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Dock collapse closes Rouge River

9/1 - Detroit, Mich. - Early last week, after a cargo of stone was unloaded on it, the Carmuese Lime Dock (formerly Marblehead Lime) next the Jefferson Avenue Bridge on the Rouge River, collapsed. As is typical with a dock collapse, the pile of stone went straight down into the ground and the softer soil underneath broke through the riverbank and pushed out into the river.

It was apparent that something was amiss when the Algomarine, stern first with two harbor tugs, came to a gentle halt as they were about to enter the Jefferson Avenue Bridge span. After being surveyed it was determined that the water depth in the river in that area was reduced to 20 feet.

The Coast Guard has closed the river to navigation above the “forks” and dredging has commenced. The river is expected to be closed for approximately 30 days total.

Raw material deliveries have been halted to AK Steel at the end of the navigable stretch of the river in Dearborn, Mich. The Peter R. Cresswell was loaded with cement for St. Marys and could not reach the dock. Instead of a few hours unload, they are spending days unloading cement into an old shed on the Nicholson Dock where it is then trucked to St Mary's.


Massive cleanup plan emerging for U.S. Steel site in Duluth

9/1 - Duluth, Minn. – After years of neglect, the site of the long-closed U.S. Steel Duluth Works may be on the verge of revitalization.

Following decades of steel and cement production, the industrial property along the St. Louis River in western Duluth has the unfortunate distinction of being the most widely contaminated site to be identified in all the Great Lakes Rust Belt, according to Erin Endsley of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Endsley has been tapped to serve as project leader of a federal Superfund cleanup of the industrial wasteland which is estimated to harbor more than 1.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment, both on solid ground and submerged throughout an adjacent estuary. That’s enough material to fill 103,125 four-axle dump trucks. If parked bumper to bumper, that number of trucks would form a line that stretches from Duluth past Chicago.

There’s no plan to haul all the contaminated sediment away. Much of it will be left in place or impounded in cells on site, which will be capped and monitored to detect any unwanted spread.

A noxious laundry list of contaminants can be found on the property, including heavy metals, petroleum products and a host of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — mostly leftovers from the incomplete combustion of fuels, including the petroleum coke that fed U.S. Steel’s blast furnaces from 1916 until steelmaking stopped in the 1970s, although other parts of the Duluth Works continued to operate until 1981.

John Peterson, a spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency, said the contaminants “present both human health and ecological risks at the site.”

“The EPA is working with U.S. Steel, under the authority of the Great Lakes Legacy Act to delineate the extent of contamination in St. Louis River sediments adjacent to the former U.S. Steel Duluth Works site, and to select and design a remedy for remediating these sediments,” he said.

Most of the site still is owned by U.S. Steel. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has acquired a small portion away from the river — the former Atlas Cement property — where it has been working to establish an industrial park. And the city owns a railroad corridor along the river.

Discussions about the scope of the remediation work and the future use of the property are likely to inspire lively debate as more details emerge about the cleanup, which Endsley aims to commence next year.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  August 28

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore at LS&I on Monday.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke is due in on Tuesday in the early morning. Herbert C. Jackson is due in on Wednesday in the early morning and the Wilfred Sykes is due on Wednesday in the early afternoon.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was at Port Inland on Sunday and was expected to depart around noon. Also due on Sunday was the Manitowoc, which anchored off and was due to take the dock upon the Sykes' departure. Due to arrive on Monday was the barge Pere Marquette 41/tug Undaunted during the late afternoon and the Sam Laud in the early evening. Manitowoc is due in on Tuesday in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. loaded on Sunday at the South Dock. There were no vessels scheduled to arrive Monday. Four vessels are expected to arrive Tuesday. Due in first is the Great Republic and H. Lee White, both in the morning. The Republic loading at the South Dock, while the H. Lee White will be at the North Dock. Buffalo is due to arrive late afternoon on Monday for the South Dock and the Herbert C. Jackson is due to arrive late evening for the South Dock. The barge Ashtabula, along with the tug Defiance, is expected to arrive on Wednesday in the early morning for an unknown dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore loaded at Stoneport on Monday and they were due to depart around 4:30 p.m. Also due at Stoneport on Monday was the Joseph H. Thompson in the late morning hours and they would be going to anchor and taking the dock upon the Kuber's departure. Due on Tuesday is the Philip R. Clarke in the late afternoon. Due in for Wednesday is the Michipicoten in the morning. Both the Lewis J. Kuber and the Joseph H. Thompson are due back on Thursday with the Kuber arriving in the early morning and the Thompson early evening. Friday arrivals show the Great Republic in the early afternoon and on Saturday, September 5th due to arrive is the John G. Munson at noon and the Lewis J. Kuber in the early afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory were expected to arrive on Monday evening at the Torco Dock. Also due at Torco will be the Hon. James L. Oberstar on Wednesday in the late morning followed by the Atlantic Huron on Saturday, September 5 in the late afternoon. The James L. Kuber returns to Torco on Monday, September 14 during the early afternoon. There is nothing so far scheduled for arrival at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels due at the CSX Coal Dock to load include the barge James L. Kuber/tug Victory on Tuesday in the morning, followed by the Algoma Transport also on Tuesday during the mid-afternoon. The barge Lakes Contender/tug Ken Boothe Sr. are due at the CSX to load on Wednesday in the early morning. Also due at CSX to load on Wednesday is the Hon. James L. Oberstar in the late afternoon. American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks and the barge Sarah Spencer/tug Jane Ann IV remain at the Ironhead Marine Drydock. Other vessels in port were the tug Genesis Victory with a barge and the Alpena delivering a cargo of cement for the Lafarge Dock. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was outside of Toledo in Lake Erie doing work.


Passenger liner Hamburg returning to Great Lakes

9/1 - The cruise ship Hamburg is due in Montreal on Sept. 6. The vessel, once it departs Montreal, is scheduled to go to Toronto, Ont., and do a series of cruises around the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway. Hamburg is best though remembered as the C. Columbus, built in 1997 and for years a regular visitor to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. The ship is still registered in the Bahamas but carries mostly German passengers.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #653 – Dronning Maud mined in North Sea on Sept. 1, 1916

9/1 - The Norwegian freighter Dronning Maud was chartered to Keystone Transports Ltd. for Great Lakes service. It first came inland in 1909 and was primarily used to carry coal from Erie, PA to Montreal.

The 229 foot long freighter had been built at Bergen, Norway, and completed in 1907. Later, in 1910, the ship was noted loading coal at Cleveland for Fort William, ON and then took on grain there for overseas delivery.

The 1,102 gross ton carrier struck a mine laid by UC-1 in the North Sea on Aug. 29, 1916. The loss occurred off the east coast of England, 99-years ago today. Dronning Maud was between Southall and Lowestoft when it hit the mine and the ship sank while trying to reach port.

Dronning Maud had loaded cement at London, England, and was on a voyage to Kem, Russia, when it was lost.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 28

September 1, 1880, the Cleveland Vessel Owners Association, later Lake Carriers’ Association, was created, with Alva Bradley as its first president.

September 1, 1892, the upbound WESTERN RESERVE, flagship of the Kinsman fleet, sank approximately 60 miles above Whitefish Point. There were 31 casualties among the crew and passengers. The lone survivor was Wheelsman Harry W. Stewart.

On 01 September 1891, EDWARD H. JENKS (wooden propeller freighter, 119 foot over all, 180 gross tons, built in 1882, at Port Dover, Ontario as the passenger/package freight steamer E.M. FOSTER) was carrying limestone up the Detroit River during a foggy night when she collided with GEORGE W. MORLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 193 foot, 1,045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) in a misunderstanding of passing signals. Three were killed in the collision and the JENKS quickly sank at Ballard's Reef on the Detroit River. Her cargo kept her in place until she was recovered the following month and rebuilt.

Tragedy struck four days after the launch of the AGAWA CANYON, September 1, 1970, when the ship was rocked by an engine room explosion, killing one of the crew and injuring seven more. The AGAWA CANYON entered service in November, 1970, equipped with four 10 cylinder, two stroke cycle, single acting opposed piston diesel engines, built in 1970, by Fairbanks, Morse (Canada), Kingston, Ontario. Total bhp 6,680. Rated service speed: 12 knots (13.8 mph).

The TEMPLE BAR (Hull#101G) was launched September 1, 1970, at Govan, Scotland by the Govan Division of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. for Lambert Bros. (Shipping) Ltd., London, England. Renamed b.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1977, c.) LAKETON in 1984, d.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1986, and e.) ALGONORTH in 1987.

Upon her arrival at Quebec City on September 1, 1962, the LAKE WINNIPEG was the first vessel of the Nipigon Transport Ltd. (Carryore Ltd., mgr.) fleet.

The self-unloader B.H. TAYLOR (Hull#787) was launched September 1, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., the third self-unloader built for the Bradley Transportation Co., Rogers City, Michigan. Renamed b.) ROGERS CITY in 1957. Scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1988.

From September 1, 1947, to September 15, 1959, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

On 1 September 1854, ABIAH (2-mast wooden schooner or brig, 134 foot, 353 tons, built in 1848, at Irving, New York) was sailing light from Chicago, Illinois, to Oconto, Wisconsin, when she capsized and sank in a squall about 10 miles off Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The schooner L. LUDDINGTON rescued her crew and 2 passengers.

The 135-foot wooden schooner JOSEPH E. SPARROW was launched at Bangor, Michigan, on 1 September 1873.

On 1 September 1900, the Canadian steamer ADVANCE (wooden propeller package freighter, 168 foot, 1,178 gross tons, built in 1884, at St. Catharines, Ontario) was placed in service. In August 1899, when she was named SIR S. L. TILLEY, she had caught fire off shore, about 7 miles from Fairport, Ohio, and was destroyed. However, the hull was later recovered and used as the basis of the steamer ADVANCE. She lasted in this role until 1903, when she burned again.

September 1, 1919 - A switchman was killed in the yard at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, while the ANN ARBOR No. 6 was being loaded. This caused a delay of four hours in her sailing time.

September 1, 1931 - W. L. Mercereau retired as superintendent of steamships, a position he had held since 1899.

1916 DRONNING MAUD, a Norwegian freighter visited the Great Lakes on charter to Keystone Transports beginning in 1909. It hit a mine in the North Sea on this date and sank off the east coast of England, between Southwall and Lowestoft.

1929 EDWARD BUCKLEY caught fire and was destroyed in the North Channel of Georgian Bay. The blaze broke out aft while enroute to Little Current to load pulpwood. The hull burned to the waterline and sank near Narrow Island Lighthouse. Local fishermen rescued the crew.

1936 The Canadian canaller BENMAPLE of the Port Colborne & St. Lawrence Navigation Company, sank in the St. Lawrence at about 0400 hours, near Father Point, after being hit in fog by the inbound liner LAFAYETTE. A wheelsman was killed but all others on board were rescued.

1983 INDIANA HARBOR sets a record loading 67,896 tons of iron ore at Escanaba.

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


Port Reports -  August 31

St. Marys River
Presque Isle, which had been under repairs recently at Erie, was upbound in the river Sunday with the tug Missouri in attendance at the stern. The saltie Nordana Emilie was upbound with windmill parts.


Lookback #652 – Former Nancy Michaels sank at the dock on Aug. 31, 1979

The ocean-going freighter Nancy Michaels had been built at Nagoya, Japan, and completed in May 1957 as Kaisho Maru. The 115.5 metre long cargo carrier had four holds and could handle in the range of 6,787 tons of goods.

The vessel was sold to Ray Navigation Ltd. and registered in Greece as Dolores in 1970. The same company changed the name to Nancy Michaels and flag to Liberia in 1971.

Nancy Michaels was a Seaway trader in 1971 but, on June 15, lost an anchor and over 240 metres of chain in the Pointe Aux Pins Channel of the upper St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie. It was believed that the equipment broke loose in mid-channel and could be a hazard to area navigation.

Ray Navigation retained ownership when the ship moved under the flag of Cyprus as Selinas in 1974. They finally sold the vessel in 1977 when it became Leslie B. for Leslie Shipping Ltd. with registry in Panama.

Leslie B. sent out a distress call off in the Atlantic off Cape Sable in January 1977. The #1 cargo hold had flooded and aircraft dropped pumps to help keep the ship afloat. The crew of 25 remained safe and guided their troubled freighter into Halifax for repairs on Jan. 3. Leslie B. was a Great Lakes visitor later that year.

The ship was wrecked after becoming Ventura in 1979. It had been renamed earlier in the year and was docked at Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, when Hurricane David churned through the area on Aug. 31, 1979. The moorings could not hold the ship and it was repeatedly banged against the dock until at least one hole was punctured in the hull. In time this caused the ship to roll on its side and sink 36 years ago today.

Beginning in March 1980, salvage operations got underway and consisted of breaking the semi-submerged vessel into pieces for removal and recycling.

Skip Gillham - from the Port Colborne Leader


Updates -  August 31

News Photo Gallery we are caught up with 220+ pictures and two videos featuring footage from our drone. Please continue to send in your pictures.


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 31

August 31, 1852 - The U. S. Congress passed an act requiring the president to appoint three officers from the Navy, three engineers from the Army and two civilian scientists to constitute the new Lighthouse Board. The Bureau of Lighthouses succeeded the Lighthouse Board in 1910.

On August 31, 1977, the BELLE RIVER entered service, departing Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for Superior, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) WALTER J. McCARTHY, JR in 1990.

In mid-August 1987, a peregrine falcon that had disappeared from Regina, Saskatchewan, two weeks earlier landed on the deck of a lake freighter on Lake Huron. The bird was captured and taken to a bird sanctuary in Vineland, Ontario. The vessel name is unknown.

In mid-August 1985, the Belgium salty FEDERAL THAMES loaded 25,400 tons of low-concentrate chrome ore at Duluth's Hallett Dock and was bound for Sweden. This ore dates back to World War II when it was mined in Montana. Other shipments were to have been made later as well.

On 31 August 1906, CAVALIER (3-mast wooden schooner, 134 foot 268 gross tons, built in 1867, at Quebec City as a bark) was carrying cedar lumber when she struck a reef off Chantry Island in Lake Huron and sank. Her crew was rescued by the Chantry Island lightkeeper. She was bound from Tobermory for Sarnia, Ontario.

On 31 August 1869, the schooner W. G. KEITH was launched at the Muir & Stewart yard in Port Huron, Michigan. She was named after her skipper/owner. Her dimensions were 126 foot X 26 foot X 8 foot 6 inches. She was built for the Lake Michigan lumber trade.

On 31 August 1900, efforts to free the newly-launched steel steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON from the mud in the Black River at Port Huron, Michigan continued throughout the day. The launch had been watched by thousands the previous day and the vessel's stern stuck in the mud. On this date, the tugs BOYNTON and HAYNES tried to pull her free but were unable to do so. Finally 14 hydraulic jacks were used to lift the vessel and at 6 p.m. she was ready to be pulled by tugs. After a 15-inch hawser was broken in the first attempt, the tug PROTECTOR finally pulled the vessel free.

In 1982, the sandsucker NIAGARA made its last trip through the I-75 Bridge with a cargo of sand for the Chevrolet Saginaw Metal Castings plant.

In 1975, ALGOCEN stranded on South McNair Shoal in the St. Lawrence off Ogdensburg, N.Y. The ship was released and, after unloading at Port Cartier, sailed to Port Weller Dry Dock to spend from September 14 to October 10 on the shelf while a 600-foot section of the bottom of the hull was repaired.

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


Former Boblo boat Columbia ready for move from Toledo to Buffalo

8/30 - Toledo, Ohio – The SS Columbia will receive a proper welcome in Buffalo Wednesday — greeted by a flotilla of vessels — as the 113-year-old steamship moves to the next stage in its restoration.

Liz McEnaney, spokesperson for the non-profit SS Columbia Project, which is spearheading the steamer’s rebirth, said the tug Michigan will tow the ship with the assistance of the tug Nebraska from Toledo to Buffalo where it will be docked for the next year.

McEnaney said the “easiest publicly accessible spot in Toledo will be Bay View Park (on) North Summit Street.”

For decades the Columbia, and its sister ship the SS Ste. Claire, ferried thousands of passengers from Detroit to Amherstburg’s Boblo Island Amusement Park. They largely sat unused and unprotected after they were decommissioned in 1991.

It’s expected the Columbia will leave Ironhead Marine Shipyard on Toledo’s Maumee River Tuesday at 8 a.m., arriving at the north entrance of Buffalo Harbor Wednesday at 4 p.m. — weather permitting.

McEnaney said the fireboat Cotter and the schooner Spirit of Buffalo will lead the flotilla meeting the steamer in Buffalo where it will be prepared for the more difficult trip to the Hudson River.

The Columbia underwent a $1.6-million US hull stabilization in Toledo. The total cost of the project is estimated at $18 million. So far, more than $3 million has been raised. The Columbia will eventually be put back to work as an excursion steamship connecting New York City to waterfront cities and towns along the Hudson Valley.

For further information, visit Windsor Star


Captain John’s restaurant coming apart at the last port

8/30 - Port Colborne, Ont. – On a sunny August afternoon, the mouth of the Welland Canal in Port Colborne at the shore of Lake Erie offers a picturesque lesson into the marine history of Ontario.

In the waters where shipping traffic once travelled non-stop every day, the impressive bulk and height of one of the canal’s few remaining lift bridges overlooks the fading footprint of the three earlier canals that flowed here and the stone abutments of retired bridges and locks.

And from there, on the promenade overlook, a familiar sight becomes visible across the water: a red star on a white field, above the stylized serif letters “John’s Seafo.” Looking closer, there’s a familiar blue plank surrounded by light bulbs, with inoperable neon tubing spelling out “SEAFOOD.”

It’s the old ship, all right, what’s left of it, the MS Jadran, which was anchored in the Toronto harbor at the foot of Yonge Street for 40 years, serving as Captain John’s restaurant. Before that it had spent two decades as a passenger ship in the Adriatic. Now it sits in pieces here, the recognizable upper half in pieces emerging from the earth and bush along the canal.

For a visitor from Toronto, it is a startling sight, like the sudden appearance of the beached tip of Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes — the ruin of a familiar landmark in an unfamiliar place. What was for a couple generations an iconic fixture of Toronto’s waterfront has become, for the summer, a part of the view for Port Colborne’s residents and visitors.

“I was familiar with Captain John’s restaurant when it was moored in Toronto harbour,” says Port Colborne mayor John Maloney. “Certainly when it came down here, it gathered a lot of interest. Not just from local people, but also people were coming from quite a distance to see it,” he says, saying it served as “almost a tourist attraction” throughout the summer, and a conversation piece among local residents.

Maloney himself has visited the canal each day, watching the Jadran’s progress anchored to another, larger vessel at the edge of Marine Recycling Corporation’s marine salvage yard. “It’s being demolished rather quickly,” he says, disassembled in parts by a crew of a few dozen local laborers. What remains of the hull is still in the water, while the wheelhouse, cabin, and passenger compartments are disassembled onshore. “It’s actually sad to see these vessels that had an interesting history . . . it’s sad to see them demolished and disposed of.”

It’s not a novelty in Port Colborne, though. For more than 30 years, Marine Recycling has been operating as a recycler on the canal, a major — and growing — employer. Where once ships from all over the Great Lakes and from down the St. Lawrence moved through Port Colborne carrying freight, now they come here to die. Or to be reborn, their pieces sold off to be remade into other things.

Jordan Elliott of the Marine Recycling Corporation says he expects the Jadran to disappear entirely — for the recycling project to be complete — before the fall. At which point, it will be replaced on the canal by another ship destined for destruction and dismantling.

“When one is gone, there’s another one shortly after, it’s an ongoing operation 12 months a year,” Mayor Maloney says. “We’re sorry to see it happen, but the scrap is recycled, new boats come out, and they serve the country.” An old industrial shipping channel becomes the site of a new recycling facility, old materials become new products, old landmarks disappear, to be replaced by others. And the whole cycle is visible from the promenade in Port Colborne, where a piece of Toronto’s own marine history slips slowly, piece by piece, into memory.

The Star


Port Reports -  August 30

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge on Thursday morning to load cement. Saturday was an active day with four vessels in port at various times. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity came in overnight to load under the silos at Lafarge. Algoway arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock early Saturday morning. It unloaded a cargo of road salt from Goderich, Ont., and departed before 6 a.m. It has been quite a few years since an Algoma vessel has unloaded salt at the dock. Mississagi tied up in the river around 2 p.m. with the second load of salt for the dock. The salt pile was even bigger once the Mississagi finished the unload by 6 p.m. Alpena made its way into port during the afternoon as well, for another load of cement.


Coast Guard recognized by City of Cleveland for 225th anniversary

8/30 - Cleveland, Ohio – City of Cleveland officials and U.S. Coast Guard members celebrate the service's 225th anniversary during a ceremony at City Hall Friday.

Cleveland Major Frank Jackson presented a proclamation recognizing the Coast Guard's 225 years in service to Rear Adm. June Ryan, commander of the Coast Guard 9th District. The ceremony served to recognize the anniversary's historic significance and showcased the partnership between the City of Cleveland and the Coast Guard.

This proclamation honors the Coast Guard’s beginnings and the men and women who have served the nation and the world since its founding in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton.



Lookback #651 – Western Reserve broke in two and foundered on Aug. 30, 1892

The Western Reserve was the pride of the Minch fleet. It was built at Cleveland and launched on Oct. 20, 1890. The 341 foot long steamer set early cargo records for carrying wheat and iron ore.

The vessel was up bound and in ballast from Cleveland to Two Harbors when it broke in two about 60 miles above Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, on Aug. 30, 1892. The hull fractured just ahead of the boiler house and sank in ten minutes to a depth of 600 feet of water. It was the first steel steamer to be lost.

Capt. Peter Minch, his wife and two of their children were among the 26 casualties. All of the others perished in the tragedy when the two yawl boats capsized. Only one crew member, a wheelsman, survived as he was a strong swimmer and made it to shore where he lay exhausted until able to hike through the bush for help.

Western Reserve was one of the largest steel steamers to be built to that point and the loss was set at $200,000. A thorough investigation followed although, with only one survivor, it was difficult to gather information.

As a result, there was a belief that the steel used was too brittle and there were subsequent modifications in the construction of these ships.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 30

On this day in 1964, the retired Bradley Transportation steamer CALCITE was awarded the National Safety Council Award of Merit. The CALCITE accumulated a total of 1,394,613 man-hours of continuous operation over 17 years without a disabling, lost-time injury. The CALCITE was the first Great Lakes vessel to ever receive this honor.

On 30 August 1893, CENTURION (steel propeller freighter, 350 foot, 3,401 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#100) at W. Bay City, Michigan. The name was a pun to celebrate the ship as Frank Wheeler's 100th hull.

The CHARLES E. WILSON was christened August 30, 1973, at Bay Shipbuilding Co., for the American Steamship Co., and completed her sea trials on September 6th. She was renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

On August 30, 1942, the A. H. FERBERT ran aground in the St. Marys River, just a day old. The vessel returned to the builder's yard in River Rouge, Michigan for repairs.

On August 30, 1988, the WILLOWGLEN, a.) MESABI, made its first visit to Duluth-Superior under that name. She loaded grain at Harvest States in Superior, Wisconsin, arriving early in the morning and departing in the early evening the same day. Her last visit to Duluth before this was in 1981 under the name c.) JOSEPH X. ROBERT.

The H G DALTON entered service on August 30, 1903, for Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. Later b.) COURSEULLES in 1916, c.) GLENDOCHART in 1922, d.) CHATSWORTH in 1927, e.) BAYLEAF in 1942 and f.) MANCOX in 1951.

On August 30, 1985, the tug CAPTAIN IOANNIS S departed Quebec City with MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK, JR. in tow, bound for Spain to be scrapped.

On 30 August 1873, CAMBRIDGE (3-mast, wooden schooner, 162 foot, 445 tons, built in 1868, at Detroit, Michigan) was bound from Marquette, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio with a load of iron ore. In rough seas, she was thrown onto the rocky shore near Marquette where she broke up. No lives were lost.

On 30 August 1900, thousands of people gathered at the Jenks Shipbuilding Company near the Grand Trunk Bridge on the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan to watch the launching of the large steel steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON. Superintendent Andrews gave the word and the blows were struck simultaneously at the bow and stern. Slowly the vessel started quivering slightly from deck to keel and then with a mighty rush, slid sideways into the river. Her stern stuck in the mud. Mrs. Thomas Wilson christened the ship.

1892: The two-year-old steel bulk carrier WESTERN RESERVE foundered about 60 miles above Whitefish Point with the loss of 26 lives. There was only one survivor.

1903: PITTSBURGH burned at the dock in Sandwich, Ontario. The oak-hulled passenger and freight paddle-wheeler had been built in 1871 as MANITOBA. The hull was towed to Port Dalhousie for scrapping later in 1904.

1942: NEEBING (i), a former bulk canaller that dated from 1903, left the lakes for war service about 1915. It survived the initial conflict and continued in saltwater service into the Second World War. The ship was torpedoed and sunk as c) JAN TOMP in the eastern Black Sea enroute from Poti, Georgia, to Novorossiysk, Russia.

1952: The iron-hulled paddle-wheeler HAMILTONIAN burned at Hamilton. The cause was believed to have been a carelessly discarded cigarette butt in the women’s washroom. The remains were scrapped at Hamilton in 1953.

1975: B.A. CANADA came to the Great Lakes beginning in 1966 after early work for British-American tankers between Venezuela and North America. The ship was sold and returned inland under Liberian registry as b) DIMITRIOS D.M. in 1969 and ran aground in the Panama Canal on this date in 1975. The damaged hull was laid up at Jacksonville, FL and arrived at Panama City, FL. for scrapping on March 10, 1976.

