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Nisbet Grammer shipwreck from 1926 found in Lake Ontario

10/1 - Rochester, N.Y. – The wreck of a 253-foot, British-built steamship that sank off Lake Ontario's western New York shore after colliding with another vessel nearly 90 years ago, has been found, a team of underwater explorers said Tuesday.

The four-man team from the Rochester area, Ohio and Texas said it found the wreck of the Nisbet Grammer in more than 500 feet of water about eight miles off Somerset, 40 miles west of Rochester.

The ship was hauling a load of grain from Buffalo to Montreal when it collided with the steamship Dalwarnic in dense fog early on the morning of May 31, 1926. The stricken ship sank in less than 15 minutes, but all aboard were saved by the crew from the other steamer.

A six-year search for the sunken ship ended in August when the team's side-scan sonar detected the wreck, said Jim Kennard of Fairport.

The other team members are Roland Stevens of Pultneyville, New York; Craig Hampton of Lorain, Ohio; and former Rochester resident Dan Scoville, who lives in Houston.

The Nisbet Grammer, named for one of its Buffalo-based owners, was launched from a shipyard in England in 1926. It was known as a "canaller," a type of steamship used to transport grain, coal and other products through Ontario's Welland Canal to ports on lakes Erie and Ontario.

The ship was the largest steel steamer to have sunk in Lake Ontario, Kennard said. The team surveyed more than 80 square miles of lake bottom until finding the wreck site in late August, he said.

A remotely operated vehicle was used to obtain video of the shipwreck and identify it as the Nisbet Grammer, Kennard said.

Associated Press


Minnesota companies race to increase taconite shipments before winter

10/1 - Minneapolis, Minn. – Grain and coal aren’t the only commodities that have backed up this year because of railroad congestion and delays.

Taconite shipments from northern Minnesota have also been slowed by the logjam, and industry officials are concerned about moving enough iron ore to their steelmaking customers before the Great Lakes shipping season ends for the year.

The issue came to light when Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised it recently at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing. She said one mining company in Minnesota has 250,000 tons of taconite sitting on the ground and another has 85,000 tons stockpiled as a result of rail service disruptions.

“In total we have 2 million tons of iron ore pellets that we want to send out — and make money for our country and get more jobs — that are just sitting there in a pile,” she told Ed Hamberger, president and chief executive of the Association of American Railroads.

The pellets are produced near mines and transported by special rail cars to Duluth, Superior and Two Harbors. At the ports they are loaded onto vessels and carried to steelmakers in Cleveland; Gary, Ind.; and other ports on the lower lakes.

The backups were apparently caused by a shortage of locomotives and train crews to move the rail cars from the mines to the ports, combined with last winter’s weather that shortened the shipping season.

Farmers, grain elevator managers, coal shippers, utilities and Amtrak executives have complained about rail delays across much longer distances between Minnesota and western states. At federal hearings this year in Washington and Fargo, N.D., and at other meetings, they have testified that service has been poor and freight rates have skyrocketed. Some accused the rail firms of giving preference to more lucrative North Dakota oil shipments.

Rail firms have denied that they favor crude oil over other cargoes and have told the Surface Transportation Board that regulates railroads that the slowdowns are a result of increased shipments of all commodities, not just oil.

The taconite industry has kept a low profile and has not criticized railroads publicly, but after Klobuchar’s remarks, Cliffs Natural Resources issued a short statement that confirmed that its Minnesota mines, like other industrial facilities, “have been significantly impacted by the national logjam of rail service in the United States.”

The company needs to provide timely delivery of iron ore pellets to its steelmaking customers, the statement said, and “these [railroad] conditions create substantial and irreversible negative consequences because there is finite shipping season on the Great Lakes.”

Cliffs operates iron ore mines at United Taconite in Eveleth served by CN (Canadian National Railway Company) and Hibbing Taconite, served by BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). It also owns a mine near Babbit linked to its Northshore Mining taconite processing plant in Silver Bay.

The shipping season typically closes from Jan. 15 to March 25, said Adele Yorde, public relations manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. Mining companies try to move out as much iron ore as possible before winter, she said, so that it can be stockpiled and used by steelmakers during the eight to 10 weeks that the lakes are frozen.

“Four months is what they have left,” said Yorde, referring to the mining firms. “And the last few weeks get to be slower in terms of delivery time because of ice” that begins to thicken, she said.

Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, declined to provide details about how reduced rail service has affected the industry. “These delays along with ice conditions this spring have had a negative effect we hope is rectified soon,” he said. “In our case shipping is an integral part of the ironmaking and steelmaking industry.”

Pagel said that the iron mines are now producing “at near-capacity levels, and we hope to continue to produce at those levels.”

That wasn’t true earlier this year, at least for Cliffs Natural Resources.

In a letter to the Surface Transportation Board last April, the company’s director of rail transportation Randel Thomas said: “Inconsistent rail service has had severe impacts on our operations throughout the winter of 2013-2014, keeping our facilities from operating at capacity.”

Thomas said that instead of shipping pellets to stockpiles at dock facilities on the Great Lakes, it had to “submit approximately 250,000 long tons to ground storage at our mines.”

Thomas also wrote in the April letter that “all steelmakers are experiencing pellet shortages and are preparing to bank blast furnaces” because of their inability to get enough pellets. He mentioned both rail service delays and cold weather as contributing to the problems.

BNSF spokeswoman Amy Mcbeth declined to comment specifically on how the company’s service to taconite firms has changed in the past year, or what sort of improvements might be under discussion.

“All customers have been impacted by our service challenges this year,” she said. “We are working with them directly on their service issues while we continue to execute our short and long-term efforts to improve service across our network.” Some of those changes BNSF announced previously include adding double track at strategic points along the northern corridor, hiring additional crews and purchasing more locomotives.

CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said in a statement that any issues with taconite were the result of weather, and that for his company, “this is not about locomotives or equipment supply.” Waldron said that last year’s “historic winter and freeze” caused a shorter shipping season and created “challenges in moving the inventory across the entire iron ore supply chain.”

CN serves Minnesota mines near Mountain Iron (Minntac,) Virginia (Minorca) and Forbes (United Taconite), he said.

Waldron said that the railroad and shipping cycle is now back in sync with all the necessary CN railroad equipment in service. “That work will continue through the end of the season when CN expects inventory stockpiles to be at normal levels,” he said.

Pagel at the Iron Mining Association said he’s optimistic that problems, if any still exist, will be resolved.

“Finding solutions is more important than finding blame,” he said.

Minneapolis Star Tribune


Port Reports -  October 1

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On an uncommon visit, tug and barge Presque Isle unloaded coal from Ashtabula into the Upper Harbor hopper on Tuesday. Presque Isle last visited Marquette in 2011 but loaded ore.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday evening the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded product at Lafarge. Tuesday was a busy day with three vessels in port. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge early Tuesday morning to load cement. Around lunchtime the Alpena departed and passed the inbound Manistee out in the bay. The Manistee tied up at Lafarge and unloaded coal. Later in the evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came in and tied up under the silos.


St. Clair River sewage spills a continuing problem

10/1 - Sarnia, Ont. – The city of Sarnia has spent millions of dollars to prevent raw sewage from spilling into the St. Clair River, but it still remains a problem for some downriver communities, especially after a heavy rain.

Jeff Wesley, former Wallaceburg mayor and now one of Wallaceburg’s municipal representatives to Chatham-Kent council, says it’s unacceptable that Sarnia has had 10 sewage spills so far this year. And he doesn’t believe that the problem is easing.

Wesley made the comments at a meeting of the Chatham-Kent Public Utilities Commission, of which he is a member. The PUC’s general manager, Tom Kissner, will be contacting the city government in Sarnia to discuss the problem.

Meanwhile, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says the city has spent almost $100 million to separate sewers and to update the municipality’s sewage plant.

“We have basically mitigated spills on the St. Clair (River) from the municipality. And that has been a very difficult task to bring about,” Bradley said.

On occasion when there are storms, there are issues with capacity, Bradley said.

“We're not standing back. It is something that we will continue to try and address. We're not standing back and saying we've done all this, let's not worry about all these other issues.”

Bradley said Sarnia has been working on improvements to 38 kilometres of sewers, and said that work will not be stopping.

He also said Sarnia has eliminated or mitigated the combined sewers going into the St. Clair River.

In the late 1990s, the city was the biggest polluter on the St. Clair River.

“That's done. Now we're just dealing with the issues we deal with on occasion from the sewage plant when it's pushed to overcapacity,” Bradley said.

Sarnia completed a four-year project between 2007 and 2011 to upgrade its wastewater system with a sewer separation project to reduce the amount of raw sewage from going into the St. Clair River after heavy rains.

The infrastructure project was the biggest in Sarnia's history, costing $34.9 million. The massive project oversaw the development of almost seven kilometres of new sewers.

Sarnia Observer


MARAD awards $400,000 to research LNG bunkers for the Great Lakes

10/1 - The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) has announced it has been awarded $400,000 by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) to research liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an alternative marine fuel on the Great Lakes.

The funds come from a cooperative agreement between MARAD and the U.S. Department of Transportation. GLMRI has been researching the viability of LNG aboard marine vessels in the Great Lakes region and the LNG supply chain since 2011.

The institute's general meeting earlier this year also brought together experts and attendees to discuss LNG, with a focus on "greening the supply chain.”

In addition to furthering research, the institute will also support educational workshops on the potential economic and environmental benefits associated with fueling with LNG.

GLMRI is a joint program between the University of Wisonsin-Superior and University of Minnesota Duluth.

Earlier this year, energy major Shell said it was slowing down plans for LNG fuel production in North America, including sites intended to serve the Great Lakes.

Ship & Bunker


Team passionate about shipwreck preservation studying zebra mussels on whaleback

10/1 - Duluth, Minn. – A non–profit group, passionate for the preservation of historic Great Lakes shipwrecks, is busy on the bottom of Lake Superior studying an historic shipwreck. But it's not the shipwreck itself that's at the center of the team's attention. Rather, it's what's thriving on it.

In June 1902, the Thomas Wilson whaleback freighter sank over 70 feet down to the bottom of Lake Superior about a mile outside the Duluth Harbor after colliding with another ship.

112 years and 3 months later, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society is using the shipwreck as a means to study the prevalence of the invasive Zebra and Quagga mussels in the largest of the Great Lakes.

From a historic standpoint, project leader and author Steve Daniel says the reason for their team's interest is simple: "Because we really don't like them on shipwrecks," smiled Daniel. "We like to see the shipwrecks in the Great Lakes."

In the lower Great Lakes, where the water is warmer, Daniel says Zebra Mussels often cover the historic wrecks.

"They can get up to five layers thick, to the point where you end up looking at a bulgy, rounded shape of something, and you can't see the details of the ship," said Daniel. "When it's warm, zebra mussels tend to proliferate."

But Daniel says Superior's cooler, darker waters act like preservatives on shipwrecks, and could also be a reason why the Wilson isn't as plastered by the invasives.

"Lake Superior is about 40 degrees down at around 100 feet," said Daniel. "[Sunday] it happened to be 53 degrees on our computers."

The team has been diving on the site for over five years, examining the exact same spots each year on the shipwreck. GLSPS President Phil Kerber says the mussel populations have fluctuated almost every year.

"Most of the time it does increase, unfortunately, because of the problem we do have," said Kerber, while team members packed up their dive gear.

Kerber says the first two years saw a population increase, which tapered off the third year, then dropped the fourth year, and increased again last year.

In search of a solution, the team says they've tried removing the mussels in the past by scraping them off the vessel.

"I think it was probably a lost cause to try to do that," said Daniel, "because they did come back."

But Kerber says there are promising signs about 4 ½ miles out from the Wilson, aboard the Mayflower shipwreck.

"There was absolutely no Quagga and Zebra mussels on that ship," said Kerber, "but it's deeper, and it is colder."

The Wilson is much closer to the mouth of the harbor, where the St. Louis River's warmer water flows into Superior, along with zebra mussel populations.

If Superior's colder water has kept the invasives at bay thus far, the team says that's cause for greater concern when the lake goes through a warm streak.

There is a silver lining to the invasive mussels. Experts say they filter feed, which in turn cleans the water. But most agree that the up side is far outweighed by the myriad of issues they pose to boaters, and the native ecosystem.

Northland News Center


Toledo Port honored at freight conference

10/1 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has been honored again for increasing the amount of cargo it receives or sends out through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

During a port-sponsored luncheon Wednesday in Columbus as part of the Ohio Conference on Freight, port President Paul Toth received the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The 4.1 million metric tons of freight shipped between Toledo and ports in eastern Canada or overseas during 2013 marked a 5 percent increase over 2012.

The largest commodity was 1.6 million tons of iron ore mined in Canada and consumed by steel mills in southern Ohio and Kentucky, Seaway administrator Betty Sutton said. Other primary cargoes included imports of steel and aluminum while soybean exports from Toledo also helped the increase.

Toledo Blade


Lookback #318 – Kindersley scuttled with excess war munitions on Oct. 1, 1946

Kindersley was one of those rare Great Lakes canal-sized ships that was called to saltwater service in both world wars and managed to survive the perils of weather and enemy action in each conflict.

Originally known as A.S. McKinstry, the ship came to the Great Lakes after being built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1909. It joined the newly formed Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 and went overseas during the war. On October 2, 1918, the ship escaped a torpedo attack on the English Channel and was able to return to the Great Lakes in 1920.

C.S.L. renamed it Kindersley in 1927 and the ship left again for overseas in 1941. German aircraft caught Kindersley off Blyth, Scotland, on Aug. 17, 1941, and left the ship afloat but severely damaged.

Kindersley was repaired and continued to operate for the duration of the war. There would be no return to freshwater after this conflict. The ship was loaded with 2,074 tons of surplus munitions, taken out to sea, and scuttled in the deep water of the Atlantic Ocean on October 1, 1946.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  October 1

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  October 1

In 1986, the HERBERT C. JACKSON rescued Carl Ward and his nephew after they had been adrift on lower Lake Michigan for 80 hours.

On October 1,1888, the ST CLAIR (3-mast wooden schooner, 156 foot, 296 gross tons, built in 1859, at Montreal as a bark) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Huron as part of a 5-barge tow of the tug CHAMPION. She broke loose and came to anchor off Harbor Beach, Michigan. The anchor dragged and she sank near the mouth of the harbor. The crew was rescued by the U.S. Life Saving Service. However, this rescue was ill fated since all were taken in the lifesavers surfboat and the boat was rowed 23 miles to Port Sanilac. 100 yards from shore, just a half mile from Port Sanilac, the surfboat capsized and five lives were lost. The wreck of the ST. CLAIR was later lightered, raised and towed out into the lake and re-sunk.

CHICAGO TRADER, a.) THE HARVESTER of 1911, was laid up on October 1, 1976, at the Frog Pond in Toledo, Ohio.

Dismantling commenced October 1, 1974, on the KINSMAN INDEPENDENT a.) WILLIAM B. KERR of 1907, at Santander, Spain.

October 1, 1997 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 was towed out of Ludington to be converted to a barge.

On October 1, 1843, ALBANY (wooden brig, 110 tons, built in 1835, at Oswego, New York) was carrying merchandise and passengers when she went aground in a storm and was wrecked just a few miles from Mackinaw City, Michigan.

The steam barge C. H. GREEN was launched at E. Saginaw, Michigan, for Mason, Green & Corning of Saginaw on October 1, 1881. She was schooner rigged and spent her first year as a tow barge. The following winter her engine and boiler were installed. Her dimensions were 197 feet X 33 feet X 13 feet, 920 tons. She cost $70,000.

