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Tug arrives in Toledo for possible American Fortitude tow

11/23 - The Canadian-flag, McKeil Marine tug Evans McKeil has arrived in Toledo and is moored near the retired laker American Fortitude. When weather permits, the Fortitude will be towed through the Welland Canal and down the St. Lawrence Seaway. At some point, a deep-sea tug will likely take over the tow, which will end up at a Texas scrapyard. The time and day of departure from Toledo is unknown, and will depend on weather conditions.


Port Reports -  November 23

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke was at the loading dock in Cedarville on Friday in the late evening, but received a change in orders and was diverted to Calcite to load. Due in next at the loading dock in Cedarville is the Buffalo on Sunday in the morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph L. Block due Monday morning.

Manitowoc, Wisconsin
The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest have been moored in the Manitowoc harbor since Friday afternoon due to possible bow thruster issues

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Michipicoten was expected to arrive on Saturday during the early evening. Wilfred Sykes is due in on Sunday in the early morning. Calumet is due in on Monday in the late morning and the Joseph L. Block is due on Monday in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke loaded at Calcite on Saturday and was expected to depart at around 4 p.m. Two vessels are due for Sunday, with the Buffalo arriving first during the early morning for the South Dock. Adam E. Cornelius rounds out the schedule, arriving on Sunday in the late morning for the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded on Saturday and was expected to depart at around 3 p.m. At anchor was the Lewis J. Kuber, expected to get the dock after the Great Republic. There are no vessels scheduled for Sunday. Four vessels are due on Monday with the Pathfinder, Lewis J. Kuber and Cuyahoga all due in during the morning and the Joseph H. Thompson arriving on Monday in the early evening.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The 1,000 footer Indiana Harbor, making a rare visit to Toledo, loaded at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday. Michipicoten is due next at CSX on Sunday during the late evening. Saginaw is due at CSX on Monday in the early morning. James L. Kuber is due at CSX on Thursday during the early morning. Due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock is the Saginaw arriving on Sunday in the early afternoon. Vessels due at the Torco Dock include the James L. Kuber on Wednesday in the early evening and the Manitowoc ion Friday during the early afternoon. Vessels in port included the following: tug Paul L. Luedtke, tug Rebecca Lynn with a barge and the tug Evans McKeil. The saltwater vessel Mandarin has moved upriver to one of the grain elevators and is loading grain.


Lookback #371 – Silvanus J. Macy lost with all hands on Nov. 23, 1902

11/23 - The wooden bulk carrier Silvanus J. Macy was built at Marine City, Mich., in 1881. The 171-foot-long vessel had a deeper draft than many similar ships of that era and, as a result, had a great capacity for the coal trade.

It was first owned by Carter, Macy & Co. but belonged to P. & J. Ralph & Co. when it disappeared 112-years ago today.

The ship, en route from Buffalo to Kenosha, Wis., with a cargo of coal, was caught by a storm while crossing Lake Erie with the barge Marbelle Wilson in tow. The latter was cut loose when conditions became perilous and it managed to survive the wild weather.

Silvanus J. Macy was last seen battling heavy seas off the north shore community of Port Burwell, ON. Somewhere, out on the lake, the 21-year-old vessel succumbed to the stormy seas and went down with the loss of 14 lives.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  November 23

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 23

In 1940, the CONSUMERS POWER, a.) HARRY YATES of 1910, collided with the MARITANA on the Detroit River. The MARITANA sustained $11,089.91 in damage. MARITANA was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario, in 1947.

On 23 November 1863, BAY OF QUINTE (wooden schooner, 250 tons, built in 1853, at Bath, Ontario) was carrying 7,500 bushels of wheat to Toronto when she was driven ashore on Salmon Point on Lake Ontario and wrecked. No lives were lost.

On 23 November 1882, the schooner MORNING LIGHT (wooden schooner, 256 tons, built in 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing from Manistee for Chicago with a load of lumber when a storm drove her aground off Claybanks, south of Stony Lake, Michigan. One crewman swam to shore, the rest were saved by a lifesaving crew, local fishermen and the tug B. W. ALDRICH. Earlier that same year, she sank near St. Helen Island in the Straits of Mackinac. She was salvaged and put back in service, but she only lasted a few months.

After discharging her cargo, the SAMUEL MATHER, launched as a.) PILOT KNOB b.) FRANK ARMSTRONG (1943-73), proceeded to DeTour, Michigan, laying up for the last time at the Pickands Mather Coal Dock on November 23, 1981. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1988.

In 1987, the self-unloader ROGERS CITY was towed out of Menominee, Michigan, for scrapping in Brazil.

STADACONA's sea trials were completed on November 23, 1952, and was delivered to Canada Steamship Lines the next day.

On 23 November 1872, Capt. W. B. Morley launched the propeller JARVIS LORD at Marine City, Michigan. Her dimensions were 193 feet X 33 feet X 18 feet, 1,000 tons. She was the first double decker built at Marine City. Her engine was from Wm. Cowie of Detroit.

On 23 November 1867, S. A. CLARK (wooden propeller tug, 12 tons, built in 1863, at Buffalo, New York) was in Buffalo's harbor when her boiler exploded and she sank.

November 23, 1930 - The Ann Arbor carferry WABASH grounded in Betsie Lake. She bent her rudder stock and her steering engine was broken up.

On 23 November 1853, the wooden schooner PALESTINE was bound from Kingston to Cleveland with railroad iron at about the same time as the like-laden schooner ONTONAGON. Eight miles west of Rochester, New York, both vessels ran ashore, were pounded heavily by the waves and sank. Both vessels reported erratic variations in their compasses. The cargoes were removed and ONTONAGON was pulled free on 7 December, but PALESTINE was abandoned. A similar event happened with two other iron-laden vessels a few years previously at the same place.

On 23 November 1853, the Ward Line's wooden side-wheeler HURON struck an unseen obstruction in the Saginaw River and sank. She was raised on 12 December 1853, towed to Detroit and repaired at a cost of $12,000. She was then transferred to Lake Michigan to handle the cross-lake traffic given the Ward Line by the Michigan Central Railroad. The carferry GRAND HAVEN was sold to the West India Fruit & Steamship Co., Norfolk, Virginia in 1946, and was brought down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, Louisiana for reconditioning before reaching Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach, Florida. She was brought back to the Lakes and locked up bound through the Welland Canal on 23 Nov 1964. She was intended for roll on/roll off carrier service to haul truck trailers laden with steel coils from Stelco's plant at Hamilton, Ont.

CSL NIAGARA a.) J. W. McGIFFIN, passed Port Huron, Michigan on 23 Nov 1999, on her way to Thunder Bay to load grain. This was her first trip to the upper lakes since the vessel was re-launched as a SeawayMax carrier in June 1999.

1901: QUITO stranded off Lorain, Ohio, and broke up in a Lake Erie storm. All on board were saved.

1902: SILVANUS J. MACY was last observed battling heavy seas in Lake Erie off Port Burwell. The coal laden, wooden steamer was lost with all hands.

1936: A fire at Portsmouth, Ontario, just west of Kingston, destroyed several idle wooden steamers including the SIMON LANGELL and PALM BAY. Their remains were towed into Lake Ontario and scuttled in 1937.

1961: AMVRAKIKOS ran aground on Pancake Shoal, Lake Superior, on its first and only visit to the Great Lakes. This World War Two vintage Liberty ship was refloated on November 26, loaded scrap steel at Toledo for Japan and was the last saltwater ship of the 1961 season to depart the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1997: AN TAI, an SD 14 cargo carrier registered in Belize, began to list and then the hull cracked at the dock in Port Klang, Malaysia. The ship sank at the wharf the next day. The vessel had visited the Great Lakes, first as a) LONDON GRENADIER in 1972 and again as b) FIRST JAY in 1979. Subsequent salvage efforts failed and the hull was cut into sections, taken out to sea, and dumped in a fish breeding grounds.