2001: MARLY, a Seaway caller in 1981, began flooding in #2 hold as d) BISMIHITA'LA and developed a severe list. The crew abandoned ship and 25 sailors were picked up by the MURIEL YORK. Three were lost when their lifeboat drifted into the propeller. The ship was 500 miles off Capetown, South Africa. It was taken in tow by the tug SUHAILI but the 25-year old freighter had to be scuttled at sea on September 17, 2001.

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

Canada puts money toward Keewatin restoration

8/29 - Port McNicoll, Ont. – A historic steamship docked in West Michigan as a 45-year floating museum is getting closer to her third life as a fully restored residential and resort development tourist attraction in Canada.

The Canadian government allocated $480,000 toward the $1.1 million restoration of the S.S. Keewatin, an Edwardian-era steamship that left her berth in Douglas in 2012 to return to home port of Port McNicoll, Ont.

Skyline International Development bought the 108-year-old freight and passenger liner in 2011 and towed it from its 45-year dockside home on Kalamazoo Lake along the Blue Star Highway in Douglas, where it was a museum.

R.J. and Diane Peterson saved the ship, often referred to as being similar in purpose to the Titanic or other luxury liners, from being scrapped in 1967. Built in Scotland and launched on July 6, 1907, the 350-foot vessel came to Canada in 1912 and today is considered the last Edwardian-era steamship left in the world.

The "Kee," as Canadians call her, was one of the luxury ships of the Canadian Pacific Railways that plied the Upper Great Lakes during the first half of the 20th century.

The ship left Douglas on June 5, 2012 to a sad farewell. Its 18-day voyage through two Great Lakes was met with a huge flotilla and celebration on June 23 in Georgian Bay.

The Canada 150 fund money will fund dock dredging and pier improvements in Port McNicoll. Canada will celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

Skyline Development owns 12,000 acres in Port McNicoll along a deep-water port built by the Canadian Pacific Railway as a land and lake terminal for cargo and passenger service. Skyline, a developer of destination resorts, plans to a $1 billion resort city at the site with hotels, waterfront homes, downtown condominiums and shopping.

The Friends of the Keewatin group "want to do some more advanced renovations to help attract more visitors, but before they can do anything else, they've got to repair the pier, the dock area, that's next to the Keewatin," said Bruce Stanton, a Canadian Parliament member representing Ontario's Simcoe North district.

That work is expected to begin this fall.

M Live


Duluth port celebrates key role in wind energy supply chain

8/29 - Duluth, Minn. – The Port of Duluth is playing a key role on the renewable energy supply chain as crews handle all the cargo for a new 43-turbine wind farm that Allete Clean Energy is building in North Dakota.

The port and company officials celebrated their partnership for the project as the fifth wind-cargo shipment arrived from Germany on Thursday. That North Dakota project is only a small fraction of what's become a key business at the port.

Duluth crews were carefully unloading each of the 31 wind turbine blades and stowing them on wide-load semi-trailers headed 500 miles to the project site in North Dakota.

Allete Clean Energy President Eric Norberg said the port has a lot to do with the success of their renewable energy project. "One of the big advantages of this project is having the Port of Duluth, to be able to get this far inland," Norberg said.

Half of the Great Lakes wind cargo now comes through Duluth, due in part because it's the furthest inland port in North America. That can serve a variety of purposes for companies, said Jonathan Lamb, President of Lake Superior Warehousing Co.

"When you look at the types of dimensional freight that you're seeing back here, they're not exactly the simplest thing to move down the highway or move by rail," Lamb said.

Adele Yorde with the Duluth Seaway Authority said water routes are the "greenest" and most efficient, making Duluth's port a logical choice for Allete as they pursue clean energy ventures.

The Duluth port takes cargo deep into the heartland where it can be unloaded by the skilled workforce there. "They've built an award-winning reputation of handling these types of projects over the years," Lamb said.

The supply chain continues to be an easy choice in Duluth, Lamb said, as wind cargo moves from water to land, traveling shorter distances on rail and truck transportation hubs in Duluth. He said it's all turning the big blades into big business for the port.

"It just gives us a tremendous transportation option and supply chain option for shippers and projects that are located in the Midwest or projects that are exporting out of the midwest," Lamb said.

Two more wind cargo shipments are set to unload in Duluth. The wind project is slated to be completed in December.



Port Reports -  August 29

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, St. Clair unloaded western coal from Superior. The visit was her second of the season.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
On Wednesday, Aug. 26, the Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann arrived at Bay Shipbuilding. The newbuild petroleum barge Mississippi was float launched from the large graving dock and the Dorothy Ann was put in the dock for repair. On Friday morning the Dorothy Ann was out of the dock and mated with the Pathfinder.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Four vessels are expected to arrive on Saturday. First to is the Calumet in the early morning, followed by the barge Pathfinder/tug Dorothy Ann arriving at noon. The Joseph L. Block is due in the late afternoon and rounding out the schedule is the Wilfred Sykes arriving in the late evening.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calumet loaded Thursday during the morning. Also due in on Thursday was the barge Pere Marquette 41 along with the tug Undaunted in the late afternoon. Sam Laud was expected to arrive on Friday at noon. Joseph L. Block rounds out the schedule Saturday in the early morning hours.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manistee loaded on Thursday, followed by Joseph H. Thompson and Lewis J. Kuber. Both vessels went to anchor awaiting a clear dock to load. Friday found the Kuber still loading and due to depart around 8 p.m. Also expected to arrive on Friday during the early afternoon was the Great Republic followed in the late evening by the John G. Munson. Herbert C. Jackson is due back at Stoneport during the early morning on Saturday. Two vessels are expected to arrive on Sunday, with the Lewis J. Kuber due back in the early morning followed by the Cason J. Callaway a bit later in the morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Thursday and Friday was ASC day at Calcite's loading docks, with two vessels loading at each dock. The H. Lee White arrived first on Thursday in the early evening for the North Dock. They were still loading on Friday and were expected to depart at noon. American Courage also arrived on Thursday in the late evening for the South Dock and they were still loading on Friday. They were due to depart around 8 a.m. Due in for Saturday is the barge Pathfinder/tug Dorothy Ann in the late evening at an unknown dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
CSL Assiniboine unloaded iron ore pellets on Thursday at the Torco Dock. Also due at Torco is the barge James L. Kuber along with the tug Victory on Monday in the early evening. The Hon. James L. Oberstar is also due at Torco on Wednesday, September 2 in the late morning. Atlantic Huron is due at Torco on Saturday, September 5 during the late afternoon. The Saginaw is expected to arrive on Saturday during the early morning for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include the Saginaw on Saturday during the late morning hours. The Algoma Transport is due at CSX on Sunday during the late evening hours. James L. Kuber is due at CSX on Tuesday, September 1 in the early morning. The Lakes Contender is due on Wednesday, September 2 in the early morning followed by the Hon. James L. Oberstar also due on Wednesday, September 2 in the late afternoon. Other vessels included the saltwater vessel Federal Maas departing the Port of Toledo, while the tug Paul L. Luedtke was outside of Toledo in Lake Erie. The tug Genesis Victory and a barge were in port as were the tug Sea Crescent and a barge. American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Dock and the tug Jane Ann IV and barge Sarah Spencer both remain at the Ironhead Marine Drydock. The Tall Ship Niagara was also in port.


Coast Guard crews salvage sunken buoys in Green Bay and Lake Michigan

8/29 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coast Guard crews recovered 11 buoys and 13 sinkers with mooring chain ending a 5-day salvage operation Friday in Lake Michigan.

Members of Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, a Coast Guard dive team and crew from Station and Aids-to-Navigation Team Two Rivers, Mich., searched for the sunken aids in both Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

The sunken buoys, chain and sinkers retrieved during this operation will be sent to a commercial repair facility for refurbishing if possible and put back into inventory for future use in the Great Lakes maritime transportation system providing a cost savings in new buoy construction and by removing potential hazards in the waterways.

Planning for this salvage operation began during spring aids-to-navigation patrols when Mobile Bay's crew visually located several of the sunken buoys on the bottom.

The six-person Coast Guard dive team assigned to this mission are permanently attached to Dive Locker East in Portsmouth, Va.

"The coordinated effort of the dive team, cutter personnel and ANT Two Rivers has been a tremendous opportunity to use many of the search and salvage techniques that we train with," said Chief Petty Officer Loren Powers, dive team leader. "Getting a chance to train two of our newest dive school graduates in aids-to-navigation diving, salvage and searching methods with a real impact from each dive has been a rewarding opportunity for all involved. We look forward to future Great Lakes operations."

Over the last five to seven years, 22 of the winter ice hulls and associated mooring chain and sinkers have gone missing. These "winter mark" buoys are streamlined to minimize ice catching any protruding structure on the buoy allowing it to ride under moving ice without dragging the sinker off position or damaging the hull and then resurface when the ice gives way.

Two Rivers joined the effort by providing a boat crew and their aids-to-navigation boat as a suitable working platform for the dive team and their gear.

Cutter Mobile Bay, homeported in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., is responsible for all Green Bay aids-to-navigation and those off the west coast of Lake Michigan down to Sheboygan, 113 buoys in all.



Lookback #650 – Fire broke out aboard Nanticoke at Quebec City on Aug. 29, 1984

The Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader Nanticoke was unloading at Quebec City on Aug. 29, 1984, when a fire broke out in a cargo hold. The blaze damaged the unloading belts and electrical components putting the ship out of service until repairs could be made.

This 730 foot long self-unloader was built as Hull 218 of the Collingwood shipyard. It was launched on Dec. 18, 1979, and completed the following June for both freshwater and saltwater trading.

The hull was converted to Caribbean Class in 1987 – 1988 and Nanticoke served C.S.L. in several capacities including trading between the Yucatan Peninsula and U.S. Gulf Shore ports and from Bahamas to Port Arthur, Texas.

In 2009, this ship was renamed b) Salarium and since then has worked mainly in the salt trade on the St. Lawrence but it does continue to come through the Seaway on occasion.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 29

August 29, 1996 - The NICOLET, which had been sold for scrap, left Toledo under tow of the McKeil tug OTIS WACK, arriving in Port Maitland, Ontario during the early hours of the 30th. Last operated in 1990, the NICOLET was built in 1905 by Great Lakes Engineering Work at Ecorse, Michigan as the a.) WILLIAM G. MATHER (25), b) J. H. SHEADLE (55), c) H. L. GOBEILLE. The vessel spent the first 60 years of her life in service for the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. After 1965, her ownership was transferred to the Gartland Steamship Company and eventually American Steamship Company.

On this day in 1974, unsuccessful negotiations on a major shipbuilding contract resulting in Litton Industries terminating operations at its Erie yard. The Litton yard had built the first 1,000-foot boat on the lakes, the STEWART J. CORT, and the 1,000-foot tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE.

It is not often that a schooner tows a tug, but on 29 August 1882, the tug J. A. CRAWFORD was towing the big schooner JAMES COUCH to Chicago when the wind picked up and the schooner passed the tug. Captain Gorman of the CRAWFORD cut the engine and allowed the COUCH to tow him until they got close to the harbor. Then the schooner shortened sail and the tug finished the job of towing her into port.

On August 29, 1942, the A. H. FERBERT entered service for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On her maiden voyage August 29, 1979, the INDIANA HARBOR sailed for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load iron ore pellets for Indiana Harbor, Indiana. In August 1982, INDIANA HARBOR became the first U.S. flag laker to receive satellite communication.

On August 29, 1972 the lightship HURON was placed in an earth embankment at Port Huron's Pine Grove Park along the St. Clair River and was opened to visitors on July 13, 1974.

Canada Steamship Lines' ATLANTIC SUPERIOR returned from Europe on August 29, 1985, with a cargo of gypsum for Picton, Ontario.

On 29 August 1871, GEORGE M. ABEL (2-mast wooden schooner) broke up on a reef near Port Burwell, Ontario.

On 29 August 1858, CANADA (3-mast wooden bark, 199 foot, 758 tons) was carrying a half-million board feet of lumber to Chicago in bad weather when she settled just north of downtown Chicago. The next day during a salvage attempt, she blew southward, struck a bar off the old waterworks, broke her back, then broke up. She had been built in Canada in 1846, as a sidewheeler and was seized by the U.S. in 1849, and rebuilt as a bark in 1852.

August 29, 1998 - The BADGER was designated a spur route on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour.

1906: The wooden bulk carrier CHARLES A. EDDY caught fire in Lake Huron enroute to Cleveland with iron ore. The ship later arrived at Port Huron, under her own power, with a salvage crew.

1967: LINDE, a Norwegian flag freighter, first entered the Seaway in 1965. Two years later, on this date, it sank the ARISTOS in dense fog in the English Channel 17 miles off Beachy Head. All on board were rescued. LINDE later stranded as d) ZEPHYR outside of Dunkirk, France, on January 13, 1981, after anchoring due to bad weather. The hull was broken up for scrap where she lay.

1984: A fire in the cargo hold of NANTICOKE broke out while the ship was unloading in Quebec City and damaged the self-unloading belts and electronic components.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Lake Huron Lore Society, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


Columbia tow to depart Toledo Sept. 1, arrive in Buffalo on Sept. 2

8/28 - Toledo, Ohio – For nearly a century and a half, lakes, rivers, bays and sounds all across the United States had a grand tradition of excursion steamboats offering the chance to get out on the water for the day. The SS Columbia, the oldest remaining steamboat from that tradition, is being renovated and will one day restore the tradition on the Hudson River.

Designed by Frank Kirby, the most acclaimed architect of these boats, the SS Columbia is currently in Toledo where it has undergone a $1.6 million hull stabilization. It will next travel to Buffalo, where it will stay for a year in preparation for its journey to the Hudson River and New York City.

Tuesday, Sept. 1 (weather permitting), the SS Columbia will be towed from Ironhead Marine Shipyard in Toledo’s Maumee River, departing at 8 a.m. The towing tug will be the Michigan and the assist tug will be the Nebraska.

Wednesday, Sept. 2 (weather permitting), the SS Columbia will arrive at the North Entrance of Buffalo Harbor at 4 p.m. It will greeted by a flotilla of vessels led by the fireboat Edward M. Cotter and the schooner Spirit of Buffalo on its way to docking at Marine ‘A’ at Silo City in the Buffalo River.

The SS Columbia is owned by the non-profit SS Columbia Project (, whose mission is to restore it and enable it to serve as a cultural flagship reconnecting New York City to the waterfront cities and towns along the scenic Hudson Valley where excursion steamboats were long a familiar sight.

Built in 1902, the SS Columbia will also be a familiar sight to many in Buffalo as it resembles closely the SS Canadiana and SS Americana, both also designed by Frank Kirby, which ran excursions from Buffalo for much of the 20th century.

SS Columbia Project


Mystery boat: Alone and idle in a waterlogged corner of Chicago

8/28 - Chicago, Ill. – There is something incongruous, maybe even outlandish, about seeing a big rusty ship from a freeway in America’s Breadbasket. Have you ever seen it? The 620-foot vessel docked up on the Calumet River under the Illinois International Port sign, clearly visible by anyone driving north on the Bishop Ford Expressway.

Chicagoan Samantha Kruse saw it while out on her uncle’s boat. They’d set out for a leisurely cruise on the Calumet River when, there she blew – a giant old hulk of a ship. Seemingly abandoned. Covered in rust.

She joked with her uncle that it was likely haunted and filled with ghosts. But ultimately, she wondered, “What is the deal with that ship?”

Initial research brought up very little. And most people we asked had absolutely no clue. Even the security guard who guards the port’s entrance, where the ship is docked, had no idea why the boat was there. He just knew it never moved.

But we do have an account of the boat’s predicament, one that reveals a lot about the fate of a regional industry as well as a waterlogged corner of the city that — when it’s not just passed up entirely — is probably best known for heavy industry such as black clouds of swirling petroleum coke pollution or a colorful shack that produces famous smoked shrimp and sturgeon.

Eventually, research produced a name for the vessel: the C.T.C No. 1.

The C.T.C No. 1 — just the latest in a string of five names given by each new owner — was built in 1942 and moved iron ore to steel mills throughout the Great Lakes. It was wartime, and the country was hungry for raw materials to produce more ships, tanks and aircraft. The ship continued to ferry bulk materials around the Great Lakes until 1980, when it was converted into a cement storage facility, a job it stopped doing in 2009.

So, clearly the ship had been useful at one point, but what was it doing now? And why didn’t it ever move?

Even in the Google age, you can’t get a succinct account of why the boat’s idle. To get a fuller picture, I interviewed people in the ship’s neighborhood, a sleepy industrial swath on the city’s Southeast Side that’s home steel processing facilities, the Ford Motor Co. plant, as well as yacht clubs and tugboat companies.

I got some of the most useful information from the International Shipmasters Association, which, lucky for me, was holding its monthly meeting at Georgie’s Tavern on 134th Street. Several members said the boat had been a mystery to them, too.

“I’ve heard the question many, many, many times,” said Marshal Bundren, the chaplain of the shipmasters local. “Because there is a great big ship and here we are in the middle of the Midwest on a ten-lane highway driving by. Why is that there?”

But Bob Hansen, the shipmasters secretary, was familiar with the mystery boat and its history.

“[It’s the] Bethlehem Steel boat,” he said, referring to an earlier owner. “It says C.T.C. 1 on it because they used it for storing cement.” (The C.T.C comes from its time in service for Cement Transit Co. of Detroit.)

Hansen went on to say, in rapid-fire succession, what our earlier research had shown: that the ship was built in 1942 and was used to move iron ore throughout the Great Lakes during World War II.

“She’s empty and there is no place for her to go. She has no home,” Hansen said. He went on to explain that the walls of the ship contain asbestos, a highly carcinogenic mineral fiber once commonly used for insulation and fireproofing. Scrapping the boat, he added, would likely require expensive safety procedures.

And with the shipping industry as it is, struggling, it was too expensive to justify the rehab.

“So for the moment it’s sitting,” he said of the vessel.

Scott Bravener, the president of Grand River Navigation, who owns the C.T.C. No. 1, said that the asbestos is well contained, though its future is unknown. He said it would cost the company roughly $30 million to rehabilitate the ship and integrate it back into the company’s fleet as a working barge. (The boat no longer has an engine.) The company already owns three of its sister ships. And with the C.T.C.’s hull still in relatively good condition, the ship acts almost like an insurance policy if something goes wrong with one of the other vessels.

It’s also pretty inexpensive to keep it where it is. According to the Port, Grand River pays $600 per month to keep the C.T.C. No.1 docked there.

But, according to Bravener, the ultimate reason the ship sits idle is because there isn’t enough demand to justify putting it into service, a view corroborated by William Strauss, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago specializing in manufacturing and shipping on the Great Lakes.

Strauss said softness in the shipping industry is due to sluggish global growth and a lack of investment in the country’s infrastructure for shipping.

“Low commodity prices [and] some struggle with regard to growth of different markets for commodities, has really left a challenge to justify the expenditure,” he said.

Overall, the shipping industry is still relatively active, but the Port of Chicago is not the economic engine it once was. According to a 2011 report, the most recent data available, the Port generates nearly 2,700 jobs, 25 percent less than it did nearly a decade prior. And the jobs the Port creates indirectly have dropped by 22 percent over the same period. Industry-wide, shipping on the Great Lakes faces headwinds, due to the phasing out of coal and a steel industry that has yet to return to its pre-Recession peak.

“It’s an industry that will never die. But it will never get better,” Hansen said. “It just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. As we lose our steel. As we lose our cement. As we lose our coal.”

Still, marine transport is the most economic way to get cargo from one place to another — far cheaper than trucking and even rail.

But a struggling manufacturing sector mixed with low commodity prices, means ships like the C.T.C. No. 1 are left waiting in the wings, stuck in a kind of limbo where they’re too valuable to ditch, but not useful enough to repair.

However, there is one thing working in the favor of Great Lakes shipping. Despite the rusty look of the ship, Strauss said the fresh water of the Great Lakes is forgiving on vessels, nearly tripling their lifespan compared to their ocean-going counterparts. Boats like C.T.C. No. 1 have the possibility of being reintroduced to fleet, even after years spent idle.

When Samantha Kruse was told that her mystery ship was not abandoned, but just empty and unused, she wasn’t all that surprised. “I think that is where I thought it was heading,” she said.

What’s more, she said she’s glad to be reminded that the Calumet River isn’t just for recreational boating. That in fact, there is an active shipping industry still there.

“There are all these people working on barges. It’s not something I think about everyday,” she said. One thing she is a little bummed about, she added: “That I probably can’t make the boat into an awesome haunted house one day.”



Great Lakes Shipyard will build new harbor tug for Guatemala

8/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard, a division of The Great Lakes Towing Co. of Cleveland, celebrated the signing of a construction contract to build another of its HandySize Class, 3,400 HP twin-screw tugboat for harbor towing operations in Puerto Quetzal, a growing principal commercial cargo, container, and cruise port located on the Pacific coast of Guatemala in Central America.

The buyer, Regimen de Pensiones y Jubilaciones del Personal de la Empresa Portuaria, is a pension benefits plan for port employees and retirees who operate a commercial tugboat service in the port under a Port Authority franchise for the purpose of ensuring future retirement benefits.

The HandySize Class tug was designed by Jensen Naval Architects & Marine Engineers, Seattle, Wa. The new tug will be built by the Great Lakes Shipyard with delivery next year. Specifically designed for harbor work and coastal towing, it will be 74 feet long with a beam of 30 feet, and a design draft of 11.5 feet. It is to be built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) standards and its Cummins QSK-50 main diesel propulsion engines, each rated at 1700 BHPat 1600 rpm meet US EPA Tier III emission regulations delivering superior fuel economy, durability, and reliability.

Evidencing the significance of the sale and trade between both countries, the ceremony and reception was held in the U.S. Embassy, Guatemala City, and hosted by the embassy’s Senior Trade Specialist, Antonio Prieto of the International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. Prieto was instrumental in facilitating the sale.

The Great Lakes Towing Co.


Michigan’s Great Lakes, ocean employment makes waves

8/28 - Traverse City, Mich. – Michigan led the nation in the growth of Great Lakes and ocean employment, according to an analysis of the U.S. marine-related economy between 2011 and 2012.

A study by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released this week showed that after being severely affected by the economic downturn, Michigan’s marine-related employment grew by 8 percent in 2012, much faster than the overall state average of 2.1 percent.

The U.S. ocean and Great Lakes economy outpaced the domestic economy between 2011 and 2012, with an increase of $22 billion in gross domestic product, from $321 billion to $343 billion, according to a new NOAA analysis. They research looked at coastal marine construction, living resources, offshore mineral extraction, ship and boat building, tourism, recreation and marine transportation.

Adjusting the figures to remove the effects of inflation, this increase equates to a 10.5 percent rate of growth — more than four times as fast as the U.S. economy as a whole, NOAA said. The new report is based on 2012 U.S. national economic statistics released in August 2014.

The findings look at the ocean and Great Lakes economy in different states, regions and industry sectors.

Five of the six marine sectors grew faster than the national average of 2.5 percent. Offshore mineral extraction, which saw an employment increase of 8.6 percent and an inflation-adjusted GDP increase of 20.9 percent, grew most dramatically.

NOAA’s 2012 Report on the U.S. Ocean and Great Lakes Economy showed that marine-related business sectors employed 2.9 million people in 2012 — more than crop production, telecommunication, and building construction combined — and produced more than $343 billion in goods and services.

Salaries were above the national average for workers in marine construction, ship and boat building, marine transportation and offshore mineral extraction. The national average for wages was $49,000; for the ocean and Great Lake industries, the national average ranged from $63,000 to $143,000.

California employed the highest number of workers, accounting for 17 percent of the nation’s marine-dependent employment and 22 percent of the nation’s employment in the marine transportation sector.

Traverse City Record Eagle


BoatNerd Welland Gathering Sept. 11-13

The annual Welland Canal BoatNerd Gathering is scheduled for Sept. 11-13. Once again, we will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic.

Friday and Saturday evenings the group will gather at the Canadian Corps building in Thorold to share pictures, slides and videos. There is no admission charge. There will also be a few vendor tables available.

On Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon, our group will be allowed access to the Marine Recycling Corp. scrap yard in Port Colborne for a walking tour. The nearly-intact American Fortitude is in the scrap yard.

Details on the Gatherings page.


Lookback #649 – Fraser aground in fog at Duluth-Superior on Aug. 28, 2002

Fraser was visiting the Great Lakes under its fourth name when it wandered off course in fog 13 years ago today. The vessel was turning for the Aerial Bridge at Duluth when it stranded in mud near Bayfront Festival Park. Fortunately, it was a soft landing and the ship was released, with the aid of four tugs, the next day. There was no damage and Fraser was cleared to continue its voyage to Antwerp, Belgium. Fraser had been built at Govan, Scotland, and came to the Great Lakes for Misener Transportation as a) Selkirk Settler. The 730.12 foot long bulk carrier was up bound in the Welland Canal for the first time on May 5, 1983, and has been a frequent trader through that waterway under all five names.

Designed for Great Lakes and Seaway service when the system was open and for deep sea work during the winter months, Selkirk Settler ventured as far as Russia, Morocco, France, Belgium, Germany and Cyprus to discharge or load cargoes over the years.

It left Misener service in 1991 becoming b) Federal St. Louis and, later the same year, c) Federal Fraser (ii). It continued to combine Great Lakes and ocean travel with registry in Bahamas, then the Philippines and as d) Fraser, under the flag of Panama.