On October 1,1869, SEA GULL (wooden schooner, 83 tons, built in 1845, at Milan, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She was driven ashore and wrecked south of Grand Haven, Michigan. The wreck was pulled off the beach a few days later, but was declared a constructive loss, stripped and abandoned. She was owned by Capt. Henry Smith of Grand Haven.

1918: The Canadian bulk carrier GALE STAPLES was blown ashore Point au Sable about 8 miles west of Grand Marais. All on board were saved but the wooden vessel, best known as b) CALEDONIA, broke up.

1942: The former CANADIAN ROVER, Hull 67 from the Collingwood shipyard, was torpedoed and sunk as d) TOSEI MARU in the Pacific east of Japan by U.S.S. NAUTILUS.

1946: KINDERSLEY, loaded with 2074 tons of excess munitions, was scuttled in the deep waters of the Atlantic. The former C.S.L. freighter had been on saltwater to assist in the war effort.

1984: ANNEMARIE KRUGER arrived at Finike, Turkey, as e) BANKO with engine damage on this date and was laid up. The ship, a frequent Seaway visitor in the 1960s, was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow on August 3, 1986, and was dismantled.

1998 The tank barge SALTY DOG NO. 1 broke tow from the tug DOUG McKEIL and went aground off Anticosti Island the next day. The vessel was released and it operated until scrapping at Port Colborne in 2005.

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


Port Reports -  September 30

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manitowoc arrived an unloaded at the Jonick Dock on Monday.

Several ships were secured to all the lower and upper walls at Snell and Eisenhower Locks Sunday night and Monday. The Tecumseh was moored at Eisenhower upper wall, the Isa was at Eisenhower lower wall, the Juno was at the Snell upper wall and the Baie St. Paul was at Snell lower wall. Reports indicate a problem with one of the lock gates at Eisenhower. Baie St. Paul requested a report on the problem and no information was given.


Obituary: Nathaniel Barrett Smith

9/30 - Thorold, Ont. – Nathaniel Barrett Smith, well known to visitors of Lock 7 at the Welland Canal, died Sept. 26. Barrett, who built the part of his home overlooking the lock to resemble the forward superstructure of the passenger liner Keewatin and who was known to fly the flags of the fleets passing by his home, will be missed by extended family and friends. He was a proud and long-time supporter of the Welland Canal and BoatNerd, and attended many Welland Canal gatherings. Cremation has been requested, and there will be a remembrance and celebration of his life mid-October.


Lookback #317 – Greek Liberty ship Protostatis went aground in Lake Ontario on Sept. 30, 1965

The second time that the Greek Liberty ship Protostatis came through the Seaway would be its last. All had gone well until 49 years ago today, when the vessel ran aground on Traverse Shoal, Lake Ontario, while outbound from Detroit to Genoa, Italy, with a cargo of scrap.

The 441 foot, 6 inch long vessel had been built at Jacksonville, Fla., and launched as John Philip Sousa on July 4, 1943. The vessel had immediate problems due to grease fouling the boiler water and, on the second trip, 13 buckets of grease were removed from one boiler that had been there as a protective coat when it was shipped from the factory. The busy shipyard personnel forgot to clean it out.

In 1946, this ship was sold and registered in Honduras as Erato and, in 1954, it became Taxiarchis. A sale to Greek interests in 1960 led to the final name of Protostatis.

The lighter Mapleheath removed some cargo from Protostatis in October 1965 and the ship was refloated with the aid of tugs. They moved to a sheltered area off Kingston and the cargo was reloaded enabling Protostatis to head for the sea. It did not get far and stranded again, this time off Wolfe Island, on Nov. 16, 1965, and remained stuck until January 1966. By then ice had formed around the ship and the retired Keyshey was brought out from Kingston to lighter some cargo to enable Protostatis to float again. They went to Toronto to reload and finish the winter. Pumps were needed to keep the ship seaworthy while in port.

Come spring Protostatis was towed down the Seaway and then overseas to Valencia, Spain, arriving at the latter port for scrapping on July 5, 1966.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 30

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 30

On September 30, 1896, SUMATRA (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 845 gross tons, built in 1874, at Black River, Ohio) was loaded with railroad rails in tow of the steamer B.W. ARNOLD in a storm on Lake Huron. The SUMATRA was blown down and foundered off the Government Pier at Milwaukee. Three of the crew was lost. The four survivors were rescued by the ARNOLD and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The SUMATRA was owned by the Mills Transportation Company.

The 660-foot forward section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) was side launched on September 30, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by Bay Shipbuilding Co. Renamed b.) WALTER J. McCARTHY, JR. in 1977.

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

GOVERNOR MILLER was towed down the Welland Canal on September 30, 1980, in tow of TUG MALCOLM, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN on her way to Quebec City.

ROBERT C. STANLEY departed light on her maiden voyage from River Rouge, Michigan, on September 30, 1943, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota, to load iron ore.

On September 30, 1986, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel CARIBOU ISLE struck a rock in Lake Huron's North Channel and began taking on water. C.C.G.S. SAMUEL RISLEY arrived and helped patch the ship. The pair then departed for Parry Sound, Ontario.

On September 30, 1888, AUSTRALIA (wooden schooner, 109 foot, 159 gross tons, built in 1862, at Vermilion, Ohio) was carrying cedar posts from Beaver Island to Chicago when she encountered a gale. She was laid on beam ends and sprung a leak. She headed for shelter at Holland, Michigan, but struck a bar and foundered in the mouth of the harbor. The wreck blocked the harbor until it was removed on October. 5 Her crew was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

On September 30, 1875, AMERICAN CHAMPION (wooden scow-schooner, 156 tons, built in 1866, at Trenton, Michigan) dropped anchor to ride out a gale near Leamington, Ontario, on Lake Erie. The chains gave way and she struck a bar and sank to the gunwales. The crew of eight spent the night in the rigging and the next day a local woman and her two sons heroically rescued each one.

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

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

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

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

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


First Arctic cargo shipped through Northwest Passage

9/29 - Canadian arctic shipping firm Fednav’s new vessel MV Nunavik is in the midst of a historic journey as it becomes the first commercial vessel carrying a cargo of Arctic origins to make a full, unescorted transit of the Northwest Passage.

Designated with Polar Class 4, the 2014-built MV Nunavik is the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) icebreaking bulk carrier in the world and will sail year round from Deception Bay in Northern Quebec, transporting product from the Canadian Royalties mine, Fednav says. On it’s current voyage, Nunavik will deliver 23,000 tons of nickel concentrate from Nunavik’s Deception Bay to Bayuquan in northern China.

To make the voyage, the MV Nunavik will be supported by a shore-based team of ice navigation specialists from Fednav and its subsidiary, Enfotec. The vessel will receive regular ice charts including real-time satellite imagery via Enfotec’s proprietary onboard ice-navigation system, IcenavTM.

The route to China via the Northwest Passage is some 40 percent shorter than the traditional Panama Canal route, which is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes, Fednav says.

“Fednav is proud to have designed this remarkable ship and to plan the first independent commercial voyage through the Northwest Passage,” said Paul Pathy, President and co-CEO of Fednav Limited. “It is through the extraordinary capabilities of the Fednav team, the ship’s crew, and its world-leading technology that we can undertake this journey with confidence.”

Follow the Nunavik on her journey through the Northwest Passage -



Lookback #316 – Former Eastern Friendship sank on Sept. 29, 1993

9/29 - Eastern Friendship, a Freedom Class cargo carrier, was a Seaway visitor for the first time in 1986. It had not been inland under its first two names of Grand Union and Young Soul after being built at Nagasaki, Japan, in 1971.

The 466 foot, 9 inch, long Liberian flag freighter was sold again in 1990 and renamed Tony Best. It had an inglorious finish to its 22-year career.

Tony Best stranded about 250 miles off the coast of Bangladesh on April 10, 1993. The ship was stuck in a remote area and was aground for four weeks with both food and fresh water running out. The Bangladesh Navy made a humanitarian drop of supplies to help the 23 Taiwanese and Burmese sailors who had been in danger of starving and had managed to radio for help.

The ship, on a voyage from China to Chittagong, was finally refloated on June 21, 1993, and made it to port. The vessel went to anchor near the Bhatiary Beaching site but, due to the strong river current, dragged anchor and went aground.

By September the ship was observed on the bottom at low tide and floating at high tide. In time the hull cracked, drifted away and sank in the Bay of Bengal 21-years ago today.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 29

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 29

September 29, 1930, for the first time in the history of Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the boats of the fleet loaded more than one million tons in a seven-day period. The 64 Pittsburgh boats loaded 1,002,092 tons of cargo between 9/23 and 9/29.

The J. H. SHEADLE (Hull#22) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched September 29, 1906, for the Grand Island Steamship Co. (Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.) Renamed b.) F. A. BAILEY in 1924, c.) LA SALLE in 1930. Sold Canadian in 1965, renamed d.) MEAFORD, and e.) PIERSON INDEPENDENT in 1979. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1980.

Henry Ford II, 70, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, passed away on September 29, 1987. Mr. Ford's namesake was the Ford Motor Company self-unloader.

On September 29, 1986, the Polish tug KORAL left Lauzon, Quebec with the JOHN E. F. MISENER and GOLDEN HIND enroute to Cartagena / Mamonal, Columbia, for scrapping.

September 29, 1892 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was launched.

On 29 September 1872, ADRIATIC (3-masted wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 129 net tons, built in 1865, at Clayton, New York as a bark) was in tow of the tug MOORE along with three other barges in Lake Erie in a heavy gale. She became separated from the tow and foundered. The entire crew of 7 was lost. The wooden schooner DERRICK was used in salvage operations. On 29 September 1854, she had just positioned herself above the wreck of the steamer ERIE off Silver Creek, New York on Lake Erie when she went down in a gale. She had spent the summer trying to salvage valuables from the wreck of the steamer ATLANTIC.

On 29 September 1900, the steamer SAKIE SHEPARD was re-launched at Anderson's shipyard in Marine City. She had been thoroughly rebuilt there during the summer.

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  September 28

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Karen Andrie - Endevor tug-barge should be in port Saturday evening. This will be only the second time they have been to Buffalo/Tonawanda since they were originally paired up in 2009. English River departed Buffalo for Bath, Ont., around 6 Saturday morning. She was by Point Abino around 8:11 a.m. and headed for the Welland Canal. The American Mariner was still unloading at the Frontier Elevator Saturday morning; she cleared Buffalo, bound for Ashtabula around 3:30 p.m.

Toronto – Jens Juhl
The cruise ship Hamburg departed shortly after eight this past Friday evening bound for the Welland Canal. Starting in Montreal the ship is on the first of two Great Lakes 16 night, 10 ports of call cruises. The cruise ship is operated and managed by Bremen based Plantours Cruises. Previously the Hamburg cruised on the Great Lakes as Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' C. Columbus.

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
John B. Aird went to the dock at Johnstown to complete the inspection by the Lloyd's insurers before being allowed to sail, fully loaded, to Sept Iles. She she did not unload any cargo and was on an even keel.


Maumee River busy with new project, freighter action

9/28 - Toledo, Ohio – A busy week along the Maumee River saw one long-term project begin, one freighter become legally idled and another return to service after two years of idleness.

Sept. 17 saw the arrival of the former Bob-Lo ferry Columbia at the small drydock at Ironhead Shipyard, and the sailing of the lake freighter Adam E. Cornelius for the first time in more than two years.

Columbia, towed by the tugs Manitou and Capt. Keith, is the oldest surviving passenger steamer on the Great Lakes, and was used to ferry people from Detroit to the former amusement park on Boblo Island for many years. The five-deck steamer is at the center of a nonprofit project to refurbish her and return her to service, this time as a cruise boat on the Hudson River in New York.

Ironhead’s part of the project is to inspect the boat and make sure she is in good enough shape to tow to New York, which is expected to take place by next August, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Columbia, built in 1902 in Wyandotte, Michigan, was designed to carry more than 3,000 passengers on five decks, and included mahogany staircases and an open-air ballroom, a unique feature allowed for by a new framing system designed by marine architect Frank Kirby.

Columbia last sailed for Boblo Island in 1991; by then, competition from Cedar Point had become too much for the amusement park.

Columbia’s sister ship, Ste. Claire, briefly spent time in Toledo several years ago, with an eye toward restoration. Ste. Claire, also designed by Kirby, was built in Toledo but returned to her berth alongside Columbia in Ecorse, Michigan.

Both boats were given a cosmetic restoration for the filming of “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Another Toledo-built boat of more modern heritage sailed last week for the first time in more than two years.

American Steamship Co.’s lake freighter Adam E. Cornelius, idled just downriver from Ironhead, sailed Sept. 17. A reviving economy has created enough demand for iron ore and associated cargoes that Cornelius was needed.

Cornelius had been tied up since January 2012 at a piece of riverfront property along Front Street, owned by the shipping line.

Cornelius, a 680-foot, self-unloading bulk freighter, was built in Toledo and launched in 1973 as the Roger M. Kyes, the name she had until 1989. She is the largest ship to have been built in Toledo, and at the time of her launch was the first new vessel to have been built at the Toledo shipyard since 1959, according to the Great Lakes web site

The ship’s return to service has kept her busy operating between Lake Superior ports and, as of Sept. 24, a week since she sailed, she was in Lake Huron.

Finally, unpaid bills totaling $900,000 are still keeping an oceangoing freighter tied up at the Midwest Overseas Terminal on the Maumee. The freighter Fritz, registered in Liberia and with a Romanian crew, hasn’t been able to leave Toledo since arriving in August to drop off a load of steel coil.

This is the second time on the same trip the Fritz has encountered trouble, being detained for more than two weeks in Oshawa, Ontario, near Toronto after being towed there by tugs because of engine problems, according to the Oshawa Express newspaper.

She was repaired before being allowed to proceed to Toledo.

A port official who spoke to the Express in July said the Fritz, which was built in 2010, looked as though it had been “manufactured in 1910” because of its condition.

In photos taken of the Fritz by freighter fans in Toledo, the ship was showing considerable rust and wear on her hull.

There were also problems in July with the crew being paid, but the Oshawa paper cited a man claiming to be the Fritz’s captain who said that had been resolved after a new management company took over the ship.

The crew received assistance from churches in the Toronto area’s Romanian community, the Express reported.

Toledo Free Press


Lookback #315 – Frank R. Denton in a collision with Federal Schelde on Sept. 28, 1975

The Frank R. Denton lasted for 74 years, not bad for a replacement vessel. By all accounts, the ship would not have been built if it hadn’t been for the loss of the steamer William C. Moreland in 1910.

It was contracted to the American Steamship Co. and completed for the Interstate Steamship Co. as Thomas Walters in 1911. The shipyard workers made haste with this project and it took only 50 working days to move the new bulk carrier from keel to launch.

The maiden voyage commenced on May 12, 1911, when the ship loaded a cargo of coal at Sandusky, Ohio, for Duluth. It was in service before the ill-fated William C. Moreland could be refloated and repaired.

The Thomas Walters was managed by the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. until coming under their banner in 1949. It moved to the Wilson Transit Co. when the J & L. fleet was sold in its entirety on Nov. 15, 1952. This ship was renamed Frank R. Denton the next year and sailed as such to the end.

In addition to the usual cargoes of coal and iron ore, the vessel also handled some grain and occasionally returned up the lakes with a deckload of new automobiles out of Detroit.

