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MacArthur Lock down for repairs; shipping delays likely
8/4 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Mechanical problems have shut one of the two main locks at capable of handling commercial ships on the Great Lakes. It’s a rare occurrence of having only one lock during the shipping season, and the situation will likely lead to backups of vessels looking to pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. The shutdown of the lock could last as long as 10 days.
Lynn Rose, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the issue that led to the shutdown of the MacArthur Lock occurred Thursday or Friday.
The problem involves a set of gates in the MacArthur’s navigation dock that will not close properly. Repair work requires the lock to be emptied of water before an assessment can be made.
“It’s unusual for there to be a closure of any of the locks this time of year,” Rose said. “Right now, we’re sending all of the larger ships through the Poe Lock.”
A 10-day closure would prove problematic for the shipping industry. The Poe Lock handles the largest freighters on the lake, but will now be asked to take on additional traffic. It’s still unclear how bad things might get, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Great Lakes Carriers Association.
“Traffic right now is going through just one lock,” Nekvasil said. “This is going to be creating some delays and some bottlenecks. This isn’t something that happens often. In the past we’ve dealt with some short closures. This is probably going to be one of the biggest ones we’ve dealt with.”
The Coast Guard can’t forecast how many ships will use the locks in the next few days because there is no advance notice, said Rick Burch, vessel traffic controller. But the locks handled 82 ships from Wednesday through Sunday, Burch said. Thirteen ships had passed through the one lock Monday by 4:15 p.m., he said.
About 10,000 “lockages” or ships come through the Soo Locks during the navigation season.
While the work continues, Nekvasil said transportation companies will work with the Army Corps to coordinate arrivals and departures at the locks. But only so much can be accomplished through scheduling. Under normal circumstances, the Poe Lock handles 70 percent of cargo vessels passing through Sault Ste. Marie.
“You do the best you can ... but if your source of ore is Lake Superior, that’s where you have to go,” he said.
At 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide and 32 feet deep, the Poe Lock is the largest of the pathways between the lakes on the U.S. side — capable of handling the largest of the freighters that pass through. The MacArthur Lock, by comparison, is 800 feet long, 80 feet wide and 29 feet deep.
Both the Davis and Sabin locks are larger, but they have been targeted for replacement. That’s something the shipping industry has lobbied for years to get. And this week’s closure, they said, is evidence of the need for another lock equivalent in size to the Poe.
Efforts to turn it into a reality have stalled over the years. In June, Democratic U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow of Lansing and Gary Peters of Bloomfield Township renewed their call for funding to upgrade the Soo Locks. In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, they outlined the worst-case scenario.
“An unscheduled outage at the Poe Lock would prevent the passage of large vessels carrying commodities critical to our national security and our regional and national economies,” the letter read. “A 30-day unscheduled outage at the Poe Lock would result in an estimated $160 million in economic losses.”
Among the ships that pass through on a regular basis are smaller vessels like those of Soo Locks Boat Tours. Company officials found out about the closure of MacArthur Lock on Monday, but have ways of maintaining their operations, which include 12 trips through the locks each day.
The tour boats can pass through the Poe Lock at the same time as larger ships do. In addition, they can utilize the smaller lock on the Canadian side of the waterway if necessary.
“We’ve seen a shutdown before of a couple of hours, or maybe a day or two,” said Marion Van Luke, who has worked in the company’s sales department for more than a decade. “But 10 days, that’s not something I’ve seen before.”
Tall ship Niagara will visit Algonac
8/4 - Algonac, Mich. – The city will be getting a visitor this weekend from the War of 1812. The U.S Brig Niagara, which was Oliver Hazard Perry’s relief flagship during the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813, will be docked along the Algonac waterfront Friday and will be open for tours 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re always happy to have them because they bring people to the museum,” said Joan Bulley, a member of the Algonac-Clay Township Historical Society. The society’s two museums — the community museum at 1240 St. Clair River Drive and the maritime museum at 1117 St. Clair River Drive — will have extended hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Marilynn Genaw, also a member of the society, said Algonac belongs to the American Sail Training Association and is known as the Great Lakes hospitality port for tall ships.
“When they’re in port, members of the historical society do what we can to make them comfortable,” Genaw said. “We take them to the laundromat, the grocery store and we provide showers for them.”
Members of the society in the past even have driven crew members to Detroit Metro Airport so the ship can change crews, she said.
The city waterfront has bollards and cleats where the tall ships can tie their mooring lines, she said. “We also are off the shipping channel, so we don’t have to worry about the freighters getting too close,” Genaw said.
Joe Lengieza, director of marine operations for the U.S. Brig Niagara and the Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania, said the two-masted warship carries a crew of 38 and has two 32-pounder carronades.
“We’re just stopping in Algonac to open up for tours for the weekend,” he said. “It’s not a large organized event, but it is a convenient place to pull over for the weekend. And it’s a nice friendly town as well.”
He said the brig will have a free dockside display that consists of a miniature mast with the royals set. The royals on a square-rigged ship are the smallest and highest sails. Lengieza said the shop is a reconstruction of Perry’s flagship.
“The ship has had so much work done and so many overhauls over the past 200 years that there’s nothing left structurally” of the original ship, he said.
The Niagara also is the flagship of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lengieza said, and is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a sailing school vessel.
Port Huron Times Herald
Lookback #625 – Bertie Michaels lost after leaving Rio Haina, Dominican Republic, on Aug. 4, 1980
The Bertie Michaels was a Liberian-flagged freighter that began coming to the Great Lakes in 1971. The 383 foot, 7 inch long cargo carrier had been built at Nagasaki, Japan, and completed as a) Kunitama Maru during February 1965.
After serving under the “Rising Sun” of Japan, the ship was sold to Seamaster Corp. and registered in Liberia as b) Bertie Michaels in 1970. The 7,223-ton capacity carrier entered the Seaway for the first time in 1971.
Still listed with the same owners, the ship was placed under the flag of Greece as c) Dimitris A. in 1976 and was back through the Seaway that year. Another sale in 1977 resulted in the new name of d) Milos Trader but under the same registry.
The final name of e) Georgios E. came with Panamanian registry in 1978 and the ship was lost as such. It departed Rio Haina, Dominican Republic 35 years ago today and headed, in ballast, for Belize City, Belize.
After reporting in the next day, nothing was ever heard from the former Great Lakes trader. It is believed that the vessel was overwhelmed by Hurricane Allen, the first Atlantic hurricane of the 1980 season, and simply disappeared. All 27 sailors on board went down with their ship.
Today in Great Lakes History - August 4
On this day in 1896, the whaleback COLGATE HOYT became the first boat to transport a load of iron ore through the new Poe lock. The man at the wheel of the HOYT, Thomas Small, was also at the wheel of the PHILIP R. CLARKE when the second Poe lock was opened to traffic 73 years later.
On this day in 1910, a mutiny occurred aboard the Pittsburgh steamer DOUGLAS HOUGHTON when a deckhand was confined for peeping into the cabin window of 5 female passengers (relatives of officers of the United States Steel Corporation). It required one hour for Captain John Parke, loaded revolver in hand, to quell the mutiny, confine the ringleaders, and clear away the broken furniture.
On the clear, almost perfect night of 4 August 1902, the SEGUIN (steel propeller freighter, 207 foot, 818 gross tons, built in 1890, at Owen Sound, Ontario) collided with the CITY OF VENICE (wooden propeller freighter, 301 foot, 2,108 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Bay City, Michigan) abreast of Rondeau, Ontario on Lake Erie. The CITY OF VENICE, which was loaded with iron ore, sank and three of her crew were drowned. The U. S. Marshall impounded the SEGUIN for damages
Two favorites of many boatwatchers entered service on August 4 – WILLIAM CLAY FORD on August 4, 1953, and EDWARD L. RYERSON on August 4, 1960.
Paterson’s ONTADOC, built in 1975, sailed to the Netherlands with a load of bentonite from Chicago on August 4, 1979. Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.
The E. J. BLOCK was laid up for the last time at Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 4, 1984. The E. J. BLOCK was sold for scrap in late May 1987.
The D.M. CLEMSON left Superior on August 4, 1980, in tow of Malcolm Marine's TUG MALCOLM for Thunder Bay, Ont., where she was dismantled.
HOCHELAGA (Hull#144) was launched August 4, 1949, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, Quebec.
On a foggy August 4, 1977, POINTE NOIRE went hard aground near the entrance to the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River and blocked the channel. After her grain cargo was lightered by Columbia Transportation's crane steamer BUCKEYE, POINTE NOIRE was released on August 6. She was reloaded in Hay Lake and continued her downbound trip. Repairs to her bottom damage were completed at Thunder Bay. Ontario.
August 4, 1935 - The only time the ANN ARBOR NO 7 had the full limit of passengers when she ran an excursion from Frankfort, Michigan around Manitou Island and back with 375 passengers on board.
LYCOMING (wooden propeller, 251 foot, 1,610 gross tons) was launched on 4 August 1880, at West Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #7) as a 2-deck package freighter. She was rebuilt as a single deck bulk freighter after she burned in 1905. She was one of the few bulk freighters that still carried her arched hog-braces visible above deck.
HIRAM W. SIBLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 221 foot, 1,419 gross tons) was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan on 4 August 1890. She only lasted eight years. While carrying 70,000 bushels of corn from Chicago for Detroit, she stranded on the northwest corner of South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during blizzard on 26 November 1898. The tugs PROTECTOR and SWEEPSTAKES were dispatched for assistance but the SIBLEY re-floated herself during high water the following night, then was stranded on the southwest side of North Fox Island to prevent sinking. She broke in half; then completely broke up during a gale on 7 December 1898.
1985 – REGENT TAMPOPO, enroute from Japan to the Great Lakes with steel, was heavily damaged in the Pacific after a collision with the MING UNIVERSE. The vessel, which first came through the Seaway in 1982, was towed to Los Angeles but declared a total loss. It recrossed the Pacific under tow in 1986 and arrived at Hong Kong for scrapping on October 26, 1986.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Military.com, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
More troubles for Juno
8/3 - The saltwater vessel Juno had mechanical problems Sunday about 6:30 p.m. while entering the Seaway off Longueuil and dropped one anchor. She was towed down the Seaway two hours later by Ocean Georgie Bain and Ocean Intrepide. Two vessels were delayed, Atlantic Huron downbound at St. Lambert and Taagborg in the Port of Montreal. She was heading for Ashtabula on her first trip. Juno is the same Polsteam ship which suffered a steering failure and went aground under the 1000 Islands Bridge in April for two days blocking the channel. Juno’s destination was Cleveland.
BBC Ohio arrives in Toledo
8/3 - The Antigua/Barbuda flag saltwater vessel BBC Ohio arrived in Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday from Constantza, Romania and tied up at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. It is not often that a port on the Great Lakes receives a vessel with that port’s state included in the vessel's name. BBC Chartering, the vessel's owner, has several of its vessels named for areas on the Great Lakes/Seaway system and other parts of the region.
Port Reports - August 3
Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Port Colborne, Ont. – Nathan Attard
New saltwater vessel update
8/3 - As of August 1, the total number of saltwater vessels making their first visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system via the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y., totaled 22 vessels. The list includes Andesborg, BBC Ohio, BBC Olympus, BBC Thames, Chemical Aquarius, Clipper Makiri, Fagelgracht, Fortune, Hanse Gate, HHL Volga, Houston, Johanna C, LS Evanne, Marbacan, Onego Rotterdam, Pioneer, Princimar Equinox, Rodopi, Sunrose E, Timber Navigator, Trinityborg and the Umgeni. Two other new vessels, Lisanna and Taagborg, have just arrived in Montreal and will be entering the Seaway system in a few days.
New Wagenborg vessel Taagborg arrives in Montreal
8/3 - Arriving in Montreal on August 2 was the Taagborg of the Royal Wagenborg Shipping fleet. The vessel arrived from Bremen, Germany, and is heading to Ashtabula, Ohio. Taagborg was built in 2013 in China at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., and is the second vessel in the new T-series built for Wagenborg. Taagborg was launched January 30, 2013 and delivered on May 7, 2013. This will be the first visit for the Taagborg to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway system. The Taagborg's sistership, Trinityborg, (IMO 9546485) made her first visit in July, also from Bremen, Germany to Ashtabula, and at last report, is still in Ashtabula. Taagborg is 172.28 meters in length and has a beam of 21.49 meters in width. The T-series vessels built for Wagenborg in China have an additional length of 30 meters. The two remaining vessels in the series that have yet to visit are at the Thamesborg and Tiberborg.
Seaway salties renamed
8/3 - The following saltwater vessels, each having made at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. Hermann Schoening, which first came inland during the 2010 shipping season and last visited in 2012 has been renamed Bora of Cyprus registry. Her sistership and fleetmate the Jan S, which first came inland and last visited in 2013, now sails as the Mistral of Cyprus registry. The tanker Harbour Clear, which first came inland in 2015 in May, has been renamed Njord Clear of Bahamas registry. Leandra, which first came inland and last visited in 2010, is now the Thorco Cobra of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Victoria, which first came inland in 2004 and last visited in 2011, has been renamed and is now the Thorco Crown of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Onego Merchant, which first came inland in 2004, was renamed Vrisiendiep of the Netherlands and has been renamed once again. It never visited with the name of Vriesiendiep. The new name is Tip Copenhagen of Malta registry.
Lookback #624 – Seaway trader former Medina Princess stranded on a reef on Aug. 3, 1964
Medina Princess was one of the “Empire” ships’ of World War Two. It was built at Sunderland, England, and completed for the British Ministry of War Transport as a) Empire Tudor in July 1944.
The 450 foot long, 7,069 gross-ton carrier was powered by a triple-expansion engine and able to carry 10,445 tons of cargo per trip.
After the war, the vessel was sold to a London based Greek shipping company and renamed b) Grandyk in 1948. It moved to the Ben Line two years later as c) Benvannoch before becoming d) Medina Princess, still British flag, in 1956.
The vessel made a total of four trips through the Seaway with one in each of 1959 and 1960 and two more in 1961.
On August 3, 1962, Medina Princess went aground on reef near Djbouti while on a voyage from Bremen, Germany, to China. The hull was refloated on Aug. 31, 1962, and laid up. There is also a report that there was some boiler damage.
Then, on Sept. 1, 1964, the ship broke its mooring and went aground in a position recorded as 11.32 N / 43.11 E. Medina Princess settled on bottom, partially submerged and was declared a total loss.
Join us August 8 for our Detroit River Freighter chasing cruise
8/3 - Detroit, Mich. - Reservations for the August 8 Up-River Cruise are coming in regularly, please don't wait too long to sign up, remember we have a 100 person limit on the boat.
We will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Advance Reservation Cost is $36 per person. The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for details
Updates - August 3
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Andean, Federal Ems, HHL Elbe, Lisanna and Taagborg.
Today in Great Lakes History - August 3
On this day in 1960, EDWARD L. RYERSON, new flagship of the Inland Steel fleet, successfully completed her sea trials.
Under tow, the AVONDALE, a.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS of 1908, in tandem with former fleet mate FERNDALE. a.) LOUIS R. DAVIDSON of 1912, arrived at Castellon, Spain for scrapping in 1979.
CANADOC left the St. Lawrence River on August 3, 1991, in tow bound for Mamonal, Colombia, for scrapping.
August 3, 1946 - The third officer of the ANN ARBOR NO 6, drowned while painting her draft marks. He had apparently leaned too far and fell out of the rowboat.
On 3 August 1900, FONTANA (wooden 2-mast schooner-barge, 231 foot, 1,164 gross tons, built in 1888, at St Clair, Michigan as a 4-mast schooner-barge) was carrying iron ore in tow of the steamer KALIYUGA. The FONTANA sheared off and collided with the big schooner-barge SANTIAGO and settled in the mouth of St. Clair River in the St. Clair Flats, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. After salvage was given up months later, she was dynamited several times to flatten and reduce her wreckage. Although officially no loss of life was reported, local newspaper reported that one crewman was drowned. The FONTANA was owned by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co.
On 3 Aug 1857, R.H. RAE (3-mast wooden bark, 136 foot, 344 tons, built in 1857, at St. Catharines, Ontario) capsized and sank in a "white squall" off Duck's Creek on Lake Ontario. She went down slowly enough for her people to abandon in her small boat. They were later picked up by the propeller COLONIST. There was a big effort to salvage her the next summer, but to no avail. She was a total loss of $20,000. She was reportedly built for the trans-Atlantic trade and looked more like a seagoing schooner. Some sources give the date of the loss as 4 August 1857. The wreck is in very good condition. The Cousteau organization lost a diver on her in 1980.
