated by Cleveland-Cliffs to the Great Lakes Historical Society on December 10, 1987, the WILLIAM G. MATHER was to become a museum ship at Cleveland's waterfront.

PAUL H. CARNAHAN and her former fleet mate, GEORGE M. HUMPHREY, arrived safely under tow at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on December 10, 1986, for scrapping.

On 10 December 1891, a fire started on MARY (2-mast wooden schooner, 84 foot, 87 gross tons, built in 1877, at Merriton, Ontario) when an oil stove in the kitchen exploded. The vessel was at anchor at Sarnia, Ontario and damage was estimated at $10,000.

The CORISANE (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 137 foot, 292 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was tied up alongside MARY and she also caught fire but the flames were quickly extinguished. She was towed away from MARY by the ferry J C CLARK.

PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground in 1893, north of Milwaukee.

1922: The wooden freighter JAMES DEMPSEY, built in 1883 as a) JIM SHERIFFS, was destroyed by a fire at Manistee, MI.

1963: The Canadian coastal freighter SAINTE ADRESSE went on the rocks off Escoumins, QC and was leaking in high winds while on a voyage from Montreal to Sept-Iles. Local residents helped lighter the cargo of beer and ale. The remains of the hull were visible at low water for several years.

1975: PAUL THAYER went aground in Lake Erie off Pelee Island. It was lightered to WOLVERINE and released Dec. 12 with extensive damage.

1994: The Maltese registered YIANNIS Z. entered Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, in leaking condition after apparently hitting bottom while enroute from Manzanillo, Cuba, to Peru. The ship was arrested for non-payment of the crew. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 1970 as a) MATIJA GUBEC. The hull was sold at public auction on August 28, 1997, and apparently partially dismantled to become a barge. It was noted sinking at its moorings on October 14, 2006, under the name f) KELLYS MARK and subsequent fate is unknown.

2005: JOHN D. LEITCH hit bottom above the Eisenhower Lock and began leaking.

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

 

Lubie crewmember dies after fall into Lake Huron

12/9 - St. Ignace, Mich. – The Coast Guard recovered a 55 year-old Polish man from Lake Huron late Sunday morning, after the crew of the motor vessel Lubie, a 622-foot Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier, reported him missing. The man's name is not being released.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie received a telephone call from someone aboard the motor vessel Lubie, reporting a crewmember was missing and may have fallen overboard. At the time of notification the Lubie was underway roughly 10 miles northeast of Rogers City, Michigan, travelling from Marinette, Wisconsin, to Windsor, Ontario.

The crew last saw the man about one hour before notifying Sector Sault Ste. Marie. He was last seen before going to work on deck wearing blue coveralls or a blue jumpsuit.

Watchstanders at Sector Sault Ste. Marie immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, and a crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan. The crew of the freighter also reversed course and began searching their previous track line. More than two hours later, the Lubie crew reported spotting the man face down in the water.

The Coast Guard response boat crew recovered the man, who was unconscious and unresponsive, and transferred him to awaiting EMTs at Station St. Ignace. He was declared deceased by local medical authorities. A local medical examiner is performing an autopsy.

The water temperature was approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

USCG

 

Poe Lock sets a tonnage record

12/9 - Soo Locks - The Poe Lock set a tonnage record on Nov. 21. In a 24-hour period, 17 boats carried 545,520 net tons through the lock that day. It would take at least 21,820 semi-trucks to carry this much cargo.

USACE

 

Mackinac Island company to build new $3.8M ferryboat

12/9 - Onaway, Mich. – A company that provides ferry service to Mackinac Island is having an 85-foot, 281-passenger vessel added to its fleet, company executives said.

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry planned to announce the $3.8 million project Monday, describing the watercraft as the first ferryboat known to have been constructed in Michigan. The work will take place at Moran Iron Works in Onaway.

“The idea of building a climate-controlled ferry for our customers right here in Michigan — instead of sending the work elsewhere — really appealed to us,” said Bill Shepler, CEO of the ferry company.

The vessel will be christened “Miss Margy,” after Shepler’s mother. It is scheduled for completion in time to begin hauling passengers between the mainland and the resort island next July.

The keel will be laid in mid-January and the hull completed over the next four months, after which the craft will be launched in Rogers City and taken to the Shepler’s facility in Mackinaw City for seat installation and painting.

Miss Margy will feature an air-conditioned cabin and a ventilation system to remove condensation from windows, providing a better view during bad weather. It will have a top speed of about 40 mph.

“An all-aluminum hull, three of the most modern and powerful marine engines on the Great Lakes, along with the most advanced cabin comforts, make this project sophisticated and challenging,” said Tom Moran, CEO of Moran Iron Works.

Shepler’s is one of three companies providing Mackinac Island service. Its fleet already includes five passenger ferries and a cargo vessel.

Moran and Shepler’s previously have worked together on modifications of two vessels, but this will be their first ferry building venture. Ferries usually are constructed in shipbuilding centers such as Louisiana or Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

“But for this project, we liked the idea of watching it being built and having a say in how it was being built,” Shepler said.

Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports -  December 9

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Ashtabula - Defiance was rounding Point Pelee Monday and on her way to the Sand Supply Wharf on the City Ship Canal. They should be arriving around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through town Sunday night and early Monday morning were Tim S. Dool, Kom and Brant. Monday upbounds Algoma Olympic sailed through to Hamilton, Ont. at 04h52, HHL Mississippi at 4:59am to Chicago and Algonova tanker at 6:11am. The Flinterstar came down at 6:20am. The downbound Americaborg, heading through to Sorel, QC at 10:40am met up with the upbound Whitefish Bay just above the Ogdensburg/Prescott Bridge at 10:25am heading to Duluth to load coal. The Blue Phoenix sailed down to Les Escoumines, QC at 2:50pm and Mottler down to Montréal, QC at 6:07pm. Monday evening, expected through is Algoma Transport up to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Expected early Tuesday morning is the Elbeborg down to Montréal, QC.

 

Charting a course for Canadian Miner cleanup

12/9 - Sydney, N.S. – The province should have soon have a better idea what the discovery of additional contaminants aboard the former Canadian Miner could mean for the timeline and budget of its cleanup.

Geoff MacLellan, minister of Transportation and Public Works, said officials planned a meeting between contractor RJ MacIsaac Construction of Antigonish and Nova Scotia Lands should clarify where things stand.

Last month, word came that asbestos levels found on the derelict ship stranded off Cape Breton are almost five times more than estimated in federal reports. About 30,000 litres of diesel was also discovered aboard, when a study had indicated it had all been removed.

“That final conversation still hasn’t taken place, so we’re proceeding as planned at this point,” MacLellan said.

About 30 tonnes of asbestos was discovered aboard the vessel by the contractor, well in excess of the 6.6 tonnes of asbestos federal reports estimated to be on the ship.

The project was originally expected to cost $11.9 million.

It’s also expected that weather conditions could play a factor in whether costs and timelines can be met.

The 12,000-tonne, 223-metre bulk carrier ran aground on Scatarie Island after a tow line snapped in rough seas during transit to Turkey from Montreal in September 2011. Scatarie Island is a provincially protected wilderness area and it is home to a lucrative fishery.

Although progress has generally been good, the schedule of completing the salvage has been affected by the complications.

“The contractor … has had some major productivity in terms of where they’ve been working around the engine room in the aft section of the vessel, so that’s been 90 per cent removed to this point, and they’re now cutting the vessel into large pieces and they’ll pull the pieces on the shoreline so that they ensure safer cutting,” MacLellan said. “Things are moving as planned.”

The federal government has stated the ship isn't blocking navigation and it doesn’t contain any pollutants. It has said the responsibility to remove the Miner lies with its owner, Arvina Navigation.

MacLellan said he has renewed efforts to have Ottawa — including Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and the Department of Environment — revisit the issue of costs associated with the Miner removal in light of the additional contaminants discovered.

“We’re eagerly awaiting feedback from the feds and we truly hope that given the circumstances they’ll help us out, not only with some of the logistics for the cleanup but certainly with the overall cost,” MacLellan said.

Cape Breton Post

 

Obituary: Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh

12/9 - Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., passed away at his home on Dec. 5.

On the night of November 10, 1975, Capt. Hobaugh deployed his command – the 180 foot bouy tender Woodrush – from the port of Duluth in search of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which had gone missing on Lake Superior in hurricane force winds. It took him 24 hours to fight his way all the way across the lake to the last reported location of the Fitz. In his later years, Capt. Hobaugh oversaw the Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie.

Arrangements are incomplete at this time, but will be announced by C.S. Mulder Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

 

Lookback #387 Kingdoc released from grounding at Pugwash, Nova Scotia on Dec. 9, 1980

The second Kingdoc, a coastal freighter in the Paterson fleet, combined freshwater with saltwater trading. The 315 foot long freighter was equally at home in both locales.

On the lakes, the ship might have newsprint, coal, salt, grain and even some iron ore on board. It had been built at Lauzon, QC in 1963 and came up bound through the Welland Canal for the first time on Sept. 23 with a cargo of newsprint loaded at Port Alfred, QC for Detroit.

The ship also spent at least part of one summer in the Arctic resupply run carrying goods to otherwise isolated communities in their very short shipping season.

Kingdoc came to Pugwash, NS to load road salt in Dec. 1980.¦nbsp; The ship was stuck until released 34 years ago today and needed the help of the tugs Point Valiant and Irving Birch.

Kingdoc tied up at Thunder Bay on Dec. 5, 1986. It was reactivated in 1988 and came down the Welland Canal for the last time carrying grain to Sorel on April 25, 1988.

At Sorel, the ship was refitted as Norstar and departed with pig iron for Genoa, Italy, on May 1, 1988. It was sold and renamed Lucky Star in 1990, Carolina F. in 1995 and Blue Moon in 1997. The vessel was listed as “surveys overdue, class suspended” on Nov. 18, 1997, and then “class withdrawn” on Dec. 16, 1998, before a final report of being “broken up” at an undisclosed location.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 9

While tied up at Port Colborne, Ontario, waiting to discharge her cargo of grain, a northeast gale caused the water to lower three feet and left the EDWIN H. OHL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 5141 gross tons, built in 1907, at Wyandotte, Michigan) on the bottom with a list of about one foot. The bottom plating was damaged and cost $3,460.19 to repair.

Cleveland Tankers’ JUPITER (Hull#227) was christened December 9, 1975, at Jennings, Louisiana, by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

JEAN PARISIEN left Quebec City on her maiden voyage December 9, 1977.

CLIFFS VICTORY ran aground December 9, 1976 near Johnson’s Point in the ice -laden Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River.

The FRANK C. BALL, b.) J.R. SENSIBAR in 1930, c.) CONALLISON in 1981) was launched at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works as (Hull #14) on December 9, 1905.

ARTHUR B. HOMER was towed by the tugs THUNDER CAPE, ELMORE M. MISNER and ATOMIC to Port Colborne, Ontario, December 9, 1986, and was scrapped there the following year.

HILDA MARJANNE was launched December 9, 1943, as a.) GRANDE RONDE (Hull#43) at Portland, Oregon, by Kaiser Co., Inc.

The keel for Hall Corporation of Canada’s SHIERCLIFFE HALL (Hull#248) was laid on December 9, 1949, at Montreal, Quebec by Canadian Vickers Ltd.

On 9 December 1871, CHALLENGE (wooden schooner, 96 foot, 99 tons, built in 1853, at Rochester, New York) missed the piers at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in heavy weather, stove in some of her planking and sank. She was a particularly sleek craft, actually designed as a yacht and once owned by the U.S. Light House Service as a supply vessel.

On 9 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that "the old railroad ferry steamer UNION at Detroit is having machinery taken out and preparing to go into permanent retirement, or perhaps to serve as a floating dining room for railroad passengers."

1910: JOHN SHARPLES of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co., stranded on Galops Island in the St. Lawrence due to low visibility. The vessel was holed fore and aft and not released until April 1911 with the help of the tug HECLA.

1943: SARNIAN, the first member of what became the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet, stranded on Pointe Isabelle Reef, Lake Superior, while downbound with 162,489 bushels of barley. The vessel was not refloated until July 24, 1944, and never sailed again.

1956: FORT HENRY, a package freighter for Canada Steamship Lines, hit Canoe Rocks approaching the Canadian Lakehead, cutting open the hull. It reached the dock safely, quickly unloaded, and went to the Port Arthur shipyard for repairs.

1968: NORTH CAROLINA lost power and sank in Lake Erie five miles west of Fairport, Ohio, in rough weather. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the three-member crew. The hull went down in about 30 feet of water and is a popular dive attraction.

1980: The salt-laden KINGDOC (ii) was released by the tugs POINT VALIANT and IRVING BIRCH after an earlier grounding at Pugwash, NS

1983: The saltwater ship d) IAPETOS was struck by Iraqi gunners in the Khor Musa Channel about 30-40 miles from Bandar Khomeini, Iran. It was abandoned and struck again by a missile and bombs on March 29, 1984. The vessel began Seaway service as a) JAROSA in 1965 and returned as b) IVORY STAR in 1973 and c) TURICUM in 1975. It was refloated about 1984 and scrapped at Sitalpur, Bangladesh.

2001: The former HAND LOONG, a Seaway trader beginning in 1977, sank as b) UNA in the Black Sea off Sinop, Turkey, enroute from Algeria to Romania with 11,000 tons of iron ore. Seventeen sailors were rescued but one was missing and presumed lost.

2003: STELLAMARE capsized on the Hudson River at Albany, N.Y., while loading turbines. The cargo shifted and three members of the crew were lost. The ship was righted, refloated and repaired as c) NANDALINA S. It was broken up for scrap at Aliaga, Turkey, as d) DOUAA A. in 2011. This heavy-lift freighter first came through the Seaway in 1989 and returned inland from time to time.

2011: VSL CENTURION lost its stern anchor while downbound in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne. Shipping was held up until it was found. The ship first visited the Seaway as a) SAGITARRIUS in 1990 and became d) PHOENIX SUN in 2012.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

 

CWB Marquis delivery voyage update

12/8 - On her delivery voyage, the CWB Marquis departed from Nantong, China, at 0720 hours November 4, and arrived into Davao, Philippines, on November 10, to fuel before crossing the Pacific. With fueling complete, she departed from Davao on November 11 in clear weather.

The ship is currently at 3/4 of the way across the Pacific Ocean, and crossed the International Date Line on Sunday, November 23 at 5:11 am. Following convention, the date was reversed one full day, so that the new date and time were 5:11 hours on Saturday, November 22. The crew got to relive the trip by one more day, and have two Saturdays in a row.

The ship is due into Balboa, Panama on December 14, and expects to make the passage northbound through to the Atlantic Ocean on the evening of December 15. Clearing the Panama Canal on December 16, she is due into Canada on or around the December 29.

The ship is the first of two vessels owned by The Canadian Wheat Board, and managed by Algoma Central Corporation. The second ship, the CWB Strongfield, will depart from China in the spring of 2015.

Capt. Seann O’Donoughue

 

Port Reports -  December 8

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Sunday at the Upper Harbor found John J. Boland and Michipicoten at the LS&I Upper Harbor ore dock and Tug and Barge Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder at anchor, loaded with coal for the hopper.

St. Marys River – Tom Lindholm
On Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Federal EMS, Peter Cresswell, American Courage, Vancouverborg, Pacific Huron and Michipicoten were all upbound. Downbound traffic included Pineglen, Joseph L. Block and Kaministiqua. Algosar was unloading and due to leave around 3 p.m.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
Tug Prentiss Brown and barge Conquest tucked into Suttons Bay to anchor Sunday night, apparently because the loading berth at Charlevoix was occupied.

Lorain, Ohio
Saginaw was in port Sunday, departing at 8:30 a.m., headed east. Algorail departed early Sunday morning, after being in port the previous day.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner arrived over the weekend with grain. As she was entering, the New York State Power Authority tug Breaker was heading out of the Buffalo River Entrance Channel with a 500-foot section of the Niagara River ice boom.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through Saturday night and early Sunday morning, Vega Desgagnes and Lugano, both up to Hamilton, Ont.; Esta Desgagnes down to Montreal, QC; Thunder Bay up to Duluth, Algoeast up to Nanticoke, Ont.; and Algoma Hansa down to Quebec City, QC.

Sunday, Sarah Desgagnes came down at 5:49 am heading to Quebec and the Evans McKeil tug came up at 6:38am. At 8:09 am the Federal Rideau came down headed to Sorel, QC. The Federal Kushiro came up at 12:17pm and then downbounders, Manitoba at 1:08 pm, Mapleglen at 1:44 pm headed to Baie Comeau, QC, and, Salvor tug with Lambert Spirit heading to Cornwall, Ont. at 2 p.m.

Sunday evening, Isolda was through to Montreal, QC and Algoma Navigator to Valleyfield, QC. Sunday night, expected through are downbounders, Federal Kivalina to Montreal, QC., Tim S. Dool and Brant to Kaliningrad, Russia.

Early Monday morning, expected through are upbounders Algoma Olympic to Hamilton, Ont.; HHL Mississippi to Chicago and Algonova. Kom is expected down headed for Gilbraltar.

 

U.S. Steel to restart Hamilton coke ovens

12/8 - Toronto, Ont. – U.S. Steel Canada will restart its idled Hamilton coke ovens and bring 77 workers back from layoff. The company sought emergency court permission to fire up the oven Friday, saying it had a chance to sell coke from Hamilton to its American parent.

"This is a positive for a bunch of reasons," company lawyer Paul Steep said in a brief hearing in Toronto.

"It will help the company's cash flow, it will bring workers back and having it operating will make a sale easier."

Hamilton's coke ovens, in which coal is baked to remove impurities before being mixed with iron ore to make steel, were put into "hot idle" at the end of October after the company said it didn't need their production any longer.

During November, however, the company and chief restructuring officer Bill Aziz started negotiating with another steelmaker over the possibility of selling coke from Hamilton.

They eventually decided against selling a crucial raw material to a competitor and found a new customer — U. S. Steel Canada's American parent firm.

In addition to creating revenue for the former Stelco plant, the company said in its motion to the court that having the ovens working would make it easier to sell the battery.

Justice Geoffrey Morawetz was told the motion for permission to restart the coke battery was brought as an emergency because the company must first stockpile coal and that has to be done before the Great Lakes freeze for the winter and the Welland Canal closes.

Adding extra urgency, the company said, was a ship carrying 30,000 tonnes of coal bound for the Lake Erie plant that could be redirected to Hamilton if permission was given Friday.

The company said keeping the Hamilton oven in "hot idle" — still being fed fuel so it could be brought back into production — costs $1.5 million a month. If a stream of revenue could be created to offset that cost the company would benefit and the oven itself would be kept healthy, possibly making it more appealing to a buyer.

Some buyers, the company added, are already "kicking the tires" of the coke plant.

"A conversion arrangement that keeps the HW Coke Plant in operation is expected to enhance any sale process by providing demonstrated operating performance and skilled and experienced staff, eliminating start-up costs and potentially, if desired by a buyer, providing existing customers for the coke output," the company said.

Allowing the oven to go cold, the company said, could make it impossible to sell because of the cost of restarting it.

The motion was not opposed.

U. S. Steel Canada sought creditor protection in September citing years of continued losses and the crippling cost of fully funding its pension plans.

It recently won court approval to start assessing its pension plans to determine just how under-funded they are.

If the company closes without enough money in the pension plans to meet future obligations, retirees could have their pensions cut by enough to eliminate the shortfall.

The company has also been given permission to look for a buyer or new investor for the Hamilton and Nanticoke plants.