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


Port Reports -  November 22

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was due to arrive on Friday morning. Saginaw is due to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the Calumet due in on Sunday in the late evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H
Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Thursday during the late afternoon. On Friday, the Philip R Clarke arrived and began loading. Due in Saturday will be the Buffalo in the late afternoon. The Joseph L. Block is due in on Sunday in the late afternoon. Philip R. Clarke is due in on Sunday in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H
Arthur M. Anderson loaded at the South Dock was expected to depart at around 9 a.m. on Friday. Manitowoc was scheduled to arrive on Friday in the late morning for the South Dock. Buffalo is due on Saturday in the morning for the South Dock. Due in on Sunday will be the John G. Munson in the morning for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H
Philip R. Clarke arrived Thursday to load and was expected to depart sometime on Friday morning. On Friday, the Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived and began loading. Inbound later was the Great Republic, but they dropped anchor to wait for the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder to depart. The last arrival of the day was the Olive L Moore and barge Lewis J Kuber. They too went to anchor to wait for dock space.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algomarine unloaded at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Friday. Also due there is the Michipicoten on Sunday in the late evening. Due at the CSX Coal Dock is the James L. Kuber on Friday in the early morning. Indiana Harbor was also due at CSX on Friday in the evening. The Saginaw is due to load at CSX on Saturday in the evening. James L. Kuber returns to load at CSX on November 26 in the early afternoon. Due at the Torco Dock will be the James L. Kuber on November 26 in the morning. Manitowoc is due on November 28 in the morning followed by the John J. Boland in the late afternoon. Still remaining in long-term lay-up are the American Fortitude and American Valor near the Lakefront Docks. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was in port as was the tug Victory with the barge James L. Kuber. Also in port was the saltwater vessel Mandarin of Cyprus registry at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was in port during the day Friday. Mississagi arrived in the evening.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry Ouderkirk
The Toronto Fire Department has recently acquired a new vessel. 2014-0, the former Coast Guard patrol vessel Cape Hurd arrived in port last week and is stationed at the waterfront fire station. It is expected that the ship will be renamed.


40th anniversary of the sinking of the Roy A. Jodrey

11/22 - It was 40 years ago today that Algoma Central's Roy A. Jodrey sank in the St. Lawrence River. On Nov. 20th, 1974, the Roy A. Jodrey struck Pullman Shoal just off Alexandria Bay. As water began to flood the cargo holds, the crew attempted to beach the ship at the Coast Guard Station on Wellesley Island. Upon arrival, the United States Coast Guard evacuated the crew. The ship remained afloat for about four hours after that. At around 3 in the morning, the Jodrey capsized and sank in 120-250 feet of water. Only experienced technical divers are recommended for diving on this wreck.

Mike Hobart


Authorama returns to Port Huron’s Maritime Center today

11/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – The 9th Annual Marine Authorama will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich.

Featured at the public event will be Dennis Hale, author of "Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor" (and only survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell freighter disaster), as well as Roger LeLievre, editor of the "Know Your Ships" guide. Authors Wayne “Skip” Kadar (“Cold Case Files”) and T.J. Gaffney / Dean Pyers (“Images of Rail”) will also be on hand. Paul Beesley will have two different calendars for sale – “Ice Battle and “Ships of the Welland Canal.”

Also, BoatNerd gear, such as hats and T-shirts, will be on sale. Admission is free. The Great Lakes Nautical Society Model Boatbuilders group will also be at the Maritime Center Saturday, with an event for kids.


Lookback #370 – Former Mapleton burned as Eastern Med on Nov. 22, 1950

11/22 - While the canal-sized freighter Mapleton survived ocean service during both world wars, it was destroyed in a fire 64 years ago today. The vessel was sailing as Eastern Med and loading drums of oil at the Port of Suez when the flames broke out. The blaze did extensive damage and what remained of the ship was broken up for scrap.

Mapleton had a good career on the Great Lakes after coming over from the shipyard at Sunderland, England, in 1909. It served the Mathews Steamship Co., the Merchants Mutual Line and then became an original member of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet in 1913.

On its first trip to the upper lakes in August 1910, the vessel struck a shoal near Detour, Mich., in dense fog and was stuck for a day. The forepeak was flooded and bow plates required repairs.

Mapleton went overseas in World War One but survived the storms and enemy action to return to the Great Lakes in the 1920s. It continued to operate for C.S.L. while seeing some service as a package freight carrier on charter to the Tree Line Navigation Co.

The 258-foot-long vessel returned to the Atlantic during World War II and remained on saltwater when peace was achieved. It was sold in 1945 and flying the flag of Cyprus when it caught fire on Nov. 22, 1950.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 22

In 1947, the Canadian tanker BRUCE HUDSON broke down shortly after departing Port Stanley, Ont. The U.S. tanker ROCKET, Captain R. B. Robbins, managed to get a line on the HUDSON and tow her 50 miles through high seas and a snow storm to shelter behind Point Pelee. Later, the tug ATOMIC arrived on scene and towed the Hudson to Toledo for repairs.

On 22 November 1860, WABASH VALLEY (wooden propeller, 592 tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) was caught in a blizzard and gale off Muskegon, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. Her skipper thought they were off Grand Haven and as he steamed to the harbor, visibility dropped to near zero. The vessel ran onto the beach. Her momentum and the large storm waves carried her well up onto the beach where she broke in two. Her machinery was salvaged and went into the new steamer SUNBEAM.

Scrapping of SPRUCEGLEN, a.) WILLIAM K. FIELD was completed on November 22, 1986, by Lakehead Scrap Metal Co. at Thunder Bay Ontario. SPRUCEGLEN was the last Canadian coal-fired bulker.

On 22 November 1869, CREAM CITY (3-mast wooden bark, 629 tons, built in 1862, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin) was carrying wheat in a gale when she lost her way and went ashore on Drummond Island. She appeared to be only slightly damaged, but several large pumps were unable to lower the water in her hull. She was finally abandoned as a total wreck on 8 December. She was built as a "steam bark" with an engine capable of pushing her at 5 or 6 mph. After two months of constant minor disasters, this was considered an unsuccessful experiment and the engine was removed.

CITY OF MILWAUKEE was chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad Co. and started the Frankfort, Michigan-Kewaunee, Wisconsin service for them on November 22, 1978.

November 22, 1929 - CITY OF SAGINAW 31 went out on her sea trials.

On 22 November 1860, CIRCASSIAN (wooden schooner, 135 foot, 366 tons, built in 1856, at Irving, New York) was carrying grain in a gale and blizzard on Lake Michigan when she stranded on White Shoals near Beaver Island. She sank to her decks and then broke in two. Her crew was presumed lost, but actually made it to Hog Island in the blizzard and they were not rescued from there for two weeks.

A final note from the Big Gale of 1879. On 22 November 1879, The Port Huron Times reported, "The barge DALTON is still high and dry on the beach at Point Edward."

1878: The wooden passenger and freight steamer WAUBUNO was lost with all hands, 14 crew and 10 passengers, on Georgian Bay.

1898: ARTHUR ORR went aground on Isle Royale when the steering gear failed in a severe storm. It was later released and survived until scrapping at Hamilton in 1947-1948.

1898: S.S. CURRY was leaking badly after it struck a reef off Duck Island, Lake Huron.

1906: J.H. JONES, en route from Owen Sound to Lions Head, was lost with all hands. The wooden passenger and freight steamer went down in 60 mph winds.

1907: Fire broke out aboard the wooden freighter LIZZIE MADDEN shortly after clearing Bay City for Little Current. The crew was rescued by the LANGELL BOYS. The burning hull drifted ashore on Little Charity Island in Saginaw Bay and was a total loss.