On 3 August 1915, ALEXANDRIA (wooden sidewheel passenger/package freight, 174 foot 863 gross tons, built in 1866, at Hull, Quebec, formerly a.) CONSORT, was carrying foodstuffs in Lake Ontario when she was blown on a bar in a storm and fog. She broke up by wave action under the Scarborough Bluffs, east of Toronto. Lifesavers worked for hours and rescued the entire crew. GARDEN CITY was caught in the same storm as ALEXANDRIA. This ship sustained smashed windows and a hole in the hull but was able to reach safety.
1920 – The wooden steamer MAPLEGROVE sank in the Welland Canal. The vessel was salvaged and sold for further service as JED. It had been built at Marine City in 1889 as CHEROKEE.
1927 – The bulk canaller CASCO of the Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. went aground at Pipe Island in the lower St. Marys River and required lightering before floating free and proceeding for repairs.
1962 – MEDINA PRINCESS, a former “Empire ship,” first came to the Great Lakes under British registry in 1959. It made 5 trips through the Seaway but went aground on a reef near Djibouti while enroute from Bremen, Germany, to China. The hull was refloated August 31 but was laid up at Djibouti. It remained idle until breaking loose and going aground on September 4, 1964. The hull was a total loss and, at last report, the wreck was partially submerged.
1978 – The French freighter JEAN L.D. made 37 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967. It was sailing as c) CAVO STARAS when the engine room become flooded during a voyage from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the overnight hours of August 3-4, 1978. The vessel was towed to Dakar, Sierra Leone, on August 14 and sold to Spanish shipbreakers, via auction, on May 8, 1979. It arrived at Barcelona, under tow, on June 18, 1978, and scrapping began July 5 of that year.
2010 – SIDSEL KNUTSEN lost power due to a fire in the engine room and went aground off St. Clair, Mich. It remained stuck until August 9 and was then refloated and cleared to proceed to Montreal. It was operating in Canadian service at the time under a special waiver.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Port Reports - August 2
Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Erie, Pa. – Gene P.
Sturgeon Bay celebrates Maritime Week
8/2 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The city of Sturgeon Bay will once again honor its rich maritime heritage with a diverse collection of events taking place that started this past Thursday and continue through Aug. 8.
Officially titled “Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week: A Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard,” the celebration includes many long-standing annual waterfront events along with a growing list of new activities. In addition to focusing on Sturgeon Bay’s maritime history, the week honors the area’s local Coast Guard personnel, past and present, for their service and many contributions to the community.
Maritime Week started with the Sail Thru the Avenues Sidewalk Sale on Thursday. Centered on Third Avenue, the sale stretched throughout Sturgeon Bay’s historic downtown and also encompassing the Madison Avenue and Jefferson Street shopping districts.
Sturgeon Bay’s designation as an official Coast Guard City in 2014 makes the celebration even more special. Sturgeon Bay is one of only 18 communities nationwide to be named a Coast Guard City and is the first, and only, in Wisconsin.
Door County Advocate
Lookback #623 – Glenellah hit the east breakwall at Port Colborne on Aug. 2, 1909
Glenellah had been built at Dundee, Scotland, and came to the Great Lakes, in ballast during the fall of 1905. The ship was operated by R.O. and A.B. Mackay and was on its maiden voyage from Toronto to Fort William on Oct. 4, 1905.
The 257 foot long freight carrier had been anchored off Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, when it raised the hook on May 3, 1908. To their surprise they brought up the mast and rigging believed to be from the recently lost Adella Shores.
Glenellah easily traded through the Third Welland and old St. Lawrence canals. The ship missed the entrance to the former at Port Colborne 106 years ago today and hit the east breakwall. Both the vessel and structure were damaged.
Glenellah was the only one of three sisterships to survive deep-sea service during World War One. The ship returned inland for Canada Steamship Lines and was renamed b) Calgarian (ii) in 1926. It saw service in the bulk as well as package freight trades on their behalf.
Calgarian had a busy year in 1958 and was the first commercial vessel to use the Iroquois Lock when it was opened. Later that year, this was the last vessel up bound through the soon to be closed St. Lawrence canal system.
Classed as the spare boat in 1959, it did see some service before tying up at Kingston at the end of the year. Following a sale to the Steel Company of Canada, Calgarian arrived at Hamilton under tow of the Helen M. McAllister on Sept. 12, 1960, and was soon broken up.
Today in Great Lakes History - August 2
On August 2, 1991, Paterson's 1961-built lake bulk carrier CANADOC, which had been in lay-up in Montreal since April 6, 1990, and sold for scrapping, cleared the port in tow of the Netherlands Antilles tug DALMAR SPIRIT, bound for Mamonal, Columbia, arriving there on August 26, 1991.
On this day in 1880, the new Goodrich propeller CITY OF LUDINGTON was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The CITY OF LUDINGTON was 170 feet loa x 35 feet x 11 feet, had 44 staterooms and a salon. She was built at a cost of $90,000. The CITY OF LUDINGTON was partially dismantled at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1930-1931, and the hull was towed to Big Summer Island, Lake Michigan in 1933, for use as a breakwall.
On the morning of 02 August 1869, Deputy U. S. Marshall Insley sold at auction the scow AGNES HEAD to pay for debts incurred when she was repaired that spring by Mr. Muir and Mr. Stewart. Bidding started at $500 and ran very lively. Mr. John Stewart of Detroit purchased the vessel for $1,050. The AMERICAN MARINER (Hull#723) was launched on August 2, 1979, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co. for the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., (American Steamship Co., Buffalo, New York, mgr.). She was to be named CHICAGO, but that name was removed before launch.
The U.S. Coast Guard's report on the sinking of the EDMUND FITZGERALD was released on August 2, 1977. It cited faulty hatch covers, lack of watertight cargo hold bulkheads and damage caused from an undetermined source as the cause of her loss.
The BENSON FORD's maiden voyage was on August 2, 1924, with coal from Toledo, Ohio to Duluth, Minnesota and returned with iron ore to the Ford Rouge Plant at Dearborn.
On August 2, 1990, the Lightship HURON was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. LIGHTSHIP 103 had been almost completely restored and was opened to the public in 1974, for tours and remains so at this time.
August 2, 1862 - John C. Ackerman was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the time of his death in 1916, he was commodore of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet based in Ludington.
On 2 August 1877, GRACE A CHANNON (wooden schooner, 141 foot, 266 gross tons, built in 1873, at East Saginaw, Michigan) was bound from Chicago for Buffalo when she collided with the propeller tug FAVORITE and sank 12 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The young son of the owner of the CHANNON lost his life in this accident.
In 1858, the wooden side-wheeler TELEGRAPH collided with the schooner MARQUETTE and sank 40 miles north of Cleveland.
1909 – GLENELLAH of Inland Navigation struck the east breakwall at Port Colborne, damaging both the ship and the structure. The vessel joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 becoming b) CALGARIAN (ii) in 1926. It was broken up at Hamilton in 1960.
1915 – KENORA went aground off Flat Point, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, enroute from Montreal to Sydney. The C.S.L. canal ship was operating on saltwater due to the demands of World War One and was soon refloated.
1931 – The RAPIDS KING took out the gates of Lock 2 of the St. Lawrence Canal at Montreal and SASKATOON was one of 7 ships left on the bottom of the channel.
1967 – The West German freighter JOHANN SCHULTE and the new Canadian self-unloader CANADIAN CENTURY brushed each other in the Welland Canal near Thorold. The former hit the bank and was holed but made it to the tie-up wall before settling on the bottom. The ship was travelling from Duluth-Superior to Poland with wheat. The 4-year old vessel was refloated August 5 and went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs. It was scrapped in China as d) SINGAPORE CAR in 1984-1985.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Lake Huron Lore Society, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Salvage operation: A pull here, a tug there
8/1 - Cornwall, Ont. – The removal of the Lac Manitoba, which capsized in the St. Lawrence in June, finally commenced on Friday. Earlier this week, salvors successfully extracted the fuel from both it and the LCM 131.
By 9 a.m. approximately 50 people stood along the trails watching as salvors worked to extract the tugs. Around noon, security began pushing the most eager onlookers back, with a McKeil employee keeping viewers on the paved trail and away from the water’s edge.
It was ultimately a slow day. With the first of the two tugs halfway out of the water by 1:30 p.m. the crowd started to thin out. Only the most devoted salvage fans remained in shady spots off the trail. By 3 p.m. the operations continued but with Lac Manitoba hanging halfway out of the water.
On Thursday, the East Ontario Health Unit lifted its Do Not Drink the Water advisory for South Glengarry after fuel was successfully taken out of both tugs.
The salvage efforts were slowed earlier in July because of strong currents but resumed on July 27. A couple of fuel leaks were reported with the Coast Guard confirming a biodegradable fluid leak on July 20 and a leak of less than 40 litres of oil on July 27.
The McKeil salvors will return for an encore performance when they remove the LCM 131 sometime next week. The salvage operation will likely be completed by Aug. 5.
Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Port Reports - August 1
St. Marys River
Manistee, Mich. – Brian Ferguson
Rochester, NY – Tom Brewer
USCG ships in Grand Haven; Festival runs through Sunday
8/1 - Grand Haven, Mich. – The ships have arrived. Flags in hand, thousands of people lined the Grand Haven Channel as the towering United States Coast Guard cutters sailed into port this past Monday. The arrival of the vessels signified the unofficial beginning of Grand Haven's annual Coast Guard Festival, which runs through Sunday.
The arrival of the ships is met with fanfare every year, but this year Grand Haven is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the Coast Guard. Four vessels, the USCGC Buckthorn, USCGC Biscayne Bay, USCGC Alder and of course, the USCGC Mackinaw, as well as smaller vessels, participated in the ceremonious arrival.
Each of the ships are used in their own unique capacity and are intricately used for their own specific purposes, but the final ship in the progression, the Mackinaw, is the vessel that many find the most fascinating.
The massive Mackinaw is the USCG's only heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes. It is essential in keeping the channels and harbors of the Great Lakes open in response to the demands of the winter shipping needs of industry. The vessel is the successor to the original USCGC Mackinaw, which served the maritime community throughout the Great Lakes for more than 60 years.
The Buckthorn is the oldest cutter on the Great Lakes. Its primary missions are aids to operations in the Ste. Marie River System. The Biscayne Bay is a 140-foot Bay-class, Ice-breaking Tug home ported in St. Ignace. It operates mostly in the Straights of Mackinaw.
The Alder is a 140-foot multi-mission, buoy tender located in Duluth, Minnesota. Its primary missions are aids to navigation, ice breaking, law enforcement and search and rescue.
Ship-shape weekend for Canal Days
8/1 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Anchor yourself in Port Colborne this weekend, where there will be waves of fun. The 37th annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival will feature tall ships, lighthouse tours, arts and crafts, a massive car show, kite displays, rock concerts and so much more.
Over four days starting Friday, the city’s signature event is expected to draw some 300,000 unique and repeat visitors, says Port Colborne events co-ordinator Allaina Kane.
At various venues throughout the long weekend there will be country, folk, pop, jazz, rock and Latin music playing.
The much-anticipated big concerts, which Kane says each night will draw about 7,000 people to the market square parking lot, include Friday night headliners I Mother Earth and Saturday night headliners Big Wreck.
An appetizer for the festival came Thursday in the form of cruises aboard tall ship Empire Sandy. Tours on Lake Erie from West St. along the Welland Canal will continue over the following days.
Among other vessels to be docked along West Street is the U.S. brig Niagara, which will set sail for paid cruises, in addition to free deck tours Saturday to Monday starting at 10 a.m., and the Buffalo fire boat Edward M. Cotter.
The Friends of the Port Colborne Lighthouse group by boat will conduct daily tours to the city’s two local beacons, leaving from Sugarloaf Marina between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The lighthouses are open to the public for the third summer in 111 years.
At the King Street museum, just north of Clarence St., are marine displays and photographs, a Great Lakes Model Boat Association remote control boat show, Niagara Antique Power Association demonstrations, blacksmithing, woodcarving, wool spinning, chair caning, rope ladder-making and 2nd Regiment Lincoln Militia 1812 re-enactors. Visitors can spend the day as a pirate while watching demonstrations by local sea cadets and performances by dancers and singers.
Lookback #622 – Former Hoperidge sank near Singapore on Aug. 1, 1969
The British freighter Hoperidge was built at Newcastle, England, and completed in September 1939, just was World War Two was breaking out across Europe. The 425 foot long freighter was part of the Hopemount Shipping Co. and served Allied interests during the conflict.
Hoperidge was a saltwater trader but came through the newly-opened St. Lawrence Seaway for three trips in 1959.
The vessel was sold and renamed b) Bethlehem in 1963 for Liberian flag service.
Later noted as sailing for the Teh-Hu Steamship Co. of Hong Kong, the vessel sank 45 years ago today following a collision with the Showa Maru. The accident occurred about 30 miles off Singapore during a voyage with cement from Tokyo, Japan, to Aden. Seven members of the crew were lost.
Today in Great Lakes History - August 1
On 01 August 1862, UNION (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 163 foot, 434 ton, built in 1861, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was sold by the Goodrich Line to James H. Mead and J. F. Kirkland for $28,000. This was $9,000 more than Goodrich had paid to have the vessel built just the previous year.
On August 1, 1982, the Canadian tanker L’ERABLE NO 1 entered service. Renamed b.) HUBERT GAUCHER in 1982. Sold foreign in 1996, renamed c.) RODIN and d.) OLYMPIC PRIDE in 2000.
August 1957 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1911 was sold to Luria Brothers, Chicago scrap merchants, along with the PERE MARQUETTE 14.
On 1 August 1871, the construction of the canal through the St. Clair Flats was finished at a cost of $365,000. It was the first real channel built to help ships through the shallow waters where the St. Clair River empties into Lake St. Clair and where there are seven mouths or passes. It took the Canadian contractor John Brown three years to dig the channel that measures 300 feet wide and 8,421 feet long. The water was 18 feet deep. It was protected on most of its sides by piers and dikes. The new channel was considered too small even as it was being dug. At only 300 feet wide, tows of log rafts were encouraged to sue the old shallower channels. Within 20 years, plans were made to deepen the channel to 20 feet.
On 1 August 1849, CHICAGO (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 95 foot, 151 tons, built in 1842, at Oswego, New York) burned in Buffalo harbor. No lives were lost.
1911 – Seven lives were lost when the wooden passenger ship SIRIUS capsized and sank in the St. Lawrence 8 miles from Massena, N.Y. There were 75 passengers on board headed for a picnic when the accident occurred. Apparently, many passengers had rushed to one side of the ship to see a woodchuck as the ship was turning in the current and this led to the ship going over.
1951 – The first SAGUENAY to sail for Canada Steamship Lines was built at Govan, Scotland, in 1913 for service between Quebec City and Saguenay River ports. It left Canada for the Far East as b) KIANG YONG in 1946 and became c) YANGTSE PHOENIX in 1949. The vessel dragged her anchors while riding out a typhoon near Tai Po, Hong Kong, on this date in 1951, went aground and was wrecked.
1969 – The British freighter HOPERIDGE made two trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. It sank on this date in 1969 as b) BETHLEHEM due to a collision with the SHOWA MARU while about 30 miles from Singapore. The ship was enroute from Tokyo to Aden and 7 of the crew were lost.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Algoma into its second dry docks lease with Algoma Discovery
7/31 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corp. is into its second, short-term lease this year at the Port Weller dry docks. Its bulk carrier Algoma Discovery, built in the 1980s, is in for a short and undefined time for dry-dock maintenance work that's done periodically.
A previous three-month lease, earlier this year, was for a similar overhaul on the Algoma Enterprise.
"Every five years, we have to go through a formal process where some of the work involves the underside of the ship," said Algoma's chief financial officer Peter Winkley. "It needs to be put up on blocks, and the water drained, in order to get access to it."
Winkley said he "couldn't comment on who's specifically getting hired for the work on the Discovery," nor was he aware of the number of people employed.
"They are primarily our normal crews through Algoma ship repair," he said. "There may be some short-term (workers) that were previously workers at the yard, but I can't comment on that specifically." The Discovery has been at the docks for about a week.
The previous dry docks tenant, Seaway Marine and Industrial, went bankrupt in 2013. That shut-down put more than 100 people out of work.