Hamilton Spectator

 

Georgian College scholarship winner named

12/8 - Tim Westmorland, a 3rd year Navigation Cadet, at Georgian College Great Lakes International Marine Training and Research Centre, is the recipient of the G.O. Bough 2014, Scholarship, presented by the Canadian Company of Master Mariners. He is presently on a 60-day trans-Pacific delivery voyage from Nantong China to Montreal, Canada, via the Panama Canal, on board the CWB Marquis, Canada’s newest St. Lawrence Seaway-Max ship.

Capt. Seann O’Donoughue

 

Lookback #386 – Merle M. McCurdy in collision while being overtaken in Lake St. Clair on Dec. 8, 1974

The only time I saw the Merle M. McCurdy underway was up bound at Point Edward on Aug. 24, 1980. The vessel was in a real battle with the current as it laboriously tried to reach Lake Huron. Finally it hit the open water and headed north for another load of grain.

The Merle M. McCurdy operated until Nov. 19, 1985, when the 601 foot long steamer tied up at Buffalo, NY. The ship had spent its final years working in the Kinsman fleet after service United States Steel as William B. Dickson from 1910, when it was completed at Ecorse, MI, until 1968 when it was sold while laid up at Lorain, Ohio. The bulk carrier had been there since Nov. 16, 1960, when it ended its sailing days for the “Steel Trust”.

My next glimpse of the Merle M. McCurdy was at Ashtabula, Ohio, on Dec. 30, 1987. The ship had arrived there under tow of the tug Ohio on Dec. 14, 1987, and was being readied for dismantling.

However, the plan was changed and the vintage steamer was resold to International Marine Salvage of Port Colborne and I made the trip to see it there on July 18, 1988. It had arrived under tow of the Glenevis, assisted by Michael D. Misner, on June 11. The dismantling of the hull had begun on July 13 and the work then proceeded quickly. Soon the vessel's steel was being fed to a blast furnace for recycling.

The ship had a generally profitable and uneventful career. An exception was 40-years ago today when the Merle M. McCurdy, down bound in Lake St. Clair and about opposite Grosse Pointe Farms, was overtaken from behind by her former U.S. Steel running mate Philip R. Clarke. The latter was also down bound and loaded at the time. It was estimated that repairs to the Merle M. McCurdy would cost $250,000. This work was done and gave the vessel an additional 11-years of service.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 8

On 08 December 1917, DESMOND (wooden propeller sand-sucker, 149 foot, 456 gross tons, built in 1892, at Port Huron, Michigan) sprang a leak off Michigan City, Indiana, during gale and then capsized within sight of the lighthouse at South Chicago, Illinois. Seven lives were lost. Six others were rescued by the tugs WILLIAM A. FIELD, GARY and NORTH HARBOR.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE (Hull#65) was christened December 8, 1979, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks. Ltd.

JAMES DAVIDSON was laid up for the last time on December 8, 1969, at Toledo, Ohio.

MERLE M. McCURDY collided with U.S. Steel’s PHILIP R. CLARKE opposite Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan on Lake St. Clair, December 8, 1974.

On 8 December 1886, BELLE (2-mast wooden schooner, 61 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1866, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) burned while frozen in at anchor.

On 8 December 1854, WESTMORELAND (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 200 foot, 665 tons, built in 1853, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying supplies for Mackinac Island, including liquor and supposedly $100,000 in gold. She capsized in a storm due to the heavy seas and the weight of the thick ice on her superstructure. She sank in the Manitou Passage in Lake Michigan and dragged one of the loaded lifeboats down with her. 17 lives were lost. There were many attempts to find her and recover her cargo. Some reports indicate the wreck was found in 1874, however it was not discovered until 2010 by Ross Richardson.

1876: IRA CHAFFE was driven ashore in a severe snowstorm near the Chocolay River, Lake Superior, near Munising. All on board were saved and the ship was eventually released.

1909: Fire broke out in the hold of the CLARION off Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie. Six sailors who huddled on the stern were picked up in a daring rescue by the LEONARD C. HANNA the next day. Another 14 were lost when their lifeboat was swept away in the storm and one more perished when he went into the hold to fight the fire.

1909: W.C. RICHARDSON stranded on Waverley Shoal, 2 miles west of Buffalo. A storm had prevented entrance to Buffalo and the ship was riding out the weather on the lake. The hull had to by dynamited as a navigational hazard when salvage efforts failed. Five lives were lost.

1927: ALTADOC (i) stranded on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when the steering failed while upbound, in ballast, for Fort William. The hull could not be salvaged and it was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1927: LAMBTON stranded on Parisienne Shoal, Lake Superior, with the loss of 2 lives. The engine was removed for the FERNIE and the hull salvaged in 1928 for further work as the barge c) SALVUS.

1963: FORT ALBANY sank in the St. Lawrence off Lanorie after a collision with the PROCYON, and five members of the crew were lost. Heavy fog persisted at the time. The hull was refloated in June 1964, taken to Sorel, and scrapped.

1971: HARMATTAN was attacked with missiles and gunfire by Indian Naval units south of Karachi, Pakistan, and heavily damaged. Seven sailors were killed and the ship was abandoned. It arrived at Karachi March 2, 1972, and was scrapped. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971.

1982: The Liberian freighter GENIE came through the Seaway in 1972. It was badly damaged by an explosion and fire on this date while laid up the Seychelles Islands. The hull was taken to Karachi, Pakistan, and scrapped in 1985.

1983: AKTION, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1970, was laid up at Piraeus, Greece, as e) ELISA when fire broke out and the vessel was heavily damaged aft. The hull was towed into Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1984, and broken up for scrap.

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

 

Last year's thick ice coverage not expected this winter

12/7 - Sarnia, Ont. – After a record-breaking 2013-2014, ice conditions in the Lake Huron and the rest of the Great Lakes are forecast to return to normal this winter. Earlier this week, ice forecasters in Canada and the U.S. issued their seasonal outlook for winter 2014-2015 on the Great Lakes.

"Last year was a record for ice coverage," said Scott Weese, senior ice forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service.

"Lake Huron was at 100% coverage late in the season, but this year we're not expecting ice coverage to be as extensive."

Near normal temperatures are expected over Lake Huron this year between December and February, resulting in the forecast of near normal ice conditions on Huron, and other Great Lakes, according to Weese.

The forecast is a joint effort with the National Ice Centre in the U.S.

Cold temperatures and static weather patterns were the drivers of last year's experience with ice on the lakes, Weese said.

Ice shut down ferry service on the St. Clair River for an extended period, and backed up the start of the 2014 shipping season by a month.

"We had a persistent cold winter," Weese said. "We just didn't have any significant breaks in the cold pattern."

This year, the forecast is for moderation and variability in winter temperatures.

"We'll see cold outbreaks followed by warmer outbreaks, as we have in the past few weeks," Weese said. "That kind of variability tends to lead into a normal ice season."

The December forecast for the southern and eastern shore of Lake Huron is for generally open water with isolated patches of new ice forming along the shores near the end of the month.

Huron, Erie and Superior reached near 100% ice coverage last winter, Weese said.

Conditions over the season broke an ice record dating back to the winter of 1976-77, he said.

The shipping industry and coast guards in Canada and the U.S. are among those who make use of the forecasts and other information provided by the Canadian Ice Service.

Sarnia Observer

 

Lake Superior water level above long-term average

12/7 - Ironwood, Mich. – Lake Superior continues to rise, as above average precipitation has returned the level above long-term averages.

The lake continued its trend of above-normal water levels in November, although it dropped a typical 2 inches for the month. That's average for November, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The lake remained around 9 inches above its level of a year ago, thanks in large part to 11 straight months of above-normal water supply to the lake from increased precipitation and run-off, combined with low evaporation.

Lakes Michigan-Huron remained steady in November. The Dec. 1 level of the lakes is 7 inches above the long-term average and 21 inches higher than it was last year on Dec. 1.

The upper Great Lakes usually rise from April to August, then generally drop from September through March.

International Lake Superior Board of Control officials have been releasing more water than normal from Lake Superior to reduce potential high water problems in spring. Officials said the lake will probably drop, as normal, until spring.

At the end of October, the water level of Lake Superior was 10 to 11 inches higher than in October 2013 and 8 to 9 inches above the long-term normal.

Lake Superior stood at 602.74 feet above sea level on Oct. 31, 2014, compared to 602.65 feet at the start of the month and 601.86 a year ago.

The October high was 603.38 in 1985, while the low was 600.72 in 1925.

The National Weather Service office in Marquette said Lake Michigan and Lake Huron levels were above average in October for the first time since late 1998.

"Even though water levels typically fall slowly in October, above normal precipitation across the upper Great Lakes and surrounding areas the last couple of months has contributed to greater run-off," said Kevin Crupi, of the weather service's Marquette office.

Ironwood Daily Globe

 

Port Reports -  December 7

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algorail was in port on Saturday, unloading at the Jonick dock.

Buffalo. N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner pulled in and tied up to unload wheat at the Frontier Elevator at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The tug Sharon M I departed the Gateway Metroport terminal in Lackawanna around 7a.m. Friday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Friday night the upbound Andean went through heading to Hamilton. The upbound Cedarglen sailed through at 3:29am headed to Sarnia, and Cuyahoga at 3:46am headed to Hamilton. At 4:02pm the Algoma Progress sailed up, also headed to Hamilton, meeting the Florijngracht coming down to Matan - Gaspé at 4:07pm. Baie St. Paul, loaded with 28,000 tonnes of soybean from Port of Johnstown, Ont., departed at 4:25pm, headed up below Windmill Point to make a turn, and head back down to Quebec City. Expected Saturday evening and night are the downbounders Esta Desgagnes and Atlantic Power, both to Montreal. Three upbound ships were delayed below Snell Lock throughout the day. Vega Desgagnes and Lugano both to Hamilton, Ont. and CSL’s Thunder Bay heading to Duluth, are expect through Saturday night as well. Early Sunday morning the Algoeast is expected to come up to Nanticoke. Manitoba is expected down from Hamilton into the Port of Johnstown Monday.

 

Obituary: Captain Bruce M. Hudec

12/7 - Captain Bruce M. Hudec passed away Friday morning, December 5. He helmed the Goodtime II and the Goodtime III sightseeing passenger vessels of Cleveland, Ohio. He saw several million passengers up and down the Cuyahoga River during his more than 43 years of tenure with the Goodtime Cruise Line, and worked tirelessly to preserve the history of the lake and river front.

He was a raconteur, artist, historian, and friend to all. He will be missed and fondly remembered by an immense family that includes fellow Great Lakes captains, crew, bridge operators, innumerable passengers, and countless others who had the privilege of crossing paths with him.

Calling Hours are at Jakubs & Son Funeral Home; 936 E 185th St, Cleveland, OH 44119. Tuesday, December 9 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. with a Memorial Service immediately following. A Cremation Burial will be at 3 p.m. Friday, December 12 at Riverside Cemetery, 3607 Pearl Rd, Cleveland, OH 44109.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Euclid Animal Shelter, 25100 Lakeland Blvd. Euclid, Ohio 44132.

 

Lookback #385 – Easthampton was the last saltie out of the Seaway for the season on Dec. 7, 1962

The former T-2 tanker Easthampton had only recently been converted to a bulk carrier at the time it entered the Seaway late in the 1962 season. The work, which also involved lengthening the steamer, was carried out at Emden, West Germany.

The vessel had been a product of the Sun Shipbuilding Co. and it was launched at Chester, Pa., as James Island on April 4, 1944. It was able to assist the war effort as a fuel carrier for a little over a year before the hard-earned peace was established.

In the postwar era, the ship was sold to J.M. Carras Inc. and renamed Alexandra in 1945 and became Amanda in 1955. It sailed as an American flag tanker under the first name but was registered in Liberia under the latter. The same flag was retained when it became Lyra in 1961.

The vessel returned to American registry as Easthampton in 1962 and rebuilt as a bulk carrier. While on the lakes, the vessel took on a cargo of arms and heavy equipment for India and managed to leave just before the Seaway system closed for the year. This was the latest closing of the system in this the fourth year of operation.

Easthampton was sold and renamed Merrimac in 1965 but that ship did not enter the Great Lakes until 1978. It was sold to shipbreakers in Bangladesh in 1982 and arrived at Chittagong for dismantling on Dec. 10 of that year. The then 39-year-old vessel was broken up in 1983 by Gumti Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 7

On 07 December 1893, the hull of the burned steamer MASCOTTE (steel ferry, 103 foot, 137 gross tons, built in 1885, at Wyandotte, Michigan) was towed from New Baltimore to Detroit by the tug LORMAN for repairs. She was rebuilt and put back in service. She went through nine owners in a career that finally ended with another fire in Chicago in 1934.

In 1990, the ENERCHEM LAKER was sold to Environment Protection Services, Inc., Panama and departed Montreal on December 7, 1990, for off-lakes service with the new name d) RECOVERY VIII. Built for Hall Corp. of Canada as a.) ROCKCLIFFE HALL, converted to a tanker renamed b.) ISLAND TRANSPORT in 1985, and c.) ENERCHEM LAKER in 1986. Renamed e.) MORGAN TRADER in 1993, and currently serves as a bunkering tanker in Suez, Egypt as f.) ANNA II, renamed in 1997.

The LEADALE, a.) JOHN A. KLING sank in the Welland Canal on December 7, 1982, and was declared a constructive total loss.

The GEORGE R. FINK, under tow, arrived at Gandia, Spain prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

W. W. HOLLOWAY was laid up December 7, 1981, for the last time in Toledo’s Frog Pond.

On December 7, 1932, the MARQUIS ROEN caught fire at Meacher's dock at Bay City, and before the fire was brought under control, the cabins and after end were destroyed.

Captain John Roen of the Roen Steamship Co. died on December 7, 1970.

On December 7, 1906, the R. L. IRELAND stranded on Gull Island in the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior. PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR. (Hull#398) was launched December 7, 1912, for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

The steel side-wheel passenger steamer EASTERN STATES (Hull#144) was launched on December 7, 1901, by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company for the Detroit and Buffalo Steamship Company.

The railcar ferry ANN ARBOR NO 2 (Hull#56), was launched on December 7, 1892 at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Ship Building Co. Sold in 1914 and cut down to a barge, renamed b.) WHALE in 1916, abandoned in 1927.

In 1906, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 arrived Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 7 December 1894, KEWEENAW (steel steamer, 291 foot, 2511 gross tons, built in 1891, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was seen groping toward the coast of the State of Washington in a severe gale. With distress signals flying, she put back to sea and foundered. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #73) for saltwater service. Built in two pieces, she was towed down the St. Lawrence and reassembled at Montreal.

On 7 December 1866, M. BALLARD (2-mast wooden schooner, 116 foot, 288 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was lost with all hands in a storm on Lake Ontario.

The wooden propeller bulk freighter MORLEY was launched at Marine City on 7 December 1878. She was on the stocks for two years and was built for the Morley Brothers and Hill. She was a double decker with side arches between decks with iron straps. She also had iron trusses running through the center. Her boiler was on the main deck and she had the engine from the tug WM PRINGLE. She had three spars, a centerboard, and could carry 45,000 bushels of grain.

1909: MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO. 2 disappeared with all hands in the overnight hours of December 7-8 while crossing Lake Erie from Conneaut to Port Stanley with 30 loaded railway cars. The hull has never been located.

1912: The whaleback BARGE 134 was operating on the East Coast as b) BANGOR when it stranded and broke up near Hampton Roads, Va. The hull was salvaged by blasting and dredging in 1975.

1917: SIMCOE, of the Canadian Department of Marine & Fisheries, left the Great Lakes earlier in the fall for new work on the Bay of Fundy. It sent out an S.O.S. that it was sinking in heavy seas and the ship was never seen again. The only trace was a lifering that came ashore at Sable Island. There were 44 on board.

1927: KAMLOOPS, inbound for the Canadian Lakehead, disappeared with all hands overnight December 6-7. The hull was finally found by divers off 12 O'Clock Point, Isle Royale, in 1977.

1927: AGAWA stranded on Advance Reef, Georgian Bay along the south shore of Manitoulin Island. It spent the winter aground and was not released until Nay 16, 1928. The hull had been declared a total loss but was rebuilt at Collingwood as the ROBERT P. DURHAM and then later sailed as c) HERON BAY (i).

1927: The first MARTIAN went aground off Hare Island, Lake Superior and was not released until December 14.

1929: ULVA sank in the ice at Port Colborne but was raised, refitted and returned to service in 1930. The British built freighter operated between Maritime Canada and the Great Lakes until about 1939. It was torpedoed and sunk by U-60 northwest of Ireland on September 3, 1940.

1941: The tanker MAKAWELI was reported to be anchored at Pearl Harbor during the infamous Japanese attack and damaged. The ship was built at Ashtabula as COWEE in 1919 and returned to the Great Lakes for Lakeland Tankers in 1946.

1967: FIR HILL, a Seaway trader in 1961, went aground off Yasuoka, Japan, as d) UNIVERSAL CRUSADER. It was lightered and released but sold for scrap and broken up at Hirao, Japan, in 1968. 1969: The bulk carrier PETITE HERMINE and TEXACO CHIEF (ii) collided in fog near Prescott and both ships had slight damage. The former became c) CANADIAN HUNTER while the latter last operated on the lakes as c) ALGONOVA (i).

1976: The Liberian flag bulk carrier UNIMAR grounded leaving Thunder Bay with a cargo of grain and was not released until December 15.

1976: HARRY L. ALLEN of the Kinsman fleet went aground in Lake St. Clair, near St. Clair, Mich., and was held fast in the ice before being freed by tugs.

1982: LEADALE (ii) finished unloading salt at Thorold and backed into a concrete dolphin while departing the dock. A hole was punched in the hull and the ship sank while trying to get back to the dock. LEADALE was refloated December 19, towed to Port Colborne and scrapped by Marine Salvage in 1983. 1983: UNISOL had been docked at Chandler, Que., to load newsprint but left to ride out an approaching storm after being pounded against the dock. The ship ran aground while outbound and the crew was saved by a Canadian Forces helicopter. The vessel, noted as the first Peruvian flag freighter to transit the Seaway earlier that year, broke up in the storm.

1983: The Norwegian freighter WOODVILLE began visiting the Great Lakes in 1962. It ran aground near Palau Mungging, Malaysia, enroute from Bangkok, Thailand, to Malacca, Malaysia, as d) PETER RICH and was abandoned as a total loss.

1989: CAPITAINE TORRES, enroute from the Great Lakes, got caught in a vicious storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence on December 7-8 after the cargo shifted. All 23 on board were lost when the ship went down.

2005: ZIEMIA LODZKA collided with and sank the VERTIGO in shallow water in the Great Belt off Denmark. All were saved. The former began Great Lake trading in 1992.

2010: The passenger ship CLELIA II, a Great Lakes visitor in 2009, was hit by a monstrous wave in the Antarctic Ocean smashing the pilothouse window and damaging electronic equipment. The vessel made Ushusia, Argentina, safely and only one member of the crew had a minor injury.

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

 

Eileen McAllister Departs without American Fortitude

12/6 - The tug Eileen McAllister, which had been waiting at Quebec City for the American Fortitude to arrive, has departed the port Saturday morning, light tug, heading down the St. Lawrence. Meanwhile the tow remains secured at the Cote Ste Catherine wharf and is now listed on the Montreal Harbour website to arrive there today.

Ron Beaupre

 

Senator John McCain vows repeal of Jones Act

12/6 - Washington, D.C. – Senator John McCain said a more than 90-year-old law that requires ships servicing coastal ports and the Great Lakes to be built and crewed by U.S. citizens will be repealed sooner or later if lawmakers keep fighting the trade restriction.

Oil refiners, and many manufacturers and state governments oppose the Jones Act, saying the requirement increases costs by blocking shipping by cheaper foreign-built and foreign-flagged vessels.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a rare waiver of the act in 2012 when superstorm Sandy led to fuel shortages at gas stations on the East Coast, allowing foreign vessels to bring fuel from Gulf Coast refiners. But the act has been blamed for causing bottlenecks, including a shortage of rock salt for New Jersey roads during a recent severe winter storm.

