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Coast Guard cutter suffers engine failure

1/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – While en route to the Straits of Mackinac, a Coast Guard Cutter ship suffered mechanical failure. One of the main diesel engines on cutter Biscayne Bay died Friday afternoon.

The Biscayne Bay was on its way to the Straits of Mackinac to help five ships that were stuck in the ice. No one on board was injured and no pollution has been reported. The ship was headed to St. Ignace for repairs and will be out of service until further notice.



Old fire boat landmark being dismantled at Escanaba

1/20 - Escanaba, Mich. – An old fire boat that has been landlocked for over 10 years at North Shore Marine Terminal & Logistics (formerly known as Basic Marine, Inc.) in Escanaba is in the final stages of being taken apart.

The ship sat in the middle of a field off of the 600 block of 1st Avenue North for many years. Some considered it an eyesore. But others thought of the ship as an unofficial city landmark. It was the subject of dozens of photos taken by tourists over the years. A photo of the ship once graced the walls of a local restaurant. An artist even captured its image in an oil painting.

In recent days, though, the ship has been in the process of being dismantled. According to Nick Kobasic, manager at North Shore Marine Terminal & Logistics, the decision to remove the Chicago Fire Department ship was made because the business wanted to clean-up the view of the waterfront. “That’s our goal and our objective,” said Kobasic.

The old ship was used in Chicago to fight fires on the water, but was brought to Escanaba after it was no longer in service and a new one was built as its replacement. In addition to the fire boat, multiple other metal and miscellaneous items will be removed from the south pier of North Shore’s property, noted Kobasic, including another ship that is currently residing next to the fire vessel.

These projects will be started in the next month or two, said Kobasic, adding the removal of these objects is also aimed at the goal of improving the Little Bay de Noc water front.

In order to dismantle the old vessel, Kobasic said crews are cutting it into large sections with torches. The sections will then be brought to a scrap yard and recycled. Multiple scrap yards are bidding on the metal from the ship, noted Kobasic, adding eventually it will go to one of the local yards.

Kobasic said the removal of the aged ship is bittersweet, as it has been an “unmarked landmark” for close to 14 years. Locals and visitors alike would come to see the ship to take photos and just to view the ship that sat on the waterfront. The attraction of the fire ship was almost as equal as an ore boat — the L.E. Block — that used to sit in the harbor at the former Basic Marine, Inc., noted Kobasic.

Kobasic said by removing the old fire vessel and the other items around it, it will hopefully help the aesthetic of the waterfront. Once all of the land is cleared, Kobasic said landscaping efforts will be put forth to try and improve the area even more.

“We hope to continue to improve the waterfront and clean-up its appearance,” said Kobasic. Kobasic noted the fire ship should be fully dismantled by the middle of next week.

Escanaba Daily Press


Port Reports -  January 20

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Joseph L. Block arrived in Sturgeon Bay early Friday morning for winter layup. Mesabi Miner was east of the Door Peninsula Friday evening, and will most likely be the last vessel to arrive for the winter.

Lake Michigan
Algosteel, St. Clair, tug Barbara Andrie and tug Michigan/barge Great Lakes were all stopped in the ice at the northern end of the lake Friday night. USCG Biscayne Bay had been on the way to help Friday morning but was stopped by engine problems and she went to St. Ignace for repairs. USCG Mackinaw was nearing DeTour outbound Friday night and may be headed over to assist those vessels.

Lake Huron
Tanker Algonova was unloading Friday at Calcite. Tug Samuel deChamplain and her barge were downbound for Detroit Friday night off the thumb. Anglian Lady and barge Ironmaster were stopped above Port Huron.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was getting ready to enter port Friday night, assisted by the tug Escorte.

Detroit, Mich.
Indiana Harbor was still unloading at Zug Island on Friday, with American Mariner tied up astern. American Integrity was tied at the Mistersky dock. Edgar B. Speer was downbound for Toledo at 11 p.m. Friday.

Toledo, Ohio – Deny Dushane
The ASC 1,000-footer American Spirit arrived for winter lay up on Friday in the late evening. They proceeded to the Torco Dock to lay up across from the live pad to where the taconite pellets are unloaded. American Spirit now joins its ASC fleetmate the H. Lee White at the same location. With the American Spirit's arrival this brings a total of two 1,000 footers laid up in Toledo for the winter with still four more yet to arrive, making a total of six 1,000 footers in what surely may be a record for the most 1,000 footers laid up in Toledo. This would be about half of the 13-vessel 1,000-footer fleet. Still due for lay up are Indiana Harbor, Edgar B. Speer, American Integrity and American Century. American Mariner is also due for lay up in Toledo.

Lake Erie
The tanker Algoma Hansa was in Nanticoke Friday night.


USS Little Rock to remain in Montreal until wintry weather conditions improve

1/20 - Montreal, Que. – The U.S.S. Little Rock will remain in port in Montreal until wintry weather conditions improve and the ship can safely move through the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lt. Commander Courtney Hillson confirmed Friday.

“Significant weather conditions prevented the ship from departing Montreal earlier this month and icy conditions continue to intensify,” Hillson said. “The temperatures in Montreal and throughout the transit area have been colder than normal, and included near-record low temperatures, which created significant and historical conditions in the late December, early January time frame.”

Keeping the ship in Montreal until waterways are clear will ensure the safety of ship and crew, and will have limited impact on the ship’s operational schedule, Hillson said. “Little Rock, which was commissioned in Buffalo, New York, Dec. 16, will continue her transit to Mayport, Florida, when weather and seaway conditions permit.”

While in port, the crew of Little Rock will continue to focus on training, readiness and certifications. The vessel is located at section B2 at the western end of the harbor.

WIBV Buffalo


Coast Guard warns warmer temperatures could bring dangerous ice conditions

1/20 - Detroit, Mich. – The Coast Guard is warning ice sport enthusiasts Friday of potentially unstable ice conditions due to weather forecasts calling for warmer temperatures and anticipated rain and fog over the weekend in much of Michigan and Ohio.

Last week, Coast Guard Sector Detroit's Command Center coordinated the rescue of 10 people and experienced one loss of life on Lake Erie after a similar increase in temperatures.

"The temperature was the major contributing factor in all of the ice rescue cases we had last week," said Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, Cmdr. Rob Berry. "Higher air temperatures brought unstable ice conditions that caused people and ATVs to fall through the ice, stranded others on ice floes, and created heavy fog that disoriented ice fishermen who couldn't find their way back to shore."

The Coast Guard warns that venturing out onto the ice is extremely dangerous during increases in temperatures.

"We want to see these warnings taken seriously," said Berry. "If you are going out on the ice, preparation is paramount. If you aren't thinking about safety for yourself, think about it for your loved ones."

The Coast Guard urges ice sport enthusiasts to:
• check the forecast and understand local ice conditions before going out
• tell family or friends exactly where you're going and when you'll be back
• dress for the water temperature and wear a life jacket in case you fall in
• choose bright, reflective clothing to aid rescuers in finding you
• bring distress signals such as flares and whistles, as well as a compass, GPS or personal locator beacon
• take a marine VHF radio or cell phone with extra batteries
• bring ice picks or screw drivers to pull yourself out of the water and onto the ice in a worst-case scenario



Today in Great Lakes History -  January 20

20 January 1980 - The E. M. FORD (406 foot, 4,498 gross tons, built in 1898, at Lorain, Ohio as a bulk freighter, converted to self-unloading bulk cement carrier in 1956, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) was raised at her dock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She sank on Christmas Eve of 1979, when gale force winds forced her from her moorings and repeatedly slammed her bow into the dock facing. Crews had to remove a solid three feet of hardened cement and patch her holed bow before she could be re-floated.

NORDIC BLOSSOM was launched January 20, 1981 as the a.) NORDIC SUN.

On January 20, 1917, American Ship Building's Lorain yard launched the steel bulk freighter EUGENE W. PARGNY for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

January 20, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5 made her first trip into Kewaunee. On 20 January 1923, CHOCTAW (steel propeller packet, 75 foot, 53 gross tons, built in 1911, at Collingwood) burned at her dock at Port Stanley, Ontario.

On 20 January 1978, HARRY L. ALLEN (formerly JOHN B. COWLE, built in 1910) burned at her winter lay-up berth at Capital 4 grain elevator dock in Duluth. She was declared a total loss.

1907: WILLIAM NOTTINGHAM broke loose in wild winds and flooding at Buffalo. When the storm subsided, the ship had come to rest high and dry about 440 yards from the channel. A total of 12 vessels stranded in the storm but this one was the biggest challenge. A new channel had to be dug to refloat the vessel.

1960: LAKE KYTTLE, under tow as b) JAMES SHERIDAN, foundered in a storm on Long Island Sound. The ship had been built at Manitowoc in 1918 and converted to a barge at River Rouge in 1927 before returning to the sea about 1945.

1962: The Liberty ship FIDES was a Seaway visitor in 1961. It went aground at Grosser Vogelsand, in the Elbe Estuary and broke in two as a total loss.

1975: The tug CATHY McALLISTER sank alongside the dock at Montreal after suffering some grounding damage on the St. Lawrence. The vessel was salvaged on February 13, 1975. It was scrapped at Port Weller as d) DOC MORIN in the fall of 2011.

1979: ZAMOSC first came to the Great Lakes in 1971. It was enroute from Montreal to Antwerp when in a collision with the JINEI MARU off Terneuzen, Holland. The damaged ship was beached but it heeled over in the sand and had to be broken up.

1981: The former SILVER FIR, a Seaway caller in 1977, ran aground and became a total off Libya as d) GALAXY II.

1983: The YDRA sustained an engine room fire and went aground about a mile east of Bizerta, Tunisia, as a total loss. All on board were saved and the hull is still there. The ship first came to the Great Lakes as a) MANCHESTER PORT in 1966 and was back as b) BIOKOVO in 1972.

1990: IMPERIAL ACADIA received major damage at the island of Miquelon due to a storm and had to be transported to Halifax aboard the semi-submersible MIGHT SERVANT for repairs. The vessel arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as e) RALPH TUCKER on October 26, 2004.

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


St. Lawrence Seaway reports strong shipping gains

1/19 - The St. Lawrence Seaway System, North America’s binational marine highway stretching 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, reported strong gains during the 2017 navigation season, including a standout year in iron ore, dry bulk and general cargo shipments.

The final tally recorded 38.1 million tons of goods moved through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2017. The tonnage reflected solid increases over the previous year, including a 9 percent overall jump in total cargo traffic.

“We are pleased to see the strong finish for the year, particularly with respect to iron ore shipments,” Craig H. Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said in a news release this week. “The demand for both traditional and new Seaway cargoes is having positive implications for Great Lakes shipping and maritime-related employment. These numbers validate the importance of the system as an essential trade artery and reflect the continued growth in manufacturing, construction and other industries throughout the region.”

Great Lakes shipping enjoyed a strong year, too, with iron ore shipments surpassing 60 millions tons – a 5 percent increase over the five-year average.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  January 19

St. Marys River
The tug Anglian Lady / barge PML Ironmaster finally departed the river system at DeTour Thursday evening after a days-long journey that required the assistance of icebreakers. Tug Wilfred M. Cohen returned to her home dock in Sault, Ont.

Lake Michigan
Mesabi Miner and tug Michigan/barge Great Lakes were stopped in the northern part of the lake Thursday night. St. Clair and Algosteel were stopped a bit further west. Algowood was approaching the northern part of the Door Peninsula. Joseph L. Block was north of Manitowoc headed for Sturgeon Bay.

Lake Huron
Samuel deChamplain and her cement barge were upbound north of the thumb, headed for Alpena. Tanker Algonova was upbound with an AIS destination of Calcite. Algoma Enterprise was headed for Goderich. American Integrity, American Mariner, Edgar B. Speer and Indiana Harbor were still stopped above Port Huron Thursday waiting to head down. American Mariner’s AIS read “Anywhere But Here.”

Detroit, Mich.
Indiana Harbor was still unloading at Zug Island on Thursday.

Lake Erie
American Spirit was off the Toledo entrance Thursday night, heading in for winter lay up. USCG Neah Bay was assisting her. Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader was eastbound for Erie Thursday night with an AIS destination of “Dilly Dilly.” CCGS Griffon was mid-lake for ice ops. Presque Isle has arrived in Erie for winter lay up. Her AIS reads “Bye Bye.”


On the Great Lakes, they’re battling ice, and time

1/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – An intricate boat ballet plays out each January on the frigid waters of the northern Great Lakes.

Thousand-foot freighters scramble to make final deliveries of iron ore to steel mills. The Coast Guard carves paths through ice-clogged shipping routes. And the Soo Locks, the engineering marvel connecting Lake Superior with points to the south and east, shut down for 10 weeks of maintenance while the weather is at its most brutal.

Last Friday, with the locks’ annual closing looming and temperatures hovering in the single digits, the crew members of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw were at work before dawn. The day’s first mission: Guide their ship through the locks to free a hulking westbound freighter marooned on the ice.

Read more, and view photos and video at this link:


Coast Guard and EUPTA working together to resolve Sugar Island ferry delays

1/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The USCG cutter Biscayne Bay conducted flushing operations south of the Sugar Island ferry Thursday to create space for ice to move downstream away from the crossing. The cutter is now enroute to respond to a waterway restriction in the Straits of Mackinac. The ferry is able to cross in the event of an emergency.

Most of the St. Marys River is covered in ice, making it very difficult for ice to have any space to flow south of the ferry crossing. Delays to the Sugar Island ferry service will continue until river current and wind push the ice downstream away from the ferry crossing. Warming temperatures may help to alleviate the ice blockage in the ferry crossing. If weather conditions do not flush the ice away from the crossing, the Coast Guard will assign another asset to the area when possible.

Two periods of very cold temperatures mixed with two periods of warmer temperatures caused significant ice buildup in the St. Marys River. The ice is breaking away from the shore, flowing to the chokepoint between Sugar Island and Mission Point. A northern wind and the damaged ice boom on the northern side of the St. Marys River is adding additional ice to the area.

The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw is currently moored and refueling at Sector Sault Sainte Marie. Their next assignment is St. Clair, Mich., for flood control.



First cruise ship in six years to visit Thunder Bay

1/19 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – This July will mark the first time since 2012 that a cruise ship has docked in Thunder Bay. What is perhaps equally significant is that the arrival of the Victory II will be the first time ever that the city has hosted a turnaround cruise ship.

Thunder Bay will be the final disembarkation point for one group of 202 passengers who board in Milwaukee, Wis., while another group of 202 will board the vessel for a trip south.

The city's tourism manager, Paul Pepe, sees that as a big deal in terms of economic benefits to the city.

"What that means is that passengers will actually be flying into the city a day or two early and staying overnight in the city before they board the ship. And a lot of the guests that are disembarking will stay a night in the city as well before flying home," Pepe told "It's the first turnaround we've done here in modern cruising times. It really extends the economic impact more into the community."

The benefits will be broad-ranging, he said.

"That includes the hotel spend. And a lot of these visitors are going to be seeing different attractions in the city. They're going to be chartering buses are using cabs or rental cars. The food scene is certainly up their alley, as well, so they're going to be exploring before and after the cruise."

Pepe said the other important impact will come from the supply side. "The ship will be taking on supplies, groceries. We're working with them on procurement from local farms and suppliers as part of their experience, so the economic impact for us is pretty big."

The Victory II is operated by Victory Cruise Lines and is registered in the Bahamas. She carries a crew of approximately 80. Pepe hopes her visit on July 27 will mark the beginning of a resurgence of the cruise ship business in Thunder Bay.

The high-water mark was reached in 2010 when one vessel made a total of 12 stops at the Lakehead over the course of the season.

In an understatement, Pepe acknowledged that "it's been a bit of a lull" since then, but said more cruise-ship operators are looking at coming to Lake Superior. "We're in discussions with five different companies that are interested in coming into Superior over the next four to five years. We're excited by some of the conversations we're having with ship owners."

According to Pepe, the Victory II will return to Thunder Bay on two occasions in 2019. He's also encouraged by the fact that 45 new cruise ships potentially suitable for traversing the St. Lawrence Seaway are on the order books at various shipyards around the world. Right now, Pepe said, only about 65 ships are capable of getting through the locks.

He added that Thunder Bay is also working with tourism promoters at ports on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border to better position the Great Lakes as a cruising destination.

One of the ports it cooperates with is Duluth, Minn., which will also be a stop for Victory II this year, making it the first cruise ship visit to Duluth since 2013.

Passengers taking the Milwaukee to Thunder Bay cruise will pay $5,512 including airfare from Thunder Bay to Toronto. Passengers embarking at Thunder Bay for the voyage south – with the destination being Detroit/Windsor – will pay $6,199 including airfare from Toronto to Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay News Watch

Read a related story and view photos from onboard Victory 1 at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 19

On 19 January 1824, the Welland Canal Company was incorporated to build the first Welland Canal.

DAVID M. WHITNEY (steel propeller freighter, 412 foot, 4,626 gross tons) was launched on 19 January 1901, by the Detroit Ship Building Company (Hull #138) in Wyandotte, Michigan, for the Gilchrist Transportation Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) EDWIN L. BOOTH in 1914, c.) G.N. WILSON in 1921, d.) THOMAS BRITT in 1928, and e.) BUCKEYE in 1943. She lasted until 1969, when she was scrapped in Spain.

January 19, 1927 - The Grand Trunk carferry MADISON was christened with a bottle of Wisconsin milk. She entered service in March of 1927.

CLARENCE B. RANDALL, the a.) J.J. SULLIVAN of 1907, was towed to Windsor, Ontario, on January 19, 1987, for scrapping.

1967: The former ELMBAY ran aground near Barra Grande along the coast of northern Brazil as e) SIMANSUR and was abandoned as a total loss. The ship saw Great Lakes service from 1923 until 1942 for several firms including Canada Steamship Lines.

1998: The Cypriot freighter FLARE was south of Newfoundland when it broke in two while inbound in ballast for Montreal. The stern section sank quickly. The bow drifted for several days before it too went down. Four members of the crew clung to an overturned lifeboat and were saved. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) DORIC FLAME in 1977 and returned as b) FLAME in 1987 and as c) FLARE in 1993.

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


Edwin H. Gott the last freighter into Duluth this season

1/18 - Duluth, Minn. – The freighter Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth on Wednesday and was the last ship into the Twin Ports for winter layup.

The Gott was the final lake freighter of the 2017-18 shipping campaign to make it through the Soo Locks late Monday prior to the closure of the locks on the St. Marys River. The Soo Locks, which connect Lake Superior with the lower Great Lakes, are now closed until March 25 for annual offseason maintenance and reconstruction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The American Century had been scheduled to come to Duluth for winter layup, too, but was not moving fast enough to reach the Soo Locks before their closure, and instead was rerouted to Toledo, Ohio, said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. There are six vessels wintering in Duluth-Superior this season — all of them being worked on by crews from Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

In addition to the Soo Locks, the St. Lawrence Seaway System is finally closed for the season. The last foreign-flagged saltie of the season to leave Duluth, the Beatrix, was in the Gulf of St. Lawrence adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. The Beatrix had been held up by ice in the St. Lawrence River for several weeks. It left Duluth Dec. 19, and the original plan was to be on the ocean by Christmas on its way to the United Kingdom with a load of wheat.

Duluth News Tribune


Keewatin needs a new home: Owen Sound or Midland possible

1/18 - Port McNicoll, Ont. – The owner of the former passenger steamer Keewatin is looking for a new home for the 110-year-old steamship, which originally worked out of the Owen Sound harbor.

Eric Conroy, president and CEO of the Friends of the Keewatin, said Skyline Investments has sold its waterfront property in Port McNicoll where the ship – which was supposed to become a centerpiece of the company's redevelopment project – has been docked since 2012.

He said Skyline and the Friends' group, which leases the historic ship for $1 a year and operates it as a museum, would prefer to have the Keewatin moved to nearby Midland. But if the town declines the offer, he said other options must be explored.

“Certainly if Midland didn't work out, we would absolutely look at Owen Sound,” said Conroy, who spearheaded the return of the Keewatin to Port McNicoll.

“The potential places we could move to that would have a deep-water port and staying in Canada, which is another important thing to us, and staying in the region, which is also important, would be Parry Sound, Collingwood and Owen Sound. They would be the only three locations that would be probable.”

He said Skyline is scheduled to speak at Midland council Feb. 26.

The 350-foot Keewatin is almost fully restored, he said, and has been appraised at about $52 million. Skyline has invested about $2 million in it and the Friends' group has donated about $2 to $3 million in volunteer time to refurbish it. He said revenue from admission to the museum now covers the vessel's operating costs. About 12,000 people toured the vessel in 2017.

“But if it went to Midland, that number would double or triple. If it went to Owen Sound, that number would double,” said Conroy, noting both Midland and Owen Sound welcome far more tourists than Port McNicoll.

The S.S. Keewatin was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1907 in the same Edwardian tradition as the RMS Titanic, which launched four years later.

The luxury passenger liner was owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway and she and her sister ship, the S.S. Assiniboia, joined three other ships at their home port in Owen Sound to transport passengers, freight and mail between here and Fort William, now part of Thunder Bay. The ships provided a link between CPR railway lines in southern Ontario and the top of the Great Lakes since there was no highway or railroad, at the time, around Lake Superior.

The Keewatin remained in service until she was retired on Nov. 28, 1965.

The Friends of the Keewatin say the vessel was destined to be scrapped at that time, but was saved in 1967 by an American marina owner and Great Lakes historian who purchased her, towed her to Saugatuck, Mich., and established the ship as a maritime museum. Then, in 2012, Skyline International bought the ship and she was made seaworthy and towed back to Port McNicoll.

Skyline had intended to incorporate the Keewatin into its plan for an 11-kilometre piece of shoreline it purchased in 2006 that also included constructing more than 1,400 homes, a yacht club, marina, retail shops and entertainment facilities. However, Skyline ended up doing little with the property and sold it last spring to a partnership led by Toronto-based Milborne Group. The reported $42-million sale did not include the Keewatin.

Conroy said the Milborne Group, which could not be reached for comment by The Sun Times Wednesday, has not given a deadline for when the ship must be moved. “The new owners of the land are pretty good to us and Tay Township has been good about it as well. It will be done when it's convenient for everybody. There's no real rush to get us out,” he said.

Midland is the group's first choice to receive the vessel because its proximity to Port McNicoll would allow the Friends' group to continue to operate it as a seasonal museum. About 70 per cent of the group's volunteers live in the town, he added.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Port Reports -  January 18

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Edwin H. Gott arrived Duluth just before sunrise on Wednesday morning, becoming the sixth and final vessel to lay up for the winter. She joined the Erie Trader/tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort at Port Terminal, mooring across the slip from the pair. James R. Barker is laid up at Midwest Energy, Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker are at Fraser Shipyards, and Burns Harbor is at Elevator M in Superior. Arthur M. Anderson, which did not see service in 2017, is at the CN dock. Edward L. Ryerson remains in long-term layup at the Barko dock in Superior, while American Victory is at the NP ore dock near the Superior entry.

St. Marys River
USCG Mackinaw had to come up and break out the Sugar Islander ferry Wednesday afternoon. The downbound tugs Anglian Lady and Wilfred M. Cohen, which are with the barge Ironmaster, made it as far as Lime Island by Wednesday night. The barge is loaded with steel coils.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joseph H. Thompson has arrived for winter lay up.

Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block’s trip with slag to Grand Haven has been canceled. Once they finish unloading at Indiana Harbor they will head to Sturgeon Bay and lay up. Algowood departed Milwaukee after unloading salt and was headed back up the lake Wednesday night. St. Clair was off the Door Peninsula was upbound with an AIS destination of Erie.

Lake Huron
American Integrity, American Mariner, Edgar B. Speer and Indiana Harbor were still stopped above Port Huron waiting to head down. American Mariner’s AIS read “Anywhere But Here.”

Detroit, Mich.
Algoma Enterprise finished unloading salt and was at the Mistersky dock Wednesday night. Indiana Harbor was unloading at Zug Island.

Lake Erie
Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader were outbound from the Detroit River Wednesday night with an AIS destination of “Dilly Dilly.” American Spirit tied up in Cleveland where she will wait for an icebreaker to escort her to Toledo and winter lay up. Presque Isle has arrived in Erie for winter lay up.