Another sale in 2002 brought the ship back into Canadian registry as e) Spruceglen (ii) for Canada Steamship Lines. While more and more of its time is spent in Seaway trading, the ship did make two trips to the Amazon to load bauxite in 2003-2004.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 28

On this day in 1939, the RICHARD J. REISS collided with the YOSEMITE on the St. Clair River. There were no casualties but damage to the Reiss amounted to $26,593.80 and damage to the YOSEMITE amounted to $23,443.09. The REISS was built in 1901, as the a.) GEORGE W. PEAVEY. Renamed b.) RICHARD J. REISS in 1917, c.) SUPERIOR in 1943. She was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario, in 1947. The YOSEMITE carried her name throughout her career, built in 1901, and scrapped at Buffalo, New York, in 1954.

Capt. Frank R. West took his 8-year-old son Robert and the boy's friend, 8-year-old Edward Erickson aboard the new schooner LOUIS MEEKER as guests on a trip carrying 27,000 bushels of oats from Chicago to Buffalo. There was hardly any wind and it took them four days to creep north as far as Pentwater, Michigan. On August 28, 1872, Captain West saw a storm coming and he had the sails taken in as a precaution. The winds came so suddenly and they hit the vessel so hard that the schooner was knocked over on her beam ends. Little Robert West, his dad and three sailors were lost when the vessel sank 15 minutes later near Big Sable Point. Peter Danielson dove and tried to cut away the lifeboat as the schooner was sinking and he almost drowned in that unsuccessful attempt. The mizzen gaff broke free and seven sailors plus little Edward Erickson clung to it until they were picked up by the schooner WILLIAM O. BROWN six hours later.

Mr. Edwin H. Gott, 78, of Pittsburgh, died on August 28, 1986. The namesake of the 1,000 footer, he retired as Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Steel in 1973.

On August 28, 1962, the EDWARD L. RYERSON set a Great Lakes cargo record for iron ore. The RYERSON loaded 25,018 gross tons of iron ore in Superior, Wisconsin, breaking by 14 tons the record held by the Canadian bulk freighter RED WING that was set in the 1961 season. The RYERSON held this record well into 1965.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 was repowered with two 2,850 ihp four cylinder Skinner Uniflow steeple compound steam engines, 19 1/2", 43" dia. X 26" stroke, built in 1953, by the Skinner Engine Co., Erie, Pennsylvania, and four coal-fired Foster-Wheeler water tube boilers with a total heating surface of 25,032 sq. ft. built in 1953. The repowering work was completed on August 28, 1954. Her 1954, tonnage was 3551 gross tons, 1925 net tons, 2450 deadweight tons. A new starboard tail shaft was installed at this time. Her service speed increased to 18 knots (20.7 mph).

The JOHN ANDERSON, a.) LUZON of 1902, was outbound through the Duluth Ship Canal on August 28, 1928, when the vessel struck the north pier suffering $18,000 in damage. Renamed c.) G. G. POST in 1935. The POST was scrapped at Istanbul, Turkey, in 1972.

Gulf Oil Corp., tanker REGENT entered service on August 28, 1934. She was built for low clearances on the New York State Barge Canal and was equipped with five cargo tanks and one dry cargo hold.

The WILLIAM A. REISS, a.) JOHN A. TOPPING, was laid up for the last time on August 28, 1981, at Toledo, Ohio, and remained idle there until July 15, 1994, when she was towed to be scrapped.

On August 28, 1870, CHASKA (wooden scow-schooner, 72 foot, 50 tons, built in 1869, at Duluth, Minnesota originally as a scow-brig) was wrecked in a northwesterly storm near Duluth. Reportedly she's the first vessel built at Duluth.

On August 28, 1763, BEAVER, an armed wooden British sloop built the previous year, was carrying provisions to Detroit to relieve the fort there which was under siege by the Indians led by Pontiac, however the vessel foundered in a storm at Cat Fish Creek, 14 miles from the site of Buffalo. 185 barrels of her cargo were salvaged and went on to Detroit on the schooner GLADWIN.

2002: FRASER, the former SELKIRK SETTLER, went aground in fog at Duluth-Superior and was released without damage with the aid of four tugs. The ship now sails as SPRUCEGLEN of Canada Steamship Lines.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


Coast Guard, Michipicoten come to assistance of sailboat in distress

8/27 - Lake Huron – The U.S. Coast Guard, the Alpena Sheriff's Department and several good samaritans assisted two men aboard a 42-foot sailboat that began taking on water early Wednesday morning 18 miles east of Alpena, Michigan in Lake Huron.

The names of the men rescued are not being released.

Shortly after 9 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, received a call from two men aboard a 42-foot sailboat stating their vessel was taking on water approximately 18 nautical miles east of Alpena in Lake Huron. The men stated they were currently using a hand pump to dewater the vessel.

Sector Sault dispatched a crew from Coast Guard Station Alpena aboard a 25-foot response boat, a crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat and a crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard a Dolphin helicopter. They also issued an urgent marine information broadcast advising mariners in the area of the situation.

The Michipicoten, a Canadian flagged 689-foot bulk carrier and a 45-foot pleasure craft responded to the broadcast along with the Alpena Sheriff's Department.

The Michipicoten provided a lee for the sailboat due to the weather. The area was under a small-craft advisory with reported on-scene conditions of 20-25 knots and waves 6-7 feet.

Just after 11 a.m., the Traverse City aircrew arrived on scene and lowered a rescue swimmer and a dewatering pump to the vessel. After arriving aboard, the swimmer was made aware that one of the men had a history of heart problems and was beginning to experience chest pains. Not long after, the man started to lose consciousness.

The crew medically evacuated the man to Alpena Regional Medical Center. His condition was unknown. The crew aboard the 25-foot response boat arrived just before 11:30 a.m, and began to assist with the dewatering process.

Just after noon, the crew aboard the 45-foot response boat arrived on scene, placed the sailboat in tow and headed for Thunder Bay Harbor in Alpena.



Police release name of missing Ohio man who reportedly jumped from freighter

8/27 - Mason County, Mich. – The Ohio man who reportedly jumped from a freighter early Sunday morning, Aug. 23, has been identified as Jerald Glenn Rinaldi.

Rinaldi, 41, apparently leaped from a 1,000 freighter in the Ludington area after he reportedly was confronted by the ship's captain about alleged alcohol use. The ship has a zero-tolerance policy with alcohol, authorities said.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said Rinaldi was last witnessed jumping from the starboard side of the ship. He was not yet located as of Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The sheriff has said his detectives interviewed 22 members of the ship's crew Monday, Aug. 24. Rinaldi went overboard from the Stewart J. Cort at 1:15 a.m. on Sunday.

M Live


Port Reports -  August 27

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was at dock 2 on Wednesday morning, She left at 8:10 a.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
English River got towed in Wednesday around 5 p.m. for Lafarge Cement.


Lookback #648 – Vegco sank in Lock 4 after a freak accident on Aug. 27, 1965

It was 50 years ago today that an unusual accident in Lock 4 of the Welland Canal left the tug Vegco on the bottom of the chamber. The vessel was up bound with a barge and part of a tandem lockage when the trailing salty Eva Jeanette ran up over the tug's stern flooding the vessel.

The crew was able to scramble to the safety of the barge and all were saved. Vegco was refloated on Aug. 29 and went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

The tug had been built at Brooklyn, New York, in 1938 and first sailed as a) Otco. It joined Moran Towing as b) Eugenia Moran in 1962 and was a Great Lakes caller, via the New York State Barge Canal at Oswego, in 1963.

The tug was sold to Barge Vegoil No. 6 Corp. later in 1963 and renamed c) Vegco. Following repairs necessitated from the sinking of a half-century ago today, the ship returned to service. It was sold and renamed d) Norwich in 1972 and became e) Seagull in 1998.

The tug is reported to have sunk later in 1998 but details are lacking. It may have been scuttled as a reef but there is no certainty that was the fate.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 27

The new Poe Lock at the Soo was first flooded on 27 August 1968.

On August 27, 1886, The Detroit Evening News reported that a fireman on the tug J. H. HACKLEY of 1874, was sent to watch for a leak in the boiler, which was being filled with cold water at a dock in Chicago. He fell asleep and the boiler overflowed, very nearly sinking the vessel before another tug could pump her dry.

AGAWA CANYON (Hull#195) was launched in 1971, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

C.C.G.S. SAMUEL RISLEY arrived at Toronto, Ontario, on August 27, 1985, on her way to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where she replaced the retired C.C.G.C. ALEXANDER HENRY.

JOHN O. McKELLAR (Hull#12) was launched August 27, 1952, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for the Colonial Steamship Co. Ltd. (Scott Misener, mgr.), Port Colborne, Ontario. Renamed b.) ELMGLEN in 1984.

The WILLIAM CLAY FORD, then renamed b.) US266029, departed her lay-up berth at the Rouge slip on August 20, 1986, in tow of Gaelic tugs and was taken to Detroit Marine Terminals on the Rouge River, where her pilothouse was removed to be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Detroit's Belle Isle. The hull was moved to Nicholson's River Rouge dock on August 27.

WILLIAM B. DICKSON (Hull#75) was launched August 27, 1910, at Ecorse, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) MERLE M. McCURDY in 1969, she was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario, in 1989.

The U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender MESQUITE (WAGL-305) was commissioned on August 27, 1943, and served on the Pacific Ocean in the 7th Fleet in 1944 and 1945.

On August 27, 1940, the WILLIAM A. IRVIN set the Great Lakes record for the fastest unloading of an iron ore cargo using shore side equipment. The IRVIN unloaded 13,856 gross tons of iron ore in 2 hours, 55 minutes (including the time to arrive and depart the dock) in Conneaut, Ohio. This record still stands, and consequently the IRVIN is one of the few Great Lakes vessels to be retired while still holding a Great Lakes cargo record.

On August 27, 1929, the MYRON C. TAYLOR entered service.

On August 27, 1924, CITY QUEEN (wooden propeller steam tug, 71 foot, 69 gross tons, built in 1900, at Midland, Ontario) burned to a total loss 14 miles east of the Manitou Dock in Georgian Bay.

The keel for the tug CRUSADER was laid on August 27, 1873, at the Leighton & Dunford yard in Port Huron, Michigan. The tug's dimensions were 100 foot keel, 132 foot overall, and 23 foot beam. She was built for George E. Brockway.

1909: PRESCOTT, a wooden sidewheel passenger ship used on the Toronto to Montreal run, was destroyed by a fire at Montreal. It burned to the waterline and sank at Victoria Pier.

1940: BOLIVAR, built at Wyandotte as LAKE FACKLER, had returned to the Great Lakes in 1933. The ship foundered in the Bay of Bengal again known as d) BOLIVAR.

1952: Ten tons of sugar aboard the CITY OF KINGSTON burned in a one-hour fire at Montreal.

1965: The Swedish freighter EVA JEANETTE ran up over the stern of the tug VEGCO in Lock 4 of the Welland Canal, sinking the latter vessel. There were no injuries and the tug was salvaged. EVA JEANETTE arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as d) SKOPELOS STAR on January 21, 1984. The tug later sailed as d) NORWICH and became e) SEAGULL in 1998.

2008: GERTJE, a Seaway trader in 1991, sent out a distress call as h) LADY F. with water entering the holds. A tug arrived and removed the six crew members. The vessel was towed into Bougas, Bulgaria, the next day. The ship was repaired and became i) SAMER F. in 2010.

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


Freighter crewman jumped overboard after confronted about alcohol, sheriff says

8/26 - Ludington, Mich. – The crewman who went overboard from a Great Lakes freighter north of Ludington jumped after he was confronted about his drinking, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole has said.

"It came out that the individual was confronted about alcohol use," Cole said Tuesday, Aug. 25. "Apparently the company has a zero tolerance policy. He was told he'd stay in his quarters until the ship made port."

Instead, the 41-year-old Cleveland, Ohio, man ran up on deck and jumped into Lake Michigan, Cole said. He has not been found. Cole did not release the man's name.

The sheriff said his detectives interviewed 22 members of the ship's crew Monday, Aug. 24. Cole earlier said three detectives from Mason County and a deputy further north have been part of the investigation, along with the Coast Guard.

The man went overboard from the Stewart J. Cort at 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, off Mason County.

M Live


Volunteers continue search for Cort sailor

8/26 - Manistee County, Mich. – A sailor is still missing after going overboard early Sunday morning from the laker Stewart J Cort. The coast guard has suspended its search, but that doesn’t mean the search is over.

Manistee is home to some very dedicated members of a social media page – Manistee Ship Watch. Monday, one of the members organized a search for the man who went overboard. Their goal was simple:

“Just to get as many volunteers as we can,” says Jim Merryman, who organized the search, “We want to get to some key points that are high elevation so we can get a vantage point so we can look down. Hopefully we’re going to find this guy so he can be returned to his family. So the family can get closure as well as the maritime community.”

Ted Wagner started the ship watch page. He also works as an engineer on a tug out of Chicago.

“It’s a very dangerous job, a lot of people don’t realize that,” says Wagner of a career on the lakes. “In my time I’ve lost a couple friends out here. And it’s a small community. You may work with a fellow one year, ten years down the road you bump into him at another company. So we are a tight-knit group.”

Relying on maps, weather reports, and their own knowledge of the lake, volunteers choose spots along the shore line to keep an eye out for the missing sailor, last seen wearing a yellow shirt.

“Whether we are related by blood or not, it all comes down to we’re, in essence, a family,” says Merryman. “And we’re always going to be looking out for each other.”

A life ring washed ashore just north of Manistee, near Onekma, its beacon still blinking.

The man who found it says it was marked “Stewart J. Cort.” Wagner says he feels for the man’s family, but also the crew left onboard the Stewart J. Cort.

Wagner says, “It becomes like a family. You live together, eat together. You can’t go home at night so you love some, you put up with others, but it’s a tight-knit family. I guess that’s why I’m here.”

The volunteers say they will continue to keep an eye on the shoreline each day until the missing man is found and returned to his family. The Coast Guard says their crews conducted multiple searches in the water and from the air covering about 100 square miles.

Up North Live


Port Reports -  August 26

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manitowoc was in port on Tuesday departing shortly after 3 p.m.


Coast Guard’s Mackinaw uses unique tech

8/26 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Watching the United States Coast Guard’s Mackinaw (WLBB-30) break ice in the Sturgeon Bay Canal each spring is pretty cool. Ice cracking and engines firing, it is a sight many communities do not get to witness.

As fun as it is to watch, imagine what is happening inside the hull.

In the thickest ice, all three diesel generators are running and the ice is simultaneously cracking against the bow, creating a booming sound effect.

“Aspects of being on the ship can be deafening, with the vibration, noise and thundering of the ice,” said Mackinaw Engineering Officer Aaron Brockus, whose job includes oversight of the ship’s unique azipod propellers.

The azipod propeller feature is an emerging technology – a gearless, steerable system outside of the ship’s hull. Azipods, made by ABB in Switzerland, improve safety, energy efficiency, maneuverability and performance. The propellers are also made to withstand ice breaking while the ship moves in reverse, essentially working like a blender.

During icebreaking, the engine room crew workers are required to wear double hearing protection. The difference between running on smooth waters and breaking ice was described as “the inside of a soup can being shaken.”

The Mackinaw, the largest ship in the Guard’s Great Lakes fleet, has the capability to run up to 9,000 horsepower and can create up to 9.3 megawatts of electricity. Paired with the azipod technology, this ship is extremely mobile on the ice. She is the only icebreaker in the entire Coast Guard fleet with azipods, allowing her to turn on a dime in an isolated position.

Commander Vasilios Tasikas said the ship is rated to break ice 32 inches thick at three knots. He said that the toughest ice the Mackinaw broke this spring was in Whitefish Bay in the southeast part of Lake Superior.

In March, Brockus discovered the port azipod was leaking and allowing 15 gallons to enter the pod every hour through the inspection hatch on the bottom of the pod. Fixing the pod required an unscheduled dry dock at Sturgeon Bay’s Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Co., as the problem was 16 feet underwater.

This stop to fix the port-side azipod was completed along with 17 other maintenance items, adding up to an estimated cost more than $800,000.

A high-humidity sensor was set off during a direct escort, prompting Brockus to ask the commander to stop the escort, which is rare, so he could determine what was wrong. “His experience and intuitiveness saved us from a long-term fix,” Tasikas said.

A leak had sprung, which ended up being about one millimeter in length and width. Pressure from being 16 feet under water started pushing water into the pod. To keep the ship going, Brockus had to manually pump out the water from the pod.

In addition to direct azipod control, the helmsmen also have the capability of dynamic positioning, which is computer-controlled surge, sway and yaw, (ship motions) specifically helpful for working the buoys.

As this is the first Coast Guard ship of its kind, the crew has a distinct learning curve to navigate.

“We try to simplify our procedures for safety, but a lot of technological and tactical knowledge has been accrued over the last decade,” Tasikas said. “We have a very skilled personnel on board, and they have the opportunity to learn about a one-of-a-kind ship.”

The integrated bridge also uses radar and navigation simultaneously on an electronic platform.

“It is vastly different from where I started with a grease pencil, but the computer system is safer,” Tasikas said. “It does feel like we are missing a little of the nautical tradition.”

The Mackinaw was also built to be environmentally friendly and does not discharge water other vessels use for cooling systems. Brockus said the lake water cools the ship’s cooling units, but does not use that water to cool the ship.

The existing Mackinaw is the second icebreaking the Coast Guard has commissioned with that name. The first Mackinaw’s primary duty was icebreaking, where the current ship is tasked with more missions of ice breaking, working buoys, law enforcement and search and rescue.

Departure from Bay Shipbuilding and Sturgeon Bay is still in flux, but when she sets off, she will go to home port in Cheboygan, Mich.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Lookback #647 – Quebecois aground on a mud bank on Aug. 26, 1979

What was termed as “an electronic malfunction” resulted in the big Canadian laker Quebecois going aground on a mud bank at the entrance to Lake St. Clair on Aug. 26, 1979. The accident of 36 years ago was more of an inconvenience than a calamity and the ship was released after nine hours on the bottom.

Quebecois was built in two parts by Canadian Vickers Ltd. at Montreal and joined prior to christening on April 10, 1963. The 730-foot long bulk carrier entered service as part of the Papachristidis fleet before the end of the month.

The vessel plied the five Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence as far as the Gulf usually delivering grain to the east before loading iron ore for the return trip to the lakes. It joined Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972 and moved under the banner of the Algoma Central Corp. in 2011. The latter changed the name to b) Algoma Quebecois in 2012.

In later years, this ship also delivered cargoes of bauxite and cement but ore and grain remained the most frequent payloads until Algoma Quebecois tied up at Hamilton on Dec. 22, 2012.

Following a sale to International Marine Salvage, Algoma Quebecois arrived at their dock under tow on Nov. 21, 2013, and was broken up for scrap in 2014.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 26

New Video on our YouTube Channel

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Chem Norma, Erria Swan, Federal Miramichi, Foresight, HHL Tyne, Jasmine C, Lubie, Maccoa, MarBioko, Nordana Emilie, Nordana Sky, Palmerton, Spavalda, and Strandja.

We are trying to get caught up on the News Gallery, please continue to send in your pictures.


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 26

In 1791, John Fitch was granted a United States patent for the steamboat.

On August 26,1872, wooden propeller steamer LAKE BREEZE of 1868, was steaming from Saginaw to Mackinaw City with freight and about 40 passengers when fire broke out in the kitchen while off Au Sable, Michigan. Captain M. S. Lathrop ordered the engines shut down and the steam pumps activated. The crew battled the blaze with fire hoses and put the flames out. When the LAKE BREEZE pulled into Mackinaw City that night, the partially burned vessel was still smoking.

The EDGAR B. SPEER's sea trials were successfully completed on August 26, 1980.

The BEECHGLEN was towed out of Owen Sound by the McKeil tug KAY COLE on August 26, 1994, in route to Port Maitland, Ontario, for scrapping.

The HENRY C. FRICK (Hull#615) was launched August 26, 1905, at West Bay City, Michigan, by West Bay City Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Renamed b.) MICHIPICOTEN in 1964, she foundered off Anticosti Island on November 17, 1972, while being towed overseas for scrapping.

EMORY L. FORD entered service on August 26, 1916, to load iron ore at Marquette, Michigan. Renamed b.) RAYMOND H. REISS in 1965. She was scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1980.

The GLENEAGLES (Hull#14) was launched August 26, 1925, at Midland, Ontario, by Midland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for the Great Lakes Transportation Co. Ltd. (James Playfair, mgr.). Converted to a self-unloader in 1963. Renamed b.) SILVERDALE in 1978. She was scrapped at Windsor, Ontario, in 1984.

The CHIEF WAWATAM (Hull#119) was launched on August 26, 1911, at Toledo, Ohio, by Toledo Ship Building Co. for the Mackinaw Transportation Co. She was built with three large propellers, two in the stern for propulsion and one in the bow for icebreaking. She was sold to Purvis Marine Ltd., of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in 1988, and cut down to a barge.

The Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., built, passenger-cargo ship FEDERAL PALM (Hull#29) was christened August 26, 1961, for the West Indies Shipping Corp., Ltd. She was built on the Great Lakes, but never served their ports. Renamed b.) CENPAC ROUNDER in 1975, she was scrapped in 1979.

On August 26, 1934, while on a Sunday sightseeing cruise, MIDLAND CITY of 1871, a.) MAUD 153.2 foot, 521 gross tons, damaged her bottom on a shoal near Present Island in Georgian Bay. She settled with her stern under water and her bow high in the air.

On 26 August 1875, COMET (propeller passenger/package freight, 181 foot, 744 tons, built in 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying ore and pig iron in Lake Superior on a foggy night. While trying to pass the Beatty Line steamer MANITOBA, 7 miles SE of Whitefish Point, signals were misunderstood and COMET veered into the path of MANITOBA. COMET was rammed amidships and sank in ten minutes. 11 of the 21 aboard lost their lives. This wasn't the first such accident for COMET. In October 1869, she suffered a similar mishap with the propeller HUNTER and that time both vessels sank.

The schooner MATTHEW McNAIR was launched at the Lee & Lamoree shipyard in Oswego, New York, on August 26,1857. Her dimensions were 103 foot keel, 24 foot 6 inch beam and 9 foot 6 inch depth.

1911 CITY OF GENOA, downbound in the St. Clair River with 125,000 bushels of corn, collided with the W.H. GILBERT and sank 100 yards offshore. The crew was rescued and the hull salvaged by Reid on September 20, 1911, but was irreparable and a total loss.

1955 JOHANNA, a West German freighter, went aground at Point Iroquois and received damage to bottom plates. The tugs SALVAGE PRINCE, RIVAL, CAPT. M.B. DONNELLY and lighter COBOURG helped release the vessel on September 3 and it went to Kingston for repairs. JOHANNA was later a Seaway trader and made 18 inland voyages from 1959 to 1965.

1978 The second AVONDALE was damaged by an arson fire in the pilothouse while laid up along the Welland Canal below Lock 8.

1979 QUEBECOIS went aground on a mud bank near the entrance to Lake St. Clair after an electronic malfunction but was released in 9 hours.

1988 A challenging fire in the bowthruster tunnel aboard ALGOMARINE at Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines sent two firemen to hospital. Some plates were buckled. The ship was being converted to a self-unloader at the time.

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


Joseph L. Block rescues man from water in northern Lake Michigan

8/25 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The Joseph L. Block responded to a distress call and rescued a boater out of Lake Michigan’s waters Monday morning after the boater’s 28-foot vessel began to sink 10 miles off of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

The Joseph L. Block, a 728-foot ship owned by Central Marine Logistics, was underway in the area and quickly diverted to assist the boater. The crew located the sinking vessel and found the boater in the water, wearing a life jacket and waving his arms. The crewmembers reacted quickly and were able to throw heaving lines to the person, hoisting him up out of the water and safely onto their ship.

The water temperature at the time of the rescue was 49 degrees.

A Coast Guard Station Sheboygan's rescue boat arrived on-scene, along with the a Ozaukee County Marine boat, to transport the boater off of the Joseph L. Block to the Port Washington Municipal Marina to be evaluated by emergency medical services.

The 28-foot vessel was towed by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's crew towards the municipal marina until the flooding outpaced the dewatering pump. Station Sheboygan's crew responded to the scene to supply an additional pump when it was determined the sinking craft had become unstable.

The crew evacuated the sheriff's deputy who was on board and the vessel sank immediately after the tow was released approximately 8 nautical miles east of the Port Washington pier heads in more than 350-feet of water.

The Station Sheboygan crew recovered several items that had floated free of the vessel, but reported no visible pollution.



Investigation begins into loss of man from Stewart J. Cort

8/25 - Ludington, Mich. – Four members of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office traveled to Sault Ste. Marie Monday to try to figure out what prompted a man to reportedly jump off the deck of the 1,000-foot freighter Stewart J. Cort when it was about four miles off Big Sable Point early Sunday morning.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, crewmembers witnessed the man climbing over a railing and jumping from the vessel, at which time they threw life rings and notified the navigation bridge.

Crew at U.S. Coast Guard Station Manistee was notified of the incident at 1:49 a.m. and had launched the station’s 45-foot Response Boat Medium at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Searchers remained off Big Sable Point until about 2 p.m., at which time the search was suspended.

“Three different stations, Manistee, Air Station Traverse City and Air Facility Muskegon, searched a total of 76 square nautical miles,” Petty Officer Third Class Christopher Yaw of the Coast Guard’s Ninth District Headquarters wrote in an e-mail. “Our air assets were eventually forced to stay on the ground due to weather in the area. There were also four freighters and local assets involved in the search as well. The search was suspended around 2 p.m., pending further information..”