McCain, an Arizona Republican and the incoming chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, estimates that consumers could save about $1 billion annually if the Jones Act was lifted. He introduced a bill in 2010 to repeal it but estimated soon after that he probably only had about 20 votes in the 100-member chamber.

He said despite tough opposition, it is a fight that he will win one day. “It’s one of these things you just propose amendments to bills and encourage hearings and sooner or later the dam breaks,” McCain said after a speech at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

“But I have to tell you … the power of this maritime lobby is as powerful as anybody or any organization I have run up against in my political career. All I can do is appeal to the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed,” he said.

Supporters of the Jones Act say it promotes jobs in domestic shipbuilding and that it has wide support in Congress because workers in all 50 U.S. states make components for those vessels.

Reuters

 

Port Reports -  December 6

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Lakes Contender arrived at LS&I on Friday and waited to load ore.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Thursday. American Courage was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Friday in the late morning to load. Rounding out the schedule will be the Manitowoc, which is expected to arrive on Saturday in the early morning.

Port Inland – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader loaded on Thursday. This was to be final vessel at Port Inland for the 2014 shipping season.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled for loading until Monday, when the Calumet is due in the early morning for the North Dock. John G. Munson rounds out the schedule, arriving also on Monday in the late evening for the South Dock.

Stoneport – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel loadings on Friday. Due in on Saturday will be the Lewis J. Kuber arriving in the early morning to load. Mississagi is also due in on Saturday in the early evening to load. Rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph H. Thompson arriving on Sunday at noon. There are no vessels scheduled on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Algosoo
Arrived in Toledo on Friday in the early morning for the CSX Coal Dock to load. Also due at CSX will be the Cason J. Callaway on Monday in the late evening. The 1,000 footer Walter J. McCarthy Jr., making a very rare visit, is also due at CSX to load on Monday during the late evening. Adam E. Cornelius is due at CSX on Tuesday in the early morning. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, tug Victory with barge James L. Kuber unloaded an iron ore cargo on Friday. Lee A. Tregurtha was also due to unload at Torco on Friday in the late morning. Due in on Monday for Torco will be the Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr., arriving during the early morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the John J. Boland arriving at Torco on Tuesday in the early morning. American Valor still remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels in port included the saltwater vessel Federal Rideau of Hong Kong flag, departing Toledo after loading a cargo at one of the grain elevators, the tug Paul L. Luedtke was working off of Toledo and the tug Mary E. Hannah. CSL's Birchglen also arrived on Friday to load grain at one of the elevators upriver.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Thursday night the bulk carriers Manitoba and Tecumseh sailed through, both to Thunder Bay. Friday was quiet with 2 downbounders, Thalassa Desgagnes at 10:06 am and Whitefish Bay at 11:19 am, both to Quebec. Expected Friday night is the upbound Andean headed to Hamilton. Baie St. Paul continues to load soybean at the Port with an estimate departure late Friday or early Saturday morning. Early Saturday morning the upbound Cedarglen to Sarnia, and Cuyahoga to Hamilton, are expected to sail through.

 

Algoma Montrealais: The story behind the steamer

12/6 - As noted yesterday in the Boatnerd report, the Algoma Central Corp., in its Bear Facts newsletter for December, has indicated that this is the final year of sailing for Algoma Montrealais. At 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, the vessel arrived load at Thunder Bay. According to her captain, as long as the Seaway traffic keeps moving the last trip will be Thunder Bay to Trois Rivieres around Christmas.

Montrealais, the last steam powered laker in the Canadian Great Lakes fleet, has sailed the inland seas for 52 years. The ship was built at two locations in 1962. The 230-foot-long bow was a product of the George T. Davis & Sons shipyard in Lauzon, Que., and was constructed there as Hull 77. The 500 foot long stern was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd. as Hull 278 at Montreal and launched on Oct. 19, 1961. The bow slid into the water six days later on Oct. 25.

The two sections were joined on the Champlain Drydock over the winter and the completed ship was christened at Montreal on April 12, 1962. The vessel was originally to be named Montrealer and the stern was launched as such but, in the end, the name became Montrealais.

The vessel was part of the Papchristidis fleet. It was built with financial assistance from Hiram Walker, a Canadian distiller, and was originally owned by Canadian Vickers Ltd. The vessel was listed under Eastern Lake Carriers, a subsidiary of the Papachristidis Company in 1965.

The 730-foot-long by 75-foot-wide bulk carrier was upbound past Detroit on her maiden voyage on April 30, 1962. The ship had a 9000 shp Canadian General-Electric steam turbine engine with two, oil-fired, Babcock-Wilcox water tube boilers. Tonnage was registered at 17,647 gross and 12,759 net with a capacity of 26,700 tons depending on draft limitations.

The Papachristidis fleet sold its remaining five bulk carriers to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972 and Montrealais, and running mate Quebecois, served that company until their fleet was sold to Algoma Central Corp. in 2011.

Montrealais saw regular service throughout the Great Lakes and Seaway system. It was active in the ore and grain trades from the inland ports to the St. Lawrence but also carried bulk cement, particularly in her later years.

On June 25, 1980, Montrealais and Algobay were in a head-on collision in the St. Clair River during heavy fog and both ships received extensive bow damage. Montrealais was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks.

Then, on Oct. 21, 1993, the ship was hit by a sudden storm on Lake Michigan while out bound from delivering a cargo of ore to Burns Harbor, Ind. Work on cleaning the holds was still underway in preparation for loading grain and five of the heavy steel hatch covers, stacked on deck, were washed overboard. There was also damage on deck, but the ship was soon back in service with borrowed hatch covers from the then-idle Lemoyne (ii).

The return to service was short-lived, as Montrealais hit bottom in the Welland Canal above Bridge 10 while up bound on Nov. 26-27 and sustained serious bottom damage that needed repairs.

On March 30, 2009, Montrealais opened the Welland Canal up bound on the 50th Anniversary season of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The event was celebrated in a ceremony at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3 as the vessel passed through.

Following the disbanding of the historic Upper Lakes Shipping fleet in 2011, Montrealais joined another, more than century old company, the Algoma Central Corp. It operated under her original name for that season but became Algoma Montrealais in 2012.

Some feared that the ship would be retired after the 2013 season, however she was reactivated part way into 2014. But with more new ships headed to the Great Lakes to service Algoma and the Canadian Wheat Board, this aging veteran bulk carrier is no longer needed. After delivering a cargo of cement to Duluth, the vessel sailed to Thunder Bay to load what is expected to be a final cargo of grain.

Ship-watchers along the lakes may want to be alert to the down bound voyage as this is likely to be the last time we see a big Canadian laker steam by.

Skip Gillham

 

Seaway saltie renames

12/6 - The following four saltwater vessels have been renamed. Each has made one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system in their careers. Cleanthes is now the Mallia of Sierra Leone registry. This vessel may be more familiar to many as the one-time Greek-flagged Olympic Miracle, a name it carried from 1984-2011 and under which it last visited in 2010. It carried the name of Cleanthes from 2011-14, however, it never came inland with that name. Persenk, which first came inland in 1999 and last visited in 2009, is now the Osman Gazi of Malta. Two former vessels from the Intersee Schiffahrt fleet from Germany have also been renamed. The Leandra, which came inland in 2010, is now the Thorco Cobra of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Rebecca, which first came inland in 2006 and last visited during the 2010, season is now the Freya also of Antigua/Barbuda registry.

Denny Dushane

 

Seaway saltie scrappings

12/6 - The following four saltwater visitors have been scrapped, with each one making at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during their careers. Ak Brother, of Panamanian registry, which visited once during the 2013 shipping season, has been scrapped. This vessel may be more familiar as the Greek-flagged Calliroe Patronicola, which first came inland in 1985, the year she was built, and last visited with that name in 2011 before being renamed. Sakhalin, which never came inland with that name, has also been scrapped. This vessel was the former Polsteam carrier Ziemia Zamojska, which first came inland in 1985, a year after she was built, and last visited in 2007. Elminda, another vessel that did not come inland with this name, has been scrapped. It was also a former Polsteam vessel, Ziemia Tarnowska, which first came inland in 1985 a year after she was built. It carried that name from 1984-2013, before being renamed Lord G, a name it carried from 2013-2014 before being renamed Elminda. Danica, another vessel that did not come inland with this name, has been scrapped. This vessel is more familiar to many as the Mljet, which first visited in 1984, just two years after she was built. It carried that name from 1982-2008 before being renamed.

Denny Dushane

 

New Saltwater Visitors

12/6 - As of Dec. 1, the total number of new saltwater vessels making their first visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during the 2014 shipping season totaled 48 vessels, based on transits of the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. The list includes: Adfines Sea, Adfines Star, Albanyborg, Ara Rotterdam, Atlantic Power, BBC Chile, BBC Kibo, BBC Switzerland, BBC Xingang, Beatrix, Charlotte C, Diana, Dimitrios K, Deltuva, Duzgit, Endeavour, Ebony Ray, Edzard Schulte, Fairchem Yuka, Fionia Swan, Flinter America, Floragracht, Fortunagracht, Fritz, Harbour Krystal, HHL Elbe, Kirkeholmen, Larsholmen, Lokholmen, MCT Breithorn, Merwedegracht, Morgenstond I, Nilufer Sultan, Nordic Mari, Olza, Pacific Dawn, Peter Ronna, Pochard S, Prosna, Reestborg, Reggeborg, Sea Racer, Selandia Swan, Skawa, Songa Challenge, Songa Peace, Sten Bergen, Tina Theresa and Transhawk. Since Dec. 1, one other vessel has been added to the list of newcomers – the Florijngracht – which transited the Seaway on Dec. 3. At least two more newcomers are expected in December – the Duzgit Dignity, a tanker from Turkey built in 2014, and the Sundaisy E, a cargo carrier from Italy.

Denny Dushane

 

Lookback #384 – Former Laban Howes abandoned south of Spain after cargo shifted on Dec. 6, 1961

The Laban Howes was built at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and completed in April 1943 for the U.S. War Shipping Administration. It departed the Great Lakes, likely in April, for trading under charter to the British Ministry of War Transport.

The 258-foot, 10-inch-long steamship could carry 2,800 tons of cargo and operated with a crew of 23. It worked to help win the war and was sold to the British Ministry of War Transport on April 1, 1947.

The ship was resold to the Head Line for 40,000 pounds on Oct. 28, 1949, and renamed Kinsale Head. While the Head Line sent some ships to the Great Lakes in the pre-Seaway era, Kinsale Head remained on saltwater.

It was registered in Honduras as Tela in 1953 and later moved under the flag of Panama. The ship was sold again in 1960 and sailed briefly as Mariangela B. until being abandoned by the crew 53 years ago today The ship was carrying zinc on a trip from Sardinia to Calais, France, when the cargo shifted off Cabo Palos, Spain.

A Spanish salvage tug arrived on Dec. 8 and took the listing freighter to Cartagena. From there it was sold to Italian shipbreakers and it arrived at La Spezia, under tow, on May 25, 1962. It was broken up there by Cantieri del Golfo S.p.A. beginning in July 1962.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 6

On 06 December 1886, C. McElroy purchased the steamer CHARLIE LIKEN for use as a ferry at St. Clair, Michigan to replace the burned CLARA.

In 1988, Canada Steamship Lines’ HON. PAUL MARTIN was renamed b.) ATLANTIC ERIE.

American Steamship Co.’s H. LEE WHITE (Hull#711) was launched December 6, 1973, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co.

CONSUMERS POWER was laid up for the last time at Erie, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1985.

On December 6, 1988, an arsonist set fire to the after end of FORT CHAMBLY while she was laid up at Ojibway Slip in Windsor, Ontario.

GOLDEN HIND was launched at Collingwood, Ontario on December 6, 1951, as the tanker a.) IMPERIAL WOODBEND (Hull#147).

N.M. Paterson & Sons LAWRENDOC (Hull#174) was launched December 6, 1961, at the Collingwood Shipyards.

On 6 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that the Port Huron Dry Dock Co. had been declared bankrupt and Mr. John Johnston had been appointed assignee of the company by the U.S. District Court.

OCONTO grounded near Charity Island in Saginaw Bay on 6 December 1885. The passengers and crew were saved. She was built at Manitowoc in 1872, by Rand & Co. and owned by Capt. Gregory W. McGregor and Rensselaer VanSycle. She was later recovered but only lasted until July 1886, when she went down in the St. Lawrence River with a valuable cargo of merchandise. Although several attempts were made to recover her, she remains on the bottom and is a frequent charter dive target to this day.

1906: MONARCH, carrying a cargo of bagged flour, struck Blake Point, Isle Royale and broke in two. The stern sank in deep water and the survivors huddled on shore. They were spotted the next day by the passing steamer EDMONTON who had help sent out from Port Arthur. Only one life was lost.

1906: R.L. IRELAND went aground off the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, while loaded with coal. Some of the crew rowed a lifeboat to Bayfield for help. The vessel was salvaged and last sailed as c) ONTADOC (i)in 1970.

1909: BADGER STATE caught fire at Marine City, drifted downstream and stranded off Fawn Island. The hull burned to the waterline. 1910: DUNELM went aground on Isle Royale while downbound with grain for Montreal. It was salvaged on December 21 and taken to Port Arthur for repairs.

1917: TUSCARORA, recently cut in two, towed through the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals, and rejoined at Montreal, sank with the loss of all hands off Cape Breton Island on the delivery voyage to the East Coast.

1924: MIDLAND PRINCE was swept onto a reef while under tow in the outer harbor at Port Colborne and sank the tugs JOSEPH H. and HOME RULE in the process. The laker was released the next day but the tugs were a total loss.

1961: The listing freighter MARIANGELA B. was abandoned on the Mediterranean south of Formentera, Spain, after the cargo of zinc shifted in a storm. The vessel was towed to Cartagena, Spain, on December 8 but soon sold to Italian shipbreakers for dismantling at La Spezia in 1962. The vessel had been built at Sturgeon Bay as LABAN HOWES in 1943.

1977: The passenger ship ROYAL CLIPPER caught fire in the engine room at Montreal. After five hours, the ship rolled on its side and sank. It was salvaged in 1982, towed to Port Maitland, and scrapped during 1984-1986.

1992: WILLIAM R. ROESCH was inbound at Holland, Mich., with a cargo of slag when it went aground. The ship was stuck for two hours.

2001: NANCY MELISSA visited the Great Lakes in 1980. It began taking water as e) EMRE BAY in the Ionian Sea and the crew abandoned the ship. The grain laden vessel was taken in tow to safety but was later sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as f) RESBE on April 9, 2003.

2002: SAGINAW sustained rudder damage while backing away at Thorold and had to go to Hamilton for repairs.

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

 

It’s official: Algoma Montrealais to be retired at end of season

12/5 - According to the winter edition of Bear Facts, the Algoma Central Corp. employee newsletter, the 1962-built laker Algoma Montrealais will be retired at the end of the 2014 shipping season. She is Canada’s last steam-powered laker. The article did not mention whether the vessel will be scrapped overseas or at the scrapping dock at Port Colborne, Ont., where her sister vessel, Algoma Quebecois, met her end earlier this year. On Thursday, the vessel was departing Duluth/Superior for the last time headed to Thunder Bay for a grain cargo.

Read the issue here

 

 

Port Reports -  December 5

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Ships expected in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Montrealais and Algoma Equinox - Dec 5
Federal Ems and Vancouverborg - Dec 6
Algoma Discovery , Oakglen, John B. Aird Algoma Spirit Dec 7

Ships in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Pineglen and Kaministiqua arrived Dec 4.
Ina - Arrived Dec 3.
Federal Kumano - Arrived Dec 2.
Zelada Desgagnes

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
The Samuel de Champlain and the CSL Laurentien are both in the large drydock at Bayship. The Champlain is getting underwater work and the Laurentien is getting new tail shaft and blades in preparation for installation of new MAK engines. The Beaver Island ferry Emerald Isle is in the small drydock having some routine work done.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Sharon M I was docked Thursday at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman departed Rochester early Thursday afternoon bound for Picton, Ont.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through Wednesday evening and night, the upbound Algoma Discovery at 6:47pm to Thunder Bay, Ont., and Florijngracht to Hamilton, Ont. Downbound John D. Leitch to Baie Comeau, QC., and Victorious articulated push tug with John J. Carrick barge to Montreal, QC all went through town. Thursday the Algonova went down through at 3:05am heading to Tracy, QC., the downbound Torrent heading to Quebec City, QC at 7:04, the articulated push tug Wilf Seymour with Alouette Spirit barge up through at 7:12 for Oswego, N.Y., and CSL Niagara up to Sandusky, Ohio at 7:38am. The Federal Mattawa came up at 8:57am headed to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Radcliffe R. Latimer headed up to Clarkson at 12:43 and downbounders Algolake to Tracy, QC at 1:00pm and Ojibway at 3:16pm. Upbound at 4:49pm the Americaborg sailed through headed to Hamilton, Ont. Expected to sail through Thursday night are the upbounders Manitoba and Tecumseh both headed to Thunder Bay, Ont. Expected to depart Friday morning is the Baie St. Paul, from the Port of Johnstown with a 25 tonne load of soybean for Quebec City, Quebec.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
The tug Eileen McAllister is tied up in Quebec City, giving a destination of Brownsville. This is the tug that will take over the American Fortitude scrap tow to Texas. There have been high winds all over eastern Canada for the last two days, so the tow has been delayed.

 

Large abstract sculpture of historic schooner planned for downtown Muskegon

12/5 - Muskegon, Mich. – A historic schooner that was the pride of Muskegon and later destroyed far from home for the amusement of others will rise again in the form of an abstract sculpture.

The schooner Lyman M. Davis will be memorialized with the sculpture planned for the traffic circle on Terrace Point Drive near downtown. The site is near where the Davis was built in 1872, one of very few ships ever built in Muskegon.

John Hermanson, whose grandfather was a captain of the Davis, is spearheading the effort to add another sculpture to the downtown area. The 33-foot abstract piece will be made of stainless steel that will just "gleam like crazy," Hermanson said. Its form will mimic the sails of the two-masted fore-and-aft schooner.

The sculpture will be the first public outdoor sculpture in Muskegon to pay homage to the city's maritime history. The schooner was built to ferry lumber from the Mason Lumber Company to Chicago following the great fire of October 1871.

So it was somewhat ironic, and certainly tragic to the people of Muskegon, when the schooner was burned in an intentionally set fire to entertain visitors at a Toronto amusement park in 1934.

"It was a very, very serious tragedy," Hermanson said. "At the time, there were a lot of people who knew it was going to happen, and who just couldn't stop it. It's very sad."

Hermanson is working to raise $144,000 in private funds for the sculpture, and has already raised $88,000. The hope is to have the sculpture erected in the spring of 2016. The traffic circle where it will be located is adjacent to The Lake House Waterfront Grille and Shoreline Inn as well as at the entrance to the Terrace Point Landing residential development and Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center.

The sculpture, which has been two years in the planning, will be created by Steve Peterson, a Cedar Springs artist. Story boards nearby will tell the story of the Lyman M. Mason.

Following the Chicago fire, there was an urgent need for lumber to rebuild the city. Lyman Mason and Charles Davis, owners of the Mason Lumber Company, commissioned the construction of the schooner at the end of Pine Street near the current Muskegon Fire Department downtown station and Hot Rod Harley Davidson on Terrace Street.

At the time, the shore of Muskegon Lake came up roughly where Western Avenue is, Hermanson said. "It was very unusual it was built here," he said.

The sailing ship made its first trip to Chicago in the spring of 1873, and made as many as three round trips per week, according to Hermanson. An image of the Lyman M. Davis sailing in the Muskegon Channel is one of the iconic images from the "romantic" era of Muskegon's commercial sailing history.