CSL releases first in a series of job awareness videos

1/18 - The CSL Group Inc. is looking to partner with other maritime industry organizations to help spread awareness around the niche job market of maritime shipping and transportation. We have several videos being released over the next few weeks regarding positions within the maritime shipping industry. Our videos are titled “Become CSL” to showcase the industry and our organization. Our first video is a call for Captains for the Great Lakes region.

View the video at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 18

On 18 January 2004, the Great Lakes Fleet’s 1000 footer EDGAR B. SPEER became stuck in the ice in the Rock Cut in the St. Mary’s River. Over the next two days, the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW tried to free her, but unsuccessfully. On 21 January, the tugs RELIANCE, MISSOURI, JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR and JOYCE L. VAN ENKEVORT all coordinated their efforts under the direction of Wellington Maritime’s Captain John Wellington and got the SPEER free.

The CABOT was refloated on January 18, 1967. On December 16, 1966, while loading at Montreal, the CABOT rolled over on her side and sank. The CABOT's stern section, used in the interim as the stern section of the b.) CANADIAN EXPLORER, is now the stern section of c.) ALGOMA TRANSFER.

The MONDOC had her Canadian registry closed on January 18, 1979. The vessel had been renamed b) CORAH ANN and sold to Jamaican company. CORAH ANN was scrapped in 2003.

The National Steamship Co. was incorporated January 18, 1906.

L. P. Mason and Company of E. Saginaw, Michigan sold the steam barge PORTER CHAMBERLAIN (wooden steam barge, 134 foot, 257 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan) on 18 January 1888, to Comstock Brothers and L. & H. D. Churchill of Alpena, Michigan.

1925: JOHN RUGEE, a wooden steamer in the George Hall Coal Co. fleet, was destroyed by a fire while spending the winter at Ogdensburg.

1938: The passenger ship WAUBIC was damaged by a fire at Kingsville, Ontario, while at winter quarters. It was rebuilt at Port Dover later in the year as b) ERIE ISLE.

1942: LAKE FLAMBEAU was built at Duluth in 1919. It was sailing as c) FRANCES SALMAN when it was sunk by U-552 off the coast of Newfoundland with the loss of 28 lives.

1983: The Greek freighter KIMOLIAKI PISTIS came through the Seaway in 1981. It caught fire on this date in 1983 and was abandoned enroute from Recife, Brazil, to a Black Sea port. The hull was towed into Piraeus, Greece, January 27 and declared a total loss. It first traveled to the Great Lakes as a) MINAS CONJURO in 1969 and then as b) EUGENIO in 1979. The vessel arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, for scrapping on February 21, 1984.

1998: The second MAPLEGLEN caught fire in the engine room while in lay-up at Owen Sound and sustained about $40,000 in damage.

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


Toledo port sees increase in cargo tonnage

1/17 - Toledo, Ohio – Rebounding iron ore traffic led a nearly 16 percent increase in cargo tonnage through the Port of Toledo during 2017, and a port official said this year’s expected ground breaking for a new iron smelter near the port should boost that cargo further in future years.

Robust aluminum shipments gave the port’s general and miscellaneous cargo sector the second highest percentage increase in the year-over-year statistics posted last week by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Iron ore shipments across CSX Transportation’s Lakefront Dock totaled 3,417,862 tons during 2017, more than double the 1,629,927 tons through that facility the year before. That accounted for more than 35 percent of all cargo across the local docks last year by weight.

The total cargo of 9,619,723 tons marked a 15.88 percent increase over 2016, but it was still more than 2 million tons shy of the port’s recent peak in 2014, when iron-ore traffic was even higher and coal business also was stronger than it was last year.

For now, all iron ore through Toledo goes to AK Steel blast furnaces in Middletown, Ohio, and for substantial parts of 2015 and 2016 that steel mill received a significant part of its raw material from an iron processor in northwest Indiana. But the Indiana plant closed late last year, pushing all of AK’s iron-ore supply chain back through the Toledo port.

The new Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. plant planned for the former Gulf Oil refinery site on Front Street in East Toledo isn’t scheduled to begin production until 2020, but Joe Cappel, the port authority’s vice president of business development, said it’s expected to consume about 2 million tons of iron ore annually to produce 1.6 million tons of hot-briquetted iron.

While the hot-briquetted iron – used as a raw material by electric-arc mills that make steel by melting concentrated iron and scrap metal rather than using traditional blast furnaces – will leave Toledo in trucks and trains, the ore is expected to arrive from mining regions entirely aboard lake ships.

Coal, historically Toledo’s heaviest-volume cargo, fell back into second place last year behind iron ore as it declined by just over 200,000 tons.

As always, general and miscellaneous cargo was the smallest sector by weight, but it’s prized by the port authority because of the dockworker jobs and revenue it yields.

Toledo’s standing as a London Metals Exchange delivery point for aluminum continued to produce traffic last year, with about 236,000 tons of the metal arriving by barge from a smelter in eastern Quebec. “Every year it continues to grow,” Mr. Cappel said. “And the more you handle something, the better you get at it.”

The bulk of the remaining 60,000 tons of general cargo was made up of machinery and other “project cargo,” steel, and bagged minerals including cement, salt, and calcium nitrate.

Mr. Cappel said winter weather’s abrupt onset in late December could bring a burst of shipping activity at the 2018 shipping season’s start. “People may be trying to catch up with shipments they missed out on at the end of this year,” he said.

Grain in particular often has a late-season rush following the fall harvest. Grain traffic through Toledo fell by a little more than 24 percent during 2017, and Mr. Cappel said that was largely because of “pretty minimal” corn shipments.

Soybeans “were on par with 2016,” and there were also substantial inbound shipments of wheat and oats, he said, along with canola moving through the Kuhlman Corp. terminal that was “something we hadn’t handled in a few years.”

Toledo Blade View a video at this link:


Port Reports -  January 17

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Edwin H. Gott crossed Lake Superior throughout the day Tuesday, and dropped anchor outside the Duluth harbor during the evening. She will arrive on Wednesday morning to lay up at Port Terminal. Once she does, she will become the sixth and final vessel to arrive Duluth for the winter.

St. Marys River
USCG Mackinaw was working with the downbound tugs Anglian Lady and Wilfred M. Cohen, which are with the barge Ironmaster, in Mud Lake Tuesday night. It has been a difficult journey through the ice for this convoy. The barge is loaded with steel coils.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Denny Dushane, Daniel Lindner
Three vessels arrived at Sturgeon Bay and Bay Shipbuilding on Tuesday for winter layup. Arriving first was the Interlake Steamship Company’s 1,000-footer Stewart J. Cort. It was followed by Cason J. Callaway and John G. Munson. With the three arrivals on Tuesday, nine lakers will be spending the winter at Bay Shipbuilding. They include American Courage (which has not sailed since 2015), the tug Invincible (which last sailed in 2012 and arrived at Sturgeon Bay in 2014). Vessels laid up that sailed during the 2017/18 season include Wilfred Sykes, Cason J. Callaway, John G. Munson, Paul R. Tregurtha (which is receiving a new gas exhaust scrubber system), Stewart J. Cort, Robert S. Pierson, tug Victory / barge James L. Kuber. Two more vessels, Joseph L. Block and Mesabi Miner, are expected in the next few days. That will bring a total of 11 lakers that will be spending the winter laid up at Bay Shipbuilding.

Lake Michigan
St. Clair was unloading at Burns Harbor Tuesday night, with Joseph L. Block arriving. Algosteel was in Green Bay unloading salt. Algowood was off the Door Peninsula headed for Milwaukee with salt. Joseph H. Thompson was west of Beaver Island heading for layup in Escanaba.

Lake Huron
American Century was mid-lake headed for Toledo Tuesday night. American Integrity, American Mariner, Edgar B. Speer and Indiana Harbor were all stopped above Port Huron waiting to head down.

St. Clair River
Mesabi Miner was upbound Tuesday night headed for Sturgeon Bay.

Detroit, Mich.
Algoma Enterprise was unloading salt at a Rouge River dock Tuesday night.

Lake Erie
American Spirit went to Conneaut to unload, not lay up. She was headed to Toledo for layup Tuesday night, with USCG Neah Bay assisting. CCGS Griffon was assisting Algoma Hansa, which is headed for Naticoke.


Heddle Marine wins Coast Guard contract months after aborted refit

1/17 - Questions are being raised about the awarding of another refit contract for the Canadian Coast Guard ship Hudson to the same company behind an aborted refit on the science research ship last year. "My question is, with the problems with that dry docking, why was this firm allowed to bid on this one?" asked Wayne Snow, the CEO of Dartmouth-based KMS Industries Inc.

Snow was an unsuccessful bidder on a mechanical refit of the Hudson. The work was awarded Friday to Heddle Marine Service Inc. (NL). It's an affiliate of Heddle Marine Services, which carried out the troubled $4-million exterior overhaul of CCGS Hudson in 2017.

That refit was months behind schedule and still unfinished when Public Services and Procurement Canada stepped in in October and towed Hudson out of the Heddle Marine shipyard in Hamilton, Ont.

Why a second chance? The plan was to complete the refit at a federal facility in nearby Burlington, Ont., but the job was incomplete when Hudson returned to its Halifax home port in November. The vessel was operating under an interim provision certificate by Lloyds Register.

The contract has been under review for months and outstanding issues remain.

"For us, it's an issue that should be answered by government as to why this company is allowed to come back and bid after not completing the first refit," said Tony Kennedy of Canadian Marine Engineering, another losing bidder.

Kennedy and Snow are competitors, but are united in speaking out on this tender. They say Heddle won the mechanical refit with a bid of $731,000, which was between 10 and 15 per cent below their bids.

Public Services and Procurement Canada also allotted all bidders a set price of $80 per hour for up to 1,000 hours, totaling $80,000, for "work arising" during the tender.

"It was a substantially lower bid and with a company that doesn't appear to have the facilities locally here coming, doing the work and beating local firms at that. We question how they are able to do that at a low margin at a low bid rate," said Kennedy.

Heddle Marine Services spokesperson Shaun Padulo said, "Heddle has met or exceeded all contractual requirements for the award." He also said Heddle Marine Service (NL) is a separate operating entity, with facilities in Mount Pearl N.L., Sydney and Halifax.

The winning bid is for 61 days of mechanical refits while CCGS Hudson is alongside its home base at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Work is supposed to conclude in March, with Hudson available for spring science cruises.

As for the disputed contract at its Hamilton shipyard, Padulo said the company and PSPC are "finalizing" outstanding issues. "Although there were challenges on both sides, we are working toward an amicable resolution," he said in an email to CBC News.

The federal government has never explained what went wrong with Heddle's 2017 refit nor whether it paid the company the full $4-million contract price. Months of delays had a costly cascading effect, they have admitted.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans spent $2.5 million in 2017 chartering private vessels for scientific cruises because the Hudson was not available. Could include fixing damage from last refit

The refit included overhauling the superstructure and masts, blasting and recoating the hull, replacing steel, repairing the rudder job and painting the 54-year-old ship.

Both Kennedy and Snow said the upcoming refit appears to include repairs for damages associated with the last one, citing bridge window repairs caused by sand-blasting debris. Public Services and Procurement Canada did not respond to CBC questions.



Ice shove creates mountains along Lake Erie shore

1/17 - Port Clinton, Ohio – An apparent ice shove along the Lake Erie shoreline created mountains of thick ice piled more than 30 feet high. The piles of foot-thick ice chunks drew dozens of families to the shoreline along West Lakeshore Drive, where kids risked climbing the slippery mountains to take pictures. The ice mountains extended along the shoreline for about a quarter mile.

"I'm a little nervous, but they're real cautious. The ice is super thick," said Mike Zwissler, of Avon Lake, who owns a condominium nearby. His twin, 12-year-old daughters and their friend were climbing the ice.

"I've been coming up here for 20 years or so and never seen this kind of an ice flow," he said.

Read more an watch a video at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 17

NORTHERN VENTURE closed the Welland Canal for the season as she passed downbound for Hamilton with coal in 1975.

In 1978, the CLIFFS VICTORY, JOSEPH H. FRANTZ, WILLIAM G. MATHER, ROBERT C. NORTON, CRISPIN OGLEBAY and J. BURTON AYERS formed a convoy in the Detroit River bound for Cleveland.

PHILIP D. BLOCK (Hull#789) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building in 1925.

The tanker GREAT LAKES was launched in 1963, as the a.) SINCLAIR GREAT LAKES (Hull#1577) at Decatur, Alabama, by Ingalls Iron Works Co.

JOHN E. F. MISENER was float launched in 1951, as a.) SCOTT MISENER (Hull#11) at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd.

January 17, 1902 - PERE MARQUETTE 2 ran aground at Ludington.

PERE MARQUETTE 19 grounded in limited visibility on January 17, 1916, two miles south of Big Point Sable, Michigan, 600 feet off shore. The captain made three unsuccessful attempts to find the Ludington Harbor entrance and on the turn around for the fourth attempt she grounded.

On 17 January 1899, the GERMANIA (wooden propeller freighter, 136 foot, 237 gross tons, built in 1875, at Marine City, Michigan) caught fire and burned to the water's edge at Ecorse, Michigan. The previous day, Norman Reno of Ecorse did some painting inside the cabin and it was presumed that the stove used to heat the cabin may have caused the blaze. The vessel was in winter lay-up at the rear of the home of Mr. W. G. Smith, her owner.

2000: FEDERAL VIBEKE got stuck in the ice on the St. Lawrence and was almost carried into the bridge at Quebec City. The vessel was bound for Sorel with steel. It first came to the Great Lakes in 1993 after previous visits as a) NOSIRA LIN beginning in 1981, b) DAN BAUTA in 1989, and c) KRISTIANIAFJORD in 1991. It was back as e) KALISTI in 2000 and f) NOBILITY in 2004. This bulk carrier arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as h) OPAL II and was beached on November 14, 2012.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Upbound Edwin H. Gott closes shipping season at the Soo Locks

1/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The sound of freighters traveling through the locks will not be heard again in Sault Ste. Marie for a couple of months. The Soo Locks officially closed at midnight to shipping traffic. They will reopen March 25.

Despite wind chills around zero Monday afternoon, self-proclaimed Boatnerds gathered to say farewell to another shipping season. After a couple of days stuck in the ice down river, the Edwin H. Gott made its way upbound. People met at Rotary Park to catch one last glimpse before the Gott continued on to Duluth.

Not even this cold weather could stop them. “Us Boatnerds, we are kind of a special crew. We kind of stick together, support each other, share photography,” said Kari Eliason.

The Army Corps of Engineers will use this two-month shutdown to work on various projects on both locks.

9&10 News View a video at this link:


Port Reports -  January 16

St. Marys River
The Purvis Marine barge Ironmaster with the tugs Wilfred M. Cohen and Anglian Lady were stopped at Nine Mile Monday night. USCG Bristol Bay was also stopped in the ice.

Lake Michigan
American Century was upbound on the northern end of the lake Monday night headed for Toledo. John G. Munson, Stewart J. Cort and Cason J. Callaway were headed for Sturgeon Bay. St. Clair was unloading at Burns Harbor. Algosteel was in the Bay of Green Bay heading inbound with salt.

USCG Mackinaw was assisting the westbound Joseph L. Block Monday night. Edgar B. Speer was eastbound for Toledo and winter layup.

Lake Huron
American Mariner was entering northern Lake Huron Monday night bound for Zug Island in Detroit. Joyce L. VanEnkevort was ahead of her, with an AIS destination of Conneaut, American Integrity was continuing her trek to Toledo for lay up. Joseph H. Thompson was off Goderich heading to Escanaba Monday night. Indiana Harbor was above Port Huron waiting to go down the St. Clair River.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood departed Monday with salt.

St. Clair River
Algoma Enterprise was downbound Monday for Detroit. She was stopped Monday night off Algonac. Algoma Hansa was downbound for Nanticoke.

Detroit River
Mesabi Miner was at the Mistersky dock Monday evening. Presque Isle departed Zug Island for Erie, Pa., and winter lay up

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman, Denny Dushane
Monday afternoon update: H. Lee White went to the Torco Ore Dock to lay up near the Great Republic. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. went to the Midwest Overseas Dock for winter lay up. The cutter Morro Bay was headed outbound in the Toledo ship channel. American Century was sailing on Lake Michigan and is supposed to be bound for Toledo for lay up. When she arrives that will be five 1,000-footers laying up at Toledo. Manistee remains in long-term lay up at the Hocking Valley South Dock. American Valor remains laid up near the Lakefront Docks and the tug Jane Ann IV and the barge Sarah Spencer are near the CSX docks.

Conneaut, Ohio
American Spirit arrived for lay up Monday night.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry O.
Baie Comeau finished unloading at Redpath and departed the harbor just after 19:00 Monday. The tug M.R. Kane broke a channel through the ice in the East Gap for her to go out and turn herself around. The Kane next cleared ice around at her winter berth. Baie Comeau returned and is probably done for the winter.


Coast Guard closes West Neebish Channel

1/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Soo Traffic will close the West Neebish Channel at noon Friday. Alternating one-way traffic will be established in the Munuscong and Middle Neebish channels.



Updates -  January 16

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 16

COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS (Hull#791) was launched in 1926, at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co.

In 1987, DETROIT EDISON, at Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping, was raised after being scuttled by vandals.

On 16 January 1909, TECUMSEH (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 200 foot, 839 gross tons, built in 1873, at Chatham, Ontario) burned to a total loss at her winter berth at Goderich, Ontario.

In 1978, CANADIAN CENTURY and NORTHERN VENTURE departed Toronto for Hamilton with coal after laying up at that port due to the bridge tender’s strike, which closed the Burlington Lift Bridge to navigation.

On 16 January 1875, The Port Huron Times printed the following list of vessels that were total losses in 1874: Tug IDA H. LEE by collision in Milwaukee, Tug TAWAS by explosion off Sand Beach, Steamer W H BARNUM by collision in the Pelee Passage, Steamer TOLEDO by partially burning at Manistee, Tug WAVE by burning on Saginaw Bay, Tug DOUGLAS by burning on the Detroit River, Steamer BROOKLYN by explosion on the Detroit River, Steamer LOTTA BERNARD by foundering on Lake Superior.

1926: The wooden steamer PALM BAY caught fire while laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario, and was scuttled in Lake Ontario the next year. It had previously sailed as a) PUEBLO and b) RICHARD W.

1988: ASHLAND, enroute to scrapping in Taiwan, dragged anchor off Bermuda and ran aground on the rocks in severe winds. It was pulled free 4 days later with heavy bottom damage and barely made Mamonal, Colombia, for scrapping on February 5.

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


Port Reports -  January 15

Duluth/Superior – Daniel Lindner
Burns Harbor arrived via the Superior entry on Sunday morning for winter layup. She moored at Elevator M, where American Victory had previously been docked. Also laid up are Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha at Fraser Shipyards, James R. Barker at Midwest Energy, and Erie Trader/tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort at Port Terminal. Edwin H. Gott is due to arrive for layup on Monday, and American Century is expected on Tuesday, provided that she can transit the Soo Locks prior to their closing.

St. Marys River
Indiana Harbor and Algonova were outbound at DeTour at 5 p.m. Closer to the Soo, the Purvis barge Ironmaster with the tugs Anglian Lady and Wilfred M. Cohen were beset in the ice below Mission Point. With the USCG Mackinaw and Bristol Bay assisting, the convoy was able to get just above Six Mile Point before stopping for the night. In the morning, the downbound Joseph L. Block and American Mariner, which spent the night on the locks east center pier, and Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader will go downbound, then upbound traffic will move. Edwin H. Gott was stopped in Hay Lake overnight. After all the vessels have cleared on Monday, the cutters will resume work with the tugs and barge.

Lake Michigan
American Integrity was being assisted through ice in the northern end of the lake near Beaver Island Sunday night by USCG Mobile Bay. She is headed for Toledo (or, if you believe her AIS, Margaritaville) and layup. American Century and Stewart J. Cort were still at Burns Harbor Sunday night, with St. Clair waiting for dock space. Edgar B. Speer departed Gary in the early evening, with John G. Munson still at the dock. Cason J. Callaway took the dock after the Speer left.

Lake Huron
Indiana Harbor was north of Alpena heading south Sunday night. Her AIS says her destination is 2 Harbors, so she must have had a change of orders. Algonova was downbound off Alpena headed to Sarnia.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood was loading salt on Sunday. Algoma Enterprise left with a load of salt for Detroit.

St. Clair River
Joseph H. Thompson tug and barge were being assisted through the ice off of Algonac by the cutter Samuel Risley Sunday afternoon. Thompson is bound for Escanaba to lay up. The tug Everlast and her barge were entering the St. Clair River from the south bound for Sarnia with the cutter Neah Bay assisting.

Detroit River
American Spirit was at the Mistersky dock Sunday afternoon. Presque Isle was at Zug Island unloading. H. Lee White was downbound in the lower end of the river.

Lake Erie
After cleaning her holds, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was headed for Toledo to lay up. She will probably arrive sometime Monday, ice permitting, Mesabi Miner was westbound in the Pelee Passage Sunday night with a destination of “Sturgeon Bay Barn.” She struggled with heavy ice all day. Tug Michigan / barge Great Lakes were behind her as was the tug Barbara Andrie.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Spotted around the canal on Sunday were the following vessels. Port Weller harbor, small boat dock: Wilson T. Cooper and ASI Clipper (ex Nadro Clipper). At the pilot boat dock was the Port Weller pilot boat. At the former Port Weller Dry Docks site, Cuyahoga was in deep (north) dock for winter work. In Port Colborne, Saginaw was at wharf 12 below lock 8 and directly across from Robin Hood mill in Port Colborne. At the east tie-up wall above lock 8 was Capt. Henry Jackman with Baie St. Paul astern of her. Saginaw was also in that area. At wharf 16 (above bridge 21) north end was CSL Welland, and astern of her was Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin (south end). At the West Street wharf was the Port Colborne pilot boat, tug Vac and workboat Charlie E. At the IMS scrap yard was Princess of Acadia (appears untouched), Le Marc (very slow working on her) and Paul H. Townsend (appears untouched).


Updates -  January 15

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 15

In 1978, the upbound McKEE SONS, LEON FALK JR, WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR, A.H. FERBERT and CHAMPLAIN became stuck in heavy ice outside Cleveland Harbor. Eventually they were freed with the help of the U.S.C.G. icebreaker NORTHWIND and the U.S.C.G. MARIPOSA.

FORT YORK (Hull#160) was launched January 15, 1958, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

In 1917, the ANN ARBOR NO 6 left Ecorse for Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 15 January 1873, A. Muir began building a wooden 3-mast schooner ("full sized canaller") at his shipyard in Port Huron. Fourteen men were employed to work on her, including master builder James Perry. The schooner was to be the exact counterpart of the GROTON, the first vessel built at that yard. The vessel's dimensions were 138-foot keel, 145 foot overall, 26 foot 2 inches beam and 11 foot 6 inch depth.

On 15 January 1886, the tug KITTIE HAIGHT was sold to Mr. Fisken of Toronto for $3,900.

1986: The former Greek freighter PAULINA C., a Seaway trader beginning in 1976, ran aground off the Dutch coast near Rotterdam as c) RIO GRANDE. It was refloated January 23 and became d) NEPTUNIA later in 1986. It arrived at Bombay, India, for scrapping on December 3, 1986.

1990: The tanker MAYA FARBER came through the Seaway in 1981. It was anchored off Port Sudan as e) RAAD AL-BAKRY VIII when there was an explosion in a cargo tank. Fire broke out and the vessel was gutted. The hull later broke in two and the after end sank. The forebody was sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on March 28, 1990.

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


That's a wrap: Closing of Soo Locks ushers in shipping offseason

1/14 - A Great Lakes shipping campaign worth celebrating shuts down Monday with the annual closing of the Soo Locks for about 10 weeks of intense upkeep and refurbishing. Unless something last-minute is still moving, the locks figure to close sometime around midnight.

As the last boats point ice-masked bows toward their respective ports of layup this weekend, the tally of active vessels set to winter in the Duluth-Superior harbor is set at six lake freighters and one tug-barge.

The 2017-18 campaign was noticeably vibrant locally with steady boat traffic for much of the season. The numbers are starting to come out in support of the visuals too. Iron ore shipments surpassed 60 million tons and beat the five-year average by almost 5 percent, said a Lake Carriers' Association news release this week.