The USCG indicated 11 separate search grids were completed.

“Forecasted weather for the search area include a small-craft advisory in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday through Monday evening with 20-25 knot winds veering west to 30 knots. Showers and thunderstorms are likely until midday and waves range from 3-5 feet.”

The man was reported to be wearing blue jeans and a bright yellow shirt when he went overboard.

Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole said his office was notified of the incident about 7 a.m., at which time the MCSO 24-foot Boston Whaler was launched and began a search of shallow water areas for as long as the weather allowed.

Cole said they were notified that the man leaving the ship was possibly an intentional act. He said due to the freighter’s draft they could not dock anywhere closer than Sault Ste. Marie.

Cole said Det. Sgt. Tom Posma, Det. Mike Kenney, Det. Shayne Eskew and Dep. Mike Fort made the trek to the U.P. Monday to further investigate the matter and determine whether there was a violation of state law. Cole said any violations of federal law would be under Coast Guard jurisdiction. The USCG was also expected to have investigators at Sault Ste. Marie.

Charter boat captains — first George Freeman of FreeStyle and then Shane Ruboyianes of Dreamweaver — reported the search to the Daily News on Sunday morning.

Freeman said when he arrived at the point for charter fishing Sunday morning he could see what he believed were six freighters with searchlights on and two helicopters circling. Ruboyianes reported similar sightings.

The weather buoy off Ludington, which measures the peak of significant waves, recorded 5 foot waves Monday morning. Adding in the depth of the trough, as most experienced mariners do when using the buoy data, gives a total wave height of about 10 feet as of 8 a.m. Monday.

Ludington Daily News


Iron ore shipping continues to dip

8/25 - Duluth, Minn. – While the failure late last month of one of the Soo Locks didn’t affect July’s shipping numbers, iron ore cargos carried by U.S.-flag Great Lakes ships fell again, the Lake Carriers’ Association reported last week.

Loadings totaled 4.7 million tons in July, a decrease of 10 percent compared to a year ago. The slump comes on the heels of a 10 percent decrease in June.

The Lake Carriers’ Association, based near Cleveland, in a news release blamed the downturn on a nation “awash in dumped foreign steel.”

The failure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., on July 29 did not play a major role in the month’s totals, the association said, but six U.S.-flag lakers and 250,000 tons of cargo were delayed for about 13 hours between the lock’s closure and midnight July 31. The lock reopened Aug. 17.

In total, 79 U.S.-flag lakers and 1.9 million tons of cargo were delayed for about 160 hours during the 20-day closure.

Total cargo movement in U.S. hulls totaled 10.9 million tons in July, a decrease of 4 percent compared to a year ago.

U.S.-flag lakers’ coal float increased 6.4 percent in July, but shipments of limestone dipped by 5.6 percent. The stone trade also is feeling the affects of unfair trade in steel, the Lake Carriers’ Association reported, as steel production is the primary driver behind demand for fluxstone and metallurgical stone.

Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 42.5 million tons, an increase of 10.7 percent compared to a year ago. Iron ore, coal and limestone all have registered increases over their end-of-July totals in 2014, but those increases in part reflect the catastrophic ice conditions that prevailed for the first five months of 2014, the association said in its news release. Heavy ice so delayed the resumption of the ore trade in March 2014 that at least one steelmaker had to curtail production, and transit times did not become routine until early May. The ice was formidable again this spring, but had largely cleared by late April.

The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 16 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes.

Duluth News Tribune


New Fednav vessel on the way to lakes

8/25 - The first new Fednav vessel to go up the Seaway since 2012, the Federal Beaufort is expected at Burns Harbor on Sept. 9 from Newport, England. She is the first one of a set of four sister ships built in Japan but similar to Federal Satsuki and sisters built also by Oshima Shipbuilding at Oshima.

René Beauchamp


Two injured in rough ferry ride

8/25 - A ferry was forced to dock in Rogers City Monday afternoon after choppy waters left two passengers injured. reported a chartered ferry with Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry was carrying 60 people on a lighthouse tour when the vessel encountered high waves.

Police said two men aboard the ferry were injured during the rough ride and transported to a hospital. Their conditions were not known, according to

The Mackinac Bridge Authority issued a high wind warning Monday for the Straits of Mackinac.


Lookback #646 – Former Irish Alder caught fire on Aug. 25, 1978

The Irish freighter Irish Alder was built at West Hartlepool, England, and completed on Sept. 20, 1957. The 458 foot long, general cargo carrier, was one of a number of ships to trade through the Seaway for the Irish Shipping Co.

Powered by a Doxford oil engine, Irish Alder had 4 holds, with 5 hatches and could carry 10,735 tons deadweight. It spent its early years in saltwater trading but made four trips through the Seaway in 1966.

It was sold and registered in Greece as b) Aliakmon Pilot in 1971 and then as c) Attican Unity in 1977. The latter became a total loss after fire broke out en route from Antwerp, Belgium, to Durban, South Africa, on Aug. 25, 1978.

The gutted freighter was carrying chemicals and was beached at Flushing Roads. The Dutch Government took over the vessel and it was refloated and moored at Flushing until sold to West German shipbreakers.

Attican Unity arrived at Bremen under tow on March 22, 1978, and was broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 25

On 25 August 1892, H. D. COFFINBERRY (wooden propeller freighter, 191 foot, 649 gross tons, built in 1874, at East Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba to Ashtabula in a fierce NW gale when she grounded on the rocks near Port Hope on Lake Huron. The crew was rescued by the San Beach Lifesaving crew and the tug ANAPING. The COFFINBERRY was released five days later and put back in service.

On Aug. 25, 1923, the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Ore Dock in Duluth loaded 208,212 tons of ore into 23 ships.

On August 25, 1984, ROGER M. KYES grounded off Mc Louth Steel and ended crosswise in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel. It required lightering into the RICHARD REISS a.) ADIRONDACK and the assistance of nine tugs to refloat her. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER, a.) ARTHUR H. HAWGOOD arrived at Port Colborne, Ontario on August 25, 1978, in tow of the tug WILFRED M. COHEN for scrapping.

On 25 August 1919, CABOTIA (formerly HIAWATHA, wooden propeller freighter, 235 foot, 1,299 gross tons, built 1880, at Gibraltar, Michigan) went ashore on Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario and split her hull, becoming a constructive loss.

August 25, 1981 - The first of the famous "Love Boat" cruises was made. The BADGER carried 520 passengers, the largest number of passengers for a carferry up to that time. It was sponsored by the Ludington Area Ambassadors.

On 25 August 1873, JOURNEYMAN (wooden schooner, 129 foot, 235 gross tons, built in 1873, at Wenona, Michigan) was put in service. Her first cargo was 225,770 feet of lumber. She was built for Whitehead & Webster of Bay City and lasted until 1896.

1917: The wooden tow barge MAGNETIC, downbound and under tow of the steamer EDWARD N. BREITUNG, broke loose when the steering failed and eventually foundered in Lake Erie. The captain and crew of 7 were rescued.

1965: BLACK BAY was T-boned on the port side by the Liberian freighter EPIC while leaving Sept Iles with ore for Ashtabula. The hull of the C.S.L. bulk carrier was dented, the rail was ripped and there was damage to the 4th hatch. The ship was repaired at Port Arthur.

1974: STEELTON collideed with Bridge 12 of the Welland Canal at Port Robinson, knocking the structure into the water. The accident tied up all navigation through the Welland Canal and the bridge was never replaced. The ship was repaired at Port Colborne and returned to service.

1977: IRISH ALDER, a Great Lakes caller with 4 trips in 1966, was gutted by a fire as c) ATTICAN UNITY while enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Durban, South Africa. The ship was beached at Flushing Roads and taken over by the Dutch government. The hull was later refloated, sold to West German shipbreakers and arrived at Bremen on March 22, 1978, for dismantling.

1984: The French freighter MONT LOUIS first came to the Great Lakes in 1975. It sank on this day in 1984 following a collision with the OLAU BRITTANIA while enroute from Le Havre to Riga, Latvia. The hull broke in two due to bad weather on September 11 and it was finally raised and taken to Zeebrugge in sections in September 1985 and broken up.

1985: MELA ran aground in the St. Lawrence about 40 miles east of Quebec City after losing power. Two tugs refloated the ship and it received temporary repairs at Thunder Bay. The vessel first came inland as a) PAMELA in 1976, returned as b) MELA in 1983, c) LA FRENAIS in 1990, d) PRAXITELIS in 1995 and e) AXION in 1999. The ship was beached for scrapping at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on March 15, 2006.

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


Joseph L. Block rescues man from water in northern Lake Michigan

8/24 - Lake Michigan - The Joseph L. Block responded to a distress call and rescued a boater out of Lake Michigan’s waters Monday morning after the boater’s 28-foot vessel began to sink 10 miles off of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

The Joseph L. Block, a 728-foot ship owned by Central Marine Logistics, was underway in the area and quickly diverted to assist the boater. The crew located the sinking vessel and found the boater in the water, wearing a life jacket and waving his arms. The crewmembers reacted quickly and were able to throw heaving lines to the person, hoisting him up out of the water and safely onto their ship.

The water temperature at the time of the rescue was 49 degrees.

A Coast Guard Station Sheboygan rescue boat arrived on-scene, along with the a Ozaukee County Marine boat, to transport the boater off of the Joseph L. Block to the Port Washington Municipal Marina to be evaluated by emergency medical services.

The 28-foot vessel was towed by the Ozaukee County Sheriff's crew towards the municipal marina until the flooding outpaced the dewatering pump. Station Sheboygan's crew responded to the scene to supply an additional pump when it was determined the sinking craft had become unstable.

The crew evacuated the sheriff's deputy who was on board and the vessel sank immediately after the tow was released approximately 8 nautical miles east of the Port Washington pier heads in more than 350-feet of water.

The Station Sheboygan crew recovered several items that had floated free of the vessel, but reported no visible pollution.


Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard from Stewart J. Cort

8/24 - Milwaukee, Wis. -  The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a man who jumped overboard from the lake vessel Stewart J. Cort near Big Sable Point in Lake Michigan early Sunday morning.

The mans name has not been released.

Just before 2 a.m. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan received a report from the northbound motor vessel Stewart J. Cort, a 1,000-foot, U.S.-flagged freighter owned by the Interlake Steamship Co., that they had a man overboard approximately 3-4 miles offshore of Big Sable Point.

Crewmembers witnessed the man climb over the rail and jump from the vessel. The crewmembers immediately deployed three life rings and notified the navigation bridge. The vessel turned and began a systematic search for the man. Due to conditions at the time and the impending weather forecast, the decision was made not to deploy the vessels small workboat.

Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Manistee, Mich., aboard a 45-foot response boat and crews from Air Facility Muskegon, Mich., and Air Station Traverse City, Mich., aboard Dolphin helicopters. The Coast Guard completed a total of 11 different searches covering 76 square nautical miles. Additionally, multiple commercial vessels in the area participated in the search efforts.

Forecast weather for the search area included a small-craft advisory in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday through Monday evening with 20-25 knot winds veering west to 30 knots. Showers and thunderstorms are likely until midday and waves will range from 3-5 feet.

The tug Samuel de Champlain, Joyce L. Van Enkevort, Vikingbank, Prentiss Brown and Calumet were in the area and assisted with the search. They were joined later by the Roger Blough, tug Genesis Victory and others.

Crewmembers nearby at the time, immediately took the proper actions including deploying lighted ring buoys, sounding the ship's general alarm and initiating a search of the waters,ť a post on the Interlake Steamship Co.'s Facebook page reads.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew member, his family and the officers and crew of the Stewart J Cort. We thank everyone for their support through this difficult time,ť the post adds.

On Monday morning, the Cort was moored at the Carbide Dock in the Soo.



Port Reports -  August 24

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Saginaw was unloading at Dock #2, departing Sunday morning about 5:20 a.m.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived Sunday afternoon and was unloading bulk cement at the Essroc Dock. The tug Evans McKeil with the barge Metis were at the city terminal. Also at the city terminal was the light tug Cheyenne.


Lookback #645 – Cabo Frio abandoned before it sank on Aug. 24, 1982

Cabo Frio was a refrigerated cargo carrier that came to the Great Lakes for the first time in 1964. The ship had been built at Langesund, Norway, and completed in June 1960 for Norwegian flag service.

The vessel moved to the Frio Shipping Co. Ltd. in 1974 and continued service under the same name but with registry now in Cyprus.

Cabo Frio was traveling in ballast from Piraeus, Greece, to Cartagena, Spain, when it was lost 33 years ago today. The ship began to flood in the engineroom on Aug. 24, 1982, and the crew, realizing their peril, abandoned the sinking ship. The vessel foundered in the Mediterranean south of Spain without any loss of life.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 24

At 2:00 a.m. on 24 August 1892, the GEORGE N. BRADY (wooden propeller tug, 102 foot, 165 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit or Marine City, Michigan) was engaged in pulling a raft of logs across Lake St. Clair along with the tug SUMNER. Fire was discovered around the BRADY's smokestack and the flames quickly spread. The crew was taken off of the stricken vessel by the SUMNER, and the BRADY was cut free of the raft. The blazing vessel drifted to the American shore where she sank about three miles north of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. No lives were lost.

LEON SIMARD (Hull#413) was launched August 24, 1974, at Sorel, Quebec by Marine Industries Ltd. for Branch Lines Ltd. Renamed b.) L'ORME NO 1 in 1982. Sold off the lakes in 1997, renamed c.) TRADEWIND OCEAN d.) AMARA in 2001 and MENNA in 2008.

On August 24, 1910, the THOMAS F. COLE ran aground on a shoal in the St. Marys River, severely damaging her hull plates.

The WARD AMES (Hull #518) was launched on August 24, 1907, at West Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co. for the Acme Steamship Co. (Augustus B. Wolvin, mgr.). Renamed b.) C.H. McCULLOUGH JR. in 1916. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1980.

On August 24, 1985, PAUL H. CARNAHAN arrived for her final lay up at Nicholson's in Ecorse, Michigan. Ironically, only a few hours later, her near sister LEON FALK JR departed the same slip on her final trip bound for Quebec City and overseas scrapping.

The steam barge BURLINGTON of 1857, 137 foot, 276 gross tons ex-package freighter, burned to the water's edge in the Straits of Mackinac on August 24, 1895.

On 24 August 1885, IOSCO (wooden schooner-barge, 124 foot, 230 gross tons, built at Alabaster, Michigan in 1873) was heavily damaged by fire. She was rebuilt as an unrigged barge and lasted until 1912.

On 24 August 1882, The Port Huron Times reported that "the long looked for launch of the Stave Company's new river steamer MARY took place this afternoon between 4 and 5 o'clock and was witnessed by hundreds of spectators. The last support being knocked away, she slid very gracefully as far as the ways reached and then landed anything but gracefully in the mud where she now lies." She remained stuck in the mud until she was pulled free five days later.

1901: The wooden barge H.A. BARR of the Algoma Central Railway was lost in Lake Erie 30 miles from Port Stanley after breaking the towline in a storm. The vessel was enroute from Michipicoten to Buffalo with a cargo of iron ore. All on board were rescued by the towing steamer THEANO.

1979: The retired steamer KINSMAN ENTERPRISE (i), sold for $145,000, arrived at Port Huron from Toledo, under tow of the tug MALCOLM, for use as the storage barge HULL NO. 1.

1998: CANADIAN LEADER went aground near DeTour, Mich., and had to be lightered. The ship was able to proceed to Montreal for unloading her cargo of grain and then arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks August 31 for repairs.

2005: The Dutch salty VLIEBORG lost power and failed to complete a turn departing Duluth, striking the north pier, toppling a light standard and damaging the steel piling. The vessel had begun Seaway service in 2001. In 2012, it was renamed c) ANTARCTIC SEA and placed under Norwegian registry.

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


Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard from freighter in Lake Michigan

8/24 - Lake Michigan - The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a man who reportedly jumped overboard from a freighter near Big Sable Point in Lake Michigan early Sunday morning.

Just before 2 a.m. the Stewart J. Cort reported that they had a man overboard approximately 3-4 miles offshore of Big Sable Point. Crew members witnessed the man climb over the rail and jump from the vessel. The crew members immediately deployed three life rings and notified the navigation bridge. The vessel turned and began a systematic search for the man. Due to conditions at the time and the impending weather forecast, the decision was made not to deploy the vessel’s small workboat. The Samuel D. Champlain, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Vikingbank were also in the area and assisted with the search.

The Coast Guard launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Manistee, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat and a crews from Air Facility Muskegon, Michigan, and Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard Dolphin helicopters. The Coast Guard completed a total of 11 different searches covering 76 square nautical miles. Additionally, multiple commercial vessels in the area participated in the search efforts.

Forecasted weather for the search area include a small-craft advisory in effect through Monday evening with 20-25 knot winds veering west to 30 knots. Showers and thunderstorms are likely until midday and waves range from 3-5 feet.


Stevedoring company invests $1.3 million in Burns Harbor port

8/23 - Portage, Ind. – The company that stevedores the Port of Indiana Burns-Harbor is making an unprecedented investment of around $500 million that will nearly triple its fleet of cargo vessels in just five years.

Federal Marine Terminals, which serves 12 ports on the East Coast, Gulf Coast and Great Lakes, just marked its 50th year at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. The company, a subsidiary of Canada-based Fednav Limited, owned 24 ships in 2011, but has grown its fleet to 47 ships today largely because of the changing economics of ship ownership, Vice President of Operations Keith Flagg said.

Each new ship costs around $35 million. Federal Marine Terminals plans to have 61 by 2018, which shows a long-term commitment to shipping on the Great Lakes, Flagg told the Ports of Indiana Commission at a meeting in Portage Thursday.

A vessel that was newly acquired by Federal Marine Terminals is now on a worldwide voyage spanning four continents that will bring English steel and mineral sands to Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor next month, Flagg said.

Federal Marine Terminals is investing $1.3 million into its operations at the deepwater port in Portage, which was its second busiest port after Lake Charles in Louisiana last year. The company purchased several new fork lifts that were made by Hoist Liftruck, which is currently relocating to East Chicago from Illinois.

Last year, the stevedoring company unloaded 300,777 tons of foreign steel at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, a dramatic jump over 2013. Steel imports trail last year's pace, but are still expected to reach around 300,000 tons by year's end, Flagg said.

Man-hours worked at the port surged from about 80,000 in 2013 to around 130,000 last year, largely because of the surge in steel. They are expected to fall off to around 95,000 this year.

General cargo, which is industrial equipment such as transformers or brewery tanks, fell to 4,957 tons last year down from 15,548 tons the previous year, largely because of the end of the $4.2 billion Whiting Refinery modernization project. But it's projected to bounce back to around 11,404 tons this year.

Overall cargo at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is projected to fall short of last year's record volume, which was "phenomenal," Flagg said.

The industry does face some challenges, such as that pilotage costs rose 20 percent last year and the need to burn low-sulfur gas on the Great Lakes adds $100,000 to each trip, Flagg said. Another issue has been that weak harvests can mean ships that bring steel to the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor don't always get loaded up with grain on their way back, because grain costs rise too high to making shipping it overseas cost-effective.

"When there's no freight to load outbound, it's just ballast," he said. "It's a loss of revenue at a huge cost to us."

NWI Times


New name for barge headed for Toronto

8/23 - Toronto Dry Dock has given the name Coastal Titan to its latest acquisition, the heavy-lift barge formally named Chaulk Lifter, which had been laid up in Mechins. It is now in tow of the tug Ocean Yvan Desgagnes for Montreal. Radium Yellowknife and M.R.Kane will then take over the tow for Toronto.

Mac Mackay


Lookback #644 – The first Fairmount stranded and abandoned on Aug. 23, 1915

The first Fairmount was built for the Montreal Transportation Co. It was constructed by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson as Hull 288 at their Wallsend, England, shipyard and launched on April 30, 1903.

The 257 foot long canaller sailed for Canada in May 1903 and spent 12-years in freshwater service.

On Aug. 2, 1913, Fairmount steered into a stone abutment leaving Lock 22 of the Welland Canal after the Lehigh went through the gate at Lock 23 sending a surge of water down the system.

After being sold for war service on March 10, 1915, and Fairmount left for saltwater. The ship had a cargo of coal on board when it was caught by a storm 100 years ago today. Fairmount stranded at Plana Keys, Acklin Island, while carrying coal from Newport News, Va., to Cienfugos, Cuba, and became a total loss.

The second Fairmount was also built in the United Kingdom and sailed as Metcalfe from 1923 until becoming b) Fairmount (ii) for Canada Steamship Lines in 1927. It was sold to Marine Industries Ltd. in 1960 and made one trip to Toronto as the barge c) M.I.L. 495 with a cargo of lightered sugar in Nov. 1963. This vessel was scrapped at Sorel in 1970.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 23

On this day in 1818, the first steamer above Niagara Falls, the WALK-IN-THE-WATER, Captain Job Fish, departed Buffalo on her maiden voyage. The 29 passengers paid a fare of $24 and arrived at Detroit in 44 hours and 10 minutes.

On August 23, 1955, as part of the year-long centennial celebration of the opening of the Soo Locks in 1855, an open house was held aboard the Pittsburgh steamer JOHN G. MUNSON. A total of 10,563 individuals toured the MUNSON while she was tied up at Detroit.

On 23 August 1887, GESINE (wooden schooner, 99 gross tons, built in 1853, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She was shoved up against the breakwater at Michigan City, Indiana, and pounded to pieces. The crew and Capt. C. Anderson jumped overboard and clung to the breakwater pilings until rescued.

GEMINI sailed on her maiden voyage August 23, 1978, from the shipyard to load fuel oil at Baytown, Texas, for delivery at Detroit, Michigan. Sold Canadian and renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

The wooden-hulled steamer AURORA was launched on August 23, 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio, by Murphy & Miller Shipyard for J. J. Corrigan of Cleveland, Ohio.

On August 23, 1979, KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, a.) NORMAN B. REAM was towed out of the Frog Pond in Toledo, Ohio, having escaped the scrapper's torch, and sold to the Port Huron Seaway Terminal to be used as a storage barge.

On 23 August 1887, CLARA (2-mast, wooden scow-schooner) was carrying a load of hardwood lumber bound from Manistee, Michigan for Chicago, Illinois, when she was caught in a storm and capsized. Her hull later washed ashore upside-down near Miller's Station, Indiana.

August 23, 1901 - PERE MARQUETTE 17 arrived Ludington, Michigan, on her maiden voyage with Captain Peter Kilty in command.

On 23 August 1875, PERSIAN (wooden propeller freighter, 1,630 tons, built in 1874, at Cleveland, Ohio) caught fire off Long Point on Lake Erie. The propeller EMPIRE STATE came alongside and tried to put out the fire with streams of water from her hose, but when this failed, she took PERSIAN in tow in an attempt to get her to shore. This too failed when the tow line burned through. PERSIAN burned to the waterline and sank 10 miles from land in about 30 fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

On 23 August 1900, ARGONAUT (wooden propeller freighter, 213 foot, 1,119 gross tons, built in 1873, at Detroit, Michigan) was raised by an expensive salvage operation at the Escanaba ore dock where she had previously sunk. She lasted another six years.

1898: The three-year old I. WATSON STEPHENSON, a wooden lumber hooker, went aground in Sturgeon Bay and was hit by her barge and holed. The vessel was repaired and returned to service. It last operated for the Saginaw Lumber Co. perhaps as late as 1933. The hull was sunk as a breakwall for small craft at Cleveland on July 11, 1935, and burned to the waterline in the spring of 1946.

1963: During a tugboat race in Toronto harbor, the TERRY S. sank after being in a collision with the ARGUE MARTIN. The sunken ship belonged to Waterman's Services and had been used as a pilot boat. The hull was salvaged and returned to service. It joined Nadro Marine in 1989 and saw brief work as a pilot boat at Port Weller harbor in 1992 before being sold and going to Bomanville, ON for harbor service in 1993. ARGUE MARTIN, later part of the McKeil fleet, was broken up at Hamilton in 2003.

1984: ROGER M. KYES went aground in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River and had to be lightered to the RICHARD REISS before being released and going to Sturgeon Bay for extensive repairs.

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


Calumet drops Superior oil terminal idea

8/22 - Superior, Wis. – Plans to move oil out of the Twin Ports via Great Lakes freighters that never really took flight have now been formally grounded.

Calumet Specialty Products says it has scrapped plans to build an oil terminal in Superior that could have transferred western U.S. and Canadian oil to tankers to move to eastern refineries.

Calumet in January decided to pull its air permit application that had been filed with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Since then the company has decided to "go in a different direction."

"We always said the project depended on getting a partner, preferably on the customer side of things, and that just didn’t happen. There was some interest ... but no one would commit," said Kollin Schade, Calumet’s plant manager of its Superior refinery. "I guess you never say never. But that window appears to have passed and we’re not directing any resources toward it."

Indiana-based Calumet owns the former Murphy Oil refinery in Superior — Wisconsin’s only oil refinery. It receives western oil via the Enbridge pipeline system, and its primary products are fuels, such as gasoline, and blacktop material.

Schade said that no other major project has surfaced for the Superior refinery. The refinery will continue to operate as-is "but we’re always looking for new projects, especially the opportunity to move away from a fuels focus into specialty products," Schade said.

The Great Lakes idea, criticized by environmentalists, was always intended to be a short-term solution to an oil transportation problem. Calumet was trying to take advantage of a bottleneck in oil movement in Superior where, until pipelines catch up, more oil can move in than move out. Moving oil by ship is far cheaper than moving it by rail but can’t compete with pipelines, Calumet officials had said.