1911: JOLIET sank in the St. Clair River following a collision with the HENRY PHIPPS. It had been anchored due to fog when hit and all on board were saved. The remains were dynamited as a hazard to navigation.

1919: The wooden steamer MYRON sank off Crisp Point, Lake Superior and 17 crew were lost.

1950: The former Canada Steamship Lines canaller MAPLETON was destroyed at the Port of Suez, Egypt as b) EASTERN MED when a fire broke out while loading oil drums. The remains of the ship were scrapped.

1975: PIERSON DAUGHTERS hit bottom off North Colban Island in the St. Lawrence and had to go to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs after unloading the cargo of iron ore at Conneaut.

1988: The Dutch flag freighter POOLSTER first came through the Seaway in 1969. It suffered an engineroom fire off Kuwait as e) ATLANTIC REEFER while bound for Dubai on this date. The badly damaged ship was towed to Sharjah and then sold for scrap. It was renamed f) VOYAGER I for the trip to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, and the vessel arrived April 4, 1989, for dismantling.

1998: SPAR OPAL went aground inside the breakwall at Port Colborne due to high winds and was released by the tugs UNDAUNTED and WELLAND. The ship had also been a Seaway trader beginning in 1984 as a) LAKE SHIDAKA, in 1991 as b) CONSENSUS ATLANTIC, and in 1992 as c) FEDERAL MATANE (i). It began Great Lakes service as e) SPAR OPAL in 1997.

2000: PRINSES IRENE of the Oranje Lijn made 16 trips into the Great Lakes, with passengers and freight, from 1959 through 1963. The vessel was observed beached at Jakarta, Indonesia, as c) TANJUNG OSINA on this date and appeared to be badly rusted and burned out. The hull was later reported to have been broken up.

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


Port Reports -  November 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A busy Thursday afternoon at the harbors in Marquette found Paul R. Tregurtha unloading coal and Michipicoten waiting to load ore at the Upper Harbor, fleet mates Herbert C. Jackson and Kaye E. Barker at anchor off the Upper Harbor, loaded with ore, and waiting on winds before departure, and Tug and Barge Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader unloading stone at the Lower Harbor.

Cedarville, Mich. - Jake H.
On Thursday, the Wilfred Sykes arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. - Jake H.
On Thursday, the Arthur M Anderson arrived at the South Dock and began loading.

Stoneport, Mich. - Jake H.
On Thursday, the Joseph H Thompson Jr. and her barge Joseph H Thompson arrived and began loading. Inbound later in the day was the Philip R Clarke.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound on the Saginaw River Thursday morning, calling on the GM Dock in Saginaw to unload. She was back outbound for the lake early Thursday evening. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Thursday afternoon carrying a split load. The pair dropped a partial cargo at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber were expected to be outbound early Friday morning.


Cheboygan River dredging to begin next week

11/21 - Cheboygan, Mich. - A dredging project in the Cheboygan River should begin next week, according to interim city manager Tom Eustice.

The work has been rescheduled a couple of times due to crews being delayed at other jobs. However, Eustice said Luedtke Engineering Company of Frankfort, Mich., is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 24 and crews should be able to complete the project in two weeks or so.

“They plan to work around the clock, weather permitting,” Eustice explained. “A lot of the work is outside the breakwall of the river, and wind could slow them down.”

He said the dredging outside the river's breakwall will help the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which has been having difficulty entering and exiting the river there. Dredging will also take place further down the river, including as far south as Plaunt Transportation, which operates ferry service to and from Bois Blanc Island.

Eustice said there will also be an attempt to remove a large I-beam that is embedded in the bank and river near the Plaunt dock. In an earlier report to the Cheboygan City Council, Eustice said the dredging material that is removed from the river bottom is slated to be dumped in Lake Huron at an 80-foot-deep disposal area that is about two miles straight out from the river.

The dredging project was made possible in part by the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, from which $610,000 was allotted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, for the dredging of the harbor.

Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Lookback #369 – Edward E. Loomis and W.C. Franz collided on Nov. 21, 1934

11/21 - A collision between the W.C. Franz and Edward E. Loomis on Nov. 21, 1934, ended the careers of both ships. The former sank to the bottom of Lake Huron while the latter was too badly damaged to warrant repair in the era of the Great Depression.

The accident occurred at night as the W.C. Franz was upbound and light for Fort William after unloading a cargo of grain at Port Colborne. The vessel was hit on the port bow but remained afloat for two hours before sinking bow first. While there were 16 survivors, another four sailors were lost.

Edward E. Loomis survived the collision but was heavily damaged. The ship tied up at Buffalo without receiving more than a cement patch to keep it afloat. The steel package freighter, built at Buffalo as Wilkesbarre in 1901, was sold for scrap, towed to Hamilton in 1940 and broken up.

W.C. Franz also dated from 1901. It had been launched at Wyandotte, Mich., as Uranus and was initially part of the Gilchrist fleet. It joined the Algoma Central Railway fleet in 1913. The ship is remembered for having spotted the ill-fated Leafield just before it was lost with all hands and rescuing the sole survivor of the Myron off Whitefish Point. A problem with launching the starboard lifeboat tossed 10 sailors into the water 80 years ago tonight and four disappeared in the darkness.

One of the survivors had been reported as missing and presumed lost. He certainly startled his family when he showed up at their Port Dalhousie home.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 21

In 1934, the package freighter EDWARD L. LOOMIS, Captain Alex McKenzie, collided with the W. C. FRANZ, Captain Alex McIntyre, about 30 miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island, Lake Huron. Four crewmen on the FRANZ drowned when the lifeboat turned over while being lowered.

On 21 November 1861, ENTERPRISE (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 64 foot, 56 tons, built in 1854, at Port Huron, Michigan) was driven ashore near Bark Shanty at the tip of Michigan's thumb on Lake Huron. The storm waves pounded her to pieces. Her outfit was salvaged a few days later.

On the evening of 21 November 1890, the scow MOLLIE (wooden scow-schooner, 83 foot, 83 gross tons, built in 1867, at Fairport, Ohio) left Ludington, Michigan, with a load of lumber. About 8:00 p.m., when she was just 25 miles off Ludington, she started to leak in heavy seas, quickly becoming waterlogged. Capt. Anderson and his two-man crew had just abandoned the vessel in the yawl when the steamer F & P M NO 4 showed up, shortly after midnight. The rough weather washed Capt. Anderson out of the yawl, but he made it back in. At last a line from the F & P M NO 4 was caught and made fast to the yawl and the crew made it to the steamer. The men had a narrow escape, for the MOLLIE was going to pieces rapidly, and there was little likelihood of the yawl surviving in the gale.

PATERSON (Hull#113) was launched November 21, 1953, at Port Arthur, Ontario, by Port Arthur Ship Building Co. Ltd.

In 1924, MERTON E. FARR slammed into the Interstate Bridge that linked Superior, Wisconsin, with Duluth, Minnesota, causing extensive damage to the bridge. The bridge span fell into the water but the FARR received only minor damage to her bow.

On 21 November 1869, the ALLIANCE (wooden passenger sidewheeler, 87 foot, 197 gross tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) slipped her moorings at Lower Black Rock in the Niagara River and went over the falls. She had been laid up since the spring of 1869.

November 21, 1906 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 encountered one of the worst storms in many years while westbound for the Wisconsin Central slip in Manitowoc. Wisconsin. She made port safely, but the wind was so high that she could not hold her course up the river without assistance. The tug ARCTIC assisted, and as they were proceeding through the 10th Street Bridge, a gust of wind from the south drove the ferry and tug against the north pilings of the 10th Street Bridge. The ARCTIC, pinned between the ferry and the bridge, was not damaged, but she crushed the hull of a fishing tug moored there, sinking her, and inflicted damage of a few hundred dollars to the bridge.