"It turned out to be the fastest schooner ever in the Great Lakes, and there were over 1,000 schooners on the lake at one time," Hermanson said. The Davis even beat the steamer George C. Markham in an 1887 race across Lake Michigan, according to Hermanson.

Hermanson, a self-described "boat freak," said he grew up with stories about the Lyman M. Davis and for several years had mulled over the idea of a public sculpture of the schooner.

When he brought the idea to the Downtown Muskegon Public Arts Committee, it was greeted with enthusiasm, said Chris McGuigan, president of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, one of the founders of the committee.

"The committee is excited about the sculpture because it connects us to our maritime history, it's a beautiful sculpture and because of its setting and its visibility," McGuigan said.

The schooner Lyman M. Davis was sold in 1912 by then owner William Brinen, who later tried and failed to repurchase his beloved ship from the new owners, who were brothers from Ontario. The Davis continued sailing the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario into the 1930s.

In 1933, the owner of the Sunnyside Amusement Park in Toronto purchased the Davis and decided to burn the historic schooner and charge visitors to watch its fiery death. A last-minute effort by Muskegon residents to save the Davis was too little too late.

On June 29, 1934, the schooner went down in flames after its rigging was filled with bombs and rockets and oil poured on the decks and dynamite used as a final blow, according to historical accounts. Its wreck remains upright in 148 feet of water about a mile off shore from Toronto. Divers continue to visit its remains.

M Live

 

Lookback #383 – Advance ran aground off Manitoulin Island on Dec. 5, 1927

The wooden steamer Advance had been built by Louis Shickluna at St. Catharines in 1884. Originally the Sir S.L. Tilley, the ship was used in the package freight and bulk trades but burned to the waterline off Cleveland on Aug. 26, 1899. While rebuilt, it burned again to the main deck at Sault Ste. Marie when the cargo of coal caught fire on Oct. 25, 1903.

The ship was rebuilt at Kingston and lengthened to 175 feet joining the Montreal Transportation Co. in 1904. It was rebuilt again in 1913 and converted to a bulk carrier. The vessel came under the operation of Canada Steamship Lines in 1916 but was tied up in 1921.

The ship was idle at Port Dalhousie in the mid-1920s but sold to W. Bingley & Son Ltd. for work in the coal trade to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario ports. However, Advance was on Georgian Bay when it went aground 87 years ago today. Although salvaged, the ship was laid up at Cornwall and never sailed again.

This was one of the numerous ships idled due to the Depression that never resumed trading. In time, the Advance was stripped of useful equipment. It was then towed down the St. Lawrence and discarded below Cornwall where the hull was allowed to rot.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 5

In 1927, ALTADOC crashed on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when her steering gear parted during a Lake Superior storm. The machinery and pilothouse of the wreck were recovered in 1928. The pilothouse was eventually refurbished in 1942 and opened as the Worlds Smallest Hotel in Copper Harbor, Michigan. The owners resided in the captains’ quarters, a gift shop was set up in the chart room, a guest lounge was set up in the wheelhouse, and there were two rooms for guests.

On 05 December 1897, the GEORGE W. MORLEY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 193 foot, 1045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was sailing light from Milwaukee to Chicago when a fire started near her propeller shaft. It blazed up too quickly for the engineer to put it out and before he could get the fire pump started, the flames drove on deck. The firemen were kept at their posts as the vessel was steered to shore. She sank 100 yards off Greenwood Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. Luckily no lives were lost. The vessel’s engine was recovered in October 1898.

Tanker SATURN (Hull#218) was launched in 1973, for Cleveland Tankers at Jennings, Louisiana, by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

SIR JAMES DUNN (Hull#109) was launched in 1951, for Canada Steamship Lines at Port Arthur, Ontario, by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

The keel was laid for the E.G. GRACE on December 5, 1942. This was the last of the six ships built by AmShip in the L6-S-A1 class for the United States Maritime Commission and was traded to the Interlake Steamship Company in exchange for older tonnage. She would later become the first of the "Maritime Class" vessels to go for scrap in 1984.

On 5 December 1874, the steam barge MILAN was scheduled to be hauled ashore at Port Huron to replace her "Mississippi wheel" with a propeller.

The wooden 100-foot schooner BRILLIANT was close to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on 5 December 1857, where she was scheduled to pick up a load of lumber when she went on a reef close to shore and sank. No lives were lost.

1909: HENRY STEINBRENNER (i) sank in a snowstorm on Mud Lake following a collision with the HARRY A. BERWIND. The superstructure remained above water and the ship was later refloated and repaired.

1927: The wooden steamer ADVANCE went aground off Manitoulin Island and two sailors were lost. The ship was salvaged but tied up at Cornwall later in the month and never operated again.

1935: The lumber carrier SWIFT caught fire at Sturgeon Bay and was a total loss. The remains were scrapped in 1936.

1935: The 65-year old wooden tug LUCKNOW burned outside the harbor at Midland and the ship was beached as a total loss.

1952: The wooden tug GARGANTUA departed Collingwood under tow and sought shelter from a storm early the next day behind Cabot Head. The ship was scuttled to avoid the rocky shore with the main part of the hull above water. The intent was to refloat the vessel in 1953 but it was abandoned instead.

1964: FAYETTE BROWN, enroute to Bilbao, Spain, for scrap, broke loose of the tug BARENTSZ ZEE in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and drifted aground on the south shore of Anticosti Island. Salvage efforts were not successful and the remains of the hull, now broken into many pieces, are still there.

1971: VENUS CHALLENGER was sunk by a missile in the India-Pakistan war while 26 miles south of Karachi. The ship broke in two and sank in 8 minutes. All 33 on board were lost. The vessel was completely darkened and going at 16 knots when hit. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971 and as b) PLEIAS in 1968.

1976: TATIANA L. and RALPH MISENER sustained minor damage from a collision in the St. Lawrence. The former was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as c) LUCKY LADY in 2009, while the latter arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) DON in September 2012.

1987: The CASON foundered off Punta Rostro, Spain, enroute from Hamburg to Shanghai, due to heavy weather. There were 8 survivors but another 23 sailors perished. There were explosions and fires in deck containers and the hull broke in two during a salvage effort in May 1988. The ship had come through the Seaway as b) WOLFGANG RUSS in 1978 and FINN LEONHARDT in 1979.

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

 

Great Lakes ice season to be near normal

12/4 - It's going to be a near-normal ice season for the Great Lakes, according to the Canadian Ice Service. Scott Weese, a senior ice forecaster, says this season's ice forecast is based on the temperatures expected in the Great Lakes regions.

"At this point we have seen an early start to the season with some colder weather that's broken out across the region. So we've seen an advanced development of ice but that has slowed in the last few weeks with some warmer temperatures," Weese said.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ice formation on Lake Superior last month was the earliest ever recorded on any of the Great Lakes since records started being kept more than 40 years ago.

But that should slow, Weese said. "The long-term outlook does suggest that too that temperatures are going to be near normal or slightly above normal. So we don't expect the really aggressive development of the ice this year," Weese said.

Last season, a maximum ice coverage of 92.2 per cent across all Great Lakes was recorded in early March. That was the second-highest ice cover ever recorded on the Great Lakes. The largest ice cover for the Great Lakes occurred during the winter of 1978-79, when 95 per cent of the Lakes were frozen in mid-February.

Weese doesn't expect the same this season.

"It's a forecast that is substantially lower than last year's but it does sit in the normal range from our historical climatology, our climatology starts from 1972-1973," Weese said.

Last year's record ice stranded boats and had icebreakers in Canadian and U.S. waters working overtime into the spring.

CBC

 

As 2014 winds down, no sign water levels won’t keep rising in new year

12/4 - Manitoulin Island, Ont. – According to Environment Canada’s latest installment of the publication LEVELnews, with the exception of Lake Ontario, water levels of all the Great Lakes remained above average in October.

“Generally wet conditions continued and water supplies to each of the lake’s basins were near or above average in October,” the publication states. “As a result, water levels have yet to begin their seasonal decline on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron.

Lake Michigan-Huron’s mean level in October was 11 cm above average, the highest mean level recorded since 1998, and up 53 cm from last year.

“Lake Michigan-Huron continued to rise with above-average inflows from Lake Superior combined with above-average water supplies resulting in the lake level rising by two cm, when on average it falls by seven cm,” the report states. Levels of all the Great Lakes remained above last year’s levels at the beginning of November, with the exception of Lake Ontario, which is currently 10 cm below where it was last year at this time.

Lake Michigan-Huron’s beginning-of-November level was 15 cm above average, 55 cm higher than last year and the highest beginning-of-November level since 1997,” LEVELnews continues. Higher beginning-of-November values have been recorded on Lake Michigan-Huron 35 times since 1918.

Depending on the level of ice cover for Lake Huron this winter, Islanders could conceivably see this trend of rising water levels continue into the spring.

Manitoulin Expositor

 

Deep water port, docks under development at Escanaba

12/4 - Escanaba, Mich. – Basic Marine has begun the development of Escanaba's north shore, which will become the home of a new deep water port.

"The final plan is to be a deep water port, that's the objective of this whole thing. Initially, what we're striving to do is do ship repair," said Lyle Berro, business development manager for Basic Marine. "This will be the only facility on the upper Great Lakes ... that will be able to take a loaded ore freighter and have it be able to come in and have repairs done on it."

To bring the company's plan to fruition, the property's shoreline need to be dredged to allow ships access to the docks and pier being built. For a fully-loaded carrier to dock, the lake bottom needed to be dredged to around 26 feet.

The barge used to dredge the lake bottom along Escanaba’s north shore sits docked Monday morning. Dredging is a major part of Basic Marine’s plan to develop the area into a deepwater port where fully-loaded ships can be repaired.

Dredging the lake has produced large piles of sand on the shoreline, as well as large piles of wood debris from the original merchant dock that was built in the 1840s.

"This is the original merchant dock for Escanaba. The reason Escanaba is here is because of this lake frontage right here that we're working on," said Berro.

The new structures - a large stretch of concrete dock and the extension of a 450-foot pier to construct a 1,200-foot pier - will have their own effect for commerce and shipping even though the ships that dock in the deep water port will not be picking up or dropping off cargo.

"They'll tie up here in the winter time and once the shipping season starts again they'll be closer to the earliest opening ore shipping port on the Great Lakes, right here in Escanaba," explained Berro. "Basic Marine also has Basic Towing and they also have an icebreaking service and they'll be able to get the ships out into the bay, break ice up to the dock, and start the shipping season that much earlier because the ships will be right here."

In the beginning, Basic Marine will be able to host two or three ships, but eventually the goal is to have as many as 10 ships docked over the winter receiving repairs. Each ship will have it’s own work crew to ensure that the ship is ready when the shipping season opens in the spring.

"With ship repair winter tie up here, every ship will require between 20 and 50 skilled trades laborer people - welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, engineers - all kinds of skilled trades will be needed to do winter tie-up repairs," said Berro.

Berro also noted other industries such as machine shops and welding supply companies will benefit from the repairs being done at the new dock. Hotels, retailers, and restaurants could benefit from the people who come in with the ships when they arrive at the port.

"The economic impact once this is up and running will be immense," said Berro.

The timeline for the project's completion is dependent on weather conditions, but Basic Marine hopes to have the piles of dredged sand off the shoreline by the spring. Once the dredging is completed, the company will bring in infrastructure like heavy electrical, natural gas, and air lines. Water, wastewater, and storm sewer capabilities will need to be brought in by the City of Escanaba.

"It's a big project," said Berro.

Escanaba Daily Press

 

Lake Erie temperature at end of November coldest in decades

12/4 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Lake Erie’s water temperature at the end of November fell to 40 degrees. That’s the coldest Nov. 30 reading in Buffalo since 1976, when the lake temperature was 38 degrees.

Anyone old enough to remember November 1976 needs no further reminder of what happened the following January. The lake froze, and sustained winds during the Blizzard of ’77 blew 3 feet of accumulated snow off the ice and dumped it across the Niagara Frontier.

Great Lakes scientists say it’s too early to tell if the lake’s present condition will lead to that kind of snow catastrophe this winter.

Until the lake freezes, there’s always a chance for lake-effect snow. But as the water turns colder, there’s less chance for a repeat of the heavy lake-effect snowfall that hit the area a couple of weeks ago.

“It really depends on what happens now and over the next few weeks or month,” said Eric J. Anderson, a forecaster at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Anderson said the cooling of the lake was speeded up by to the polar blast that recently dumped more than 7 feet of snow recently in some communities. “The lake is primed,” Anderson said. “If the air temperature drops, the lake is ready to freeze.”

But could that spell trouble, too?

Buffalonians know as well as anyone that a frozen lake can be a blessing – there’s no more lake-effect snow.

“Once you seal it – once the water is not liquid – that cuts the evaporation” and with it the lake-effect snow, said George A. Leshkevich, a Great Lakes ice scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last winter, ice covered 92.5 percent of the Great Lakes – the most since 1979.

As of the middle of November, ice was already forming in some of the northern bays of Lake Superior. “It’s the earliest our office has on record for ice,” Anderson said.

Anderson called the early onset of ice “symptomatic” of a “cold year” over the Great Lakes.

A brutally cold winter, the late arrival of spring and a cool summer over the region kept lake temperatures – including Lake Erie – lower than usual this year. A warm autumn tempered those readings, at least until the arctic blast last month.

“Water temperatures on Lake Erie right now are very similar to what they were a year ago today,” Anderson said.

Last year, the Nov. 30 water temperature of Lake Erie in Buffalo was 41 degrees, and ice began forming on the lake during the second week in December. By Dec. 12 – after an arctic blast and round of lake-effect snow – about 10 percent of Lake Erie was already covered in ice.

Forecasters expect the same conditions could occur this month and continue through the winter.

“The ice cover in Lake Erie will be similar to last year,” said Jia Wang, an ice and climate forecaster at the Great Lakes laboratory.

As of Tuesday, there was no sign of ice on the lake. When it does appear, it will likely show up first near Toledo and along the Canadian shore near Long Point, Ont.

“The shallow areas are going to get that formation first,” Anderson said.

The Buffalo office of the National Weather Service takes Lake Erie’s daily temperature at a 30-foot depth at the city’s water treatment plant, near where the lake spills into the Niagara River.

Tuesday’s reading remained at 40 degrees, but there’s a 14-degree spread on the thermometer between the western part of the lake and its deepest point between Long Point, Ont., and Erie, Pa.

Scientists said the temperature was at a lake-low 34 degrees in shallow areas near Toledo and 38 degrees near the islands off of Ohio’s shore. Surface temperatures on the deeper eastern end of the lake near Buffalo ranged from 42 degrees to 44 degrees with the lake’s deepest waters still at 46 degrees to 48 degrees.

So, there’s still a ways to go before the lake freezes, ending the lake-effect threat.

“The lake freezing is what would end it,” said Jeff Wood, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Buffalo. Anderson said, “Even if you start now, you’re really not going to start to shut the system down for another three weeks or so.”

Over the last 30 years, the average date when the lake freezes is Jan. 21, the weather service said.

If warmer water is the key to lake-effect snow, will the colder water knock down the ferocity of any more lake-effect storms?

The simple answer is yes. Scientists said the wider the spread between the temperatures of the air and the water, the more evaporation occurs and thus greater lake-effect snow.

“As the water temperature falls, then the difference between the two is lessened,” Leshkevich said. “The possibility of evaporation is going to be reduced.”

On Nov. 18 – well into the first of the two big lake-effect storms last month – Lake Erie’s temperature was 48 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The air temperature at the surface of the water then was about 24 degrees. At 5,000 feet above the lake, it was 5 degrees. At 20,000 feet it was minus 44.

Mix in the west wind, and it all turned into snowfall rates of up to 5 inches an hour.

“The lake was still quite warm and you had an awfully cold air mass aloft,” Wood said.

Buffalo News

 

Port Reports -  December 4

Alpena, Mich. – From Ben & Chanda McClain
Manistee brought coal to Lafarge on Sunday. The Sam Laud arrived in the river at the DPI dock late Sunday night. It unloaded coal and left early Monday morning. On Tuesday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was loading cement at Lafarge.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Upbound through the night Tuesday and early morning Wednesday were the Algoma Spirit to Hamilton, Nickelena tug with BM209 barge and Algowood to Baie Comeau, Q.C. Wednesday, the upbound Baie Comeau sailed through at 3:36am headed to Conneaut. Later, the downbounders Maria Desgagnes at 5:58am and Thunder Bay at 6:32am, both headed to Quebec City, cleared town. The upbounders Apollon headed to Sault Ste. Marie at 9:52am, Claude A. Desgagnes to Toledo at 12 pm. Baie St. Paul came up and into the Port of Johnstown at 2:15pm. Ebroborg came down at 4:04pm headed for Ravenna, Italy, and up came Bluebill at 4:18pm headed to Burns Harbor. The downbound Algolake followed at 4:39pm for Quebec City, and the downbound Cuyahoga came by at 5:56pm. Through Wednesday evening and night, the upbound Algoma Discovery to Thunder Bay, and Florijngracht to Hamilton, are expected. Downbound John D. Leith to Baie Comeau, and Victorious tug with John J. Carrick barge to Montreal are also expected.

Ship Movements in Quebec/Montreal to Great Lakes – Andre Blanchard
Ships in Quebec then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Tecumseh - ETD: Dec 3 for Toledo, OH Ships expected in Quebec then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Acadian - ETA: Dec 4, then on to Montreal, QC
Vega Desgagnes - ETA: Dec 4, then on to Hamilton, ON
Thunder Bay - ETA: Dec 5, then on to Superior, WI
Whistler - ETA: Dec 5, then on to Toronto, ON
High Nefeli - ETA: Dec 7, then on to Montreal, QC
Prisco Elizaveta - ETA: Dec 7, then on to Montreal, QC

Ships in Montreal then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Bremen: ETD: Not yet available, but will be heading to Sorel, QC

Ships expected in Montreal then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Sundaisy E: ETA: Dec 6 then on to Hamilton, ON
Cuyahogoa: ETA: Dec 4 then on to Hamilton, ON

 

Lookback #382 - Nakwa River suffered extensive fire damage at Montreal on Dec. 4, 1966

A number of ships came to the Great Lakes from Ghana in the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Most had names that ended in “River” while others had a name ending in “Lagoon.” These vessels were part of the Black Star Line.

Nakwa River was built by Barclay Curle & Co. and launched at Glasgow, Scotland, on Jan. 15, 1965. It was completed in May and spent its first year in ocean trading.

The 454-foot, 6-inch-long by 62-foot, 8-inch-wide general cargo carrier was diesel- powered and able to handle up to 7,750 tons of freight.

On Dec. 4, 1966, 48 years ago today, a fire broke out aboard Nakwa River while the vessel was approaching Montreal. The ship docked with the fire underway and local firefighters help extinguish the blaze. The duration of the fire resulted in extensive damage but this was repairable as the ship was not yet two years old.

Nakwa River had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1966 and returned after the repairs had been completed. The ship continued in company service until tying up at Hamburg, West Germany, on Feb. 4, 1982.

The Black Star Line was having economic difficulties and eventually declared bankruptcy. Most of their vessels never sailed again and Nakwa River was sold to Spanish shipbreakers to help satisfy the company creditors.

On April 10, 1984, Nakwa River was towed into Santander, Spain, were it was broken up by Desbar.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 4

In 1947, EMORY L. FORD, Captain William J. Lane, departed the Great Northern Elevator in Superior, Wisconsin, with the most valuable cargo of grain shipped on the Great Lakes. The shipment, valued at more than $3 million, consisted of 337,049 bushes of flax valued at $7 a bushel and 140,000 bushels of wheat.