Kyle Groulx — a business representative for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128 representing the former hourly workers there — previously told The Standard that many have since found other employment.
During January's project at the docks, Groulx said some Boilermaker members were currently working on the Enterprise as seasonal workers.
A representative for the Boilermakers was away this week and not available for follow-up comment.
Winkley said a possible long-term lease from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. isn't being considered at this point.
St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corp. operates the largest Canadian-flag fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway.
Since 2009, Algoma's purchase of three coastal class vessels and other state-of-the-art Equinox Class ships has meant more than $560 million in investment to its domestic dry-bulk fleet renewal.
St. Catharines Standard
Petro-Nav brings in tanker help again
7/31 - Petro-Nav Inc has applied for a coasting license to use the Antigua and Barbuda flag tanker Sloman Herakles to make multiple trips in the Levis, Montreal, Oakville, Sarnia range between the dates of August 10 and August 31. A previous application to use the same ship ran from July 3 to August 2.
Port Reports - July 31
St. Marys River
Shipwreck in Ludington shallows possibly Saugatuck schooner, archaeologist says
7/31 - Ludington, Mich. – A wooden hulk showing up in the shallows of Lake Michigan near Ludington is no surprise to one Michigan official.
The shape of the ship could be clearly distinguished on Wednesday, July 29, in the shallows of the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area north of Ludington – roughly a mile's walk south from the Nurnburg Road parking area.
"About 10 years ago I visited a shipwreck then on the shoreline north of Ludington," Michigan's Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi said in a written statement Wednesday. "With higher lake levels over the last few years I suspect that the same wreck is now inundated in very shallow water near shore."
Lusardi said the site he visited measured 94.5 feet in overall length – the size of hundreds of smaller schooners that were built on the Great Lakes between the 1840s and 1870s.
"Most of these schooners were rigged with two masts, could carry about 150 tons of cargo, principally lumber, grain, salt or coal, and were manned by a crew of four or five," Lusardi said. "Much of the fleet operating in or around Ludington was involved in carrying lumber to Chicago from ports in Western Michigan."
Jim Fey, a self-described "nautical nut" and board member of the Mason County Historical Society, said he planned to visit the site this weekend and take measurements of the wreck.
"We can narrow it down to a few ships, I think," Fey said. The work is difficult because many ships were lost in waters near Big Sable point. "It's a treacherous area -- there are a lot of sand bars.”
The shipwreck recently seen in the shallows could be one of many schooners lost in that area -- one example is the Lizzie Doak, which ran aground there in 1892.
But Lusardi said it could prove to be The George F. Foster, which was built by Jacob Randall in 1852 at present-day Saugatuck, then called Newark. The Foster was 93.6 feet long, 21.5 feet wide, and measured 123 tons.
"Bound from Grand Haven to Chicago with a load of lumber, the schooner was blown off course by an autumn gale and wrecked in October 1872," Lusardi wrote. "The Foster's class, dimensions, and location correspond favorably with the archaeological remains located near Ludington, though further research is required to make a positive identification."
Visitors are welcome to look at the wreck, but are asked not to dig on it or otherwise disturb the site, he said.
"The wreck will likely be reburied naturally as it has been covered and uncovered many times already," Lusardi wrote.
Notices to Shipping #19 and 20 issued
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notices to Shipping #19 and 20 have been issued.
Lookback #621 – Cedarbranch exploded and burned on July 31, 1965
It was a half-century ago that the Canadian tanker Cedarbranch (ii) suffered an engine room explosion and massive fire that kept Montreal firefighters on the scene for 48 hours.
The 260 foot, 11 inch long member of the Branch Lines fleet eventually settled on the bottom with a toll of 2 dead and two more injured.
After being salvaged later in the year, Cedarbranch was towed to Sorel and repaired. In the process the ship was lengthened to 290 feet, 10 inches increasing carrying capacity by about 2,000 barrels of product.
Cedarbranch had been built at Sorel in 1951 and had served in the canal trades until the Seaway opened in 1959 and continued to mix Great Lakes and St. Lawrence service.
The crew were in position the save the lives of 18 sailors from the burning coastal freighter Cap Diamant in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Nov. 10, 1966.
Following a sale to Johnstone Shipping in 1978, the vessel saw some service as b) Secola before tying up at Sorel late in 1979. It was resold to Mexican interests and departed for Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean service as c) Kito Maru on Dec. 5, 1979.
The ship arrived at Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping on Feb. 24, 1985, ending a career that made international news 50 years ago today.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 31
On this day in 1948, in a total elapsed time of 19 hours, the JAMES DAVIDSON of the Tomlinson fleet unloaded 13,545 tons of coal at the Berwind Dock in Duluth and loaded 14,826 tons of ore at the Allouez Dock in Superior.
On this day in 1955, Al A. Wolf, the first Chief Engineer of a Great Lakes freighter powered by a 7,000 hp engine, retired as Chief Engineer of the WILFRED SYKES. Chief Wolf started as an oiler on the POLYNESIA in 1911, became Chief Engineer in 1921, and brought out the SYKES in 1948.
Sea trials took place for the JAMES R. BARKER this day in 1976. She was to become Interlake's first 1000 footer and the flagship of the fleet for Moore McCormack Leasing, Inc. (Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.). She was built at a cost of more than $43 million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. She was the third thousand-footer to sail on the Lakes and the first built entirely on the Lakes.
On July 31, 1974, the Liberian vessel ARTADI approached the dock at Trois Rivires, Que. where she damaged the docked GORDON C. LEITCH's stern.
The CEDARBRANCH was damaged and sunk by an explosion on July 31, 1965, several miles below Montreal, Quebec resulting in a loss of one life. Repaired and lengthened in 1965, she was renamed b.) SECOLA in 1978, and c.) KITO MARU in 1979, and scrapped at Brownsville, Texas, in 1985.
On 31 July 1849, ACORN (wooden schooner, 84 foot, 125 tons, built in 1842, at Black River, Ohio) was struck amidships by the propeller TROY near West Sister Island in Lake Erie. She sank quickly, but no lives were lost since all hands made it to the TROY.
On 31 July 1850, AMERICA (wooden side-wheeler, 240 foot, 1,083 tons, built in 1847, at Port Huron, Michigan) suffered a boiler or steam pipe explosion while sailing on Lake Erie. The explosion immediately killed nine persons and scalded others who died later. The vessel was repaired and sailed for three more seasons.
Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Isle Royale Queen IV runs aground
7/30 - Copper Harbor, Mich. – The Isle Royale Queen IV, operating out of Copper Harbor, ran aground Tuesday while on an evening cruise. U.S. Coast Guard was contacted by the Negaunee dispatch and told that the excursion vessel had run aground inside the harbor.
Lt. J.G. Derek Puzzouli of the Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard station said in response to the call, Guardsmen from Coast Guard Station Portage in Dollar Bay were dispatched to the scene.
"By the time they (the crew from Portage) reached the scene," Puzzuoli said, "the passengers had already been gotten off the Queen by good samaritans in the area with boats."
The vessel had run aground on rocks near Porter's Island, on the north side of the harbor, but its crew was able to get the vessel free without assistance, Puzzuoli said.
The Coast Guard trailered a small boat at the Portage station in Dollar Bay, and launched it from the Copper Harbor marina, Puzzouoli said, but by the time they got to the scene, everything was under control.
There were no injuries, the Isle Royale Queen suffered no apparent damage in the incident and there was no fuel or oil leakage as a result of the mishap, said Puzzuoli, but the Coast Guard remained on the scene to monitor the situation.
The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Service Unit out of Duluth, which investigates marine accidents. The Isle Royale Line Ferry Service, which operates the Isle Royale Queen, was unavailable for comment.
The Mining Gazette
United Taconite to be idled: Another blow for the mining industry
7/30 - CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources announced Wednesday on the company's earnings call that the company is going to idle United Taconite, which includes the mine in Eveleth and the plant in Forbes.
Lourenco Goncalves cited pellet inventory as the reason for the shutdown. He also said they are going to do the idle in a way that they can promptly bring back operations.
Around 500 people work at United Taconite, according to a statement from Cliffs in September of last year. That's when they celebrated 50 years in business. Goncalves thanked all of the employees who've worked hard to reduce their production costs.
He said the one good thing about idling UTac is it gives them a chance to start developing the transformation of the plant needed to make a certain pellet for ArcelorMittal.
Goncalves mentioned they have a partnership with NUCOR to develop Direct Reduced Iron grade pellets, for a DRI facility in the Great Lakes.
Port Reports - July 30
Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Outline of shipwreck revealed near Ludington
7/30 - Grant Twp., Mich. – The full outline of a roughly 60-foot-long shipwreck is now showing under a few inches of Lake Michigan water off the shore of the Nordhouse Wilderness Area north of Ludington.
Chris Newhouse of Ann Arbor and his wife, Cathey, found the wreck while hiking about a week ago in the Nordhouse Dunes, about three and a half miles south of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Michigan Recreation Area.
Chris reported it is also about a mile south of the Nurnburg Road parking area.
Wayne Lusardi, maritime archeologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, isn’t sure what boat it is at this time. He said there are probably about 40 shipwrecks off shore near Ludington, including the Lizzie Doak, an 75-foot boat that sunk near the shore on Aug. 30, 1892.
“This year there’s a lot of sand that’s been moving around and a lot of near-shore wrecks are considerably more exposed than they have been in the past,” Lusardi said.
Kenneth Morris, a petty officer 1st class at Manistee’s U.S. Coast Guard station, said the wreck is not on Coast Guard charts.
Ludington Daily News
Great Lakes Commission gets $3.4M for Little Rapids Cut project
7/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission is getting more than $3.4 million for a regional partnership focusing on habitat restoration in Sault Ste. Marie.
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan on Tuesday announced the support through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The funding is for the ongoing Little Rapids project, which also involves state and local agencies.
Officials have said construction will begin next year on a 625-foot bridge on the St. Marys River, an important step toward repairing more than a century of environmental damage.
The river links Lakes Huron and Superior. Navigation projects have disrupted its water flow, and bottomlands around Sault Ste. Marie were coated with industrial discharges. The project is designed to restore more natural currents and produce 50-to-70 acres of fish spawning habitat.
Lookback #620 – Lyngenfjord backed into at Montreal on July 30, 1965
The Norwegian freighter Lygenfjord was among the most common overseas callers to the Great Lakes in the early years of the Seaway. It had not been built for the new waterway, having been completed at Gothenburg, Sweden, in February 1948, but adopted well to the inland trading pattern as a member of the Norwegian-American Line.
The 422 foot long carrier began Seaway trading with four trips in 1959 and, by the end of 1967, had tallied 35 trips in and out of the new system. Cargoes varied but, on the first trip in May 1959, Lyngenfjord unloaded ferro-chrome at the Electromet Dock along the Welland Canal at Welland.
The only real blip occurred 50 years ago today when Lyngenfjord was minding her own business at a Montreal dock when another Seaway regular, the Salmela, backed up too far and hit the stern of the moored Norwegian freighter. Fortunately the damage was not significant.
In 1970, Lygenfjord was sold and renamed b) Amronto and, then became c) Eastern Valour in 1976. This Panamanian flag carrier was laid up at Karachi, Pakistan, on Dec. 7, 1979, but not sold to local shipbreakers. Instead, the vessel traveled to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, arriving on May 3, 1980, for scrapping by the Chi Yung Steel Enterprise Co.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 30
July 30, 1996 - CSL's self-unloader H.M. GRIFFITH, which was off Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior, and bound for Nanticoke, Ontario, with a load of 22,775 tons of western coal, had a spontaneous combustion fire in her number 2 cargo hold. Water was used to cool the fire and the GRIFFITH used her unloading boom to dump 3,000 tons of coal into Lake Superior. After an inspection by the USCG at the Soo the following day, revealed only minor damage, the vessel was cleared to proceed on her journey. Reconstructed and renamed b.) RT HON PAUL J. MARTIN in 2000.
This News Page on the BoatNerd site was launched in 1996, reporting the coal fire aboard the GRIFFITH.
GORDON C. LEITCH (Hull#36) was launched July 30, 1952, at Midland, Ontario, by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. for the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto, Ontario.
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker C.C.G.S. ALEXANDER HENRY entered service July 30, 1959. Since 1985, the HENRY has served as a museum in Kingston, Ontario.
On 30 July 1871, the 162-foot bark HARVEY BISSELL was carrying lumber from Toledo to Tonawanda, New York. When she was on the Western end of Lake Erie, she sprang a leak. Although the crew worked the hand-powered pumps constantly, the water kept gaining at a rate of about a foot an hour. The tug KATE WILLIAMS took her in tow, intending to get her to Detroit to be repaired, but this proved impossible. So the BISSELL was towed close to Point Pelee and allowed to sink in 14 feet of water. The WILLIAMS then left for Detroit to get steam pumps and other salvage equipment. On returning, they pumped out the BISSELL, refloated and repaired her. She lasted until 1905.
On 30 July 1872, the Port Huron Dry Dock launched SANDY, a lighter. Her dimensions were 75 feet x 20 feet x 5 feet.
On 30 July 1873, George Hardison of Detroit announced the beginning of a new shipyard in Port Huron, Michigan. It would be located above the 7th Street Bridge on the Black River on land owned by J. P. Haynes, accessible by River Street. Within 30 days of this announcement, the new yard had orders for two canalers three-and-aft rig for delivery in the spring of 1874. Their dimensions were to be 146 feet overall, 139 feet ¬keel, 26 foot beam and 11 foot 6 inches depth.
On 30 July 1866, CITY OF BUFFALO (wooden propeller, 340 foot, 2,026 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York as a side-wheeler) was unloading 72,000 bushels of wheat at the Sturgis Elevator at Buffalo, New York, when arsonists set fire to the complex. The fire destroyed the wharf, the elevator, several businesses and the ship. The arsonists were caught. Incidentally, the CITY OF BUFFALO was converted from a passenger side-wheeler to a propeller freighter during the winter of 1863-64. After the conversion, she was dubbed "the slowest steam-craft on the Lakes".
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Sociery, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Port Reports - July 29
Port Weller, Ont.
Phoenix reaches Pakistan
7/29 - The bulker Phoenix, formerly Phoenix Sun, reached the anchorages off Karachi, Pakistan July 21. When it sailed form Canada after an extended layup in June it was said to be heading for Dubai to be rebuilt. However it has bypassed that port and appears likely to be headed for the scrapyards instead.
St. Lawrence River North Channel around tugboats closed to boats
7/29 - Cornwall, Ont. – As cleanup begins in earnest this week on the sunken tugboat Lac Manitoba, the federal transport ministry has shut down the St. Lawrence River to boat traffic.
There had originally been a plan to have a small strip of water against the north shore of Cornwall Island open to boats but that has changed.
The area of the St. Lawrence River that is closed is around the tugboats Lac Manitoba and LCM 131, in the area of the Three Nations Bridge. The closure started Friday and will be in effect until Aug. 5.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System’s original draw-down of the river to control the current (which would have affected levels in Lake St. Louis and Lake St. Francis) was cancelled Thursday until further notice.
Soo USCG community center dedicated to memory of Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh
7/29 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, Sector Sault Ste. Marie, the Coast Guard Foundation and Capt. Jimmie H. Hobaugh's family named and dedicated the newly-built Capt. Jimmie H. Hobaugh Community Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 27 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Hobaugh was the commanding officer on Coast Guard Cutter Woodrush when it responded to the wreck of the motor vessel Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. He was also commanding officer of Group Sault Ste. Marie and acted as on-scene commander and oversaw the seven-month salvage operation of the Coast Guard cutter Mesquite when it ran aground in 1989.
After he retired from the Coast Guard, Hobaugh participated in numerous community service organizations and projects in Sault Ste. Marie, including a stint as director of the museum ship Valley Camp. He passed away in December 2014.
The project cost approximately $650,000, and the Coast Guard Foundation donated approximately $400,000 to the project. The community center has a gym and lounge area for Coast Guard members and their families.
Lookback #619 – City of Saginaw 31 damaged in a fire at Manitowoc on July 29, 1971
One has to wonder how the history of the rail car ferry City of Saginaw 31 might have been different had it not been for the fire of 44 years ago today. The vessel was at Manitowoc, Wis., for reconstruction work when the blaze broke out. As a result, heavy damage was sustained to the top deck and accommodation area with damage listed in the range of $400,000 to $750,000.