But Calumet was never able to strike a deal with eastern refineries to help build the project. The project hit a major snag in January 2014, when the Wisconsin DNR denied a permit application to rebuild the waterfront area where Calumet would have built the transfer station. The permit had nothing to do with oil, but was denied because of details regarding harbor fill.

Calumet officials in September 2013 also said the terminal was shelved, but then later revived the idea.

Environmental groups strongly oppose moving more oil across the Great Lakes, saying any spill would be difficult if not impossible to entirely clean up. They say the potential ecological damage from any spill outweighs any advantages of moving oil by water.

Shipping oil and refined petroleum on the Great Lakes is nothing new. In 2010, 3.7 million tons of oil and petroleum products were shipped either to or from U.S. Great Lakes ports, and much more that moved only between Canadian ports, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A large amount of petroleum currently moves on Lake Superior through Thunder Bay, Ont., by Great Lakes tankers. And millions of gallons of gasoline refined in Illinois are shipped out of Green Bay to move across Lake Michigan every year.

Superior Telegram


Notice to Shipping # 25: Walk-through lockages at Iroquois Lock

8/22 - Walk-through lockages at Iroquois Lock


Lookback #643 – Former Rowin capsized in the Java Sea on Aug. 22, 1994

Rowin was primarily a Dutch coastal vessel but it did visit the Seaway in 1968. The 212 foot, 7 inch long cargo carrier was registered at 500 gross tons and able to carry 1,150 tons deadweight.

The vessel was built at Foxhol, Netherlands, and completed in April 1967. It had two cargo holds, with two hatches, and was powered by a 900 horsepower oil engine.

After six years of service, the vessel was sold and renamed b) Ijsselmeer in 1973, still Dutch registry, and then c) Berkah in 1977. The latter took the ship to the Far East for work under the flag of Indonesia.

It was 21 years ago today that the former Seaway caller capsized and sank. It went down in the Java Sea, near Masalembu Island, Palau, on a voyage between the two Indonesian cities of Surabaya and Ujung Pandang. The latter city has been known as Makassar since 1999. Seven members of the crew were lost but nine more were rescued.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 22

On August 22, 1898, the schooner FANNY CAMPBELL (wooden schooner, 404 tons, built in 1868, at St. Catherines, Ontario) ran ashore near Johnston's Harbor in Georgian Bay. She was sailing light on her way for a load of cordwood.

The ALGOPORT left Collingwood, Ontario, August 22, 1979, on her maiden voyage for Calcite, Michigan, to load limestone bound for Spragge, Ontario.

R. L. IRELAND (Hull #62) was launched August 22, 1903, at Chicago, Illinois, by Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Gilchrist Transportation Co. Renamed b.) SIRIUS in 1913, and c.) ONTADOC in 1926.

The ENDERS M VOORHEES was towed out of Duluth, Minnesota, on August 22, 1987, by the tugs AVENGER IV and CHIPPEWA, and was the first of the 'Supers' towed off the Lakes for scrap.

ROGER M. KYES sailed on her maiden voyage on August 22,1973, from Toledo, Ohio, to load iron ore at Escanaba, Michigan. She was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. This program allowed U.S. shipping companies to construct new vessels or to modernize their existing fleet by government guaranteed financing and tax deferred benefits. The KYES was the second of 10 ships launched for American Steamship but the first to enter service under this arrangement. The total cost of the ten ships was more than $250 million. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

On August 22, 1863, WILLIAM S. BULL (wooden propeller steam tug, 16 tons, built in 1861, at Buffalo, New York) waterlogged and went down in a storm 40 miles east of Erie, Pennsylvania. She was in company of the tug G. W. GARDNER and the canal boat M. E. PAINE, who saved her crew.

On August 22, 1876, the Canadian schooner LAUREL sank off Big Sandy Creek on Lake Ontario. The crew made it to shore in the yawl. The LAUREL was bound from Kingston, Ontario, to Charlotte, New York, with iron ore.

On August 22, 1900, SPECULAR (wooden propeller freighter, 264 foot, 1,742 gross tons, built in 1882, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying iron ore when she was a "hit & run" victim by the steamer DENVER at 2 a.m. and sank in six minutes in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. Fifteen of her crew abandoned in her yawl and were saved. The remaining five scrambled up into the rigging and clung there until they were rescued four hours later by the steamer MARITANA and brought to Detroit. Salvagers worked on the wreck continuously until they gave up on September 28. Wreck lies 3.16 miles SE from Pelee Passage light. She was owned by Republic Iron Co. of Cleveland.

1890: The wooden barge TASMANIA, upbound with coal under tow of the steamer CALEDONIA, sank in the Lake George Channel of the St. Marys River after a collision with the J.H. WADE. TASMANIA was later refloated and repaired only to be lost in Lake Erie on October 18, 1905.

1909: NORMAN B. REAM and SENATOR collided in the St. Marys River above Pipe Island and the latter sank with her masts above water. She was later salvaged but was lost in Lake Michigan, off Kenosha, after a collision with the MARQUETTE on October 31, 1929.

1917: The wooden steamer JOHN S. THOM, enroute to Erie with coal, went aground on a shoal 22 miles west of Charlotte, NY. The vessel was later refloated and taken to Ogdensburg, NY for repairs.

1940: The second THOROLD, sent overseas to assist in the war effort, was attacked and sunk by three German aircraft as she was carrying coal from Cardiff to London. There were 9 lives lost while another 3 crew members were injured. The vessel was under attack for 3 hours before it went down and became the third Canadian merchant ship lost in this, the early stages, of the war.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample.


Cruise ship leaves Holland after waiting out weather

8/21 - Holland, Mich. – A Great Lakes cruise ship that was stranded in Holland for more than 24 hours due to weather finally left dock on Thursday afternoon.

The Pearl Mist cruise ship was on a seven-night trip from Chicago to Toronto. The ship had been docked on Lake Macatawa in Holland since 8 a.m. Wednesday. It was supposed to leave that afternoon, but was forced to stay due to big waves on Lake Michigan.

The group of more than 200 passengers toured the city to pass the time.

“Our office — (the) Visitors Bureau — put together land excursions for them. So we picked them up on motor coaches. We took a number of people to downtown Holland. We took another group to Windmill Island Gardens and we also took them to the Holland Farmer’s Market. We got everyone back at 11:30 a.m. and then the decision was made that the ship wouldn’t sail because of weather, so we then put together more land excursions at the drop of a hat,” Sally Laukitis, the executive director for the Holland Visitors Bureau, said.

Passengers also dined in downtown Holland Wednesday night.

“It’s fabulous for the Holland economy,” Laukitis said. “They were not serving them dinner on the ship last night, so everyone came to downtown Holland to have dinner and then we got them back to the ship last night, and the people were all so good-natured and so nice. They were from all over the country and there are some international people on board, as well.”

Though it wasn’t part of the original itinerary, passengers said they enjoyed their stay in Holland.

“We certainly have loved being here in Holland. It’s very nice. It changed all of our plans for a little bit, but otherwise it gave us a chance to be here,” said Joe Trupia, who is from Sand Lake, New York.

The passengers were confined to the ship Thursday as the crew waited out the weather to leave for Mackinaw Island. The boat left dock just before 5 p.m.

Officials with the Holland Visitors Bureau said the ship’s short visit helped give Holland more national and international attention. “We’re starting to make a name for Holland as being a port and being a friendly port, so hopefully this is a sign of things to come in the future,” Laukitis said.

The Pearl Mist will return Sunday, Aug. 30 at noon and will depart at 6 p.m. It will make another return on Sept. 2 at 8 a.m. and will depart at 1 p.m.

The seven-night cruise from Great Lakes Cruise Company is pricey, with tickets ranging from $4,700 to more than $6,000.



Norisle group’s fundraiser begins $18.5 million quest

8/21 - Manitowaning, Ont. – It was 40 years ago that the S.S. Norisle sailed into Manitowaning Bay, making the port her permanent berth in retirement and where she has sat ever since, her condition worsening with each passing year.

Eight years ago, the Friends of the Norisle organization was born—a group founded by Manitowaning’s Jean McLennan and dedicated to preserving the beloved steamship that provided ferry service from Tobermory to South Baymouth from 1947 to 1974 before the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun took over. (The group has since been renamed the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society.) The group has worked tirelessly, dedicating volunteer hours and funds to doing what they can to keep the Norisle afloat (and from looking shabby), but recently decided to step up their game, entering into a partnership with Compenso Communications, a communications and government relations firm whose expertise is securing funds in various forms. They also happen to be based in Collingwood, home of the shipbuilding yard where the Norisle was built.

The Compenso team recently met with members of Assiginack staff and council, outlining the strategies and the execution behind seeing the Norisle seaworthy and sailing once again.

Dave Ham, chair of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, began the meeting, introducing Paul Bonwick, president of Compenso Communications. Mr. Bonwick noted that his father worked on the building of the Norisle in 1946 and that he himself had worked in the Collingwood shipyards.

Mr. Bonwick, a former MP and municipal councillor, congratulated Assiginack council and the previous councils on seeing the vision of the Steamship Society and lending support over the years. He introduced the team of Abby Stec, now the executive director of the Steamship Society, and Elaine Kelly, executive administrator and an avid marine history buff who hails from England.

Ms. Stec, he explained, has led numerous multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns and will do the same for the Norisle, which needs to raise $18.5 million in funds with “significant private and public buy-in.” The goal set to raise this money is between 18 months and two years which would bring the year to 2017—the same year the municipality is relinquished of its duty to care for the aged steamship. (The province gifted Assiginack with the Norisle once she became decommissioned for service 40 years ago.)

“We are looking for support as well as permission to enable staff to work with us and help in applying for funding,” Mr. Bonwick addressed council.

Ms. Stec gave the presentation to council, explaining that the campaign’s goal is to: “raise the necessary funds to refit the Norisle and return her to service as a heritage passenger steamship on Great Lakes cruises.”

In a feasibility study conducted by the firm EPCG, it was found that there is evidence of a “significant market” being available for multi-day, berthed passenger cruises in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River from mid-May to October with anecdotal evidence showing that specific ports could support a winter restaurant operation aboard the Norisle.

The breakdown of financial requirements is as follows: ship refit, $13.5 million; contingency allowance, $2.7 million (20 percent of overall); shore equipment, $25,000; pre-opening/start-up costs, $440,000; and operating deficiencies, $666,000 for the first two years.

Ms. Stec explained that the Steamship Society and Compenso will work hard to secure major gifts and sponsors, raising the majority of the funds before making the campaign public. Target markets for fundraising include: Ontario residents, specifically from the Golden Horseshoe; Quebec residents, particularly from Montreal; other Canadians; US border states, particularly New York and Chicago (which are priority markets for the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (OTMP)); US longer-haul markets, particularly those markets which are targeted by the Canadian Tourism Commission and OTMP, such as Boston and Los Angeles; and international markets, particularly Ontario’s priority overseas markets with an interest in historic luxury travel including Germany, the UK and France. Other markets include those with a strong interest in heritage, cruising, Northern Ontario and wilderness adventure; incentive travel markets; those travelling with high-end tour companies; small corporate groups on meetings/getaways; and steamship and steam-related theme groups.

The five potential sources of funding, explained by Ms. Stec, are government, (federal, provincial and municipal), private sector investment, public-private partnerships, potential partners and fundraising and sponsors (in-kind and financial).

Ms. Stec explained that the Norisle has the fact that it is a steamship in its favour as an attraction, along with the heritage of the Great Lakes, smaller passenger numbers, interesting shore excursions and access to smaller ports.

Compenso expects the initial refit to create 102 jobs in Ontario with a price tag of $6.1 million in employment income and $4.5 million in taxes. The Norisle is also expected to create 58 jobs with $2.3 million in employment income and, over 10 years, operations are anticipated to generate over $49 million in spending in the economy, 580 person years of employment and $23 million in employment income.

A four-year projection presented by Ms. Stec shows 1,355 passengers expected with a gross revenue of $4,003,000 and an operating profit of $427,000.

“The business model is strong, it will work, but will take up to two years to get it to stand on its own and be sustainable,” Ms. Stec told the group.

John Coulter, a member of the Steamship Society, spoke of his work on the Seguin in Muskoka, which proved to be sustainable after four years and is “very successful.”

Mr. Bonwick again spoke of the importance of a municipal partnership in terms of staff support and the municipal charitable status. He noted the upcoming 150th anniversary of the country and the funding opportunities that will be made available for heritage projects such as this one.

Reeve Paul Moffat asked about the Norisle refit and where it would take place. It was explained that it depends on the boat’s substructure as to where it will be refitted.

The business case shows that a larger port, such as Collingwood, would be a better home port for the Norisle, “but at the end of the day, it’s the Friends of the Norisle who make that call, but the business case will really say it.”

Should all go to plan, the Norisle would likely see a summer sailing season of Toronto to Montreal with late summer to fall sailings in Georgian Bay and the North Channel.

“And she’ll be flying the Northern flag and the Northern story,” Ms. Stec said. “She is an ambassador for the North. The Norisle is not stationery—she carries the Northern flag wherever she goes.”

Councillor Leslie Fields questioned the 18 months to two years time frame. “So, in that time, the ship just stays here and hopefully continues to float?” she asked.

“Not necessarily,” Mr. Coulter replied. “There has to be a sufficient appreciation of funds, but we could have a phased-in refit.”

“When I first met with the group they talked about the ship as if she were alive and seeing her today, stepping aboard, she certainly is—she just needs a little bit of waking up,” Ms. Stec said.

Mr. Ham told The Expositor that there have been numerous meetings with Compenso before getting to this stage, ensuring they were a good fit for the Steamship Society.

On the question of whether Manitowaning would be the home port for the Norisle again, “that would probably remain to be seen,” Mr. Ham said. “Originally, it was the intention of council to have the Norisle winter here and Assiginack would benefit a bit from that (in its current berth).” Mr. Ham noted that 40 years ago, 60 foot pilings were driven into the bay alongside the ship and could continue to be used during the winter months.

“It’s an interesting proposition and I certainly hope they’re successful,” Reeve Moffat told The Expositor when contacted following the meeting, calling the campaign “pretty ambitious.”

He explained that while he wishes the group every success, the ship is becoming a liability to the municipality and council would “welcome any opportunity to see it sail out of here.”

“I would love to see it come back as a destination on a cruise,” Reeve Moffat added, but said he was doubtful it would ever winter in Manitowaning. “I just don’t see the economy of scale. It certainly wouldn’t be feasible to run it as an attraction in Manitowaning.”

Manitoulin Expositor


Float Down safety wasn’t cheap

8/21 - Port Huron, Mich. – The experience of floating seven and a half miles down the St. Clair River may be priceless, but the actual cost isn’t cheap.

Law enforcement agencies on the water Sunday for the unsanctioned float from Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron to Chrysler Beach in Marysville estimate they spent thousands of dollars on manpower, overtime and fuel.

Nearly 100 first responders from 20 U.S. agencies and six Canadian agencies ensured a safe float Sunday for the estimated 5,000 participants, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Those agencies saved nine lives, assisted 285, provided life jackets to 35 and towed about 1,850 people who floated into Canadian waters. That rescue effort came at a cost.

The U.S. Coast Guard estimates it spent about $91,500 to ensure the safety of floaters on the St. Clair River.

“We would have had those boats available to be manned anyway, but in this situation we had them all dedicated to that one event,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Ben Chamberlain said. “We’re going to do all we can whenever possible to keep people safe.”

Chamberlain said the event seemed safer than in years past. “We had no cases that were all that severe or that we could not resolve on sight,” he said. “We actually supplied our boats with 100 life jackets. I was shocked when I learned we only had to hand out 35.”

Marysville Department of Public Safety estimated the city spent about $20,000 working the event.

Deputy Chief Ron Buckmaster said about $9,000 was spent on policing, $3,500 was spent on fire crews on land and water, and $7,500 was spent on Department of Public Works efforts to manage barricades and parking near Chrysler Beach.

“That’s totally separate from the guys who were working the road, or the firefighters working that day,” Buckmaster said. “These people were all brought in only for this event.”

Buckmaster said lumped into that $20,000 are officers from different agencies who assisted Marysville during the Float Down. While the city wasn’t charged for their assistance, Buckmaster said the city will loan its officers to those agencies for special events in return for the help.

Buckmaster said that $20,000 doesn’t include the overtime officers will have to spend in court for arrests resulting from the event.

Police officers arrested about a dozen people after they landed in Marysville Sunday evening, Buckmaster said. He said the arrests largely were for disorderly public intoxication.

He said officers and rescue crews also had to help several people too intoxicated to leave the water.

Port Huron police and fire departments estimate they spent a little more than $5,000 in overtime, fuel and preparation costs. Public Safety Director Michael Reaves said the Float Down is expensive, but is similar to what the department might spend on other special events.

“We do a lot of special events, this is just one of them, and there’s a cost for all of those,” Reaves said.

“I like the event. I think it’s something that’s only ours. It’s unique to our area. I just want to make it safer.”

The St. Clair County Sheriff Marine Division and Dive Team estimated the event cost them about $5,200 to patrol.

The expenses of those four agencies don’t include those incurred by other federal agencies, Canadian agencies and local agencies such as fire departments from Algonac, Burtchville Township, Clay Township, Marine City and St. Clair.

Port Huron Times Herald


Nautical book and print sale this weekend at Toledo

8/21 - Toledo, Ohio – Over 1000 used maritime books and lithographic prints will go on sale at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo this weekend, August 22-23. The sale is part of the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show at the museum this weekend. The sale will include Great Lakes books, ocean maritime books, WW I and WW II maritime books, as well as other marine topics from around the world.

Books and prints will be offered from .50 cents to $10 with discounts for those buying multiple books. There is a minimum charge of $5 to get into the boat show and thus the sale, but guests are encouraged to buy the all access pass for $15 which gets them into the museum, onto the museum ship and onto the USS Niagara.

Other vendors with nautical antiques will also be attending the show. NMGL


Seaway Notice #24: Test of new bank lighting in South Shore Canal

8/21 -  Seaway Notice #24: Test of new bank lighting in South Shore Canal


Lookback #642 –Kinsman Independent lost steering and grounded on Aug. 21, 1973

The first Kinsman Independent was en route to Lorain, Ohio, with a cargo of iron ore when it lost steering and ran aground in the Neebish Rock Cut of the St. Marys River on Aug. 21, 1973. The ship received heavy bottom damage from the rocks and was laid up as a total loss.

This vessel had been built at Chicago in 1907 and joined the Weston Transit Co. as William B. Kerr. At the time of launch on Dec. 29, 1906, the 605 foot, 9 inch long bulk carrier was the largest on the Great Lakes.

This ship became part of the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. of United States Steel in 1910 and was renamed Francis E. House for the start of the 1911 season. It carried iron ore, coal and stone on their behalf until tying up at Duluth on Oct. 27, 1960.

It was sold to Kinsman Marine Transit and renamed b) Kinsman Independent (i) in April 1966. Once again, it was the largest ship in the fleet and was mainly used in the ore trade on their behalf.

Following the grounding of 42 years ago today, the vessel was tied up until sold for scrap to Marine Salvage. Resold to Spanish shipbreakers, Kinsman Independent arrived at Santander, Spain, under tow of the tug Jantar on July 2, 1974, and was broken up by Recuperaciones Submarinas S.A.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 21

August 21, 1996 - The former U. S. Army Corps of Engineers tug MARQUETTE was downbound past Detroit on her delivery trip to her new owners, based in Key West, Florida. Renamed MONA LARUE in 1997, she is no longer in documentation.

At 7:10 p.m. on August 21, 1901, the whaleback steamer ALEXANDER McDOUGALL (steel propeller modified whaleback freighter, 413 foot, 3,686 gross tons, built in 1898, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) ran into and cut in two the tug GEORGE STAUBER (wooden propeller tug, 55 foot, 43 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) in the rapids at the mouth of the St. Clair River. The STAUBER sank immediately in about 60 feet of water. No lives were lost. The steam barge IDA assisted in retrieving people in the water. The McDOUGALL did not stop.

BUFFALO's sea trials were conducted from August 21 through August 24, 1978.

GEORGE A. STINSON was christened at Detroit, Michigan on August 21, 1978.

CEDARGLEN, a.) WILLIAM C. ATWATER arrived under tow at Port Maitland, Ontario, on August 21, 1994, where she was scrapped.

THE HARVESTER cleared Lorain, Ohio, August 21, 1911, on her maiden voyage loaded with coal for Duluth, Minnesota.

IMPERIAL QUEBEC (Hull#161) was launched August 21, 1957, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Imperial Oil Ltd.

Cleveland Tankers VENUS was sold to Acme Metals Inc. and was towed to Ashtabula, Ohio on August 21, 1975, where she was broken up in 1976.

On August 21, 1971, CHARLES DICK severed two underwater cables in the Maumee River, cutting off power to east Toledo and the Cherry Street Bridge. Massive traffic jams developed on Toledo's streets.

The graceful schooner HUNTER SAVIDGE was launched on August 21, 1879, by the Grand Haven Ship Building Company.

On August 21, 1856, CHARTER (wooden, propeller vessel, 132 foot, 197 tons, built in 1849, at Huron, Ohio as a sidewheeler), was bound from Cleveland for Buffalo with flour, oats and rye. She swamped and sank in a storm 6 miles above Fairport, Ohio. By the end of August, she had been damaged beyond repair but her machinery was recovered as she lay in relatively shallow water.

On August 21, 1861, BANSHEE (wooden propeller freighter, 119 foot, 166 tons, built in 1852, at Portsmouth, Ontario, named HERO in 1860-61) was carrying wheat, flour and butter to Montreal when her engine failed (broken shaft) and she was helpless in a storm on Lake Ontario. She foundered near Timber Island on Lake Ontario. One passenger died, but the crew of 10 made it to Timber Island. She was owned by Howard & Rowe of Quebec.

1954 - The British freighter PERTH, enroute from Toronto to St. John's, N.F., with general cargo, was damaged in a collision with an unidentified vessel off the south coast of Newfoundland. The pre-Seaway trader to the Great Lakes had been built as LOCHEE in 1937 and had also made a total of 3 inland voyages in 1959 and 1960.

1955 - A collision between the CASON J. CALLAWAY and the B.F. JONES occurred above Lime Island in the St. Marys River. The latter, upbound and light, was declared a total loss and taken to Superior. Part of the bottom of the hull was saved for use as the shipyard lighter SCC 1, the cabins were transplanted to the SPARKMAN D. FOSTER and the hatches, hatch lifter and funnel become part of the LYMAN C. SMITH. The three-year-old CASON J. CALLAWAY was repaired, outlasts all of the other ships and remains in service under the same name.

1973 - The first KINSMAN INDEPENDENT lost steering in the Neebish Rock Cut and went aground with heavy bottom damage. After being refloated, the ship was laid up at Lorain and, in 1974, sold to Marine Salvage for scrap. She arrived at Santander, Spain, for dismantling under tow of the Polish tug JANTAR, and in tandem with the JAMES DAVIDSON, on July 21, 1974.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Society, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


U.S.-Flag iron ore cargos retreat again in July

8/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – With the nation awash in dumped foreign steel, iron ore cargos carried by U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters fell again in July. Loadings totaled 4.7 million tons, a decrease of 10 percent compared to a year ago. The slump comes on the heels of a 10 percent decrease in June.

Total cargo movement in U.S. hulls totaled 10.9 million tons in July, a decrease of 4 percent compared to a year ago.

U.S.-flag lakers’ coal float increased 6.4 percent in July, but shipments of limestone dipped by 5.6 percent. The stone trade is also feeling the impacts of unfair trade in steel. Steel production is the primary driver behind demand for fluxstone and metallurgical stone.

The failure of the MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on July 29 did not play a major role in the month’s totals, but six U.S.-flag lakers and 250,000 tons of cargo were delayed for about 13 hours between the lock’s closure and midnight July 31. The lock reopened on August 17. In total, 79 U.S.-flag lakers and 1.9 million tons of cargo were delayed for approximately 160 hours during the 20-day closure.

Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 42.5 million tons, an increase of 10.7 percent compared to a year ago. Iron ore, coal and limestone have all registered increases over their end-of-July totals in 2014, but those increases in part reflect the catastrophic ice conditions that prevailed for the first five months of that year. Heavy ice so delayed the resumption of the ore trade in March 2014 that at least one steelmaker had to curtail production and normal transit times did not become routine until early May. The ice was formidable again this spring, but had largely cleared by late April.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw at Bay Shipbuilding

8/20 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw spent Maritime Week in Sturgeon Bay earlier this month, and is now dry docked at Bay Shipbuilding until September for repair work.

Repairs are needed for one of the ship’s port side azipods. The azipods are the ship’s main propulsion system that helps with maneuverability. According to Mackinaw Capt. Vasilos Tasikas, during an icebreaking mission earlier this year the pod was leaking water.

“We were getting about 300 gallons per day that we were pumping out during the spring,” Tasikas said. “We are now opening the pod at Bay Shipbuilding to see why it is leaking and to make sure she is functioning for the future.”

After repairs are complete, the Mackinaw will go home to Cheboygan, Mich. for an inspection assessment and later begin the fall buoy run, primarily in Lake Michigan.

Door County Advocate


Great Lakes Maritime Institute’s annual dinner Oct. 4

8/20 - It is almost time for the annual Great Lakes Maritime Institute’s annual dinner, to be held at Blossom Heath Inn on Jefferson Avenue near 10 Mile Road in St. Clair Shores on Sunday Oct. 4 starting at 2 p.m.