November 21, 1923 - Arthur Stoops, the lookout on the ANN ARBOR NO 6, was drowned while stepping from the apron onto the knuckle to cast off the headline.

On the night of 21 November 1870, C.W. ARMSTRONG (wooden propeller steam tug, 57 foot, 33 tons, built in 1856, at Albany, New York) burned at her dock at Bay City, Michigan. No lives were lost.

More incidents from the Big Gale of 1879. On 21 November 1879, The Port Huron Times reported "The schooner MERCURY is ashore at Pentwater. The schooner LUCKY is high and dry at Manistee; the schooner WAUBASHENE is on the beach east of Port Colborne. The schooner SUMATRA is on the beach at Cleveland; the large river tug J P Clark capsized and sunk at Belle Isle in the Detroit River on Wednesday [19 Nov.] and sank in 15 minutes. One drowned. The schooner PINTO of Oakville, Ontario, stone laden, went down in 30 feet of water about one mile down from Oakville. At Sand beach the barge PRAIRIE STATE is rapidly going to pieces.

1883: The boiler exploded aboard the salvage tug ERIE BELLE while working to free the schooner J.N. CARTER in the Kincardine area of Lake Huron. The former was wrecked but the boiler is still on what has become known as “Old Boiler Beach”.

1902: BANNOCKBURN disappeared on Lake Superior without a trace. Its final resting place has never been found. 1906: The wooden steamer RESOLUTE anchored off the Eastern Gap at Toronto to ride out a storm but the wind switched battering the vessel until it sank. The hull was salvaged in October 1907 and rebuilt as the JOHN ROLPH.

1936: HIBOU was lost in Owen Sound Bay within two miles of the dock and seven perished. The hull was refloated in 1942.

1941: HENRY C. DARYAW, requisitioned for war and on its delivery voyage stranded on rocks in the Brockville Narrows, rolled over and slid off into deep water and sank. It was to have been used on the east coast as a tender for ocean ships. One life was lost.

1957: MONTFAUCON was built at Wyandotte, MI in 1920 and later operated on the Great Lakes as b) E.M. BUNCE. It was at Naples, Italy, as g) ANNA MARIA IEVOLI when an internal explosion caused damage that led to the ship being scrapped.

1959: MOSES GAY was built at Duluth in 1943. It was severely damaged as e) HEANGURA in a storm at Ostra Kvarken, Sweden, and went aground. While salvaged, the ship was tied up at Turku, Finland, and sold for scrap in January 1960.

1961: The British freighter RAPALLO was anchored at Istanbul, Turkey, when struck and damaged by two different freighters, both out of control due to high winds. The vessel was repaired and began Seaway trading in 1963 for the Ellerman Wilson Line.

1961: The former Paterson canaller GANANDOC left the Great Lakes as b) SUGARLAND in October 1961. It had a brief career in the south and went aground at Arcas Reef, Bay of Campeche, while inbound for Coatzacoalcos, Mexico with 2,877 tons of phosphoric rock from Tampa. The ship was abandoned on November 26 as a total loss.

1962: BRO, a Norwegian pre-Seaway visitor as early as 1953, was abandoned by the crew after taking a severe list en route from Seville, Spain, to Rotterdam, Netherlands. The ship was taken in tow, reached Lisbon, Portugal, and was repaired.

1982: CAPTAIN PANAGOS D.P. went aground at Farasan Island in the Red Sea en route from Trois Rivieres, QC to Bandar Abbas, Iran. Fire broke out in the engine room and the ship was gutted. The hull was refloated and was noted lying off Qatar “derelict” in December 1986 and finally scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as c) JENNY in 1988. The vessel first came through the Seaway as PANAGOS D. PATERAS in 1977 and returned as CAPTAIN PANAGOS D.P. in 1980.

1994: The Russian freighter FASTOV, upbound for Green Bay with pulpwood on its first trip to the Great Lakes, lost power and struck the Shell dock at Corunna, ON, resulting in considerable damage to the structure. The vessel returned inland as d) EVANGELOS in 1999 and was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, as f) JONA in 2011.

2007: The engine aboard the Lake Erie passenger ship JIIMAAN became disabled after the vessel snagged a fish net off Kingsville and the vessel grounded briefly.

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


Seaway, Soo Locks closing dates listed

11/20 - Weather permitting, St Lawrence Seaway will close at 11:59 p.m. December 24. The Welland Canal will close at 11:59 p.m. December 26, and the Soo Locks will close at 11:59 p.m. January 15, 2015. Vessels will be allowed to complete transits of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section and the Welland Canal until 4 p.m. on Dec 31.

Peter Bowers


Great Lakes coal up 9 percent in October

11/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes topped 3 million tons in October, an increase of 9 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments also outpaced the month’s long-term average by 75,000 tons.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.7 million tons, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to a year ago, and a slight increase over the month’s long-term average.

Loadings on Lake Michigan totaled 267,000 tons, a decrease of 35 percent compared to a year ago, and 24.2 percent below the month’s long-term average.

For the second month in a row, loadings at Lake Erie ports topped 1 million tons, an increase of nearly 50 percent compared to a year ago, and 12.8 percent better than the month’s long-term average.

Despite the increases of the past two months, the trade’s end-of-October total – 18.8 million tons – still represents a decrease of 5.1 percent compared to a year ago. As was the case with other commodities, coal was severely impacted by the brutal winter of 2013/2014. At the end of April, shipments were down by nearly 50 percent. Ice is already forming on the Lakes, so industry will need the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards to keep the shipping lanes open once ice formations become formidable.

Lake Carriers’ Association


High winds trap at least four ships in Hamilton harbor

11/20 - Hamilton, Ont. – Hamilton Port Authority spokesperson Larissa Fenn said in an e-mail Tuesday evening four vessels were in the harbor but are unable to dock because of weather condition.

The city was hit with high winds throughout the day Tuesday and as of 9 p.m., winds were gusting at 50 km/h according to Environment Canada.

Fenn said the harbormaster is monitoring the situation and "will give the signal for the vessels to proceed to berth as soon as the weather settles."

The four ships inside the harbor are waiting for permission to dock. Fenn did not say how many vessels are outside the lift bridge although they are mostly outbound.

"Today's traffic might be more than people are generally used to seeing," she said. "This is a time in the shipping season when vessel traffic peaks, with import terminals stocking up for the winter months, at the same time as grain exports are very active."

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  November 20

Various ports – Andre Blanchard
Several vessels were visiting various anchorages due to bad weather Tuesday night. Wednesday morning many of those vessels were still anchored. Here are some of the details (Note: those marked with * means they are at a dock):

Port Dover, Ont.: Algoma Hansa, ARA Rotterdam, Algoeast, Midewie, Muntgracht, Solina, Pochard S and Volgaborg.

Hamilton, Ont.: Cornelia, Dimitrios K, Federal Oshima, Salvor, Algolake, Sarah Desgagnes, Robert S. Pierson, Manitoba*, Labrador*, Wilfred M. Cohen*, Kom* and Federal Kumano*

Prince Edward Bay, Ont.: Federal Asahi, Adfines Star, CSL Niagara (seen Tuesday night but may be on the move now)


Low iron ore prices push Cliffs Natural to close Eastern Canadian operations

11/20 - Montreal, Que. – Cliffs Natural Resources, facing low ore prices, plans to close its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec and exit Eastern Canada after failing to find investment partners to share the cost of a $1.2-billion expansion required to make the operation viable.

"We don't have a time frame set in stone but it's a process that we have already started so right now it's just execution time," chairman and CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in an interview Wednesday.

The mine, about 975 kilometres northeast of Quebec City and 30 kilometres southwest of Labrador City, N.L., is in an area known for iron ore deposits.