After only one trip in 1972, grain from Duluth to Buffalo, the ship joined Kinsman Marine Transit in 1973. Later that year, on Sept. 28, 1973, the Frank R. Denton and the first Federal Schelde were in a sideswipe collision in the St. Marys River. Fortunately, there was only minor damage to report on the accident of 41 years ago today.

While most of its trading was on the upper lakes, Frank R. Denton did venture east to Lake Ontario with 540,000 bushels of malted barley for Oswego and the Genessee Brewing Co. in October 1979.

The ship operated through the 1983 season and then laid up at Buffalo. It was towed to Ashtabula on Nov. 14, 1984, and moved to the cutting berth of Triad Salvage on Nov. 13, 1985. Scrapping began there the next day.

The pilothouse of the vessel was carefully removed and relocated as part of the Ashtabula Museum. The structure was rededicated in 2011 under the original name of Thomas Walters.

Federal Schelde had been completed in December 1967 and began Great Lakes trading the next year. It was a regular caller around the inland seas, even after becoming C. Mehmet in 1977. The vessel was delivered to Chinese shipbreakers at Shanghai on March 16, 1994.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 28

September 29, 1930, for the first time in the history of Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the boats of the fleet loaded more than one million tons in a seven-day period. The 64 Pittsburgh boats loaded 1,002,092 tons of cargo between 9/23 and 9/29.

The J. H. SHEADLE (Hull#22) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched September 29, 1906, for the Grand Island Steamship Co. (Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.) Renamed b.) F. A. BAILEY in 1924, c.) LA SALLE in 1930. Sold Canadian in 1965, renamed d.) MEAFORD, and e.) PIERSON INDEPENDENT in 1979. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1980.

Henry Ford II, 70, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, passed away on September 29, 1987. Mr. Ford's namesake was the Ford Motor Company self-unloader.

On September 29, 1986, the Polish tug KORAL left Lauzon, Quebec with the JOHN E. F. MISENER and GOLDEN HIND enroute to Cartagena / Mamonal, Columbia, for scrapping.

September 29, 1892 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was launched.

On 29 September 1872, ADRIATIC (3-masted wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 129 net tons, built in 1865, at Clayton, New York as a bark) was in tow of the tug MOORE along with three other barges in Lake Erie in a heavy gale. She became separated from the tow and foundered. The entire crew of 7 was lost. The wooden schooner DERRICK was used in salvage operations. On 29 September 1854, she had just positioned herself above the wreck of the steamer ERIE off Silver Creek, New York on Lake Erie when she went down in a gale. She had spent the summer trying to salvage valuables from the wreck of the steamer ATLANTIC.

On 29 September 1900, the steamer SAKIE SHEPARD was re-launched at Anderson's shipyard in Marine City. She had been thoroughly rebuilt there during the summer.

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

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

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

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


Algoma Navigator hits Port Robinson canal bank

9/27 - Welland, Ont. – A laker travelling through the Welland Canal was damaged Friday morning after striking one of the banks in Port Robinson.

Algoma Navigator made contact just past 7 a.m., St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. spokesman Andrew Bogora said.

The ship continued south and tied up at Wharf 12, north of Lock 8 in Port Colborne.

Bogora said the vessel was tied up for inspection, but no liquids or fluids had been discharged into the water. He said a cause is still being determined. At the time of the incident, the area was under dense fog.

There is no visible damage to the ship, but there were unconfirmed reports that the vessel started taking on water. Calls placed to Algoma Central Corp. were not immediately returned.

Welland Tribune


John B. Aird arrives at drydock in Les Mechins

9/27 - John B. Aird arrived Verreault Navigation's drydock in Les Mechin, Quebec early Friday morning, presumably for repairs after recent grounding. Prior to arriving, Aird unloaded partial cargo of slag in Prescott and remainder in Sept. Iles.

Andy Torrence


Port Reports -  September 27

St. Marys River
The Soo Locks web cams, which had been down for repairs, have been returned to service.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
American Mariner was tied up and unloading at General Mills Friday afternoon, while English River was over at Lafarge.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Hamburg (ex c. Columbus) arrived early Friday morning. The Bahamian-flagged 15,200 g.t. cruise ship is moored at the International Marine Passenger Terminal at Terminal 52. Just before noon the Hamburg took on bunkers from the Hamilton Energy.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tug Omni-Richelieu left Hamilton and made its way to Oshawa, Ont., Friday to join its fleet mate La Prairie (currently stationed in Oshawa). This is usually the sign of an incoming ship, and a ship is most certainly on the way. The Panamanian flagged bulker Heloise is due to arrive in Oshawa around Sept. 28.


Calumet River coal storage site to shut down

9/27 - Chicago, Ill. – A company involved in legal skirmishes last year over piles of petroleum coke in Chicago has sold its facility, and a second company has been fined $50,000 for violating an order to stop handling coke and coal products, city officials said Thursday.

Indiana-based Beemsterboer Slag Corp. sold its site on the city’s southeast side earlier this month, company President Alan Beemsterboer said. The company in December agreed to remove piles of petcoke, a powdery black byproduct of oil refining, after the state sued the company for air quality and permit violations.

Calumet Transload Facility — a separate site owned by some members of the Beemsterboer family — was fined last week for continuing to handle metallurgical coke and coke products in violation of a cease-and-desist order from the city.

That company, permitted only to handle road salt, had 12,000 tons of metallurgical coke and coal products at the site and planned to bring in another 8,000 tons when the order was issued on Aug. 7, the city said, adding that the company violated the order for 10 days and attempted to bring in more truckloads, only to have them blocked by city personnel. The company has since removed the material.

Beemsterboer said the company already had an agreement with the city to remove the material before the order was issued. He said Calumet Transload now handles only salt.

The company’s troubles began last summer after residents complained about growing piles of petcoke, saying they feared potential health and environmental harm from dust that blew off the piles.

Associated Press


Three Brothers beached on South Manitou Island on Sept. 27, 1911

9/27 - The wooden steamer Three Brothers was built at Milwaukee in 1888. The 170 foot long, 583 gross ton vessel was designed for the lumber trade and initially operated as May Durr on a route between Pine Lake and Tonawanda, NY.

The vessel joined the John Spry Lumber Co. as John Spry in 1892 and the White Transportation Co. as Three Brothers in 1903. The ship became waterlogged and had to be beached, before it could sink, at South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan, 103 years ago today. The cargo of lumber was salvaged but the Three Brothers was left to rot. In time the hull was covered with sand but a remnant of the ship reappeared due to shifting sands in April 1996.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 27

September 27, 1959: The West Neebish Channel, through which downbound traffic normally passes, was temporarily closed to permit dredging to the maximum Seaway depth of 27 feet. Two-way traffic was instituted in the Middle Neebish Channel until dredging was completed.

On 27 September 1877, the HIPPOGRIFFE (wooden schooner, 295 tons, built in 1864, at Buffalo, New York) had just left Chicago for Buffalo, loaded with oats, on a fine day with clear weather. The crew saw EMMA A. COYNE (wooden schooner, 155 foot, 497 tons, built in 1867, at Detroit, Michigan) approaching from a long way off loaded with lumber. The two vessels' skippers were brothers. The two schooners collided about 20 miles off Kenosha, Wisconsin. The COYNE came along side and picked up the HIPPOGRIFFE's crew a few minutes before that vessel rolled over and dove for the bottom.

The CITY OF GENOA arrived with the first cargo of iron ore for the new factory at Zug Island, reported The Detroit Free Press on September 28, 1903.

The H. M. GRIFFITH experienced a smoky conveyor belt fire at Port Colborne, Ontario on September 27, 1989. Repairs were completed there.

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

GEORGE M. HUMPHREY under tow, locked through the Panama Canal from September 27, 1986, to the 30th on her way to the cutter’s torch at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The tanker IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (Hull#137) was launched September 27, 1947, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, Ontario. Renamed b.) SEAWAY TRADER in 1979, sold off the Lakes in 1984, renamed c.) PATRICIA II, d.) BALBOA TRADER in 1992.

September 27, 1909 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 entered service after being repaired from her capsizing at Manistique, Michigan the previous May.

On 27 September 1884, WALDO A. AVERY (wooden propeller, 204 foot, 1,294 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan. Her construction had been subcontracted by F. W. Wheeler & Co. to Thomas F. Murphy.

On 27-29 September 1872, a big storm swept the lower lakes. On Lake Huron, the barges HUNTER and DETROIT were destroyed. The tug SANDUSKY rescued the 21 survivors from them. The schooner CORSAIR foundered off Sturgeon Point on Saginaw Bay at 4 p.m. on Sunday the 29th and only 2 of the crew survived. The barge A. LINCOLN was ashore one mile below Au Sable with no loss of life. The barge TABLE ROCK went ashore off Tawas Point and went to pieces. All but one of her crew was lost. The schooner WHITE SQUALL was sunk ten miles off Fish Point -- only one crewman was saved. The schooner SUMMIT went ashore at Fish Point, 7 miles north of Tawas with two lives lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lakes Michigan and Huron surge to highest water levels in 15 years

9/26 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – After almost two years of historically low water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron, they've recovered to heights not seen in 15 years.

All the added water prompts this new concern for beachgoers: large waves that crash onto West Michigan's piers have a greater potential to sweep people into the lake.

What a difference almost two years makes. The water level of both Lakes Michigan and Huron, which share the same measurement as they're connected, is about 579 feet for September — similar to a level last seen in 1999. It's up 3 feet from the lowest point in January 2013 and about 4 inches above average.

The uptick in a handful of inches and feet might not seem much until it translates to some 13.97 trillion additional gallons of water, said Jared Maples, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

"It appears the accumulation of precipitation really pulled ahead in April 2013 and ever since then, we not only continuously kept up with average accumulation but exceeded it," Maples said.

"We've yet to drop below that trend."

The spring of 2013 probably spurs a few unpleasant memories of historic flooding, when the Grand River peaked at 21.85 feet that April in downtown. At least 11 inches of rain fell during the month, in addition to 7-8 inches in Lansing and Muskegon. Much of it, eventually, flows back into the lakes.

Grand Rapids ended up with above average precipitation and snowfall, about 7 inches and 20 inches, respectively, for the year.

Are the relatively high water levels sustainable? It's hard to tell, Maples said. Long-term forecasts indicate warmer temperatures and equal chances of below and above normal precipitation, so only will tell.

A six-month forecast indicates the possibility of falling below average into the upcoming winter and early next year.

"It's kind of like the ebb and flow of the lakes," Maples said. "You'll have one period of wetter weather, and another with drier weather."

As fall storm systems sweep through the region and spur some high waves, it's probably best to stay away from the piers.

"There is a lot of power added to the waves when there is two feet more water," MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa said. "When we get that water moving around in the fall wind, the waves can overpower you easily."

M Live


Port Reports -  September 26

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L Van Enkevort departed at 6:10 p.m. from Dock #3.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Stephen B. Roman was discharging cement at the Essroc Villiers Street facility Thursday. Just before noon the Algoma Navigator cleared the Ship Channel Bridge inbound with a cargo of aggregate. The 47-year-old bulker is probably the last working ship using the Doxford JT series opposed piston diesel engine.


Lookback #313 – Former Lindo arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on Sept. 26, 1997

Lindo was built at Gijon, Spain, in 1972. The 395 foot, 10 inch long vessel first appeared on the Great Lakes in 1979 and became a regular caller through the Seaway in 1980 when it joined Manchester Lines on charter.

The vessel could carry 346 containers and it worked as a shuttle boat in and out of the Great Lakes connecting with the larger transatlantic container ships in the regular Manchester fleet.

Lindo was on the move in 1981 becoming Atlantic Prowess and, later in the year, Kowloon Express. Both ships carried Panamanian registry and the latter worked in the Far East servicing Hong Kong.

Further name changes saw the ship becoming Kobe Express in 1982, Jannu in 1985, Kuo Wei in 1986 and Medlink, Greek flag, in 1992.

It was 17 years ago today that Medlink arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow. It was beached at one of the scrap berths on Sept. 26, 1997, and the dismantling of the hull got underway on Oct. 20, 1997.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 26

September 26, 1930, the schooner OUR SON, launched in 1875, sank during a storm on Lake Michigan about 40 miles WSW of Big Sable Point. Seventy-three year old Captain Fred Nelson the crew of OUR SON were rescued by the self-unloader WILLIAM NELSON.

September 26, 1937, the Canadian Seaman's Union signed a tentative wage contract. Sailors would continue a two watch system (working 12 hours every 24 hours) and be paid the following monthly wages: Wheelsmen and Oilers - $72.50, Watchmen and firemen - $67.50, Second Cooks - $52.50, deckhands and coal passers - $50.00, porters - $45.00, Chief Cooks on the Upper Lakes - $115.00, and Chief Cooks on Canal boats $105.00.

September 26, 1957, Taconite Harbor, Minnesota loaded its first cargo of 10,909 tons of taconite pellets into the holds of the Interlake steamer J. A. CAMPBELL.

On 26 September 1892, JOHN BURT (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 348 gross tons, built in 1871, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying grain in a strong northwest gale. Her rudder broke and she was blown past the mouth of Oswego harbor and was driven hard aground. Two died when the vessel struck. The U.S. Lifesaving Service rescued the remaining five crewmembers. The vessel quickly broke up in the waves.

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

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

C.C.G.S. GRIFFON (Hull#664) was launched September 26, 1969 by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec for the Canadian Coast Guard.

ROGER M. KYES returned to service on September 26, 1984; she had grounded off McLouth Steel and ended crosswise in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel a month before. She was renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

The BELLE RIVER was sideswiped by the Liberian FEDERAL RHINE, of 1977, at Duluth on September 26, 1985. Both vessels received minor damage.

On 26 September 1914, MARY N. BOURKE (wooden schooner-barge, 219 foot, 920 gross tons, built in 1889, at Baraga, Michigan) was docked at Peter's Lumber Dock in St. Mary's Bay, 15 miles north of St. Ignace, Michigan. The crew was awakened at 9:30-10:00 p.m. by smoke coming from her hold and they escaped. The BOURKE burned to the waterline and the fire spread ashore, destroying the dock and a pile of lumber.

At 3 a.m., 26 September 1876, the steam barge LADY FRANKLIN burned while moored near Clark's dock, about three miles from Amherstburg, Ontario in the Detroit River. One life was lost. This vessel had been built in 1861, as a passenger steamer and ran between Cleveland, Ohio and Port Stanley, Ontario. In 1874, she was converted into a lumber freighter, running primarily between Saginaw, Michigan and Cleveland. The burned hull was rebuilt in 1882.

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

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


McKeil Marine expands with addition of tug Lois M

9/25 - McKeil Marine has added another tug to its fleet. Lois M arrived in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia Septmber 17 and was registered in St.John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, September 23. It was built in 1991 by Matsuura Tekko Zosen of Japan for an Australian operation of Cleveland-Cliffs. Named Lambert it served Port Lambert, in Western Australia, a large iron shipment area.

A sister tug named Pannawonica I has also been acquired by McKeil, and it is currently working in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Lois M is built to a similar design to Beverly M1 and Sharon M 1 acquired last year by McKeil. Powered by Niigata main engines of 4800 bhp, it rates 60 tonnes bollard pull, delivered through two Rexpeller azimuthing stern drives.