Instead of having a future, the ship was declared at total loss. It was laid up and then sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne in 1973 and resold to Spanish shipbreakers. The tugs Salvage Monarch and Helen M. McAllister brought the former ferry down the Welland Canal on June 25, 1973, and the Polish tug Koral took over at Quebec City on June 29. They reached the destination of Castellon, Spain, on July 19, 1973, and, along with the retired laker John P. Reiss, a second part of the tow, the two aging steamers were broken up for scrap.
City of Saginaw 31 had been built at Manitowoc in 1929, and joined the Pere Marquette Railway fleet for service between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. The 3-hour, 46-minute-long trip carried freight cars, automobiles and up to 168 passengers. It was advertised as a “healthy alternative” for the auto traveler.
The vessel moved under the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1947 and continued in service until the unfortunate fire of July 29, 1971.
Updates - July 29
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Elbe, BBC Ohio, Edward Schulte, Elbeborg, Fortune, Harbour Leader and Nordana Sky.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 29
OTTERCLIFFE HALL cleared Lauzon, Quebec, July 29, 1969 on her maiden voyage as the last "straight deck" Great Lakes bulk freighter built with a pilothouse forward.
While at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. for general repairs and engine overhaul, the CITY OF SAGINAW 31 caught fire on July 29, 1971, destroying her cabin deck and rendering her useless for further use. The blaze was caused by an acetylene torch, and caused over $1 million in damage. She was not repaired. The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario, for scrapping.
On July 29, 1974 the W.W. HOLLOWAY grounded in Lake St. Clair off the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club while running downbound with stone. Lightering into the J.F. SCHOELKOPF JR was necessary before she was freed by four tugs on July 31st.
ENDERS M. VOORHEES departed Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan, on her maiden voyage July 29, 1942, bound for Duluth, Minnesota, to load iron ore. She was the second of five "Supers" for the Pittsburgh fleet to enter service.
July 29, 1974 - PERE MARQUETTE 21 was towed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be reduced to a barge.
The steam barge MARY ROBERTSON burned near Mackinac on 29 July 1872. Her crew escaped to a schooner-barge they were towing.
The MATERIAL SERVICE foundered in a heavy summer gale in 1936, off the South Chicago lighthouse. She was a canal motor barge not designed for open-lake use.
The side-wheel river steamer DOMINION burned to the water's edge at her dock in the Thames River near Chatham, Ontario, on 29 July 1875. She was built in 1867, at Wallaceburg, Ontario.
1912 – REPUBLIC stranded at Point Louise in the St. Marys River and sustained bottom damage.
1930 – The sandsucker GEORGE J. WHALEN capsized and sank off Dunkirk, N.Y., in heavy seas and 15 sailors perished. Only 6 were rescued and taken aboard the AMASA STONE.
1942 – The first PRESCODOC was torpedoed and sunk by U-160 off Georgetown, British Guiana, with the loss of 15 lives. The bauxite-laden steamer went down quickly, bow first, while enroute to Trinidad and only 5 were saved.
1943 – LOCKWELL and KEYBELL collided above Bridge 11 of the Welland Canal. The former was repaired at Port Dalhousie with $13,450 in damages.
1946 – TEAKBAY went aground on Featherbed Shoal off Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence while bound for Montreal with a load of coal. This member of the C.S.L. fleet was released, with the aid of tugs, the next day and proceeded to Kingston for repairs.
1971 – While undergoing a major refit at Manitowoc, fire broke out aboard the CITY OF SAGINAW 31 destroying the top deck and accommodation area. The damage was listed as between $450,000 and $700,000 and the vessel became a total loss. It was towed to Castellon, Spain, for scrapping.
1979 – The Cayman Islands registered QUIDNET came through the Seaway in 1978 but sank, in a collision with the SEA TIDE at Mamei Curve in the Panama Canal while enroute from Callao, Peru, to Trinidad. The hull was abandoned as a total loss and had to be cut in two before being towed away to a dumping ground. The ship had also been a Great Lakes visitor as b) LUDMILLA C. in 1968.
1993 – The second FEDERAL SCHELDE to visit the Great Lakes was built in 1977 and came inland that year on its maiden voyage with sugar for Montreal and Toronto. The ship received major bow damage after striking the ARARAT in the Orinoco River of Venezuela. It went to Hamburg, Germany, for repairs and resumed service. It became b) TRIAS in 1994 and continued Seaway service until 1999. The ship arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on December 12, 2000.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Jerry Pearson, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Marine Historical Society of Detroit
Rising Lake Erie damages property, swallows beaches
7/28 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The star-spangled banner still waves in Lake Erie – but in much deeper water. The 4-by-6-foot Stars and Stripes that was anchored between some rocks in Grandview Bay a few years ago had a purpose beyond patriotism: to warn boaters of shallow water and a field of debris from an old dock.
But those rocks and remnants of that dock are now submerged, along with most of the flagpole, as Lake Erie’s rising waters now lap toward the bottom of Old Glory. That’s because the lake has added a lot of water over the last few months – about 2.9 trillion more gallons, or roughly the equivalent of 4.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Just a couple of years removed from unprecedented declines in water levels – when Lake Erie dropped every month in 2012 and ran as much as 9 inches below normal between May 2012 and June 2013 – its depth ballooned in June and July because of as much as 400 percent more rainfall in some areas of the Great Lakes watershed this spring and summer.
Lake Erie is averaging 573.31 feet above sea level this month, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. That height hadn’t been reached since June 1998.
The lake is now about 24 inches higher than in July 2012. For swimmers and water enthusiasts in this popular spot, what used to be ankle-deep water is now waist-deep.
And according to the Corps of Engineers, this period of high water – levels are forecast to remain as much as 14 inches above normal over the next couple of months – could further exacerbate shoreline flooding and erosion, especially if even more rain falls.
Residents got a taste of that last week when a deluge from thunderstorms flooded streets, driveways and yards. With the water table already high, the ground was saturated. Throw in clogged drainage ditches around the neighborhood and the water quickly raced through the area, seeking ever-lower ground as it moved toward Lake Erie. But debris and a washed-out gravel roadway dammed up some areas as the water approached the already-bloated lake.
Residents are still drying out their yards and basements. That will be something to keep an eye on, especially as summer turns to fall, given the Corps of Engineers’ projections.
When November gales whip up, seiches – storm surges – are often created on the eastern end of the lake. Those storm surges are measured in feet.
Sustained periods of high water in the 1980s, combined with storms, led to significant damage along the lake shore, Pinkel recalled. Hoover Beach was wiped out. Sand dunes near Bennett Beach washed out into the lake. Cliffs in Hamburg and Derby eroded, pulling shale into the lake.
Lake Erie isn’t the only water body affected. Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, which feeds Lake Erie through the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, are up more than 6 and 17 inches over normal, respectively, according to Corps of Engineers data. Further north, Lake Superior is more than 8 inches higher than normal.
Corps of Engineers officials said dramatic rainfall in the lakes’ watersheds caused the rapid rise in the water level.
“That is a direct result of the extremely wet weather in the Lake Erie basin in June and July,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Corps of Engineers in Detroit. “Parts of the Lake Erie basin over the last 35 days have two, three or four times the normal amount of precipitation.
“That causes all the rivers and streams that feed the lakes to run high and the rainfall that falls down on the lake itself has caused the level of Lake Erie to rise over the last six weeks or so,” Kompoltowicz said.
A survey of meteorological data from seven major metropolitan areas around the Lake Erie watershed shows every city has had above-average precipitation between May and July – some dramatically higher. Nearly 23 inches of rain has fallen in Fort Wayne, Ind., during that time, about double its average. Both Cleveland and Toledo have received roughly 60 to 70 percent more rain than normal.
The higher lake waters have to go somewhere. In Lake Erie’s case, that’s down the Niagara River and over Niagara Falls. So does that mean more water going over the Falls this summer?
“Not necessarily,” according to Keith R. Koralewski, chief of the Corps of Engineers’ water management team. “The higher levels can cause higher flows out of Lake Erie, but the power entities – New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation – can withdraw as much water as they need and/or can handle as long as the flow over the Falls meets … criteria set forth by the 1950 treaty between both countries.”
Koralewski said the theory of more water going over the Falls was “plausible” if the U.S. or Canada weren’t retaining extra water. But he said that, through June, the flow over Niagara Falls “has been fairly steady” during daytime hours.
“There was no upward trend even though the Lake Erie outflow had increased during that timeframe,” Koralewski said.
The New York Power Authority declined to provide real-time flow data of the river above the falls, but a historical analysis of the Niagara River flow at Buffalo may provide some support for the hypothesis of more water flowing into the river.
Only in eight years between 1900 and 2013 did the mean July monthly flow of the Niagara River at Buffalo exceed 7,000 cubic meters per second, according to public data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. When compared with Corps of Engineers data, those eight years – 1973, 1974, 1976, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1997 and 1998 – also represent the top eight years for Lake Erie water levels on record.
And earlier this month, high water levels in the lower Niagara River resulted in suspended operation of the Maid of the Mist and Hornblower tour boats after the Niagara River Control Center conducted a daytime “spill” of water over the falls.
Port Reports - July 28
Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
3 takeaways from American Great Lakes Ports Association's meeting in Muskegon
7/28 - Muskegon, Mich. – More than three dozen people connected to the shipping industry came to the Port of Muskegon to talk shop and get a closer look at West Michigan's Port City.
The American Great Lakes Ports Association met in Muskegon July 22-23 at Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center. Local officials and businessmen swapped ideas for growing the industry and increasing traffic on the Great Lakes.
Here are a few of the presentations and discussions from the two-day meeting:
1. A businessman's boat-building success story. Ken Szallai, president of the Milwaukee-Muskegon cross-lake boat ferry Lake Express, talked about his efforts to build a boat -- a process that, he said, took 15 years of his life.
Having "the first high-speed auto ferry" on a fixed route in the Great Lakes was seen a challenge to the status quo, he said. When financing finally came through, he only had 11 months to finish designing the boat, build the boat, adjust the docks, and train workers, he said. Everyone working on the boat pitched in and somehow the work was completed.
He remembers taking possession of the aluminum-hulled catamaran at a Southern shipyard a few months before it started ferry service.
"One of the proudest moments of my life was going down to Mobile, Alabama," he said. "It was a beautiful, late spring evening. ... I knew for that one moment the ship was mine."
He also remembered coming to Muskegon for the first time and being greeted by thousands of people, "ten deep on either side" of the channel.
2. An innovation that could change Great Lakes shipping. A new system for treating ships' ballast water was discussed by Marc Gagnon, Director of Government Affairs and Regulatory Compliance for Montreal-based Fednav Limited, an ocean-going dry-bulk shipping company.
Ballast water is typically taken on ships for stability when traveling to a port to pick up a load. The safety practice is thought to have played a role in the introduction of invasive species such as zebra mussels and round goby fish.
Gagnon was frank about the current situation: "Michigan is a problem" from a shipping perspective because of rules about discharging salt water ballast. He also gave an overview of U.S. EPA and Coast Guard rules that will require ships to have ballast water controls in place by 2021.
But he said his company had found a ballast treatment system that will remove much of the problem:
"We are sure about the future of the Great Lakes, because we are building ships to come on the Great Lakes," he said.
The treatment system, JFE Ballast ACE, works by filtering the ballast water and adding chlorine during intake, he said. An agent neutralizing the chlorine is added before the ballast water is released.
The new system can be installed for less than $500,000 on a new boat, he said. Testing on the system has begun and "we hope it will be one of the first systems approved ... for fresh water."
3. Encouragement for the long haul. Muskegon County Commissioner Ben Cross, who is chairman of the county's Port Advisory Committee, said he was encouraged by discussions with other attendees.
"We're not unique by any means," he said. "All other ports started out like us."
He particularly enjoyed talking with ports that have been working at it longer.
"I don't think they just, all of the sudden started doing it," he said. "All in all, we've had our hurdles and had our obstacles, but I believe we're gaining traction. We're making progress."
SS Badger plans two new shoreline cruises
7/28 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry will offer a new fall shoreline cruise aboard the S.S Badger on Saturday, September 5, along the Manitowoc shoreline headed toward the Two Rivers Kite Fest.
The next day, September 6, the Badger will offer a “Go Green or Go Blue” sports-themed shoreline cruise out of Ludington. Know your fight song and be the best dressed in your teams colors and qualify to win free round trip passes.
Tickets are available for purchase online or by stopping in at the Ludington Ticket Office or calling 800-841-4243. Shoreline cruises will go on rain or shine. For more details, visit ssbadger.com
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #18 issued
Lookback #618 – Mihalis Angelos ran aground leaving Toronto on July 28, 1961
The Greek freighter Mihalis Angelos made two trips to the Great Lakes. It had just departed Toronto with a load of scrap steel destined for Japan when it ran aground 54 years ago today. The long voyage was interrupted, but once the Greek-flagged freighter was released, it was able to continue the trip.
This general cargo carrier was built for the British Ministry of War Transport and completed as a) Empire Masefield in October 1941. The 447 foot, 6 inch long vessel was attacked by aircraft and damaged in a bombing raid off Flamborough Head along the North Sea coast of England on Jan. 13, 1942. But the ship survived and passed, later in the year, to the government of Belgium as b) Belgian Seaman.
It remained under the flag of Belgium after the war becoming c) Anvers in 1946 and d) Clervaux in 1952. Originally a coal-fired steamer, the ship was converted to burn oil in February 1949.
It began trading as Mihalis Angelos in 1960 and was back through the Seaway in 1962 for one last inland voyage.
Sold again in 1966, the vessel now flew the Panamanian flag as f) Gloria for the Celestial Shipping Corp. Following a resale to Taiwan shipbreakers, it arrived at Kaohsiung on Dec. 7, 1967, and was broken up in the weeks ahead.
Updates - July 28
News Photo Gallery we had the wrong link for a few hours yesterday morning, this is the correct one.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 28
On July 28, 1973, the ROGER M. KYES (Hull#200) was christened at Toledo, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. by Mrs. Roger Kyes for the American Steamship Co. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.
B.A. PEERLESS (Hull#148) was launched July 28, 1952, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for British American Transportation Co. Ltd. Renamed b.) GULF CANADA in 1969, and c.) COASTAL CANADA in 1984.
The JOHN T. HUTCHINSON was delivered on July 28th to the Buckeye Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.), Cleveland. The HUTCHINSON was part of a government program designed to upgrade and increase the capacity of the U.S. Great Lakes fleet during World War II. In order to help finance the building of new ships, the U.S.M.C. authorized a program that would allow existing fleets to obtain new boats by trading in their older boats to the Government for credit. The vessel was the ninth Maritimer and fourth of the six L6-S-Al types delivered. "L6" meant the vessel was built for the Great Lakes and was 600 to 699 feet in length. The "S" stood for steam power and "Al" identified specific design features.
On 28 July 1854, BOSTON (wooden propeller, 134 foot, 259 tons, built in 1847, at Ohio City, Ohio) was bound from Chicago for Ogdensburg, New York, with pork, corn, whiskey and produce. On Lake Ontario, about 20 miles off Oak Orchard, New York, she collided with the bark PLYMOUTH and sank in about 20 minutes. No lives were lost. The crew and passengers made it to shore in three lifeboats. The boat that the captain was in sailed 50 miles to Charlotte, New York.
In 1900, the freighter PRINCETON (Hull#302) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.
On 28 July 1862, CONVOY (2-mast wooden schooner, 130 foot, 367 tons, built in 1855, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing downbound on a dark night on Lake Erie with 18,000 bushels of wheat when she collided with the empty bark SAM WARD and sank quickly in 12 fathoms of water. Her wreck drifted along the bottom and during the shipping season several vessels collided with her.
1922 – The wooden passenger and freight carrier CARIBOU went aground in the North Channel of Georgian Bay near Richards Landing.
1923 – The wooden steamer W.J. CARTER, enroute from Oswego to Cobourg with a cargo of coal, began leaking and sank in Lake Ontario 20 miles south of Point Peter. Nine crewmembers were rescued by the KEYPORT.
1929 – The newly-built canaller C.H. HOUSON was in a collision with the collier WABANA off Cap au Saumon on the St. Lawrence in heavy fog. The investigation of the accident was critical of the operation of both vessels. The former served in the Misener fleet, becoming b) PAUL MANION in 1949, and was scrapped at Deseronto, Ontario, in 1961.