Until a subzero slowdown of ore loading earlier this month left as many as nine boats at a time waiting at anchor outside Duluth, the lakes offered mostly clear sailing throughout the season. Ice cover on the Great Lakes even diminished this week to less than 19 percent on Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. It followed a seasonal high of near 20-percent ice coverage. A warm-up last week, with temperatures climbing above freezing at times, was responsible for the reduction in the ice blanket.

Two of the boats laying up in the Twin Ports, the Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha, docked last week at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. "Fraser crews are scheduled to do work on all seven — as well as the Arthur (M.) Anderson, which is the eighth, but never left the harbor this season," said Fraser spokesman Rob Karwath.

Monday marks the one-year anniversary of Anderson laying up on the east side of Canadian National Dock 6 in West Duluth. CN and Key Lakes Inc., which own and operate the Great Lakes Fleet, respectively, have declined to comment on the reason for the extended layup of what is a popular boat.

At the Soo Locks, the conversion from sailing to salvaging the vital infrastructure that is the locks is in full swing. "It's our busiest time of the year," said Kevin Sprague, an area engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers based in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. "During most of the year, we're locking boats. But in the offseason, we throw everything we have at projects and maintenance."

The Soo Locks feature two sets of locks on the St. Marys River which connect Lake Superior with the rest of the Great Lakes. Most of the iron ore from the United States and Canada makes its way through the locks to steel mills on the lower lakes. The locks handle an estimated 4,500 ship visits every year, said an Army Corps of Engineers news release. Offseason projects at the Soo Locks range from preventative maintenance to a continued effort to refurbish both the Poe and MacArthur locks, one replacement piece or upgrade at a time.

"Some of these jobs repeat themselves, because certain things have short lives," Sprague said. "But we have an asset renewal program where we're trying to basically rebuild the facility over time. We've got almost 50 years on the Poe Lock and over 70 on the Mac Lock. We believe that if we invest in some of their components we can extend their lives another 50 years."

The biggest projects being done this offseason include embedded anchorage replacements on both locks where fatigue issues are apparent, Sprague said. Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers said it is will conduct "lock miter and quoin block replacement" on the Poe, which is the longer lock and the only one of the two that can handle thousand-foot lakers.

"On the upstream miter gates, the main doors open and close to let the ships come in and out and forms your dam," Sprague explained. "The blocks come in contact with the wall. They're original and have wear and tear." The intensity of the work finds both contractors and government employees working side by side in winter conditions which aren't always favorable, Sprague said. But the only option is success. "There's no forgiveness for being late," Sprague said, citing the traditional March reopening of the Soo Locks. "We must open on time. In everything we do, it's always on our mind. We have to be there for the shipping industry on the 25th of March."

 See where the boats are laid up at this link


Winter fleet gathers in Sturgeon Bay

1/14 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The shipping season on the Great Lakes is coming to a close, and some of the vessels are coming together in Sturgeon Bay for their winter lay-up. "The winter fleet" started to arrive about a month ago. It's a chance to make repairs and upgrades. It's also become somewhat of a tourist attraction.

In a dry dock slip at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Stugeon Bay, the 858-foot-long Roger Blough is wrapping up its scheduled maintenance.

"It's getting a five-year survey. So the propellers and thrusters were overhauled along with a paint job. Then a number of steel projects internally," said Todd Thayse, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager. Right next to the Blough sits the "Queen of the Lakes." Coming in at 1,013 feet long, The Paul R. Tregurtha is the largest of the Great Lakes ships.

The Tregurtha is getting scrubbers installed, as part of an upgrade to its diesel emmssion system. "It's a piece of equipment that helps reduce the carbon footprint, making it more environmentally friendly," said Thayse.

Read more and watch a video at this link:


Port Reports -  January 14

Two Harbors – Gary A. Putney
Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader arrived Two Harbors Saturday at 00:43. As of 21:15 on Saturday she was still at the loading dock. This will be the last pellet shipment from Two Harbors for the 2017-18 shipping season.

St. Marys River – Graham Grattan
Saturday morning Indiana Harbor was unable to make the turn downbound at Pointe Louise without icebreaker assistance. USCGC Mobile Bay came up through the locks to assist them. Indiana Harbor stopped for the night at Nine Mile. Edwin H. Gott, headed for Duluth, was stopped off Lime Island till daybreak. Algonova continued to unload at the Purvis dock in Soo, Ont. At 11 p.m., Joseph L. Block was rounding Whitefish Point downbound for Indiana Harbor, with the American Mariner behind her, headed for Zug Island in Detroit.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Friday morning a freshly painted Roger Blough was removed from the graving dock and was tied up on the face dock. The next boat to go in is expected to be Paul R. Tregurtha.

Lake Michigan
American Century and Stewart J. Cort were still at Burns Harbor Saturday night, with St. Clair waiting for dock space. Edgar B. Speer was at Gary. American Integrity was upbound off Milwaukee headed for Toledo and layup. John G. Munson and Cason J. Callaway were downbound off Sheboygan headed for Gary.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was loading salt on Saturday. Algowood was downbound in upper Lake Huron with a destination of Goderich.

Detroit River
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and H. Lee White were still unloading at Zug Island Saturday night. Presque Isle was anchored waiting for the dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Philip R. Clarke arrived for winter layup at the Midwest Stone Dock, which is the former C&O#3 Coal Dock, Saturday afternoon. Eventually the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edgar B. Speer are scheduled to arrive for layup.

Lake Erie
Mesabi Miner was unloading at Nanticoke Saturday night. Sam Laud was running the Cleveland ore shuttle.


USCG to begin the next round of ice breaking operations Sunday for Algosteel

1/14 - Green Bay, Wis. – U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay will begin the escort of the motor vessel Algosteel on Sunday, Jan. 14. The ice breaking work will commence at Rock Island Passage and end at the Fox River entrance. The ship is carrying salt destined for the Port of Green Bay. Additional icebreaking work is scheduled for Jan. 15-18. This work will involve a delivery of fuel products to Green Bay and culminate with activity in Sturgeon Bay and Escanaba to facilitate the winter layup of eight ships.

These icebreaking operations are a part of Operation Taconite, the U.S. Coast Guard’s largest domestic ice-breaking operation. The operation encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay and all of Lake Michigan, including the bay of Green Bay.

Coast Guard waterway managers balance the needs of commercial operators moving the cargoes that fuel industry with those of recreational users enjoying the pristine natural beauty of the Great Lakes. Those who choose to recreate on or near ice-covered waterways may potentially put themselves at increased risk when recreating near still-operational shipping lanes. Members of the public who fish, operate a snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle or otherwise recreate on the bay of Green Bay during periods of ice cover should focus on this and future announcements to better inform their preparations.

The Coast Guard recommends all recreational ice users plan their activities carefully, dress appropriately, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of regional waterway closures.



Coast Guard rescues 5 from Lake Erie ice floe

1/14 - Detroit, Mich. – Sector Detroit's Command Center coordinated with U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, Monroe County Sheriff's Department and other local rescue responders to save five fishermen from Lake Erie after they were stranded on an ice floe Friday.

Sector Detroit’s Command Center received a distress call after five people stranded were able to use their flashlights to signal someone ashore who called it in to Monroe County Dispatch, triggering rescue response efforts.

"It would have been difficult to find them if they didn't have flashlights; it enabled them to signal for help and, ultimately, for us to locate them," said Air Station Detroit Aircraft Commander, Lt. Adam Morehouse. "I'd also like to share with the ice-fishing community what we saw out there in regard to open water. There is a lot of it. The water is completely open in some near shore areas."

The Coast Guard warns ice sport enthusiasts that the ice is very dangerous after the increase in temperatures over the past week. The recent warm weather has caused ice to melt, brought in heavy fog and caused multiple ice rescue cases with one life lost in just the past week.

The Coast Guard encourages ice fishermen and ice sport enthusiasts to check the weather before heading out and extend the forecast check to 24 hours to prevent being caught in bad conditions. Bring signaling and communication equipment such as a flashlight, flares, VHF radio and a personal locator beacon. Cell phones are good to bring with you but are unreliable as a primary communication source because signals are not strong off shore and batteries lose power in cold weather.



Today in Great Lakes History -  January 14

On this day in 1970, IRVING S. OLDS entered winter layup at Lorain to close the longest season in Great Lakes shipping history.

On 14 January 1945, the W. Butler Shipyard built C1-M-AV1 ship LEBANON (Hull#40) was the last vessel through the Soo Locks. Ice was a serious problem. The newly-commissioned icebreaker U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW escorted the LEBANON to Lake Huron. The locks had never before been open this late in January. They were kept open to allow newly-built cargo vessels to sail from Superior, Wisconsin, to the Atlantic Ocean where they were needed for the war effort.

Scrapping began on CHICAGO TRIBUNE in 1989, by International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne, Ontario. January 14, 1920 - The Grand Trunk carferry GRAND HAVEN was fast in the ice three miles out of Grand Haven.

In 1977, CANADIAN MARINER laid up at the Consol Fuel dock in Windsor after her attempt to reach Port Colborne was thwarted by heavy ice off Long Point.

On Jan 14, 1978, JAMES R. BARKER departed the Soo Line ore dock in Ashland, Wisconsin, where she had been laid-up since August 7, 1977, due to the iron ore miner’s strike.

1946: The BADGER STATE, a former Great Lakes canal ship as a) FORDONIAN, b) YUKONDOC and c) GEORGIAN, foundered off the mouth of the Grijalva River in the Gulf of Mexico.

1969: SAGAMO, retired former flagship of the Lake Muskoka passenger ships in Central Ontario, burned at the dock in Gravenhurst as a total loss.

1981: The former Lake Erie rail car ferry and later barge MAITLAND NO. 1 rolled over between Yarmouth, NS and Rockland, ME. An attempt to tow the vessel upside down failed and it sank. The ship was under tow of IRVING MAPLE and bound for Port Everglades, FL with a load of scrap. It may have been renamed b) TRIO TRADO at Quebec City on the way south.

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


Joseph H. Thompson headed for lay-up in Escanaba

1/13 - Joseph H. Thompson is scheduled to lay-up in Escanaba at the C. Reiss Coal dock north and will hopefully be escorted by the USCG cutter Morro Bay. Right now they are scheduled to be in during the evening of Jan. 15. Please take the necessary precautions with your ice shacks.

VanEnkevort Tug & Barge Inc.


Flood warning issued for SE St. Clair County due to dangerous ice conditions

1/13 - St. Clair County, Mich. – A flood warning is in effect until 8 a.m. Monday for southeast St. Clair County due to dangerous ice conditions on the St. Clair River. An ice blockage is causing flooding that has already started to surround homes. The danger is increased because some homes near the river are on slabs and others have crawl spaces.

In East China Township, some ice and water already has come over the seawall and is at the mouth of the street. Because of the flooding threat, St. Clair County Emergency Manager Jeff Friedland said he may have to call for evacuations from the shore to the road, a first in 30 years.

"We have plans in place," he said. "In the event of an evacuation, we haven a warming center, reception center set up." Neighbors also risk getting ice locked as the temperatures plummet and the water rises.



Port Reports -  January 13

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
American Mariner arrived Two Harbors at approx. 06:05 Friday and then departed Friday at approx. 18:00. Tentatively the Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader is due Saturday morning to close out the season in Two Harbors. On Friday night at 20:30 she was between Grand Marais, Minn. and Silver Bay, Minn. There is also the possibility is there she could lay-up in Duluth near her fleetmate Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader.

St. Marys River
Burns Harbor was stuck in the morning near Cedar Point above the locks, but the USCG Mackinaw came up and got her moving. She is bound for Superior, Wis. Algonova was unloading at her Soo, Ont., dock.

Lake Michigan
Algowood was upound off the Door Peninsula Friday night headed for Goderich. American Century and Stewart J. Cort were still at Burns Harbor, with St. Clair waiting for dock space. American Integrity was at Indiana Harbor.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was loading salt Friday night.

Lake Huron
Edwin H. Gott was upbound for Duluth and winter lay up Friday night. Algosea and Algonova were stopped above Port Huron/Sarnia.

St. Clair River
American Spirit was downbound headed for Conneaut Friday. She was being assisted through ice by Neah Bay and Samuel Risley.

Detroit River
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and H. Lee White were still unloading at Zug Island Friday night. Presque Isle was anchored waiting for the dock.

Lake Erie
Mesabi Miner was mid-lake headed for Nanticoke Friday night. Tug/barge Michigan/Great Lakes were at Nanticoke. Joseph H. Thompson was upbound headed for Escanaba and winter layup. Philip R. Clarke was westbound for Toledo.


Great Lakes Captains Association holds 33rd annual industry days

1/13 - Traverse City, Mich. – Marine captains are coming together in Traverse City this week to stay up to date on what’s happening in the boating industry. Sailors from a number of vessels, including research boats, fishing boats and ferries, are participating.

Speakers and Coast Guard members will present important information, like new regulations. The association says it’s a great way for everyone to come together and learn from each other.

“When we bring everybody together, you aggregate all of their wisdom and their background knowledge and their experience to say here’s this regulation, here’s what we’re doing to comply with it,” explained Great Lakes Captains Association President Captain Bob Schallip. “Perhaps you can provide that by the same means. We strive to have everybody walk out of here at the end of two days with a better understanding of what they do and how to do it safely.”

9 & 10 News


Warmer temperatures, fog lead to 4 Coast Guard responses

1/13 - Detroit, Mich. – Coast Guard small boat stations from western Lake Erie to Saginaw Bay responded to four separate ice rescue cases Wednesday evening involving outdoorsman who became disoriented or were caught on broken-off ice floes.

Due to the increase in air temperatures and the uptick in ice response cases, the Coast Guard warns ice fishermen and operators of snowmobiles, ATVs and four-wheelers of unstable ice conditions and encourages the use of the following safety tips, most easily remembered with the acronym I.C.E. (Information, Clothing, Equipment) when engaging in recreational activities on or around the ice. • Know the current and projected weather forecast. Stay off the ice in extreme fog conditions.

• Tell a friend or loved one where you are going and the path of travel you will use to get there. Bring navigational equipment with you, such as GPS and a compass to avoid becoming disoriented. If you find yourself in heavy fog or low visibility, do not divert from your planned path of travel. Coast Guard crews will start their search with your known path of travel provided by the person who reports you as overdue.

• Dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature and wear a life jacket as a precaution in case you fall through.

• Take the appropriate communication equipment with you, like a VHF-FM radio, flares, signaling equipment, lanterns, whistle or a personal locator beacon.

• Carry ice picks, screwdrivers or similar tools that you can use to pull yourself out should you fall through the ice. Simple tools like these can save your life in icy waters where every minute counts.

• Cell phones can be unreliable offshore and have limited battery power; especially in cold weather. If you do bring your phone, know how to obtain the GPS position from it, to provide to responders in the event of disorientation.



Coast Guard rescues 1 stranded on ice in St. Joseph

1/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard rescued an injured man from the ice near the Twin Cities Bicentennial Bridge in St. Joseph, Michigan, early Thursday morning. His name is not being released and it was not reported why he was on the ice.

At 1:55 a.m., crews at Station St. Joseph were notified by Berrien County Dispatch of an injured person laying on the ice near the bridge. Crews arrived on scene by 2:08 a.m., and assisted the individual off the ice to awaiting EMS for evaluation. The person was taken to Lakeland Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Coast Guard reminds everyone to remain vigilant and cautious around bodies of water, as ice conditions can be very unpredictable. Be prepared for an accidental immersion. Always tell someone where you're going, when you'll be back, and be sure to wear proper clothing and safety gear for conditions.



Updates -  January 13

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 13

13 January 2005 - GENESIS EXPLORER (steel propeller tanker, 435 foot, built in 1974, at Port Weller, Ontario, formerly a.) IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR & b.) ALGOSAR) sailed from Halifax for Quebec City. She was registered in the Comoros Islands. She was carrying a few members of her former crew for training purposes, but her new crew was African.

On 13 January 1918, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA and the Grand Trunk ferries MILWAUKEE and GRAND HAVEN all became stuck in the ice off Grand Haven, Michigan. The vessels remained imprisoned in the ice for the next two weeks. When the wind changed, they were freed but Grand Haven’s harbor was still inaccessible. The ALABAMA sailed for Muskegon and stalled in the 18-inch thick ice on Muskegon Lake.

After lightering 3,000 tons of coal, the a.) BENSON FORD was refloated in 1974 and proceeded to the Toledo Overseas Terminal to be reloaded.

In 1979, the U.S.C.G. tug ARUNDEL was beset by windrowed ice at Minneapolis Shoal in Green Bay. Strong winds piled the ice on her stern and soon she had a 25-degree list. The crew feared that she may sink and abandoned the tug, walking across the ice with the help of a spotlight onboard the ACACIA, which also became beset by the heavy ice. The MACKINAW, SUNDEW and a Coast Guard helicopter were dispatched to the scene, but northwest winds relieved the ice pressure and the crew was able to re-board the ARUNDEL. The ARUNDEL sails today as the tug c.) ERIKA KOBASIC.

On January 13, 1970, the lower engine room and holds of the SEWELL AVERY accidentally flooded, sinking her to the bottom of Duluth Harbor causing minimal damage, other than an immense cleanup effort.

January 13, 1909 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 was freed after her grounding the previous December.

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


Bay Shipbuilding hitting full steam with Winter Fleet

1/12 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Over half the ships slated for winter maintenance at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay have pulled into port. The Winter Fleet makes up a large portion of the business Bay Shipbuilding does every year, which includes building new vessels and converting old ones.

Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse says the 200 to 300 seasonal employees they bring on every year between early December and late March provide important man hours to the business and steady work for the unemployed and underemployed in the community.

Thayse says Bay Shipbuilding will continue to hire more individuals to work on the Winter Fleet through the middle to end of February. This weekend, residents and visitors can expect to see the Mesabi Miner (Friday) and Stewart J. Cort (Saturday) make their way through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal for their winter work.

View a video at this link:


Pelee Island expecting new ferry in spring

1/12 - Pelee Island, Ont. – Pelee Island’s long-awaited new ferry should arrive in the spring and be operating this summer. “We’re actually extremely excited,” Mayor Rick Masse said Wednesday. “It took almost 12 years to get it to this point and it’s going to maintain our highway, keep our highway open to the island for hopefully another 50 years.”

That “highway” for Canada’s southernmost populated spot is a reliable ferry system. Another large ferry to go with the Jiimaan is expected to help residents and boost tourism.

Masse said the new Pelee Islander II ferry being built in Chile should be taking passengers to the Lake Erie island for the summer schedule which starts at the end of June. That will allow the Jiimaan, which began its service in 1992, to undergo a retrofit. By 2019, running both large ferries, Jiimaan and the new Pelee Islander II, will almost double the number of passengers that can go to the island.

Tourism has increased the last three years, Masse said. It’s difficult to gauge but Masse estimates the island gets about 85,000 visitors a year. “We’re anticipating another big year this year.”

The $40 million new ferry announced in 2015 is expected to carry a maximum of 399 passengers and 34 cars. With fewer cars, it can hold four transport trucks which should help farmers and the Pelee Island winery since that is more transports than the Jiimaan can hold. Because of the size of the ferries it takes about an hour and a half to cross Lake Erie from Leamington and Kingsville to the island. Passengers tend to value speed but a two-year study showed the island needed more ferry space for transporting crops.

Another advantage to the Pelee Islander II is it is about 67 metres long, which is close to the Jiimaan’s size but not as tall so the new ferry shouldn’t be stuck in port as often as the Jiimaan because of high winds, he said.

Because the Pelee Islander has provided “tremendous service” for 56 years, its replacement will stick with marine tradition and be named the Pelee Islander II, Masse said. The current vessel, which holds about 185 people and nine cars, won’t be retired until 2019.

Windsor Star


Cotter fireboat breaks up ice to keep Buffalo River flowing

1/12 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The 1½-inch thick Swedish steel outfitted on the bow of Buffalo’s Edward M. Cotter fireboat churned through more than a half-foot of ice on the Buffalo River Wednesday. It was the third day in a row city crews prepped area creeks and streams for an inevitable January thaw coming Thursday and Friday that the National Weather Service cautioned could pose a risk for ice jam flooding.

“We wanted to get way ahead of it,” said Steven Stepniak, Buffalo’s commissioner of public works. “You never know how bad it could get, but you don’t want to take the chance.” The Cotter broke up ice near the mouth of the Buffalo River near Canalside and the Erie Basin Marina on Monday.

Read more and watch a video at this link:


Port Reports -  January 12

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Erie Trader/tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort arrived Duluth early Thursday morning and backed into the Port Terminal slip to wait out a delay. The pair is expected to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock either in Duluth or Two Harbors. Joseph L. Block was due to arrive in Superior before midnight Thursday to load ore at Burlington Northern.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Indiana Harbor arrived Two Harbors on Thursday at 02:15 and departed at approx. 18:50 on Thursday. Due Two Harbors early Friday morning is the American Mariner. As of 20:30 on Thursday she was NW of Rock of Ages. Tentatively due Two Harbors on Friday is the Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader. She should arrive late in the day.

St. Marys River
Burns Harbor was upbound above DeTour Thursday evening.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Paul Erspamer
Algowood was in port Thursday night.

Lake Michigan
Cason J. Callaway, John G. Munson and Edgar B. Speer were off Manistique Thursday night bound for Gary. Algosteel was in the same area, headed for Green Bay with salt. Stewart J. Cort and American Century were at Burns Harbor Thursday night, with St. Clair due. American Century was at Indiana Harbor.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was headed on Thursday night.

Lake Huron
American Spirit was at the tip of the thumb Thursday night headed for Conneaut. Algonova was upbound for Soo, Ont.

Detroit River
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and H. Lee White were unloading at Zug Island Thursday night. Presque Isle was anchored waiting for the dock. Edwin H. Gott was moored at a dock further up the river. Herbert C. Jackson was unloading up the Rouge River. Mississagi took salt from Windsor to Detroit, then was downbound in the evening for Ashtabula. Great Republic was just past the Detroit River light for Toledo for lay up. Calumet was outbound at 9 p.m. for Ashtabula and winter lay up.

Lake Erie
Mesabi Miner was in western Lake Erie headed for Nanticoke, as were the tug Barbara Andrie and tug Michigan/Great Lakes. Joseph H. Thompson was headed for Cleveland. Philip R. Clarke was bound for Conneaut.

Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, after unloading at Nanticoke, was headed for Port Colborne Wednesday night for lay up.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Ongiara is back in service but it is slow going for the island ferry as the harbor is still clogged with 6 feet of broken ice. The Billy Bishop ferry Marilyn Bell is back in service after a weekend spell alongside for maintenance. Over at Redpath, Baie Comeau is unloading a trans-shipment cargo of sugar. Redpath has been using the Canadian-flagged self unloader as eliminates the high cost of hiring docking tugs, line handlers, a lakes pilot and the Sennbogen unloader operator.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
Three Groupe Ocean were in the St-Lambert Lock together for the last transit on Thursday. Federal Biscay has cleared the Seaway entrance off Longueuil.


Bluewater Ferry causeway extensively damaged by ice

1/12 - Sombra, Ont. – Sombra’s Bluewater Ferry is closed indefinitely after ice extensively damaged the raised road leading to its dock and Canada Customs office Thursday morning. Manager Morgan Dalgety says the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley was escorting four freighters down the St. Clair River just before 9 a.m., when an ice field broke free.

“The ice was jammed north of our dock, where it has been for over a week and them pushing through this ice, broke it free and pushed it sideways across the channel into our dock,” says Dalgety.

He says it completely destroyed their causeway, putting them out of business.“We had engineers out here this morning. We’re looking at probably a year to rebuild after we get all of the permits and certificates.”

Dalgety claims a complete rebuild could run as high as $4-million.

“There is no insurance for a causeway like that, it’s not insured,” he says. “This is going to have to be something that hopefully the Coast Guard will step up and help out with and were going to have to get a hold of our MPs for federal grants because Bluewater Ferry is not going to be able to foot this bill on its own.”

Dalgety says the whole incident was captured on video by a Canada Customs camera — which he has requested a copy of.

Blackburn News


Toledo commission gives OK to iron-processing plant; will get cargo by boat

1/12 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo City Plan Commission approved a procedural step Thursday toward construction of a $700 million iron-processing plant on a former refinery site on the Toledo-Oregon border.