Shares in Cliffs (NYSE:CLF) closed down $2.04 or just under 20 per cent at $8.17 Wednesday in New York. The stock has had a 52-week range of between $7 and $28.23 per share.

Goncalves said falling iron ore prices made Bloom Lake unprofitable, forcing the need for a capacity expansion. Even if metal prices unexpectedly rose, it wouldn't be enough to save the mine, he said.

"You cannot have a business that is only viable when iron ore prices are high because the overall business is cyclical. So even if iron ore prices next month go through the roof there's no assurance that they will not go down again."

Closing the mine would cost an estimated US$650 million to US$700 million over five years, mainly from three years of costs required to be paid to the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railroad owned by Rio Tinto subsidiary Iron Ore Company of Canada.

According to the company's website, the mine had 539 fly-in workers and 40 local staff as of the end of 2013.

In asking the provincial government to intervene, the union representing workers said the closure marks the "death of the Northern Plan" for Fermont, where the mine is located.

"If this miner is not able to invest ... we ask that it sell the installation to anyone to complete the second phase," Steelworkers representative Dominic Lemieux told a news conference.

Goncalves conceded that Bloom Lake's closure imperils the government's economic project to develop the resource-rich region of the province.

Cliffs acquired majority ownership of Bloom Lake — a new mine that began production in 2010 — as part of its takeover of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. in a $4.9-billion deal that closed in 2011.

The company announced two years ago, in November 2012, that it would delay Phase 2 and idle some of its U.S. iron ore operations in Minnesota and Michigan.

Two months later, in January 2013, it said the value of its Consolidated Thompson acquisition would be written down by about US$1 billion because of reduced anticipated long-term volumes and higher projected costs but continued to say the Phase 2 construction would be complete by early 2014.

Then, in third-quarter results issued Oct. 27, Cliffs said it had written down its Bloom Lake long-lived assets by a further US$4.5 billion and that it wouldn't provide 2015 guidance for sales tonnage from the mine because the company hadn't made a definitive decision on its future.

Bloom Lake has an annual capacity to produce seven million tonnes of ore. A phase 2 expansion would have raised that to 14 million tonnes, with plans for a further upgrade to push capacity to 21 million tonnes.

The company targeted three more equity partners to each buy a 10 per cent stake by the end of 2014. Among them was Nucor, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Goncalves said any hope of finding investors evaporated when one of the three said it couldn't meet his deadline to make a decision by year-end. "It's three or nothing," he said.

Cliffs also disclosed Wednesday that its Quebec subsidiary and Bloom Lake partners recently lost an arbitration claim against a former customer, which had terminated a sales agreement in August 2011. The arbitrator awarded the former customer more than $71 million in compensation and other fees.

Analysts said the closure costs are higher than they had forecast.

Brian Yu of Citi said it was unclear if Cliffs can "ring-fence Canada" as it previously stated — suggesting it hoped to isolate the problem without affecting other global operations. "While today's announcement is specific to Bloom Lake, the company's Australia mines are also at risk of closure," Yu wrote in a report.

He reiterated his sell rating based on a forecast for iron ore prices to average US$65 per tonne in 2015-2016. However, Yu doesn't foresee Cliffs breaching its lending covenants over the next two years, assuming the company ends its dividend.

Low iron ore prices have disrupted operations in the Labrador Trough region of Quebec.

Toronto-based Labrador Iron Mines (TSX:LIM) has suspended all operations at its mines for the year. The company said Tuesday that it needs a financial restructuring and new creditor agreements while it waits out a market downturn that has cut iron ore prices.

LIM is seeking to negotiate support from an existing creditor and offtake partner, RBRG Gerald Metals, but expects that could require a filing under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and more favorable commercial terms on supply and service contracts.

Cliffs previously idled its other two operations in Eastern Canada — Wabush Mine in Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this year affecting 500 employees — and Pointe Noire near Sept-Iles in 2013, affecting 165 workers.

Montreal Gazette


Digital edition of Seaway Review/Great Laker magazine now available

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Lookback #368 – Lakes built Johan Mjelde captured at sea by U-151 on Nov. 20, 1917

The Johan Mjelde was built by the American Shipbuilding Co. and completed at Cleveland, Ohio, in July 1916. The 251-foot-long, 2049-gross-ton cargo carrier had a very brief career.

The steam-powered ship was first owned by N. Mjeldes Rederi and registered in Norway. It was sold later in the first year and worked under the banner of A/S Storo and then A/S Birk. All retained Norwegian registry.

On Nov. 20, 1917, the vessel was captured by U-151 in the Atlantic off the Azores. The seized ship was on a voyage from New York, NY and bound for Genoa, Italy, with general cargo (including some salmon) and bulk copper. The latter was very attractive to the captors and they began to remove 22 tons of the mineral.

They got help when the sailing vessel Tijuca passed by on November 22. This ship was shelled and the crew captured before their vessel was torpedoed. These sailors joined the work force helping to transfer the copper from the Johan Mjelde to the submarine.

This task took time but when it was finally completed on Nov. 26, the lakes-built freighter was scuttled by the enemy in position 36.19 N /19.45 W. All of the captured sailors were returned to their lifeboats and they all made it some 200 miles to the safety of the island of Madeira.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 20

In 1948, the ROBERT HOBSON was blown against the Duluth-Superior breakwall as she tried to enter the harbor during a 68-mph gale. Damage to the vessel was kept to a minimum when Captain John Mc Nellis ordered the seacocks opened to settle the HOBSON on a sandbar. Renamed b.) OUTARDE in 1975, she was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1985.

On 20 November 1854, BURLINGTON (2-mast wooden brig, 80 foot, 117 tons, built in 1842, at Cleveland, Ohio) was driven hard aground near Port Bruce, Ontario, on Lake Huron while trying to assist the stranded Canadian bark GLOBE.

SAGINAW was christened at the Government Dock in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1999. Bonnie Bravener and Wendy Siddall broke the traditional bottle of champagne adding the second vessel to Lower Lakes Towing's fleet. The company then opened the vessel for tours to all those in the large crowd that had gathered to witness the event. She was built in 1953 as a.) JOHN J. BOLAND.

Hall Corporation of Canada's EAGLESCLIFFE HALL was launched in 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland. Sold off the lakes, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1974, she sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas, on February 9, 1983.

The ferry WOLFE ISLANDER was christened on November 20, 1946, at Marysville, Wolfe Island. The new ferry was the unfinished OTTAWA MAYBROOK which was built to serve the war effort in the south Pacific Ocean. She replaced two landing barges which were pressed quickly into service following the condemned steamer WOLFE ISLANDER, a.) TOM FAWCETT of 1904, which had served the community for 42 years. Officially christened WOLFE ISLANDER by Mrs. Sarah Russell, it took five tries before the champagne bottle finally broke on her port side.

Pittsburgh Steamship's steamer RALPH H. WATSON (Hull#285) was launched in 1937, at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

On 20 November 1872, the side wheel steamer W. J .SPICER was finally laid up and the crew dismissed. She had served for many years as the Grand Trunk ferry at Fort Gratiot on the St. Clair River.

On 20 November 1880, BAY CITY (wooden barge, 199 foot, 480 tons, built in 1852, at Trenton, Michigan as the sidewheeler FOREST CITY) was carrying coal when she was cast adrift east of Erie, Pennsylvania by the steamer JAMES P. DONALDSON in a storm. She was driven ashore and wrecked. Her crew was saved by the U.S. Lifesaving Service using breeches' buoy. November 20, 1898. ANN ARBOR #3 left Cleveland, Ohio for Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

November 20, 1924 - Pere Marquette fleet engineer Finlay MacLaren died after 42 years with the railroad. He was succeeded by his brother Robert until Leland H. Kent was named fleet engineer in 1925.