Guest speaker David Coleman will provide the illustrated historical presentation "The Freshwater Whalebacks & Captain Alexander McDougall – the Designer.” The rounded-hulled whaleback steamers and barges were unique in Great Lakes maritime history. A total of 44 vessels of this design were built from 1887 to 1898, and they were compared to a cigar with bent up ends.

In addition, author Patrick Livingston will be on hand to sign his new novel "A Day at Bob-Lo," which takes readers back to a perfect summer day at Detroit's favorite island playground.

Visit for more information.


Canadian Coast Guard College seeks alumni for 50th anniversary

8/20 - Planning is in the works for the Canadian Coast Guard College's 50th anniversary, but tracking down alumni is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

"Reaching out to that sea-going community is very difficult, but reaching out to retirees is also difficult because a lot of them travel now," reunion committee co-chair Danielle Boutilier said.

"We don't have that alumni list. We don't have that resource to reach out and say, 'Hey everybody, we're having a reunion – please come back and see us and share your stories.'"

Boutilier is a logistics officer with the Canadian Coast Guard and is on staff at the college in Westmount, Cape Breton Regional Municipality. So far, they've heard from a mix of people, she says.

“We have people that are as far away as Australia that have retired there that are coming back. We have a group of clerical staff and admin support staff who are in Florida who heard about it and they're coming back. So it's anyone and everyone with that connection to the coast guard college."

The homecoming runs from Sept. 4 to Sept. 7. People looking to get in touch with the reunion committee can e-mail

Mainstreet Cape Breton


Breakwalls and Docks #48 – S.A. Queen was used as a dock at Niagara-on-the-Lake

8/20 - The tug S.A. Queen was built at Montreal by the Caledonia Iron Works in 1899 and first operated as the barge H.C.M. No. 15. It was not officially registered until 1910.

The ship was rebuilt at Cornwall in 1905 and became steam powered. It was sold to the Pyke Towing and Salvage Co. and renamed b) S.A. Queen in 1927. It saw most of its service in the Eastern Lake Ontario area and the upper St. Lawrence and had several owners including Simpson & Tobin as well as Simjac Marine Ltd.

The 88 foot, 6 inch long vessel was noted as laid up at the approach wall to Lock 28 of the old Galops Canal in 1961 and, by 1968, had been stripped to the hull. Resold to Norman Rogers in the 1990s, the vessel was brought to Toronto and was idle at different locations.

It was sold to Capt. Ihab Shaker of Shaker Cruise Lines in 1998 and the hull was towed to Niagara-on-the-Lake and used as a wharf for his hydrofoils and cruise boat. It would appear that S.A. Queen only spent a year in that service and was returned to Toronto.

Sometime in the 2000s, the hull either sank, or was sunk, in the Toronto area.

Skip Gillham – with Ron Beaupre and Jay Bascom


Lookback #641 – Captain Thomas Wilson launched at Port Huron on Aug. 20, 1900

The Wilson Transit Co. celebrated the launch of their new bulk carrier 115 years ago today. The ship had been built by the Jenks Shipbuilding Co. and entered the water at Port Huron, Mich., on Aug. 20, 1900.

The 440 foot long bulk carrier headed for the St. Clair River on Sept. 13, 1900 to begin service, but struck the Military Street Bridge before reaching open water. The 50 foot wide vessel was almost too large to thread the needle.

Captain Thomas Wilson was heralded at Cleveland on Sept. 13, 1909, when it became the first ore carrier to the Cleveland Furnace Co. dock on the Cuyahoga River. It was considered to be a “great occasion” for the city.

The vessel grounded in the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, on May 22, 1921, while up bound with coal for Washburn, Wis. The compass had been deflected by lightning and the ship wandered out of its intended route. Tugs pulled the stranded freighter free and it sustained damage in the range of $40,000.

This ship was traded to the United States Maritime Commission in 1943, along with the A.W. Osborne, for the new Maritime Class bulk carrier Thomas Wilson. However, the tonnage capacity of the Captain Thomas Wilson was still needed and it was renamed b) Kickapoo for service on charter to Wilson until peace had been won.

After being laid up at Erie, Pa., Kickapoo was sold to the Steel Company of Canada. It passed down bound at Port Colborne on Nov. 3, 1946, and arrived at Hamilton between the tugs A.M Macaulay and Towmaster. Its turn for scrapping came in October 1947.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 20

On 20 August 1881, MICHIGAN (Hull#48), (iron propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 215 foot, 1,183 tons) was launched by the Detroit Dry Dock Company at Wyandotte, Michigan for the Goodrich Transportation Company. She was then taken to Milwaukee for fitting out and completion. She cost $159,212. She was designed by Frank E. Kirby especially for cross-lake winter service.

INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORT arrived at Toronto, Ontario, August 20, 1969, on her maiden voyage, with fuel oil.

R. BRUCE ANGUS in tandem tow with the ULS steamer GORDON C. LEITCH (i) behind the tug IRVING CEDAR arrived at Setśbal, Portugal August 20, 1985, where they were broken up. The a.) IRVING CEDAR is now Purvis Marine's c.) RELIANCE. August 20, 1920 the WILLIS L. KING, upbound light in Whitefish Bay, was in collision with and sank the down bound Steel Trust steamer SUPERIOR CITY. The SUPERIOR CITY was struck nearly amidships and when the cold water reached her engine room, her boilers exploded. She sank immediately with 29 of her 33 crew members aboard.

The US266029, a.) WILLIAM CLAY FORD departed her lay-up berth at the Rouge slip on August 20, 1986, in tow of Gaelic tugs and she was taken to Detroit Marine Terminals on the Rouge River, where her pilothouse was removed to be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Detroit's Belle Isle.

On 20 August 1899, the HUNTER SAVIDGE (2-mast, wooden schooner, 117 foot, 152 gross tons, built in 1879, at Grand Haven, Michigan) capsized in a squall or tornado in Lake Huron. 5 survivors, including Capt. Fred Sharpstein, were rescued from the overturned schooner by the steamer ALEX MC VITTIE. However, 5 lost their lives, including the captain's wife and their son, the ship's owner's wife and daughter, and the Mate. Capt. Sharpstein patrolled the beaches looking for the bodies of his wife and son for months but they were never found. The wreck was found in 1987, near Grindstone City, Michigan.

On 20 August 1852, ATLANTIC (wooden sidewheeler, 267 foot, 1,155 tons, built in 1849, at Detroit, Michigan) was loaded with immigrants when she collided with the propeller freighter OGDENSBURG and quickly sank south of Long Point on Lake Erie at about 2:30 a.m. Of the 600 on board, estimates of death range from 150 to 250. Numerous salvage attempts have been made through the years up through 1989, since there were supposed to be valuables on board when she went down.

1874 – The CITY OF LONDON, built by Louis Shickluna at St. Catharines in 1865, was destroyed by a fire at Collins Inlet. The engine was later removed for installation in the CITY OF OWEN SOUND.

1900 – CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON was launched at Port Huron for the Wilson Transit Co.

1903 – QUEEN OF THE WEST sank in a Lake Erie storm off Fairport, Ohio but the crew was rescued by the CODORUS. One sailor perished in the transfer between the two ships.

1919 – MOHEGAN was built as a wooden steam barge at Marine City in 1894. It left the lakes for ocean service in 1917. The ship was anchored at Rio de Janiero, Brazil, on this date in 1919 when an explosion and fire destroyed the vessel. All on board survived.

1964 – TEXACO WARRIOR hit bottom and settled in the Welland Canal with a punctured tank at Thorold South near Bridge 10. The ship was refloated and resumed service. It was scrapped at Sorel, QC, in 1978 as LAKE TRANSPORT (i).

1969 – PETER ROBERTSON, sold for scrap and anchored in western Lake Ontario, dragged her anchors in a storm and landed on the beach near Jordan Harbour, Ontario. The vessel was released August 24 and headed down the Seaway August 27 between the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER on the next leg of the journey to Spain for scrapping.

1972 – VILLE DE QUEBEC was a pre-Seaway trader to the Great Lakes from 1955 to 1958 and returned inland, for three trips, in 1959. The ship sank off the coast of Albania, due to heavy weather, on this date as c) SUZY in 1972. It was enroute from Durres, Albania, to Patras, Greece. Eleven members of the crew were lost while only 7 survived.

1975 – The coastal freighter AIGLE D'OCEAN struck an iceberg off Port Burwell, Labrador, and sank. Only five crew were rescued. The ship had been inland on several occasions.

1977 – CAPO MELE first came through the Seaway as a) PIERRE L.D. in 1959 and again, for 3 trips, in 1960. It was sold and renamed b) CAPO MELE in 1961 and made 22 voyages to the Great Lakes from then through 1967. The ship sustained heavy damage from an engine room fire as e) PAULINA at Banjul, Gambia, and was sold for scrap. The vessel arrived at Santander, Spain, on October 17, 1977, for dismantling.

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


U.S. Grain shipments via St. Lawrence Seaway up 63%

8/19 - American grain shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 63 percent so far this season as vessels transport corn to Canada and soybeans for international export, reports the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

According to figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, U.S. grain totaled 765,000 metric tons for the period from April 2 through July 31. U.S. Great Lakes ports that receive and export grain through the waterway include Duluth-Superior, Toledo, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indiana Burns Harbor and Buffalo.

Grain, petroleum products and bulk materials are the leading cargo categories that have shown the greatest improvement over last season through July at the Port of Toledo. Grain shipments are up over 60 percent. Corn has been heading to Canada for ethanol production and animal feed, and soybeans to overseas markets. A combination of good crops and lower grain and international freight prices have allowed handlers to recapture overseas trade in Northern Europe and North Africa that they haven’t had in previous years.

“There is a considerable amount of grain moving out in salties and lakers this year prior to harvest,” said Joe Cappel, VP Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We have even seen transfers of wheat between the grain elevators and the flour mill via vessel this year within the Port of Toledo. That’s what I call short sea shipping.”

Others such as the Port of Detroit reported brisk general cargo activity, with shipments of steel, aluminum and machinery from April to July 31, up 17 percent this season compared to the same period in 2014. These materials will be used in manufacturing and auto production.

Stephen Brooks, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said, “The Great Lakes-Seaway is a vital trade corridor for American grain exports which will continue to be relied on into autumn when the new harvests begin. The more buoyant U.S. economy is also creating demand for other products such as construction, manufacturing and steel-making materials.”

U.S. construction activity has also boosted cement shipments via the Seaway to 766,000 metric tons from April 2 to July 31, up 11 percent compared to last year. Shipments of gypsum, used in wallboard for home construction, were up 35 percent.

Coke tonnage at 657,000 metric tons for the season so far, was also up 23 percent compared to 2014. Metallurgic coke is used for domestic steel production in Hamilton, Toledo and Burns Harbor, Indiana.

Across the board, however, year-to-date (April 2 through July 31) cargo tonnage on the Seaway was 14.5 million metric tons, down 7 percent, with iron ore down 8 percent and coal shipments down 38 percent.



Port Reports -  August 19

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday morning the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at Lafarge. Sam Laud arrived Tuesday evening to unload coal. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected in port Wednesday morning along with the Alpena, coming in possibly around noon.


Collingwood pitched on return of Norisle passenger boat

8/19 - Collingwood, Ont. – One of the few remaining passenger boats built on the Great Lakes has a chance to come home. However, it will take a lot of money to get her ship-shape and back in service carrying passengers.

Collingwood’s community services received a presentation from the executive director of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society at its Aug. 6 meeting, detailing efforts to refloat the steamship built at the Collingwood Shipyards in 1946.

The Norisle sailed until 1974, ferrying passengers between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island before it and its sister ships – the Norgoma and Normac – were replaced by the Chi-Cheemaun.

It is now permanently berthed on Manitoulin Island as a museum, though the municipality that owns her is not in a financial position to continue to maintain the ship. The Friends of the Norisle was formed in 2007, and has recently become the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society with the goal of refitting and refloating the ship.

That will cost about $18 million, said Abby Stec, the executive director of the society. That includes more than $13 million to refit the ship. Stec said the business plan shows the ship could be sustainable once she starts carrying passengers.

“If the ship were to be rebuilt in this day and age, it would probably be a price tag of $60 million to $70 million,” Stec said.

Stec said that could make the ship a “floating Royal York,” and the only cruise ship on the Great Lakes.

“There are so many beautiful ports of call around the Great Lakes that the Norisle could really showcase the community,” Stec told the committee, noting the society was merely looking for support from the municipality as a potential base for the ship, not money. “This is a very exciting project, and for people who grew up here and talked about the sounds of the shipyard.”

Stec said a proposal has been presented to the provincial tourism ministry, and the society is looking to philanthropic individuals to fund the ship’s rebirth.

“I feel like it’s our responsibility and duty to restore her,” Stec told The Connection after her presentation. “In terms of Canadian heritage and culture, there aren’t a lot of floating embers of our history that we can teach our children about and leave for future generations.

“It would be so special for this area, it would be a lost piece of history if we were to let her go.”

Simcoe News


Trio of first-time salties expected

8/19 - /b> Three new saltwater vessels are arriving in Montreal on their first visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. The first, which was due to arrive Tuesday at Montreal, was the HHL Tyne of Liberian flag, coming from Gibraltar with windmill parts for Duluth. This vessel held the name BBC Montana from 2009 until 2013 and the name Tyne from 2013 to 2014. The vessel never came inland with either of those names.

Due in Montreal on Aug. 19 is the Malta-flagged tanker Erria Swan, coming from New Orleans and heading to Mississauga. Previous names were the Alaatin Bey from 2006 to December 2007 and Erria Helen from 2007 to March 2012. The vessel never came inland with any of those previous names.

Due on Aug. 23 is the Marbioko of Portugal. This ship may be more familiar as the Luebbert, which first came inland in 2010 and last visited in 2014. The ship is coming from Tubarao, Brazil and heading to Hamilton. This vessel carried the Luebbert name from 2010 until January 2, 2015.

Denny Dushane


Two Former Fednav vessels renamed again

8/19 - Two former Fednav saltwater vessels have been renamed again. Federal Pioneer, which first came inland in 2007 with that name and last visited during the 2011 season, is now the Onego Pioneer. This vessel has had many names in its career starting with the Atlantic Pioneer from 1999-2001 and Seaboard Pioneer from 2001-2007. The ship did not come inland with either of those two names. As the Federal Pioneer, the ship first visited in 2007 and held this name until 2011, having been renamed in September of that year. It then became the CCNI Tumbes and held this name until 2013 when it was renamed in June 2013 to Atlantic Pioneer, a name it carried until being renamed in April 2015 to Onego Pioneer.

The Federal Power has also had many names in its career. This vessel first came inland during the 2007 season and last visited in 2012. It now sails as the Onego Power of Cyprus registry. It was known as Seaboard Power from 2000-2001, Atlantic Power 2000-2001, Seaboard Power from 2001-2007 and Federal Power from 2007 until 2013. The ship returned in 2014 as the Atlantic Power before being renamed Onego Power in 2015.

Denny Dushane


Niagara day sail has 4 seats left

8/19 - Toledo, Ohio - The USS Niagara will leave Monroe, Mich., on Friday morning August 21 for a day sail to the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo Ohio. According to the museum, there are four seats still available for the trip. Seats on the day sail are $150 each or $135 each for members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society.

The museum is providing basic bus transportation from Toledo to Monroe on Friday morning. Persons taking the trip can then leave their cars in Toledo at the National Museum making them available at the conclusion of the day sail.

Interested parties can contact the museum at 419-214-5000, extension 200 for more information or to purchase day sail tickets.



Lookback #640 – Former Venabu foundered in Arabian Sea on Aug. 19, 1985

The Norwegian freighter Venabu concentrated on saltwater trading for its first six years. The vessel had been built at Fredriksstad, Norway, and launched on Oct. 24, 1961. It was completed the following year.

The 546 foot, 2 inch long vessel was a Seaway trader in 1968 and, in 1974, moved under the flag of Argentina as b) Pablo V.

The name was shortened to c) Pab in 1985 and it was registered in Panama at the time of its loss. There was speculation that the vessel had been sold for scrap, hence the abbreviated name, but this was not confirmed and the ship never reached the scrapyard to prove the case.

Pab foundered off Amini Island, in the Arabian Sea off the west coast of India, thirty years ago today. The hull began leaking during the voyage from Vitoria, Italy, via Maputo, Mozambique, to Chittagong, Bangladesh, and went down as a total loss.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 19

On this day in 1865, the PEWABIC, Captain George P. McKay, was down bound on Lake Huron when she was rammed by her sister ship, METEOR. The PEWABIC sank with an estimated loss of 125 lives and a cargo of copper ingots, ore and hides valued at $500,000.

On 19 August 1902, OMAR D. CONGER (wooden propeller ferry, 92 foot, 200 gross tons, built in 1887, at Port Huron, Michigan) burned at Port Huron, Michigan. The entire upper works burned and the lower deck was also badly burned. She had burned on 20 June 1901, and had been rebuilt over the winter. She was again rebuilt and lasted until 1922.

The ROBERT S. PIERSON (i) was sold to P & H. Shipping Ltd. on August 19, 1982, and renamed e) SPRUCEGLEN.

The package freighter ARIZONA was launched on August 19, 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio by Quayle & Martin for E.T. & J.C. Evans of Buffalo, New York.

The CARDINAL, a.) WINDSOLITE, was towed to the Strathearne Terminal in Hamilton, Ontario on August 19, 1974, for scrapping.

On 19 August 1909, CITY OF GREEN BAY (wooden propeller passenger/package freight, 134 foot, 257 gross tons, built in 1880, at Fort Howard, Wisconsin as the sidewheeler M C HAWLEY) caught fire while crossing Saginaw Bay, burned to the waterline and sank. This wasn't her first experience with this type of accident since on 17 November 1887, she had burned to a "total loss" in Lake Michigan.

August 19, 1930 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 towed the disabled tug FRED C GREILING from Frankfort, Michigan to Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co.

The propeller QUEBEC was launched at the Chisholm & Simpson yard at Chatham, Ontario on 19 August 1874. She was built for the Beatty Line and designed to run between Sarnia and Duluth.

1906 – GOVERNOR SMITH, a wooden package freight carrier, sank in Lake Huron, about 8 miles off Pointe aux Barques, after a collision with the URANUS. All 20 on board were rescued.

1915 – The wooden passenger and freight carrier HENRY PEDWELL burned at Wiarton, ON but was salvaged and rebuilt at Owen Sound in 1916.

1960 – BELLE ISLE II caught fire and sank after a collision with the HOLMSIDE on Lac St. Pierre in the St. Lawrence near Trois Rivieres. The ship had originally been the “Castle Class” corvette H.M.S. WOLVESEY CASTLE and later H.M.C.S. HUNTSVILLE for the Canadian Navy. It was rebuilt for cargo service as c) WELLINGTON KENT in 1947 becoming d) BELLE ISLE II in 1951. The hull was salvaged and towed up the Seaway to Portsmouth, ON on November 2, 1960, and broken up at Whitby, ON during the winter of 1965-1966. HOLMSIDE was later a casualty as b) CABINDA after hitting a jetty while inbound at Casablanca on December 28, 1980, with the loss of 9 lives.

1966 – JOHN E.F. MISENER went aground on Hard Island in the St. Lawrence and had to be lightered before being released on August 21.

1967 – The retired Paterson steamer SASKADOC, which last operated in 1966, was downbound at the Iroquois Lock under tow of GRAEME STEWART and SALVAGE MONARCH enroute to the scrapyard. It arrived at Santander, Spain, on September 24, 1967, along with the AUGUSTUS B. WOLVIN, behind the Polish tug JANTAR.

1988 – The Greek owned, Cypriot flag, freighter BLUESTONE arrived at Halifax to load flour, but the crew reported “hull cracks” and the Coast Guard said repairs must be made. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes as a) ASIA SWALLOW in 1980 and returned as b) BLUESTONE for the first time in 1985. The work was carried out. The ship finally cleared September 13 and operated until arriving at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as e) VRITA N. about August 31, 1998.

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


MacArthur Lock back in service after repairs

8/18 - The MacArthur Lock, located at the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was back in service Monday after experiencing mechanical issues that started in July, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has announced.

The lock was taken out of operation Wednesday, July 29, due to issues with closing the gates; it was dewatered to determine the path forward for repairs The original estimate for the outage was 10 days, but the heavy work and complicated repairs took 20 days. The staff at the locks completed the repairs.

During this time the Corps notified the shipping industry of the expected delays to navigation, as ships traditionally traversing the MacArthur Lock were routed through the Poe Lock.

As of Aug. 17, the Corps calculated 103 ships were delayed a total of 166 hours at the locks solely due to the closure of the MacArthur Lock. Additional delays were experienced by the shipping companies as their vessels slowed down in the system or were holding at dock facilities to minimize the time they waited at the Soo Locks.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Port Reports -  August 18

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
H. Lee White called on the Saginaw River early Sunday morning, unloading at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Later in the morning, American Courage was inbound with a split cargo. She dropped a partial load at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The third vessel of Sunday, Algoway, arrived and traveled up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload salt. The H. Lee White was outbound later on Sunday, with the American Courage and Algoway both outbound early Monday morning.

Welland Canal
Canada Steamship Lines’ bulker Spruceglen has left layup and was upbound in the canal on Monday, headed for Thunder Bay.

Port Colborne, Ont.
After many years scrapping has begun on the former Canadian Coast Guard vessel Verendrye, which is at Marine Recycling Corp. with its cabins now removed. It is lying outside of Algoma Progress in the south scrapping berth. Work continues on Algoma Progress, which is down to the last one quarter of the forward portion of hull.


Lookback #639 – Neosho sank in Delaware Bay on Aug. 18, 1919

The wooden bulk carrier Neosho was built at Cleveland in 1898. The 275 foot long by 41 foot wide freighter lasted less than 20 years as a powered steamer and only two more as a barge.

The vessel was converted to the latter capacity in 1917 and shortened by 18 feet. It was sold for off-lakes service later in the year and was out bound from Toledo with a cargo of coal.

Neosho was used on coastal routes in the coal trade but was lost 96 years ago today. The ship was on Delaware Bay under tow of the tug Norfolk when it got caught by summer storm. The vessel broke loose and got caught in the trough on Aug. 18, 1919.

It did not take long for Neosho to strike a reef and the wooden hull simply broke up from the pounding of the hull by the rough water on the rocks below.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 18

On 18 August 1871, GEN. WINFIELD SCOTT (wooden schooner, 114 foot, 213 tons, built in 1852, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying lumber from Menominee to Chicago when she sprang a leak during a gale and capsized off Spider Island near Death's Door on Lake Michigan. The crew clung to her for 13 hours until rescued by the passing schooner ETHAN ALLEN.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE (Hull#65) was float launched on August 18, 1979, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.

On August 18, 1972, $50,000 in bottom damage occurred when the CHAMPLAIN, of 1943, hit an obstruction in the Trenton Channel, on the lower Detroit River.

The NORMAN B. REAM (Hull#70) was launched August 18, 1906, at Chicago, Illinois by the Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE in 1965. She served as a storage barge in Port Huron from 1979 to 1989. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1989.

On 18 August 1907, KATE WHITE (wooden propeller steam tug, 62 foot, 28 gross tons, built at Erie, Pennsylvania in 1885, as a yacht) sank near the harbor entrance at Fairport, Ohio. On 18 August 1878, JAVA (iron twin propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 232 foot, 1,525 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing from Bay City, Michigan for Chicago and Milwaukee with mixed merchandise, including 300 tons of fine household goods, parlor stoves, salt, etc. She was a twin-screw and the main theory of her loss in good weather was that her starboard shaft coupling came loose and the shaft slid out the stern, allowing water to flood through the sleeve. Nevertheless, she sank quickly, 15 miles off Big Sable Point on Lake Michigan in over 300 feet of water. The crew escaped in lifeboats and was picked up by passing steamers.

1919 – The former wooden bulk carrier NEOSHO was sold for off lakes service in 1917 and was operating as a barge, under tow of the tug NORFOLK, when she broke loose in a storm on Delaware Bay, got caught in the trough, struck a reef and broke up.

1927 – The first HENNEPIN foundered in Lake Michigan, 18 miles west of South Haven, enroute to Grand Haven to load. The hull was discovered in 2006 and is upright in 230 feet of water.

1966 – BAYGEORGE knocked off a lock fender in the downbound section of the Welland Canal Flight Locks and delayed navigation. Only the upbound side remained in use to handle traffic pending repairs.

1972 – The ocean going general cargo carrier FELTO caught fire at Bata, Equatorial Guinea, while discharging cement. The blaze broke out in the engineroom and spread to the accommodation area before the ship settled on the bottom as a total loss. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader in 1968 and had previously come inland as a) FERDIA in 1953 and b) FAIRWAY in 1963.

1985 – CHI-CHEEMAUN went aground due to fog while departing South Baymouth and was released the following day. The Georgian Bay ferry went to Collingwood for repairs.

1996 – HERCEG NOVI, a Yugoslavian freighter dating from 1981, first came through the Seaway in 1989 bringing a cargo of newsprint to Detroit. It sank following a collision with the containership MING GALAXY off Singapore on this date in 1996. Local officials ordered the removal of the hull and this was done, in pieces, later in the year.

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


Date center back Online

8/17 - Our main processing location for AIS and News is back Online Monday evening.


Port Huron Float Down goes on despite calls to stop annual event

8/17 - Port Huron, Mich. – Thousands of people packed the St. Clair River for the annual Port Huron Float Down Sunday, ignoring recent calls from U.S. and Canadian shipping groups to halt the event.