On 04 December 1891, the side-wheel wooden passenger steamer JEANIE, owned by John Craig & Sons, caught fire at the Craig & Sons shipyard in Toledo, Ohio, and burned to the water's edge. She was valued at $25,000 and insured for $10,000.

Algoma Central Marine's ALGOSOO was the last ship built on the Lakes with the traditional fore and aft cabins; her maiden voyage took place today in 1974.

IMPERIAL QUEBEC entered service on December 4, 1957. Renamed b.) SIBYL W. in 1987, and c.) PANAMA TRADER in 1992. Scrapped in Mexico in 1997.

LIGHTSHIP 103 completed her sea trials December 4, 1920.

At 0210 hours on December 4, 1989, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE ran aground in 12 feet of water at a point one-quarter nautical mile off Keweenaw Point. After a struggle to save the ship, the 53 persons aboard abandoned ship at 0830 hours and boarded the Indian salty MANGAL DESAI, which was standing by.

On 4 December 1873, a gale struck Saginaw Bay while the CITY OF DETROIT of 1866 was carrying 8,000 bushels of wheat, package freight and 26 crew and passengers. She was also towing the barge GUIDING STAR. The barge was cut loose in the heavy seas at 3:30 a.m. and about 7 a.m. the CITY OF DETROIT sank. Captain Morris Barrett of the GUIDING STAR saw three of the CITY OF DETROIT's crew in one lifeboat and only one in another lifeboat. The CITY OF DETROIT went down stern first and the passengers and crew were seen grouped together on and about the pilothouse. Capt. Barrett and his crew of seven then abandoned GUIDING STAR. They arrived at Port Elgin, Ontario on 6 December in their yawl with their feet frozen. The barge was later found and towed in by the tug PRINDEVILLE.

On 4 December 1838, THAMES (wooden passenger/package-freight side-wheeler, 80 foot, 160 tons, built in 1833, at Chatham, Ontario) was burned at her dock in Windsor, Ontario by Canadian "patriots" during a raid on Windsor involving more than 500 armed men.

EMERALD ISLE completed her maiden voyage from Beaver Island to Charlevoix on December 4, 1997. Her first cargo included a few cars and 400 passengers. EMERALD ISLE replaced BEAVER ISLANDER as the main ferry on the 32-mile run.

1920: The first RENVOYLE went to saltwater for war service in 1915. It foundered in shallow water on this date in the Bay of Biscay in 1920. Salvage attempts failed. The hull was broken up by the elements and part was scrapped on site.

1951: CAPTAIN C.D. SECORD was disabled and under tow of the SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY when it broke loose in a storm off Isle Royale. The ship was retrieved by U.S.C.G. WOODRUSH and taken to safety and eventually to Port Arthur for repairs.

1966: NAKWA RIVER sustained extensive fire damage at Montreal. The flames broke out while outbound from the Great Lakes.

1986: AMERICAN REPUBLIC was blown on the breakwall at Lorain, Ohio, and received a five-foot gash on the side about 15 feet above the waterline.

1990: IONIA caught fire in the engine room about 90 miles south of Puerto Rico while enroute from Tampa to Chittagong, Bangladesh. The damage was not repaired and the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, as f) ONIA in 1991 and scrapped. The vessel began Seaway service in 1971 as the British flag freighter ZINNIA, returned as b) TIMUR SWIFT in 1983 and as d) ZENOVIA in 1985.

1992: ZEUSPLEIN caught fire in the bridge at Campana, Argentina, and became a total loss. The vessel was sold to shipbreakers in India and arrived for scrapping on June 1, 1993. It had first traveled the Seaway as a) ZEUS in 1972 and had been rebuilt as a container ship in 1983.

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

 

Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw assists boater in distress

12/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw came to the aid of a boater in distress on Lake Michigan Tuesday.

At about 11:25 a.m., a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie command center received a call over channel 16 from the owner of a 16-foot commercial fishing vessel stating his boat was disabled and adrift about three miles northwest of Cross Village, Mich. The owner, a 34-year-old man, stated the boat was also taking on a small amount of water.

Sector Sault Ste. Marie issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched a boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, which trailered their small boat to the location shore side. The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which was conducting aids to navigation operations about 20 miles from the scene, was diverted. In addition, a Tribal Conservation officer was dispatched to the area shore side.

At about 1:30 p.m., the Mackinaw arrived on scene, and shortly after a boat crew was launched aboard the cutter's small boat. The crew took the man and his disabled vessel in side tow to the Cross Village Boat Ramp where Station St. Ignace and Tribal Conservation personnel assisted the man and his vessel.

USCG

 

Port Reports -  December 3

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning, calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. After unloading, the pair was outbound for the lake, reaching the Saginaw Bay late in the afternoon. For the month of November, there were 13 commercial vessel deliveries to docks along the Saginaw River. This is down seven deliveries from November 2013, when there were 20. It is also three deliveries below the five-year average of 16. For the year to date, there have been 105 commercial deliveries on the Saginaw River. This is 28 fewer than the same time period in 2013 and 21 fewer than the five year average of 126 over the same time period.

Thessalon, Ont.
Algoway’s unloading boom collapsed while unloading Nov 28. Photos show the boom broken in two places. As of Tuesday night, AIS had her remaining at Thessalon.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Tuesday, Stephen B. Roman was unloading cement. Prescott Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Very early Tuesday morning the Eeborg cleared Prescott, heading to Montreal. Tuesday morning the heavy lift vessel Palmerton was headed up to Port Weller at 5:17am. The downbound Bluewing sailed through to Montreal at 9:51pm and the upbound Federal Katsura went by headed to Windsor at 10:09am. Tuesday afternoon downbound traffic included Algoma Transport to Becancour at 12:03pm, Wigeon to Montreal at 1:07pm and the Flinter America at 1:47. Expected Tuesday evening are the downbound Algoma Spirit to Hamilton and the upbound tug Nickelena and barge BM209. Expected early Wednesday morning are the upbounders Baie Comeau to Conneaut, Apollon to Sault St. Marie, Ont., and the downbound Algowood to Baie Comeau.

 

Mackinaw continues Christmas tree tradition at Chicago this weekend

12/3 - Chicago, Ill. – The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, serving once again as this year’s “Christmas Ship” and loaded with more than 1,200 Christmas trees, is returning to Chicago for a two-day event re-enacting what was an annual Chicago tradition in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A welcoming for the Mackinaw, by the Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, is scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m. Chicago Fire and Police Department boats will be part of the welcome as live music is performed dockside by the Hubbard High School Band. Members of the Mackinaw’s crew and volunteers from Chicago’s boating community will begin decorating the ship Friday morning for the “Chicago’s Christmas Ship” event.

Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee will also host educational programs aboard the Mackinaw and at the Columbia Yacht Club on Friday for students from Goodwin Elementary School in Cicero and Queen of All Saints School in Chicago. More than 150 students will learn about the role of the Coast Guard, the “Christmas Ship” tradition, observe a Sea Partners ecology presentation and experience a ship tour by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Christmas trees, purchased by Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee, will be offloaded Saturday morning by members of the Coast Guard and local youth volunteers including the Sea Cadets, Venture Crews, Sea Scouts and the Young Marines, following a brief, public ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.

The ceremony will take place at the west end of Navy Pier near the Captain at the Helm statue and will include the Lincolnway Central High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard and Drill Team, and the Taft High School Choir. The ceremony will conclude with the first tree being presented to a representative family. The remaining trees will be loaded onto trucks for distribution by 17 local community organizations to more than 1,200 deserving families throughout Chicago.

The Mackinaw’s reenactment continues a treasured piece of Chicago’s maritime tradition. Herman Schuenemann was the captain of the original Christmas Ship. He came to Chicago from Michigan for more than 30 years with fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season during the late 1800s and early 1900s. On Nov. 23, 1912, Captain Schuenemann was at the helm of the fabled Christmas Ship, the Rouse Simmons. On that day while transiting from Michigan, Captain Schuenemann and the Rouse Simmons was lost in a storm and sank with a crew of 16 between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

During its transit to Chicago this year, the crew of the Mackinaw will hold a solemn tribute and drop a wreath into the waters near the resting place of the Rouse Simmons, which was located in 1971.

Chicago’s boating community has been re-enacting the days of the Rouse Simmons landing in Chicago for the past 14 years. The Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee is composed of, and supported by, many facets of Chicago’s boating community including the International Shipmasters’ Association, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, the Navy League of the United States, Chicago yacht clubs, Friends of the Marine Community, the Chicago Yachting Association, the Cruise Ship Mystic Blue and others. Navy Pier hosts the event, while staff lends support to this ongoing tradition.

Free, public tours of the Mackinaw will be available Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

USCG

 

Lookback #381 – Saltvik last salty out of the Seaway on Dec. 3, 1959

The St. Lawrence Seaway had opened the Great Lakes to larger ocean going ships on April 25, 1959, and the very successful first season ended for overseas callers on Dec. 3, 1959. It is interesting that the last ship to depart the Seaway in its first year of operation, like the first one to come in, had been a pre-Seaway era trader to the freshwater lakes.

Saltvik hailed from Norway and had made three trips to our shores in 1959. The vessel had been built as Lysaker V. at Porsgrunn, Norway, in 1936. The ship came inland with pulpwood in 1939 and left with grain. It survived the rigors of World War Two and was back through the old locks and canals in 1951 and 1952.

It was sold and renamed Kya in 1953 and again came to the Great Lakes. Sold again to A.C. Olsen in 1958, it became Saltvik in time for another trip to the lakes.

It was 55 years ago today, that Saltvik departed the Seaway as the last ocean traveler of the year. The ship was back one last time in 1960 and spent the rest of its life on saltwater. The ship was sold and renamed Ramsvik in 1963, became a lighter at Oslo in 1967 and then cut down to a barge in 1973. It is difficult to determine what happened next.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 3

In 1918, the forward end of the former Pittsburgh steamer MANOLA sank during a gale on Lake Ontario. The after end received a new forward end and sailed for several years as the MAPLEDAWN.

On 03 December 1881, the DE PERE (wooden propeller, 736 tons, built in 1875, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was caught in a severe southwest gale and blizzard on Lake Michigan. She was driven ashore near Two Rivers, Wisconsin. All efforts to free her failed, so she was left to winter where she lay. In April 1882, she was pulled free by the Goodrich tug ARCTIC and towed to Manitowoc for repairs. Little damage was found and she was back in service quickly.

On 03 December 1891, the OGEMAW (wooden propeller freighter, 167 foot, 624 gross tons, built in 1881, at St. Clair, Michigan) sprang a leak on Big Bay de Noc and sank. Her decks and cabins were blown off as she sank in 11 fathoms of water, 1 1/2 miles northwest of Burnt Bluff. Her crew was rescued by her consorts MAXWELL and TILDEN. Although the vessel was removed from enrollment as a total loss, she was later raised, rebuilt, and re-documented in 1894. However, 03 December was a fateful date for this steamer because on that date in 1922, she burned 1-1/2 miles below Grand Point, near Harsens Island, on the St. Clair River Ð this time to a total and final loss.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.'s CANADIAN AMBASSADOR (Hull#70) was launched December 3, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

ROBERT W. STEWART, b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN in 1962) was launched in 1927, at Lorain, Ohio (Hull # 802), by the American Ship Building Co.

In 1909, LE GRAND S. DEGRAFF collided with the steamer HARVARD while down bound in the Detroit River in fog.

IRVING S. OLDS was laid up for the final time on December 3, 1981, at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, Minnesota, due to market conditions and her inability to compete with the 60,000-ton carrying capacity of the self-unloading thousand-foot bulk freighters.

On 3 December 1872, the officers and crew of the schooner E. KANTER arrived home in Detroit, Michigan. They reported that their vessel was driven ashore near Leland, Michigan in Lake Michigan on 26 November and was broken up by the waves.

On 3 December 1850, HENRY CLAY (2-mast wooden brig, 87 foot, 163 tons, built in 1842, at Huron, Ohio) was driven ashore at Point Nipigon in the Straits of Mackinac. She suffered little damage, but she was high and dry and unsalvageable. Her crew and passengers were picked up by the passing steamer TROY.

Back during the rough days of November on the lakes, the crews of the Imperial Oil tankers would wet the tablecloths in the mess rooms to keep plates, glasses and silverware from sliding off the tables.

1909: BARGE 101, a whaleback built on the Great Lakes in 1888, sank off Seal Island, Maine enroute from Boston to Halifax with coal tar. The crew of seven was lost.

1942: Yesterday and today the tug ADMIRAL and petroleum barge CLEVECO were lost with all hands off Euclid Beach, Ohio. A total of 32 sailors perished.

1954: The tug ROUILLE sank off Cape Smoky, NS with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel was built in 1929 as Hull 83 at the Collingwood Shipyard and had been on the lakes earlier in the year.

1959: THEODORUS A., seized earlier on Lake St. Clair due to debts, went aground twice while under tow to be unloaded. The vessel was released and spent the winter on the lakes. The crew was sent home.

1963: LIONEL and MANCHESTER MERCHANT collided at the entrance to the Seaway. The former caught fire and was beached at Ronde Island with heavy damage. It was rebuilt at Drammen, Norway, in 1964, returned inland as b) SKAGATIND in 1965 and was scrapped following another fire as e) ALECOS in 1982.

1967: TORONTO CITY, a Seaway trader from 1959 through 1962, went aground near the Elbe I Light enroute from Rostock, Germany, to Rotterdam, Holland, as d) EMMANUEL M. The crew was rescued and the ship was refloated July 7, 1970, sold for scrap, and broken up at Hamburg, Germany.

1985: An engine room fire broke out aboard the SKRADIN at Augusta, Italy, and the ship was a total loss. It had been a Seaway trader as b) BALTIC WASA beginning in 1971 and first returned under the current name in 1976. The damaged vessel was quickly sold for scrap and arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, December 28, 1985, for dismantling.

1987: The former Straits of Mackinac passenger and auto ferry VACATIONLAND sank off Oregon while under tow for scrapping in the Far East.

1993: HOPE I was seriously damaged when it hit bottom east of Quebec City. The ship had traded inland as a) NOSIRA MADELEINE beginning in 1983 and had returned as b) HOPE I earlier in 1993. It was repaired at Lauzon and continued Great Lakes service through 2002. The bulk carrier was back as c) HOPE in 2004.

1995: The former Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RIMOUSKI, renamed b) CANADIAN HARVEST, broke in two 114 miles NE of Sable Island while under tow for scrapping in India. The stern sank first. The bow was released two days later and was also lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ron LaDue, Russ Plumb, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Michigan’s early snow and lake ice suggests difficult winter

12/2 - Detroit, Mich. – An almost incomprehensible first seasonal snowfall of more than 7 feet brought Buffalo, N.Y., to a near-standstill. But Michigan also is struggling with its own snowy, frigid November blast — particularly the Upper Peninsula.

The heavy, early, record-breaking snowfall — up to nearly 5 feet in parts of the U.P. — not only thwarted the firearm deer hunt that is so economically vital to many small U.P. communities, but it portends a third straight difficult winter for a deer population already significantly damaged by the past two brutal winters.

And after a near-record 92% ice cover over all the Great Lakes last winter, three of the lakes — Superior, Michigan and Huron — already had ice forming as of Nov. 18, the earliest ice cover has started on all three lakes in at least 40 years. That could make for another struggle for freighters hauling fuel, minerals and products on the waters.

The National Weather Service station at Marquette said the two-day snowfall Nov. 10-11 was the highest ever for the region that early. Munising topped its 103-year-old November snowfall record of 40.7 inches with more than half the month to go, meteorologist Don Rolfson said. Marquette also buried its previous snowfall record of 48.9 inches, topping 50.8 inches on Tuesday with snow in the forecast through the rest of the week. Ironwood also was on track to break its November snowfall record.

What's causing the huge dumping of snow in the U.P. — and elsewhere in Michigan — is the same thing causing it in Buffalo: A "system snow" that turned into a heavy, continued, lake-effect snow, Rolfson said. Cold air passes over the relatively warmer Great Lakes and acts like a snow-making machine.

"The water temperatures on Lake Superior are somewhat below normal," he said. "But we've been getting such unseasonably cold air, we're getting the lake-effect snow despite the lake being colder."

It's unusual for cold air masses coming south from the Arctic to be so cold and so persistent at this time of year, Rolfson said.

It's the same factor causing the early lake ice. The Canadian Ice Service recorded ice on Lake Superior near Thunder Bay on Nov. 15. That's the earliest recording on record going back at least 42 years, said service senior ice forecaster Jason Ross. It's also 10 days earlier than first-ice reports from last winter — which by later in the winter approached a record ice cover over all the Great Lakes of 92%.

Ice was on both the northern and southern shores of Lake Superior last week; on Green Bay and the northern tip of Lake Michigan; along the St. Mary's River and Georgian Bay in northern Lake Huron, and even on southern Saginaw Bay along Michigan's Thumb.

"It's very early," said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. "Last winter was so cold, the water was still cold, and that combined with a polar vortex (of frigid air) coming down."

That elicits a grimace from Great Lakes freight haulers.

"It suggests this will be another tough winter for us," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, a trade organization for freighters.

Barges waiting in lines to follow icebreakers last winter caused many shipments to be delayed by days or even weeks. Association officials have met this month with the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards in preparation, Nekvasil said.

"They know we still have a lot of cargo to move," he said. "It could be a tough go, but if all the icebreakers are ready to go, we should be able to get the job done."

Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports -  December 2

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through the night Sunday, upbounders Ojibway, Catherine Desgagnes to Toledo, Maria Desgagnes to Hamilton, and the downbounders Cedarglen to Baie Comeau, and Olza to Montreal, all sailed past town. Early Monday morning, the CSL Niagara went down to Baie Comeau. Monday the Federal Schelde sailed up through at 4:54 am and into Prescott anchorage on her way to Hamilton to await safe positioning for meeting with American Fortitude in tow downbound. She was underway at 8:50 am. Mapleglen came up and through to Sarnia at 6:32 am. Downbounders Mitiq to Greenore, Ireland, at 6:51; Federal Hudson for Quebec City at 7 am; and the Manitoba at 8:45 am sailed through. The upbound Isa was through at 10:43 am headed to Sault St. Marie, Ont.; and the downbounders Finnborg headed for Tilbury, Great Britain, at 12:35pm, Larsholmen to Montreal at 3:36 pm and the Algoma Progress to Cowes, Great Britain, at 6:48 pm.

The American Fortitude in tow of Evans McKeil with Jarrett M tug assisting passed through at 12:30 pm on her final voyage through as they make their way to Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. Expected early Tuesday morning are the downbound Eeborg to Montreal and the upbound heavy lift vessel Palmerton headed to the dock below Lock 1 in Port Weller to pick up a boiler.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
Le Groupe Ocean of Quebec City has renamed four of the BIG barges acquired earlier in the year when Distribution Grands Lacs wound up operations. Ocean Big 5, 6, 7 and 8 were respectively Big 503, 546, 9708B and 9917B. They had previously renamed four barges Ocean Big 1, 2, 3 and 4 but have renamed them again Big 4, 1, 2 and 3.

 

NMU grant will bring two new buoys to Lake Superior

12/2 - Marquette, Mich. – A new grant has been awarded to NMU to establish a coastal hazard observing system on a portion of Lake Superior. The grant will help fund deploying and monitoring two buoys that will measure wave height, water temperature, and wave activity among other things. One buoy will be placed near Pictured Rocks, while the other will be portable and will be placed in areas from Marquette to Whitefish Point. Sunday evening, a forum was held to inform the public on what the project is about and to gather input from the community as well.

"At some point in the future we're going to probably need support to keep it running in 5, 10, 15 years into the future, so we would like to get the community on board using it now so they see the utility of using it and can help fund us in the future," said Norma Froelich, Lead Investigator NMU’s Coastal Hazard Observing System.