On 20 Nov. 1871, the schooner E. B. ALLEN was sailing from Chicago to Buffalo with a load of corn when she crossed the bow of the bark NEWSBOY about six miles off the Thunder Bay Light on Lake Huron. The NEWSBOY slammed her bow deep into the schooner's hull amidships and the ALLEN sank in about 30 minutes. The crew escaped in the yawl. The NEWSBOY was badly damaged but did not sink.

On 20 Nov. 1999, the Bermuda-flag container ship CANMAR TRIUMPH went aground on the St. Lawrence River off Varennes about 15 kilometers downstream from Montreal. She was the third vessel to run aground in the St. Lawrence River that autumn. The Canadian Coast Guard reported that she was having engine problems and the CBC News reported that the vessel's rudder was damaged in the grounding.

On Saturday morning, 20 Nov. 1999, Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wisconsin, launched the 175-foot Coast Guard Cutter HENRY BLAKE. The BLAKE was one of the "Keeper" Class Coastal Class Buoy Tenders. Each ship in the "Keeper" class is named after a famous American lighthouse keeper. 1917: JOHAN MJELDE, built at Cleveland in 1916, was sailing as b) STORO when captured by the German submarine U-151 near the Azores and, after 22 tons of copper were removed, the ship was scuttled on November 26.

1920: J.H. SHEADLE ran aground on the rocks at Marquette when the steering failed while backing from the dock. The ship was badly damaged. It last sailed in 1979 as e) PIERSON INDEPENDENT.

1943: The former LAKE FINNEY, later a Pre-Seaway trader in the 1930s as SANTA EULALIA, was torpedoed and sunk by British forces as the enemy ship c) POLCEVERA off Carlovassi, Italy.

1966: The Liberty ship MOUNT EVANS made two trips through the Seaway in 1961. It stranded off Mapingil, Philippines as h) EASTERN ARGO on this date in 1966. The hull was refloated with damage and then towed to Taiwan for scrapping in 1967.

1990: GINA, a Lebanese freighter, began leaking at Varna, Bulgaria. The ship was later taken to Piraeus, Greece, and laid up. The superstructure was removed and installed on a fire damaged vessel while the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1991 and dismantled. GINA had been a Great Lakes trader as a) MARCOSSA-I in 1972

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


Port Reports -  November 19

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were back on the Saginaw River Tuesday morning, with the pair traveling all the way to the end of the commercial shipping channel to unload at the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber finished unloading by the late afternoon and were outbound for the lake Tuesday evening.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
The upbound Nogat cleared at 8:30 a.m. and proceed into Prescott anchorage. She remained there into Tuesday night due to severe winds. Next was the upbound Algoma Progress at 2:13 p.m., followed closely Flinter America at 2:17 p.m. Both ships dropped anchor at Prescott anchorage just above the CCG base. Algoma Progress didn’t remain at anchor long, heading upbound in the St. Lawrence River Tuesday night. Flinter America remained in the Prescott anchorage Tuesday night. Skawa remained at anchor near Butternut Bay after losing engine power and awaiting repair. Most downbound traffic was anchored Tuesday, out of the way of the winds and storms.


Marinette-built USS Fort Worth heads to Far East

11/19 - San Diego, Ca. – The second Littoral Combat Ship built at Marinette Marine Corp. is headed to the Far East for a 16-month deployment.

The USS Fort Worth set sail Monday from San Diego for Singapore, where the ship is expected to work with regional navies. The ship will swap crews every four months, allowing it to deploy about six months longer than USS Freedom, according to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet.

This is the second deployment for a Littoral Combat Ship built at Marinette Marine Corp. USS Freedom deployed to Singapore in 2013 for a 10-month operation that, in part, laid some of the foundation for the operational use of the new ships.

The Littoral Combat Ship is designed to carry out a number of missions — including surface warfare and anti-submarine operations — in shallower coastal waters.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the ships built at Marinette. Another design of the ship is being built by Austal USA in Alabama.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Coast Guard rescues 66-year-old duck hunter near Catawba Island in Lake Erie

11/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coast Guard crews rescued a 66-year-old man who became lost while duck hunting on Catawba Island, Ohio, Monday evening.

Around 7 p.m., the hunter's wife reported to the watchstander at Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, that her husband called her to tell her he was lost. She said his boat got stuck in the mud and he tried to walk out of the marsh toward land. After wading through the muddy marsh water in 12-foot high reeds for several hours, the hunter became wet, disoriented and unable to provide his exact location.

Sector Detroit directed the launch of Station Marblehead’s crew aboard a 20-foot airboat and also diverted an Air Station Detroit crew that was conducting training aboard a Dolphin helicopter. Local emergency response agencies also assisted in the search.

Just after 8:30 p.m. the hunter used a flashlight to signal rescuers, who were able to locate and hoist him. The aircrew transported him to the Port Clinton Airport where EMS and his family were waiting. The hunter was wearing waders and a life jacket, along with winter weather clothing.

“Being dressed for cold air temperatures is not the same thing as being prepared for cold water temperatures,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jillian Lamb, the command center chief at Coast Guard Sector Detroit. “Rather than trying to wade through frigid waters, having a marine radio and a personal locator beacon can expedite rescue and avoid making the situation worse.”

The air temperature was 21 degrees, the water temperature was 39 degrees, and the wind speed was 23 mph.

USCG Release


Remembering the loss of the Carl D. Bradley

11/19 - (Editor’s note: The following is a factual account of known events surrounding the sinking of the Steamer Carl D. Bradley, and is based on information from the survivors and first-hand accounts of testimony given to the Coast Guard Board of Inquiry.)

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 1958, all was well aboard the steamer. Carl D. Bradley, heading toward her home port of Calcite, Mich. Captain Roland O. Bryan had asked the cooks to serve an early dinner. He knew the turn from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron would put the heavy weather broadside of the ship, and he wanted to give the mess crew an opportunity to clean up and secure prior to this turn.

The crew messroom was full of joking, talking crewmen, eager as always to be returning home.

The lake was extremely rough and the winds were high, but no rougher or higher than in many other storms which the Bradley had encountered in her 31-year history. Besides, it was a following sea.

The giant vessel rode the heavy seas through upper Lake Michigan with no hint of laboring. So evenly did she ride the great waves that her forward crewmembers walked the deck to the dining room in the after end, disdaining the tunnel, which is normally used as a precautionary measure in rough weather.

Suddenly, there was a “loud thud” and, within a few minutes, the great ship slid beneath the water. Despite the fact that it is believed time was sufficient for all hands to abandon ship before she plunged downward, 33-crew members met death in the murky waters.

There were but two fortunate survivors. That day will long be remembered as the most disastrous in the history of Rogers City.

At 5:28 that afternoon, a distress call from the ill-fated steamer broke the air and was heard by the Charlevoix Coast Guard Station. “The ship is breaking in half. We are going down. We are 12 miles southwest of Gull Island.”

That was all.

Only minutes before, a routine message had been transmitted to the Bradley by Central Radio Telegraph at Rogers City. She was then possibly 50 miles north and east of Charlevoix.

The Bradley, second largest of the Bradley Transportation Line fleet of nine vessels, was upbound from Gary, Ind., in ballast.

First Mate Elmer Fleming — who with Frank Mays alone survived — had walked the deck to the dining room aft, had eaten and returned. He noticed nothing amiss. Mays, after finishing his dinner, had performed several routine chores. He had gone to the tunnel under the cargo to operate the pump in the sump. He returned forward through the tunnel, detecting no hint of the terror that was to come.

He told a Coast Guard Board of Inquiry that later he was below deck in the conveyor room with deckhand Gary Price when the “loud thud” warned them of danger. They raced topside.

Meanwhile, Captain Bryan and Fleming, on watch in the pilothouse, also heard the same sickening sound.