1949 – NORMAN J. KOPMEIER was holed by an underwater obstruction entering Muskegon with a cargo of coal from Chicago. The vessel had to be beached and almost capsized. It was later refloated and repaired. The ship last sailed as e) PINEDALE in 1976 and was scrapped at Hamilton in 1981.
1961 – After loading a cargo of scrap steel for Japan on its first visit to the Great Lakes, the Greek freighter MIHALIS ANGELOS ran aground leaving Toronto harbor. The ship had been one of the “Empire Class” ships of World War Two, being built as a) EMPIRE MASEFIELD. It arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping as f) GLORIA on December 6, 1967.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Federal Margaree suffers engine room fire
7/27 - Sunday night the Federal Margaree reported a fire in their engine room fire while docked at the Nicholson's Detroit dock on the Detroit River. The vessel reported the fire was extinguished at 11:15 p.m. and the crew was inspecting the space for damage. There were no reported injuries, check back for updates.
Port Reports - July 27
St. Marys River
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Lookback #617 – Alberta in serious collision off Whitefish Point on July 27, 1884
The newly-completed passenger and freight carrier Alberta sank the wooden steamer John M. Osborne, in fog 3.5 miles off Whitefish Point on July 27, 1884. The accident of 131 years ago claimed three lives.
Alberta had been built at Whiteinch, Scotland, and came to Canada in the fall of 1883 for the Canadian Pacific Railway fleet. The 270 foot long hull was cut in two for passage through the old canal system leading to Lake Erie and was then rejoined at Buffalo. It entered service on May 13, 1884, departing Owen Sound for Port Arthur.
This vessel also spent two years trading between Windsor and the Canadian Lakehead but was most at home on the Georgian Bay-Lakehead run. Alberta was taken to Collingwood in 1911 and lengthened but, in later years, it operated in a freight-only capacity.
The Depression sent Alberta to the wall in the 1930s but it resumed service between Port McNicoll, Milwaukee and Chicago beginning in 1938.
At 60 years of age, the ship was retired at Port McNicoll in 1944 and then scrapped at Indiana Harbor, Ind., in 1947 after a plan to tow the hull to the Gulf of Mexico fell through .
Updates - July 27
News Photo Gallery 172 new images, please continue to send in your pictures.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 27
On 27 July 1884, ALBERTA (steel propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 264 foot, 2,282 gross tons, built in 1883, at Whiteinch, Scotland, by C. Connell & Co.) collided in fog six miles north north west of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior with the JOHN M. OSBORNE (wooden propeller "steam barge", 178 foot, 891 tons, built in 1882, at Marine City, Michigan. The OSBORNE had two barges in tow at the time. ALBERTA stayed in the gash until most of OSBORNE's crew scrambled aboard, then pulled out and the OSBORNE sank. ALBERTA sank in shallow water, 3 1/2 miles from shore. 3 or 4 lives were lost from the OSBORNE, one from ALBERTA in brave rescue attempt while trying to get the crewmen off the OSBORNE. This was ALBERTA's first year of service. She was recovered and repaired soon afterward. She was the sister of the ill-fated ALGOMA which was lost in her first year of service. The wreck of the OSBORNE was located in 1984, 100 years after this incident.
On 27 July 1900, the steel freighter RENSSELAER (Hull#402) was launched in Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Ship building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.
1897 – SELWYN EDDY and MARIPOSA collided head-on in dense fog off Manitou Island, Lake Superior. The damage was light, as both ships were proceeding slowly due to the conditions.
1912 – G. WATSON FRENCH, later the first ALGOWAY, was in a collision with the MATAAFA in Lake St. Clair and the latter was heavily damaged and almost sank.
1931 – The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller BARRIE went aground at Les Ecureuils Shoal in the St. Lawrence while enroute to Quebec City.
1944 – The FORT PERROT was damaged by a torpedo in the English Channel south of Hastings, while providing support for the ongoing invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Europe. As c) DORION, this ship made two trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. The vessel was scrapped at Yokohama, Japan, as e) ANTONIOS S. after arriving on June 17, 1963.
1987 – The ANDREW H. went aground off Cornwall Island, in the St. Lawrence, after experiencing steering problems. The ship, loaded with steel for Dofasco in Hamilton, was lightered by MAPLEHEATH and released on August 2. The cargo was reloaded at Valleyfield. The ship first came inland as EKTOR in 1976. It arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as e) BLUEWEST on January 31, 1998.
1999 – The SPIRIT OF 98 went aground on a rock in the Gulf of Alaska 40 miles southeast of Juneau, forcing the passengers to abandon the ship. Flooding was checked and the ship released and repaired. As c) VICTORIAN EMPRESS, the ship saw passenger service on the St. Lawrence and came into the Great Lakes to Lake Ontario beginning in 1990.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Port Reports - July 26
Mainstee, Mich. - Brian Ferguson
Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Eastland remembered: A century later, groups work to memorialize 844 killed
7/26 - Chicago, Ill. – It was 100 years ago that thousands of employees of Western Electric's Hawthorne facility were looking forward to a day of fun and fellowship. Men, women and children, dressed in their finest, arrived at the Chicago River near the Clark Street bridge to board one of several ships that would take them across Lake Michigan to Michigan City's Washington Park. There, they planned to picnic and then take an evening cruise back to the city.
However, 844 of those who had purchased their tickets to board the SS Eastland would die before the ship left dock. The ship, with some 2,500 people aboard, rolled at the dock, dumping people in the water and trapping others inside. It was, and still is, the greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes, often compared to the sinking of the Titanic three years earlier.
The Eastland Disaster, however, never rose to the infamy of the Titanic. Those aboard, said Ted Wachholz, founder of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, weren't rich or well known. They were hardworking people, many first- or second-generation immigrants.
The Eastland was the first ship to load that day, said Jim Retseck, co-president of the Michigan City Historical Society. There were five other ships ready to take passengers across the lake. There were 7,000 tickets sold that day at 75 cents each, said Retseck, adding that was a lot of money for workers who averaged an income of $14 to $16 per week.
"In the early 1900s, Michigan City's lakefront was a playground. There was a beach and restaurants. There was a new electric merry-go-round and a water slide," he said.cThis would have been the fifth year for the trip and company picnic.
The Eastland, Retseck said, had a history of being an unstable ship.
"Sydney Jenks, the architect of the ship, was not a ship builder," Retseck said. "The Eastland was built as a cargo ship."
It was 38 feet wide, 265 feet long and built to ride high in the water, he said, adding it was built for speed, not stability. The theory of why it rolled that day, he said, was because people ran to the port side to wave to people boarding another ship. However, there was no other ship boarding.
"They could have been waving to a boat passing. There was a fire boat and a boat with a movie camera that day," he said.
Bottom line, the SS Eastland rolled, leaving 175 widows and 83 widowers. Along with 228 teens, 58 infants and young children died.
Wachholz said there was a trial after the disaster, but no one was found guilty in the deaths of the 844 people. Earlier this summer, the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, along with professors from the John Marshall Law School, held their own trial.
"It had a terrible track record for 12 years. It was well know for being an unstable ship. They would modify it, but never test it," said Wachholz, adding shortly after the tragedy, the responsibility of inspecting ships was moved to the U.S. Coast Guard.
For decades, the tragedy was just a footnote. Retseck has been researching the Eastland disaster for about 40 years.
"I've always been interested in the Great Lakes history, especially Lake Michigan," he said. "I've been interested in the Eastland for 40 years. It was forgotten. It was the worst loss of life on the Great Lakes."
For Wachholz, it was more personal. His wife's grandmother, Borghild "Bobbie" Aanstad, then 13, was a survivor. He, his wife and his sister-in-law founded the organization 17 years ago.
Three years ago, Wachholz left his job in finances for a nonprofit to devote his full time to making sure not only the 844 were remembered, but also the survivors and those involved in the rescue efforts.
While there is no brick and mortar museum, the society has an extensive website documenting the tragedy and those involved. There is also a historical marker at the site and a memorial in the Bohemian National Cemetery where many victims of the tragedy are buried. A photo exhibit will be on display through Labor Day at the Nisei Lounge along the Chicago River and a beer — the 844 — has been brewed especially to remember the tragedy.
Retseck's and Wachholz's groups both are planning memorial services this weekend. In Chicago, it will be a three-day event that Wachholz said will attract hundreds of people from as far as Ireland and Hawaii to commemorate the disaster.
In Michigan City, a memorial made up of 844 six-inch anchor chain links, will be dedicated.
Lake Michigan water levels rapidly rise after record lows
7/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Water levels on Lake Michigan have undergone a remarkably quick transformation and are now more than 3 feet higher than January 2013 when they hit an all-time low.
Some areas of metro Milwaukee that once enjoyed wide strips of sandy beaches as recently as a year or two ago have been swallowed by rising lake levels, causing property damage and coastal erosion. Yet the change has been a boon for commercial shippers, which now can carry more cargo.
"It's been a very dramatic rise from the record low," said Anne Clites, a physical scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
Water levels have been rising on all of the Great Lakes, according to the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Great Lakes lab. Lake Michigan now stands about 1 foot higher than the long-term average.
The lab's researchers say that unusually wet conditions in 2013 and 2014 played a major role in ending a 15-year period on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior when water levels were below average. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered a single body of water.
In an article written in March by Clites, colleague Andrew D. Gronewold and other researchers in Earth & Space Science News, the scientists reported: "The recent surge represents one of the most rapid rates of water level change on the Great Lakes in recorded history and marks the end of an unprecedented period of below-average water levels that began in 1998."
The lab's researchers, and other scientists, have concluded higher precipitation, combined with two cold winters, were key factors for why the lakes are higher today.
Extensive ice cover the last two winters has not only limited evaporation, but Clites said it's kept Lake Michigan water cooler longer in the summer. Cooler water slows evaporation. Frigid temperatures in the winter of 2013 and 2014 produced the most ice cover on the Great Lakes in at least 25 years, the research lab found.
"The levels of Lake Michigan and Huron in particular are like a bank account," said Paul Roebber, a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. Rainfall is the income, and evaporation is the withdrawal.
Roebber said that although rainfall usually drives lake level changes, the recent fluctuations are due more to changes in water temperatures that affected evaporation.
A key factor driving lower water levels was a period of more than a decade of warmer temperatures and lower-than-average precipitation.
"We were actually breaking 80 degree (water) temperatures for several summers during the period from 1999 to 2013, which is unheard of in the historical record before that," Roebber said.
Lake Michigan-Huron water levels on July 20 stood at 579.92 feet. That is about a 1-foot higher than the long-term average of 578.80 feet, according to NOAA and Army Corps of Engineers data.
Lower water levels limited how much cargo shippers could carry, said Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association.
The trade association represents 16 American companies that ship bulk goods like iron ore, limestone and coal.
"For every inch of navigational depth, our 1,000-footers carry an extra 270 tons of cargo," he said.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Lookback #616 – Norwegian tanker Rogn ran aground near Iroquois on July 26, 1948
The first Rogn to come to the Great Lakes was a small Norwegian tanker. It had been built in 1941 and taken over, while on the stocks, by the German Navy. It was used as a fleet oiler after being completed and then returned to the owners in May 1945.
The ship ran aground off Toussant Island, near Iroquois, Ont., during a visit to the Great Lakes on July 26, 1948. The 205 foot, 11 inch long tanker was in ballast and on charter to the McColl-Frontenac Oil Co. at the time the steering gear failed. The tugs Salvage Prince and Salvage Queen pulled the vessel free on July 28 and it went to Montreal for inspection and repairs before resuming its inland service.
Rogn visited the Great Lakes as late as 1952 and was then sold and renamed b) Rugen before the end of the year. It remained under the flag of Norway until another sale, this to Greek interests, and a rename of c) Piraeus III in 1968.
After forty-years of service, the aging tanker was sold for scrap in 1981 and work at dismantling the hull got underway at Perama, Greece, on Aug. 27 of that year.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 26
On July 26, 2005, the salty ORLA ran aground at Kahnawake, Quebec, and the passing rum tanker JO SPIRIT made contact with her. Both vessels were damaged and repaired in Montreal.
ALGOWEST sailed on her maiden voyage in 1982 from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Quebec City with a 27,308 ton load of barley.
On July 26, 1943 the BRUCE HUDSON caught fire while loading gasoline at East Chicago, Illinois, and four people lost their lives.
CONALLISON departed Windsor, Ontario on her first trip for Johnstone Shipping Ltd. on July 26, 1981.
WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE (Hull#154) sailed light on her maiden voyage from Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan on July 26, 1916, to Duluth, Minnesota, to load iron ore. Renamed b.) HENRY STEINBRENNER in 1986. She was scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario, in 1994.
On 26 July 1885, ISLE ROYALE (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 92 foot, 92 gross tons, built in 1879) sprang a leak near Susick Island near Isle Royale on Lake Superior. She sank but her passengers and crew made it to the island. She was owned by Cooley, Lavague & Company of Duluth. She was originally built as the barge AGNES.
1910 ZENITH CITY went aground at Au Sable Reef, near Marquette, due to fog. The ore-laden steamer sustained damage to 60 planes.
1943 The Canadian tanker BRUCE HUDSON caught fire loading high-octane gasoline at Phillips Petroleum in South Chicago. The Captain, his son and 2 crewmen were killed. The ship was rebuilt and eventually scrapped at Cartagena, Colombia, by 1983 as c) WITCROIX.
1948 ROGN, a Norwegian tanker, went aground in the St. Lawrence at Toussant Island, near Iroquois, after the steering gear failed. The tugs SALVAGE PRINCE and SALVAGE QUEEN pulled the vessel free. It was in ballast and operated on charter to the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company. The ship was scrapped at Piraeus, Greece, as c) PIRAEUS III in 1981.
1965 The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier GEORGIAN BAY stood by the small wooden pulpwood carrier PRINCE QUEBEC on Lake Ontario. Cables were strung to the small ship, enroute to Tonawanda, NY with a cargo of pulpwood, to help keep it afloat. PRINCE QUEBEC was later taken to La Petite Riviere, Quebec, beached and never repaired. Apparently the hull was burned by vandals in the 1970s.
1983 PRA RIVER was registered in Ghana when it came to the Great Lakes in 1963. It went aground, enroute from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to Lagos, Nigeria, as c) MAYON II on this date in 1983 and was abandoned.
2000 HIAWATHA, a ferry dating from 1895, was sunk by vandals at Toronto. It operated between the mainland and a Toronto Island yacht club. The hull was refloated July 28 and taken to Hamilton for restoration, repairs and a return to service.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, published by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Future of Boblo boat Ste. Clare hangs on the dock
7/25 - Ecorse, Mich. – Dr. Ron Kattoo is running out of options, and that means the Boblo boat Ste. Claire might be running out of time.
The 105-year-old steamer has been tied up at U.S. Steel in Ecorse for more than two decades, but the vessel is being evicted to allow for work along the shoreline this fall. That means Kattoo, who has owned the Detroit icon since 2007, needs to find a new home for the old boat — and he needs to do it fast. The problem is, he hasn’t been having much luck.
Even though there’s no set date for the steamer to be out, “even after finding a new home, moving her won’t be a quick process,” Kattoo said. “The longer we wait, the more peril she is in.”
Just how much peril are we talking?
“If I can’t find anywhere to take her, I’m afraid that we might have to end up scrapping her,” he said. “I don’t want to see that happen, but I’m running out of options here. We can’t stay where we’re at.”
Kattoo needs a dock or slip that is 200 feet long and 16 feet deep, and both for ease of restoration and of relocation, it needs to be near Detroit.
Though it seems like almost anyone would be happy to have such a cherished piece of Detroit history and their childhood sitting at their back doorstep, it isn’t quite that simple.
The last two decades have not been kind to the steamer. Paint has peeled. Wood has rotted. The Ste. Claire’s pilothouse has been removed and parts of the stern have been disassembled. In short, the boat doesn’t look as good as you probably remember it. Kattoo says it will take about $500,000 to get the boat “sitting pretty” enough to be tied up along a public area, where work could continue, and the doctor says he’s “about 80%, maybe 90%, there.”
Detroit Free Press
All laid off workers at Minntac being called back
7/25 - Duluth, Minn. – Finally some positive news for the mining industry. The laid off steelworkers from Minntac are being recalled within the next few weeks, according to the union. Lawmakers confirmed their start date is expected to be in September.
"I think overall this is good, positive news right now. Initially the company was talking about being up and running in early fall as the best case scenario," said Rep. Jason Metsa, of Virginia.