Last week, the U.S.-based Lake Carrier's Association and the Canadian Shipping Association jointly blasted the popular float down in a press release as a dangerous and disruptive unsanctioned event.

"Not to sound like we're anti-fun for recreation, because there can be nothing more fun than having a lazy float down a river on a hot summer day," Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Canadian Shipping Association, told The Observer last week.

"We just think it's the wrong river at the wrong time."

Last year, a man drowned during the float down and there are reports the coast guard had to rescue several overly intoxicated individuals, he noted.

On Sunday, a handful of people from the Canadian side joined in the float-down festivities from near the Blue Water Bridge. Both U.S. and Canadian police boats could be seen patrolling the water and speaking to participants.

The float down runs annually from the Port Huron lighthouse to Marysville, Mich. near Stag Island.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  August 17

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Mississagi was in Lorain Saturday, before heading to Cleveland. Joseph H. Thompson visited on Sunday.


Lookback #638 – Atikokan ran up on the shore on Aug. 17, 1913

Any who has seen the photo of the whaleback steamer Atikokan high and dry at Marine City, Mich., on Aug. 17, 1913, will wonder how they were able to pull the ship back into the water. But they did and the vessel resumed trading.

Originally the John B. Trevor, this ship was built at West Superior, Wis., and launched there for the American Steel Barge Co. on May 1, 1895. It departed May 30 to load ore at Duluth for Ashtabula, Ohio. The ship joined the Bessemer Steamship Co. in 1900 and was part of the original U.S. Steel fleet when the latter was formed in 1901.

The 336-foot-long vessel rammed and sank her own barge #131 in the St. Clair River on Aug. 10, 1899, after the Crescent City crossed the towline. All ships were able to resume service.

After stranding off Isle Royale during a gale on Oct. 13, 1909, while upbound with coal, the John B. Trevor suffered heavy damage and remained stuck through the winter. After being salvaged and towed to Port Arthur, the ship was sold and rebuilt as b) Atikokan. It went out of control and, with the flat bottom of a whaleback, slid well up on the bank at Marine City 102 years ago today.

After salvage, Atikokan carried on Great Lakes service until it was cut in two at Cleveland in 1918 and towed from the Great Lakes to Montreal in sections and rejoined. It became part of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet on Dec. 4, 1920, and was the only whaleback to sail in their colors. It was used on the St. Lawrence and along the Atlantic seaboard and moved to the ownership of Dominion Iron and Steel on Sept. 8, 1928.

Still known as Atikokan, the ship carried coal on their behalf until being scrapped at Halifax in 1935.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 17

On August 17, 1987, the CADILLAC was towed by the tugs GLENADA and ELMORE M. MISNER, from Toledo's Frog Pond on the first leg of her journey to be scrapped.

At 4 p.m. on 17 August 1869, the schooner CARLINGFORD was launched at the Fitzgerald and Leighton yard in Port Huron, Michigan with plenty of spectators on hand. Robert Montgomery of Buffalo, the owner, built the vessel for the grain trade. Her capacity was 30,000 bushels of grain. After launching, she still had to have her masts (96 foot, 98 foot and 94 foot) and rigging installed. At the time, she was the largest sailing vessel built in Port Huron. Her dimensions were 155-foot keel, 165-foot overall, 31-foot-6- inch beam and 12-foot 8-inch depth. 50 men worked on her and she cost $35,000.

1905 – The wooden steamer CALEDONIA sank in Lake Superior while towing the barge JOHN M. HUTCHINSON. It was later refloated and returned to service.

1913 – The whaleback steamer ATIKOKAN went ashore in a spectacular grounding at Marine City but was released and returned to service.

1994 – INDIANA HARBOR went to Sturgeon Bay for repairs after going aground at Muskegon, Mich.

Data from: Joe Barr, Max Hanley, Skip Gillam, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Steamboat gets ready to ship out across Lake Erie

8/16 - Toledo, Ohio – About 220 area residents got a rare, on-board glimpse Thursday of America’s oldest surviving passenger steamboat, the S.S. Columbia, at the Toledo Shipyard.

Now the historic 1902 vessel will be towed to its next stop in Buffalo, on or about Sept. 1, where more work will be done as part of an $18 million restoration being phased in over five or more years. The plan is to put it into service between New York City and the Hudson River Valley as a vessel that will promote history and natural resources.

Robert W. Elliott, president of the S.S. Columbia Project in New York, said the goal is to bring “back the consciousness of the Hudson River as a community.”

The S.S. Columbia, a National Historic Landmark Vessel, is best known as one of the steamships that had a decades-long run between Detroit and southwest Ontario’s Boblo Island amusement park, which closed in 1993. The ship was taken out of service in 1991.

Until September, when it was towed to Toledo, it had been in Ecorse, Mich. About $1.6 million of repairs and improvements have been made in Ecorse and Toledo. The largest portion of that work was unseen by Thursday’s visitors, the replacement of 3,792 square feet of steel in the section of the hull that’s normally underwater, or about a third of that which is normally submerged, Ann Loueding, restoration coordinator, said.

“She’s a boat to me,” Ms. Loueding said. “She’s a boat that still has a lot of life in her that can give people a lot of experiences.”

After several months in Buffalo, the steamship be towed to New York City for a short visit, then up to Kingston, N.Y., for the majority of its restoration work. The pace of the $18 million project will depend on fund-raising efforts, Ms. Loueding said. The ship is to be put into full-time operation along the Hudson River to shuttle up to 1,500 passengers between the Big Apple and the Hudson River Valley daily for trips to parks and other stops.

The S.S. Columbia was originally designed to hold 3,200 passengers on its five decks, Elliott said.

The ship was built in 1902. Its new owners will maintain its historic integrity while also using it for concerts and low-impact events. Dinners are expected to be served for up to 500 people, groups of a size that even New York can have trouble accommodating.

The ship will be used to promote history, education, and natural resources while also be a nautical tie-in to New York’s art and cultural scene, said Liz McEnaney, S.S. Columbia Project executive director.

Gary Matthews, port engineer, said main parts of the steamship’s boiler room seem fine. The ship will likely be fueled by diesel fuel or some other petroleum at first, with other less-polluting fuel sources such as biomass being considered for the future, he said.

The S.S. Columbia was made with mahogany paneling, etched and leaded glass, a grand staircase and an open-air ballroom. Although it will be a newcomer to the Hudson River, it was designed by naval architect Frank Kirby and artist Louis O. Keil, who collaborated on the design of three steamships that used to ply water in that part of the country.

To track progress of the ship’s restoration, visit the project website,, or the project’s Facebook page.

Toledo Blade


Port Reports -  August 16

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater
Barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann docked at Bay Shipbuilding two days ago.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Capt. Henry Jackman was in port Thursday with a load of rock salt for the NYS thruway.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived at the Essroc Dock Saturday with a cargo of bulk cement.


Lookback #637 – Former Seaway caller World Felicia in collision on Aug. 16, 1985

It was 30 years ago today that the former Seaway visitor World Felicia was heavily damaged in a collision with the Agios Andreas. The accident resulted in the vessel, by then known as d) Radha, being beached near Bandar Abbas, Iran, to save it from sinking.

The ship had been built at Quevilly, France, and completed as a) World Felicia in June 1959. The 459 foot long, Liberian flag, vessel operated on ocean routes before making a single voyage to the Great Lakes in 1964. It was sold and renamed b) Alacrity (Panamanian flag) in 1968, c) Anemodea (Greek) in 1981 before becoming d) Radha in 1982. It was operating under the flag of Iran when it was wrecked in the collision of Aug. 16, 1985.

The ship was refloated and sold to Pakistani shipbreakers. It was renamed e) Fortune I for the tow to the scrapyard and it arrived at Gadani Beach for dismantling by Usman Enterprises in August 1986.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 16

On 16 August 1890, the ANNIE WATT (wooden propeller, passenger and package freight "packet,” 75 foot, 62 gross ton, built in 1884, at Lion's Head, Ontario) collided with the ship WM. ALDERSON and sank off of Gunn Point, Ontario. Just the previous year (8 November 1889), ANNIE WATT had burned and been declared total loss, but she was rebuilt.

The captain of the 2 year old, 125-foot wooden schooner-barge JOHN F. RITCHIE brought his wife, two other women and several small children as guests on a voyage from Bay City, Michigan to Buffalo, New York. The RITCHIE was one of a string of four barges loaded with lumber in tow of the tug ZOUAVE. As the tow entered Lake Erie, they were struck by a terrifying storm. The RITCHIE broke her towline and was cast adrift. The deck load of lumber broke loose and everyone was in danger. The women and children were brought out of the cabin since it was considered to be a death trap and they were lashed on deck for safety. Soon the vessel was waterlogged and the cabin was actually washed away. On 17 August, a passing steamer took everyone aboard and towed the RITCHIE in to Cleveland, Ohio where she was repaired. Amazingly, no lives were lost.

August 16, 1902 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 (Hull#412) was launched at Cleveland, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway.

1921 – The wooden steamer H.N. JEX foundered off Long Point, Lake Ontario, while carrying coal between Sodus and Kingston. All on board were rescued.

1927 – NORTHERN LIGHT, a steel package freighter, left the Great Lakes for saltwater service in two sections in 1917. The vessel was ravaged by a fire that began in the coal bunker, at Mobile, AL. on this date in 1927. The engine was removed in 1928 and the hull converted to a barge. It foundered off the Florida Keys on November 8, 1930.

1966 – The PEAVEY PIONEER, laid up with damage from a May 31, 1966, grounding at Ashland, was traded to the U.S. Maritime Administration by Sea-Land Services for the C-4 transport GENERAL H.G. FREEMAN.

1967 – The third GEORGE HINDMAN went aground and sustained heavy damage in the St. Lawrence off Clayton, N.Y. The ship was inspected at Collingwood and considered beyond economical repair. It was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap and resold to Hyman-Michaels for dismantling at Duluth, arriving there on October 13, 1967.

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


Cargo shipments on Great Lakes slow as economy sags

8/15 - Toronto, Ont. – The volume of cargo shipped through North America’s key inland water route has fallen by 7 per cent this year amid global economic turmoil that has dampened demand and prices for iron ore and other commodities.

Iron ore shipments fell by 8 per cent while coal volumes plunged by 38 per cent on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System as Chinese steel mills throttled down and European power plants switched to cheaper natural gas.

“Global pricing for both those commodities are at an all-time low, so that makes it difficult to support for export,” said Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., which operates the Canadian portion of the 3,700-kilometre route that links inland North America with global ports.

Overall cargo volumes on the shipping route are down by 7 per cent this year, even as strong U.S. construction activity boosted shipments of cement (up 11 per cent) and drywall gypsum (35 per cent).

“Both the Canadian and the U.S. economy drive our business,” Mr. Hodgson said by phone. “So with the Canadian economy being a little bit slower, that’s obviously impacting us, particularly on the steel-production side. We’re seeing that impact as well on the U.S. side.”

Shipments of Canadian grain are down by 19 per cent, following two years of large crops and a backlog that left elevators near capacity. The drought in Western Canada has reduced volumes and crop quality this year, Mr. Hodgson said.

The Seaway has seen a 3-per-cent rise in shipping of road salt from Ontario’s K+S Windsor Salt mine, as well as imported salt from Morocco and Venezuela, as municipalities replenished stockpiles after two harsh winters. The St. Lawrence port of Johnstown, which recently spent $35-million on new facilities, posted a 21-per-cent rise in shipments, led by salt destined for the winter roads of Eastern Ontario.

Signs of a rebound in the U.S. auto sector bode well for steel demand, and should boost shipments from the mills along the Great Lakes.

Jonathan Bendiner, an economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank, said the harsh winter slowed much of the Canadian economy at the start of year, but he expects consumer demand and economic activity will improve in the coming months.

“I think the worst is behind us right now,” Mr. Bendiner said in an interview.

Railways are also feeling the sting of lower demand for goods. Cargo volumes at rail companies in Canada, the United States and Mexico are down by 0.5 per cent so far this year, led by drops in coal shipments. Canadian rail companies have seen coal volumes fall by 10 per cent while grain shipments are down by 12 per cent, according to the American Association of Railroads’ traffic report released on Wednesday.

Globe & Mail


Tug Chaulk Determination to be scrapped

8/15 - Trois- Rivičres, Que. – The tug Chaulk Determination finally left the port of Trois- Rivičres Friday, more than seven months after having sunk there. The tug – under tow of Epinette II – will arrive in about three days at Les Méchins, where it will be scrapped.

Her barge Chaulk Lifter, formerly the Marinelink Explorer, has reportedly been acquired by Toronto Drydock Co. It was built in 1978 by Peterson Builders in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Radio Canada, Rene Beauchamp


Port Reports -  August 15

Manistee, Mich.
Manitowoc was outbound Manistee around 6:30 p.m. Friday after unloading coal at Morton Salt. Due Saturday for Tondu is the Calumet with coal from SMET. Calumet should be arriving around 8-9 a.m.

Grand Have, Mich. – Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes came in late Fridat morning, docking at Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg about 12:30 p.m. It was heard blowing a formal salute as it backed out about 5:30 p.m.


Duluth Port Authority boss outlines future

8/15 - Duluth, Minn. - – At the docks in Superior Bay on these sunny days, painters work under large temporary tents that look military and wouldn't be out of place in Iraq.

Before leather-gloved steelworkers set vertical steel pilings in place with the help of a crane and vibration hammer, the painters apply a black coating to the pilings that are being used to line the Dock D wall off Helberg Drive.

The paint is applied to the top 15 feet or so of the hefty 56-foot pilings to help curb the oxidation near the water line that leads to rust. The paint is American, the 400 pilings going in along the lengthy stretch of dock made of U.S. steel.

The rehabilitation of long-dormant Docks C and D is well underway. At $17.7 million, it's among the biggest projects ever undertaken by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Speaking to a roomful of Duluth's business leaders at the Kitchi Gammi Club on Tuesday, Executive Director Vanta Coda called the docks and projects like it the leverage necessary to bring future new business into the port.

"This is what we do to become more relevant — put working waterfront back to use," he said.

In meeting Duluth's business community publicly for the first time since his arrival in late 2013, Coda acknowledged the importance of getting outside his office that features the Port Authority's existing dock, the Clure Public Marine Terminal, outside his window.

"I find a great deal of expanding the port's influence is not (done) on its own turf," said Coda — just the third executive director in 36 years at the Port Authority.

While introducing Coda, David Ross, president and CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, said, "Duluth exists because of the port; the port's success defines Duluth's success."

Few would argue with that and Coda explained the Port Authority is unique for being the lone government-backed operation among roughly 20 other dock operators in the ports of Duluth and Superior. Coda called the region surrounding the Great Lakes — which includes two Canadian provinces and eight states — the third-largest economy in the world, representing 45 percent of North America's manufacturing capacity.

In drumming up business for a Dock D that will feature a proper roll-on/roll-off deck for wheeled cargo and be open for business in the fall of 2016, Coda said the Port Authority's agreement with European-based dry-cargo specialist Spliethoff was off to a slower than expected start, but a race worth running.

"We run marathons down at the port," he said, acknowledging the 30-year fight to get the grant funding that will renovate Dock D and the 28 acres encompassing it and Dock C. (There is currently no funding for the Dock C dock-wall rehabilitation.)

Earlier this year, the Port Authority purchased the 35-acre Dock 7 in the Irving neighborhood for under $1 million. It's another mothballed maritime dock the Port Authority hopes to put back into use as a reserve dock in shallower waters for barge traffic.

Coda gave credit to Allete Inc., owners of Minnesota Power, for pushing business to the port in the form of wind turbine towers, blades and generators. He called it a banner year for those parts and said Duluth's Dave McMillan was influential in steering the cargos to local waters from overseas.

McMillan is senior vice president of external affairs at Allete and executive vice president of Minnesota Power. He also serves on the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. Advisory Board.

The St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system extends from Duluth to the Atlantic Ocean, and Coda zeroed in on the system's Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., as he spoke to chamber members. The locks are among 16 sets of locks on the Great Lakes and were opened more than 160 years ago, Coda said. One of two operating Soo Locks is currently shut down for repairs, leaving the locks "vulnerable to complete lock shutdown," Coda said, stumping for a new lock he said would protect against economic collapse.

Coda defended the 40 million tons annually of coal shipments through the Great Lakes, saying that while U.S. demand for coal dwindles in the face of environmental regulation and demands for new energy sources, coal's shelf-life internationally figures to extend another 40 years or more.

Finally, Coda said railways were clogged with oil tank cars with no expansion of rail lines on the horizon. It makes the seaways ripe for those in search of logistical solutions, said the longtime logistical expert who worked in Chicago and Houston before coming to Duluth.

Great Lakes shipping is such that it could double its capacity without hiring a single individual, Coda said.

When asked by an audience member what those future products will be, Coda said, "We're always looking for new cargo."

Duluth News Tribune


Community raising money to improve St. Joseph lighthouse

8/15 - St. Joseph, Mich. – The lighthouses in St. Joseph have been at the heart of the community for more than 100 years. One group is raising money to improve them. So far they've raised 1.7 million dollars.

That's enough to get restoration started. But people in St. Joseph say you can't attach a price tag to those lighthouses.

"This is our iconic entrance to the community. This is our lighthouse,” said Michael Garey, Mayor of St. Joseph. “And for decades it's provided safe harbor for sailors, commercial fishermen, ships, everything."

"It’s what identifies St. Joe, historically they've been here for over 100 years and today, I think when people think of St. Joe, they identify it with the light houses,” Mollie Kruck, with the Heritage Museum, said.

But after more than a century of enduring countless storms, time has taken its toll.

"The lighthouse has taken care of us for over 100 years,” Garey said. “It's time for us to take care of the lighthouse, renovate it for generations to enjoy.”

"People associate our lighthouse with St. Joseph, it's part of our logo and it's really something that brings the community together,” Christina Arseneau, with the Heritage Museum, said.

It's because of that that the community has rallied to make sure these lighthouses stand for generations to come. So far, millions of dollars in private funds have been raised to restore the lighthouses.

"We are excited to see them restored. It's nice to see the efforts that people in the community have put,” Kruck said. “It shows how important they are, and it's been great to see in this restoration process.”

"It's really an investment into the future to save this lighthouse, and again, if you imagine this pier without a lighthouse, this community would really lose a part of its soul,” Garey said.

Work has already started. The north pier at Silver Beach is closed. Workers will be covering the lighthouse soon as they strip it of paint, some of which contains lead. But the hope is to have everything set and ready to go by the next year.

If you want to be technical these aren't lighthouses – they're pier lights. But they used to have lighthouse keepers run them.



Few bite on taxpayer-funded cruise ship facility in Detroit

8/15 - Detroit, Mich. – Taxpayers anted up $22 million for a new Detroit riverfront building to entice Great Lakes cruise ships and other passenger traffic. They built it — but the ships never came.

Instead, four years after construction of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority public dock, the building is used almost exclusively by a politically-connected catering company for deluxe weddings and other parties.

Only one cruise ship has docked this year at the sleek, 21,000-square-foot building near the Renaissance Center — an improvement from zero in 2014. The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority building, meanwhile, gets plenty of party use by its caterer, Troy-based Continental Services.

On its website, the building is marketed as Waterview Loft@Port Detroit, a venue combining “indoor sophistication and outdoor chic” where wedding parties for up to 100 people start at $18,500.

Continental also owns a luxury yacht, the Ovation, that offers party cruises from the port for about $100 per passenger. The caterer pays $500 docking fees for every cruise, and the arrangement strikes waterfront business owner Gregg Ward as wrong.

“Turning a $22 million taxpayer-funded Port Authority building into a glorified catering hall and political fundraising venue is inappropriate and scandalous,” said Ward, who operates a truck ferry on the Detroit River.

Ward referred to a $1,000-a-plate birthday party last July for Mayor Mike Duggan that public records indicate raised at least $40,000 for his nonprofit.

John Loftus, the authority’s current executive director, put an end to such fundraisers when he arrived last August, saying rules are “very clear” about such events on public property. “You don’t do political functions,” he said.

Duggan spokesman John Roach said the fundraiser wasn’t political because it raised money for the Detroit Progress Fund that pays for employee travel and other city expenses that Detroit can’t afford. The fund paid Continental $6,500 for the building, Roach said.

Steven Rybicki, vice president for Continental Services, said “we know that it can’t be a political event.”

Continental Services is a well-known company that also has a contract to serve inmate meals at the Wayne County jail. Its founders, Alex and James Bardy, donate heavily to Democrats and local officials.

A political action committee affiliated with their company, Sterling PAC of Continental Services, was formed by longtime Democratic fundraiser Ron Thayer, campaign records show. It has donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years to local officials including Duggan, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

Weddings and corporate events provide the authority with one of its few consistent revenue sources, almost $140,000 in 2014. Continental pays the authority 15 percent of event sales, with a $1,500 minimum per event.

That’s not much more than the $128,000 the authority spent on office expenses that year, according to an audit of the agency. Almost all of the authority’s $1 million budget comes from federal grants and subsidies from the state, city and Wayne County.

Loftus acknowledged the challenges facing the building named after former U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin. But he and authority member Alisha Bell defended the Continental contract, saying it attracts visitors and creates jobs.

“It brings in money and it’s a beautiful space for weddings and events that enhances our visibility,” said Bell, who is also a Wayne County commissioner.

Loftus, who was hired after the contract was signed, said it was competitively bid and Continental offered the best deal.

Some authority members have questioned the five-year contract that was signed in 2012.

“We are looking at this agreement and many others that were put in place in years past,” said authority vice chairman Jonathan Kinloch.

“This is a public facility. You would imagine there would be more events besides weddings that would benefit the broader community. It’s not uncommon to have weddings at public facilities. But you do question it when that appears to be its primary purpose.”

The catering agreement requires Continental to provide menus and other event details a month in advance. It also entitles the Port Authority to use the ground floor when a cruise ship arrives at the dock, but requires at least six months notice to the caterer before a cruise ship docking.

Eugene “Skip” Mongo, a Detroit political consultant, said he was shocked recently when he inquired about renting the building for his son’s wedding.

Continental’s estimate was $38,000 for 150 guests, more than twice that quoted at comparable venues, Mongo said.

“This is supposed to be a public building. Instead, we spent $22 million to host parties and for a private yacht,” Mongo said.

“The symbolism of it is awful.”

Loftus said he’s working to bring in ferry service to Windsor and cruise ships but cites problems, including resistance from U.S. Customs officials.

The cruise ship Saint Laurent docked in Detroit two weeks ago after an unexpected route change. “They liked it so much they decided to come back,” Loftus said. But when the ship returned last week, U.S. Customs officials refused to staff the terminal so passengers could disembark: they landed in Windsor instead.

“I have been going back and forth with (Customs) and I am at my wit’s end,” he said.

Kris Grogan, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, responded in an email that the agency “has never refused to service passenger/cruise ships in Detroit.”

“The facility in question has not been completed and does not meet the IT and security requirements necessary to properly process cruise vessels and/or cruise passengers,” Grogan wrote in the email. “These and other issues were discussed with the Detroit Port Authority over 4 years ago.”

Another former frequent user of the port, the Yankee Clipper, was seized by a German bank in 2013.

Loftus’ predecessor, John Jamian, said he had deals with three cruise companies to anchor in Detroit this year, but all canceled after the Port Authority did not renew his three-year contract.

He said the building was regularly used for public meetings and other public events during his tenure.

“I’m just shocked and disappointed at what’s happened,” said Jamian, a former Republican state lawmaker who led the U.S. Maritime Administration for three years in the mid-2000s.

Chris Conlin, founder of Ann Arbor-based Great Lakes Cruise Co., urged patience.

He said the port building positions Detroit to grab a share of the slowly increasing lakes cruise market. In 2015, four ships offered 26 cruises around the lakes for 150-250 passengers apiece. The six-11-day cruises cost $3,000 to $9,000 per passenger.

In years past, cruise ships anchored at the Boblo Island docks in industrial southwest Detroit, providing grim visuals for tourists.

“Detroit had to make this investment to become a viable port of call,” Conlin said. “Is it a build it and they will come situation? I think it is.”

Detroit News


Float plan key to success in rescue of 3 overdue boaters, dog in Lake Erie

8/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – A float plan was the key to success in the rescue of three people and a dog who were found stranded on their grounded boat on Middle Sister Island in Lake Erie Wednesday afternoon following a search by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, multiple state and local agencies, and a good samaritan.

"It's important for mariners to remember to bring along proper signaling gear, such as a marine radio, flares or even a cell phone," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Gabriel Settel, the assistant command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Detroit. "Letting someone know where you are going is just as important as safety gear, and in this case resulted in lives saved."

Just before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the watchstander at Coast Guard Station Toledo, Ohio, received a report of an overdue 17-foot yellow, black and white boat with three people and a dog aboard. The reporting source stated the boaters had left the previous evening from Lake Erie Metropark and had yet to return. She said the last she heard from them was shortly before 10 p.m. when they stated they were having trouble finding their way back to shore.

Command center watchstanders at Sector Detroit diverted a Coast Guard Air Station Detroit helicopter crew from training, launched crews from Station Toledo, aboard a 45-foot response boat, and Station Belle Isle, Mich., aboard a 25-foot response boat. The Wayne County Sheriff's Department and Canadian Coast Guard crews also responded. Sector Detroit also issued an urgent marine information broadcast to advise other mariners of the situation and ask them to keep an eye out.