“We turned to see what it was and it wasn’t hard to see we were in trouble,” Fleming said. “The stern of the ship was sagging. I knew right then we were going to sink.”

First Mate Fleming grabbed the radio-telephone, shouted the “mayday” warning repeatedly, and gave the boat’s position. “The ship is breaking in half,” he called frantically: “We’re going down.”

Instantly, Captain Bryan sounded the general alarm, grabbed the Chadburn to signal the stopping of the ship and blew the whistle to abandon ship. Fleming and Mays later told the Coast Guard the vessel broke in two and sank within a matter of minutes.

Fleming suddenly realized that he had no life jacket. He raced to his stateroom two decks below, picked up a life jacket and returned to the deck of the pilot house where the life raft was located.

He could see the captain and some other man pulling themselves along the railing to the high side of the bow section which was now listing to port. The winches on the main deck were awash when suddenly the ship lurched, throwing Fleming into the water.

When he came up, the bow was gone; he was near the raft, and he saw the stern of the ship swing to port, and then, with propeller high in the air, plunge to her grave, with lights burning. As the stern plunged, an explosion and flash of flame indicated that the water had reached the fire in the boilers.

He and Mays reached the raft and climbed on as it tossed about.

Two other men reached the raft. They were Gary Strzelecki, of Rogers City, a deckwatchman, and Dennis Meredith, deckhand, of Metz. During the night of terror, filled with mountainous waves and howling winds, the raft was upset on several occasions. The four became two.

‘I can’t remember how many times I fell from the raft,” said Fleming. “I swallowed a lot of water but I always managed to get back to it.”

Mays said, “There was never any doubt in my mind that someone would find us if we could last through the night. I prayed every minute of the time. I got pretty scared when I found there was ice forming in my hair and there was ice encrusted on my jacket; but I still felt that if we were still on the raft by morning, someone would surely find us. When I was on the raft, I laid face down and gripped the sides of it with my hands.”

Mays and Fleming were picked up the next morning near High Island, some 20 miles from the spot where the Bradley went down 14 hours before. They were exhausted but, according to doctors who examined them, in amazingly good physical condition considering their ordeal.

The Coast Guard had responded to the Bradley’s distress call immediately. The 180-foot cutter Sundew raced to the disaster area and searched all night. At one time, according to the survivors, a searching vessel passed within half a mile of the raft, but the roar of the wind and sea made their shouts for help futile and the vessel plowed on.

Soon after dawn on the day after the tragedy, word was flashed that two survivors aboard a raft had been picked up by the Sundew. Elmer Fleming and Frank Mays had miraculously survived. Corpsmen ministered to the men while the Sundew continued her search.

The Sundew and the other rescue vessels arrived at Charlevoix after dark with the two survivors — the only men to survive the tragedy on the lake.

Presque Isle County Advance


“Cruise of a Lifetime” raffle winners announced

11/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA) “Cruise of a Lifetime” raffle drawing took place at the 27th annual Gales of November on Nov. 8 at the DECC in Duluth, MN. The winners were Don Jordan of Woodburn, Indiana and Linda Cotterman of Indianapolis, Indiana.

In the summer of 2015, the two winners and their guests will enjoy a 5.5-day cruise on the 1,000-foot ore boat Edwin H. Gott. The “Cruise of a Lifetime” is made possible by a donation from Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes of Duluth, Minn. Raffle sales go to help maintain and preserve the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in historic Canal Park.

LSMMA release


Lookback #367 – The first Philip Minch destroyed by fire in Lake Erie on Nov. 19, 1904

It was 110 years ago today that fire ended the sailing career of the first Philip Minch. The wooden bulk freighter caught fire about eight miles off Marblehead, Ohio, and due south of Point Pelee.

The vessel, en route between the Ohio communities of Fairport and Sandusky, was a total loss and the remains of the vessel sank in the navigation channel.

The captain and the 17 members of the crew took to the lifeboat and rowed to Sandusky and safety. Their ship, a member of the Minch fleet, was considered a hazard to navigation and it was dynamited in 1906. The remains of the ship have been found by modern wreck hunters and the old engine still rises almost 30 feet off the bottom of the lake.

The first Philip Minch was built in 1888 and measured 290 feet in overall length. A second Philip Minch was built for the Kinsman Transit Co. in 1905. This 500-foot-long steel bulk carrier served the company through the 1968 season and was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1969.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 19

On this day in 1939, in a 24-hour-period, there were 132 transits of the Soo Locks. There were 71 upbound passages and 61 downbound passages.

On this day in 1952, Mrs. Ernest T. Weir smashed a bottle of champagne against the hull of the largest freighter built on the Great Lakes and the 690-foot ERNEST T. WEIR slid down the ways at the Lorain yard of American Ship Building Company. The new vessel had a crew of 38 under the command of Captain W. Ross Maitland and Chief Engineer C. F. Hoffman.

On 19 November 1897, NAHANT (wooden propeller freighter, 213 foot, 1,204 gross tons, built in 1873, at Detroit, Michigan) caught fire while docked near Escanaba, Michigan. Firefighters were hampered by sub-zero temperatures, and she burned to a total loss. The fire jumped to the dock and did $300,000 worth of damage. Two of the crew were burned to death. The wreckage of the vessel was still visible from the Escanaba lighthouse 100 years later.

American Steamship's SAM LAUD (Hull#712) was launched on this date in 1974 at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

The keel for JOHN T. HUTCHINSON (Hull#1010) was laid November 19, 1942, at Cleveland, Ohio for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

The Kinsman Transit Co.'s steamer MERLE M. McCURDY was laid up for the last time at Buffalo, New York, on November 19, 1985. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario, in 1988.

On 19 November 1842, the wooden schooner BRANDYWINE was carrying flour in a storm on Lake Erie when she capsized and then drifted to the beach near Barcelona, New York. One passenger's body was found in the cabin, but the entire crew of 6 was lost.

More incidents from the terrible storm swept the Lakes in mid-November 1886. On 18-19 November of that year, The Port Huron Times listed the vessels that were known to have foundered in that storm. Here is the list of vessels that foundered as it appeared on 19 November 1886. "The barge EMERALD near Kewaunee, 5 lost. The barge F M DICKINSON near Kewaunee, 3 lost. Two unknown schooners (one supposed to be the HELEN) near Port Sherman. One unknown schooner near Hog Island Reef. The barge NORTH STAR near East Tawas, the fate of the crew is unknown." The list then continues with vessels ashore. "The barge WALLACE and consort on Choclay Beach, east of Marquette. The schooner SOUTH HAVEN near Pt. Sherman. The schooner MARY near Blenheim, Ontario. The schooner PATHFINDER near Two Rivers, the cargo and vessel are a total loss. The schooner CUYAHOGA and two scows in North Bay. The schooner P S MARSH and an unknown schooner at St. Ignace. The schooner HARVEY BISSELL near Alpena. The propeller CITY OF NEW YORK near Cheboygan. The schooner KOLFAGE near Goderich, Ontario has broken up. The propeller NASHUA on Grass Island, Green Bay. The barge BISSELL near Kewaunee. The schooner GOLDEN below China Beach. The propeller BELLE CROSS and barges across from China Beach. The schooner FLORIDA on Marquette Beach is a total loss. And the barges BUCKOUT, MC DOUGALL, BAKER, GOLDEN HARVEST near East Tawas.

The schooner HATTIE JOHNSTON sailed from Milwaukee loaded with 26,000 bushels of wheat on the night of 19 November 1879, and then a severe gale swept Lake Michigan. After two weeks, she was presumed lost with all hands. Aboard were Capt. D. D. Prouty, his wife and 8 crewmen.