McKeil has a great deal of work in Newfoundland, and after fitting out at Mulagrave, the tug is expected to go to work in the island province. U.S. Steel Canada to sell Hamilton Works operations

Mac Mackay


U.S. Steel Canada to sell Hamilton Works operations

9/25 - Hamilton, Ont. - U.S. Steel Canada Inc. plans to put its operations in Hamilton, Ont., up for sale within two months, but delay a sales process for its Lake Erie works until March, 2015. The potential sale of the Hamilton site, which includes finishing mills, coke batteries and iron- and steel-making operations that have been shut since late 2010, is the first significant proposal U.S. Steel Canada (USSC) has made since it entered bankruptcy protection last week under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

“Commencing a SISP [sale and investment solicitation process] will provide USSC and its stakeholders with a better understanding of the potential options available with respect to the Hamilton Works operations and related assets,” Michael McQuade, the company’s president, said in an affidavit.

His affidavit forms part of the company’s request for approval of $185-million in debtor-in-possession financing, which will be submitted to the Ontario Superior Court on Oct. 6. The financing will be provided by United States Steel Corp., the parent company of the Canadian unit.

USSC, which consists of the main assets of the former Stelco Inc. purchased by U.S. Steel Corp. in 2007, was granted CCAA protection, citing pension solvency deficiencies of $838.7-million, ongoing losses and $3.9-billion in debt and equity pumped into the Canadian unit by its parent since 2007.

The Hamilton Works has the highest pension solvency deficiency and 12,614 members in pension plans, compared with 771 active employees.

Comments made by Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers, which represents about 600 of those active workers and the unionized retirees, are another reason to begin the sales process, Mr. McQuade said.

Local 1005 president Rolf Gerstenberger has described the CCAA filing as a fraud and said his local will oppose it.

“As a consequence and in the absence of a willingness of Local 1005 to engage in a restructuring dialogue about potential alternatives involving other existing stakeholders,” Mr. McQuade said, “USSC must explore whether other alternatives exist that might gain support from applicable stakeholders.”

Local 1005 is a key employee stakeholder group, along with USW local 8782, which represents unionized employees at the Lake Erie operations in Nanticoke, Ont.

A timeline submitted as part of the court filing showed the company beginning a sales process for Lake Erie in March and completing sales or investment transactions for both Hamilton and Lake Erie by Oct. 31, 2015.

The Ontario government, which regulates the pension plans and whose Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund faces a $400-million hit if the funds are wound up without any further contribution from USSC, will also play a key role in the restructuring.

As part of the Stelco deal, Ontario provided U.S. Steel with a $150-million loan bearing interest of 1 per cent, 75 per cent of which was forgiven if the solvency deficiencies in the pension funds were eliminated by the end of 2015.

Mr. McQuade said in earlier filing that there was no possibility the deficiencies would be wiped out.

The Canadian unit has $3-billion in net operating losses and “other tax attributes,” Mr. McQuade’s affidavit said.

“Preserving and ultimately utilizing those tax attributes could help maximize value for stakeholders,” he noted.

The debtor-in-possession financing should be sufficient to cover U.S. Steel Canada’s needs through the end of 2015, he said.

The 5 per cent interest rate on the financing compares with an average of 10 per cent for other CCAA financings, he said.

Globe & Mail


Historic Erie boat to be restored

9/25 - Erie, Pa. – It was moving day Wednesday for an historic boat on Erie's bayfront. The 37-foot wooden workboat, originally used by the Erie Water Authority, will be completely restored.

The boat was recently donated to the Erie County Historical Society. It was moved today from a boat storage facility on East Dobbins Landing to a warehouse in Girard. The goal is to get the boat back in the water, showcasing Erie's maritime history.

The society is putting together a business model to pay for the project.

"We all know the upkeep and expense of a boat can be quite significant. So we want to have a system in place so the boat is not a financial drain on the society operations and financial resources," said Caleb Pifer, Executive Director of the Erie County Historical Society.

The wooden boat was built at Erie's Lund Boat Works in 1936.


Gales of November to be held Nov. 7-8 at Duluth

9/25 - Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, in conjunction with Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, presents its annual maritime conference and fundraiser benefit – The Gales of November, Nov. 7-8

. Funds raised support the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center and help in its mission to celebrate and preserve Lake Superior maritime heritage.

The two day educational, fundraising and networking event begins Friday, Nov. 7 with a joint luncheon with the Duluth-Superior Propeller Club at Grandma’s Sports Garden, 425 Lake Avenue South in historic Canal Park in Duluth, MN. The luncheon’s keynote speaker Mark Gill, Director of Vessel Traffic Services ("Ice Ops") for the US Coast Guard at the Soo. Friday afternoon provides various tour options including behind-the-scenes tours at of the Lake Superior Maritime Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, Superior Public Museum’s Fairlawn Mansion and at the Great Lakes Aquarium. The day concludes with an Opening Gala reception, sponsored by Lake Superior Magazine, at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in historic Canal Park at 600 South Lake Ave.

Gales of November festivities resume at 9 am on Saturday, Nov. 8 at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center- Lake Superior Ballroom. The day is filled with maritime related educational breakout presentations, a trade show and a silent auction. Saturday’s keynote luncheon presentation features James P. Delgado, Ph.D., Director of Maritime Heritage, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Sanctuaries.

One of the highlights of the day will be the drawing of the winners in our “Cruise of a Lifetime Raffle.” Two winners will have an opportunity to sail the Great Lakes in style aboard the 1,000-foot Edwin H. Gott. Drawing will take place at 5 p.m. at the DECC in the Lake Superior Ballroom at the main stage. A representative from Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes Inc. will be there to draw the winning names. A closing reception will be held at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill in Canal Park.

Tickets to Gales of November are required. Gales of November details and registration information can be found at



Timeline: A detailed look at foreign cargo ships' visits to Port of Muskegon since 2012

9/25 - Muskegon, Mich. – For the better part of 30 years, foreign cargo ships from around the world flocked to Muskegon and its deep-water port.

Then, a stretch occurred when visits from foreign cargo ships, or "salties," were rare.

Recently, Muskegon's port has been becoming a popular destination for the large vessels once again. Over the last two years, 12 foreign cargo ships have visited the Port of Muskegon.

Here is a detailed look at the recent comings and goings of foreign cargo ships and the Port of Muskegon:

June 4, 2012
The Port of Muskegon welcomed its first "saltie" since 2004 when the HHL Amur arrived to take two, 148-foot wind turbine blade molds to Bilboa, Spain. The 452-foot ship is owned by Hansa Heavy Lift of Hamburg, Germany. The ship's home port is St. John's, Antigua. It was built in 2007 by Jiangzhou Union Shipbuilding in Rui Chang, China.

Aug. 22, 2012
The BBC Louisiana arrived in Muskegon in the summer of 2012 as the first of seven shipments of wind turbine parts bound for the Beebe Community Wind Farm in Gratiot County between Lansing and Mount Pleasant. The 454-foot ship carried 26 blades. The ship was built in 2008 in Wuhu, China, and it is owned and managed by Brockstiegel Reederei of Emden, Germany.

Sept. 11, 2012
On the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the 452-foot Aggersborg arrived at the Port of Muskegon carrying 45 wind turbine tower sections. The arrival of the Panamanian-flagged vessel was the second of seven shipments of wind turbine parts for the season.

Sept. 26, 2012
The BBC Elbe arrived with wind turbine components. The German-registered, 469-foot vessel brought wind turbine parts from South Korea. It was the third of seven expected shipments for the 2012 season.

Oct. 3, 2012
The parade to the Port of Muskegon continued in early October when the 462-foot Amstelborg arrived. The Dutch-registered and German-owned ship brought sections of wind turbine towers from Korea bound for the Beebe wind farm. It was the fourth of seven shipments.

Oct. 4, 2012
Employees at the Mart Dock in Muskegon had to work feverously to unload the Amstelborg since the 462-foot Marlene Green arrived the next day. The ship entered port just hours after the departure of the Amstelborg carrying 44 turbine tower sections from North Korea. According to a MLive Muskegon Chronicle article published in 2012, the rapid arrival of ships reminded many of the glory days of Muskegon's port. The Marlene Green was the fifth of seven shipments for the 2012 season.

Oct. 29, 2012
The BBC Balboa became the sixth of seven ships to make port when it arrived carrying 24 wind turbine blades. The ship was built in Dalian, China, and it is owned by Briese Schiffahrt of Leer, Germany.

Nov. 20, 2012
The final of seven expected arrivals in 2012 did so on this November Tuesday when the BBC Wisconsin made port at the Mart Dock in Muskegon. The 452-foot German vessel brought 21 wind turbine blades bound for the Beebe Wind Farm. According to a 2012 MLive Muskegon Chronicle article, the crew quickly unloaded the 197-foot wind blades to allow final delivery to be completed before Thanksgiving.

July 8, 2014
After more than a year absence, the "salties" made their return to Muskegon in July of this year when the HHL Elbe arrived. The 454-foot ship was the first of four shipments of wind turbine parts to arrive in 2014. The HHL Elbe is a Liberian-flagged vessel owned by the German company Hansa Heavy Lift.

The ship carried 36 blades, 11 generator units called nacelles and four containers with assorted parts.

Aug. 12, 2014
The 515-foot HR Constitution arrived. Built in 2006, the ship is owned by the German company Hammonia Reederei. The ship arrived with wind turbine towers bound for the Beebe Wind Farm and was the second of four scheduled arrivals in 2014.

Aug. 21, 2014
The HHL Congo was the third of four shipments to arrive at Muskegon's Mart Dock. It brought wind turbine blades from Germany.

Aug. 28, 2012
The HR Maria was the most recent vessel to visit the Port of Muskegon. The 468-foot vessel was built in 2008, and it is owned by Hammonia Reederei. The ship brought wind turbine towers bound for the Beebe Wind Farm.

Muskegon Chronicle


Lookback #312 – Franquelin aground below Beauharnois on Sept. 25, 1978

9/25 - The small freighter Franquelin had an occasional grounding in its career. The ship sailed under four names and owners over a period of 37 years.

Franquelin got stuck opposite Algonac on Dec. 19, 1976, and after being released, got pushed into shallow water by the ice on Lake St. Clair the next day despite being at anchor.

It was 36-years ago today that it landed on the bottom again. This time the bulk carrier was below Beauharnois in the Seaway when it stranded on Sept. 25, 1978. Franquelin was soon released from its perch and taken to Canadian Vickers in Montreal for repairs.

The stay at the shipyard was much longer than anticipated as the workers went out on strike with the result that Franquelin remained trapped on the drydock until a new contract could be negotiated.

Built as Griffon at Port Weller in 1956, the ship became Franquelin in 1967. It joined Transport Desgagnes in 1984 and was renamed Eva Desgagnes in 1987. Following a sale to Mexican interests, it became Telchac in 1989 and was scrapped at Tuxpan, Mexico, in 1993.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 25

In tandem tow, MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK JR. arrived at Vigo, Spain, on September 25, 1985. The MENIHEK LAKE was scrapped at Vigo, and the FALK was towed to Gijn, Spain, for scrapping.

HENRY C. FRICK departed Bay City on her maiden voyage on September 25, 1905 and rammed and damaged the Michigan Central Railroad Bridge at Bay City.

On 25 September 1869, COMMENCEMENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 75 foot, 73 tons, built in 1853, at Holland, Michigan) was carrying wood in her hold and telegraph poles on deck from Pentwater, Michigan, for Milwaukee when she sprang a leak 20 miles off Little Sable Point on Lake Michigan. The incoming water quickly overtook her pump capacity. As the crew was getting aboard the lifeboat, she turned turtle. The crew clung to the upturned hull for 30 hours until the passing steamer ALLEGHENY finally rescued them. COMMENCEMENT later washed ashore, a total wreck. 1922: AUBE, on her first trip back under this name, went aground off Carleton Island, while carrying 65,000 bushels of grain. Tugs released the stranded vessel the following day.

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

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

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


Canada’s new patrol vessel Caporal Kaeble V.C. christened

9/24 - Entry into service of Canadian Coast Guard's new mid-shore patrol vessel, the CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C., has been inaugurated by The Honorable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, on behalf of the Honorable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Mainly used as part of a joint program with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the patrol vessel enhances security and safety along the St. Lawrence River, as well as in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

With a capacity of up to 14 crew members, including five RCMP officers, her endurance at sea is 14 days on a course of 2,000 nautical miles. While on missions, the CCG is responsible for vessel operations and the RCMP is responsible for all enforcement activities.

Based in Québec, this vessel is equipped with two rigid hull inflatable boats for marine security response, as well as a Zodiac, which will be used for search and rescue operations.

CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. is the second of nine Hero Class vessels to join the Canadian Coast Guard fleet. It was named in honor of Corporal Joseph-Thomas Kaeble, member of the Royal 22nd Regiment, was the first French Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross (V.C.), the highest decoration for British and Commonwealth forces.

"On the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the creation of the Royal 22e Régiment, our government is proud to recognize the courage and sacrifice of Corporal Joseph-Thomas Kaeble, who died in combat in 1918,” Lebel said. “This new mid-shore patrol vessel named in honor of Corporal Kaeble will serve as a reminder of this important piece of our history."

Hero Class vessels are named for decorated soldiers, veterans and police officers as well as employees of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. By naming these vessels after Canadian heroes, the Government of Canada hopes to encourage further generations to learn about Canadian history, culture and geography.

Economic Action Plan 2012 provided $5.2 billion to renew the Canadian Coast Guard Fleet. This builds on $1.6 billion in fleet renewal investments committed over the previous seven years.

"These unprecedented investments from our government to renew the Canadian Coast Guard fleet are making our waters safer, particularly the St. Lawrence,” Shea said. “The CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. will primarily be used to enhance national security, respond to potential threats and enforce regulations related to federal on-water requirements."

Since 2009, the Government of Canada has provided the Coast Guard with a number of new, high-performance vessels, including nine Hero Class mid-shore patrol vessels (five of which are assigned to the Central and Arctic fleet: CCGS Private Robertson V.C., CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C., CCGS Corporal Teather C.V., CCGS Constable Carrière and CCGS A. Leblanc), ACV CCGS Mamilossa, five search-and-rescue vessels, two specialty vessels, three near-shore fishery research vessels, 30 environmental barges and 60 small craft.


Lookback #311 – Milverton crashed, burned on Sept. 24, 1947

9/24 - The canal-sized steamer Milverton was a new addition to the fleet of Colonial Steamships Ltd. in 1947. The vessel had been purchased by Capt. Scott Misener from the United States Maritime Commission after World War Two service in the South American bauxite trade.

The ship had been built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1929 and came to the Great Lakes for service in the Paterson fleet as their first Coteaudoc. It was leased to Saguenay Terminals for the bauxite trade on May 5, 1941, and then requisitioned by the U.S.M.C. on Oct. 24, 1942.

The ship had been idle in the James River Reserve Fleet when Capt. Misener purchased the vessel for $113,000 and brought it back to the Great Lakes for service as Milverton.

The vessel was carrying coal and down bound in the St. Lawrence when the upbound tanker Translake got caught by the current and veered across the path of the approaching freighter on Sept. 24, 1947. While the crude oil-laden tanker spilled some cargo, it was the rupture of the fuel line on deck of the oil-fired freighter that ignited resulting in a massive fire.

The Milverton, one the few oil-fired canallers, drifted downstream and grounded at the head of Rapide Plat. It burned for at least two days and 11 sailors died in the tragedy of 67 years ago today.

Both ships were salvaged and repaired. Milverton returned to work for Misener in 1949 as Clary Foran and joined Reoch Transports Ltd. as Ferndale in 1959. The latter was scrapped at Hamilton in the spring of 1963.