The forums are expected to be a regular occurrence every month. The next one is this Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at Falling Rock Cafe in Munising.

UpperMichigansSource.com

 

Duluth Seaway Port Authority names new CFO

12/2 - Duluth, Minn. – The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has named a new Chief Financial Officer – just the third CFO in its history. Kevin Beardsley joins the staff on Dec. 1, 2014, bringing with him 20 years of experience in accounting, taxation, financial management and strategic planning. Beardsley succeeds John Kubow, who is retiring after a 28-year career with the Port Authority.

A Two Harbors native, Beardsley, a CPA, has directed the financial operations of a handful of dynamic organizations in this region. His early experience as credit manager at a vehicle dealership in Two Harbors (Benna Ford) led to a position as controller for Flatwater Fleet, Inc., a family-owned, international manufacturing company based in Saginaw, Minn., that designs custom drill rig support trucks. He returned to work in Two Harbors in 2000 to become office manager for Cooperative Light and Power, overseeing its financial operations and strategic planning for six years. Most recently, Beardsley has been part of the management team at Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior, Wis., serving as the company’s manager of financial services since 2008.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

Lookback #380 – Pearl Asia stranded off the Welland Canal on Dec. 2, 1976

The Liberian freighter Pearl Asia began Seaway service in 1971 but had been inland earlier under its original name of Crystal Crown.

The 460-foot, 10-inch-long bulk carrier had been built at Middlesborough, England, and launched on Sept. 21, 1956. It was completed the following January and entered service for the Sugar Line often trading between the Caribbean and England.

Crystal Crown began coming through the Seaway in 1960 and had made 13 trips into the Great Lakes to the end of 1967. It was sold in 1970 to the Good Hope Shipping Co. and registered under the flag of Liberia as Pearl Asia.

The grounding of 38 years ago today required help from the crane-equipped lighter Mapleheath and some of the cargo of bauxite, consigned to Thorold, had to be removed before tugs could pull the freighter free on Dec. 5. Despite the late season delay, Pearl Asia made it back to the sea before the deep freeze penetrated the inland lakes and rivers.

The vessel found bottom again off Quebec City on Aug. 14, 1977, and required a stay on the drydock at Baltimore to repair the damage.

Pearl Asia arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on July 9, 1979, and was broken up for scrap by the Nan Long Steel and Iron Co.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 2

On this day in 1942, the tug ADMIRAL and tanker-barge CLEVCO encountered a late season blizzard on Lake Erie. The ADMIRAL sank approximately 10 miles off Avon Point, Ohio, with a loss of 11. The CLEVCO sank 30 hours later off Euclid Beach with a loss of 19.

On 02 December 1857, the NAPOLEON (wooden propeller, 92 foot, 181 tons, built in 1845, at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, as a schooner) went to the assistance of the schooner DREADNAUGHT. In the rescue attempt, the NAPOLEON bent her rudder and disabled her engine. Helpless, she went on a reef off Saugeen, Ontario, and was pounded to pieces. Her engine, boiler and gear were salvaged in the autumn of 1858, and sold at Detroit, Michigan.

Hall Corporation of Canada’s OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull # 667) was launched December 2, 1968, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

GEORGE R. FINK, b) ERNEST T. WEIR under tow passed Gibraltar on December 2, 1973, and arrived at Gandia, Spain, prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull # 810) was launched in1937, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co.

NIPIGON BAY last ran in 1982, and was laid up at Montreal on December 2nd.

December 2, 1975, the brand new carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III sailed into Kingston from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The new 55-car ferry would replace the older ferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA.

On 2 December 1874, the steam barge GERMANIA was launched at King's yard in Marine City, Michigan. The Port Huron Times of 4 December 1874 reported that she "is probably the cheapest boat ever built in Marine City, wages and material, iron, etc. being very low." This was due to the nation just recovering from the "Panic of 1873." The vessel's dimensions were 144 feet overall x 56 feet 2 inches x 11 feet 9 inches.

On 2 December 1832, the wooden schooner CAROLINE was carrying dry goods worth more than $30,000 from Oswego to Ogdensburg, New York, in a violent storm. She capsized and sank off Ducks Island on Lake Ontario with the loss of one life. Five survived in the yawl and made it to the island in 6 hours. After much suffering from the cold and snow, they were rescued by the schooner HURON.

Duluth - December 2, 1950 - In the early part of this week there were as many as 41 Great Lakes vessels lined up in the Duluth-Superior harbor awaiting their turn to take on their cargoes of iron ore. Freezing temperatures prevailed at the head of the lakes and ore steaming operations permitted loading only of about 10 boats per day.

1964: The anchors of AGIOS NICOLAOS II dragged in a storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the ship drifted aground at Sea-Cow Head, near Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The ship was released and towed to Halifax but not repaired. It had first come through the Seaway as a) ALKAID in 1961 and made one trip inland as b) AGIOS NICOLAOS II in 1964. Following a sale for scrap, the ship arrived at Bilbao, Spain, under tow of the tug PRAIA DE ADRAGA, on April 2, 1965.

1967: The tanker LUBROLAKE and tug IRVING BEECH were blown aground on Cape Breton Island, near New Waterford, NS at a site called the No. 12 Stone Dump. Both ships were abandoned and broken up to the waterline there at a later date.

1976: PEARL ASIA went aground off Port Weller while waiting clearance to head upbound to Thorold with a cargo of bauxite. After being lightered to MAPLEHEATH, the vessel was pulled free. It had begun Seaway trading as a) CRYSTAL CROWN in 1960 and first returned as b) PEARL ASIA in 1971.

1977: KEFALONIA SKY arrived at New Orleans with engine trouble that was later deemed beyond economic repair. The vessel was sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas, in 1978. It had first visited the Seaway as NIEUWE TONGE in 1960 and returned as b) AMSTELDIEP in 1963.

2006: The tug SENECA broke loose of the SUSAN B. HOEY on Lake Superior and was blown aground 21 miles east of Grand Marais, Mich. It was refloated on Dec. 23 and taken to Sault Ste. Marie for assessment.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 1

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Canadian Navigator is on her way to Buffalo. At 9 am Sunday she was by Point Peele eastbound with an ETA of Monday morning. Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was eastbound out of Cleveland for Tonawanda with an ETA of Monday morning as well.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Saturday evening and overnight upbound traffic included Atlantic Erie to South Chicago, Pineglen to Thunder Bay, Federal Elbe to Hamilton, Federal Miramichi to Cleveland. Downbounders included Strandja to Falmouth, Jamaica, Victoriaborg for Montréal, and upbound Algomarine out of Johnstown to Nanticoke.

Early Sunday morning the upbound Sedna Desgagnes sailed through, along with the upbound Fuldaborg and downbound Baie Comeau, headed to Quebec City.

Upbound Sunday were Algoma Equinox at 6:29am to Hamilton, downbound Federal Mackinac at 7:55am and downbound Baie St. Paul at 10:08am both to Montreal. The Federal Mackinac will continue on to Vera Cruz, Mexico. Esta Desgagnes came up through at 11:22am for Oakville, and the Sarah Desgagnes to Clarkson at 1:15pm.

Expected through Sunday night are the upbound Ojibway, Catherine Desgagnes to Toledo, Maria Desgagnes to Hamilton, and the downbound Cedarglen to Baie Comeau and Olza to Montreal.

Expected early Monday are the downbound CSL Niagara to Baie Comeau, Federal Hudson to Quebec City and Eeborg for Montreal. The upbound Federal Schelde to Hamilton, Mapleglen to Sarnia, and Isa to Sault St. Marie are also expected to through.

Due through Prescott, Ont. early Monday is the 62-year-old American Fortitude, heading for scrapping in Brownsville, Texas. The American Steamship Co. self-unloader departed Toledo, Ohio under tow of the tug Evans McKeil on Nov. 26, 2014 with the tug Jarrett M assisting. The ship, launched 19 November 1952 has sat idle since tying up on Nov. 11, 2008.

 

Salties with Seaway ties sold for scrap

12/1 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the December 2014 issue.

Demolitions: Alma Agri, a chemical/products tanker that dates from 1995, was sold to Indian shipbreakers and arrived at Alang on Aug. 6, 2014. Dismantling began three days later by the Shree Ram Group Inc. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 2011 as e) Chem Pollux and had seven names in its 19 years of trading.

Eltem arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on Sept. 4, 2013. It was built in 1970 and visited the Great Lakes for the first time as a) Brinknes in 1971 and returned as c) Fossnes in 1977 and d) Akranes in 1981. The latter will be remembered for a grounding near Wellesley Island, in the St. Lawrence on Dec. 12, 1984. It had been sailing under as g) Eltem since 2004. Over the years it had been registered in Germany, Liberia, Norway, Iceland, Cyprus, Georgia, Comoros and Panama.

He Feng was sold to Chinese shipbreakers and arrived at Jingjiang, Jiangsu, on Aug. 11, 2013, for dismantling by Jingjiang Taihe Shipbreaking Co. The SD-14 was built as a) Good Faith by Austin & Pickersgill at Southwick, UK in 1979 and first came through the Seaway in 1987. It has been sailing under Panamanian registry as g) He Feng since 2008.

The chemical tanker Napht Al Yemen 19 was built in 1985 and initially operated under the flag of the U.S.S.R. as a) Bolshevik Kamo. It was registered in Malta as b) Kobuleti in 1993 and brought jet fuel to Hamilton on its first trip inland in June 1995 before loading tallow at Detroit. The vessel was back as d) Alioth Star in 2002 and, as recently as August 2005, made a trip to Oakville. It was sold and registered in Panama as e) Napht Al Yemen 19 later in 2005 and arrived at Gadani Beach as such. Scrapping got underway on Aug. 20, 2014.

Serenade first came through the Seaway in 1972, the year it was built, as a) Otto Porr. The vessel was sailing as b) Negah when it returned in 1980, as c) Danae for an inland visit in 1985 and as e) Serenade when it returned with aluminum for Chicago in 1994. It departed with 2,000 tons of grain for Ireland. The ship was back in 1996 calling at Detroit, Duluth and Thunder Bay. It was registered in Italy when it arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on July 23, 2014, and work got underway on August 11.

Spirit arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for dismantling on Aug. 12, 2014. This cargo carrier had come through the Seaway with sugar for Toronto on Dec. 8, 1990, as b) Albonica. The 25-year-old vessel was sailing under a seventh name of Spirit when it reached the scrapyard.

Topaz II arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on Aug. 16, 2014, and scrapping got underway right away. The ship had been built at Nagoya, Japan, as a) Aran in 1980 and came through the Seaway for the first time in 1982. As c) Sea Patron, the vessel lost steering in the Bosporus on Feb. 17, 2003, and rammed a floating restaurant, went aground and damaged a parked car while carrying 15,000 tons of fertilizer. The ship was repaired and sailing under her fifth name when she arrived at the scrapyard.

Lakes Related: Cebu was sold by Oceanex Canada Ltd. to Indian shipbreakers and arrived at Alang on Aug. 4, 2014. Dismantling got underway by Honey Ship Breaking Pvt. Ltd. on Aug. 13. This ship spent most of its life on the St. Lawrence operating in the container trade between Montreal and Cornerbrook as a) Cavallo and b) Cabot for a variety of interests.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham

 

Lookback #379 – Arie H. aground near Snell Lock on Dec. 1, 1960

There was a good reason why the Liberty ship Arie H. was the last saltwater ship of the 1960 season to clear the St. Lawrence Seaway. The waterway closed earlier in those days and the 15-year-old freighter was racing to leave the inland system when it went aground in the area of the Snell Lock on Dec. 1, 1960.

The stuck ship, on its only trip to the Great Lakes, was soon refloated and Arie H. managed to be the last out of the waterway, clearing on Dec. 2.

Arie H. had been built at New Orleans, La., as Roy K. Johnson. The 441 foot 6 inch long vessel was completed in February 1945 but the war was almost over. Beginning in 1946, the vessel worked for the Alcoa Steamship Co. but was laid up at Beaumont, Texas, in Nov. 1948.

It was sold and renamed on several occasions before becoming e) Arie H., Liberian registry, in 1960. After the misadventures of 54 years ago today, the ship remained in saltwater service. It became f) Aristea in 1962 and g) Beata in 1966. It went aground again inbound at Veracruz, Mexico, while inbound from Beaumont, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1966, but was released the same day.

Beata was sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers and arrived at Kaohsiung on May 26, 1968, for dismantling and recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 1

News Photo Gallery
 

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 1

In 1940, the Columbia Transportation steamer CARROLLTON laid up in the Cuyahoga River with a storage load of 75,000 bushels of potatoes.

On 01 December 1884, the N BOUTIN (wooden propeller tug, 68 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1882, at Buffalo, New York) sank in ten feet of water near Washburn, Wisconsin. Newspaper reports stated that she was leaking badly and was run toward shore to beach her but no details are given regarding the cause of the leak. She was recovered and repaired.

On December 1, 1974, the Canadian motor vessel JENNIFER foundered on Lake Michigan in a storm. Her steel cargo apparently shifted and she foundered 24 miles southwest of Charlevoix, Michigan. The JENNIFER went to the bottom in water too deep for any salvage attempt.

FRED G. HARTWELL, the last boat built for the Franklin Steamship Co., was delivered to her owners on December 1, 1922, but her maiden voyage didn't occur until early 1923, because of unfavorable weather conditions.

The SASKATOON's ownership was transferred to the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, on December 1, 1913, when the company was formed and all six vessels of the Merchants Mutual Line were absorbed by CSL in 1914.

HUDSON TRANSPORT was put up for sale by Marine Salvage in December 1982.

On 1 December 1875, BRIDGEWATER (3-mast wooden schooner, 706 tons, built in 1866, at Buffalo, New York, as a bark) grounded on Waugoshance Point in the Straits of Mackinac. She was released fairly quickly and then was towed to Buffalo, New York, for repairs. In Buffalo, she was gutted by fire. In 1880-82, the propeller KEYSTONE was built on her hull.

In 1909, the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 sank on Lake Erie, 31 lives were lost.

December 1, 1985 - SPARTAN broke loose from her moorings at Ludington in a storm and ended up near Buttersville Island. She was pulled off on December 5, by the Canonie tugs SOUTH HAVEN and MUSKEGON with the help of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41. It took about 10 hours.

On 1 December 1875, the Port Huron Times reported: "The schooner MARY E. PEREW went ashore in the Straits of Mackinac and by the brave efforts of the people on shore, her crew was rescued from perishing in the cold. Her decks were completely covered with ice and the seas were breaking over her. The vessel has a large hole in her bottom made by a rock that came through her. She will prove a total loss." On 7 December 1875, that newspaper reported that MARY E. PEREW had been raised by a wrecker and would be repaired.

On 1 December 1882, DAVID M. FOSTER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 121 foot, 251 tons, built in 1863, at Port Burwell, Ontario as a bark) was carrying lumber from Toronto to Oswego, New York, in a storm. She was picked up by a harbor tug outside of Oswego for a tow into the harbor, but the towline broke. The FOSTER went bows-on into the breakwater. She was holed and sank. No lives were lost. Her loss was valued at $3,300.

On 01 December 1934, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA (WPG 64) (165 foot, 718 gross tons, built in 1932, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was involved in the rescue of the crew of the whaleback HENRY CORT off the piers at Muskegon, Michigan. Also that winter, she delivered food to the residents of Beaver Island, who were isolated due to the bad weather.

SULLIVAN BROTHERS (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 430 foot, 4897 gross tons, built in 1901, at Chicago, Illinois as FREDERICK B. WELLS) grounded at Vidal Shoal on Tuesday evening, 01 Dec 1953. She was loaded with grain and rested on solid rock. She was recovered.

1934: The whaleback steamer HENRY CORT hit the north pier at Muskegon, MI and was wrecked. All on board were saved but one rescuer perished when the U.S.C.G. surfboat overturned. HENRY CORT was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1961: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller ELGIN struck the Charelvoix Bridge on the Lachine Canal when the structure did not open properly due to a faulty bridge mechanism. The waterway was closed for several days but the ship was not damaged.

1961: ARIE H., a Liberian flagged Liberty ship, went aground near the Snell Lock but was refloated and, the following day, departed the Seaway as the last oceangoing ship of the season.

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

 

Port Reports -  November 30

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Wilfred Sykes made a quick stop for minor repairs on Thanksgiving, arriving in the morning and departing in the late afternoon. On Saturday morning, CSL Laurentien arrived in Sturgeon Bay, where it will be repowered during the coming winter.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive on Saturday during the late evening to load. Due on Sunday is the Manistee, arriving in the late afternoon. Due to arrive on Monday in the late afternoon is the Pathfinder.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled to load from Saturday-Monday at Calcite. The next vessel will be the John G. Munson due on Tuesday in the early morning for the North Dock. There is nothing scheduled at Calcite from Wednesday-Thursday. Rounding out the schedule will be the Lakes Contender, arriving on Friday, December 5, during the late evening for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algosoo is due at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Sunday during the early morning. Cason J. Callaway is also due at CSX on Sunday in the early morning. Manitowoc is due at CSX on Sunday in the early evening. Due on Monday at CSX will be the John J. Boland and the Manitowoc, both in the early evening. There is nothing scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Due at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore will be the Manitowoc on Sunday in the early afternoon. Due on Monday will be the John J. Boland and the H. Lee White at Torco. The Boland arrives first in the late morning, followed by the H. Lee White in the late evening. Vessels in port include the tug Paul L. Luedtke, saltwater vessel Iryda of Cyprus registry at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock and the tug Mary E. Hannah.

Welland Canal – Ron Beaupre
The American Fortitude scrap tow cleared the Port Weller piers about 8 p.m. Saturday.

Erie, Pa. – Jeffrey Benson
The barge Ashtabula and her tug Defiance were in Erie unloading sand at the Carmuse Dock Saturday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Late Thursday night the downbound Harbour Fountain and Algoma Olympic sailed through. Early Saturday morning both upbound, the Birchglen and Jana Desgagnes cleared town.

Friday came the downbound Labrador at 6:15am headed for Quebec City, QC., Federal Oshimo at 6:51am for Sorel, QC., and Nickelena tug with BMI 209 barge at 8:42am for Valleyfield, QC. The upbound Sea Racer sailed through at 9:11am headed to Milwaukee, the downbound Algomarine at 9:48am headed into the Port of Johnstown to unload salt from Goderich, Ont. This ship is due to depart the Port of Johnstown at Saturday evening. Algoma Guardian headed downbound at 11:43am for Trois-Riviere, QC.

The Vigilant I tug pulled into Prescott, Ont. for refueling at 10:14am and departed, continuing upbound for Hamilton, Ont. at 1:42pm. Pacific Huron sailed through upbound at 4:06pm

Expected Friday evening were the upbounds Atlantic Erie to South Chicago, Pineglen to Thunder Bay, Ont., Federal Elbe to Hamilton, Ont., Federal Miramichi to Cleveland, Ohio, and downbound, the Strandja to Falmouth, Jamaica, Victoriaborg for Montréal, QC., and Federal Mackinac to Montréal, QC.

Early hours Sunday morning expected are the downbound Sedna Desgagnes to Algeria, upbound Fuldaborg to USA, downbound Baie Comeau to Quebec City, QC., the upbound Algoma Equinox to Hamilton, Ont., and Esta Desgagnes heading up to Oakville, Ont.

Due downbound through Prescott, Ont. early Sunday morning, the 62-year-old American Fortitude heads for scrapping in Brownsville, Texas. The American Steamship Co. self-unloader departed Toledo, Ohio under tow of the tug Evans McKeil on Nov. 26, 2014 with the tug Jarrett M assisting. The ship, launched 19 November 1952, has sat idle since tying up on Nov. 11, 2008.