By a 4-0 vote, the commission approved a factory site plan submitted by IronUnits, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources, albeit with dozens of mostly technical conditions related to roadway access, utilities, landscaping, and other details about the project.

The plant is expected to employ 120 to 130 employees with salaries ranging between $40,000 and $140,000 and generate between 100 and 120 annual ship calls hauling ore pellets from Cliffs-owned mines in Minnesota and Michigan to Toledo. A conveyor is to be built to carry the ore from ships docked on the Maumee River to the plant on the inland side of Front Street south of Millard Avenue. The plant’s production is expected to travel to steel mills in trains and trucks.

Placement of those features remains subject to administrative approval by the city. Numerous other permits and plan reviews are required for the project. But overall, the commission agreed, the project complies with Toledo’s city ordinances and zoning code and is allowed in the general industrial zone that applies to the area.

The plant will refine iron ore into hot-briquetted iron, a raw material used by electric-arc steel mills to produce steel. Cliffs officials said when they announced the project last summer that they expected to break ground early this year and begin production in 2020, and company representatives at the zoning meeting Thursday said that schedule remains on target. Earth moving that has already occurred on the site has strictly been stockpiling of dirt brought in from excavations elsewhere, they said.

The Blade


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 12

CHI-CHEEMAUN (Hull#205) was launched January 12, 1974, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

GRAND HAVEN was gutted by fire on January 12, 1970, during scrapping operations at the United Steel & Refining Co. Ltd. dock at Hamilton, Ontario.

MENIHEK LAKE (Hull#163) was launched January 12, 1959, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. She was used in a unique experiment with shunters in the Welland Canal in 1980. She was scrapped at Gijon, Spain in 1985.

On January 12, 1973, the VENUS had an engine room explosion shortly after unloading at Kipling, Michigan, near Gladstone on Little Bay De Noc, causing one loss of life.

On 12 January 1956, ANABEL II (probably a fish tug, 62 tons, built in 1928) was destroyed by fire at her winter lay-up at the Roen Steamship Co. dock at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

January 12, 1911 - ANN ARBOR NO 5 hit the rocks close to the south breakwater when entering Manistique harbor, tearing off her starboard shaft and wheel.

The wooden steam barge O.O. CARPENTER (127.5 foot, 364 gross tons) was sold by the Jenks Shipbuilding Company on 12 January 1892, to Mr. H. E. Runnels and Capt. Sinclair for $26,000. The vessel had been launched at Jenks yard on 13 May 1891.

The new EDWIN H GOTT departed Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in 1979, for final fitout at Milwaukee. 1970: BARON BERWICK made one trip inland in 1959 and returned as b) FILTRIC in 1967. The latter was abandoned 5 miles south of Cape Finistere on the northwest coast of Spain after the cargo shifted. The vessel was enroute from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Alexandria, Egypt, and it drifted aground the next day as a total loss.

1971: The West German freighter BRANDENBURG sank in the Straits of Dover, 7 miles south of Folkestone, England, after apparently hitting the wreck of TEXACO CARIBBEAN which had gone down the previous day following a collision. The former had been through the Seaway in 1969.

1979: A propane explosion aboard the tug WESTERN ENGINEER at Thunder Bay resulted in extensive damage. Two were injured. The ship was never repaired and noted as broken up in 1980.

1985: ATLANTIC HOPE first came inland when it was fresh from the shipyard in 1965. It was gutted by a fire in the accommodation area in position 9.22 N / 60.37 W as b) ALIVERI HOPE. The ship was abandoned but towed to Barbados and eventually into Mamonal, Colombia, on October 14, 1985, for dismantling.

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


St. Lawrence Seaway clears final ships, closes for season

1/11 - Massena, N.Y. – All commercial vessels that were held up by a ship that had to be freed from an ice-choked Snell Lock have passed through and the St. Lawrence Seaway is now closed for the season. The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said that Tuesday morning all commercial vessels had cleared the U.S. locks for the navigation season.

As of Sunday night, three of the five vessels waiting to depart the U.S. sector of the Seaway System, the Mitiq, the Beatrix and the Billesborg, successfully transited Snell Lock.

Late Monday night, all three vessels arrived safely in Montreal. Earlier Tuesday morning, the remaining two vessels, Federal Biscay and Pacific Huron, safely transited Snell Lock and were underway towards Montreal assisted by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Martha L. Black, and accompanied by two tug boats.

The Federal Biscay was icebound inside Snell Lock for several days, holding up the other four boats, and was freed over the weekend.

“All transits through Snell Lock were completed without incident,” SLSDC said in a prepared statement. There are no commercial vessels remaining in the U.S. sector of the Seaway and that sector is officially closed for the 2017 navigation season. Once all the vessels have departed the Canadian sector of the Seaway through the Canadian St. Lambert Lock, the entire Montreal/Lake Ontario section of the Seaway will be closed for the season, SLSDC said.

North Country Now


Great Lakes steel production starts 2018 with jump of 46,000 tons

1/11 - Great Lakes steel production rose to 640,000 tons during the first week of 2018, a 7.7 percent jump. Steel mills in the Great Lakes region made 594,000 tons of metal the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Most of the steel made in the Great Lakes region is produced in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana.

Overall, domestic steel mills made 1.6 million tons of metal last week, a 5 percent decline compared to the same period in 2017. U.S. steel mills ran at a capacity utilization rate of 70.7 percent, down from 74.5 percent at the same time in 2017.

Domestic steelmakers used about 70.7 percent of their steelmaking capacity in the week that ended Jan. 6, down year-over-year but up from 70.2 percent the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Some analysts say steelmaking capacity utilization of about 90 percent is considered financially healthy for the industry.

Overall, U.S. national steel output rose by 12,000 tons last week to 1.64 million tons, an increase of 0.73 percent from 1.63 million tons the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production in the Southern district, nearly always the second largest steelmaking region after the Great Lakes, fell to 570,000 tons last week, down from 604,000 tons the previous week. Steel output in the Midwest stayed steady at 158,000 tons last week.

NW Indiana Times


Lake Superior water levels still above average

1/11 - Even though the level of Lake Superior fell by an inch in December, normally the lake declines by 3 inches during the month and it remains 13 inches above average. Water levels of Lake Superior last month were 8 inches higher than a year ago at this time and the 2nd highest on record.

According to the International Lake Superior Board of Control, the cold and snowy weather contributed to above normal water supplies along with the effects of a wet spring and summer. The level of the lake is expected to continue a seasonal decline in January.



Port Reports -  January 11

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Duluth early Wednesday morning for winter layup at Fraser Shipyards. She joined fleetmates Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker, which arrived on Tuesday. Cason J. Callaway was outbound from BN in Superior before sunrise.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
No traffic for Two Harbors on Wednesday. Due Thursday morning is the Indiana Harbor. Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader are now showing Duluth as a destination.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Wednesday, January 10: 05:21 USCG cutter Alder arrived and began icebreaking operations. By 09:00 she had reached Keefer Terminal, which is where three CSL vessels will lay up for the winter. At 10:00 Point Valour was clearing ice at Keefer Terminal. The Thunder Bay weighed anchor and made her way to Keefer Terminal and docked at 12:14. 11:02 Whitefish Bay weighed anchor and moored on the out side of the Thunder Bay. 12:24 CSL Assiniboine weighed anchor and docked at 14:53. All three vessels were assisted by the Point Valour and Glenada. 12:40 Alder went to anchor on the west side of the Welcome Islands. At 17:04 she weighed anchor and departed for Duluth. This will more than likely be the last vessel activity in Thunder Bay until March.

St. Marys River
American Mariner was upbound for 2 Harbors Wednesday afternoon. American Spirit was above the locks downbound for Conneaut at 10 p.m.

Straits of Mackinac
John G. Munson and Edgar B. Speer, both bound for Gary, were anchored for weather Wednesday night.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Paul Erspamer
Algoma Enterprise left the salt dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor about 7 p.m. Tuesday, returning to Goderich. Algowood was in northern Lake Michigan Tuesday evening, expected Wednesday with salt from Goderich.

Lake Michigan
Stewart J. Cort was at Burns Harbor Wednesday night, with St. Clair and Burns Harbor due. Algowood was downbound on the southern part of the lake with no destination listed. Burns Harbor was upbound with no destination listed. American Integrity was downbound mid-lake for Indiana Harbor. Joyce L. VanEnkevort / Great Lakes Trader were upbound in the northern end of the lake with no destination listed.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algosteel departed with salt Wednesday. Algoma Enterprise was in northern Lake Huron headed for Goderich.

Lake Huron
Great Republic, Presque Isle, Herbert C. Jackson and Joseph H. Thompson were stopped above Port Huron Wednesday night. H Lee White was upbound with no destination listed.

Detroit River
Edwin H. Gott was unloading at Zug Island Wednesday night with Walter J. McCarthy Jr. next in line for the hopper. Mississagi was tied up in Windsor. Algoma Hansa was at the Misterky fuel dock. Philip R. Clarke was moored below the Ambassador Bridge with an AIS destination of Conneaut. Calumet was stopped in the river.

Lake Erie
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, after unloading at Nanticoke, was headed for Port Colborne Wednesday night for lay up.


Upper Peninsula island has front-row seat for winter freighter drama

1/11 - Neebish Island, Mich. – Most winters, the residents on Neebish Island can be counted by the dozen. But for those who do stay on the island, named after an American Indian word for its leaf shape, they've got a front-row seat for all the winter freighter traffic - and the occasional drama when one of those 1,000-footers gets trapped in the ice.

The winter shipping traffic is grinding to a halt with the Jan. 15 closing of the nearby Soo Locks. Freighters have been getting stuck in the Great Lakes with increasing frequency this week as the deep freeze continues.

Neebish sits in the middle of the St. Marys River, about 15 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie. It's a busy spot, given that the St. Marys is like a highway connector shipping lane between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link


Great Lakes mayors group gets funding to study enhancing cruise ship experience

1/11 - The Cruise Ship Industry Group received an early Christmas present last month from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport in the form of a $250,000 grant. The grant will be used to support Ontario’s Great Lakes cruising industry, including the development of an Ontario cruise ship industry business case.

“The funding announcement for the Cruise Ship Industry Business Case Study is great news for the Port of Little Current and the other Great Lakes ports,” said Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin. “Now we will be able to assess the economic impact of the industry and develop our infrastructure accordingly.”

Mayor MacNevin said that the Northeast Town has been curious about the impact of the cruise ship industry and its potential for growth.

“Council has been wanting a study like this to tell us what the impact of the cruise ship industry is on our port and what type of growth is predicted,” explained Mayor MacNevin. “Cruise ship operators have suggested that the industry could grow up to four times in the coming years. This study is going to help us determine if that is the case, and what infrastructure we might need to accommodate the growth and the impact for businesses in our port and others.”

Midland Mayor Gord McKay organized a meeting with the CSIG partner municipalities and the ministry earlier this fall to discuss the need for a study to look at the future growth of the cruise ship industry and seek funding. CSIG is made up of representatives from the following Ontario port cities: Kingston; North East Manitoulin (Little Current); Parry Sound; Sault Ste. Marie; Thunder Bay; Toronto; Windsor; and Midland.

Working closely with the Great Lakes Cruise Coalition (GLCC) and its Canadian arm, Cruise Ontario (CO), CSIG will develop a business case that identifies the current state and future prospects of Ontario’s Great Lakes cruise ship industry, create a strategy to guide the development of a successful industry and identify the needed infrastructure improvements to ports and port attractions.

Manitoulin Expositor


Demolition report from World Ship Society

1/11 - - Vessels with Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway connections reported as a Casualty or Sold for Demolition, taken from January 2018 issue of Marine News, the journal of the World Ship Society.

Casualties: none to report Demolitions: John B. (8002432; Sierra Leone) (ex John B. Aird-17) 22,881/1983 - self-discharging bulk carrier (laker) By undisclosed interests, to Leyal Demtas Gemi Sokum, Turkey and arrived at Aliaga, 14.06.2017; scrapping commenced 14.06.2017

Shaza (7333846; Togo) (Zeina J-16, Aures-03) - (1st trip into the Seaway in 1978) 7,932/1973 - general cargo. By Sea Light Maritime Co. (Global Management & Trading Co. Ltd) St. Kitts & Nevis to Kathlawar Steels, India and arrived Alang 07/06/2017- commenced demolition 11.06.2017

Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 11

The steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, under tow, reached her intended destination of Santander, Spain on January 11, 1974, for scrapping.

In 1970, IRVING S. OLDS was the last ship of the season at the Soo Locks as she followed the PHILIP R. CLARKE downbound.

In 1973, ROGER BLOUGH collided with PHILIP R. CLARKE after the CLARKE encountered an ice pressure ridge and came to a stop in the Straits of Mackinac.

January 11, 1911 - ANN ARBOR NO 5 arrived in Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

On 11 January 1883, The Port Huron Times reported that a citizens' committee met to help Port Huron businesses. "A. N. Moffat decried the taxation of vessel property. High taxation of vessel property had driven much of it away from Port Huron. He cited the case of Capt. David Lester of Marine City who came to Port Huron a few years ago to live and would have brought here one of the largest fleets on the Great Lakes, but when he found what taxes would be, returned to Marine City."

1919: The laker CASTALIA left the lakes in two pieces and was rejoined at Lauzon, Quebec, for a new career on the Atlantic in 1918. The ship broke in two 65 miles off Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and the crew was rescued by the BERGENFJORD.

1962: The retired Interlake Steamship Company bulk carrier ARCTURUS, formerly JAMES B. WOOD, was under tow of the Portuguese tug PRAIA GRANDE on the way to Norway to be scrapped when she foundered off the Azores at position 46.10N x 8.50W.

1965: CELIA B. made 15 trips through the Seaway in 1959-1962 under Liberian registry. The vessel arrived at Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, as f) SEA MAID with engine damage and having lost its propeller. The ship was ultimately deemed not worth repairing and arrived at Rotterdam, Netherlands, under tow for scrapping on June 22, 1966.

1974: The first FEDERAL HUDSON to visit the Great Lakes was sailing as d) GOLDEN KING when it struck the wreck of the THETIS off Chittagong, Bangladesh, while inbound from Singapore Roads. It was beached in sinking condition and sustained water damage at high tide. The vessel was refloated on February 13, 1974, and taken to Chittagong to unload and get repaired. It was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as d) CHAR HSIUNG in 1980.

1981: ARNA began Seaway trading in 1965. It stranded off Shimonoseki, Japan, as b) IQBALBAKSH and was declared a total loss. The vessel was sold to South Korean shipbreakers and arrived at Busan, under tow on August 2, 1981.

1993: EUROJOY was anchored off Cadiz, Spain, when a spontaneous combustion fire broke out in the cargo of coal that had been bound for Turkey. The ship was listed as a total loss and sold for scrap but was repaired. It sailed additional years until scrapping at Alang, India, as g) LENA II in 1998. It first visited the Seaway as a) ATLANTIC CHALLENGE in 1971 and returned as b) ANGEBALTIC in 1981, c) ASTURIAS in 1986 and e) EUROJOY in 1990.

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


Alouette Spirit will remain aground until spring

1/10 - The barge Alouette Spirit, stranded since Christmas morning on Lake Saint-Pierre, will remain there longer than expected. According to owner McKeil Marine Limited, it may be necessary to wait until spring before pulling the vessel free.

In an email sent to Radio-Canada, McKeil Marine Limited's commercial director, Matthew Kendrick, says that no other solution is safer or even feasible, according to the latest analysis. The company came to this conclusion after working on the site and studying the condition of the ice in recent days.

"There is simply too much ice" to allow other tugs or barges to approach the Alouette Spirit, says Kendrick. He adds that it is impossible in these circumstances to maneuver towing or lightening the barge. He said this decision does not expose the environment to any risk, that it will not cause any problems to navigation in the sector and that it will not lead to damage to the barge or its cargo. Industry and barge inspections must be conducted regularly by the company and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Unlike the Alouette Spirit, Wilf Seymour should not spend the winter on Lake Saint-Pierre. According to McKeil, the tugboat could go alone to the port of Trois-Rivières and spend the winter there in order to be able to intervene quickly with the barge if necessary. Wilf Seymour propelled the barge at the time of the incident on the morning of 25 December.

The company does not expect to have "significant difficulties" with Wilf Seymour. The tug should easily detach from the barge and make it easy to reach the port of Trois-Rivières.

Starting from Sept-Îles, the Alouette Spirit was to transport 10,000 tons of aluminum to Oswego, New York. On the morning of December 25, the barge ran aground near the channel of Lake Saint-Pierre. An electrical failure, repaired since, could explain the situation.



6 ships expected to spend winter in Thunder Bay

1/10 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The recent cold snap in northwestern Ontario brought the shipping season to a close a bit earlier than last year, with the last ship being loaded up on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, but residents will still be able to see some activity in the harbor this week.

"We are just about done now," said Thunder Bay Port Authority chief executive officer Tim Heney, "We have a bunch of ships coming in that are going to be wintering in the harbor." The United States icebreaker Alder is assisting ships that are expected to spend the winter in Thunder Bay's harbor, he added.

"So there could be up to five ships wintering in Thunder Bay," Heney said.

While the "heavy ice all along the system" has closed off this year's shipping season sooner than expected, the total shipping volume for this year has remained steady for the past four years, he said. "I think in total we'll probably end up back in the same area [as] this year, about 8.9 million tones in total. We think that will hold for next year as well," Heney said.

This year, Heney said, the port saw more potash being shipped in as the volumes for grain decreased. It also saw one ship that staff thought was destined for the scrap yard put back into service, he said. "CSL Tadoussac was parked in Thunder Bay for three years," Heney said, and now "it's got a contract on iron ore, and they are putting it back into service."

While the shipping season has officially come to an end, he said, ships are expected to come into the harbor over the next few days to settle in for winter.

CBC News


Port Reports -  January 10

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Fleetmates Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker arrived Duluth on Tuesday morning for winter layup. The former headed to Fraser Shipyards, while the latter moored at Midwest Energy for the winter. Another Interlake vessel, Lee A. Tregurtha, is due for layup early Wednesday morning. In Superior, American Spirit finished loading BN mid-afternoon Tuesday, and departed with iron ore pellets. Cason J. Callaway arrived from anchor shortly thereafter and began loading.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Neither Two Harbors nor Northshore Mining in Silver Bay had any boat traffic on Tuesday. Due Two Harbors late Wednesday are the Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader and Indiana Harbor. There is no scheduled traffic for Northshore Mining in Silver Bay for the rest of the shipping season.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Tuesday at 0:33 CSL Assiniboine arrived and at 0:41 Whitefish Bay arrived. Both went to anchor south of the Mission River. They and the Thunder Bay are waiting for USCGC Alder to arrive Wednesday to clear a path to their layup berths.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Tuesday included American Integrity and Presque Isle. At 10 p.m., John G. Munson, Indiana Harbor and Edgar B. Speer were downbound above the locks. Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader were upbound in the afternoon for 2 Harbors. Manitoulin and Michipicoten were at Algoma Steel.

Lake Michigan
Burns Harbor was unloading at Burns Harbor Tuesday. Stewart J. Cort and St Clair were headed for Burns Harbor Tuesday evening. Algoma Enterprise departed Milwaukee and was headed back to Goderich. In the upper part of the lake, Joseph L. Block was upbound headed to Superior, Algowood was downbound for Milwaukee with salt with American Integrity behind her for Burns Harbor.

Cheboygan, Mich.
The tanker Algonova unloaded Monday and was downbound for Sarnia Tuesday night.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood departed with salt for Milwaukee. Algosteel arrived to load, assisted by tug Escorte and CCGS Samuel Risley.

Lake Huron
H. Lee White, Philip R. Clarke, Mesabi Miner, Joseph H. Thompson and Herbert C. Jackson were on the hook Tuesday night off of Lexington, Mich., in the southern part of the lake. American Mariner was upbound out of the St. Clair River, with CSL Niagara behind her.

Detroit River
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was unloading at Zug Island Tuesday night with Edwin H. Gott next in line for the hopper. Mississagi and Algosea were tied up in Windsor.

Lake Erie
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was unloading at Nanticoke Tuesday.


USS Little Rock still stuck Montreal

1/10 - Montreal, Que. – By now, the U.S. Navy had hoped that the new USS Little Rock would be arriving at its homeport near Jacksonville, Florida. Instead, the combat ship is docked in Montreal. The ship and its sailors are safe, but they’re a lot colder than they hoped they’d be, several weeks into their maiden journey.

The Navy commissioned the littoral combat ship in Buffalo in December, when winter was already looming. Ice had started forming at the base of the Buffalo River and around the harbor. The ship departed Dec. 20. Delays followed in the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway before the crew arrived in Montreal around Christmas.

While in Montreal, routine ship repairs were made, including repairing a cable associated with the ship’s steering. Repairs were completed Jan. 4. Icy conditions have delayed the ship’s departure, due to the limited availability of tugs in the area.

Lt. Commander Courtney Hillson told News 4 that they soon hope to have a better idea of what comes next. “We continue working with Port Authority tugs, experts, and technological representatives to ensure the best path forward,” Hillson said. The sailors on board the USS Little Rock continue to operate the ship.

Read more and view a video at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 10

On this day in 1952, EDWARD B. GREENE was launched at the American Shipbuilding yard at Toledo, Ohio. The 647-foot vessel joined the Cleveland Cliffs fleet. After lengthening over the winter of 1975-1976 and conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, the GREENE sailed briefly as the b.) BENSON FORD for Rouge Steel. She sails today as the c.) KAYE E BARKER of the Interlake fleet.

ONTADOC (Hull#207) was launched January 10, 1975, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. For N.M. Paterson & Sons. Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

On January 10, 1977, the CHESTER A. POLING, b.) MOBIL ALBANY) broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts.

January 10, 1998 - Glen Bowden, former co-owner of the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company (MWT) died.

In 1974, the W.C. RICHARDSON was towed from her winter berth in Toledo to assist in lightering the grounded a.) BENSON FORD.

On Jan 10, 1978, the tanker JUPITER became stuck in 3 to 5-foot ridged ice off Erie, Pennsylvania. The U.S.C.G. tug OJIBWA was sent from Buffalo, New York, to free her, but she too became beset in the ice 3 miles from the JUPITER's position. The JUPITER was lost after an explosion at Bay City in 1990. The OJIBWA is now the tug GEN OGLETHORPE in Savannah, Georgia.

On 10 January 1898, Alexander Anderson of Marine City was awarded a contract to build a wooden steamer for A. F. Price of Freemont, Ohio, Isaac Lincoln of Dakota, and Capt. Peter Ekhert of Port Huron, Michigan. The vessel was to be named ISAAC LINCOLN and was to be 130 feet long and capable of carrying 400,000 feet of lumber. The contract price was $28,000. Her engine and boiler were to be built by Samuel F. Hodge of Detroit. The vessel was launched on 10 May 1898, and her cost had increased to $40,000. She lasted until 1931 when she was abandoned.

1967: PRINDOC (iii) was laid up for the winter at Cardinal, Ontario, when it broke its moorings in a storm and drifted down the St. Lawrence. The shipkeeper was able to get the anchor down and they held just above the Iroquois power dam, averting a major problem.

1970: IOANNA stranded near Sete, France, in a gale while inbound from Barcelona, Spain and had to be sold for scrap. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) A.J. FALKLAND in 1959 and returned as b) PETER in 1960 and 1961.

1971: CATTARO came through the Seaway in 1959 for the Ellerman's Wilson Line. It caught fire in the engine room at Galatz, Romania, as b) VRACHOS and had to be beached. It was subsequently broken up for scrap.

1977: The tanker CHESTER A. POLING broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts in a storm after an explosion in the forward pump room. Two members of the crew were lost. The ship had been a Great Lakes trader as a) PLATTSBURG SOCONY and as b) MOBIL ALBANY.

1981: SOL RIVER came to the Great Lakes in 1968. It ran aground as f) LIZA near Combi, Lemnos Island, Greece. The hull broke in two and sank January 15. The ship was carrying phosphate enroute from Sfax, Tunisia, to Kavalla, Greece, when it went down on the Aegean Sea with the loss of 5 lives.