Translake was repaired at Montreal and also returned to service. It became a barge in 1962 working at Halifax as Halfueler and later out of Sorel as M.I.L. Fueler. It was laid up at Louiseville after the North Traverse Dredging Project ended and was scrapped there about 1980-1981.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 24

The EDMUND FITZGERALD's first cargo of taconite pellets was loaded September 24, 1958 at Silver Bay, Minnesota for Toledo, Ohio.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 entered service September 24, 1924.

In early morning fog on the St. Clair River on September 24, 1962, the J.L. REISS was hit three glancing blows by U.S. Steel's SEWELL AVERY. The AVERY had lost control just below Robert's Landing and crossed the channel from the Canadian side and struck the REISS, which was proceeding slowly by radar on the U.S. side.

On September 24, 1952, the CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON entered service. This vessel was renamed b.) ERNEST R. BREECH when it was sold to the Ford Motor Company in 1962, and it was renamed c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, when it was sold to Kinsman Lines in 1988. Sold Canadian in 2005, and renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT. She sails today as the motorship e.) OJIBWAY.

On September 23, 1991, J.W. MC GIFFIN rescued several people in a 24-foot pleasure craft off Presque Ile State Park. The group had been disabled since the day before. They were taken aboard the McGIFFIN and their boat taken under tow. The MC GIFFIN was rebuilt with a new forward section and renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA in 1999.

September 24, 1924 - The PERE MARQUETTE 22 arrived at Ludington, Michigan on her maiden voyage.

On 24 September 1902, H.A. BARR (3 mast wooden schooner, 217 foot, 1,119 gross tons, built in 1893, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was in tow of the saltie THEANO with a load of iron ore in a storm 30 miles off Port Stanley in Lake Erie. She broke her towline in giant waves and foundered. THEANO rescued her crew.

On 24 September 1879, the tug URANIA was towing the schooner S V R WATSON into Sand Beach at about noon when the schooner struck the tug amidships, cutting a hole in the hull and sinking her in three fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Calumet River Fleeting acquires another large tug

9/23 - Calumet River Fleeting has acquired the tug Catherine Turecamo from Moran Towing Corporation of Connecticut. Shipbroker Marcon International assisted with the sale. Catherine Turecamo was built in 1972 by Main Iron Works in Houma, Louisiana. Originally named Miss Lynn, it has had numerous owners. The tug's dimensions are 111' by 35' by 15.5.’ It has twin screws turned by EMD 16-567CE2 engines generating a total of 3200 horsepower. It will reportedly be renamed John Marshal. AIS showed the tug still at the Moran tug dock on Staten Island, New York on Sept. 18.

Tom Hynes (original source, Mac Mackay's Tugfax blog)


Port Reports -  September 23

Ludington, Mich.
The carferry S.S. Badger returned to its Manitowoc port Sunday afternoon shortly after departing for Ludington, Mich., according to AIS. It is unknown why she returned but weather is the likely cause. Severe weather was reported in the Ludington area, forcing Ludington police to close the north breakwater about 12:15 p.m. Sunday due to high wind and waves. Winds, which gusted to higher than 40 mph, were downing tree branches and power lines, too, according to the Ludington Daily News.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Monday the tanker Zhuang Yuan Ao unloaded fuel oil.


Turkish sailors stuck in Sorel-Tracy finally heading home

9/23 - Sorel-Tracy, Que. – Twelve Turkish sailors stuck in the port of Sorel-Tracy since April are heading home.

The 12 men had been flown to the port city between Montreal and Trois-Rivières by the Ontario-based company Menpas Shipping to repair the ship and sail it overseas for dismantling. However, the men said they stopped getting paid in July and by the end of August were out of food. The situation was deemed "barbaric and beyond comprehension" by a union representing seafarers.

Media reports of the sailors’ predicament led to an outpouring of help from Sorel-Tracy residents led by Mayor Serge Péloquin.

A fundraising campaign raised $10,000 for the sailors and Air Transat offered them flights to Istanbul.

Transport Canada detained the ship in order to compel its owner to pay the men and send them home. A Menpas Shipping representative said the company doesn't own the ship and denied the crew's allegations they had not been paid and were starving.

Vince Giannopoulos, an inspector with the International Transport Workers’ Federation, said the men have still not been paid. He told CBC News that the ITF is taking the case to federal court in order to get the sailors their wages.

The rusted 186-metre freighter has been docked at Sorel-Tracy since Nov. 2012, and residents had initiated a petition to have it removed.

CBC News


First oil sands bitumen tanker arrives in Sorel-Tracy port

9/23 - Sorel-Tracy, Que. – The arrival of the oil tanker Minerva Gloria in the port of Sorel-Tracy Sunday opened a new chapter in the ongoing efforts of Quebeckers to resist shipments of diluted bitumen crude oil from Alberta through their communities.

Sorel-Tracy resident Elias Harvey said he’s seen many oil tankers in port over the years, but never one as large as the 250-metre long, 44 metre-wide Minerva Gloria. Only a year ago, ships wider than 32 metres weren’t allowed in that part of the St. Lawrence River, but the federal government increased the allowable size in December 2013.

The Minerva Gloria is not only the first tanker of its size to arrive in Sorel-Tracy, but it will also be the first to carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands on the St. Lawrence River.

Since July, Suncor has been transporting diluted bitumen from Alberta by train to a storage facility in Sorel-Tracy owned by Kildair Services. The Minerva Gloria’s arrival in Sorel-Tracy marks the start of the next phase of Suncor’s plans — the transfer of that oil to tankers ships for transport east.

Communities along the rail lines that carry the bitumen have mounted protests against Suncor’s shipments, and Harvey worries about what its transfer to tankers like Minerva Gloria could mean for the St. Lawrence River.

“There’s nothing in it for us. All it brings us is the threat of polluting the river,” Harvey told Radio-Canada. “It’s a poisoned present.”

Monique Hains and other members of the group Alerte Petrole Rive-Sud said a spill in the St. Lawrence would mean disaster for the environment and riverside communities. “Imagine a spill, it would be catastrophic. Three million people rely on the St. Lawrence River for drinking water,” she said.

Suncor, however, says that risk is reduced by the fact all tankers carrying its oil feature a double hull.

In an email to Radio-Canada, the company also said there’s nothing about Alberta bitumen crude that makes it any more dangerous than other types of oil that are already being shipped on the St. Lawrence.

“Diluted bitumen does not have any properties that augment the risks in relation to conventional crude,” Suncor said.

The federal government also has controls in place that require tankers to meet specific safety standards. Canada’s inspection regime for tanker ships is also considered one of the most stringent in the world.

University of Rimouski professor Emmanuel Guy said the safety system that is currently in place is effective for the current level of tanker traffic on the St. Lawrence River.

However, he said it should be reviewed to take into consideration the larger ships and the increasing number of tankers.

“The risk is proportional to the level of activity. If there is a rise in the volume [of oil] being transported, it’s important to adjust safety precautions now, and not after the fact,” he said.

The Minerva Gloria is due to leave Sorel-Tracy at the start of next week. Radio-Canada reports that it will sail in the direction of the Gulf of Mexico, for a refinery in Lousiana or Texas.

It’s expected that 20 to 30 tankers will take on loads of bitumen crude every year from Sorel-Tracy.


Au Sable Light Station turns 140 years old

9/23 - Grand Marais, Mich. – A north Michigan lighthouse on Lake Superior has turned 140 years old. WLUC-TV reports the Au Sable Light Station celebrated the milestone by offering free tours to visitors over the weekend, marked down from the usual $3 cost. Tours usually run until the end of September, but have been extended through the second week of October this year.

The 87-foot light tower near Grand Marais was completed in August 1874. The keepers' residences were built in 1909. The lighthouse was manned for 84 years before the Coast Guard automated it.

A Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore official says visitors can enjoy a hike out to the lighthouse even when tours aren't offered. The lighthouse is about 1 ½ miles from Hurricane River Campground parking.

Petoskey News Review


Lookback #310 – Crystal Jewel badly damaged in collision near London on Sept. 23, 1961

Crystal Jewel was one of seven “Crystal” ships that visited the Great Lakes in the early years of the Seaway. Generally they brought raw sugar inbound from the West Indies for Redpath Sugar in Toronto before loading grain for overseas delivery.

Crystal Jewel had been built at Middlesborough, England, in 1956, and began Seaway trading with one trip in 1960. There were two more trips in 1961 but the season was not without some problems.

In May, the 460 foot, 10 inch long bulk carrier struck a submerged object in the St. Mary's River and ended up spending four weeks on the shelf of Port Weller Dry Docks undergoing damage to about 300 feet of plates along the bottom of the hull. It sailed from the shipyard on June 17.

The vessel was back inland later in the summer but suffered a tragic collision, while inbound for London, England, in thick fog on Sept. 23, 1961. The accident of 53-years ago today also involved the tanker British Aviator and left massive damage to Crystal Jewel including knocking the midships pilothouse out of alignment. The Captain was seriously injured and his daughter was crushed in the cabin below the bridge.

Crystal Jewel was taken to Rotterdam for repairs and an entirely new superstructure was installed.

The ship came back to the Great Lakes in 1962 and took the first shipment of taconite ore for overseas delivery out of Silver Bay, MIN in July. By the end of 1967, Crystal Jewel had made 11 trips through the Seaway.

The vessel was sold in 1969 becoming Meltemi and continued Great Lakes trading until its final trip inland in Oct. 1974. The ship was sold and renamed Natby later in 1974 and then Teta in 1977. Following a sale to South Korean shipbreakers, the vessel arrived at Busan on July 17, 1979, for dismantling.

The B.P. tanker British Aviator dated from 1958. It was too wide for the Seaway and, following 18 years of trading, arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping on April 26, 1976.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 23

September 23, 1922, the 306-foot NEPTUNE loaded the first Head-of-the-Lakes cargo of pig iron at Zenith Furnace, Duluth, Minnesota. The 5,000 tons of malleable pig iron was delivered to Buffalo, New York.

September 23, 1975, HERBERT C. JACKSON lost power while upbound on Lake Superior. She was towed back to the Soo by the USS straight decker D.G. KERR.

September 23, 1952, the steamer CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON became the first boat christened at Cleveland since the early years of World War II. The 644-foot HUTCHINSON, Captain T. A. Johnson, was the new flagship of the Pioneer fleet and one of 35 boats in the three fleets operated by Hutchinson & Co. Renamed b.) ERNEST R. BREECH in 1962, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT in 1988. Sold Canadian in 2005, and renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT. She sails today as the motorship e.) OJIBWAY.

On 23 September 1910, the BETHLEHEM (steel propeller package freighter, 290 foot, 2,633 gross tons, built in 1888, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise when she went ashore in a gale on the SW side of S. Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. Lifesavers and the crew unloaded her over several days. Although battered by several storms while ashore, she was eventually pulled free and repaired. She lasted until 1925, when she was scrapped.

The scow WAUBONSIE was launched at the Curtis yard in Fort Gratiot, Michigan on 23 September 1873. 1935: HURRY-ON was a Great Lakes visitor in 1934 when it loaded bagged flour at Port Colborne. The ship was lost off Port Hood Island, near Judique, NS, after developing leaks and a list. The lifeboat swamped twice and five were lost.

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

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

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

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


Tregurtha resumes voyage after running aground in Duluth harbor

9/22 - Duluth, Minn. – The freighter Paul R. Tregurtha quickly resumed work early Sunday morning, after it was cleared for action by U.S. Coast Guard inspectors looking for any sign that the longest vessel on the Great Lakes may have sustained damage when it ran aground Saturday afternoon near Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park.

“We did a survey of the ship, and there was no indication of damage,” said Lt. Judson Coleman of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Duluth. “Fortunately, the bottom was soft where it ran aground.”

Because the 1,013.5-foot-long vessel was not taking on any water and showed no internal signs of structural or mechanical issues, Coleman said: “We were in agreement that there was no need to do a dive inspection.”

The outbound Tregurtha finally passed underneath the Aerial Lift Bridge at 12:47 a.m. Sunday, according to Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The temporarily waylaid laker was about halfway across Lake Superior by Sunday evening, headed to Detroit Edison’s St. Clair Power Plant, loaded with more than 68,000 tons of coal it received from Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior on Saturday afternoon.

Tom Wynne, a spokesman for the Ohio-based Interlake Steamship Co., which owns the laker, said the Tregurtha was able to extricate itself under its own power with help from a couple of tugboats at about 7 p.m. Saturday, about 3½ hours after it failed to negotiate a sharp turn on its approach to the Aerial Lift Bridge.

“It was just the bow that was aground on a soft bank,” he said, explaining that the crew shifted ballast water to the aft of the ship.

“They were able to lift the bow by sinking the stern,” Wynne said.

As for what caused the freighter to veer off course Saturday, Wynne said: “We have nothing concrete at this time, but the captain said the ship didn’t respond as he expected when they started their turn toward the bridge.”

Wynne noted that the bridge approach requires a sharp turn in sometimes unpredictable current. He also said the Tregurtha encountered another complication shortly before it ran aground. A pleasure boat anchored in the middle of the shipping channel prompted the captain to blow a danger signal, Wynne said. The pleasure boat subsequently responded by picking up anchor and moving out of the way, he said.

“This incident happened in close proximity to when our vessel ran aground, but the captain didn’t have to make evasive maneuvers or anything,” Wynne said, stating that he does not view the unexpected encounter as a fundamental cause of the mishap.

After the Tregurtha was freed Saturday evening, it proceeded to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Terminal, where it docked to await Coast Guard inspection. Coleman said the incident remains under investigation, but said there was no initial indication of mechanical failure or of any other vessel causing the accident.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  September 22

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port early Friday morning taking on cement at Lafarge. The Cason J. Callaway anchored off Alpena Sunday afternoon due to weather conditions. Other vessel activity on Sunday included the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation coming in during the evening to load cement. The Alpena was expected to arrive late Sunday night.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Sunday the tug Everlast and tank barge Norman McLeod unloaded fuel oil at the Oswego steam station.


Stranded Phoenix Sun sailors on their way back to Turkey

9/22 - Sorel, Que. – A dozen Turkish sailors who spent the last five months in a ship moored in Sorel are finally going home. The 12 nautical repairmen arrived in April to help repair the Sun Phoenix but soon fell into limbo when their employer stopped paying them.

The workers told CTV Montreal one month ago that they were choosing to stay until they were paid but four weeks later have still not been compensated for their work. With winter looming, they have decided to call it quits.

Sorel Mayor Serge Peloquin led an effort that raised $10,000 for the sailors while AirTransat is providing the flights to Istanbul that left from Trudeau Airport Sunday afternoon.

The municipality also provided electricity and other amenities that ended up costing an estimated $60,000, according to Peloquin.

Captain Semih Ozkan said that his shipmates are grateful for the help, adding that their families back home in Turkey have suffered hardship without their financial support.

“This is like a prison for us, we can go out and go shopping but we’re stuck here in that we have no salaries and our family is in a bad situation,” he said.

Their mission, he notes, was almost fully accomplished. “We almost completely repaired the ship but we’re waiting for some spare parts. They didn’t come."

The Phoenix Sun bulk carrier is 186 metres long and was built in 1987. The ship has been docked in Sorel-Tracy since 2012.

The ship is registered in Panama and managed by a Hamilton, Ont., company called Menpas Shipping and Trading Inc. The Canadian Coast guard seized the ship, in hopes of that the company would pay the sailor’s wages and repatriation back home.