 

Lookback #378 – D.M. Clemson lost with all hands on Nov. 30, 1908

The first D.M. Clemson joined the Provident Steamship Co. following construction at Superior, Wis. The ship was launched on May 20, 1903, and the 468-foot-long steamer set a record loading 8,000 tons of coal, delivered by 230 rail cars, at Toledo on July 22, 1904.

The vessel barely survived a Lake Superior storm in September 1904 arriving at Two Harbors with a significant list, two hatch covers washed away and the railings gone in a battle with the elements.

The fall of 1908 did not go well. The ship hit the pier at Ashtabula on Oct. 20 and went aground off Point Pelee three days later when smoke from a fire caused a visibility problem.

Following two more trips with ore from Duluth and Two Harbors, D.M. Clemson was lost in Lake Superior while carrying a cargo of coal from Lorain to Superior.

Fifty mile an hour winds mixed with snow confronted the D.M. Clemson after it departed the Soo Locks 106 years ago today. Somewhere out on Lake Superior the ship went down and no one survived. It is assumed that the end came suddenly as the lifeboats were not launched.

Some believe that the hull might have broken in two but it is also possible that the hatch covers failed. Only two bodies were ever recovered but there was quite a field of wreckage. The loss was valued at $300,000.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  November 30

On 30 November 1896, CITY OF KALAMAZOO (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 162 foot, 728 gross tons, built in 1892, at South Haven, Michigan) burned at her lay-up dock at South Haven, Michigan, with the loss of four lives. She was rebuilt and lasted until 1911, when she burned again.

On November 30, 1910, ATHABASCA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 263 foot, 1,774 gross tons, built in 1883, in Scotland) collided with the tug GENERAL near Lime Island in the St. Mary's River. As a result of the collision, the GENERAL sank. She was later recovered and rebuilt as a bulk freighter and lasted until she was broken up in 1948.

On 30 November 1934, HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback crane vessel, 320 foot, 2,394 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wisconsin as PILLSBURY) was driven onto the north pier at Muskegon, Michigan, in a storm. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA rescued her crew, but one Coast Guardsman lost his life. The vessel settled in shallow water and then broke in half. Her remains were scrapped the following year.

CANADIAN PIONEER suffered a major engine room fire on 30 Nov 1987, at Nanticoke, Ontario.

On November 30, 1981, A.H. FERBERT was laid up for the last time at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, Minnesota. The PERE MARQUETTE 22 passed down the Welland Canal on November 30, 1973 in tow of the tugs JOHN PURVES and YVON SIMARD en route to Sorel, Quebec, where she was cut down to a barge for off-Lakes use.

On 30 Nov 1967, the CITY OF FLINT 32 was laid up, never to run again.

On 30 Nov 1900, ALMERON THOMAS (2-mast wooden schooner, 50 foot, 35 gross tons, built in 1891, at Bay City, Michigan) was carrying gravel in a storm on Lake Huron when she sprang a leak and ran for the beach. She struck bottom and then capsized. She broke up in twenty feet of water near Point Lookout in Saginaw Bay. No lives were lost.

The schooner S.J. HOLLY came into the harbor at Oswego, New York, on 30 November 1867, after a hard crossing of Lake Ontario. The previous day she left the Welland Canal and encountered a growing gale. Capt. Oscar Haynes sought calm water along the north shore, but the heavy seas and freezing winds made sailing perilous. The ropes and chains froze stiff and the schooner was almost unmanageable. The only canvas out was a two-reef foresail and it was frozen in place. With great skill, the skipper managed to limp into port, having lost the yawl and sustained serious damage to the cargo. Fortunately no lives were lost.

1905: The steel consort barge MADEIRA stranded at Split Rock, while under tow of the WILLIAM EDENBORN, broke in two and became a total loss.

1908: D.M. CLEMSON (i) disappeared on Lake Superior while upbound with a cargo of coal from Lorain to Superior. All 24 on board were lost and only 2 bodies were ever found.

1911: Three lives were lost when the wooden steamer RALEIGH sank off Port Colborne. The crew took to the yawl boats but these capsized. Spectators on shore helped pull the sailors to safety.

1922: MAPLEHURST foundered near the West Portage entry Lake Superior while upbound with coal. The captain sought shelter from a storm but the engine failed and the anchors did not hold. There were 11 casualties and the ship was a total loss.

1924: MAPLEDAWN was wrecked at Christian Island, Georgian Bay while downbound with barley. The hull was pounded and could only be salvaged in pieces for scrap about 1942.

1926: CITY OF BANGOR stranded on Keweenaw Point in a blizzard with zero visibility. The ship fell into the trough and was carried ashore. It could not be salvaged and the hull was cut up for scrap during World War II.

1943: RIVERTON, aground for two weeks at Lottie Wolf Shoal, Georgian Bay, was released and taken to Collingwood for repairs. It resumed sailing in 1944 as MOHAWK DEER.

1945: OUTARDE (i) sank at the Consul-Hall Coal Dock, Clayton, NY after being repeatedly pounded against the structure in a wild storm and holed by an underwater piece of steel. The ship was finally refloated on April 18, 1946.

1961: ALGOWAY (i) was damaged while shifting at Port Arthur when it hit a discarded underwater oxygen tank.

1987: A fire aboard the ULS self-unloader CANADIAN PIONEER at Nanticoke damaged the wiring under the control panel. The ship went to the Welland Dock for repairs and then left the Seaway for Sorel where it was reflagged Vanuatu and renamed b) PIONEER.

1997: The tug CAROLYN JO suffered a fire in the engine room off Snake Island, Lake Ontario, and had to be towed to Kingston. The ship is still sailing as d) SEAHOUND.

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

 

Port Reports -  November 29

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane and Jake H
Wilfred Sykes arrived Friday morning to load. Due next will be the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41, due to arrive on Wednesday, Dec. 3 in the early morning. Manitowoc is due to arrive on Friday, Dec. 5 in the early morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are three vessels scheduled to load Sunday. Due first will be the John G. Munson at noon, followed by Arthur M. Anderson and Mississagi in the early evening.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc unloaded coal at Lafarge on Thanksgiving. Later in the evening, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were anchored out in the bay and were expected to go to Stoneport on Friday. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Friday and will load when there is enough product available.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Adam E. Cornelius loaded on Friday and was expected to depart around 4 p.m. There are no vessels scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane and Jake H
John G. Munson loaded on Friday and was expected to depart around 11:30 a.m. Also due on Friday was the Pathfinder, getting the dock following the Munson's departure. Due on Saturday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the early morning. Manistee is expected to arrive on Sunday in the early morning. Due in on Monday will be the Pathfinder in the late afternoon. Mississagi is due on Tuesday in the morning. Due on Wednesday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the mid-afternoon.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
American Courage was outbound for the Saginaw River early Friday morning after unloading at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Inbound late Friday morning was Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. The pair was expected to be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
James L. Kuber arrived at the Torco Dock to unload an iron ore cargo on Friday in the early morning. Due next is the Manitowoc on Sunday in the early afternoon. John J. Boland and H. Lee White are due at Torco on Monday with the Boland arriving in the late morning, followed by the H. Lee White during the late evening. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. James L. Kuber is due at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Friday during the early evening. Algosoo is due at CSX on Saturday in the early evening. Cason J. Callaway is due at CSX on Sunday in the early morning. Manitowoc is due at CSX on Sunday in the early evening hours. American Fortitude was towed out of Toledo on November 26 by the tug Evans McKeil and is now enroute for scrapping in Brownsville, Texas. This leaves her ASC fleetmate American Valor as the only vessel currently in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels in port at the time of this report included the tug Paul L. Luedtke. The saltwater vessel Iryda of Cyprus registry was at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock along with the tug Sharon M. 1 and barge Huron Spirit. Tug Mary E. Hannah was also in port.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was outbound at the Black Rock Lock at 9 a.m. Friday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Overnight Thursday and early Friday morning seven ships went through, including the upbound Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge. Kaministiqua and Sarah Desgagnes were downbound to Montréal. Early Friday morning the upbound Algosea headed to Nanticoke, Ont. and the downbound, Transhawk, Yulia and Mandarin sailed through to Montréal. At 6:40 am the downbound Tecumseh sailed through to Quebec City. The upbound Victorious articulated push tug and John J. Carrick barge made their way through at 7:09 am. Algoma Harvester came down to Port Cartier at 12:11 pm and the John B. Aird was upbound for Burns Harbor, Ind., around 5:06 pm Expected through Friday night are the downbound Algoma Olympic to Baie Comeau, Q.C., downbound Harbour Fashion to Gibraltar, and upbound Birchglen. Expected early Saturday morning are Algomarine to Port of Johnstown, Ont. to unload salt from Goderich, Ont.; upbound Jana Desgagnes to Sarnia, Ont.; upbound Sea Racer to Milwaukee, downbound Labrador to Québec City, QC; and downbound Federal Oshima to Sorel, QC.

 

Lookback #377 – Cato II cut loose by vandals on Nov. 29, 1960

The tug Cato II, a twin-hulled catamaran tug, was untied by vandals at Port Dalhousie and sent drifting out of the harbor from the current of the Twelve Mile Creek on Nov. 29, 1960.

The 36-foot-long vessel reached Lake Ontario undetected and the prevailing west wind pushed the vessel onto the rocks of Port Weller harbor. That's where officials found the vessel in the morning 54 years ago.

Two mobile cranes were brought to the scene and, despite the cold and gale force winds, Cato II was lifted off the rocks to safety.

The vessel, which had been built at Port Dalhousie in 1959, was diesel powered and used for underwater survey work. Damage to the hull was reported as $4,700 and the ship was repaired and returned to service.

Keeping track of the small ship's travels has been a challenge but at last report, it was owned by Seneca College, an Ontario Community College in the northern part of Toronto.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  November 29

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Deltuva, Federal Mayumi and Kom.

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  November 29

In 1953, BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, Captain H. C. Buckley, transported the last iron ore of the season through the Soo Locks. The ore originated at Two Harbors and was unloaded at Conneaut. After unloading, the FAIRLESS headed for Monroe, Michigan, for layup.

On 29 November 1886, ALFRED P. WRIGHT (wooden propeller tug, 56 gross tons, built in 1877, at Buffalo, New York) was towing the schooner A J DEWEY in a blizzard and gale in the harbor at Manistee, Michigan. The towline parted and fouled the WRIGHT's propeller. Disabled, she capsized and her crew clung to the overturned hull. One crewman swam 1,000 feet to shore and summoned the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The WRIGHT's and DEWEY's crews were both rescued but three lifesavers were lost in this effort.

On November 29, 1966, the DANIEL J. MORRELL sank approximately 20 miles north of Harbor Beach in Lake Huron. Her nearly identical sistership, the EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND, was traveling about 20 miles behind the MORRELL and made it to the Lime Island Fuel Dock in the St. Marys River where cracks were found in her deck; the TOWNSEND proceeded to Sault Ste. Marie where she was taken out of service. The TOWNSEND sank in the Atlantic on October 7, 1968, while being towed overseas for scrap.

E. B. BARBER was laid up for the last time at Toronto, Ontario, on 29 Nov. 1984.

On November 29, 1903, snow and stormy seas drove the two-and-a-half year old J. T. HUTCHINSON onto an uncharted rock (now known as Eagle River Reef) one-half mile off shore and 10 miles west of Eagle Harbor, Michigan near the northwestern coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

On November 29, 1974, the PERE MARQUETTE 21 was loaded with remnants of Port Huron's Peerless Cement Dock, which reportedly were bound for Saudi Arabia, and cleared there in tow of the Great Lakes Towing Co., tugs AMERICA and OHIO.

SYLVANIA was in a collision with the DIAMOND ALKALI in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River on 29 Nov 1968, during a snow squall. SYLVANIA's bow was severely damaged.

The propeller BURLINGTON had barges in tow up bound on Lake Erie when she was damaged by the ice and sank in the Pelee Passage.

On 29 November 1856, ARABIAN (3-mast wooden bark, 116 foot, 350 tons, built in 1853, at Niagara, Ontario) had stranded on Goose Island Shoal, 10 miles ENE of Mackinac Island ten days earlier. She was relieved of her cargo and was being towed to Chicago by the propeller OGONTZ when a gale blew in and the towline parted. ARABIAN made for shore, her pumps working full force and OGONTZ following. During the night they were separated and ARABIAN sank off Point Betsey in Lake Michigan. Her crew escaped in her yawl.

In 1903, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage. Captain John J. Doyle in command.

On 29 November 1881, the 149 foot wooden propeller NORTHERN QUEEN, which had been involved in a collision with the 136 foot wooden propeller canaller LAKE ERIE just five days before, struck the pier at Manistique so hard that she was wrecked. Besides her own crew, she also had LAKE ERIE's crew on board.

On 29 Nov 1902, BAY CITY (1-mast wood schooner-barge, 140 foot, 306 gross tons, built in 1857, at Saginaw, Michigan as a brig) was left at anchor in Thunder Bay by the steamer HURON CITY during a storm. BAY CITY's anchor chain parted and the vessel was driven against the Gilchrist dock at Alpena, Michigan and wrecked. Her crew managed to escape with much difficulty.

1902: The wooden bulk freighter CHARLES HEBARD (i) stranded on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior at Point Mamaise in a snowstorm. The hull broke up but all on board were rescued.

1950: ESSO ROCHESTER, a T-2 tanker, broke in two in heavy weather off Anticosti Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while enroute, in ballast, from Montreal to Aruba. The two sections were taken in tow but the bow had to be cut loose in a storm on December 21, rolled over and was lost. The stern was taken to Newport News, VA and rebuilt. It was a Seaway trader in 1959 and scrapped at Onimichi, Japan, in July 1966.

1959: VILJA went aground in fog while outbound through the Brockville Narrows. The 14-year old ship was refloated on December 13 and had to spend the winter at Prescott. The Norwegian-flag freighter never returned inland and was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as c) SILVER HOPE in 1974.

1960: FRANCISCO MORAZON went aground on the rocks of South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan and the remains of the hull are still there.

1960: CATO II, a small survey vessel, was cut loose by vandals at Port Dalhousie, drifted with the current into Lake Ontario, and stranded on the rocks of the west pier off Port Weller. Despite gale force winds and cold, the hull was salvaged the next day. At last report, the ship was still intact and was owned by Seneca College of Toronto.

1964: The MARIA COSULICH was wrecked at the breakwall at Genoa, Italy, when the engine failed while outbound. The crew was saved but the vessel was a total loss. It had been built at Sturgeon Bay in 1943 as WILLIAM HOMAN.

1985: JALAGODAVARI sliced into the St. Louis road and rail bridge on the Seaway and navigation had to be suspended for seven days. The vessel was removed, taken to Montreal and arrested for damages. The ship was repaired and survived until scrapping as f) BLUE OCEAN in 2000-2001.

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 -  November 28

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Thanksgiving Day saw the American Courage inbound on the Saginaw River, calling on the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City. She is expected to be outbound early Friday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was unloading at Noco in Tonawanda Thursday afternoon.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Early Thursday saw the upbound Algosoo at 3:44 am and Three River at 6:16 am. The downbound Vigilant I tug with General Chemical No.37 barge, heading to Sorel, Q.C., went through at 9:19 am and the Ojibway, also heading for Sorel, passed at 10:11am. The Steel Head tug, Lignum No.3 tug and the boom barge arrived in the area at 10:13 am to work on the seasonal partial boom in Section U.S.5. They completed operations around 3:30 pm leaving a 2,000-foot opening in the channel marked with red and green lights. The upbound Federal Danube cleared at 1:59 pm with a load of steel from the Netherlands for Cleveland, Ohio. Upbound Atlantic Huron came through at 3:41 pm. Federal Yoshino sailed through at 6:03 pm heading down to Montréal. Thursday night, the upbound Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge, and Kaministiqua, and downbound Sarah Desgagnes to Montréal, QC. are expected to sail through. Expected early Friday morning are the upbound Algosea to Nanticoke, Ont. and the downbound, Transhawk, Yulia and Mandarin, all to Montréal, as well as the Tecumesh, down to Quebec City.

 

A look back at the history of the American Fortitude

As the American Fortitude leaves the lakes for scrapping, it seems fitting to reflect on her history. The American Steamship Co. self-unloader departed Toledo under tow of the tug Evans McKeil on Nov. 26, and was due to pass down the Welland Canal today, with the tug Jarrett M assisting. The ship, idle since tying up on Nov. 11, 2008, leaves a rich history of Great Lakes service.

This bulk carrier was a product of the American Shipbuilding Co., Hull 869, of their shipyard in Lorain, Ohio. It was launched on Nov. 19, 1952, and entered service as Ernest T. Weir (ii) of the National Steel Corporation on April 12, 1953, going to Superior to load 18,198 tons of iron ore for Cleveland.

The 690-foot-long by 70-foot-wide steamer was registered at 12,746 gross tons. It was powered by a General Electric steam turbine engine with steam from two, Foster-Wheeler water tube boilers.

During one trip in the summer of 1953, it was noted that the Ernest T. Weir loaded 21,057 tons of iron ore for Cleveland and this came from 368 rail cars from an Iron Range mine.

When the Seaway opened in 1959, the ship left the upper lakes for the first time and made two trips to the ore docks in August-September on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It returned with cargoes from Sept-Iles for Cleveland and also for Ashtabula.

Ernest T. Weir ran hit bottom off Russell Island in the St. Clair River on Sept. 24, 1962, and required repairs from Fraser-Nelson at Superior. Then, on May 5, 1964, the ore-laden carrier collided with the tanker Mercury in Lake St. Clair. Ernest T. Weir received damage to the port bow and went to Toledo for repairs before returning to service on June 22, 1964.

A second collision, this with the James E. Ferris, occurred near Port Huron on Oct, 21, 1967, and required $53,540 in repairs.

The ship joined the Columbia Transportation Co. and operated for one season under the old name but in the new colors. It was renamed Courtney Burton later in the year and became the flagship of the fleet.

On Aug. 25, 1980, the Courtney Burton arrived at Sturgeon Bay for conversion to a self-unloader. It returned to service on May 23, 1981, registered at 11,422 gross tons.

On Aug. 6, 1994, the ship delivered 18,000 tons of stone and sand from Port Dolomite to Duluth. It was the first shipment for a new asphalt plant at the latter location.

After being idle at Toledo in 2003-2004, the ship was drydocked and returned to service. Most of the work was on the upper lakes but on Sept. 7, 2005, Courtney Burton came down the Welland Canal to load grain at Hamilton for Buffalo.

It joined the American Steamship Co. as American Fortitude in 2006 and spent three years trading on their behalf before tying up on Nov. 11, 2008. Now, after six years at the wall, any potential return to service decreased with each year. Reports indicate that the ship will be towed to Brownsville, Texas, for dismantling and we will keep readers posted on her travels.

Skip Gillham

 

Lookback #376 – Harold B. Nye last to see the Ira H. Owen on Nov. 28, 1905

The 400-foot-long steamer Harold B. Nye was one of the survivors of the foul weather on Lake Superior 109 years ago today but it had a battle on its hands.

The ship had been built for the W.A. Hawgood Co. at Lorain, Ohio, in 1902 and had a relatively peaceful existence in the bulk trades around the upper four Great Lakes before the events of Nov. 28, 1905.

The cargo on board the vessel shifted, making navigation more difficult as the crew battled the wind and waves. One sailor was lost when he was washed overboard. However, life on the Ira H. Owen was even worse as the latter sank with the loss of 19 lives out on wild Lake Superior.

Harold B. Nye was a survivor and later joined the Keller Transit Co., one of the Hutchinson fleets, in 1910 and was renamed W.D. Calverley Jr. in 1925. The latter sank the brand new William Brewster on its maiden voyage near Algonac, Mich., but there was no loss of life.

Another sale in 1947 led to the laker becoming the second Prindoc in 1948 for the Paterson fleet. It operated on their account through the 1963 season and was then sold for scrap.