U.S. Steel had started a partial shutdown of its largest taconite plant at the beginning of June. Approximately 400 people were laid off, and the remaining workers were on a 32-hour week schedule.
About 70 maintenance folks have just returned to the plant. Which leaves about 300 who are still on layoff.
"I feel confident people will be back to work, and families will be getting needed paychecks as we roll into back to school time," Metsa added.
U.S. Steel's other facility, Keetac, remains in idle mode with about half of their workforce on layoff. Union leaders from there are hopeful they get call back notices soon as well.
Shipping link to Europe off to sluggish start, but Port Authority still optimistic
7/25 - Duluth, Minn. – An arrangement that would connect the Port of Duluth-Superior with western Europe is off to a slower start than expected.
Originally billed in 2014 as a monthly service from the Netherlands to Duluth's Clure Public Marine Terminal, the Amsterdam-based dry cargo specialist Spliethoff's first vessel of the season reached the Twin Ports just last weekend.
The 448-foot Florijngracht anchored on Lake Superior off Duluth for a couple days docked at the terminal this past Monday night.
"I don't want to be pessimistic, but we were disappointed," said Ron Johnson, trade development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "These things happen."
Johnson explained that the strength of the American dollar coupled with a slumping European economy made it so that too many available ships were chasing a limited amount of cargo.
Spliethoff vessels made three voyages into Duluth last year. The company operates 50 relatively small ships — "tweendeck vessels," its website says — and has access to 100 ships total within a greater Spliethoff Group. Its nimble versatility is part of the Spliethoff appeal, allowing smaller companies with smaller loads access to the world's shipping lanes.
But, "there were so many ships available, especially bigger ships coming to the (East) Coast, that they cut their rates and it makes it difficult for Spliethoff to cut rates," said Johnson, who added Spliethoff would have been "crazy to operate just to lose (its) shirt."
For its part, Spliethoff is not giving up on the interior of North America. It is currently shipping twice monthly into Cleveland, a spokeswoman said, and also has reached ports in Milwaukee, Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. In June, Spliethoff's 411-foot Faglegracht became the first European ship to call on the port of Monroe, Mich., since the 1960s.
The port director there, Paul LaMarre III, told the Monroe News, "This is proof that our capabilities are far-reaching."
Spliethoff, too, continues to see value in reaching farther inland on the Great Lakes.
"Duluth is the key to the interior of the Upper Midwest of the United States and also branches to Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan," said Spliethoff spokeswoman Jamie Tolis from the company's Montreal office. "It's ideally situated for us."
Inbound cargoes have buoyed the company's Great Lakes ventures to date. The Florijngracht, visible from Duluth as it anchored on Lake Superior in recent days, was set to unload generators from Finland. But it was scheduled to leave Duluth empty. "What's been tricky right now is outbound," Tolis said.
Tolis explained that Midwestern companies' logistical chains are well-oiled to ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Using the Port of Duluth-Superior may yet prove to be more economical and cost-efficient, she said, but there has been hesitancy in making the leap.
"Rome wasn't built in a day and this is going to take time to talk to people and to show them Duluth," Tolis said. "It's the innermost of the Great Lakes. We're getting there. We firmly believe in it. We're definitely invested."
Project cargoes, machinery and specialty grain products are the targeted outgoing cargoes, Tolis said.
While disappointed, the local port authority is willing to walk before running at full speed with Spliethoff.
"The company has been around for almost 100 years," Johnson said. "It's a well-managed Dutch company. We're confident the volume is going to pick up."
Duluth may have to get creative, he said, even if it has to utilize rail to other ports during the winter.
"We've got to fit into a nine-month slot and that's always been an issue," Johnson said of the traditional January-through-March shutdown of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., at the eastern end of Lake Superior. "Hopefully, we can build up this volume and get some type of rail service to bridge the winter."
Denying Spliethoff the chance to build credibility in the Midwest would be ill-advised, Johnson said. "Smart folks," he said, "don't just drop their sources."
Duluth News Tribune
Many Great Lakes ports face challenges similar to Muskegon's
7/25 - Muskegon, Mich. – Representatives from many Great Lakes ports were in the same boat this week – both figuratively and literally.
The American Great Lakes Ports Association held its summer meeting in Downtown Muskegon Wednesday and Thursday, July 22 and 23.
The first day ended with a tour of the Port of Muskegon on the Port City Princess, with representatives from ports across Michigan mixing with professionals from the shipping industry as well as federal and local government officials.
"It gives everybody kind of a chance to talk and exchange business cards," said Muskegon County Board of Commissioners Chairman Terry Sabo.
Some of the more than 40 out-of-towners on the boat talked to West Michigan natives, and they saw some familiar themes on the shoreline of Muskegon Lake, where more than 400 acres of industrial property will likely be redeveloped in the next 5-10 years.
"They all are tackling the same challenges," said American Great Lakes Ports Association Executive Director Steven Fisher. Many have an industrial legacy on the waterfront and are making efforts to re-develop brownfield areas.
"Muskegon has better infrastructure than most," Fisher continued. "We have many ports that are not deep enough. ... You guys don't have to worry about that."
Also like Muskegon, communities are looking to increase traffic at the ports they do own. Robert Brown was there to represent the City of Sault Ste. Marie, which owns a 1,100-foot deep water dock. Once used for shipping out loads of carbide, it's now primarily used by cruise ships and as an emergency port.
"It's phenomenal for ships that come through Lake Superior that get damaged," Brown said. The dock is also getting more cruise ships in the summer, but the city manager has taken a proactive approach to finding more use for the facility.
Part of the work to generate more shipping activity centers around marketing and education. For instance, a newly launched website of the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership offers extensive industry news and information about the "economy, safety, and sustainability" of Great Lakes shipping.
The upper Midwest has often been dubbed the "rust belt," but there's at least one person in Washington, D.C., who understands how inaccurate that term really is. Betty Sutton is a native Ohioan and former congresswoman who now administers the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, linked to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"I think a much better name for us is the 'opportunity belt' and the water is the key to that opportunity," Sutton said. "One thing we haven't done is realize the collective volume."
The Great Lakes region served by the seaway accounts for one quarter of the U.S. gross domestic product, she said, one half of North America's manufacturing and services industries, and contains almost a quarter of the continent's population. The Great Lakes region is the world's third largest economy - only the U.S. and China rank higher -- with an annual economic output of nearly $5 trillion.
Her office has a boots-on-the-ground representative, Adam Schlicht, who assists in economic development.
"It's an exciting time to be in Muskegon," he said at the end of the boat tour.
MLive Muskegon Chronicle
Port Reports - July 25
Burns Harbor, Ind.
Breakwalls and Docks #47 – William Edenborn sunk as a breakwall at Cleveland
(Note: We started this series on June 7 with the James J. Hill and we conclude with its partner in the Gordon Park reclamation project. If any readers can suggest other lake ships that spent time as a breakwall or dock, we would add them at a later date.)
William Edenborn was built at West Bay City, Mich., and launched on June 27, 1900. The 497 foot long bulk carrier loaded a Great Lakes record 7,521 tons of iron ore at Ashland, Wis., on August 10, 1900, and topped that standard before larger ships took over the record breaking.
Originally part of the Wolvin fleet, it joined in the formation of the original U.S. Steel fleet in 1901.
William Edenborn operated through the 1957 season and was laid up. Following a sale to the city of Cleveland, the ship was sunk as a breakwall during a land development project. The former member of the U.S. Steel fleet has been covered with landfill and helps protect Gordon Park as a recreational area.
Lookback #615 – Rappahanock wrecked off Jackfish Point on July 25, 1911
The wooden bulk carrier Rappahannock was wrecked 104-years ago today. The 320 foot long steamship was loaded with a cargo of coal when it began to leak on Lake Superior while headed to Duluth.
The situation was created by 75 mph winds and complicated by the fact that the barge Montezuma was following at the end of a towline. Efforts to beach Rappahannock near Jackfish Point were not successful. The hull broke up and eventually went down in about 80 feet of water. All on board were rescued by the crew of the Sacramento, another nearby wooden steamer.
Rappahannock was built at West Bay City, Mich., and was valued at $150,000 when it was launched on June 15, 1895. The ship served the Davidson Steamship Co. and usually carried iron ore. For a period of time in 1902-1903, the vessel worked on charter to the Algoma Central Steamship Line but was returned to Davidson at the end of the 1903 season.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 25
In 1991 the 16-man crew of the ocean-going tug PACIFIC TIDE NO 3 were arrested at Montreal on charges of smuggling drugs. The tug had arrived from the Philippines to tow the damaged Spanish vessel MILANOS to Spain.
Algoma Central Marine's former ALGOCEN departed Montreal on July 25, 2005, under tow of the tugs ATLANTIC OAK and ANDRE H bound for Keasby, New Jersey. She was renamed b.) VALGOCEN and was registered in Panama. She later sailed as J.W. SHELLEY and PHOENIX STAR.
The bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) was floated into the new American Ship Building Co. Lorain dry dock on July 25, 1970, and was joined with the 421-foot stern section. The launch of the completed hull was scheduled for July 1971, but a fire broke out in the engine room on June 24, 1971, killing four yard workers and extensively damaging her Pielstick diesel engines. Extensive repairs, which included replacement of both engines, delayed the launch for nearly a year.
CANADA MARQUIS was upbound at Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1983, on her maiden voyage for Misener Holdings Ltd. She sails today as CSL's e.) BIRCHGLEN. July 25, 1983 - A wedding was held aboard the BADGER. Chris Gebhart and Pat Sroka of Ludington were married by Rev. John Christensen.
The wooden lumber tug CYGNET, which worked on the Shiawassee and Bad Rivers and Lake Huron, was destroyed when her boiler exploded in "Blow-up Bayou" on the Shiawassee River in 1875.
The wooden bulk freighter D C WHITNEY was launched at Langell's shipyard in St. Clair, Michigan on 25 July 1882. Her dimensions were 229 feet x 40 feet x15 feet, 1090 gross tons.
1911: Efforts to beach the leaking wooden, coal-laden, freighter RAPPAHANNOCK failed and the ship sank off Jackfish Point, Lake Superior after an unsuccessful battle with 75 mph winds. All on board were saved
1964: SUNNABRIS made 4 trips through the Seaway in 1959 and returned as c) SEA FRIEND in 1961 and d) DEMOKRITOS in 1962. The ship dated from 1929 and it went aground, while inbound at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was abandoned as a total loss. The hull was sold to Yugoslavian salvors and cut up for scrap where it was.
1991: YANKCANUCK (ii) went aground in the St. Marys River about four miles from DeTour. The ship was carrying a cargo of scrap steel for Chicago and was operating as a barge under tow of the ANGLIAN LADY. The vessel was lightered and released.
1994: GEORGE A. STINSON, downbound with a cargo of iron ore for Detroit, went aground in the St. Clair River but was refloated.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Society, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
New CWB Marquis christened at Thunder Bay
7/24 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – On July 22 at 15:00 hours, the CWB Marquis was christened at the Mission Terminal in Thunder Bay, Ont., by the Canadian Wheat Board. The ship sat freshly painted and gleaming in the summer sun, dressed in marine signal flags, which were set up in an international coded message She had had also hoisted flags for every nation that the ship transited on her delivery voyage of 15,800 nautical miles from China to Canada.
The ship's naming sponsor was the Canadian Wheat Board's Chief Strategy Officer, Mrs. Dayna Spiring, who offered the following:
"I dedicate this ship, the motor vessel CWB Marquis. May God guard her, and guide her, and keep all those who sail in her."
With those words, the name bunting, made of CWB colors, was lowered, and a bottle of champagne was smashed on the bow.
The ship was introduced by Ian White, President & CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board. The benediction was carried out by the Rev. Ed Swazye from the Thunder Bay Missions to Seamen. The ship is commanded by Captain Seann O'Donoughue and Chief Engineer Victor Gordynskii.
Following the ceremony, the ship was opened up for tours, given by the officers and crew. The public was able to see how modern and spacious the ship is, and how much digital technology is in her. The ship’s crew had spent many long hours over the past weeks preparing the ship, painting, buffing, and shining her up for this day.
The ship's cook, Manse, reputed to be one of the best cooks on the lakes, had a legendary spread of food for the visitors and crew, that lives up to the reputation of how good the food is on a Lake ship.
This ceremony was carried out for the ship and her expected 40 year service lifespan. The ship primarily carries Wheat Board Grain from the Lakehead to the coast for export, and has carried over 360, 000 metric tonnes of cargo since she went into service this spring.
Capt. Seann O'Donoughue
Port Reports - July 24
Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #17 issued
7/24 - Click here to read the notice: Salvage Operations Delayed
Breakwalls and Docks #46 – Pinebranch sunk as breakwall at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia
The retired tanker Pinebranch had been laid up for five years when the hull was sold and sunk as a breakwall off Mulgrave, Nova Scotia. The ship had last sailed for the Branch Lines in 1955 and then tied up at Sorel, Que., where it was idle until taken east and sunk off Mulgrave, NS in 1960.
This vessel had an extraordinary career. It was built at Chicago in 1895 and first traded as the consort barge Malta of the Minnesota Steamship Co. It joined U.S. Steel in 1901 but, at 302 feet long, this was one of the smaller consorts and was sold to Canadian interests in 1912.
Renamed b) Thunder Bay, the vessel was managed by the Canadian Northwest Transportation Co. and used to carry grain, usually under tow of Paipoonge, to the Georgian Bay ports.
Thunder Bay was resold to Cuban interests in 1918 and cut in two at Collingwood for the trip out of the Great Lakes. But the deal fell through and the vessel, now on the St. Lawrence, was shortened and rejoined at Montreal. Rebuilt as a steamer, it worked in the bulk trades through the old canals for Canada Steamship Lines, still as Thunder Bay.
The Depression era sent this small ship into retirement at Kingston about 1930 but it got another reprieve with a sale in 1937. The hull was towed to Sorel and rebuilt there by Marine Industries Ltd. as the tanker c) Pinebranch in 1940. The vessel was leased to Britain and operated by the British Ministry of War Transport but remained on the North American side for most of the war. It became d) Empire Stickleback in 1945 and did not cross the Atlantic until later that year.
It was back at Sorel in late March 1946 and became e) Pinebranch again for service along the St. Lawrence and into the Great Lakes before becoming a breakwall in 1960.
Lookback #614 - Coastal Cascades sank at the dock on July 24, 1960
The tanker Coastal Cascades was being used as a storage hull when it sank at the dock at Montreal on July 24, 1960. The ship had seen limited service in 1959 after being idle at Cascades beginning in 1957. It was being used by Canadian Petrofina Ltd. at the time it settled on the bottom.
The hull was refloated in August 1860 and soon sold to Ballast Metals & Equipment for scrap. The former freighter and tanker was broken up at Montreal in 1961-1962.
Originally the French-built freighter Charpentier, the vessel had been operated in coastal service by the French Government before becoming b) Vernon in 1922 and coming to Canada as c) Cedar Bay in 1923. It saw service for the Tree Line Navigation Co. in the bulk and package freight trades, but was sold to Lloyds Tankers Ltd. in 1936 and rebuilt as a tanker at Port Dalhousie, Ont.
Renamed d) Joan Virginia, the vessel carried various grades of petroleum and, in 1947, moved to Transit Tankers & Terminals Ltd. They changed the name to e) Coastal Cascades in 1952 and the ship was active mostly on the St. Lawrence and on Lake Ontario routes for the company.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 24
On July 24, 1980, 34 ships were delayed when the BALTIC SKOU, a 595 foot Danish-flag freighter built in 1977, ran aground after losing power three miles east of the Snell Lock, near Massena, New York. The ship, loaded with sunflower seeds, was headed for Montreal and the Atlantic Ocean when the grounding occurred. No injuries or pollution resulted from the accident and the vessel did not take on any water.
ALGOSOO (Hull#206) was launched July 24, 1974, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. BURNS HARBOR’s sea trials were conducted on July 24, 1980, during which she performed an emergency stop in 3,160 feet loaded to a depth of 25/26 feet. She was the third 1,000-footer built for Bethlehem and the tenth on the Great Lakes.
ST. CLAIR (Hull#714) was launched July 24, 1975, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. for the American Steamship Co.
WILLIAM G. MATHER left River Rouge, Michigan, on her maiden voyage July 24, 1925, for Ashtabula, Ohio to load coal for Port Arthur/Fort William, Ontario.