CTV News


Coast Guard has long history and big presence in Port Huron area

9/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – Nearly 30 years have passed since Mike Popelka retired from the U.S. Coast Guard ship Bramble. But the Fort Gratiot man and his wife, Kathy, still are drawn to the Coast Guard vessels and people stationed along Port Huron's shoreline.

"It's kind of near and dear to my heart," Popelka said. "Once it's in your blood, I don't think it ever leaves," Kathy Popelka added.

The Coast Guard — and the agencies that became the Coast Guard — has been a presence in Port Huron for almost two centuries. The agency's presence here is older than the city and older than the state of Michigan.

You can't drive far along the city waterfront without seeing the ships and stations of the Coast Guard's past and present.

There's the retired Bramble at Seaway Terminal; its replacement, the Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock near Pine Grove Park; the Huron Lightship a little farther upstream; and Station Port Huron just north of the Blue Water Bridge. And next to Station Port Huron, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, first lighted in 1825, 12 years before Michigan was a state.

But unless you're out on the water or watching from shore, you likely won't see the Coast Guard in action — patrolling the shoreline, rescuing boaters in distress, breaking ice and tending more than 100 navigational aids in the waterways.

"I think it's always a challenge because we're gone so often," said Cdr. Justin Kimura, commanding officer of the Hollyhock. "We're always trying to get that story out there."

Coast Guard Station Port Huron is just north of the Blue Water Bridge, where Lake Huron enters the St. Clair River. The station's area of responsibility is from just north of Lexington to Algonac. Twenty-one Coasties are assigned to the station — 24 when the facility is fully staffed. The next station north is at Harbor Beach; the next station south is in St. Clair Shores.

About 125 people staff Stations Port Huron, Harbor Beach, St. Clair Shores and the cutter Hollyhock, said Operations Specialist Chief Gabriel Settel, assistant public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

Station Port Huron largely is tasked with search and rescue operations on the American half of waterways from north of Lexington to Algonac. Crews at the station also do law enforcement, boarding vessels to ensure people have proper licensing and safety materials.

"We do boardings and make sure they comply with all federal laws and regulations," Mendoza said. "We want to make sure whenever a search and rescue case happens, boaters have what they need to be helped."

Mendoza said ice rescues set Great Lakes stations apart from many saltwater assignments.

Mendoza said the Blue Water Area also presents unique challenges because of the St. Clair River's strong current, heavy commercial freighter traffic, and events that defy the dangers of both.

"Station Port Huron does have a rather large area that it's responsible for," Settel said, adding the stations' area of responsibility encompasses two very different bodies of water – the St. Clair River and Lake Huron.

Boatswain's Mate Troy Morgan, coxswain at Station Port Huron, said crews battle a 4- to 5-knot current on the St. Clair River.

"The main concern with that is if somebody was to break down in the water here, they're not going to just sit in one spot," Morgan said. "They're going to drift fast. They could drift into other boats; they could drift into walls."

The station works every major marine event that needs a U.S. Coast Guard permit – such as powerboat races in St. Clair and Port Huron – and some events that don't have a U.S. Coast Guard permit – such as the Port Huron Float Down.

Mendoza said the mix of hundreds of floaters, alcohol, a swift current, and cold water makes the event difficult to patrol for all rescue crews on the water.

"That's why the Coast Guard does not permit the event, because of the dangers that go along with it," he said.

Other resources are sent to Port Huron when needed, Settel said.

"If we have extended or large cases — similar to the case we worked with Float Down this year — we would bring in other stations to assist," Settel said.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter out of Selfridge Air National Guard base assisted a Station Port Huron rescue boat night and day for two days this August after 19-year-old Brady Morton went missing during the 2014 Float Down.

Morton's body eventually was recovered from the St. Clair River.

Mendoza said the station also responds to jumpers at the Blue Water Bridge — a task unique to the area. This year, there have been at least four people who have jumped to their deaths from the bridge.

Some Coasties at the Port Huron station also hitch a ride on Canadian law enforcement vessels about once a week for the Shiprider program. The presence of Canadian and American officials on board allows the vessel to practice cross-border law enforcement.

"That vessel could go back and forth over the border to enforce laws on both sides," Mendoza said. Both Canadian and American rescue crews can cross into another nation's waters for search or rescue purposes, but the process becomes a little more challenging for law enforcement.

A couple of klicks south of Station Port Huron, the 225-foot U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock waits at its moorings for its fall mission.

The primary mission of the Hollyhock is serving aids to navigation. It replaced the Bramble in 2003.

Twice a year, the ship and its 49 crew members place and retrieve about 125 buoys. The Hollyhock's area of responsibility is from the Straits of Mackinac south through Lake Huron, the St. Clair and Detroit rivers systems, across Lake Erie and into Lake Ontario.

Harsh winters and harsher ice conditions on the Great Lakes create unique circumstances that require more work for buoy tenders on the Great Lakes than it would in salt water.

During Operation Fall Retrieve, the Hollyhock collects fair-weather buoys and replaces them with sturdier aids meant to last through crushing ice and extreme cold. During Operation Spring Retrieve, the process is reversed.

For the Hollyhock, winter brings domestic ice-breaking responsibilities.

Usually, the Hollyhock would be part of Operation Coal Shovel — an ice-breaking operation that stretches from Alpena south into the lower Great Lakes.

Settel said one of the choke points susceptible to heavy ice coverage in Coal Shovel's jurisdiction is the Port Huron cut, where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River.

"With the Hollyhock being based there, they're going to be making most of their runs to and from that station," Settel said. "They would be responsible for most of the operations there.

"But we also may bring some other cutters to help."

Due to record ice conditions on the Great Lakes this year, the Hollyhock lent its hull to Operation Taconite — ice breaking operations north and west of Alpena.

"This past winter there was so much ice up north they had to move us around," Kimura said.

"This was my third year on the Great Lakes … and that was by far the worst ice conditions I've ever seen."

While there are ice-breaking operations in other areas of the nation — such as Alaska and New England — some of the largest ice-breaking efforts take place on the Great Lakes, Kimura said.

"The majority of that mission is tailored to District 9, on the Great Lakes," Kimura said. "The Hollyhock wasn't really designed for ice-breaking but it's ice capable. We really excel at establishing a track, creating a superhighway for ships."

It's a unique operation — one that kept the ship away from port for some time last winter.

The ship is designed to be underway about 185 days a year, but the ship already is up to about 200 days underway for the fiscal year ending in about two weeks.

Kimura said the economic effect the icebreakers' work has on water-bound commerce is worth the extra hours breaking through ice.

"The work we're doing, whether it's the St. Clair River or the St. Marys River, really affects the whole state," Kimura said.

It was while breaking ice for the Mesabi Miner last winter that the Hollyhock was hit on Lake Michigan.

The accident happened during an ice escort in early January. The Hollyhock hit a hard spot in the ice and was unable to move forward. The about 1,000-foot Mesabi Miner didn't stop in time and crashed into the stern of the Hollyhock.

The Hollyhock was back on the water several days later and received more extensive repairs to its damaged stern this summer.

Kimura said much of the summer is spent on maintenance, but crew members also participate in law enforcement and search and rescue. The Hollyhock also is equipped to do petroleum spill cleanups.

"We're still a multi-mission Coast Guard unit," Kimura said.

Law enforcement and search and rescue usually are the responsibilities of two smaller vessels on the Hollyhock. But Kimura said if there's an emergency during the winter, the cutter may be the only vessel able to break its way to the scene.

In October, the crew of the Hollyhock will undergo training certification, followed closely by Operation Fall Retrieve.

In the winter, Kimura expects to hit the ice hard. "We'll see what Mother Nature brings us," he said.

While the Hollyhock handles floating aids to navigation, fixed lights on shore are maintained by a different crew.

The lights at the Fort Gratiot Light Station and the Port Sanilac Lighthouse are maintained by the Aids to Navigation Team Saginaw River in Bay City, Settel said.

The lighthouses themselves are not owned or maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard — St. Clair County owns the Fort Gratiot Light Station, while Port Sanilac Lighthouse is privately owned.

About two weeks ago, the U.S. Coast Guard began accepting public comment on a plan to replace the 1886 Fresnel lens at the Port Sanilac Lighthouse with a light emitting diode lantern.

After more than 125 years of varying temperatures and humidity, the putty holding the prisms of the lantern in place has deteriorated. The Coast Guard hopes to remove the historic lens and preserve it at a local museum.

Just north of the Hollyhock, the Huron Lightship rests in sand beside the St. Clair River, close to the waters it safeguarded for about 50 years. The last lightship on the Great Lakes, the Huron, was a floating lighthouse six miles north of Port Huron on the shallow Corsica Shoals.

The lightship was retired from active duty in 1970 after serving about 50 years on the Great Lakes, at least 30 of which were spent on Corsica Shoals.

"That was an important aid to navigation," said Susan Bennett, executive director for the Port Huron Museum. "Many of us grew up hearing the light ship's bee-yoh signal.

"We remember all of that from our youth, and it's part of the maritime heritage — it's one of the reasons we live here."

The Port Huron Museum maintains the lightship, which is owned by the city. The museum also maintains and operates the Fort Gratiot Light Station and the campus surrounding it — including buildings formerly used by the U.S. Coast Guard.

"There actually were Coast Guard members living in the duplex at the light station until 2009," Bennett said. "They had an office at the light station well into the 2000s."

When Lt. Commander Bob Lafean, a former commanding officer for the U.S. Coast Guard ship Bramble, retired from the ship in 2000, he opted to live close to the vessel he once commanded.

A few years later, on May 22, 2003, the Bramble followed Lafean into retirement.

The U.S. Coast Guard ship was decommissioned after nearly 60 years on the water. The Port Huron Museum took over operations the same year and, in 2013, Bob and Sara Klingler purchased the ship, with a plan to bring it back to life.

The Marine City couple is close to that goal. Bob Klingler expects to have the engines running on the 180-foot cutter within two weeks.

"The crew is extremely excited about taking that ship out on Lake Huron and taking it on a recommissioning cruise," he said.

The "crew" on the Bramble consists of about 20 retired captains, engineers and boatswain's mates, Klinger said.

He said all of them have an interest in preserving the ship's diverse history, which includes work with atomic testing and Arctic navigation.

"We wanted to keep part of history alive," Klingler said. "And of all the 180s that were built, the Bramble was probably one of the top three of the 39 ships."

"It's got the most history of any Coast Guard ship that remains of that vintage."

Klingler wants to share that history with the community. He expects the ship will be ready to accept overnight guests within a week or two.

"It's been very, very rewarding," Klingler said. "My wife and I are beyond words how well it's been received and how much further down the road of history this ship is going to be available for generations to come."

Lafean said it's more than history the U.S. Coast Guard brings to the area.

He said people stationed in the area for three-year stints on the Hollyhock and four-year stints at Station Port Huron also bring money for rent, groceries, supplies to the Blue Water Area.

"That's all local money that's pumped back into the community," Lafean said.

"That's something that people don't see a lot."

When Mike Popelka retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1985, the Minnesota native felt at home along the blue water.

"The Bramble was my last tour of duty," he said. "I spent four years on there.

"We just decided Port Huron was a good place to stay, and we've been happy here."

In his time on the lake and near the river, Mike Popelka said he's seen the Coast Guard he once was a part of change and evolve.

"Because of the economy, they're expected to do more with less, but the mission seems like it remains the same," he said.

"The community as a whole is really accepting the Coast Guard a whole lot better these days than they used to, say, when I first came here."

Daniel Collins, flotilla commander for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 20-03, said his group of 22 auxiliary members continues to support Coast Guard efforts in the area.

The auxiliary group, based out of Port Huron, assists the Coast Guard in many basic tasks, with the exception of law enforcement or military operations.

"We go out and do such things during the summer as work the Float Down, keeping the boats out of the controlled area," Collins said. "We also work doing the same type of mission during the two powerboat races."

The auxiliary also assists with public education and boaters' safety instruction.

"The Coast Guard helps our boating community out tremendously in the area," Collins said.

"For us, it's a way to give back, and you just feel that you're doing something important."

Great Lakes Maritime Center consultant Frank Frisk and others in the community showed their appreciation for about five years running — from 2005 to 2009 — in a celebration that started as a one-day event and morphed into a weekend.

Frisk said the annual Coast Guard appreciation events included cookouts, rescue demonstrations, baseball games and other activities.

When the economy took a turn for the worse, the committee that organized the celebrations struggled to find funds for the event.

A celebration on a much larger scale happens in Grand Haven each year.

The city on Lake Michigan celebrated its 91st annual Coast Guard Festival at the end of July. The 10-day, $482,000 festival, paid for through donations and sponsorships, started as a Coasties-only picnic in 1924.

It grew with the Coast Guard history and presence in Grand Haven — a presence that includes a station, sector field office, navigation team, lighthouse, former life-saving service station, former World War II Coast Guard training camp, and former Coast Guard rifle range.

In 1943 the people of Grand Haven raised $1.6 million in war bonds to build a cutter to replace the Escanaba, which was destroyed in a June 13, 1943, explosion that claimed the lives of 101 people.

In 1998, Grand Haven became the first designated Coast Guard City in the United States.

Since then, 16 other cities also have been designated Coast Guard Cities — including Traverse City — through an application and designation process through the U.S. Congress. The Coast Guard Festival draws about 300,000 people.

While there might not be the same celebration in Port Huron, the Coast Guard's more than 100-year watch in the city is appreciated, Frisk said.

A 10-year veteran of Great Lakes freighters, Frisk said he's always been happy to have the Coast Guard around.

"I was always glad to see them when I was in bad weather the 10 years I was out on the water," Frisk said. "I've met a lot of them over my years, even before I started sailing — I was always thankful, knowing the Coasties were around."

Port Huron Times Herald


Lookback #309 – Roger M. Kyes hit bottom at Buffalo on Sept. 22, 1976

9/22 - The American Steamship Co. self-unloader Roger M. Kyes hit bottom at Buffalo on Sept. 22, 1976. The accident of 38 years ago punched two holes in the double bottom tanks and damaged three others. Repairs were carried out at Chicago.

The 680 foot long vessel was built at Toledo for the American Steamship Co. and sailed on Aug. 22, 1973, to load iron ore at Escanaba. This was the second new American freighter built on the Great Lakes after the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 took affect.

The ship also grounded in the Trenton Channel on Oct. 29, 1987, and had to be lightered to the Richard J. Reiss to float free. Ten tugs were called to assist and this time the ship went to Sturgeon Bay for repairs.

Another grounding at Gull Island Shoal, Lake Erie, on Oct. 29, 1987, also required a return trip to Sturgeon Bay.

On June 15, 1989, the name was changed to Adam E. Cornelius and continued to trade for the American SS Co. This changed in 1994, when the vessel was chartered to Inland Steel and painted in their attractive color scheme while carrying their cargoes.

Adam E. Cornelius recently returned to active service for the American SS Co. fleet after being idle for two years.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  September 22

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Ebony Ray, Edenborg, Elisabeth Schulte, and Sichem Mumbai.


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 22

On September 22, 1958, the EDMUND FITZGERALD entered service, departing River Rouge, Michigan for Silver Bay, Minnesota on its first trip. The FITZGERALD's first load was 20,038 tons of taconite pellets for Toledo. The vessel would, in later years, set several iron ore records during the period from 1965 through 1969.