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, a good samaritan located the people, the dog and the vessel on Middle Sister Island in western Lake Erie. The boaters reported that after they were unable to locate the marina entrance, they became disoriented and set their anchor for the night. When they awoke in the morning, the anchor had not held and the vessel had drifted onto the island, leaving them stranded there. Without a way to communicate their need for assistance, they hung life jackets in trees so passing boats might see them.

The Wayne County Marine Unit picked the people and the dog up from the island and transferred them to the Station Toledo rescue boat. They were taken to Station Toledo where the person who reported them missing picked them up.

There were no reports of injuries or pollution and the owner plans to salvage the vessel.



Lookback #636 – Canadian Voyager left for Turkey under tow on Aug. 15, 2002

It was 13 years ago today that the deep-sea tug Akhtiar, with Ocean Hercule on the stern for the trip down the St. Lawrence, pulled the retired Canadian Voyager away from the dock at Montreal and set out for Aliaga, Turkey. The 730-foot-long laker had tied up on Dec. 23, 2001, after a long career as a) Black Bay and then b) Canadian Voyager.

Black Bay had been built at Collingwood as Hull 172 and it was launched for Canada Steamship Lines on Sept. 20, 1962. The bulk carrier sailed April 18, 1963, and was used throughout the Seaway in the ore and grain trades and set several cargo records in the early years.

Black Bay was T-boned by the Liberian ore carrier Epic off Sept-Iles, on Aug. 25, 1965, survived a grounding in the Brockville Narrows on April 5, 1988, and another in the St. Marys River on Aug. 11, 1989.

The ship joined Upper Lakes Shipping as b) Canadian Voyager in 1994 and spent the final years in their colors.

Akhtiar pulled Canadian Voyager into Aliaga on Sept. 18, 2002, and the ship was beached two days later on Sept. 20. The latter date marked 40 years to the day of launching at the famous Collingwood shipyard a half-century earlier.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 15

On this day in 1899, a major blockage of the St. Marys River occurred. The steamer MATOA was towing the barge MAIDA past Sailors Encampment when the steering chain of the MAIDA parted. The MAIDA ran ashore but the current swung her around to completely block the channel, and she sank. The lower St. Marys River was closed for several days and 80 - 90 boats were delayed.

The whaleback barge 107 (steel whaleback barge, 276 foot, 1,295 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co., at W. Superior, Wisconsin. She only lasted eight years. In 1898, she broke free from the tug ALVA B in rough weather and stranded near Cleveland, Ohio and was wrecked.

JOSEPH L. BLOCK sailed light on her maiden voyage from the Bay Ship Building Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to load 32,600 long tons of taconite ore pellets at Escanaba, Michigan for delivery to Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 15, 1976.

In 1991, ALGOSTEEL was outbound at Superior when a small, smoky fire broke out in the electrical panel. The ship went to anchor and then returned to port for repairs. The trip resumed on August 24.

The OTTERCLIFFE HALL, the last "straight deck" Great Lakes bulk freighter built with a pilot house forward, was bare boat chartered to Misener Transportation Ltd. on August 15, 1983, renamed b.) ROYALTON. In 1985, renamed c.) OTTERCLIFFE HALL, d.) PETER MISENER in 1988, and e.) CANADIAN TRADER in 1994. She was scrapped at Alang, India in 2004.

Under threat of a strike on August 15, 1978, the uncompleted GEORGE A. STINSON was towed out of Lorain, Ohio by six tugs to River Rouge's Nicholson's Terminal & Dock Co. to finish her fit-out. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

The LEON FALK JR. was laid up for the last time August 15, 1980, at the Great Lakes Engineering Work's old slip at River Rouge, Michigan.

On August 15, 1985, the MENIHEK LAKE sailed under her own power to Quebec City (from there by tug), the first leg of her journey to the cutter’s torch in Spain.

J.P. MORGAN JR arrived in tow of Hannah Marine's tug DARYL C. HANNAH at Buffalo, New York on August 15th where she was delayed until she could obtain clearance to transit the Welland Canal. Permission to pass down the Canal was refused because of the MORGAN JR's improper condition. By September 5, 1980, the situation was rectified and she was towed down the Welland Canal by the tugs BARBARA ANN, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN bound for Quebec City.

On 15 August 1856, the WELLAND (sidewheel steamer, wood, passenger & package freight, 145 foot, 300 ton, built 1853, at St. Catharines, Ontario) burned to a total loss at her dock at Port Dalhousie, Ontario. She was owned by Port Dalhousie and Thorold Railroad Co. On 15 August 1873, Thomas Dunford and Frank Leighton announced a co-partnership in the shipbuilding business in Port Huron, Michigan. Their plans included operating from Dunford's yard. When they made their announcement, they already had an order for a large tug from Mr. George E. Brockway. This tug was the CRUSADER with the dimensions of 132 feet overall, 100 foot keel, and 23 foot beam. In 1914, the Panama Canal was officially opened to maritime traffic.

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


Traffic jam slows ships at the Soo Locks

8/14 - Wednesday’s slow traffic day was more than made up for Thursday at the Soo Locks with a day-long traffic jam. By late morning there were six downbound and five upbound vessels waiting their turns to use the Poe, the one operational lock. Among downbounders suffering daylong delays were the St Clair, Mesabi Miner, Stewart J. Cort, Hon. James L Oberstar, Algoma Spirit and American Spirit. The upbound American Century arrived in the Nine Mile Anchorage at dusk for await her turn at the locks.


Port Reports -  August 14

Erie, Pa – Gene P
H Lee White arrived early on Thursday morning. After unloading stone, she departed about 1:45 p.m. with southwest winds blowing 17 mph gusting to over 23 mph. She went astern into the turning basin then swung her bow facing out the channel into Lake Erie. As she departed, she passed the Presque Isle on her starboard side. The Presque Isle continues to be laid up for repairs at the Montfort terminal.

Montreal, Que. – Rene Beauchamp
Fort Abel, the former Vega Desgagnes, is scheduled to leave Montreal Friday at noon for further service under the flag of Panama.

Pakistan – Mac Mackay
Phoenix was beached at Gadani on July 27 for scrap. The vessel was known more recently as Phoenix Sun and VSL Centurion, the names under which she saw some sporadic service on the Great Lakes / Seaway.


Lookback #635 – Former Ulla sank in a collision off Oman on Aug. 14, 2005

Two deep-sea ships have been Seaway traders under the name of Ulla. The second of the pair was lost ten years ago today. It went down off Oman following a collision with the then 10 year old gas carrier Gas Vision. The latter, at 754.6 feet long, over matched the small 253.6 foot long former Great Lakes caller but was able to rescue the crew of the lost cargo ship.

Ulla had been built as a) Namdalingen at Hommelvik, Norway, and entered service in 1981. It was sold and renamed b) Ringvoll in 1984 and c) Magnus S. in 1988 retaining Norwegian registry. It joined Waterdive Marine Ltd. as d) Ulla in 1992 as the flag on the stern switched to Cyprus.

Ulla entered the Seaway for the first time on Sept. 28, 1995, delivering a cargo of cocoa beans the short distance to Valleyfield, QC. It was back up bound again on Nov. 16, 1996, this time in ballast, to load at Port Robinson along the Welland Canal.

The ship was sold again becoming e) Reef Comores under the flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2003 and f) Reef Pemba when it was sunk by a collision on Aug. 14, 2005.

The first Ulla, a 590 foot long bulk carrier, came through the Seaway was in 1987. It was scrapped at Alang, India, after being beached as b) Proikonissos on Sept. 1, 2012.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 14

New Video on our YouTube Channel


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 14

On this day in 1962, the ARTHUR M. ANDERSON departed Conneaut and headed downbound to become the first Pittsburgh boat to transit the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway.

At 11 p.m., 14 August 1882, the steam barge CHICAGO, 206 foot, 935 gross tons of 1855, was carrying coal on Lake Michigan while towing the barge MANITOWOC, 210.5 feet, 569 gross tons of 1868. In mid-lake, near Fox Island, CHICAGO was discovered to be on fire. Within 15 minutes, she was ablaze. Her crew escaped to her barge-consort MANITOWOC. The CHICAGO burned to the water's edge and sank the following day.

Sea trials for the HENRY FORD II took place on August 14, 1924, and shortly after she left on her maiden voyage with coal from Toledo, Ohio to Duluth, Minnesota and returned with iron ore to the Ford Rouge Plant at Dearborn.

After been sold for scrap, the GOVERNOR MILLER was towed down the Soo Locks on August 14, 1980, for Milwaukee, Wisconsin to load scrap.

On 14 August 1873, CHESTER B. JONES (3-mast, wooden schooner, 167 foot, 493 gross tons) was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan. She was built by Chesley Wheeler. The spars and top hamper ordered for her were broken in a logjam, so the 3-master received her spars at Buffalo, New York on her first trip.

The 149 foot bark MARY E. PEREW was found floating west of the Manitou Islands by the propeller MONTGOMERY on 14 August 1871. The PEREW had been sailing to Milwaukee with a load of coal when a storm came upon her so quickly on 8 August (nearly a week before MONTGOMERY found her) that the crew did not have time to trim the sails. All three masts were snapped and the mizzen mast fell on the yawl, smashing it. So the crew was stuck on the ship, unable to navigate. The MONTGOMERY towed her to Milwaukee where she was rebuilt and she lasted until 1905.

On 14 August 1900, the tug WILLIAM D of the Great Lakes Towing Co. got under the bow of the steamer WAWATAM at Ashtabula, Ohio, and was rolled over and sank. One drowned.

August 14, 1899 - W. L. Mercereau, known as the "Father of the Fleet,” became Superintendent of Steamships for the Pere Marquette Railway.

1936: Registration for the wooden steamer MARY H. BOYCE was closed. The ship, which had burned at Fort William in 1928, was scuttled in deep water off Isle Royale in 1936.The vessel had been an early member of the Paterson fleet.

1950: The Canada Steamship Lines passenger carrier QUEBEC caught fire near Tadoussac, Quebec, and was able to reach the dock. Of the 426 passengers on board, 3 lives were lost. The blaze was considered suspicious as it began in a linen closet. The vessel was a total loss.

1961: The wooden diesel-powered tug NORTH STAR IV had visited the Great Lakes as b) ROCKY RIVER and had been used to handle the barges BLACK RIVER and PIC RIVER for the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. The vessel was serving under her fourth name when she stranded on a rock in James Bay while doing hydrographic survey work. The crew was rescued but the vessel was a total loss. The rocky area is now called North Star Shoal.

1986: GABRIELLA came through the Seaway in 1975 when only a year old. The ship capsized at Port Kembla, Australia, while discharging a 227-ton heavy lift on this date. The vessel was turned upside down, refloated in November 1986 and towed 30 miles out to sea and scuttled on December 9, 1986.

2004: FEDERAL MAAS was damaged at the Iroquois Lock when the wing of the pilothouse struck the edge of the bascule bridge.

2005: The Cypriot freighter ULLA visited the Seaway in September 1995 with cocoa beans for Valleyfield, QC and returned, in ballast, in November 1996 for Port Robinson. It was in a collision as f) REEF PEMBA with the GAS VISION and sank off Oman on this date in 2005. The crew was saved.

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


Steel imports take toll on Lakes ore again in July

8/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 6.6 million tons in July, a decrease of 9 percent compared to a year ago. The decline reflects that steel imports continue to command more than 30 percent of the U.S. market. It takes approximately 1.5 tons of iron ore (and roughly 400 pounds of fluxstone) to make a ton of steel in a blast furnace, so every ton of unfairly traded steel takes cargo off the Lakes.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.7 million tons, a decrease of 14 percent compared to a year ago. Only one port, Cleveland, Ohio, saw its loadings outpace last July. Large U.S.-flagged lakers deliver iron ore to Cleveland Bulk Terminal on the shores of Lake Erie, where it is then reloaded into vessels small enough to transit the twisting Cuyahoga River and reach the steel mill at the end of the Federal navigation channel.

Loadings at Canadian ports in the Seaway totaled 835,000, an increase of 52 percent, but in terms of tons, the trade rose 286,000 tons.

Through July, the Lakes/Seaway ore trade stands at 27.7 million tons, an increase of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 5.2 percent compared to the long-term average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


U.S. grain shipments via St. Lawrence Seaway up 63 percent

8/13 - American grain shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 63 percent so far this season as ships transport corn to Canada and soybeans for international export.

According to figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, U.S. grain totaled 765,000 metric tons for the period from April 2 through July 31. U.S. Great Lakes ports that receive and export grain through the waterway include Duluth-Superior, Toledo, Milwaukee, Chicago, Indiana Burns Harbor and Buffalo.

Grain, petroleum products and bulk materials are the leading cargo categories that have shown the greatest improvement over last season through July at the Port of Toledo. Grain shipments are up over 60 percent. Corn has been heading to Canada for ethanol production and animal feed, and soybeans to overseas markets. A combination of good crops and lower grain and international freight prices have allowed handlers to recapture overseas trade in Northern Europe and North Africa that they haven’t had in previous years.

“There is a considerable amount of grain moving out in salties and lakers this year prior to harvest,” said Joe Cappel, VP Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We have even seen transfers of wheat between the grain elevators and the flour mill via vessel this year within the Port of Toledo. That’s what I call short sea shipping.”

Others, such as the Port of Detroit, reported brisk general cargo activity, with shipments of steel, aluminum and machinery from April to July 31, up 17 percent this season compared to the same period in 2014. These materials will be used in manufacturing and auto production.

U.S. construction activity has also boosted cement shipments via the Seaway to 766,000 metric tons from April 2 to July 31, up 11 percent compared to last year. Shipments of gypsum, used in wallboard for home construction, were up 35 percent.

Coke tonnage at 657,000 metric tons for the season so far, was also up 23 percent compared to 2014. Metallurgic coke is used for domestic steel production in Hamilton, Toledo and Burns Harbor, Indiana.

Across the board, however, year-to-date (April 2 through July 31) cargo tonnage on the Seaway was 14.5 million metric tons, down 7 percent, with iron ore down 8 percent and coal shipments down 38 percent.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Power interruptions among reasons for 2014 Atlantic Erie grounding, TSB says

8/13 - Quebec, Que. – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has released its investigation report (M14C0106) into the 12 June 2014 grounding of the bulk carrier Atlantic Erie near Port Colborne, Ont. There were no injuries or pollution, but the vessel sustained damage.

The Atlantic Erie was on a voyage from Chicago, Ill., to Sydney, N.S. While transiting toward Port Colborne to enter the Welland Canal, the crew experienced power interruptions on the bridge caused by voltage drops from attempting to use the bow thruster. While applying the vessel's blackout procedure, further power interruptions on the bridge caused navigational equipment, such as the gyrocompass, to provide inaccurate information. The vessel then proceeded off its intended course and when the crew became aware of the situation, corrective action was ineffective and the vessel ran aground.

The investigation found that the bow thruster circuit tripped and caused a voltage drop throughout the vessel that activated a number of power failure alarms on the bridge. The crew interpreted the situation as being a blackout. The chief engineer applied the vessel's blackout procedure; however, this caused additional power interruptions on the bridge. These led to the gyrocompass becoming misaligned and the vessel being placed off course. Because not all available bridge resources were being used to monitor the vessel's progress, the vessel continued off course for approximately 15 minutes and ran aground.

Following the grounding, the vessel operator incorporated the occurrence as a case study in its training for masters and chief engineers. Mentors have also been hired to sail in the fleet to observe and further coach vessel crewmembers.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.


Port Reports -  August 13

St. Marys River
Only two large vessels passed through the Soo Locks on Wednesday during daylight hours. Saginaw and American Spirit were both downbound in the late afternoon. Other than that, the river was empty except for tour boats, pleasure craft and local tugs working on dredging products. As midnight approached, American Integrity was approaching DeTour upbound and the Michipicoten was in the upper river downbound. Cruise ship Saint Laurent was expected upbound overnight.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater
After participating In Coast Guard Week, icebreaker Mackinaw has been moved to a dock at Bay Shipbuilding, apparently for maintenance and repairs.


Rogers City museum to induct 4 new sailors at celebration this weekend

8/13 - Rogers City, Mich. – On Friday the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum is offering bus tours of Calcite Quarry and a presentation on pre-World War II Great Lakes shipping.

It's part of the museum's 25th annual Lake Lore Celebration, Executive Director Dave Erickson said. The event includes an induction luncheon, where new sailors are added to the list of those honored by the museum for their service on the Great Lakes. This year it'll induct four sailors, although in the past it has added as many as 42 in a single year.

"Back then there was a lot of ships on the Great Lakes, and a lot of sailors," he said.

The event begins Friday at 1 p.m. when groups signed up for a bus tour of Carmeuse Lime and Stone's Calcite Operation meet at the museum, 367 N. 3rd St., according to event information. A $3 donation is requested, and Erickson said there's still room; call the museum at 734-0706 to reserve a seat.

At 7 p.m. in the Rogers City Area Senior & Community Center, 131 Superior St., there will be a presentation, titled "Makin' good black smoke!" Erickson said museum board member David McDonald found several albums full of old shipping photos and made them into a video. They were taken by Capt. Charles Caughell, who sailed on the Great Lakes for many years on a number of different boats. Most photos were taken before World War II.

Donations will be taken at the door, Erickson said.

On Saturday is a luncheon where the museum will add four new inductees to its ranks. Erickson said it's open only to museum members and family members of the inductees. Friday's events, however, are open to the public.

Museum secretary Pam Bingle said this year's inductees are Joseph M. Dean, Lawrence L. Losinski, Crossley McQuinn and William T. Stafford. Dean is this year's sole living inductee, and began his career on the Great Lakes in 1942. He was a quartermaster with the D&C Navigation Company, later serving as postmaster in Bad Axe. In the 1960s he spent his vacation time as a relief wheelsman on Great Lakes vessels.

McQuinn sailed from 1916 to 1951 with Bradley Transportation Company, Bingle said, and he captained the Carl D. Bradley when it was chosen to be the first ship through the new MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie during World War II.

Losinski retired from United States Steel as a second assistant engineer, sailing from 1956 to 1987, Bingle said. Stafford was a captain with the same company, sailing from 1941 to 1974.

It's the museum's mission to honor men and women who served on the Great Lakes, Erickson said. That includes shipping line employees who worked on shore, U.S. Coast Guard members, lighthouse keepers, members of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and more. Some of this year's inductees spent their lives on the lakes.

"They worked their way up from ordinary seamen to engineers, captains or whatever they retired at, so the family wants their sailing history preserved by entering them into the Great Lakes Lore," he said, adding anyone interested in inducting someone should call the museum.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Erickson said. Admission is $3. Find out more at

Alpena News


Marine News Casualties & Demolitions, August 2015

8/13 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ship with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the August 2015 issue.

Johnny Lambros was a heavy-lift vessel that had been a Seaway trader as a) Daniella. It was built at Zaandam, Holland, in 1969 and came to the Great Lakes for the first time in 1970. The 1,593 gross ton carrier, the first of three ships named Daniella to come through the Seaway, was sold and renamed b) Nikos II in 1987. It became c) Johnny Lambros in 2002. The vessel arrived at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Jan. 25, 2013, and has been reported as gradually broken up for scrap.

Compiled by Rene Beauchamp, Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham


Diverse Seaway cargoes keep U.S. ports bustling in July

8/13 - Washington, D.C. – While July Seaway traffic fluctuated across the various categories, U.S. ports handled a wide range of cargoes in July.

“It was a solid month for our U.S. Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System ports with more ships entering the Seaway System with aluminum, iron ore and salt,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. Also notable was the increase in containers to the Ports of Detroit and Cleveland, wind turbines to the Port of Monroe and outbound shipments of grain from Duluth.

“Short sea shipping is alive and well at the Port of Toledo,” said Joe Cappel, Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. In the month of July, over 22,000 tons of aluminum and steel were shipped into the port via barges from Canada. “Much of this break bulk cargo used to find its way to our area via long haul cross-border truck routes, now more processors and manufacturers are taking advantage of marine transportation to bring goods to our region.”

Containerized cargo continues to find a foothold at U.S. ports within the System.

July was an historic month for the Port of Monroe. The port was called upon by a European vessel for the first time since the 1960’s as the M/V Faglegracht of Spliethoff Lines delivered wind blades and natural gas pipeline sections from Germany. The pipe sections are destined for the Rover Pipeline project, a large portion of which will now be staged at the port due to this initial cargo. “This development is proof positive that port activity and cargo movement breed new and subsequent opportunities,” said port director Paul C. LaMarre III. Less than two weeks after their initial visit, Spliethoff Lines once again called upon the Port as the M/V Florijingracht was loaded with wind blades and the first container ever to transit the Port of Monroe’s docks.

The Port of Detroit received 20 containers of heavy lift cargo on the Spliethoff vessel M/V Faglegracht in July. The cargo is destined for two projects: machinery for a press in Centerline, Michigan, and for a Siemen’s energy park on the west side of the state. “This is the first shipment of containers the Port has received in 10 years,” said John Loftus, Executive Director. “Our port has the capacity, equipment, and expertise to handle a variety of cargo types and we anticipate receiving more containerized cargo in the future.”

“Tonnage moving through the Port of Cleveland continues to substantially exceed 2014 levels,” said David Gutheil, Vice President/Maritime and Logistics. “July was another strong month in our traditional steel sector, which includes steel coils, pipe, and wire rod. The Cleveland-Europe Express service has also continued its momentum. Containerized cargo has increased by more than 300 percent compared to 2014, and we continue to receive positive feedback from customers who have traditionally used coastal ports, but now have transitioned their cargo to the CEE.”

The Port of Oswego received two McKeil Marine barges totaling nearly 20,000 metric tons of aluminum in July. “We continue to stay on target for another record year in aluminum shipments,” said Zelko Kirincich, Executive Director & CEO.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period April 2 to July 31 were 14.5 million metric tons, down 7.4 percent over the same period in 2014. U.S. grain shipments were up by 63 percent in July over last year. The dry bulk category was up by 10 percent over 2014 with potash and gypsum in the positive column, at 170 and 36 percent respectively. The general cargo category was down 8 percent. Iron ore and coal remained down in July by 8 and 38 percent respectively. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 3 percent.

Great Lakes Seaway Partnership


Lookback #634 – Former Seaway trader Euthalia caught fire on Aug. 13, 1982

8/13 - The British-built, general cargo carrier Euthalia dated from 1957. It was constructed by Sir John Laing & Sons Ltd., and launched as Rushpool at Sunderland on May 2, 1957.

It moved to Greek flag service as b) Euthalia in 1970 and the 501 foot, 7 inch long freighter first appeared in the Seaway in 1972. It remained under Greek registry after becoming c) Eleftheros in 1974 and d) Forum Spirit in 1979.

A fire that broke out in the engine room 33 years ago today spread throughout the vessel as it was on a voyage from Port Said, Egypt, to Piraeus, Greece. The blaze erupted about 12 miles off Piraeus, near Aegina Island, and most of the crew took to the lifeboats.

The burnt out hull was brought to Piraeus the next day and laid up. Its only value was for scrap and the ship was sold to Yugoslavian shipbreakers. It departed under tow on Feb. 29, 1984, and arrived at Split on March 6 for dismantling by Brodospas.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 13

Operated by a crew of retired Hanna captains, chief engineers and executives, the GEORGE M. HUMPHREY departed the old Great Lakes Engineering Works yard in Ecorse, Michigan, under her own power on August 13, 1986, for Lauzon, Quebec. The HUMPHREY cleared Lauzon September 3rd with the former Hanna steamer PAUL H. CARNAHAN in tow of the Dutch tug SMIT LLOYD 109. The tow locked through the Panama Canal, September 27-30, and arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan December 10, 1986 completing a trip of over 14,000 miles. The HUMPHREY was scrapped in 1987, by Shiong Yek Steel Corp.

On 13 August 1899, H. G. CLEVELAND (wooden schooner, 137 foot 264 tons, built in 1867, at Black River, Ohio) sank with a full load of limestone, 7 miles from the Cleveland harbor entrance.

August 13, 1980 - The ARTHUR K. ATKINSON returned to service after repairing a broken crankshaft suffered in 1973. She brought 18 railcars from Manitowoc to Frankfort.

The 272 foot, 1,740 gross ton, wooden propeller freighter SITKA was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#32) at W. Bay City, Michigan on 13 August 1887.

1986 INDIANA HARBOR set a Toledo and Lake Erie record, loading 55,047 tons of coal at Toledo for Marquette.

1917: The barge MIDDLESEX of the Ontario Transportation and Pulp Company broke loose and stranded at Rapide Plat in the St. Lawrence. The ship was abandoned to the insurers but salvaged and returned to service as b) WOODLANDS in 1918.

1979: IRISH OAK first came to the Great Lakes in 1960 for Irish Shipping Ltd. The vessel went aground near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as c) VEGAS on this date in 1979, while enroute from Piraeus, Greece, to Vietnam. The hull was refloated on October 28, 1979, and reached Jeddah on November 16, 1979. It was sold for scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, and arrived there on January 29, 1980.

1982: EUTHALIA visited the Seaway for the first time in 1972. It caught fire in the engine room as d) FORUM SPIRIT enroute from Port Said, Egypt, to Piraeus, Greece, and was abandoned by most of the crew. While it was towed into Piraeus on August 14, the vessel was declared a total loss. The ship arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, again under tow, for scrapping on March 6, 1984.

1993: The second CORFU ISLAND to visit the Great Lakes came inland in 1970. This SD14 cargo carrier had been built the previous year and returned as b) LOYALTY in 1980. Later that fall, the ship arrived at Basrah, Iraq, from Duluth with severe missile damage resulting from the Iraq-Iran War. The ship was declared a total loss but remained idle there until being towed away on August 13, 1993. LOYALTY arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on September 22, 1993.

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

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