2001: The Cypriot freighter ARETHUSA first came through the Seaway in 1987. Fire broke out in the engine room and spread to the bridge and accommodation area while the ship was in the northern Great Belt. The vessel, enroute from Casablanca, Morocco, to Gdansk, Poland, with phosphate, was towed to Gydnia, Poland, after the blaze was extinguished. Repairs to the 28-year-old vessel were not worthwhile and it arrived at the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling on March 26, 2001.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Soo Locks to undergo annual winter maintenance

1/9 - Detroit, Mich. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has announced the seasonal closing of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., from Jan. 15 through March 25. The Corps will use this time to perform critical maintenance on the lock structures.

“It is vitally important that we keep the infrastructure at the Soo Locks in good working order,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Sugrue, district engineer. “The district puts a high priority on keeping the locks functioning safely and reliably for the benefit of our nation.”

While closed to navigation, crews will be busy with a variety of maintenance projects on the Poe and MacArthur Locks in preparation for another busy season. Planned winter maintenance work includes: Poe Lock Miter and Quoin Block Replacement, Poe Lock Gate 2 Embedded Anchorage Replacement, Poe Lock Gate 3 Cylinder Seal Replacement, North Poe Lock Valve Maintenance, MacArthur Lock Embedded Anchorage Replacement, MacArthur Lock Filling Valve Seal Replacement, and MacArthur Lock Bevel Gear Replacement.

More than 4,500 vessels carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo maneuver through the locks annually. Iron ore, coal, wheat and limestone are among the most frequently carried commodities. Opened in 1969, the Poe Lock is 1,200 feet long. The MacArthur Lock was opened in 1943 and is 800 feet long.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system of 95 harbors, including the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Port Reports -  January 9

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
There was no traffic through the Duluth entry on Monday. Edgar B. Speer loaded at Burlington Northern in Superior throughout the day before departing during the evening. American Spirit arrived from anchor and began loading. Cason J. Callaway was on the hook waiting for the dock.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Presque Isle departed Two Harbors Monday at 08:20 for Zug Island. There was no other traffic scheduled for Two Harbors on Monday and no traffic scheduled for Tuesday. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay had no traffic on Monday and no traffic scheduled for Tuesday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Monday, 11:04: After waiting out weather off of Marquette, Thunder Bay arrived and went to anchor south of the Mission River. CSL Assiniboine and Whitefish Bay departed the Duluth/Superior anchorage Monday morning and should have arrived around 24:00.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten loaded the last scheduled ore cargo from the LS&I ore dock on Monday.

St. Marys River
Stewart J. Cort was downbound for Burns Harbor Monday. At 8 p.m. she was leaving the river at DeTour. After she unloads, she will lay up at Sturgeon Bay. Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound for Superior and lay up. Manitoulin was at Algoma Steel. American Century was downbound below Ile Parisienne.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Robert S. Pierson arrived in Sturgeon Bay on Monday to lay up for the winter at Bay Shipbuilding. She joins Wilfred Sykes, Roger Blough, James L. Kuber/tug Victory, Paul R. Tregurtha and American Courage, the latter of which is in long-term layup. Interlake vessels Mesabi Miner and Stewart J. Cort are expected to arrive by the end of the week.

Lake Michigan
Burns Harbor was unloading at her namesake port Monday night. Joseph L. Block was unloading at Grand Haven. Algoma Enterprise was downbound off the Door Peninsula heading for Milwaukee. G.L Ostrander/ Integrity finished unloading and departed Lafarge in St. Joseph Monday evening.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood loaded salt and departed northbound Monday evening; Algosteel headed in to take her place at the dock.

Lake Huron
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edwin H. Gott remained at anchor above Port Huron Monday waiting for dock space to open in Detroit. Mesabi Miner, Philip R. Clarke, Calumet and Joseph H. Thompson were nearing their position at 10 p.m. and could join the others at anchor. Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader and Indiana Harbor were upbound with 2 Harbors destinations listed.

Detroit River
American Mariner was unloading into the hopper at Zug Island Monday. Hon. James L. Oberstar’s AIS now lists Nicholson’s Dock, likely for winter lay up. Mississagi and CSL Niagara were tied up on the Windsor side.

Toledo, Ohio
On Monday, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin departed the CSX Coal Docks bound for Nanticoke, Ont., to unload coal. After unloading, she will proceed to Port Colborne for winter layup. She was escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay through the Toledo Ship Channel and western Lake Erie. As soon as the Martin cleared the coal dock, John J. Boland departed the Midwest Overseas Dock and proceeded to the CSX Dock and went into winter layup at the old C&O Ore Dock. Evans Spirit is in winter layup at the Midwest Overseas Dock. During the next week or so several more boats will be arriving at Toledo for winter layup from the American Steamship Company and the Great Lakes Fleet. At this time there are no vessels scheduled into CSX or the Torco Ore Dock. Most likely these docks will be closing down for the winter soon.


Air taxi is South Bass Island’s lifeline when Lake Erie freezes

1/9 - Put-In-Bay, Ohio – Like most pregnant women, Alyssa Smith is preparing a room for the new baby, buying supplies, and visiting doctors for routine checkups every two weeks. Unlike most mothers-to-be, however, Smith has to fly every time she visits her family doctor, goes for an ultrasound, or has blood work done, because she lives on an island surrounded by frozen Lake Erie.

For the resident of Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island, the frozen lake means ferry boats are no longer running this winter and flying is the most reliable way to get from the island to Port Clinton on the mainland.

Some islanders use ATVs and air boats to travel over the Lake Erie ice, following a route lined by Christmas trees from South Bass Island State Park to Catawba Island State Park, but they make those trips at their own risk. Smith and many of South Bass Island's 360 residents depend on Dustin Shaffer's Island Air Taxi and his six-seat Piper Cherokee Six 300 horsepower plane to travel during the winter.

To take an air taxi ride with Shaffer, passengers pay a $40 fee each way. Smith, who is 25 weeks pregnant and expects to take more than a dozen flights before her baby is born in April, said she tries to make the most out of each trip to the mainland.

"Because flying can be expensive, I try to schedule multiple things in one day," she said. "I will go to my doctor, my ultra-sound and my blood work appointments in the same day and I will take an empty suitcase and try go shopping to stock up on groceries. You really try to get your money's worth."

The only downside to air travel in the winter, Smith said, is scheduling appointments around weather. "Having to rely on an airplane, everything you do is based around the weather," she said. "The weather decides when you are going to go or stay home. Dustin does a great job and always makes you feel safe in the air."

Smith said when on the mainland, she uses taxi services and always has a backup plan for lodging in the event that flights back to the island are canceled due to extreme winds or whiteout snow conditions. She also said preparing for a baby is easier with websites shipping many basic supplies throughout the United States.

"Thank God for Amazon Prime so I can buy in bulk," Smith said. "I never thought I would buy toilet paper online, but it is pretty bulky if you buy a lot at the store and try to fly it back."

For Shaffer, business is almost nonexistent in the summer except for some charter flights for locals traveling to Cleveland, Columbus or Detroit. While Put-in-Bay is a major tourist destination during the summer, with 750,000 people traveling to the island between Memorial Day and Labor Day, virtually all tourists use ferry service provided by Miller Boat Line and Jet Express.

"When the boats quit it's like a light switch goes off and we go from zero flights to like 20 to 30 a day," Shaffer said. "Most people are coming over for bigger shopping trips to stock up for the winter on meats and food, but doctors' appointments are probably the biggest thing. Pregnant women are going over all the time."

Shaffer said between 50 and 100 people will take the seven-minute flight to the mainland each day. And many of those passengers load up on supplies before the return trip home.

"They really make a full day out of it, because it's $40 each way," Shaffer said. "Everyone leaves light and comes back heavy."

The Associated Press, Port Clinton News-Herald


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 9

On this day in 1973, the CHARLES M. BEEGHLY was the latest running Interlake vessel when she entered winter layup at Toledo, Ohio.

BAIE COMEAU II was laid up on January 9, 1983, at Sorel, Quebec, and was sold the following April to Progress Overseas Co. S.A., Panama renamed c.) AGIA TRIAS.

January 9, 1977 - The last survivor of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 disaster, Mike Bucholtz, died.

In 1974, a combination of wind and ice forced the beset BENSON FORD, of 1924, from the shipping channel in Western Lake Erie, running aground.

1974: MARDINA REEFER ran aground at the breakwall at Stephenville, Newfoundland, while inbound in stormy weather. The ship was scheduled to load pickled herring for Europe but became a total loss. Salvage efforts failed and the hull was pounded on the rocks and eventually split in two. The crew was rescued. The vessel had been through the Seaway in 1973.

1974: LUCIE SCHULTE had been a Pre-Seaway and Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes. It sank in bad weather as b) TEVEGA in the Bay of Biscay while enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Casablanca, Morocco, with a cargo of barley. Only one member of the crew survived.

1979: MARIGO M.F. had been a Seaway trader in 1973 and earlier as a) NEGO ANNE in 1971. The ship went aground off Alexandria, Egypt, and sustained hull and water damage. The bulk carrier was not worth repairing and sold to Brodospas of Split, Yugoslavia, for scrap. It arrived August 13, 1979, for dismantling.

1980: BILL CROSBIE was carrying steel when it got into trouble on the Atlantic on January 4, 1980. The vessel, a Seaway trader in 1974, was listing badly when it was brought into St. John's, Newfoundland, only to roll over and sink at the wharf on this date. The hull was towed out to sea, bottom up, on November 3, 1980, and scuttled 12 miles off shore.

1983: SANTONA stranded in the Red Sea off Sudan at North Jumna Shoal. The hull was refloated but sold for scrap. It arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on April 4, 1983, for dismantling. It was a busy Seaway trader and had made 36 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967.

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


Traffic now moving on Seaway

1/8 - Massena, N.Y. – With Federal Biscay finally freed from her days-long entrapment in exceptionally heavy ice at the Snell Lock, traffic in the area was on the move Sunday.

Late Sunday, Mitq, Beatrix and Billeborg locked through and were tied below the Snell Lock waiting until Monday to proceed east. Federal Biscay was moored above the lock. Pacific Huron was bringing up the rear. CCGS Martha L. Black is due below the Snell Lock at 7 a.m. Monday. The Black will lead Beatrix, Beatrix, and Beatrix in convoy to Beauharnois. If they are ready to follow, Federal Biscay and Pacific Huron may join the convoy.

Saturday into Sunday, the tug Ocean Tundra came up through Snell Lock to assist Mitq down through the lock Sunday morning. This was not an easy thing to do. The ice in that canal between the locks is very heavy, and the Beatrix had a lot of difficulty getting going and maintaining headway. At that time the Ocean A. Simard was tasked with breaking ice in the canal between the locks as Beatrix and Beatrix sat in the canal, frozen into the ice. There were issues with ice in the Snell Lock that have slowed things down as well.

The tugs Robinson Bay and Leonard M were upbound in the evening and by 10 p.m. were in the vicinity of Pacific Huron, most likely to escort her down the river at first light.

Ron Beaupre


Icy photos show Coast Guard, freighters pushing through Great Lakes freeze

1/8 - The groaning sound of metal hulls pushing through ice has been a growing refrain across much of The Great Lakes this week as the Arctic cold snap continued for a second week, leaving many freighters battling the deep freeze. Ice coverage is nearing 30 percent in the region. A small fleet of U.S. Coast Guard cutters has been increasingly busy freeing freighters that have become trapped in the ice.

Each winter, the Coast Guard helps ensure the transport of more than $1 billion in cargo through the Great Lakes. In mid-December, it kicked off Operation Taconite, the country's largest domestic icebreaking operation. This means each time one of the big freighters grinds to a halt against the ice in Lake Superior, Lake Huron or others, a Coast Guard cutter motors toward it to break up the ice and create a path to get the bigger ship on its way.

The Coast Guard and U.S. Army Corps have been sharing photos of frozen freighters and the icebreaking fleet this week. Here's a sampling


USCG closes waters between St. Ignace, Mackinac Island

1/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Coast Guard will close the waters between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island Wednesday at Noon. The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational ice users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels.



Port Reports -  January 8

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
American Integrity re-arrived Duluth early Sunday morning to continue loading at CN, after waiting on a dock delay. She departed during the evening for Indiana Harbor. CSL Assiniboine loaded at BN in Superior throughout the day before departing during the mid-afternoon. Edgar B. Speer arrived from anchor and began loading. Cason J. Callaway and American Spirit were at anchor outside the Superior entry waiting to load.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
American Century departed Two Harbors on Sunday at approx. 17:10. Arriving Two Harbors on Sunday at 18:45 after being anchored off the Twin Ports was the Presque Isle. She left anchorage on Sunday at approx. 17:00. There is no inbound traffic scheduled for Two Harbors on Monday. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw the departure of the Stewart J. Cort on Sunday at 12:05 for Burns Harbor. Silver Bay has no inbound traffic scheduled for Monday.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
CSL's Thunder Bay was at anchor off the Lower Harbor for most of the day on Sunday before lifting anchor and heading north to her namesake port.

St. Marys River – Graham Grattan
From Mud Lake, the cutters Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay ran up the downbound channel Sunday and loosened the ice. Then the four downbound vessels (Joyce L. Van Enkvort/Great Lakes Trader, Calumet, Joseph H. Thompson / Thompson Jr. and CSL Laurentien) waiting above Nine Mile Point started down with the assistance of Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay. James R. Barker was waiting below Nine Mile and when the downbounders cleared, Bristol Bay started up with her. Bristol Bay locked up first and freshened up the track from the locks up to the turn at Whiskey Bay. She returned down to meet up with Barker and ran up ahead of her to the four downbounders (Michipicoten, Herbert C. Jackson, H. Lee White and St. Clair), waiting near Gros Cap Reef Light. When Barker cleared Michipicoten, they started down lead by Bristol Bay.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Robert S. Pierson was off the eastern coast of Wisconsin Sunday night, headed for Sturgeon Bay to lay up for the winter. She should arrive by daybreak Monday.

Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block finally left Indiana Harbor Sunday night, loaded with slag for Grand Haven. On the upper end of the lake, Robert S. Pierson and Burns Harbor were finally moving, headed for Sturgeon Bay and Burns Harbor respectively.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise finally departed with salt on Sunday. Algowood was at the north dock. Algosteel and CSL Laurentien are expected. CCGS Samuel Risley was standing by offshore.

Lake Huron
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edwin H. Gott remained at anchor above Port Huron Sunday waiting for permission to proceed downbound. Mesabi Miner and Cason J. Callaway were nearing their position at 10 p.m. and will probably join them at anchor.

St. Clair River
Lee A. Tregurtha (bound for Superior and winter lay up) and Manitoulin (headed for Soo, Ont.) cleared river ice and were well up Lake Huron Sunday night. At 10 p.m. Sunday there were no vessels in the St. Clair River or Lake St. Clair.

Detroit, Mich.
Indiana Harbor and American Mariner remained in port Sunday awaiting permission to go upbound when and if St. Clair River conditions permit. Hon. James L. Oberstar’s AIS now lists Nicholson’s Dock for winter lay up. Mississagi left the Rouge River and was tied up in Windsor Sunday night.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushne
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin remained at the CSX Coal Dock loading on Saturday. Also due at CSX to load is Kaye E. Barker on Monday around noon. All times are subject to change due to weather and ice. There have been no new arrivals for lay-up since John J. Boland arrived on Jan. 4 at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Edgar B. Speer is also expected at some point for lay-up, along with a few other vessels.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 8

On 08 January 2004, McKeil Marine’s CAPT. RALPH TUCKER was the first vessel of 2004 to arrive at the port of Manistee, Michigan. Once docked at the General Chemical facilities, Captain Bill Sullivan and Chief Engineer Otto Cooper were each presented with hand-carved Hackberry canes. This was a notable way for the vessel to start her last year of operation. Later that year she was sold for scrap.

JOHN HULST (Hull#286) was launched in 1938, at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 8 January 1877, the tug KATE FELCHER burned at East Saginaw, Michigan. Her loss was valued at $3,000, but she was insured for only $2,000. She was named after the wife of her owner, the well-known Capt. James Felcher of East Saginaw.

In 1939, several tugs helped release the CHIEF WAWATAM, which had been aground since January 3. In 1974, BENSON FORD, of 1924, became beset by ice in Western Lake Erie.

January 8, 1976, LEON FALK JR. closed the season at Superior, Wisconsin, after she departed the Burlington-Northern ore docks.

1996: The research ship CALYPSO, a converted wooden minesweeper, served noted deep-sea diver Jacques Cousteau for many years. It came to the Great Lakes in 1980 and explored several wrecks including the EDMUND FITZGERALD and GUNILDA. It sank at Singapore following a collision on this date. The hull was refloated but never repaired. Subsequently, there were disputes over ownership, with a later report saying the vessel would be displayed at the Bahamas as a tourist attraction.

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


Tugs pull Federal Biscay from lock, vessels to move Sunday morning

1/7 - Massena, N.Y. – A ship that had been stuck in the ice near Snell Lock in Massena since Tuesday was finally able to free itself Saturday with some help from others.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation reports that the vessel Federal Biscay has been safely and successfully freed from the U.S. Snell Lock, where it had been immobilized in ice for the past several days. After a major effort over the past 24 hours to melt the ice around the vessel using pressurized steam, the vessel exited the lock earlier this afternoon with tug assistance,” SLSDC officials said in a media release. Tugs involved were Ocean A. Simard, Robinson Bay and Leonard M.

Seaway officials said high-pressurized steam was the primary method used to melt the ice surrounding the vessel. They said the vessel is now tied up along the upper approach wall to the lock.

After Federal Biscay was freed, Leonard M and Robinson Bay left westbound to break the Billesborg out of the Wilson Hill anchorage. If all goes well, the Mitq Beatrix, and Billesborg will all be situated on Snell Lock's lower approach wall to be escorted down in convoy by tug Ocean Tundra after sunrise.

“The effort to free the vessel lasted several days and involved the hard work of many individuals under severe weather conditions. This included dedicated SLSDC work crews, technical experts from the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), the vessel operator (Fednav, Ltd.) and numerous contractors,” they said.

The Federal Biscay, a 650-foot-long bulk carrier that was transporting soybeans, had been on its way from Port Weller to Montreal when it became immobilized by heavy ice buildup on the lock wall, as well as on the vessel’s hull. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. officials said the vessel, which was built in 2015, is sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands and entered the lock on New Year’s Day, was not damaged.

“Ice logs and ice jams within the locks is common, but not to the point where the ship has really become inoperable,” said Michael Folsom, a veteran Seaway watcher.

Four other ships that remained in the Seaway system when the Federal Biscay became immobilized had been put in queue until the ship could be freed and shipping could resume. They were the Mitq and the Beatrix, general cargo ships from the Netherlands; a bulk carrier, Pacific Huron of Antigua Barbuda, and Billesborg, a container ship out of Panama.

The four commercial vessels still must transit downbound (eastbound) through the U.S. Seaway locks toward Montreal to exit the Seaway, which originally had been scheduled to close for the season on Dec. 31.

“These vessels are already positioned to allow for as safe and expeditious lock transit as possible,” Seaway officials said, noting they would issue another advisory when all five vessels have cleared the U.S. locks and have exited the U.S. sector of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Tugs had tried since Tuesday to pull the Federal Biscay free from the ice, beginning with an effort of more than seven hours on Tuesday and continuing through the week. Seaway officials also attempted to melt the ice around the vessel using pressurized steam, with additional tugboats brought in to assist. The efforts took place at a time when temperatures had dropped below zero and wind chill readings were as low as 45 below zero.

Folsom said the tugs had more than 10,000 horsepower, while the ship itself had “thousands of horsepower.”

“I think the biggest issue is you’re talking inches, no more than a few feet between the lock wall and the side of the ship. If the ship pushed a large amount of ice, the ice jammed quickly and it just locked up,” he said.

On Friday, observers close to the lock had reported that large boilers and fuel trucks had been set up on the north side of the lock in an effort to thaw the ice around the ship. A picture posted to Facebook showed hoses snaking across the deck from the boilers and into the lock.

Watertown Daily Times, Ron Beaupre


Port of Monroe’s shipping season ends early

1/7 - Monroe, Mich. – The arctic blast has put an early stop to one of Monroe County’s biggest economic drivers. The Port of Monroe ended its shipping season Tuesday because of the large amount of ice coverage on Lake Erie.

Port Director Paul C. LaMarre III said the barge Delaware arrived Tuesday along with the tugboat Calusa Coast to unload liquid asphalt to Michigan Paving & Materials. “The ice is building up unbelievably fast,” he said. “The (DTE Energy) power plant was recirculating the hot water (Tuesday) so there was a lot of steam and the water would freeze up right away.”

LaMarre typically uses a drone to monitor activity at the port but was unable to do so because of the single-digit temperatures. “It’s too cold to fly the drone,” he said.

The Port and the Great Lakes are experiencing “the most significant” ice accumulations since 2014, LaMarre said. “In such frigid conditions, ice thickness doubles almost daily making our waterways unnavigable,” he said. “We were thankful for the safe arrival of the port’s last shipment of the season and appreciate the dedicated service of the men and women ashore and aboard ship as winter operation is a true test of resilience.”

The Port of Monroe will release its tonnage for the 2017 shipping season later this year. In 2016, the port achieved its third highest tonnage numbers on record as 2,629,420 metric tons of cargo were delivered to port tenants. Those figures were just shy of the record numbers produced in 2014 and 2015. The port’s staple cargoes of coal, limestone, synthetic gypsum and liquid asphalt remain steady.

During 2017, Geo. Gradel Co. of Toledo began dredging the River Raisin near the port to deepen the port’s turning basin, which prepared for the construction of a new riverfront intermodal dock.

The $ 3.6 million project includes money the port received from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The port received a $3 million loan from the MEDC’s investment funds for the dredging and intermodal dock.

The project created two large, cellular cofferdams, which allow ships to be moored against the port. Ships will be able to use the new cofferdams for the first time in March when the shipping season reopens.

During this shipping season, the port also handled the large machinery cargo for the Arauco project in Grayling. The project is a $400 million particleboard factory.

Monroe Evening News


Port Reports -  January 7

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
After loading at CN throughout the day, American Integrity departed Duluth Saturday evening. St. Clair departed from BN early in the morning, and Whitefish Bay arrived to load. She was outbound at noon. John G. Munson arrived next, and was still loading as of Saturday night. Cason J. Callaway, John G. Munson, and CSL Assiniboine were at anchor off Superior waiting to load.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
As of 21:00 Saturday the American Century was still at the dock in Two Harbors. Presque Isle left anchorage off the Twin Ports on Saturday showing a Two Harbors AIS destination. She went East of Outer Island and was heading west north of the Brule River in NW Wisconsin as of 21:00 on Saturday. She was scheduled to load at BNSF #5, but is now waiting on Two Harbors. There is no other traffic scheduled for Two Harbors on Sunday. Arriving Northshore Mining in Silver Bay on Saturday at 06:03 was the Stewart J. Cort, a rare trip for her. Estimated departure is Sunday morning. There is no other traffic scheduled for Silver Bay on Sunday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
The worsening ice conditions have altered two CSL boats destinations. After loading ore in Superior bound for Nanticoke. Whitefish Bay is now sailing to Thunder Bay and should arrive early Sunday morning for winter layup. Thunder Bay also loaded for Nanticoke has been anchored in Whitefish Bay waiting out the weather and will be sailing back to Thunder Bay for layup Sunday.

St. Marys River
On Saturday morning, two CSL vessels, Thunder Bay and CSL Laurentien, entered the river downbound and made it as far as Gros Cap above the locks before the Thunder Bay called it quits due to ice and headed back upbound to lay up at her namesake port. As night fell, Joseph H. Thompson, Joyce L. VanEnkevort / barge Great Lakes Trader and CSL Laurentien were locking down and would wait till daybreak to proceed downriver. Earlier in the day the VanEnkevort detached from her barge Great Lakes Trader at Gros Cap to break ice for herself, Laurentien and the Thompson. Mesabi Miner, which had been stuck downbound below Mission Point was freed mid-day by the Mackinaw and made it as far as the lower end of the Rock Cut before becoming beset near Moon Island. She and Mackinaw were stopped there for the night at 9 p.m. Calumet spent the day on the east pier and then stopped in the harbor waiting for traffic below her to clear. By 9 p.m. she had arrived at Nine Mile to spend the night. Upbound James R. Barker was also stopped at Nine Mile Point for the night, as traffic is no longer permitted to move in darkness. Winner of the day was the Kaye E. Barker, which left Algoma Steel and used the track the downbound vessels left to proceed without problems into Lake Superior. She is headed for winter lay up. H. Lee White was inbound at Whitefish about 10 p.m.