While in ballast, the ROGER M. KYES struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976, sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others, whereupon she proceeded to Chicago for dry docking on September 27, 1976, for survey and repairs. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

While being towed from Duluth, Minnesota by the Canadian tug TUSKER on September 22, 1980, the D. G. KERR rammed into the breakwater at Duluth causing $200,000 in damages to the breakwater. The tow apparently failed to make the turning buoy leaving Duluth Harbor.

On September 22, 1911 the HENRY PHIPPS collided with and sank her Steel Trust fleet mate, the steamer JOLIET of 1890, which was at anchor on the fog-shrouded St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ontario. The JOLIET sank without loss of crew and was declared a total loss. The PHIPPS then continued her downbound journey and collided with the Wyandotte Chemical steamer ALPENA, of 1909, but incurred only minor damage.

The T.W. ROBINSON and US.265808 (former BENSON FORD) departed Quebec City in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR bound for Recife where they arrived on September 22, 1987. Scrapping began the next month in October.

MATHILDA DESGAGNES was freed from polar ice in the Arctic on September 22, 1988, by the West German Icebreaker Research Vessel POLARSTERN.

September 22, 1913 - The ANN ARBOR No. 5 struck bottom in the Sturgeon Bay Canal and damaged her rudder and steering gear. After undergoing repairs at Milwaukee, she was back in service the following October.

On 22 September 1887, ADA E. ALLEN (wooden propeller steam barge, 90 foot, 170 gross tons, built in 1872, at Walpole Island, Ontario.) caught fire while moored at Amherstburg, Ontario. She was cut loose and set adrift to prevent the fire from spreading ashore. She drifted to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island and burned to a total loss.

On 22 September 1882, Mr. H. N. Jex accepted the contract to recover the engine and boiler from the MAYFLOWER, which sank in the Detroit River in 1864. He was to be paid $600 upon delivery of the machinery at Windsor, Ontario. He succeeded in raising the engine on 12 October and the boiler shortly thereafter.

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

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

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

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


Paul R. Tregurtha misses turn, runs aground off Bayfront Park in Duluth

9/21 - Duluth, Minn. – The longest ship on the Great Lakes was set free on Saturday evening after spending close to four hours aground in the Duluth harbor near Bayfront Festival Park.

The 1,013.5-foot Paul R. Tregurtha was wrested loose by two tugboats at about 7 p.m., said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. It had been departing with a full load of coal when it failed to negotiate the turn toward the Aerial Lift Bridge, she said.

“It was making the turn to go under the lift bridge, but it didn’t turn,” she said. “It went straight toward Bayfront Park.”

The incident occurred about 3:20 p.m., the U.S. Coast Guard said. There were no known injuries and no signs of pollution, the Coast Guard said. Ohio-based Interlake Steamship Co. owns the Tregurtha, which can carry as much as 71,000 net tons of coal, according to its website.

The stranded ship drew a crowd of spectators, many of whom were attending the Duluth Balloon Festival. No information was available on the cause of the mishap, said Lt. Judson Coleman of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Duluth.

The ship’s position probably did not impede other harbor traffic, Yorde said. Lift bridge operations weren’t affected.

Interlake Steamship spokesman Tom Wynne said the Tregurtha last was grounded two years ago, in the St. Marys River. The ship has gotten stuck only twice in the eight years he has worked for the company, Wynne added.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  September 21

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway cleared the outer harbor at 10:30 Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson was towed up to the ADM Standard elevator at 7 Saturday morning.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Netherlands-flagged bulk carrier Zealand Beatrix arrived in Oshawa Saturday. The tug La Prairie is on station.


Fraser Shipyards plans bay cleanup

9/21 - Superior, Wis. – Superior’s Fraser Shipyards is planning an environmental cleanup of Howard’s Bay. The cleanup goes hand-in-hand with ongoing projects to update and improve the shipyard facility through a three-phase dock project.

“This was a heavy industrial area over the years,” said Jason Serck, Superior’s economic development, port and planning director.

With the help of federal money from the Environmental Protection Agency, Fraser Shipyards is working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop a plan to clean up a heritage of contamination.

During the Hog Island cleanup that was completed in 2005, Serck said, the city played a major role in the disposal of sediment, and the city again help take some of the sediment from Howard’s Bay, also known as Howard’s Pocket.

“It won’t be all of it … but we’ve been asked to look at some options for disposal,” Serck told the Superior City Council on Tuesday night.

Tom Curelli, operations manager for Fraser Shipyards, said the goal is to get rid of the encumbrances in the water and mitigate contaminants discovered through testing — lead and tributyltin, a biocide used to prevent the growth of marine organisms on the hulls of large ships.

“It’s not the worst thing — it’s not glowing in the dark,” Curelli said. “It’s not hurting the habitat. It’s not a chronic thing, but it does need to be cleaned up … it’s got to be addressed and we’ve got to get it done now.”

Curelli said the planning for the project is expected to take about a year.

Just doing the initial phase is going to cost about $710,000 — $450,000 of which will be paid for with federal money, Curelli said. The DNR and Fraser are responsible for the remaining 35 percent of the cost.

Serck said if the City Council approves being involved in the proposal, the city’s contribution would be in-kind rather than a monetary contribution. Sediment suitable for the landfill could be used for cover, he said.

Curelli said the shipyard will provide more information before asking the City Council to help with the project.

“We’re not asking for funding,” Curelli said. “We’re asking for in-kind contributions. Moccasin Mike (landfill) perhaps or something else, but it’s not going to be a budgetary item.”

Duluth News Tribune


Whistles on the Water blasts into St. Clair this coming Saturday

9/21 - St. Clair, Mich. - The sixth annual Whistles on the Water roars and howls into downtown St. Clair Saturday morning, Sept. 27, starting about 9 a.m. The daylong festival recreates the time when steamships were the "royalty" of the Great Lakes.

Horn & Whistle magazine recently declared St. Clair's celebration of historic steam whistles the No. 1 event in North America. This is a rare - and free - opportunity to hear these historic whistles.

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

During the 19th century steamships ruled the Great Lakes. Often a ship was identified by the uniqueness of its steam whistle. Ship captains would tune their steam whistle to create a unique sound so that their ship could be identified before it could be seen.

While this custom seems quant to us today, it was very helpful to captains on the Great Lakes in identifying nearby ships in the fog and letting people know at a harbor which ship was about to dock.

When the Great Lakes shipping fleet switched from steam to diesel engines, this unique characteristic of the Great Lakes disappeared.

Another event in St. Clair that day is the St. Clair Art Association and the St. Clair Chamber of Commerce's "Chalk the Walk." Featured artists and the public are invited to use calk to create their artwork on the sidewalks of downtown St. Clair.

The Herald


Lookback #308 – Former Calgadoc sank in the Pacific as El Salinero on Sept. 21, 1982

The second Calgadoc left the Great Lakes for saltwater service as El Salinero in 1975 and usually operated in the grain trade on the Gulf of Mexico. The ship was carrying 3,800 tons of wheat when it sank in the Pacific Ocean west of El Paraiso, Mexico, 32 years ago today.

El Salinero was on a voyage from San Carlos Viejo to Santa Cruz when it went down. Two members of the crew were lost but the other 14 sailors, including seven with injuries, were rescued by Mexican naval ships.

As Calgadoc, this ship was built at Collingwood as Hull 158 and completed for N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. in August 1956. The 259-foot-long bulk carrier was designed for trading through the old St. Lawrence canals and, although the advent of the Seaway was on the horizon, these small ships were still in great demand to carry cargoes through the existing system of locks and channels.

Calgadoc was one of two Paterson ships damaged by the Swiss freighter Bariloche on July 20, 1963, when thick fog rapidly descended on the St. Lawrence. To the east, the Tritonica went down the same night with the loss of 33 lives.

Calgadoc tied up at Cardinal, Ont., at the end of the 1974 season and was sold on April 16, 1975, for its new career. The vessel headed south, under her own power, on May 3, 1975, for new service as El Salinero.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 21

On September 22, 1958, the EDMUND FITZGERALD entered service, departing River Rouge, Michigan for Silver Bay, Minnesota on its first trip. The FITZGERALD's first load was 20,038 tons of taconite pellets for Toledo. The vessel would, in later years, set several iron ore records during the period from 1965 through 1969.

While in ballast, the ROGER M. KYES struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976, sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others, whereupon she proceeded to Chicago for dry docking on September 27, 1976, for survey and repairs. Renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

While being towed from Duluth, Minnesota by the Canadian tug TUSKER on September 22, 1980, the D. G. KERR rammed into the breakwater at Duluth causing $200,000 in damages to the breakwater. The tow apparently failed to make the turning buoy leaving Duluth Harbor.

On September 22, 1911 the HENRY PHIPPS collided with and sank her Steel Trust fleet mate, the steamer JOLIET of 1890, which was at anchor on the fog-shrouded St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ontario. The JOLIET sank without loss of crew and was declared a total loss. The PHIPPS then continued her downbound journey and collided with the Wyandotte Chemical steamer ALPENA, of 1909, but incurred only minor damage.

The T.W. ROBINSON and US.265808 (former BENSON FORD) departed Quebec City in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR bound for Recife where they arrived on September 22, 1987. Scrapping began the next month in October.

MATHILDA DESGAGNES was freed from polar ice in the Arctic on September 22, 1988, by the West German Icebreaker Research Vessel POLARSTERN.

September 22, 1913 - The ANN ARBOR No. 5 struck bottom in the Sturgeon Bay Canal and damaged her rudder and steering gear. After undergoing repairs at Milwaukee, she was back in service the following October.

On 22 September 1887, ADA E. ALLEN (wooden propeller steam barge, 90 foot, 170 gross tons, built in 1872, at Walpole Island, Ontario.) caught fire while moored at Amherstburg, Ontario. She was cut loose and set adrift to prevent the fire from spreading ashore. She drifted to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island and burned to a total loss.

On 22 September 1882, Mr. H. N. Jex accepted the contract to recover the engine and boiler from the MAYFLOWER, which sank in the Detroit River in 1864. He was to be paid $600 upon delivery of the machinery at Windsor, Ontario. He succeeded in raising the engine on 12 October and the boiler shortly thereafter.

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  September 20

Green Bay – Andy Roever
Great Republic offloaded coal at the C. Reiss dock and was headed back outbound at 11:15 a.m. Friday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
The tug Victory was put in one section of the floating drydock on Thursday afternoon for repairs. The USCG Mackinaw is still in the other section of the drydock.

Port Colborne, Ont. – Nathan Attard
John J. Boland was unloading at former government elevators Thursday night and during the day Friday. She departed at 6 p.m. Friday.

Seaway – Andy Torrence
John B. Aird, damaged after a grounding last week near Morrisburg, left the Wilson Hill Seaway Anchorage early Friday morning and sailed upriver to arrive Prescott 11:17a.m. She is loaded with slag for Sept. Iles, so presumably by not resuming her voyage to unload there must have been some repair work to undertake before being allowed to proceed.


Lookback #307 – Canadian Miner broke loose and stranded off Scaterie Island on Sept. 20, 2011

The former Canadian Miner has been aground now for three years off Scaterie Island, Nova Scotia. The ship broke loose while under tow for scrapping in Turkey and came ashore in a protected area along the Nova Scotia coast. The removal of the rapidly deteriorating vessel has provided its share of challenges as the hull has been pushed closer to shore, cracked and opened up on its side.

Earlier this year, a $12 million contract was awarded by the Nova Scotia government to scrap the ship on location and haul the steel away for recycling. At this writing, there have been reports that this work is progressing with the goal of finishing the project in 2014.

Originally the Maplecliffe Hall, the 730-foot-long bulk carrier was built in sections in Montreal and Lauzon and completed at the latter shipyard in April 1966. The vessel sailed for the Hall Corporation departing on April 29.

Maplecliffe Hall lost power and sustained minor damage to the port bow from a collision with the Dutch freighter Wieldrecht on the Detroit River in October 1971.

During a down time in 1987, Maplecliffe Hall was opened for tours as a museum ship at Montreal and, that winter, was used for cement storage before being sold to C.S.L. On Dec. 15, 1992, this vessel became the final freighter to be unloaded by a Hulett at Cleveland.

The ship joined Canada Steamship Lines as their second Lemoyne in 1988 and moved to the ULS Corp. as Canadian Miner in 1994.

Canadian Miner laid up for the last time at Toronto on Dec. 24, 2008. It departed under tow on Aug. 20, 2011, and left for overseas, behind the Greek tug Hellas, on Sept. 14, 2011. Five days later it came ashore as a total loss.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 20

John Jonathon Boland was born on 20 September 1875, in New York. Along with Adam E. Cornelius, he formed the partnership of Boland and Cornelius in 1903, and was one of the founders of the American Steamship Company in 1907. He died in 1956.

On September 20, 1986, vandals started a $5,000 fire aboard the laid up NIPIGON BAY at Kingston, Ontario, where she had been since April 1984.

GEORGE A. STINSON's self-unloading boom was replaced on September 20, 1983. The boom had collapsed onto her deck due to a mechanical failure on the night of April 19, 1983, at Detroit, Michigan. No injuries were reported. She continued hauling cargoes without a boom until replacement could be fabricated. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

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

CHARLES E. WILSON sailed light on her maiden voyage from Sturgeon Bay September 20, 1973, bound for Escanaba, Michigan, to load ore. She was renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

CHARLES M. WHITE was christened at Baltimore, Maryland, on September 20, 1951.

On 20 September 1873, W. L. PECK (2 mast wooden schooner-barge, 154 foot, 361 gross tons) was launched at Carrollton, Michigan.

On 20 September 1856, COLONEL CAMP (3-mast wooden bark, 137 foot, 350 tons, built in 1854, at Three Mile Bay, New York) was carrying wheat to Oswego, New York, when she collided with the wooden steamer PLYMOUTH and sank in just a few minutes. No lives were lost.

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

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

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

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

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


Floragracht hits St. Lawrence River bottom

9/19 - Thursday afternoon the upbound saltie Floragracht hit the rocky bottom of the St. Lawrence River near the village of Port Neuf, about half way between Quebec City and Trois Rivieres. She remains anchored a short distance down river from where she struck. The latest report from the Laurentian Pilotage is that she will go back down river to Quebec City for inspection. Floragracht has cargo for Hamilton and Cleveland and this was to be her first trip onto the Lakes.

Ron Beaupre


New Heritage Marine tug Nancy J arrives at Duluth

9/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The tug Nancy J arrived in the Twin Ports at mid-morning on September 18 on her maiden voyage into the harbor, docking briefly behind the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center before moving to the fleet's home berth in Superior. She is the newest addition to Mike Ojard's Heritage Marine tug fleet. Nancy J. is 87.6 feet long, 29.6 feet wide, and 11.2 feet in depth. She was built in Houme, La., by Marine Iron Works for the Aluminum Company of America. She was later named Horace and Point Comfort prior to becoming Nancy J. She currently has a black hull, green deckhouse, and white pilothouse, but will be repainted in the fleet colors of the old DM&IR Railway tug Edna G (1896).