The wooden steamer OSCAR TOWNSEND was launched at 2:20 p.m. at E. Fitzgerald's yard in Port Huron on 24 July 1873. The launch went well with a few hundred spectators. She was built for use in the iron ore trade by the Lake Superior Transportation Co. Her dimensions were 210 feet overall, 200 foot keel, 33 foot 10 inches beam and 15 foot depth. She had three masts and was painted deep green.
On 24 July 1847, CONSTITUTION (wooden passenger/package freight side-wheeler, 141 foot, 444 tons, built in 1837, at Charleston, Ohio) struck a pier in Sandusky harbor, stove a large hole in her bow and sank. Her machinery was later recovered and installed in J D MORTON.
1915: EASTLAND rolled over and sank on her side at Chicago with the loss of 835 lives. It was the worst marine accident in Great Lakes history.
1960: The idle tanker COASTAL CASCADES was being used for occasional storage when she sank at the dock at Montreal. The hull was salvaged in August and dismantled at Montreal in 1961-1962.
1970: The 226-foot Danish freighter NORDLAND SAGA made one trip through the Seaway in 1965. It was wrecked off Oman as c) ADEL of the Dubai National Shipping Corp., while enroute from Bombay, India, to Dubai with a cargo of steel bars and generals.
1974: The former GRAINMOTOR left the Great Lakes in 1966 for saltwater service. It was lost as c) ANDY enroute from Pensacola, Fla., to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the Caribbean on this date off Isla de Providencia.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Deep in Lake Michigan, divers find pristine shipwreck lost in 1899
7/23 - Lake Michigan – It was 3:30 a.m. and Jeff Voss was tired. Voss, a tool & die shop owner when he's not diving on shipwrecks, had been at the wheel since midnight, kept awake by Red Bull and the monotonous duty of keeping the boat on course while simultaneously monitoring the sonar.
Somewhere below, a phantom lay waiting. Voss and his fellow wreck sleuths had been patiently combing a 10-square-mile grid of Lake Michigan off Muskegon for the past three days in a modified 25-foot Bayliner, "mowing the lawn" with side-scan sonar in search of lost propeller steamer that had slipped gently below the icy lake surface more than 116 years ago.
Voss was about to go wake fellow searchers Jack van Heest and David Trotter to hand-off the boring job when the sonar picked up a structure. Paydirt..
"All of a sudden — boom. There it was," Voss said. "The bottom out there is flat and then this big image shows up on the print out."
Excited, Voss yelled for the others to wake up and record the GPS coordinates of the discovery. Trotter, a 40-year veteran of Great Lakes shipwreck hunting, rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he looked down at the sonar image.
"Yep," he said. "That's it for sure." It was June 5, 2015 and the grave of the John V. Moran was a mystery no more.
Although Trotter was sure the big target on sonar was the Moran, the rest of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (MSRA) team wanted to be absolutely certain before ringing the dinner bell on the discovery announcement.
The Holland-based wreck hunting team had watched with dismay as a pair of treasure hunters from Muskegon had chummed the waters earlier this year with an announcement of a discovery they thought was the "Holy Grail" of Great Lakes wrecks — explorer Robert de La Salle's Le Griffon — but which turned out to be a 19th century tugboat with boilers and steel riveting.
Diving on the Moran was the only way to know for sure. Unfortunately, the wreck is located under 365 feet of cold lake water — as deep as the deepest wreck ever dived in Lake Michigan, the Carl D. Bradley, which rests about 380 feet down 12 miles southwest of Gull Island. Diving such wrecks requires significant technical skill and hours of decompression on the ascent.
Valerie van Heest and Craig Rich, MSRA co-directors, felt any scuba dives should be delayed until August or September. In the meantime, they turned to the Michigan State Police department's Underwater Recovery Unit, which owns a remotely operated submersible that can operate at depth for hours. A scuba diver would be limited to roughly 15 to 18 minutes on the Moran. The state agreed to join the dive, which took place July 8.
"This was a good training dive for them because it was so deep," said van Heest, a Holland graphic designer, author and local historian.
When the ROV reached the wreck, its cameras showed a ship sitting upright on the bottom, entirely intact, looking for all the world as if it were still moored at the dock. It's unequivocally one of the best-preserved wrecks in the Great Lakes, she said.
"Not a railing is missing," said Rich, a master diver and former Holland City Council member. "The mast is standing. The lights are standing. The anchors are in position. There's even glass still in the windows. The only thing missing from this wreck is the smokestack."
Prior to July 8, the last time anyone saw the Moran was Sunday, Feb. 12, 1899.
The 214-foot steamer, built in 1888 in Bay City, Mich., was only 11 years old when it took its final voyage — a routine, Muskegon-bound dash across an ice-covered lake that left Milwaukee at noon on Feb. 9 carrying a cargo of flour, animal feed, peas, oil cake and other miscellaneous freight.
The Crosby Transportation Company had owned the ship for less than a year. The $50,000 cargo was the largest the Moran had yet carried. The flour on board, 9,550 barrels of it, was of a select brand destined for Amsterdam.
At some point in the voyage, ice created a hole in the hull and the ship began to flood. As water began to overwhelm the pumps, Captain John McLeod, fearing a boiler explosion, ordered the crew of 24 into the lifeboats.
Thankfully for the crew, the Moran had been paced across the lake by sister steamer Naomi, which heard the distress whistle. The ship pulled alongside around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 and took the stricken vessel's crew aboard.
The Naomi tried for several hours to tow the ship, which was sinking by the stern. When that proved to be futile, everything of value was stripped, the cargo was transferred or thrown overboard and the Moran was abandoned to her fate.
Because the sinking occurred along a heavily trafficked route, several other ships passed by the Moran as it slowly settled into the water. The last confirmed sighting of the ship happened a couple days later, on Sunday afternoon, when a passing railcar ferry reported seeing the ship still afloat.
The ship's owners tried to mount a rescue mission, but an equipment failure on the dock in Milwaukee delayed the expedition.
Cold and alone, the Moran slid under the ice, not to be seen for more than a century.
When ships sink from a gash or immediate hull breach, wreck hunters typically find the vessel's upper decks missing — usually blown apart from the force of internal air pressure escaping the incoming rush of lake or ocean water. Such is the case with the Moran's identical sister ship, the Eber Ward, which rests in the Straits of Mackinac; sunk there 10 years after the Moran went down.
The Moran, however, is remarkably intact.
"The fact that we're seeing this in such perfect condition confirms a slow sinking," which is a very rare occurrence," said van Heest.
The MSRA team has found numerous wrecks and partnered on the discovery of others since inception in 2001. The group has a "hit list" of undiscovered Lake Michigan wrecks that include the Andaste, a steamer lost in 1929, and the Chicora, a steamer lost in 1895. Both sunk with all hands during a storm.
Because there were no casualties on the Moran, the wreck's location was better known. However, that's no guarantee of discovery. Tiny variations in the historical account can have a major impact on a potential search grid.
In the Moran's case, there was debate as to whether the ship was closer to Grand Haven than Muskegon. Van Heest said the group recently found primary documents during their research that helped winnow a manageable search grid.
"You're connecting the dots," she said. "You're thinking outside the box, trying to hone in on primary sources — never what someone else has written in books. You go old newspapers, court documents, company records, enrollment papers."
The group is holding onto the ship's location for the moment. Dives are planning to answer further archeological questions and determine where, exactly, water initially breached the hull. The team also hopes to explore the ship's interior.
The discovery and documentation efforts on the John V. Moran, as well as other local shipwrecks, was put on display Wednesday in the exhibit "Mysteries Beneath the Waves" at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.
Shipwrecks like the Moran, lost on the same Michigan-to-Wisconsin route that the Lake Express ferry runs today, "help connect us with our past. That's one of the most extraordinary things about a discovery," said van Heest.
OSU-Michigan argument on Jet Express ferry leads to fight, assault arrests
7/23 - Port Clinton, Ohio – The Border Battle played a role in getting two people arrested and locked up at the Ottawa County Jail. A Michigan-Ohio State football argument on the Jet Express allegedly prompted a fight that resulted in assault charges.
Witnesses say the rivalry argument turned physical between two couples with a woman pulling another woman’s hair and the two men throwing punches at each other. The Border Battle rages every November … but on the water in July?
"That's ridiculous,” says Gary Mahoney, a Sparty fan about to board the Jet Express.
Around 1:45 Sunday morning Port Clinton police arrested a couple from Oregon, Ohio. They’re accused of assault on the Jet Express as the boat was headed to the dock.
The fight between 25-year-old Ashley Artiaga, 31-year-old Ian Schuster, and complete strangers on the top deck, allegedly began because of an argument over Michigan-Ohio State football.
"They were arguing, cursing at each other,” says Ben Freeman, a witness from Cincinnati who was in town for a fishing trip. “As the argument went on, the Michigan fan's girlfriend stood up, pulled the hair of the Ohio State's fan's girlfriend … the wife, actually. He tried to defend his wife by shoving the Michigan fan's girlfriend. The Michigan fan stood up and tried to defend his girlfriend. And after that they mutually started to fist fight and swing on each other. It was crazy.”
"It happens,” says Todd Blumensaadt, owner of the Jet Express. “They get very passionate about their teams."
Blumensaadt says these boats make seven thousand trips a year to Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island from the Port Clinton dock. "We haul a lot of people, bring a lot of people together,” says Blumensaadt. “This was like 1:42 a.m., so I'm guessing there may be a few drinks involved in this one."
The Jet Express puts extra security on the boats on the weekends.
A few times a year they have to call police, but Blumensaadt says, "No gun fights, no knife fights. We have a security table here. Everybody is checked. You're not allowed to have a weapon on the boat."
Meanwhile, folks boarding the Jet Express are baffled that the college football rivalry landed two people in handcuffs.
"It seems kind of silly,” says Larry Money of Port Clinton. “But maybe certain people get into it. I know people are that way and I really don't understand why. You've got to know when to draw the line,” says Mahoney. “Sports are good, but when it reaches that point, obviously it's way overboard."
Twin Ports Report
7/23 - Oceangoing traffic has been steady at Duluth-Superior recently. Polish Steamship Co.'s Isolda loaded grain at Gavilon last week and is now down bound for Montreal and Italy. German-owned HHL Amur arrived over the weekend and delivered wind turbine components to Port Terminal #1. She shifted ahead to Port Terminal #2 on Tuesday evening and is now preparing her holds for a load of grain. Dutch multipurpose carrier Florijngracht spent a few days at anchor waiting for the HHL Amur to clear her berth. She arrived Tuesday evening and spent Wednesday unloading machinery (at least some of it containerized) at Port Terminal #1. Her visit may be part of Spliethoff's new Great Lakes freight service. Florijngracht was due to clear Duluth Wednesday evening bound for Thunder Bay and a load of grain.
Federal St. Laurent loaded grain at CHS1 Monday and Tuesday, clearing Tuesday evening. Bluebill arrived Wednesday afternoon and will spend the next week or so at Port Terminal #4 discharging pipe, possibly from Greece. She may load grain at Duluth-Superior next week. Federal Katsura is due Thursday to load wheat at CHS1, either before or after HHL Amur. Chestnut is due in port this weekend after delivering bulk sugar from South America to Toronto. German-owned multipurpose carrier Fortune is due this weekend, reportedly to load grain. She's arriving direct from overseas via the Suez Canal, a trade pattern that several similar ships have used while delivering wind turbine components to Duluth this season, so it's not out of the question that she might be delivering cargo as well. HHL Elbe is due Duluth during the first week of August, also likely with wind turbine components on board.
With all the recent general cargo activity, the Port Terminal had a near full house Wednesday evening. Florijngracht was preparing to depart Berth 1 after unloading. HHL Amur was reconfiguring her holds for bulk cargo at Berth 2. Laker Buffalo, laden with limestone for the Graymont lime plant in Superior, was fueling at Calumet (Berth 3). Bluebill was at Berth 4 preparing to discharge pipe. Canadian tug Molly M1 with deck barge HM8 was at Berth 6, waiting for Florijngracht to vacate Berth 1 so they could unload project cargo. The only vacant berth Wednesday evening was number 7, the site of the Holcim (soon to be CRH) cement terminal.
Breakwalls and Docks #45 – Ville Marie II was used as a dock at Victoria Pier, Montreal
Laviolette was an automobile ferry built for the city of Trois Rivieres, Que. It was a product of the Marine Industries shipyard at Sorel and completed in September 1947. The 176 foot long vessel cost $450,000 and operated between Trois Rivieres and St. Angele. It was designed to carry 750 passengers and 66 automobiles. It served on this route until replaced by the Laviolette Bridge across the St. Lawrence in 1967.
The vessel later operated between Ile Aux Coudres and Baie St. Paul and was taken to Norfolk, Va., prior to being sold to Greek interests. This latter deal fell through and Laviolette returned to the Great Lakes under tow and, in October 1976, was drydocked at Port Weller.
It was towed to Sarnia and, in 1977, renamed b) Blue Water Belle by Avery Cruise Lines for passenger service out of Sarnia. But, due to dispute with the city, it operated only briefly. The ship came to Toronto late in 1979 and did see service in harbor cruises in 1980.
It was renamed c) Caledonia in 1981 but the owners were forced to declare bankruptcy. The ship left for Montreal on Nov. 8, 1982, and arrived two days later under her own power.
The 36-year-old vessel was renamed d) Ville Marie II in 1983 but was unable to obtain Canadian Coast Guard permission to sail. It was moored at Victoria Pier as a venue for buffets and dances. It also served as a dock for the small harbor ships Montreal and Concordia.
Finally, in May 2001, Ville Marie II was sold for scrap and towed to Sorel by McKeil Marine tugs to be broken up. It was not an easy job and part of the hull capsized and sank there on March 15, 2002.
Skip Gillham with René Beauchamp and André Guévremont
Lookback #613 – Tanker barge En-Ar-Co exploded at Toronto on July 23, 1934
En-Ar-Co was a former powered east coast collier. It was built at Chester, Pa., as a) Berks for the Pennsylvania and Reading Railway and launched on April 29, 1874. The ship came into Canadian registry as b) W.S. Calvert in 1906 and was then rebuilt as a tanker barge for the National Refining Co. in 1909 to carry oil in bulk.
It was later part of the Canadian Oil Co., (White Rose) and was renamed c) En-Ar-Co in 1921. The ship had been idle when sold in 1934 and was undergoing a refit for a return to service on behalf of Lloyds Tankers Ltd. when there was an explosion and fire 81 years ago today.
Owner John Russell, and three firemen, perished in the deadly events of July 23, 1934. The ship was salvageable and converted to a coal barge and lighter by the Pyke Salvage and Navigation Co. A deck crane was installed. While often idle at Kingston, En-Ar-Co saw service on Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence.
Its last job in July 1965 was to remove the molten rubber from the hold of the fire damaged Orient Trader at Toronto. The end came in 1969 when the 95-year-old hull was towed to Hamilton and broken up by United Metals.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 23
On this day in 1908, the 556-foot ELBERT H. GARY arrived to a 21-gun salute to deliver the first cargo of Minnesota ore at the new United States Steel mill in Gary, Indiana.
The keel for the TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193) was laid July 23, 1968, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Texaco Canada Ltd. Renamed b.) A.G. FARQUHARSON in 1986, and c.) ALGONOVA In 1998. She was sold for further service overseas in 2007.
CANADOC sailed on her maiden voyage July 23, 1961.
Upper Lakes Shipping Co. Ltd.'s, RED WING was christened on July 23, 1960, as the first all-welded vessel to emerge from Port Weller Dry Docks.
On 23 July 1878, H R PRESTON (wooden quarter-deck canal boat built in 1877, at Oneida Lake, New York) was carrying 250 tons of ashes from Picton, Ontario to Oswego, New York, in tow of the tug ALANSON SUMNER along with three other canal boats when they encountered a storm on Lake Ontario. About 15 miles from Oswego, the PRESTON broke her towline and was taken alongside the SUMNER with some difficulty. About a mile out of port she lost her hold tarps and began to sink quickly. She was cut loose from the tug and her two crewmen were saved by the Oswego tug WM AVERY. Though she was lying heavily on the bottom in 50 feet of water, her wreckage came ashore near 4 Mile Point in early September.
1918: PETER REISS and the GLENSHEE were in a collision at the #3 ore dock at Duluth. Fog and the current were blamed for the accident, with only limited damage to both ships.