Straits of Mackinac
On Saturday night, Burns Harbor, Robert S. Pierson, Samuel deChamplain, Philip R. Clarke and Algosteel were all beset in Straits ice. At 9 p.m. the USCG Mobile Bay was working with the Algosteel, which is bound for Goderich, Ont., and the Clarke, bound for Conneaut.

Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block was at Indiana Harbor Saturday night, loading slag for Grand Haven.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was still at the salt dock Saturday. Algowood was still at the grain elevator. Algosteel is due next but was beset in Straits ice Saturday night.

Lake Huron
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edwin H. Gott were stopped at the lower end of the lake Saturday night, waiting to move down into the St. Clair River. Algonova was at the tip of the thumb bound for Calcite. Great Republic was off Harrisville upbound, although her AIS reports she is bound for Toledo.

St. Clair River
Samuel Risley, Griffon and Neah Bay were working in the lower part of the river Saturday. At the end of the day, Lee A. Tregurtha (bound for Superior and winter lay up) and Manitoulin (headed for Soo, Ont.) were still stuck in the ice at Harsens Island.

Detroit, Mich.
Hon. James L. Oberstar, Indiana Harbor and American Mariner remained in port Saturday awaiting permission to go upbound when and if St. Clair River conditions permit. Mississagi was unloading up the Rouge River.

Lake Erie
CSL Niagara was receiving assistance from USCG Morro Bay on the eastern end of the lake on Saturday, but stopped at dark for the night. Tug Calusa Coast / barge Delaware finally made it to Cleveland. Defiance / Ashtabula were eastbound headed for Fairport. Baie St. Paul was headed east with an unspecified destination. Capt. Henry Jackman was at Nanticoke. John J. Boland remained at Toledo with about several thousand tons of frozen coal in her cargo holds which must be broken up and transferred to another cargo hold. After that happens they will then proceed to the CSX Coal Docks for winter layup after the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin finishes loading coal. They are only able to load three cars per hour due to the frozen coal.

Halifax, NS – Mac Mackay
Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived in Halifax Jan. 3, and after riding out a storm at anchor, moved to pier 26 Jan. 6 and laid up.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 7

07 January 1974 - EDMUND FITZGERALD (steel propeller bulk freighter, 711 foot, 13,632 gross tons, built in 1958, at River Rouge, Michigan) lost her anchor in the Detroit River when it snagged on ice. It was raised in July 1992. The anchor weighs 12,000 pounds and now resides outside the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.

On January 7, 1970, the e.) ONG, a.) REDHEAD of 1930, had her Canadian registry closed. The tanker had been sold for use as a water tender at Antigua in the Lesser Antilles and had departed Toronto on December 1, 1969.

1924: The rail car ferry ONTARIO NO. 1 had a rough overnight crossing of Lake Ontario. The ship was diverted to Toronto with three feet of ice on the deck and anchored off Port Credit. With no seagate, it had to sail into the wind and could not make its docking at Cobourg as scheduled.

1943: ORNEFJELL came to the Great Lakes beginning in 1933 and returned as b) AKABAHRA after being sold in 1937. It was torpedoed and sunk on the Mediterranean in position 37.07 N / 4.38 E.

1977: BARFONN had visited the Seaway beginning in 1959 and returned as b) ORIENT EXPLORER in 1967 and as c) AEGEAN in 1971. It caught fire at Colombo, Sri Lanka, as d) TONG THAY and became a total loss. The vessel was taken to Singapore Roads, laid up, sold for scrap and arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for dismantling on March 24, 1978.

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


Federal Biscay freed at Snell Lock

1/6 - Massena, N.Y. 2:30 p.m. update - Three tugs, the Ocean A. Simard, Robinson Bay and Leonard M, successfully pulled the icebound Federal Biscay from the Snell Lock around 12:30 on Saturday. She is in the channel above the lock and it appears that the tugs are clearing ice away from the upper approach wall so the Biscay can be secured there. Ron Beaupre

Original report - The saltwater vessel Federal Biscay remained lodged in the ice at Snell Lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway Friday night. The bulk carrier, sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, has been stuck partially inside the lock since Jan. 1. The ice plug now extends down alongside the ship almost all the way to the bottom.

Three tugs, Ocean A. Simard, Robinson Bay and Leonard M., have been attempting to free the ship without success. On Thursday they were augmented by land vehicles on pulling on the vessel’s cables. The tug Evans McKeil was headed downbound in the Seaway and believed to be on the way to join in the effort on Friday.

On Thursday, unconfirmed reports say a big chunk of ice got into Federal Biscay’s propeller and bent one of the blades.

Tugs are also working on breaking ice down the river. Ocean Tundra is tasked with keeping a track from Snell Lock to Beauharnois.

Federal Biscay was en route from Port Weller to Montreal and is carrying soybeans. There are four other ships on the Seaway still upriver from Snell Lock: Mitq, a general cargo ship from the Netherlands; Beatrix, a general cargo ship from the Netherlands; a bulk carrier, Pacific Huron, of Antigua Barbuda and Billesborg, a container ship out of Panama.

According to a Seaway press release, the only explanation of how the Federal Biscay came to be stuck was stated as “heavy ice build-up on the lock wall as well as on the vessel’s hull.” The Seaway’s ship tracking system indicates that the ship arrived at the lock at about 11:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Whether it became stuck then as it tried to enter the lock, or the ice formed around while it was moored and prevented it from moving again is unclear.

Once all the vessels have successfully transited the U.S. locks, the U.S. portion of the Seaway will close to commercial navigation, completing the 2017 navigation season, the Seaway Development Corp. reported Wednesday. The Seaway was scheduled to close for the season Dec. 31.

Ron Beaupre, Ron Walsh, Standard Freeholder


Great Lakes limestone trade up more than 6 percent in 2017

1/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 28 million tons in 2017, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to 2016. 2017’s loadings were also 2.1 percent above the trade’s five-year average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 23.2 million tons, an increase of 8.4 percent compared to 2016. Shipments from U.S. quarries also inched passed their 5-year average. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 4.85 million tons, a decrease of 2.1 percent from 2016, but 10.4 percent better than their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Heavy ice brings end to shipping season in Thunder Bay

1/6 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – With winter in full force in northwestern Ontario, the shipping season has once again come to a close. Thunder Bay Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Tim Heney said the last ship was loaded on Thursday, Jan. 5.

"We have a bunch of ships coming in that will be wintering in the harbor [and] if you look out right now you could probably see the icebreakers assisting them to come in," Heney said.

He said despite a busy start to the season, shipping volumes were down this year overall, especially in the fall and early winter. "There's been ice all along the system … so we've seen some delays, some struggles with the ice and it's probably choked off the season a little bit early," Heney said.

While the shipping volume for this year and the past four years has remained the same, according to Heney, volumes for grain has decreased as they've been receiving more potash. "The grain falling off a bit was a little bit disappointing but luckily it was made up by potash towards the end of the year," Heney said.

He said grain shipments came in just under nine million metric tonnes and he expects similar grain volumes next season. Heney said Keefer terminal was also very busy this year, with some of the highest hours for the dockworkers since the 1990s.



Port Reports -  January 6

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Edgar B. Speer arrived Duluth mid-morning Friday to fuel at Calumet. She departed early in the afternoon, and dropped anchor off the harbor. American Integrity arrived about the same time to load iron ore pellets at CN. St. Clair loaded at Burlington Northern in Superior on Friday, and was tentatively expected to depart around midnight. At anchor waiting for the dock were Whitefish Bay, John G. Munson, CSL Assiniboine, Presque Isle, Cason J. Callaway, and Edgar B. Speer.

Two Harbors - Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Thunder Bay departed Two Harbors on Friday at 02:17 for Nanticoke. Arriving Two Harbors at 02:46 on Friday was the H. Lee White coming from anchorage off the Twin Ports. She departed Two Harbors on Friday at 18:50. Arriving Two Harbors on Friday was American Century at 19:25 after anchoring off the Twin Ports on Friday at 08:45. There is no inbound traffic scheduled for Two Harbors on Saturday. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw the departure of Joseph H. Thompson Jr./Joseph H. Thompson on Friday at 03:23 for Cleveland. There is no scheduled traffic for Silver Bay on Saturday, but is showing Stewart J. Cort loading in Silver Bay. As of 20:45 she is abeam of Thunder Bay showing an AIS destination of Superior.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
On Friday at 2:45 Algoma Discovery arrived and went to anchor. USCGC Alder arrived at 3:23 and began ice operations from south of the Welcome Islands to the Kam River. She proceeded to the main anchorage and eventually cleared a path to the old CN ore dock. 9:24 Algoma Equinox arrived and went to anchor. 11:20 CSL Laurentien departed for Goderich with the assistance from the tugs Glenada and Point Valour. The two tugs proceeded to the anchorage to assist the three boats there to winter lay up at the old CN ore dock. The first at 15:06 was Algoma Discovery, 16:56 G3 Marquis and at 17:32 Algoma Equinox. 19:38 USCG cutter Alder departed for Superior.

St. Marys River
Friday was another adventure in icebreaking on the St. Marys River. By mid-evening, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Edgar B. Speer were finally outbound at DeTour for Detroit after spending three days transiting the river. Burns Harbor was downbound past Lime Island. James R. Barker (for Duluth) was upbound at the lower end of Lime Island. Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay were assisting. At the Soo, Calumet and Mesabi Miner locked downbound (for Nanticoke) and Kaye E. Barker locked upbound (for Algoma) around 10 p.m. American Spirit (for Superior) was outbound at Ile Parisienne.

Green Bay, Wis. – Jeff R
The Great Lakes Towing tug North Dakota blew her engine and had an engine fire while pushing the Algosteel Jan. 3 at Green Bay. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay put out the fire with the tug Barbara Andrie assisting. No injuries were reported.

Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block was at Indiana Harbor Friday night, possibly loading slag for Grand Haven. Philip R. Clarke was at the north end of the lake headed for Conneaut. Algosteel was off Manistique bound for Goderich. Robert S. Pierson was in the Straits headed for Sturgeon Bay and winter lay up.

Alpena, Mich.
Samuel deChamplain and her barge were departing for South Chicago Friday night. Great Republic was stopped offshore.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Enterprise was loading salt Friday. Algowood was at the grain elevator.

St. Clair River
On Friday afternoon the CCGS Samuel Risley was able to free Mississagi from heavy river ice. In the evening they were downbound in Lake St. Clair.

Detroit, Mich.
Traffic Friday evening traffic included Manitoulin (stopped below Belle Isle but bound for Soo, Ont.), Hon. James L. Oberstar (stopped at the fuel dock but headed for 2 Harbors), American Mariner (astern of the Oberstar with no destination listed) and Indiana Harbor (2 Harbors). Lee A. Tregurtha was up the Rouge River. The vessels may be waiting for the Risley to escort them upbound.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin continued to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock in Toledo on Friday. Also due at CSX is the Kaye E. Barker, expected Monday at noon from Soo, Ont. At the Torco Dock, James R. Barker is due on Thursday, Jan.11 during the morning to unload iron ore pellets. All times are subject to change due to weather and ice conditions. Evans Spirit will be spending the winter laid up at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The first U.S. vessel to layup for the 2017/18 winter lay-Up period was the John J. Boland, which arrived during the late evening on Thursday and proceed to the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock joining the Evans Spirit which had arrived in late December. Evans Spirit did arrive to unload a cargo but could not make it out to the Welland Canal and Seaway Locks before each closed for the winter. Two other vessels in long-term layup are the Manistee at the Hocking Valley South Dock and the American Valor near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels will be arriving for lay up.

Lake Erie – Jim Hoffman
As of 7 p.m. Friday, the cutters Morro Bay and Griffon were back in service on Lake Erie, assisting the tug Calusa Coast and Capt. Henry Jackman heading east on the lake. Eventually they will be assisting Algoma Hansa, Baie St. Paul, and CSL Niagara, heading west on the lake for the Detroit River.


Cargo volumes at Montreal port reach all-time high

1/6 - Montreal, Que. – Canada’s Montreal Port Authority reported another record year with close to 38 million tons of cargo handled in 2017. As informed, this unaudited figure represents a year-over-year increase of almost 7 percent in cargo traffic. Additionally, in the last five years, the port’s cargo volumes have grown 34 percent.

The Port of Montreal again shattered a cruise traffic record. In 2017, Montreal welcomed more than 114,517 cruise passengers and cre members, a 33 percent leap over the previous year. The rise in cruise traffic comes after the inauguration of the new cruise terminal in June 2017.

In 2017, the port’s new container terminal at Viau completed its first full year of operations. At term, the facility will make it possible to handle 600,000 TEUs, the port authority said.

In September, the MPA submitted its Environmental Impact Statement for its 1.15 million TEU container terminal project at Contrecoeur. “This key project for the future of the container in Montreal and Quebec is based on the steady growth of containerized cargo in recent decades,” Sylvie Vachon, Chief Executive Officer and President of MPA, commented.

The project will be subject to consultations through the regulatory process of the federal regulatory process in early 2018. The announcement on the port’s cargo throughput was made during a ceremony held on January 3.

On that occasion, Vachon awarded the Gold-Headed Cane to Captain Rakesh Kumar, an Indian national, master of the Ottawa Express, the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Montreal without a stopover in 2018. Ottawa Express crossed the Port of Montreal‘s limits on January 1, and docked at Berth 77 at the Cast terminal. It will be reloaded for its departure on January 5.

“The arrival of Captain Kumar and his container ship is a great reminder at the start of this new year that container handling is part of the Port of Montreal’s DNA and has been growing here for over 50 years,” Vachon said.

World Maritime News


Early ice jams St. Clair River; minor flooding in East China Township

1/6 - Marine City, Mich. – Duane Upton was standing on the Marine City Beach Thursday in single-digit temperatures. The Marine City resident was taking photos of freighters and he got a good one – the upbound and massive 1,000-footer James R. Barker passing the downbound tug-barge Erie Trader.

Both of the ships wore wreaths of ice and they seemed to pass within mere inches of each other in the ice-choked St. Clair River. “I’m just taking pictures of the ships stuck in the ice,” Upton said. “The Sam Risley is the one working today.”

The Risley is a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker and buoy tender. It was clearing a path for the big freighters through the jumble of ice that started just north of Marine City and continued to Lake St. Clair. Upton said he wasn’t aware of any flooding issues in Marine City, but the National Weather Service at 1:45 p.m. Thursday issued a flood warning for the St. Clair River to the south of St. Clair in East China Township.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Little progress for new USS Little Rock; it's gotten to Montreal

1/6 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The crew of the USS Little Rock LCS-9, which was commissioned at Canalside in Buffalo on Dec. 16, expected to be well on their way to their home base in Mayport, Fla., at this point. Instead, their departure from Buffalo was delayed for three days by the weather. Now the newest ship in the navy has been moored at a dock in Montreal for more than a week.

The vessel’s Facebook page, showing photos of ice-covered water, noted on Dec. 27 that the Little Rock had made it through the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway and had arrived in Montreal. Plans to proceed to Halifax apparently are on hold until conditions improve.

The vessel arrived at Montreal section 33 on Dec. 24. She shifted docks to section 48 on Jan. 4 with the assistance of two tugs where she is better protected from drifting ice. She is not certified for winter navigation.

The Buffalo News


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 6

While under tow heading for scrap, the HARRY R. JONES went aground at Androsan, Scotland, on January 6, 1961, and it wasn't until February 15 that she arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland.

January 6, 1999 - The Dow Chemical plant in Ludington, Michigan, announced a plan to close its lime plant, eliminating the need for Great Lakes freighters to deliver limestone.

In 1973, the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON ran aground at Escanaba, Michigan, after departing that port.

1976: The former GLADYS BOWATER was sailing as c) AGINOR when it caught fire and had to be abandoned off southwest Sicily. The hull was towed to Palermo, Italy, with serious damage and then to Piraeus, Greece, where it was laid up unrepaired. But the ship was resold, rebuilt and returned to service as d) ALEXANDRA in 1977. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as e) LAMYAA in 1985.

1979: OTTO NUBEL first came to the Great Lakes in 1953 and returned regularly until the final four trips in 1959. The ship was sailing as b) MARIA III when there was an explosion in the engine room on January 6, 1979, near Tamomago Island, Spain. A fire followed and the vessel went aground where it was abandoned as a total loss.

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


No go: Three tugs fail to budge Federal Biscay frozen in Snell Lock

1/5 - Thursday morning the tug Leonard M joined Ocean A. Simard and Robinson Bay in the effort to pull the Federal Biscay out of Snell lock, where she has been frozen for three days. The total estimated horsepower applied to this was 12,820, with Leonard M 4200 bhp; Ocean A. Simard 3,290 bhp; Robinson Bay 1,750 shp and Federal Biscay, 3580 mhp (considering a ship in reverse applies about 30 percent thrust).

Unfortunately their efforts to move the ship out of the lock failed. The four ships waiting above the blockade are Mitiq, Beatrix, Billesborg, and Pacific Huron.

The Seaway Development Corporation says there's heavy ice buildup on the lock wall and on the ship's hull. This is clogging up the system. Three other ships trying to exit the seaway before it closes for the season are now located near either the Eisenhower Lock wall, the Snell Lock wall and the Iroquois Lock wall.

There's an open question as to whether the Seaway is preparing those ships to spend the winter in the waterway. If this happens, officials say they believe this would be a first for the seaway. The Seaway was supposed to close for the winter on December 31. The Federal Biscay, which is carrying soybeans, has delayed the closure. Seaway officials had no further comment.

Ron Beaupre,


U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet will get $65 million tune-up this winter

1/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators will spend $65 million maintaining and modernizing their vessels at Great Lakes shipyards this winter. When complete, the fleet will be ready to meet the needs of commerce come the spring break-out in March.

“Winter is the one opportunity our members have to renew and upgrade their vessels,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing the major U.S.-flag carriers. “They have just 10 months to deliver their customers’ annual raw materials requirement, so the vessels are in service 24/7 during the shipping season.”

The major focus this winter will be on normal maintenance such as overhauls of engines, cargo hold renewal and replacement of conveyor belts in the unloading systems. Depending on the trades it serves, a Great Lakes freighter can carry anywhere from 50 to 100 cargos in a season. A few vessels in the Cuyahoga River iron ore shuttle in Cleveland, Ohio, can carry even more cargos in a season.

• A steamship is having its boiler completely rebuilt. A 1,000-foot-long laker will have highly efficient Rolls Royce propeller blades installed that will reduce fuel consumption and increase speed.

• The industry’s carbon footprint will again shrink when a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-flag laker becomes the sixth vessel to have an exhaust gas scrubber installed in the past few years.

• Ten lakers will be placed in drydock to allow the U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping to inspect the hull. These inspections are required by U.S. law.

The lakes fresh water environment means vessels can serve the economy for decade upon decade. Two of the 1,000-footers will begin their 40th year of operation in 2018.

The major shipyards on the lakes are located in Sturgeon Bay, Superior and Marinette, Wisconsin; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio. Smaller “top-side” repair operations are located in Cleveland, Ohio; Escanaba, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and several cities in Michigan. The industry’s annual payroll for its 2,700 employees approaches $125 million and it is estimated that a wintering vessel generates an additional $800,000 in economic activity in the community in which it is moored.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  January 5

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Algoma Equinox departed Two Harbors on Thursday at 14:55 for Thunder Bay lay-up. Arriving Two Harbors at 15:13 on Thursday was the Thunder Bay after departing anchorage off the Twin Ports at approx. 08:30 and stopping off Two Harbors at 10:00. Arriving anchorage off the Twin Ports on Thursday at 11:45 was the H. Lee White to await Two Harbors. As of 20:30 on Thursday the American Century was running checked down SE of Grand Marais, Minn. She is due to load in Two Harbors. As of 20:30 on Thursday the Joseph H. Thompson Jr./Joseph H. Thompson was still at the dock at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay. Silver Bay has no scheduled traffic on Friday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Thursday, G3 Marquis, after loading ore in Two Harbors, was following the north shore route on her way to Port Colborne for winter layup. At 11:26 she diverted to Thunder Bay and went to anchor at 13:25. With the worsening ice conditions in the lower lakes she will probably lay up in Thunder Bay. Algoma Equinox and Algoma Discovery, after loading ore, are proceeding north to Thunder Bay for winter layup. The USCGC Alder is also proceeding to Thunder Bay. All three vessels are scheduled to arrive early Friday morning.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Calumet loaded ore at LS&I on Thursday in frigid conditions.

St. Marys River
Robert S. Pierson and Mississagi were downbound in the earlier part of Thursday after receiving icebreaking help in various parts of the river. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. locked downbound after spending the early morning stuck at Light 26. She was stopped in the Nine Mile anchorage area Thursday evening. Stewart J. Cort was upbound in the afternoon. American Spirit and Kaye E. Barker were stopped in Mud Lake in the evening. Burns Harbor and Edwin H. Gott were downbound at the locks at 8 p.m. and would likely wait until daylight to transit the river.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Algosteel arrived with salt around 4 p.m. Wednesday and left at daybreak Thursday.

Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block was downbound south of Milwaukee in the evening for Indiana Harbor. Philip R. Clarke was upbound north of Milwaukee for Conneaut.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday morning the Great Republic was anchored off Alpena. The tugboat Manitou came out and made a track in the ice for the Great Republic to follow into Lafarge. Once docked the Republic started to unload coal, but the process will be slow with the cold temperatures. Manitou also assisted the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation into port Wednesday night. The Champlain will be loading cement under the silos. Over the past weekend the tug G.L Ostrander / barge Integrity also loaded at Lafarge. The Manitou has been in Alpena since December 23, 2017. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 unloaded at Lafarge on December 24, 2017.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood was loading salt Thursday. Algoma Enterprise was waiting to load. for the Algoway is laid up for the winter near her old fleetmate, Algorail. Neither vessel is expected to operate again.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Thursday in the late afternoon weather and ice permitting. Due at the Torco Dock is the Calumet on Saturday in the early evening to unload ore pellets.

Lake Erie – Jim Hoffman
Thursday afternoon update: The cutter Griffon stopped handling the Capt. Henry Jackman icebreaking duty. She had to break off and assist the Manitoulin and Oberstar through the ice in the Detroit River. The Capt Henry Jackman and the tug Calusa Coast are now stopped in the ice in western Lake Erie. Meanwhile the Neah Bay is assisting the John J. Boland and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin for Toledo. Samuel Risley is presently escorting Erie Trader, Lee A. Tregurtha and American Mariner through the ice in Lake St. Clair.

Erie, Pa. – Andrew Rogers
Wednesday was a busy day in port. Dorothy Ann / Pathfinder waited to enter the channel until Great Lakes Towing tug New York arrived from Ashtabula to break ice in the bay. CCGS Griffon was expected to help with the icebreaking efforts, but the ice was only 8-10 inches thick, allowing New York to efficiently handle the load. Dorothy Ann / Pathfinder eased into the west slip along Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair, stern first, for winter layup. About an hour later, Defiance/Ashtabula arrived at last light with a load of salt from Fairport.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The harbor is completely iced over and in the grip of a polar vortex with minus double-digit temperatures. Early this week the tug M.R. Kane, the fireboat William Lyon MacKenzie and the Ports Toronto tug Iron Guppy were out breaking ice. The Ongiara is out of service with a damaged rudder and islanders have to use the Billy Bishop Airport ferry to travel to the city and this can take well over an hour one way. A surplus TTC bus and a school bus take islanders from Wards Island over to the Hanlan’s Point airport perimeter. This is the slow point of the trip as the bus has to wait for an airport escort vehicle and control tower clearance to cross the runway between aircraft landings and take offs. Once across the airport the islanders can cross the West Gap via the tunnel or the ferry and upon arrival at city side they can take a cab or hop on the Porter Airlines shuttle bus which loops down town at the Royal York Hotel.

Bath, Ont. – Ron Walsh
At 1950 Thursday, English River was making her approach to Bath, coming from Oswego. She expects to be there about 12 hours and then will clear for Toronto.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Thursday English River arrived to unload cement.