Thom Holden


Port Reports -  September 19

St. Marys River – Daniel Lindner
ASC's Adam E. Cornelius, which has been in long-term layup in Toledo since the end of the 2011 shipping season, passed through the Soo Locks upbound on Thursday afternoon, bound for Silver Bay, Minn., to load iron ore pellets at Northshore Mining. When the tug/barge combination Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr. entered service in May of 2012 under charter of the American Steamship Company, she replaced the Adam E. Cornelius. But, due to the harsh winter of 2013-2014, ASC returned the Cornelius to service. Other passages through the locks on Thursday evening included the upbound Thunder Bay, the saltie Nogat, and Paul R. Tregurtha, and the downbound Mesabi Miner, Great Lakes Trader and her tug, Joyce L.VanEnkevort, and Spruceglen.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
A busy Saturday is on tap with three vessels scheduled. Due in first is the Joseph H. Thompson in the late morning followed by the afternoon arrivals of Manitowoc and Joseph L. Block. Rounding out the schedule will be the Wilfred Sykes, expected to arrive on Sunday in the late afternoon hours.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive just ahead of midnight on Wednesday. They were still loading on Thursday in the morning. Due to arrive on Thursday is the Philip R. Clarke during the evening hours. Rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph L. Block due on Friday in the late afternoon to early evening hours.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann loaded on Thursday and they were expected to depart around 6:45 a.m. Two vessels are due to load on Friday both in the late afternoon with the Arthur M. Anderson arriving first and followed a bit later by the Lewis J. Kuber/Olive L. Moore. Due to arrive on Saturday is the Great Republic in the early morning hours. There will be three vessels scheduled to load on Sunday with the John G. Munson due first in the morning hours followed by the Cason J. Callaway arriving in the early afternoon hours. Rounding out the schedule is the Lewis J. Kuber during the late evening hours on Sunday.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The revised schedule lists the John G. Munson arriving on Thursday during the late evening hours to load at the North Dock. Adam E. Cornelius has had a change in orders and no longer is on the loading schedule. There are no vessels scheduled to load at Calcite on Friday. Due on Saturday is the Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr. due in the late evening hours for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule will be the John J. Boland due to arrive on Sunday in the early evening hours for the North Dock.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 came in early Thursday morning with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It was observed backing out through the pier heads about 3:15 and headed north.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Atlantic Erie was expected to arrive at the Torco Dock in the early afternoon on Thursday to unload an iron ore cargo. Other vessels arriving with iron ore cargoes for the Torco Dock include the H. Lee White due on Sunday in the early afternoon. The Manitowoc is due on September 27 in the early afternoon. James R. Barker making a rare visit is due to arrive at the Torco Dock on September 28 just after midnight and also due in on September 28 at the Torco Dock will be the James L. Kuber. There are two vessels due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with limestone cargoes and they are the Algosteel on Friday in the early morning hours followed by the Michipicoten on Saturday also in the early morning. Vessels due at the CSX Coal Dock to load coal include the Saginaw on Friday during the late morning hours. Sam Laud is also due on Friday to load at the CSX Coal Dock in the late afternoon. The Michipicoten is due on Saturday in the morning. Indiana Harbor making a rare visit to the CSX Coal Dock is due to load there on Sunday in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule is the H. Lee White for the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday during the late evening. Four other vessels were also in port at the time of this report and they were the tugs Huron Service and barge along with the tug Karen Andrie and barge. Calumet remains in port, tied-up at one of the CSX docks, and the salty Fritz of Liberian registry remains detained at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock.


US Steel won’t expand Keetac plant

9/19 - Duluth, Minn. – U.S. Steel Corp. announced Wednesday that it has shelved a proposed expansion of its Keetac taconite operations in Keewatin.

The proposed $300 million expansion would have nearly doubled production to about 9.6 million tons of taconite iron ore pellets annually, up from about 5.2 million tons today, and added 100 new jobs at the facility that employs about 400 people The expansion, first announced in 2008, had been heralded as another sign of growth in Minnesota’s taconite industry. It would have been the largest taconite plant expansion in more than 30 years on the Iron Range.

The Pittsburgh-based steel giant received state permits for the project in 2011 and would have been required to meet the state’s 10-parts-per-million standard for sulfate in wastewater — a rule that has not been enforced — no later than Aug. 17, 2019.

But corporate officials said the extra iron ore isn’t needed at this point.

“U.S. Steel considered its future raw materials needs for iron ore and coke and found its current production capability sufficient,’’ a corporate statement noted.

The company on Wednesday also scrubbed plans for two new modules at its Gary Works blast furnace facility in Indiana that would have boosted its steelmaking capacity. Combined, the company expects to save $800 million by not proceeding with the projects.

The company said it will let its permits expire and will not attempt to renew them, signaling that the decision is final.

“The decisions to stop further efforts relative to these investments represent another step in our transformation to earn the right to grow,” Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel president and CEO, said in a prepared statement.

“These strategic decisions allow us to redirect funding to projects to further develop advanced high strength steels for our automotive customers, premium connections for our energy market customers and capital expenditures to update and modernize our operations,” Longhi said.

United Steelworkers Union local officials said they were notified Wednesday morning. While the news was disheartening, they said it wasn’t unexpected considering the company’s lack of action in recent months on the proposed project.

Keewatin Mayor Bill King said he had heard of the decision earlier in the day. He said he’s disappointed but also not necessarily surprised, noting U.S. Steel had been going slow on the effort for several years.

“Absolutely, another 100 jobs would have been great. But the main thing is that they don’t go down from where they are now,’’ King said. “I just hope they can keep their current level (of production and employment) going.”

Duluth News Tribune


U.S. Steel Canada files for bankruptcy protection

9/19 - Hamilton, Ont. – U.S. Steel Canada, citing years of operating losses, has filled for court-supervised protection to give the company a chance to restructure in hopes of being able to better compete in the North American steel industry.

The former Stelco Inc, which U.S. Steel bought in 2007, has recorded a loss from operations in each of the last five years for an aggregate operaing loss of about $2.4 billion since 2009, the company and its parent, U.S. Steel, said in statements issued after markets closed on Tuesday.

"The company has obtained a court order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act," U.S. Steel Canada said.

The order provides a stay of certain creditor claims against during the CCAA process and appoints Ernst and Young as monitor. Under the CCAA process, U.S. Steel Canada will carry on business as usual while it develops and implements a comprehensive restructuring solution, the company said.

In a separate announcement issued by U.S. Steel from its Pittsburgh headquarters, the company said it had agreed to provide the Canadian operation with $185 million (about US $165 million) of secured debtor-in-possession financing to support current operations through the end of 2015.

"Despite substantial efforts over the past several years to make U. S. Steel Canada profitable, it is clear that restructuring U.S. Steel Canada is critical to improving our long-term business outlook, Michael McQuade, president and general manager of U.S. Steel Canada, said in a statement.

"Operational changes, cost reduction initiatives and streamlining of operations cannot on their own make it competitive in the current environment. Entering CCAA was the only responsible course of action under the circumstances and it was taken only after all other options were thoroughly explored."

McQuade said that for the restructuring to be successful, the process will require "a commitment from all relevant stakeholders to pursue innovative solutions that will create a restructured business that can compete in the North American market for the long term."

"We are grateful for the continuing support of our customers, suppliers and employees at this time and look forward to working together to develop an appropriate solution for the benefit of stakeholders," he added.

William Aziz of Blue Tree Advisors II Inc., as chief restructuring officer effective immediately.

The CCAA filing was among three major strategic moves announced by the parent company on Tuesday, including a decision not proceed with an expansion at its iron ore pellet operations in Keewatin, Minn., and to forgo further development and construction of the carbon alloy facilities at Gary Works in Gary, Ind.

It addition to continue operating losses, it noted that the Canadian operation also represented about $1 billion of the parent company's consolidated employee benefits liability as of June 30.

"We know this was not an easy decision for U.S. Steel Canada's independent directors," company president and CEO Mario Longhi said, adding that the move would allow U.S. Steel Canada to continue to operate while exploring restructuring alternatives.

"We believe these actions will provide longer term stability for U.S. Steel's employees, suppliers and customers," he said.

U. S. Steel Canada, with operations at Lake Erie Works and Hamilton Works, has the capability of producing approximately 2.6 million tons of steel annually and employs about 2,000 people.

The Record


Second monthly vessel added to the Cleveland-Europe Express service

9/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland and Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group have announced plans to add a second monthly vessel to the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), the only scheduled ocean service for containerized and breakbulk freight operating between Europe and a Great Lakes port.

“We are extremely pleased to announce our intent to add a second sailing to the CEE starting next season or perhaps sooner to better accommodate the needs of the containerized segment of the market, which requires more frequent sailings,” said Will Friedman, CEO of the Port of Cleveland. With two ships, the CEE will offer regularly scheduled departures every two weeks.”

The CEE has been operating since April with one ship, the Fortunagracht. It is providing shippers with customized shipping solutions and faster door-to-door transit times between Europe and

“We have established the CEE as a legitimate, cost effective alternative for the breakbulk and heavy lift market,” said Bart Peters, Director Atlantic Department, Spliethoff Group.

“Now with the second ship, we can offer a very attractive option for container shippers. The advantages of an all-water service to the U.S. Midwest, combined with our transshipment connections in Antwerp throughout Europe and the world, make this a very powerful alternative.”

Cleveland-Europe Express


Wreck of schooner Plymouth identified on Lake Erie

9/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – In the early morning hours of June 23, 1852, the schooner Plymouth was sailing on Lake Erie from Huron, Ohio, to Buffalo, New York, with a mixed cargo of wheat, flour and other goods.

Suddenly the sidewheel steamer Northern Indiana, carrying a full load of passengers, burst from the murk, slamming into the schooner amidships at nearly a right angle, burying its bow into the Plymouth.

The hapless schooner quickly sank, but its 10-man crew escaped in the ship's lifeboat and were taken aboard the Northern Indiana.

The Plymouth lay at the bottom of Lake Erie, about 20 miles off Cleveland, for 144 years until the wreck was discovered in 1996. Though found, it could not be identified. Because it featured a tiller, instead of a wheel, to steer the ship, it became known as the "Cleveland Tiller Wreck."

Until now. The National Museum of the Great Lakes, in collaboration with the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, announced Tuesday that the so-called tiller wreck is actually the Plymouth.

According to the museum, the wreck's original discoverer, Rob Ruetschle, became a member of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE), a nonprofit corporation composed of divers, historians and archaeologists studying shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Erie.

Ruetschle suggested that CLUE survey the wreck in 2013 to see if its identity could be determined. That survey, funded by the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society of Toledo, involved CLUE members David VanZandt, Kevin Magee and Tom Kowalczk.

"Every time we find a new one it's exciting," said VanZandt, CLUE director and chief archaeologist. "It puts the wreck in historical context for Northeast Ohio ... ties the wreck back to the community, as opposed to being just a wreck out in the lake."

And, as VanZandt noted, there are plenty of unidentified wrecks out there, known only by their nicknames -- like the "515 barge," the "117th Street tug," the "east breakwall barge," and the "stone schooner."

Dives were made in July and August of 2013, and in June of this year. The wreck showed obvious signs of a collision with another vessel.

"The damage observed on the wreck is consistent with a collision from a sidewall steamer of this era, which had sharply raked bows for higher speeds," a museum news release said.

"When we got down there, we were swimming along the starboard rail, then the rail disappeared," VanZandt said. "There was a big gash that ran more than halfway across ship. It was a very narrow cut, like a knife slicing through bread."

VanZandt said collisions were common in those early years of lake commerce. Often those accidents were due to poor navigation lights that couldn't be seen at night.

After obtaining dimensions of the ship and preparing a detailed site plan, that survey data was compared with archival research collected by CLUE member Jim Paskert to prove that the wreck was the Plymouth, built in Huron in 1847.

"We're very careful doing all those comparisons before we try to put a name on something," VanZandt said. "If we get it wrong, it tends to stick. So if we don't know what it is, we don't name it."

Christopher Gillcrest, executive director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes, said one difficulty in identifying 19th-century boats is that often those vessels did not have a name carved on a board or bell on the ship. Or, the nameplate may have been lost in the wreck or to looters.

He also noted, "Boats do have a serial number burned into the keel as per federal regulation, but finding that number (if it survived the wreck) is next to impossible because the only way you find it is on the keel at the bottom of the cargo hold. Silt, wreckage and the nature of the cargo prevents finding that information if it survived at all.

"There are probably hundreds of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes that have been found but not identified," Gillcrist said. "The hardest part of identifying the Plymouth was that there was little information on the boat or the wreck itself. Our guys had to dig deep to come up with the hypothesis of the Plymouth and then find documentary evidence to support it.

"The National Museum of the Great Lakes collaborates with CLUE and other research groups across the Great Lakes to discover, identify and survey the submerged cultural history of the Great Lakes," he added. "We are able to offer our library, the expertise of our on staff archaeologist Carrie Sowden and financial funding to reduce the impact of research costs on our volunteer team."


Lookback #306 – Saturn sank off Sauble Beach on Sept. 19, 1901

The wooden steamer Saturn spent five years in the Great Lakes lumber trade. However, it had a cargo of coal on board for a voyage from Cleveland to Owen Sound when it sank 113 years ago today.

The vessel went down off Sauble Beach, Ont., a pleasant holiday community on the Lake Huron side of the Bruce Peninsula. The crew of seven took to the lifeboat and survived a 7½ hour ride to shore.

Originally known as the City of Owen Sound, the ship had been built at its namesake port in 1875. It carried passengers and bulk cargoes including salt and grain and traveled to a variety of ports on Georgian Bay and the upper Great Lakes.

City of Owen Sound suffered numerous troubles over the years that included a grounding in the North Channel in October 1881, another off the Michipicoten River in Nov. 1884, sinking after striking Robertson's Rock near Little Current in Oct. 1887 and losing its cabins.

Refloated and rebuilt as a steam barge in 1891-1892, it had another grounding on a shoal off the Bruce Peninsula on Nov. 5, 1895 and when rebuilt over the winter, it resumed service as Saturn. What's left of the old ship sits on the bottom in about 85 feet of water after the Sept. 19, 1901, sinking

Skip Gilllham


Today in Great Lakes History -  September 19

At Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, a hand-operated ferry carried pedestrians across the Chicago River. The ferry operator would pull on a rope, hand over hand, to move the ferry across the river. At a signal from schooners, the rope was dropped and the schooner would sail over it. On 19 September 1856, the rope was dropped but the impatient passengers picked it up to move the ferry themselves. The incoming schooner snagged the rope and the ferry was spun around and capsized. 15 people were drowned.

When Cleveland Tankers’ new SATURN entered service and made her first trip to Toledo, Ohio, on September 19, 1974, she became the first of three tankers built for the fleet's modernization program. EDGAR B. SPEER departed the shipyard on her maiden voyage for U.S. Steel on September 19, 1980, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota, where she loaded her first cargo of taconite pellets.

The twin-screw rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN of 1903, was laid up in the spring of 1965, at the old Pennsylvania Dock at Cleveland, Ohio and later at dockage on the Old River Bed where she sank on September 19, 1969.

September 19, 1997 - officials at Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. announced that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be converted to a barge.

On 19 September 1893, SAMUEL BOLTON (wooden schooner-barge, 150 foot, 330 gross tons, built in 1867, at Bangor, Michigan as a schooner) was loaded with lumber and being towed in fog in Lake Huron. She got lost from the tow and drifted ashore near Richmond, Michigan where she broke in two and was then torn apart by waves. She was owned by Brazil Hoose of Detroit.

On Saturday, 19 September 1891, at 11 a.m., the whaleback steamer CHARLES W. WETMORE left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania loaded with the materials to build a nail mill, iron smelter and shipyard for the new city of Everett, Washington. Her skipper was Captain Joseph B. Hastings and she had a crew of 22.

On 19 September 1900, the Great Lakes schooner S.L. WATSON foundered off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She had been sent to the Atlantic the previous autumn by her owner, J. C. Gilchrist of Cleveland.

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

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