1934: An explosion and fire aboard the tanker barge EN-AR-CO during fit-out at Toronto resulted in the loss of 4 lives. The ship was rebuilt as a coal barge and was finally scrapped at Hamilton in 1969.
1955: The tug HELENA capsized at South Chicago while taking on coal from a scow and two sailors were lost. The vessel was refloated on July 26. It survives today as c) DANIEL McALLISTER, a museum ship on display in the Lachine Canal at Montreal.
1968: The former tanker ORION was operating as a sand barge when it sank in Lake Erie about 1,000 feet off the Lorain lighthouse due to choppy seas. The hull was raised by the Corps of Engineers, beached August 2 and assumed to have been subsequently scrapped.
1985: FOTINI D.E. first came through the Seaway in 1976 and, in 1980, became the first overseas vessel to load grain at the port of Goderich. It ran aground on this date in 1985, enroute from Venezuela to a U.S. Gulf coast port, and was abandoned as a total loss on July 31.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Tugboat salvage operation kicks into gear at Cornwall
7/22 - Cornwall, Ont. – The company responsible for the removal of two capsized tugboats from the St. Lawrence River released a statement announcing the blocking off of part of the river for the removal of the one of the tugboats.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has been responding to concerns about oil appearing on the water.
The two tugboats, Lac Manitoba and LCM 131, capsized on June 22 when strong currents overwhelmed the boats as they approached the Seaway International Bridge. Nadro Marine Limited owns the Lac Manitoba and Waterfront Construction owns LCM 131. The removal of both tugboats is being handled by McKeil Marine Limited.
Removal of the boats was delayed earlier this month due to strong currents that prevented workers from reaching the tugs.
In a statement released on July 17, Nadro announced that they were to be establishing a safe zone on Monday, July 20. They expected the safe zone to be in effect until around Aug. 15.
"For public safety, we are reminding everyone to remain outside of the boundaries to ensure we can efficiently move ahead with salvage of the Lac Manitoba," Nadro Marine general manager Jamie Nadrofsky said in the statement.
On Monday, crews were seen working on a barge around the Lac Manitoba. The barge was anchored via mooring lines attached to the Seaway International Bridge.
Over the weekend, pictures were sent to The Standard Freeholder via social media of oil appearing in the water.
Nadro declined to comment on the oil in the water or provide any further details on the expected timeline for removing the tugboats, deferring to McKeil. McKeil did not respond to questions regarding when both tugboats can be expected to be removed.
According to the superintendent of the Canadian Coast Guard's Environmental Response program JJ Brickett, the salvage team's contracted pollution response company responded to a spill from a piece of equipment being used in the recovery operations on Friday. A biodegradable hydraulic fluid leaked from a winch line. Brickett estimated the quantity to be approximately 100 litres.
"Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel were on scene to monitor the response; the product dissipated," Brickett said via email. "All that was observed was a sheen which was deemed at the time to be unrecoverable."
Brickett noted that the Coast Guard is taking precautions and using a hazing device to scare away birds from the area.
Ferry Armand-Imbeau II Launched at Lévis
7/22 - Chantier Davie Canada Inc. of Lévis, Quebec (also known as Davie Shipyards) recently launched a new duel-fueled ferry for the Societe des Traversiers du Quebec.
Hull # 723 was launched on July 18 using marine air bags. The vessel is the first of two identical open-deck ferries intended for the route across the Saguenay Fjord at Tadoussac. The 302-foot-long vessels will be able to carry up to 110 vehicles in 8 lanes.
Each vessel will be powered by two Wärtsilä six-cylinder 6L20DF and two Wärtsilä nine-cylinder 9L20DF engines that can burn liquefied natural gas or marine diesel fuel. It is believed that hull #723 will be named the Armand-Imbeau II, while hull #724 will be named the Jos-Deschênes II. They are the first dual fuel LNG ferries built in North America.
Port Reports - July 22
Port Colborne - John Agnew
Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Addendum to Tuesday’s Port Reports
The new barge under construction to be mated up with the Moran tug Leigh Ann Moran at Sturgeon Bay will be named Mississippi.
Seaway notices to shipping
Lookback #612 – Transamerica caught fire at Milwaukee on July 22, 1967
The West German freighter Transamerica was a regular visitor to the Great Lakes for the Poseidon Line. The ship began coming inland with one trip in 1960 and, by the end of 1967, had made a total of 25 transits in and out of the Seaway.
Generally, the work was routine, delivering and picking up various cargoes at both Canadian and American ports scattered around the edge of the lakes. A stop at Milwaukee 48-years ago today was interrupted by a fire that broke out in the machine shop during welding work. Fortunately, quick action minimized the damage and the ship was able to continue its work.
Transamerica was built at Burntisland, United Kingdom, and was completed as Thorshall on Oct. 30, 1948. The 387 foot, 6 inch long freighter was registered in Norway and saw considerable Canadian service linking eastern Canada with south and east African ports.
It joined Poseidon as Transamerica in 1960 and remained in their service until a sale late in 1967 brought a new name of c) Emma Menthanitis and new trading under the flag of Greece. As such, the ship was back through the Seaway in 1968.
Another sale in 1974 retained Greek registry but now as d) Pantin. It moved to Cyprus as e) Panodi in 1977 and stayed Cypriot becoming f) Aristoteles in 1978. Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the former Seaway regular arrived at Gadani Beach on March 9, 1978, and was broken up for scrap.
Breakwalls and Docks #44 – Former barge Jean-Raymond serves as a dock at Beauharnois
The barge Jean-Raymond was built at the U.S. Navy shipyard in Philadelphia. The keel was laid on May 29, 1939, and it was launched on Aug. 17, 1940.
This was an unusual experimental vessel. It was named Catapult Lighter No. 1 but was better known as AVC 1. The ship entered service on Dec. 17, 1941, but was not a success.
The intent was to use AVC 1 to launch large seaplanes via an on board, catapult. The 424 foot long vessel was known as the “Silver Queen,” but the Navy had trouble with the catapult system being unreliable. The ship had also been designed to be powered, but the installation of an engine was cancelled and the vessel always served as a barge.
In 1956, the ship underwent a refit at Jacksonville, Fla., after being sold to private interests, and was renamed Pulpwood No. 1. Again it saw little active service, and it is believed to have served at a stationary pulpwood storage barge at a U.S. east coast location.
Pulpwood No. 1 arrived at Halifax on June 29, 1979, and was renamed Jean-Raymond on Sept. 3. The vessel departed on Dec. 4, 1979, for reported service in the pulpwood trade but once again saw little activity. It later joined Techno-Barges Inc. and was up bound in the Seaway on Nov. 14, 1988, with the tugs Techno-Venture and Techno-St. Laurent, carrying steel products on a voyage from Becancour, Que., to Erie, Pa.
The barge was mostly idle and, in 2011, was sunk as a dock at Beauharnois to facilitate the scrapping of the ship Kathryn Spirit. The latter was tied up there but work on dismantling the vessel was halted by politicians over environmental concerns. Both Jean-Raymond and Kathryn Spirit remain at that location.
Jean-Raymond is currently owned by 7917414 Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Excavation Rene St-Jean Pierre Inc. of Sherbrooke, Que.
Skip Gillham with Rene Beauchamp, Andre Guevremont and Bill Schell
Updates - July 22
Saltie Gallery updated
with pictures of the Beatrix, Chestnut, Clipper Makiri, Fagelgracht, Federal Katsura, Federal Mackinac, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Rhine, Fortune, Harbour Leader, Timber Navigator, and Trinityborg.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 22
On this day in 1961, the barge CLEVECO, originally lost with a crew of 22 during a December 02, 1942, storm on Lake Erie, was floated by salvagers, towed outside the shipping lanes, and intentionally sunk.
PERE MARQUETTE 22 (Hull#210) was launched on July 22, 1924, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway Co. One hundred years ago on 22 July 1900, the tug MATT HESSER was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by H. D. Root for Captain Burke of Erie.
The M.I. MILLS (wooden propeller tug, 122 foot, 152 tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan), which sank in a collision with the bark UNADILLA on 9 May 1873, was found on 22 July 1873, in 90 feet of water in Lake Huron off Sand Beach, Michigan. Plans were made to raise her at the cost of $5,000. This effort was unsuccessful as was another abortive attempt in 1895.
1965 MARIVIKI dated from 1940 as a) TEMPLE INN and visited the Seaway in 1960. The ship was beached in Colla Bay, near Mormugao, India, after developing leaks on a voyage from Madras, India, to Constanza, Romania. The hull later broke in two and was a total loss.
1967 A small fire erupted in the machine shop of the West German freighter TRANSAMERICA while a crewman was welding in Milwaukee. The blaze was soon brought under control. The ship last operated in 1978 as f) ARISTOTELES before being broken up at Gadani Beach, Pakistan.
1968 The Paterson bulk carrier CANADOC, loading at the Continental Elevator in Chicago, was struck on the starboard side by the Belgian vessel TIELRODE as it passed upsteam under tow. The latter returned through the Seaway as c) GEORGIOS C. in 1977 and was scrapped at Huangpo, China, as e) OPORTO in 1985.
1970 ULYSSES REEFER caught fire in Toronto resulting in an estimated $30,000 in damage. The ship first came inland in 1969 and returned as c) ITHAKI REEFER in 1972 prior to being scrapped at Blyth, Scotland, in 1973.
1989 MAR CATERINA, downbound at the Snell Lock, struck the fender boom and all Seaway navigation was temporarily delayed. The ship began Seaway trading as b) ASTORGA in 1985. As of 2012, the vessel is apparently still operating as e) ASPHALT TRADER.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Foreign steel cuts lakers’ ore float in June
7/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – With foreign steel now commanding nearly 32 percent of the U.S. market, it was inevitable that iron ore cargos hauled in U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters would take a hit, and that hit came in June. Cargos totaled 4.4 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to May and 10 percent compared to a year ago.
“Although not unexpected, the slowdown in iron ore is troubling,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “On average it takes about 1.5 tons of iron ore to make a ton of steel, so foreign steel that is dumped into the U.S. market takes ore and other cargos off the lakes.
“It is imperative that the government enforce our trade laws, and if they are ineffective, our legislators need to enact ones that protect American workers and industries. Unfair trade has decimated the American steel industry and its suppliers more than once since the early 1980s. Even right now three U.S.-flag lakers that are well-suited to the iron ore trade are idle, and there’s little prospect they will see service this year.”
Weakley further noted that two blast furnaces in the Great Lakes region have been banked and two large iron ore mines, one in Minnesota and one in Michigan, have been idled. Other ore mines have scaled back production.
Foreign steel’s intrusion into the U.S. market has been growing steadily over the past few years. Just five years ago imports accounted for 20 percent of the market.
Shipments of all the various cargos in U.S.-flag lakers totaled 10.3 million tons in June, a decrease of 1.4 percent compared to a year ago. Even though limestone cargos increased 11 percent to 3,052,346 tons, that trade too felt the impacts of unfair trade in steel. Shipments of fluxstone, used as a purifying agent in the steelmaking process, were down because of unfair trade in steel.
Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 31.6 million tons, an increase of 17 percent over the iced-over first half of 2014, but 1.6 percent off the 5-year average.
Lake Carriers’ Association
Port Reports - July 21
Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Ludington, Mich. – Brian Ferguson
Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Breakwalls and Docks #43 - Eastern 3 sunk first as a dock, then as a breakwall at Sept-Iles
While not a dock or breakwall around the Great Lakes, the former Liberty ship Eastern 3 has served in that capacity at the St. Lawrence port of Sept-Iles. As such, it will be familiar to many of the sailors who trade into the Seaway from that location.
Eastern 3 was built at New Orleans, La., and launched on May 17, 1945. It was completed as a) Beckley Seam for the United States Government in July 1945 and was one of only 24 special Liberty colliers to be built. These ships had the stack on the stern and none ever came to the Great Lakes although one, the Osprey, ventured inland as far Montreal.
Beckley Seam was sold to the Mystic Steamship Division of Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates in 1946. It was renamed b) Malden the following year and was active in the coal trade.
Listed at 443 feet, 8 inches in overall length, the 6,700 gross ton bulk freighter operated until being converted to a barge at New Orleans in 1963. The boilers and machinery were removed and the ship resumed service, under tow, as c) Eastern 3.
The vessel was towed to Sept-Iles, Que., about 1973 and sunk as a dock facing for a tug company. It was deleted from Lloyds Register in 1973-1974 but the hull remains on location but now serves as a breakwall rather than as a dock.
Skip Gillham - with help from Rene Beauchamp
Lookback #611 – Waccamaw ran aground in the St. Lawrence on July 21, 1911
The American bulk carrier Waccamaw was built at Toledo in 1900 and, after working on the Great Lakes, saw some service along the Atlantic seaboard. The 257 foot long, 1,359 gross ton vessel could easily move in and out of the inland seas.
Waccamaw ran aground in the St. Lawrence 104 years ago today. While I lack specific details of the accident, the ship required repairs to 30 hull plates and this work was carried out at Buffalo.
In 1916-1917, Waccamaw was chartered to Canada Steamship Lines for ocean trading and then went overseas to serve the French Government as Royan in 1917. It returned to North America, name unchanged, when purchased by the George Hall Coal & Shipping Co. in 1921.
Now registered in Canada, the vessel worked in the canal trades and this continued after joining the regular C.S.L. fleet in 1926.
The Depression sent Royan to the wall at Kingston about 1929 and it remained idle until sold to Les Chantiers Manseau Ltee. in 1937 and then to Marine Industries Ltd. in 1938. The ship was taken to Sorel and may have seen limited St. Lawrence service before being scrapped, likely at Sorel, in 1945.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 21
The JAMES DAVIDSON and KINSMAN INDEPENDENT arrived under tow at Santander, Spain, on July 21, 1974, for scrapping.
On July 21, 1975, the GEORGE D. GOBLE arrived at Lorain, Ohio, with an unusual deck cargo loaded at American Ship Building Company's yard at South Chicago, Illinois. She was carrying the deckhouses for two Interlake Steamship Company thousand-foot self-unloaders being built at AmShip's Lorain yard. These vessels were completed as the JAMES R. BARKER and MESABI MINER.
On 21 July 1875, the schooner ELVA, which was built in Port Huron, Michigan, in 1861, for Capt. Sinclair, was sailing from Holland, Michigan, for Milwaukee, Wisconsin loaded with stove bolts. She capsized 12 miles from Milwaukee. Her crew took to the boats and made a landing in Kenosha and then rowed to Milwaukee. A tug was sent for the schooner and she was recovered.
In 1900, R. J. GORDON (wooden propeller passenger-package freighter, 104 foot, 187 gross tons, built in 1881, at Marine City, Michigan) was placed back in service carrying freight and passengers between Chicago and Grand Haven. She had burned in September 1899 at Chicago but was rebuilt during the winter.
On 21 July 1875, the old barge HURON, which had been in use for a number of years as a car ferry for the Grand Trunk Railroad at Port Huron/Sarnia, was sold to Sandie and Archie Stewart. They planned to convert her to a dry-dock by adding three feet to her sides and removing her arches. The sale price was $1,500 in gold.
1910 TRUDE R. WIEHE was destroyed by a fire at Portage Bay, Green Bay.
1911 Thirty plates were damaged when the WACCAMAW went aground in the St. Lawrence. The ship was later repaired at Buffalo.
1959 A collision in western Lake Erie between the CHARLES HUBBARD and the Swedish freighter SIGNEBORG resulted in damage to both ships. Both were repaired and continue in service. The latter is scrapped at La Spezia, Italy, after arriving as d) ALFREDO, on November 10, 1971. The former was sunk as a breakwall at Burns Harbor in 1966 after being idle at Milwaukee for several years. The hull was reported to have been subsequently scrapped there.
1964 The French freighter MARQUETTE began Great Lakes trading in 1953 and was lengthened in 1959 with the opening of the Seaway. Fire erupted enroute from Chicago to Marseilles, France, and the vessel was abandoned in the Atlantic. The gutted ship was towed to Brest, France, and was sold to French shipbreakers. All on board were saved.
1965 A smoky fire, that could be seen for miles, broke out in the cargo of rubber aboard the ORIENT TRADER at Toronto and the hull was towed into Toronto Bay and beached while firefighters battled the blaze. The Greek flag vessel was sold for scrap but before it departed for overseas, is was used in several episodes of the CBC television series “Seaway.” The hull was towed into Valencia, Spain, on July 11, 1966, for dismantling.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, 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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