Montreal, Que. – Rene Beauchamp
USS Little Rock was shifted to another dock by two tugs Thursday morning.


Shipping and ice breaking continue on the waters of Green Bay

1/5 - Green Bay, Wis. – If you plan to venture out onto the frozen waters of Green Bay for any outdoor activities, you need to be aware of ice-breaking operations. The shipping season on the Bay isn't over, just yet.

A couple miles off Brown County's Bayshore Park, The 730-foot freighter Algosteel was loaded with salt and headed for the port of Green Bay on Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay cleared the way.

"They'll make a track. They break the ice, and then they come back. They move at a faster speed, and they'll kind of flip some of the ice on top of itself, creating a traffic lane," said Dean Haen, Port of Green Bay Director.

A 70-100 foot wide traffic lane. The open water path stretches from Sturgeon Bay all the way to Green Bay. "The concern is, whether you're a snowmobiler, lost fisherman or whatever it may be, that tries to go across. I wouldn't advise anyone to plan on crossing the bay east to west," said Haen.

"They're telling us anywhere from 8 to 14, 15 inches of ice," said Scott Gille, Smokey's On the Bay Bait Shop. Gille says ice conditions on the Bay are good, and so is the fishing. He says anglers notice the ships coming in. "When the cutter went through, they can kind of feel the pressure of the water being moved around underneath them. But it's not like it's cracking or opening up. It's just more of a sensation that they kind of hear the rumbling of the pressure cracks," said Gille.

The port director says people can expect to see the icebreakers, and other vessels until the third week of January. The tug barge combination Great Lakes / Michigan unloaded its petroleum cargo at a dock along the Fox River.

"Just know where you are, and what you're doing. And stay away from the shipping lanes. The icebreakers are out there. That's what they're here for and they're working," said Haen.

Fourteen terminals make up the Port of Green Bay. About 200 ships visit the each year, importing and exporting about two million tons of cargo.

Fox 11


Ice blockage prompts St. Clair River flood warning

1/5 - St. Clair, Mich. – The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for areas along the St. Clair River south of St. Clair. According to the warning, St. Clair County Emergency Management reported flooding along the St Clair River to the south of St Clair in East China Township at about 1:45 p.m. The water level at the St. Clair gauge was 579.28 feet.

Roadways were impacted by flooding near the St Clair River. Many homes and structures were threatened by water near the reported flooding. The current flooding is due to an ice blockage on the St Clair River. Conditions will remain favorable for ice blockages into Sunday.

Port Huron Times Herald


Man falls off boat at Presque Isle Ore Dock

1/5 - Marquette, Mich. – Early Thursday morning Marquette City Police responded to a call of a man who had fallen off one of the boats at the Presque Isle Ore Dock. The man had been rescued by the time police were on scene. He was transported to UP Health System - Marquette. It is believed he was in the water for only a matter of minutes.

No further update is available at this time. WLUC TV6 has reached out to Cleveland-Cliffs spokesperson Pat Persico for further details. There was no immediate response Thursday afternoon. The vessel involved is believed to be the Calumet.



Sugar Island, Neebish Island ferries could be delayed due to ice

1/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The expansive ice coverage on the St. Marys River may lead to a disruption of scheduled ferry operations. The below zero temperatures, lake effect snow, and the continued movement of commercial vessels will fuel the development of ice.

Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw, Bristol Bay and Biscayne Bay are actively working the river system. They are committed to minimizing service interruptions but warn it's not a matter of if service will be stopped but when. It is recommend island residents prepare for the probability that ferry operations will be disrupted by packing for overnight contingencies, stocking pantries and preparing for medical needs.



USCG sets Saginaw Bay, Lake Erie Islands regulated navigation areas for winter

1/5 - The U.S. Coast Guard has amended its Great Lakes Regulated Navigation Areas to include two safety zones in the Lake Erie Islands, Ohio and Saginaw Bay, Michigan regions. These zones will apply during the winter months to protect waterway users, vessels and mariners from hazards associated with winter conditions and navigation.

Any vessels wishing to enter these areas after noon on Saturday, January 6, 2018, are required to contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit at (313) 568-9560 to request permission at least 72 hours in advance. The availability of this information gives our units the ability to respond more quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency.



Arctic air making Great Lakes ice expand to double of average

1/5 - The abnormally cold air isn't only freezing us. It's causing ice cover on the Great Lakes to expand rapidly. All of the Great Lakes have more than double the amount of ice cover today than the long-term average, with the exception of Lake Superior.

Read more and view maps at this link


Updates -  January

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 5

The keel was laid January 5, 1972, for ALGOWAY (Hull#200) at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

The wooden tug A. J. WRIGHT caught fire on 5 January 1893, while laid up at Grand Haven, Michigan. She burned to the water's edge. Her loss was valued at $20,000. She was owned by C. D. Thompson.

In 1970, PETER REISS broke her tail shaft while backing in heavy ice at the mouth of the Detroit River.

On January 5, 1976, Halco's tanker CHEMICAL TRANSPORT cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario, closing that port for the season.

1976: A.S. GLOSSBRENNER struck bottom entering Port McNicoll and had to be unloaded immediately due to the extensive hull damage. The ship was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks in the spring. The vessel became b) ALGOGULF (ii) in 1987 and c) ALGOSTEEL (ii) in 1990.

1982: The Norwegian freighter NORHOLT first came through the Seaway in 1962 and made a total of 15 inland voyages. It was renamed b) SALVADOR in 1966 and returned once in 1967. The ship went aground as c) SAN JUAN off Shadwan Island enroute to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on this date. It was refloated January 22, 1982, towed to Suez Bay and laid up. Fire broke out on August 26, 1982, and the ship was abandoned and later beached. It was taken over by the Suez Canal Authority in 1983 and scrapped.

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


Federal Biscay still stuck in Seaway lock; another tug on the way

1/4 - The tugs Ocean A. Simard and Robinson Bay tried and failed to free Federal Biscay from Snell Lock ice on Wednesday. Leonard M was enroute Wednesday night to try and get traffic moving again. Four other saltwater vessels are behind Federal Biscay: Mitq, Beatrix, Billeborg and Pacific Huron.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is currently working to dislodge the vessel, according to a media release from SLSDC. They said the vessel was not damaged, but was immobilized because of the heavy ice buildup on the lock wall, as well as on the vessel’s hull.

“Efforts to free the vessel from the lock chamber will continue so that the remaining four commercial vessels in queue, as well as the Federal Biscay, can depart the Seaway. Once all the vessels have successfully transited the U.S. locks, the U.S. portion of the Seaway will close to commercial navigation, completing the 2017 navigation season,” they said. The Seaway was scheduled to close for the season on Dec. 31. Ron Beaupre


Frigid conditions slowing shipping industry

1/4 - Duluth, Minn. – The ore boats sitting out on the water may make a picturesque shot for photography buffs. But it's a less than ideal sight for operators of vessels on the Great Lakes. Time is money is a saying that applies to the water as well. And the captains and their crews are having to wait longer than normal to load iron ore pellets.

The bitter cold temperatures are making things difficult at the docks. Jim Sharrow, Director of Port Planning and Resiliency of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, explained.

He said the docks in Superior, at Allouez, are run by BNSF. They have three miles of conveyer belts that move the pellets, and that is three miles of area that could encounter a problem. Also, pellets can get stuck in the ore cars, or the cars can break down themselves. And on the boats themselves, the hatches can ice over, and there can be 20-30 hatches.

Some of that ice was visible on the front of the Thunder Bay, as she sailed under the lift bridge around 11:30 am on Tuesday. Despite the frigid conditions, folks like Nick Cooley and Emily Meyer rushed out to see her. The Thunder Bay was set to deliver salt at Hallett Dock, and then head to Two Harbors to pick up pellets, according to Sharrow.

There are around 1 to 1.5 million tons of pellets scheduled to be loaded yet this season. But with the delays, they might not all make it to the steel mills. The mills are stockpiling right now, in anticipation of the closure of the Soo Locks on January 15.

The Lake Carriers Association said they are facing challenging conditions throughout the system. Glen Neksavil sent a statement: "The U.S. Coast Guard is doing its best, but we need more icebreakers. This is why Lake Carriers' Association continues to work to have another heavy icebreaker of the Mackinaw's caliber built for the Lakes. The Soo Locks close in 13 days. Come January 15, steel mills and power plants will be cut off from their supply of iron ore and low-sulfur coal. These final cargos are key to manufacturing and power generation continuing during the Lakes' winter closure."

Several vessels have gotten stuck in the ice already. And there were high winds on Tuesday, adding to the challenges. So Sharrow thought some vessels, even if they load up, may not leave right away. He said the winds are supposed to subside a bit on Wednesday.



NOAA issues new ice forecast

1/4 - The National Weather Service in Cleveland has issued an updated Great Lakes Ice Outlook. Forecast is for the ice in Western Lake Erie to thicken to 30 inches in some areas, while the rest of the lake could have ice from 6-12 inches by Friday evening. For the Sault Ste. Marie area, they are expecting ice to thicken to 18-30 inches by late Friday. NOAA ice forecast


Port Reports -  January 4

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Mesabi Miner continued loading at Burlington Northern in Superior on Wednesday before departing during the evening. Algoma Discovery was inbound shortly after the Miner's departure to load ore. Thunder Bay was the only vessel at anchor off Duluth waiting to load in Two Harbors, while St. Clair, Presque Isle, Whitefish Bay, John G. Munson, and CSL Assiniboine were on the hook outside Superior waiting for the BN dock.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay – Gary A. Putney
Correction to Tuesday’s report: Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader was downbound in the St. Marys River heading for Zug Island, not Two Harbors. She loaded in Two Harbors. Departing Two Harbors Wednesday at 06:27 was the Edwin H. Gott bound for Detroit. Arriving Two Harbors Wednesday at 06:50 was G3 Marquis from anchorage off the Twin Ports where she had been since Saturday. She departed Two Harbors at approximately 20:30 for Port Colborne. Arriving Two Harbors Wednesday at 20:42 from anchorage off the Twin Ports where she had been since Saturday was the Algoma Equinox. Still anchored off the Twin Ports awaiting the loading dock in Two Harbors is the Thunder Bay. Due Two Harbors on Thursday are the H. Lee White that will probably go to anchor and the American Century later in the day on Thursday. Due Northshore Mining in Silver Bay on Thursday is the Joseph H. Thompson Jr./Joseph H. Thompson. She should arrive Silver Bay in the morning.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
USCGC Alder departed at 15:05 for Superior, Wis.

St. Marys River
At noon Wednesday, the USCG Mackinaw was leading the Joseph L. Block and American Mariner downbound through the Rock Cut. Lee A. Tregurtha was leaving the locks downbound. Robert S. Pierson was in the harbor waiting to lock upbound for Algoma, while Bristol Bay was assisting the upbound American Integrity at Six Mile Point. Mississagi was upbound at Nine Mile with salt for Algoma. Cason J. Callaway had left the Whitefish Point anchorage upbound, joining a parade of vessels headed up the north shore. At mid-evening, downbound Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was stuck at Light 26 and would have to wait until morning for USSCG assistance. Burns Harbor was stopped below Ile Parisenne. Herbert C. Jackson left the Whitefish Point anchorage area and resumed her trip to Marquette. Cutters Bristol Bay and Mackinaw were in the lower river.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algowood was loading salt all day Wednesday. Algoma Enterprise was waiting for the dock. Samuel Risley was standing by offshore to break ice if needed. Algoway is in the basin laid up for the winter near her old fleetmate, Algorail. Neither vessel is expected to sail again.

St. Clair River – Michael Meredith‎
The cold weather has finally brought choking ice to the lower end of the St Clair River. American Century got stuck briefly upbound on the night of Jan. 1. Downbound James L. Oberstar stopped to wait for her to clear. Tuesday, Indiana Harbor got stuck downbound in a couple of spots and Great Republic either got stuck upbound, or stopped to let her pass. On Wednesday, American Spirit got stuck upbound in Lake St Clair until the cutter Neah Bay, escorting the Algosea, passed downbound. Wednesday night Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker were a few miles apart all the way up the Detroit River and Lake St Clair until the James R. hit the same patch and got left behind.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker departed Toledo during the late morning on Wednesday. Kaye E. Barker left the CSX Coal Dock headed north to the Soo, while the James R. Barker left from the Torco Dock after unloading pellets. Due next at CSX is the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday in the mid-afternoon. At the Torco Dock, next to arrive is the Calumet on Saturday in the early afternoon to unload pellets. All times are weather and ice conditions permitting. Evans Spirit will be spending the winter in Toledo as the vessel could not make it out to the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway before each respectively closed for the winter. So far no other vessels have yet to arrive in port for winter lay-up.

Lake Erie
Manitoulin finally departed Sandusky upbound Wednesday, with an AIS destination of “The Barn,” which probably means winter layup at Sarnia. At 9 p.m., Capt. Henry Jackman was stopped south of the Detroit River light. Hon. James L. Oberstar was headed back to Two Harbors for another load. John J. Boland and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin had a destination of Toledo on their AIS. Alogosea was almost mid-lake headed for Nanticoke. On the eastern end of the lake, CSL Niagara was showing a Port Colborne destination, which means layup for her as the Welland Canal is closed. Defiance/Ashtabula arrived at Erie Wednesday afternoon to unload salt.

Seaway – Ron Walsh
At 1215 Wednesday, Pacific Huron was downbound at Prescott. English River was headed for Oswego. The tugs Kaliutik, Jarrett M, Sea Hound, and Vigilant 1 were still working barges to Amherst Island for the windmill project. Radio traffic shows they were breaking significant ice. Five inches of ice were reported about five days ago. Tugs Leonard M, Ecosse and Evans McKeil were in Picton, also associated with the windmills, however later in the day Leonard M. got underway to join in the effort to free Federal Biscay from the Snell Lock. The U.S. Navy’s new Little Rock remains in Montreal due to the ice.


Ships expected to arrive in Erie soon for winter work

1/4 - Erie, Pa. – Several ships are expected to arrive for winter work at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair this month. Here are the tentative arrival dates for each ship:

• Tug Defiance/barge Ashtabula - Jan. 9
• St. Clair - Jan. 12
• Tug Dorothy Ann/barge Pathfinder - Jan. 15
• Presque Isle - Jan. 15 - Mooring Main Channel
• Algoma Hansa - Jan. 19
• VanEnkevort tug and barge - Jan. 23

Weather may impact the actual arrival of each ship. Some will be berthed at Dobbins Landing. Ice breaking is expected to begin as early as Wednesday in the eastern portion of Presque Isle Bay and east of Dobbins Landing, but all parts of the bay could be impacted by the work. People are asked to use extreme caution when accessing the bay, especially for recreational purposes.


Madeline Island Ferry may get first winter break in 3 years

1/4 - Bayfield, Wis. – The Madeline Island Ferry Line may finally get a break after operating continuously for more than 1,000 days. The ferry line is the only public connection between the island in Lake Superior and the mainland unless the ice of Chequamegon Bay freezes enough to allow an ice road. Poor ice conditions forced the ferry to continue operating through the winters of 2016 and 2017.

On Wednesday, the ferry line announced a reduced schedule of six daily trips between the island and Bayfield. All trips are weather and ice permitting. The reduced schedule will be in place until windsleds start operating. Windsleds are used until the ice is strong enough to support vehicles.



Updates -  January 4

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 4

On January 4, 1978, IRVING S. OLDS was involved in a collision with the steamer ARMCO while convoying in heavy ice in the Livingstone Channel of the lower Detroit River. The OLDS hit a floe of heavy ice, came to a complete stop and the ARMCO, unable to stop, hit the OLDS' stern.

In 1952, the car ferry SPARTAN (Hull#369) was launched at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Christy Corp.

1966: FARO, a Liberty ship that had visited the Seaway in 1965, ran aground in heavy weather off Nojima, Japan, enroute from Muroran, Japan, to Keelung, Taiwan, in ballast. It had to be abandoned as a total loss. It was sold to Japanese shipbreakers in 1967 and broken up.

2012: FEDERAL MIRAMICHI was disabled by a mechanical problem during stormy weather on the English Channel, 12.8 miles northwest of Guernsey enroute from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Paranagua, Brazil, with 22,900 tons of urea. French authorities, fearing the ship could blow ashore, dispatched a tug and the vessel was towed into Cherbourg for repairs. It has been a frequent Seaway trader since 2006.

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


Cold snap hampers shipping; vessels huddle at anchor as operators alter plans

1/3 - Duluth, Minn. – Bursting with horsepower to spare in what has been a banner season, the Great Lakes shipping industry slowed against its will in the past week. On Lake Superior offshore from Duluth, as many as nine freighters at a time have been anchored and at ease the past several days — mostly waiting turns to load iron ore pellets in the Twin Ports and Two Harbors.

A rush to haul an estimated 1.5 million tons of iron ore pellets out of the Northland in the last half-month of the shipping season stalled when arctic air enveloped the Midwest, sources said.

"There's no way that is going to happen now," said Jim Sharrow, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's director of port planning and resiliency.

The gears of industry shuddered against the cold, causing dysfunction up and down the supply chain. There are any number of culprits behind the slow loading taking place right now in the Duluth-Superior harbor, Sharrow said, but all of it is traced to the bitter cold.

"The operators and coast guards and all the service organizations that help to keep ships moving are all very well organized to deal as well as they can with things," Sharrow said, "but they can't make it summer sailing."

Read more and view photos at this link


Efforts to free Federal Biscay at Snell Lock fail

1/3 - Seaway – Efforts to pull the Federal Biscay out of Snell Lock Tuesday were not successful. The tugs Ocean A. Simard and Robinson pulled together for hours and the ship is frozen solid into the lock. The Ocean A. Simard has departed upbound in the Seaway.

Ron Beaupre


Seaway closing delayed due to ice

1/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A snap freeze and very heavy ice conditions on the lower part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system delayed its closing for the season, says St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. spokesman Andrew Bogora.

“We had planned to close on Dec. 31, but given that ships are somewhat behind their original schedules, we extended the closing by a number of days,” said Bogora.

Capt. Adriaan Kooiman, of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon, said no one was expecting the amount of ice on the lower portion of the seaway, which runs from Kingston up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. “It’s very heavy for this time of year,” said Kooiman, adding ice was five centimetres thick in some areas.

The St. Lawrence River does not freeze over because of its current, but that current carries ice downstream causing it to pile up in different sections. “We helped a lot of commercials ships. The locks were freezing up,” said Kooiman from the vessel as it sat docked in the Welland Canal along West Street in Port Colborne Tuesday morning.

Ships waiting for the locks — Lock 4 on the Beauharnois Canal specifically — were at anchor and the Griffon, said Kooiman, had to break them out and escort them in a convoy. Bogora said the seaway authority’s operations team is in touch daily with both the Canadian and U.S. coast guard, working very closely to ensure shipping traffic moves through the system.

He said the delay on the lower portion of the seaway also saw the Welland Canal stay open for longer than planned. The canal was to close on Boxing Day, but a number of ships transited both upbound and downbound up to New Year’s Day.

In addition to ice causing a slowdown in travel times for cargo vessels, the recent grounding of the ocean-going vessel Pacific Huron, near Wellesley Island, N.Y., added to challenges, said Bogora. “We still have five vessels waiting to clear the lower portion of the Seaway,” he said, adding the Pacific Huron will be the last to clear the lower portion of the system.

After working to clear ships from the lower portion of the seaway, the Griffon made its way to Port Colborne. “The Griffon is scheduled to transit to Erie, Pa., and Ashtabula, Ohio, to assist vessels into and out of ports. It was working on the St. Lawrence Seaway providing service during critical ice conditions,” said Carol Launderville, Canadian Coast Guard communications adviser, in an email.

She said both the Canadian and U.S. coast guard are conducting icebreaking operations to assist commercial shipping throughout the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Seaway.

Kooiman said the Griffon would move out into Lake Erie once the wind died down, and he expected to find thin lake ice. He also expected ice to keep forming with the cold temperatures being experienced.

Ice reports on the Great Lakes, he said, come to the vessel from sources such as Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard office, U.S. coast guard and others. Ice coverage on Lake Erie is at nearly 40 per cent.

He said the Griffon will move west down Lake Erie at some point to help commercial vessels still carrying cargo.

While the Griffon is on Lake Erie, the CCGS Samuel Risley is icebreaking on southern Georgian Bay, in Midland Harbor, and will then proceed to the St. Clair River. Launderville said the Coast Guard reminds people that all ice on or near the shipping routes and icebreaking operations should be considered unsafe. “Ship tracks may not freeze over immediately and newly-fallen snow may obscure tracks.”

St. Catharines Standard


Wilf Seymour still stranded in Lake St. Pierre

1/3 - The tug Wilf Seymour is still stranded in Lake St. Pierre, at the height of Louiseville. On Wednesday, McKeil Marine, which owns the tugboat, must develop a plan to move it. Previous salvage attempts did not move the boat.

Wilf Seymour ran aground on December 25 due to an electrical failure affecting the navigation equipment. The tugboat was pushing a barge filled with aluminum ingots when it ran aground. The presence of the boat in Lake Saint-Pierre does not hinder marine traffic, but vessels passing nearby must slow down.

View a photo at this link


Port Reports -  January 3

Icebreaker update – Jim Hoffman
Morro Bay is working Lake Erie, Neah Bay is at Algonac, Mich., Hollyhock is still at Port Huron, Bristol Bay is working the Straits, Mobile Bay is working Green Bay. Biscayne Bay and Mackinaw are working the lower St. Marys River. Alder is working Duluth/Superior and Thunder Bay. Sameul Risley was escorting the Frontenac to Midland, Ontario. Griffon is at Port Colborne, Ontario.

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Thunder Bay arrived Duluth just before noon Tuesday with a cargo of salt for Hallett #8. She unloaded throughout the day before departing during the evening, only to drop anchor outside the harbor and join the line of vessels waiting to load at Burlington Northern. Burns Harbor, which had been experiencing extensive delays at that dock, finally departed Tuesday morning. Mesabi Miner arrived next, and was still moored as of Tuesday night. Algoma Equinox and G3 Marquis remained on the hook waiting for Two Harbors, while Algoma Discovery, St. Clair, Whitefish Bay, Presque Isle, John G. Munson, and CSL Assiniboine were all anchored off the Superior entry waiting to load.

Two Harbors - Silver Bay
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departed Two Harbors Tuesday at 07:45 for Zug Island. G3 Marquis had arrived off Two Harbors before the McCarthy Jr. departed, but then went back and anchored again off the Twin Ports. At the time there was a very strong west wind and a rough Agate Bay. Edwin H. Gott arrived from Twin Ports anchorage at 11:06. As of 21:30 on Tuesday she was still loading. G3 Marquis continued at anchor off the Twin Ports on Tuesday night. Also off the Twin Ports waiting for Two Harbors are the Algoma Equinox and, at 20:30, the Thunder Bay went to anchor after unloading salt in Superior. She is also waiting for Two Harbors. H. Lee White, after being at anchor in Whitefish Bay, was underway Tuesday night for Two Harbors. Also upbound in Whitefish Bay for Two Harbors is the Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay had no traffic on Tuesday. As of 21:30 on Tuesday the Joseph H. Thompson Jr./Joseph H. Thompson continued at anchor in Whitefish Bay with a destination of Silver Bay.

St. Marys River
Tuesday night saw Herbert C. Jackson and Joseph H. Thompson remaining at anchor in the lee of Whitefish Point. Edgar B. Speer and H. Lee White departed upbound in the late afternoon or early evening. Cason J. Callaway remained on the hook off Bay Mills. Calumet and Michipicoten were still at Algoma Steel. American Integrity was upbound in the lower river for Superior, Wis., in the morning and Robert S. Pierson was in the lower river headed for Algoma in the late evening. Mackinaw was at the Group Soo base and Biscayne Bay were working ice in the lower river. At 11 p.m., American Century (for Two Harbors) and Mississagi (for Soo, Ont.) were upbound for DeTour.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived off Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday to lay up for the winter, but as of Tuesday night had not yet transited the canal. She may be waiting until daylight to make her entrance through the tight, ice-choked passage.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Mississagi cleared Monday night with salt for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Algoway is in port but was not at the salt dock Tuesday night. Algowood is due.¬¬¬¬

Midland, Ont.
Frontenac and CCSG Samuel Risley arrived in Midland early Tuesday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The Great Lakes Towing Company tug Wyoming and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay were assisting the James R. Barker through the ice Tuesday morning, making very slow progress. The Barker is bound for the Torco Ore Dock to unload. The Canada Steamship Lines vessel Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was completely stopped in the ice north of Pelee Island. Most likely the Morro Bay will assist her as soon as they are done with the James R. Barker. The Martin is bound for the CSX Docks to load a coal cargo at Toledo.