Renamed Abby for the overseas tow, the ship arrived at Bremerhaven, West Germany, behind the tug Marinia on July 17, 1964, and was dismantled.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  November 28

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  November 28

In 1949, sea trials for the largest freighter built on the Great Lakes, the WILFRED SYKES, were held off Lorain, Ohio. SYKES was converted to a self-unloader in 1975.

In 1942, the Canadian grain carrier JUDGE HART grounded and then sank in Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior. The entire crew of the JUDGE HART was rescued by the JAMES B. EADS, Captain Stanley J. Tischart, and the whaleback JOHN ERICSSON, Captain Wilfred E. Ogg.

On 28 November 1867, MARQUETTE (wooden bark, 139 foot, 426 tons, built in 1856, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying corn from Chicago to Collingwood, Ontario when she sprang a leak during a storm on Lake Huron. She was run ashore on Hope Island on Georgian Bay.

On November 28, 1905, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company vessel MATAAFA was wrecked as it tried to re-enter the Duluth Ship Canal in a severe storm. The MATAAFA had departed Duluth earlier but had decided to return to safety. After dropping her barge in the lake, the vessel was picked up by waves, was slammed against the north pier and was swung around to rest just hundreds of feet offshore north of the north pier, where it broke in two. Much of the crew froze to death in the cold snap that followed the storm, as there was no quick way to get out to the broken vessel for rescue. The MATAAFA was repaired prior to the 1906, season; she ultimately ended her career as an automobile carrier for the T.J. McCarthy Steamship Company and was sold for scrap in 1965.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC's maiden voyage was 28 Nov 1976, to load coal at Conneaut, Ohio for Nanticoke, Ontario. Her name honored the Olympic games that were held at Montreal that year.

On November 28, 1983, while up bound after leaving the Poe Lock, the INDIANA HARBOR was in a collision, caused by high winds, with the downbound Greek salty ANANGEL SPIRIT resulting in a 10 foot gash in the laker's port bow.

LANCASHIRE (Hull#827) was launched at Lorain, Ohio on November 28, 1942. She would soon be renamed b) SEWELL AVERY.

CATHY B towed the GOVERNOR MILLER to Vigo, Spain on November 28, 1980, where she was broken up.

BENSON FORD was renamed e) US265808 and departed River Rouge on November 28, 1986, towed by the Sandrin tugs TUSKER and GLENADA bound for Ramey's Bend in the Welland Canal.

FRONTENAC arrived at the Fraser Shipyard, Superior, Wisconsin on November 28, 1979. Her keel, which had hogged four feet, was declared a constructive total loss.

The BRANSFORD stranded on a reef off Isle Royale in Lake Superior during a major storm on 28 November 1905, (the same storm that claimed the steamer MATAAFA). She was recovered.

On her third trip in 1892, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 again ran aground, this time three miles north of Ahnapee (now called Algoma). There was $15,000 damage to her cargo.

In 1906, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 left Cleveland bound for Frankfort on her maiden voyage. The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground off Kewaunee in 1924.

On 28 November 1905, AMBOY (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 209 foot, 894 gross tons, formerly HELENA) was carrying coal in tow of the wooden propeller GEORGE SPENCER in a gale on Lake Superior. In an effort to save both vessels, AMBOY was cut loose. The SPENCER was disabled quickly and was driven ashore near Little Marais, Minnesota. AMBOY struggled against the gale for a full day before finally going ashore near Thomasville, Ontario on 29 November. No lives were lost from either vessel.

On 28 November 1872, W O BROWN (wooden schooner, 140 foot, 306 tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying wheat in a storm on Lake Superior when she was driven ashore near Point Maimanse, Ontario and pounded to pieces. Six lives were lost. Three survivors struggled through a terrible cold spell and finally made it to the Soo on Christmas Day.

On 28 Nov 1874, the propeller JOHN PRIDGEON JR was launched at Clark's shipyard in Detroit, Michigan. She was built for Capt. John Pridgeon. Her dimensions were 235 X 36 X 17 feet. The engines of the B F WADE were installed in her.

On 28 Nov 1923, the Detroit & Windsor Ferry Company and Bob-Lo docks were destroyed by a fire caused by an overheated stove in the ferry dock waiting room. The blaze started at 3 a.m.

CANADIAN TRANSFER underwent repairs most of Tuesday, 28 Nov. 2000, at the Algoma Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She had run aground the previous night in the Canadian channel approaching Algoma Steel. CANADIAN TRANSFER was freed by two Purvis Marine tugs. The vessel suffered a crack or hole in the hull plating about 10 feet from the bottom along its port side.

1918: The bow section of the former passenger steamer NORTH WEST sank in Lake Ontario. The ship had been cut in two for a tow out of the Great Lakes. The stern was later rebuilt as b) MAPLECOURT.

1923: LINDEN, a wooden bulk carrier, burned as a total loss in Tawas Bay.

1932: The Canadian freighter GEORGIAN stranded at Munising while downbound from Port Arthur to Detroit. The crew was rescued on December 3. The first salvage attempt failed on December 5 and the vessel was not released until May 1933.

1961: IQUITOS, enroute from Callao, Peru, to Manzanillo, Mexico, with fish meal, caught fire off the coast of Mexico and was abandoned by the crew. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes as a) RUTENFJELL in 1936 and returned on numerous occasions. It was back as b) POLYRIVER from 1951 to 1958. The abandoned IQUITOS drifted for months and was finally sunk by a U.S. destroyer as a hazard to navigation about 100 miles southeast of the Christmas Islands, on April 9, 1962.

1966: The Liberty ship TEGEAN ran aground on The Sisters rocks in fog south of Halifax while inbound for bunkers. All on board were saved by Coast Guard and Navy helicopters. The hull broke into 3 pieces and was dynamited by Navy divers as a hazard on December 16, 1966. The vessel had traded through the Seaway as b) ST. MALO in 1962.

1981: LONDON EARL went aground at Pointe aux Trembles while outbound from Thunder Bay to Hamburg, West Germany, with a cargo of wheat. Five tugs released the ship, with only minimal damage, on November 30. The vessel later returned through the Seaway as b) OLYMPIC LIBERTY beginning in 1983, as c) STABERG in 1990 and as d) ITHAKI in 1996. It was scrapped at Alang, India, in 2001.

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

 

American Fortitude scrap tow headed for Welland Canal

11/27 - The retired laker American Fortitude was towed from its Toledo, Ohio, layup berth around 3 a.m. Wednesday by the tug Evans McKeil. They were expected to arrive at the Welland Canal sometime late Thursday, where they will tie up for inspection in Port Colborne before transiting the waterway. American Fortitude is bound for a scrapyard in Brownsville, Texas.

Built in 1953 as Ernest T. Weir (2), the vessel had been laid up at Toledo since November 2008. She also sailed as Courtney Burton.

 

Lakes Erie and Michigan water temperatures plunge after recent arctic cold

11/27 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Lake Erie and Lake Michigan water temperatures cooled dramatically in the past week due to the extremely cold arctic air that hit the Great Lakes.

In fact, all of the Great Lakes are cooling now, but Lake Erie and Lake Michigan water temperatures cooled the most and now sit farthest from the average temperature for today.

Lake Erie now has a current average temperature of 43.9°F, while the 20 year average water temperature for this date is 47.6°F. Lake Michigan has a current average temperature of 42.5°F compared to the 20 year average water temperature of 45.3°F. Lake Superior is now 1.8°F below normal. Lakes Huron and Ontario are both 0.9°F colder than the 20 year average. Lakes Erie and Michigan, being 3.7°F and 2.8°F colder than normal, are substantially colder than normal.

Water temperatures can cool or warm significantly over the course of a few weeks of abnormal weather. The colder water, if it continues to trend in that direction, would lead to earlier large areas of ice formation. Earlier, more widespread ice would end lake effect snow earlier than normal. We normally see the lake effect dwindle in very late January or early February. This year lake effect could shut off in late December or early January. Of course it will depend on whether we continue with this below normal temperature pattern.

You might think an early end to lake effect snow sounds like less winter. There will also be another very wintry side effect if the lakes freeze earlier than normal. Air temperatures in Michigan can really plunge if Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron freeze over. Normally, even with some very cold open water, there is some warming effect to Michigan from the Great Lakes. Once the lakes are covered with ice that warming effect is gone.

If the cooling trend continues, and the ice forms early, we could have a somewhat strange second half of the winter - less snow than normal but much colder than normal. Before that all happens the next four to six weeks certainly look interesting. What it will take to freeze the lakes early will be extremely cold air like last week. That extremely cold air will bring lots of lake effect snow in December.

MLive

 

Port Reports -  November 27

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday, the English River unloaded cement.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
At 8:30 pm on Wednesday, the Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was eastbound for Buffalo.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Early Wednesday morning, five ships passed by, all headed upbound – Federal Yukina to Cleveland, Ohio at 1:10 am, Puffin to Oshawa, Ont. at 1:54 am, Harbour Fashion to Mississauga, Ont. at 2:53 am, Vancouverborg at 2:59 am, CSL Assiniboine to Conneaut, Ohio at 5:35 at am and Eider headed to Windsor, Ont. at 6:52am. Algoeast came upbound to Sarnia, Ont. at 9:13 am, and Victorious tug with John J. Carrick barge headed down to Valleyfield, Q.C., clearing town at 10:01 am. Approximately 10:15 am Wednesday morning the Steel Head tug Lignum No. 3 tug and boom barge came up river just above CCG Base Prescott to work on putting in the seasonal partial boom, section A on the Canadian side. They worked for approximately four hours and then headed back down river at 2:00 pm and are expected to head back up Thursday morning, again to Section A on the Canadian side to continue with their boom work. The downbound Pineglen passed by headed to Montreal at 12:33 pm and the upbound Manitoba to Thunder Bay, Ont. at 1:18 pm. No ships are expected through Wednesday evening/night. Expected early Thursday morning are the upbound Algosoo and Three Rivers to Hamilton, Ont., and the downbound Vigilant I tug with General Chemical No. 37 barge to Sorel, Q.C.

 

Fednav celebrates in Cleveland

11/27 - Montreal, Que. – Fednav Limited held a reception on board one of it’s vessels, the Federal Mayumi at the Port of Cleveland Tuesday to celebrate a trio of anniversaries: the 70th year since the founding of the company, 55 years of continuous general cargo liner service from FALLine, and 50 years since the establishment of its terminal division, FMT (Federal Marine Terminals). Guests on board, representing clients of the company, heard remarks from Mark Pathy, President and co-CEO of Fednav Limited, William Friedman, President of the Port of Cleveland, and Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

FALLine cargo enables industries in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, and West Virginia, to generate jobs in manufacturing in the entire “Opportunity Belt,” as Seaway Administrator Sutton names the Great Lakes region.

Fednav participates actively in the regional economy, creating impact through real commitment: 15 new Lakes-suitable vessels will deliver to the company in 2015 and 2016, the first being the Federal Baltic next May. This represents an investment of over $400 million from Fednav for the future of the Lakes.

FALLine operates a scheduled cargo liner service from Europe to ports in the Great Lakes. In 2014, it will bring 205,000 tons of steel to Cleveland. This is a 28 percent increase over 2013 and a remarkable 840 percent increase over 2009, making it the best year in Cleveland for FALLine since 1996—the total tonnage of general cargo since that year will be over 2 million tons.

FMT delivers customized cargo handling services in North America, and has operated a terminal at the Port of Cleveland since 1997. FMT will handle roughly 500,000 tons of general cargo this year at the port, a 23 percent increase over 2013 and a 200 percent increase over 2009. A third of this cargo is routed to its final destination through the logistical services of Fednav Direct.

"This trio of milestones highlights Fednav’s commitment to Cleveland and to the Great Lakes,” said Mark Pathy. “It is because of very successful divisions like FALLine, FMT, and Fednav Direct, through sustained growth and through financial commitment represented by new vessels, that we can look forward to the coming decades with strong optimism."

FedNav

 

Seaway saltie under four names arrives at Alang, India, for scrapping

11/27 - The 30-year-old ocean going bulk carrier Anoushka arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping earlier this month and has been beached. The ship had a long association with the Great Lakes under four of its six names.

Originally the Socrates, the 584-foot-long motor vessel was built at Innoshima, Japan, and completed in January 1984. It entered service under the flag of Liberia and was specially strengthened for heavy cargoes.

Socrates made its first appearance on the Great Lakes in 1985, and its late season visit to Duluth, gained considerable notoriety. The ship was blown aground there on Nov. 18, 1985, when the anchors dragged in a storm and there was considerable concern for the welfare of the ship. The vessel required some dredging plus tug assistance to be refloated on Nov. 24. It then docked, took on cargo and headed out the Seaway passing down bound on Dec. 11.

Socrates returned subsequently before being sold and renamed b) Union in 1993. Now registered in Hong Kong, the ship came up the Welland Canal for the first time on Nov. 27, 1993, after delivering a cargo of sugar to Toronto. It again went to Duluth to load grain for overseas delivery.

Union was back on the lakes in 1995, 1996 and 1997 before being sold in October 1997 and renamed c) Mecta Sea. The latter made its first visit to the Great Lakes passing up the Welland Canal on Nov. 28, 1997, in ballast for Lake Superior. It departed the Twin Ports on Dec. 11, 1997, with 641,000 bushels of wheat for Tunisia.

Mecta Sea was a frequent caller to Great Lakes ports. It loaded at Goderich in April 1998, had a total of four inland voyages in 1999 and was back for three more trips in each of 2000, 2002 and 2003 with only two trips in 2001. Her last trip to the Seaway was in October 2003 and the ship departed for the final time with potash.

The vessel was sold again in 2005 and renamed d) Ypermachos under the flag of Bahamas. It came back through the Seaway for three trips in each of 2006 and 2007.

Another sale in 2008 resulted in the ship becoming e) Zuni Princess, with registry in the Philippines. It then became f) Anoushka in 2012 under the flag of Panama.

Thus one more of our once familiar bulk carriers has reached the end of the line, but it is likely to be remembered at Duluth for years because of her first trip grounding there in 1985.

Matt Miner and Skip Gillham

 

Obituary: Charles Edward "Ted" Belcher

11/27 - Charles Edward "Ted" Belcher, a retired captain for the Algoma Central Corporation, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on Thursday, November 20, one month after celebrating his 91st birthday, in Midland, Ont. A celebration of his life will be held on Friday, Nov. 28, at 1p.m. at the Unity United Church, Vasey. Interment will take place in the spring at the Victoria Harbour Union Cemetery. As an expression of sympathy, donations to the Huronia Museum, SPCA Midland or to the charity of your choice would be appreciated.

 

Lookback #375 – Lafayette became a total loss on Nov. 27, 1905

The bulk carrier Lafayette was one of the early casualties of the wild weather of Nov. 27-28, 1905. The 474-foot-long member of the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. division of United States Steel was only five years old at the time.

Lafayette stranded near Encampment Island about 8 miles from Two Harbors while towing the consort barge Manila. Both were blown on the rocks and the barge crashed into the steamer and before long the latter had broken in two.

While Manila was refloated and repaired, Lafayette was a total loss. The broken stern was refloated and taken to Duluth on Aug. 31, 1906, where the engine was removed for installation in the J.S. Ashley.

One crewmember was lost from the Lafayette in the terrible weather. Part of the bow was cut up for scrap during World War Two but some of the old Lafayette apparently remains on the bottom where it landed 109 years ago today.

Manila left the Great Lakes, passing Port Colborne on Aug. 8, 1960. It served on saltwater with a pusher tug linked via a newly installed notch on the stern. Manila was removed from documentation as “scrapped” in 1978.

Lafayette's engine served the J.S. Ashley until 1952 when it was replaced by a Skinner Unaflow engine. The ship was scrapped as c) Brookdale (ii) at Port Maitland in 1980-1981.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  November 27

At 4:00 a.m. on 27 November 1872, the wooden schooner MIDDLESEX was struck by a terrible winter storm on Lake Superior. The winds caught the vessel with such force that she listed at a 45 degree angle and her cargo shifted. In danger of sinking, the crew jettisoned much of the cargo and the ship righted herself. Her lifeboat and much of her rigging and sails were washed away. She limped into Waiska Bay and anchored to ride out the storm. However, she had developed a leak and it was so cold that her pumps had frozen. To save the vessel, she was run ashore and sank in shallow water. The crew climbed into her rigging until the tug W. D. CUSHING rescued them.

ALGOSEA entered Lake service as a self-unloader for the first time with salt loaded at Goderich, Ontario and passed down bound in the Welland Canal November 27, 1976, for Quebec City.

AVONDALE was condemned and was not allowed to carry cargo after she arrived at Toledo, Ohio on November 27, 1975, to load soybeans.

The steam barge CHAUNCY HURLBUT was launched at the shipyard of Simon Langell at St. Clair, Michigan on Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 1873. She was built for Chandler Bros. of Detroit.

On 27 November 1886, COMANCHE (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 322 tons, built in 1867, at Oswego, New York) was carrying corn in a storm on Lake Ontario when she ran on a shoal and sank near Point Peninsula, New York. A local farmer died while trying to rescue her crew of 8. His was the only death. She was later recovered and rebuilt as THOMAS DOBBIE.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 collided with the WABASH in heavy fog in 1937.

In 1966, the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 ran aground at Ludington, Michigan in a storm. Stranded on board were a number of passengers and 56 crewmen. Ballast tanks were flooded to hold the steamer on until the storm subsided. She was pulled off four days later by the Roen tug JOHN PURVES.

The propeller MONTGOMERY, which burned in June 1878, was raised on 27 November 1878. Her engine and boiler were removed and she was converted to a barge. She was rebuilt at Algonac, Michigan in the summer of 1879.

On 27 November 1866, the Oswego Advertiser & Times reported that the schooner HENRY FITZHUGH arrived at Oswego, New York with 17,700 bushels of wheat from Milwaukee. Her skipper was Captain Cal Becker. The round trip took 23 days, which was considered "pretty fast sailing".

The CITY OF FLINT 32 was launched in Manitowoc on 27 Nov 1929. Cut down to a rail barge at Nicholson's, Ecorse in 1970, renamed b.) ROANOKE.

On Monday, 27 Nov 1996, the Cyprus flag MALLARD of 1977, up bound, apparently bounced off the wall in the Welland Canal below Lock 1 and into the path of the CANADIAN ENTERPRISE. It was a sideswipe rather than a head on collision. The ENTERPRISE was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks. The repairs to the gangway and ballast vent pipes took six hours. The MALLARD proceeded to Port Colborne to be repaired there.

At 10:20 p.m. on Monday, 27 Nov. 2000, CANADIAN TRANSFER radioed Soo Traffic to report that the vessel was aground off Algoma Steel and "taking on water but in no danger." The crew reported that they had two anchors down and one line on the dock. Purvis Marine was contacted.

1905: LAFAYETTE stranded at Encampment Island, Lake Superior, broke in two and was a total loss. MANILA, its consort barge, also came ashore but was later salvaged.

1942: JUDGE HART stranded at Fitzsimmons Rock, Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior, enroute to Toronto with 101,500 bushels of grain. All on board were rescued and the ship later slid off the rocks, drifted and sank.

1981: LOUKIA, a Greek flag visitor to the Great Lakes in 1976, arrived at Monrovia, Liberia, as f) DESPOULA and was abandoned. The vessel was looted before being sold for scrap. On September 2, 1982, while under tow for Yugoslavia for dismantling, the vessel broke loose in heavy seas and grounded about 14 miles north of Monrovia.

2006: SPAR OPAL had mechanical problems and ran aground near the Iroquois Lock. It was released on November 29. It did not return through the Seaway in 2007 but was back for two final trips in 2008. The ship was renamed h) ARWAD PRINCESS in 2012 and re-registered in Belize.

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


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