Lake Erie
Sam Laud is stuck in the ice in the Cuyahoga River. She cleared the railroad bridge and become stuck in the ice just before the Coast Guard Station. She is doing the ore shuttle run to the steel mill upriver. Manitoulin remains in Sandusky. CSL Welland is still at Ashtabula. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and John J. Boland are stuck in the Pelee Passage area. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and Defiance/Ashtabula have Erie destinations. Hon. James L. Oberstar is bound for Cleveland. There is a vessel stuck at Fairport Harbor, Ohio. She is unable to leave the dock because of the thick ice. They are waiting for tugs to break her out. Unfortunately no vessel name was given.


Updates -  January 3

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 3

For the second year in a row the tanker GEMINI (steel propeller tanker, 420 foot, 5,853 gross tons, built in 1978, at Orange, Texas) was the first vessel of the year in Manistee, Michigan. She headed to the General Chemical dock to load 8,000 tons of brine for Amherstburg, Ontario. The vessel arrived at Manistee in 2002, on January first, and Captain Riley Messer was presented a hackberry cane, crafted by local resident Ken Jilbert. A similar cane was presented to the vessel Saturday morning. Sold Canadian in 2005, renamed b.) ALGOSAR (i).

In 1939, the CHIEF WAWATAM ran aground on the shoals of the north shore near St. Ignace, Michigan.

On Jan 3, 1971, BEN W. CALVIN ran aground at the mouth of the Detroit River after becoming caught in a moving ice field.

In 1972, TADOUSSAC cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario, for Hamilton with 24,085 tons of iron ore, closing that port for the season.

1945: While not a Great Lakes event, what is considered the deadliest marine disaster in world history occurred on this date. The little-remembered event claimed the German passenger liner WILHELM GUSTLOFF loaded with over 10,000 refugees and naval personnel fleeing Germany in the latter stages of World War Two. It was torpedoed by a Russian submarine on the Baltic Sea and a reported 9,343 lives were lost. Another 1,239 reached safety.

1979: KOIKU MARU first visited the Seaway in 1967. It ran aground near Tartous, Syria, in stormy weather overnight and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard , Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Ice continues to delay passages of last Seaway salties

1/2 - On Monday afternoon the Federal Biscay became lodged in the Snell Lock, located near Massena N.Y. She was downbound and had spent several hours anchored at Wilson Hill in very cold temperatures, which caused ice to gather on the hull. She is 77' 11" wide and the lock is 80' feet wide. She stopped moving while passing through the upper gates of the lock. The crew of the tug Robinson Bay was called in to bring the tug over to the stern of the Biscay, where they secured a tow line. After some time pulling, the effort was called off. It was announced over the radio to one of the ships in line waiting to go down the Seaway that a new plan had to be made to get the ship moving again.

Meanwhile, overnight temperatures will plunge to below -20C, causing more ice to form between the ship and the concrete walls. Waiting above Snell lock is Mitq. Anchored in the river above Massena are Beatrix and Billesborg. Pacific Huron may join the lineup Tuesday as she has a pilot arriving at 8 p.m. Monday evening. She is cleared to go down the river after passing inspection yesterday.

Meanwhile, at 8:10 p.m. Monday Florence Spirit called in westbound at Sodus Point. She gave an ETA of  10 a.m. for Hamilton. That is the last upbound vessel for the Montreal-Lake Ontario section.

At 9:30 p.m. Monday, Ocean A. Simard was getting under way to leave Kingston and head down river to assist at Snell Lock. She gave ETAs of 11:30 p.m. for Quebec Head, 0130 for Crossover Island and 8 a.m. for Snell Lock, ice conditions permitting.

Ron Beaupre, Ron Walsh


Port Reports -  January 2

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
The first ship to arrive Duluth in 2018 was the John G. Munson, which passed under the lift bridge before sunrise to fuel at Calumet. CSL Assiniboine was inbound later in the morning, and began fueling as soon as the Munson had departed and dropped anchor outside the harbor. The Assiniboine remained at the dock throughout the day. Burns Harbor continued to experience delays while loading at BN in Superior. Mesabi Miner, Algoma Discovery, St. Clair, Whitefish Bay, Presque Isle, and John G. Munson all sat at anchor waiting for the BN dock, while Algoma Equinox, G3 Marquis, and Edwin H. Gott were waiting to load in Two Harbors.

Two Harbors- Silver Bay
Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader departed Two Harbors Monday at 01:00 for Zug Island. Arriving Monday in Two Harbors at 01:36 was the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. As of 21:00 on Monday she was still loading. Still at anchor off Duluth on Monday at 21:00 were the G3 Marquis, Algoma Equinox, and the Edwin H. Gott, which arrived at anchor Monday at 22:00. That tentatively should be the loading order for Two Harbors. Due Two Harbors is the H. Lee White, which was anchored in Whitefish Bay Monday night. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw no traffic on Monday. Joseph H. Thompson Jr. / Joseph H. Thompson were also anchored in Whitefish Bay with no ETA for Silver Bay.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Monday at 13:44 USCG Alder arrived and began icebreaking operations to open up the Mission River channel to the elevator basin at the mouth of the river. Once this was completed, CSL Laurentian weighed anchor and proceeded to the Superior Elevator to load grain. She docked at 16:06 with the assistance of the tugs Glenada and Point Valor. Alder went to anchor.

Keweenaw Peninsula
Joseph L. Block and American Mariner were anchored in the lee of the land Monday night.

St. Marys River
With strong WSW winds forecast, H. Lee White, Herbert C. Jackson, Joseph H. Thompson and Edgar B. Speer were anchored in the lee of Whitefish Point Monday night. Cason J. Callaway remained on the hook off Bay Mills. Calumet and Michipicoten were at Algoma Steel. Frontenac completed her downbound passage and was headed down Lake Huron for Midland, Ont. Tanker Algonova finished her unload at Soo, Ont., and was downbound earlier in the day. USCG Mackinaw was at the Soo base and Biscayne Bay was in the lower river off Lime Island as the day came to a close.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The barge James L. Kuber and her tug Victory docked at Bay Shipbuilding for winter layup on New Year's Day after dealing with thick ice through the harbor. She joins American Courage (in long-term layup), Wilfred Sykes, and Roger Blough, which are already in layup. On Monday night, Paul R. Tregurtha was just departing from Indiana Harbor, where she unloaded her last cargo of the season. She should arrive in Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday.

Lake Michigan
Stewart J. Cort was still at Burns Harbor Monday night. Paul R. Tregurtha was departing Indiana Harbor for Sturgeon Bay around 8:30 p.m. Philip R. Clarke was headed for Gary.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algosteel departed for Green Bay with salt. Mississagi was loading Monday night, Algoway was tied up at the grain elevator dock (possibly waiting to load at the salt dock) and Algowood was out in the lake waiting her turn.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
Capt Henry Jackman with assistance of the G-tugs Wyoming and New jersey docked at St,. Marys cement on the Rouge River during the afternoon of Dec 31.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Kaye E. Barker remained at the CSX Coal Dock waiting to load on New Year's Day. Due at CSX on New Year's Day was the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin around noon. There are no vessels due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, which is closed for the season. Due at the Torco Dock was the Interlake Steamship Co. 1,000-footer James R. Barker on New Year's Day in the late evening to unload pellets. Also due at Torco is the Calumet on Thursday in the late evening.

Lake Erie
Kaye E. Barker and Evans Spirit remained at Toledo Monday, with John J. Boland due. Great Republic was in the Pelee passage with an AIS destination of Alpena. Sam Laud was headed to Cleveland from Ashtabula. CSL Welland remained in Ashtabula. CSL Niagara was headed for Nanticoke.


Coast Guard at Midland for icebreaking operations

1/2 - Midland, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard will be conducting icebreaking operations at Midland this week. The CCGS Samuel Risley is expected to be in the area from Jan. 2 through 4, approximately, as part of icebreaking operations on Georgian Bay and McGregor Bay.

Dates, schedules and routes are subject to change with little or no notice due to weather and ice conditions and other unexpected situations.

Residents may also see Coast Guard helicopters in the air. Canadian Coast Guard spokeperson Carol Landerville said the choppers, based in Parry Sound, “provide a birds-eye view of ice conditions, which assists with the planning of icebreaking missions.”

“The Canadian and United States Coast Guards work side-by-side on a daily basis along the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes, coordinating icebreaking activities in order to pool resources and increase efficiency,” said Launderville in an email to

On Dec. 28, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay freed one vessel from the ice near Sault Ste. Marie, while the Samuel Risley freed the the Edgar B. Speer from the ice in the St. Marys River.

Launderville said the Samuel Risley may be at Midland, or it may be another icebreaker. The other icebreaker in the Great Lakes, the CCGS Griffon, is based out of Prescott. “The dates are estimates and adapt to the schedules of the shipping industry,” she wrote.


2017 update on new Seaway salties

1/2 - As 2018 began, saltwater vessels were still battling ice to clear the St. Lawrence Seaway locks before they shut down for the winter. During the 2017 shipping season a total of 42 first-time visitors by saltwater vessels were recorded at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. They include Adfines Sun, Alina, America, Arctic, Azoresborg, BBC Alberta, BBC Brazil, BBC Vesuvius, BBC Weser, Bro Anna, Chembulk Kobe, Ebony Ray, Erik, Fairchem Friesian, Federal Mosel, Federal Ruhr, Frieda, Harriet, Helena G, HR Constellation, Jacqueline C, Leila H, Maria G, Nomadic Milde, Pia, Pride, Riga, Rosy, Rotterdam, Sally Ann C, SCL Anita, Selasse, Silda, Sloman Helios, Solando, Star II, Sten Arnold, Sten Hidra, Sten Idun, Sten Moster, Taiga Desgagnes and Thamesborg. One of the new visitors, SCL Anita was renamed Tailia H at Windsor on August 12 but has not returned inland with that name as yet. Another new visitor, the Pia, renamed on June 16 at Burns Harbor, visited earlier in the year as the BBC Alabama. Another saltie, the Hemgracht was renamed Nunalik of Canadian registry and returned inland with that name on Nov. 24.

Denny Dushane


Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking continues with CCSG Samuel Risley

1/2 - Parry Sound, Ont. – Joint Coast Guard icebreaking operations continue this week in both northern Georgian Bay and McGregor Bay. The Canadian Coast Guard along with United States Coast Guard will be helping a tug and barge to a cement plant in Whitefish River First Nation.

Read more and play audio files at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 2

While on the North Atlantic under tow for scrapping, ASHLAND parted her towline but was tracked by U.S. Coast Guard aircraft and was retrieved by her tug on January 2nd, 1988, some 300 miles off course.

The 3-masted wooden schooner M. J. CUMMINGS was launched at the shipyard of Goble & MacFarlane in Oswego, New York. Her owners were Mrs. Goble & MacFarlane, Daniel Lyons and E. Caulfield. Her dimensions were 142 foot 6 inches X 25 foot 2 inches X 11 foot 6 inches, 325 tons and she cost $28,000.

January 2, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 (Hull#214) was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corp. She was sponsored by Jane Reynolds, daughter of R. H. Reynolds, marine superintendent of the railroad. Renamed b.) VIKING in 1983.

1967: The small Norwegian freighter RAAGAN dated from 1919 and had been a Pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes as a) ERICH LINDOE, b) GRENLAND and c) HILDUR I. It sank in the North Sea about 60 miles north of the Dutch coast after developing leaks on a voyage from Egersund, Denmark, to Dordrecht, Netherlands, with a cargo of titanium. The crew was rescued.

1976: The XENY, which was towed into Cadiz Roads on January 1, capsized and sank on her side. The ship had caught fire on December 2 and was abandoned by the crew. It had first visited the Great Lakes as a) PRINS WILLEM II in 1955 and had been back as d) XENY in 1971.

1981: The heavy lift vessel MAMMOTH SCAN had heeled over while unloading at Abu Dhabi on October 15, 1980. The ship was righted and under tow when the towline parted off Algeria on December 28, 1980. The listing vessel was brought to Malaga Roads, Spain, on this date, healed over and sank as a total loss.

1987: A fire in the cargo hold of REMADA at Barcelona, Spain, resulted in heavy damage and the ship had to be sold for scrap. It had made one trip through the Seaway in November 1973 as b) ONTARIO.

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


Happy New Year from Boatnerd

1/1 - Boatnerd wishes all our readers a very happy and successful 2018. Thank you for your support. A big three long and two short goes out to all who send news to this page or contribute to the Port Reports, among them Daniel Lindner, Gary A. Putney, Gordy Garris, Todd Shorkey, Denny Dushane, Rene Beauchamp, Ron Beaupre, Rod Burdick, Ned Goebricher, Bruce Douglas, Barry Andersen, Ron Walsh, Capt. Mike Nicholls, Gene Polaski, Jim Hoffman, Aaron Border, Tom Brewer, Paul Erspamer, Logan Vasicek, Sam Hankinson, Matt Miner, Dave Wobser, Ben & Chanda McClain, Phil Nash, Bill Bird, Jake H., Al Miller, Tom Hynes and anyone else we’ve inadvertently left off this list. It is the contributions of all these volunteers, and many others that make Boatnerd possible.

We are always seeking contributions to this page from readers around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. If you see news in your area, or want to offer your observations of vessel arrivals and departures, please send to If you spot an interesting shipping-related story in your local news, please take a moment to forward a link so that we may share it with our audience.

Thank you!


No signs of pollution from vessel in the water or along shoreline

1/1 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The tug Dispatch II was refloated Thursday and removed from Bellevue Marina. A Canadian Coast Guard environmental response team was present throughout the operation, and officials say there were no signs of pollution from the vessel in the water or along the shoreline.

After refloating, the Dispatch II was pumped of pollutants and lifted out of the water by crane.

On Dec. 24, the MOE Spills Action Centre advised the Canadian Coast Guard of a sunken tug boat at the Bellevue Marina on Pine Street. The Dispatch II is 45 feet in length and contains diesel fuel and lube oil. Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services placed booms at the mouth of the marina to contain any potential pollution.

Sault Star


Grounded saltie Pacific Huron successfully refloated Saturday evening

1/1 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The saltie Pacific Huron was successfully refloated Saturday evening from its grounded position in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Wellesley Island, New York.

Under the direction of the Donjon-Smit salvage master, two Canadian tugs, the Evans Mckeil and the Ocean A. Simard, successfully removed the Pacific Huron from its grounded position Saturday at approximately 8 p.m. There were no reports of any injuries or pollution observed. A pilot was put aboard to safely navigate the vessel to its anchorage location at Mason Point.

Divers will conduct an underwater hull survey and the classification society will inspect the Pacific Huron’s propulsion system. She remained at anchor Sunday night.

Coast Guard leaders work constantly with international, federal, state, local and tribal partners to prepare for contingencies like this and to ensure a cohesive and unified approach to resolve the incident and restore the vital components of the maritime transportation system.



Port Reports -  January 1

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Throughout Sunday, St. Clair, Mesabi Miner and Presque Isle arrived Duluth to fuel at Calumet while waiting their turn to load at Burlington Northern. St. Clair and Mesabi Miner dropped anchor outside the harbor after fueling, while Presque Isle remained at the dock as of Sunday night. Burns Harbor was experiencing loading delays at BN, however was tentatively expected to depart before midnight. At anchor waiting for the BN dock was Mesabi Miner, St. Clair, Whitefish Bay, and Algoma Discovery. Algoma Equinox, G3 Marquis, Edwin H. Gott, and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. were also anchored, waiting to load in Two Harbors.

Two Harbors - Silver Bay
On Sunday, Two Harbors saw the departure of Joseph L. Block at 13:20 for Indiana Harbor. Arriving Two Harbors on Sunday at 13:32 was the Clyde S. VanEnkevort / Erie Trader. She arrived off Two Harbors Sunday morning after being at anchor off the Twin Ports. As of 20:30 she was still loading. Still anchored off the Twin Ports were the G3 Marquis, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., and the Algoma Equinox, all awaiting to load at Two Harbors. They should load in the order as listed. Joining the anchorage off the Twin Ports on Sunday night was the Edwin H. Gott, also awaiting Two Harbors. Due Two Harbors late Monday will be the H. Lee White. As of 21:30 Sunday she was at the Soo. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay had no traffic on Sunday. Tentatively scheduled for Monday is the Joseph H. Thompson Jr./Joseph H. Thompson. Sunday night they were stopped in the St. Marys River.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Destination update: Frontenac was headed for Midland. Sunday at 18:15 CSL Laurentien arrived and anchored south of the Mission River.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
As the sun set on New Years Eve, American Mariner backed away from LS&I after a lengthy ore load. Lee A. Tregurtha was waiting to load next.

St. Marys River
With continuing sub-zero temperatures, ice in the river proved a real problem Sunday. Upbound early was Cason J. Callaway and Thunder Bay. The former went to anchor off Bay Mills in the upper river while the latter continued through on her trip to Superior, Wis. Downbound traffic included CSL Niagara and Americian Spirit in the early morning, followed by Samuel deChamplain / barge and James R. Barker in the late afternoon. The Barker got into trouble above Six Mile Point while attempting to pass the upbound Herbert C. Jackson and both vessels became stuck. With the help of the USCG Biscayne Bay, they were eventually on the move but the Barker continued to battle ice in the lower river above Neebish Island. She was finally through the Rock Cut by 10 p.m. with the USCG Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay leading the way. At 10 p.m., Indiana Harbor was downbound at Nine Mile, followed by Hon. James L. Oberstar and Philip R. Clarke. H. Lee White was upbound in the harbor, followed by Joseph H. Thompson. Even though her AIS says she is bound for Midland, Frontenac was at the Algoma Export Dock Sunday afternoon and Algonova was unloading in Soo, Ont.

Lake Michigan
Stewart J. Cort was unloading at Burns Harbor Sunday night. Paul R. Tregurtha and Great Lakes Trader were at Indiana Harbor. The Tregurtha is expected to go into layup at Sturgeon Bay after this unload is completed.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
After a few quiet days, Algosteel arrived on Sunday to load. Algoway was outside the breakwall Sunday night, and Algowood and Mississagi were also expected.

Eastern Lake Erie
Manitoulin remained in Sandusky Sunday night. Algoma Enterprise was headed for Windsor. American Century was at Cleveland. CSL Welland was at Ashtabula, with Sam Laud due.

Regional and Welland Canal transits Sunday – Barry Andersen

Arrivals (docked) - Dec 27 - Algocanada at 0600 - Dec 30 - Algoma Hansa at 0224 - Dec 31 - Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin at 0511 - departures - Dec 31 - Algocanada at 0327 for Sarnia

Welland Canal upbound:
Arrivals - Dec 30 - Algowood at 1209 and Algoma Enterprise at 1630 - Dec 31 - tug Leo A. McArthur & barge John J. Carrick at 0251, Cuyahoga at 0337 bound old Port Weller Dry Dock deep docks (tug Seahound to assist) and Baie St. Paul at 1047 (tug Seahound after assisting with Cuyahoga went to assist Baie St. Paul as required in ice clearance up to lock 4)

Welland Canal downbound:
Arrivals - Dec 30 - Algoma Niagara at 0908, Algoma Guardian at 1417, light tug Vac at 1546, Kaministiqua at 1619, Saginaw at 1530 - (turned around at Port Robinson then proceeded to wharf 12 to unload) and Robert S. Pierson at 1715 to wharf 18-1 stopped at 1946 to unload salt

Welland Canal docks:
Arrivals - Dec 29 - tug Seahound at 0720 (will assist Cuyahoga into dock and break ice for her entry upon arrival) - Saginaw stopped at wharf 12 to unload at 2027 approximately and Robert S. Pierson stopped at wharf 18-2 Port Colborne outer harbor at 1946 approximately to unload salt - Dec 30 - light tug Vac at 1546 (to assist Baie St. Paul as needed from lock 7 to Port Colborne) - departed - Dec 30 - Robert S. Pierson at 2244 for Detroit

Arrivals (docked) - Dec 25 - at dock 25-south (Richardsons) - Ojibway at 1103 and Dec 27 - Tecumseh at 0147 (docked alongside one another) - out to the anchorage Dec 29 - Tecumseh at 1645 and Ojibway at 1715 to free up dock space for Cuyahoga - winter lay-up status at Federal Marine Terminal 14W - Dec 24 - tug Petite Forte & barge St. Marys Cement at 2215 and Dec 30 - tug Sea Eagle II & barge St. Marys Cement II at 0411, - at pier 26M - G3 Canada dock on Dec 29 - Tim S. Dool at 1940 and Dec 30 - Ojibway at 2100 and Tecumseh at 2200 returned to dock 25 S (Richardsons) for winter lay-up

Docked - Dec 24 - Stephen B. Roman at 1827 (short-term lay-up) - winter lay-up - Dec 23 - Algoma Spirit arrived pier 522 at 0913 and Dec 24 - Stephen B. Roman at 1827 - arrival - Dec 29 - Baie Comeau at 1553

Seaway – Ron Walsh
Algoma Olympic was westbound at Cape Vincent at 1605. She gave ETAs for Sodus Point of 1950 and Jan.1 at 0630 for Burlington Piers. She will lay up in Hamilton instead of Quebec City as previously announced. The tug Ocean A. Simard was tied in Kingston and at 0950 Sunday she had a heavy ice covering on her. The Evans McKiel was westbound from the Pacific Huron and arrived at 1650 at Clayton, N.Y. Billesborg (Panama) spent about six hours anchored for engine repairs NE of the Niagara River entrance to the Welland Canal. She was passing Brockville at 10 p.m. Sunday. Wilf Seymour/Alouette Spirit remained aground in Lac St. Pierre.


Updates -  January 1

The winter  Lay-up list updated. Please send reports of vessel lay-ups to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 1

On this day in 1958, 76-year-old Rangvald Gunderson retired as wheelsman from the ELTON HOYT 2ND. Mr. Gunderson sailed on the lakes for 60 years.

On January 1, 1973, the PAUL H. CARNAHAN became the last vessel of the 1972 shipping season to load at the Burlington Northern (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe) ore docks in Superior, Wisconsin. Interestingly, the CARNAHAN also opened the Superior docks for the season in the spring of 1972.

On 1 January 1930, HELEN TAYLOR (wooden propeller steam barge, 56 foot, 43 gross tons, built in 1894, at Grand Haven, Michigan) foundered eight miles off Michigan City, Indiana. She was nicknamed "Pumpkin Seed," due to her odd shape.

January 1, 1900 - The Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad merged with the Chicago & West Michigan and the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroads to form the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

On 1 January 1937, MAROLD II (steel propeller, 129 foot, 165 gross tons, built in 1911, at Camden, New Jersey, as a yacht) was siphoning gasoline off the stranded tanker J OSWALD BOYD (244 foot, 1,806 gross tons, built in 1913, in Scotland) which was loaded with 900,000 gallons of gasoline and was stranded on Simmons Reef on the north side of Beaver Island. A tremendous explosion occurred which totally destroyed MAROLD II and all five of her crew. Only pieces of MAROLD II were found. Her captain's body washed ashore in Green Bay the next year.

At time of loss, she was the local Beaver Island boat. The remains of the BOYD were removed to Sault Ste. Marie in June 1937.

1943: HAMILDOC (i) went south during World War Two to assist in the bauxite trade. The N.M. Paterson & Sons bulk canaller sank in the Caribbean after a three-day gale. The vessel, enroute from Georgetown, British Guiana, to Trinidad, was at anchor when the hull broke in two. All on board were saved.

2000: WISTERIA was built at Imabari, Japan, in 1976 and came through the Seaway that year. It was taking water in #1 hold as c) AIS MAMAS while enroute from West Africa to India with a cargo of logs. The crew was removed but the ship was taken in tow and reached Capetown, South Africa, on January 5. It was subsequently sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on April 23, 2000 and was beached the next day.

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

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