On 19 Nov 1886, the steamer MANISTIQUE was towing the schooner-barges MARINETTE and MENEKAUNEE, all loaded with lumber, in a NW gale on Lake Michigan. The gale lasted three days. The barges broke loose after a long fight against the elements and both were wrecked near Frankfort, Michigan. Six of the seven aboard the MARINETTE were lost including the woman cook and her 13-year old daughter. MENEKAUNEE broke up before the Lifesaving Service could get to her and all seven aboard died. When the Lifesaving Service arrived on the beach, they found a jumbled mass of lumber and gear and the ship's dog keeping watch over the dead bodies. The dog also died soon after the Lifesaving crew arrived.

EMPIRE MALDON (steel tanker, 343 foot, 3,734 gross tons) was launched on 19 November 1945, by Sir James Laing & Sons, Ltd., at Sunderland, United Kingdom for the British Ministry of War Transport She was sold to Imperial Oil Co. of Canada in 1946, and renamed IMPERIAL HALIFAX and served on the Maritime Provinces-East Coast trade. In 1969, she was purchased by Johnstone Shipping, Ltd., of Toronto and served on the Great Lakes. She lasted until 1977, when she was scrapped by United Metals, Ltd. in Hamilton, Ontario.

On Friday morning, 19 Nov 1999, shortly after leaving the ADM dock in Windsor, the salty AVDEEVKA lost power in the Fighting Island Channel of the Detroit River. The main engine on the vessel quit while she was abreast of Grassy Island and she began drifting downstream. The stern anchor was dropped and then the port side bow anchor. She began swinging towards the middle of the channel with her stern outside the channel when the main engine was restarted and she headed back upstream for the Belle Isle anchorage. Once in the anchorage a team from the U.S. Coast Guard boarded the vessel to investigate. She was released the next day. It is reported that the vessel lost power due to main fuel valve being left closed after routine maintenance during her stay at the ADM dock.

1904: PHILIP MINCH caught fire 8 miles off Marblehead, Ohio, and sank in the navigation channel. All on board got off safely and rowed to Sandusky in the lifeboat. The remains were dynamited in 1906.

1914: C.F. CURTIS foundered in Lake Superior, 7 miles east of Grand Marais, with the loss of 14 lives. The towing barges ANNIE PETERSON and SHELDON E. MARVIN also went down after the trio ran into high winds and snow.

1956: The year old West German freighter WOLFGANG RUSS was beached in the St. Lawrence near Ile d'Orleans after a collision with the Cunard Line vessel ASIA. The former was inbound for Sorel and had to lightered and taken to Lauzon for repairs to the large hole in the side of the hull. The vessel began Great Lakes visits with the opening of the Seaway in 1959 and made 28 inland trips to the end of 1967. It arrived off Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping as b) KOTRONAS BEACH on Feb. 4, 1980.

1977: The Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader FRONTENAC grounded off Grassy Island in the St. Lawrence and about 5,000 tons of ore had to be lightered to the SAGUENAY to float free.

1979: The Liberian freighter DANILA was damaged when it struck the west pier while inbound at Port Weller in fog. The vessel first visited the Seaway as a) MAERSK CAPTAIN in 1976 and was back as b) DANILA in 1979. The ship was scrapped at Alang, India, as d) JAY BHAVANI in 1991-1992.

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


Ice visible on Lake Superior weeks ahead of schedule

11/18 - Cold temperatures and snow across the Great Lakes in November is certainly nothing out of the ordinary, but Monday morning, a layer of ice was visible on parts of Lake Superior in Ashland, Wis.

While this may not seem unusual given the current stretch of unseasonably cold temperatures, it is actually several weeks earlier than normal.

The first sightings of ice on Lake Superior and the Great Lakes overall usually occur during the beginning to middle of December. However, a perfect combination of last season's record ice coverage, cooler summer temperatures, and an early blast of arctic air this fall has allowed for areas of ice to form earlier than normal for the second year in a row.

Last winter featured relentless, record-breaking cold leading to the second highest ice coverage on record for the Great Lakes as a whole.

Lake Superior also set a record for the longest length of time that ice was observed on the lake. In 2013, ice was first observed on Nov. 25, and it did not all melt until early June 2014.

The extent and longevity of the ice coverage were both equally impressive. It is also important to note that this year the ice is being observed about 10 days earlier that last year's record-breaking season. However, an early start to ice formation does not mean another record-breaking ice coverage season is on the way. The overall winter pattern over the next few months will ultimately determine where this year's ice coverage will go.

ABC News


Saginaw River traffic continues on downward trend

11/18 - Through the end of the summer and into the fall months, commercial shipping remained down on the Saginaw River. The following illustrates how much:

August 2014: 19 commercial passages. That was two less than August 2013 and two less than the five year average. September 2014: 18 commercial passages, two more than September 2013 and two more than the five-year average. October 2014: 14 commercial passages, one less than October 2013 and one less than the five-year average.

As far as where things stand as of the year to date, commercial shipping for 2014 is currently at 100 vessel deliveries. This is 23 less than the 123 passages last year at this point and 20 less than the five-year average. Interestingly, there have only been two deliveries of coal to the Consumers Energy/Karn-Weadock power plant in Essexville,this year by water. Last year there were 16. Rail has been king this year for coal in Essexville.

Todd Shorkey


Port Reports -  November 18

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Mississagi was outbound from the Saginaw River early Monday morning after unloading overnight at the Sargent Dock in Zilwaukee. Ryba Marine Contracting has been dredging in the lower Saginaw River for the past month and a half, from the Confined Disposal Island in the Saginaw Bay up to where they currently are working in downtown Bay City between the Veteran's Memorial Bridge and Liberty Bridge. The tug Thomas R. Morrish has been running mud scows upriver to the new Confined Disposal Site located near Cheboyganing Creek on the Bay/Saginaw County line.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
On Monday, the Herbert C. Jackson departed from ADM around 2 a.m., bound for Marquette, Mich.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
The downbound Fortunagracht and Mapleglen and the upbound Ina cleared in the early morning Monday. Ina went into anchorage at approximately 4:48 a.m. around Butternut Bay (above Brockville, Ont.) and was still there in the afternoon and into Monday night. Algoma Navigator, heading down to the port of Johnstown, just below Prescott, stopped in Prescott anchorage at approximately 3 a.m. Monday and remained there awaiting CSL Niagara’s departure from Johnstown. CSL Niagara departed at 7:22 a.m., and headed up to meet the downbound Thunder Bay, headed to Quebec City, just below the Canadian Coast Guard Base, Prescott, at 7:37 a.m. Algoma Navigator pulled anchor and continued down at 8:05 a.m., arriving at the elevators approximately 9 a.m. At 9:38 a.m., Zelada Desgagnes was heading up to Chicago. Algoma Navigator unloaded salt and then continued on her journey downbound at approximately 7:45 a.m. Algosoo, downbound for Port Cartier, went through at 7 p.m., closely followed by the downbound Capt. Henry Jackman headed for Ogdensburg. The upbound Tim S. Dool, headed to Thunder Bay, Ont., is expected through later Monday evening, along with the upbound Federal Kivalina, headed to Burns Harbor, Indiana, and the Flinterstar, headed to Chicago.


Coast Guard’s RADM Michael N. Parks joins Chamber of Marine Commerce

11/18 - The Chamber of Marine Commerce has announced that RADM Michael N. Parks, USCG (Ret.), has joined the Chamber as Special Advisor.

In his new role, RADM Parks will be working with the Chamber to promote the distinct economic, environmental and safety advantages of the bi-national Great Lakes – St. Lawrence shipping industry, in addition to increasing awareness and advising on the industry’s maritime-related policy and issues.

Before his retirement in 2013, RADM Parks was the Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, which spans the five Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states, including 1,500 miles of international border. Previously, he was the Deputy Director of Operations for Headquarters United States Northern Command, with responsibility including land, maritime, and Homeland Defense air operations as well as Defense Support of Civil Authorities.

RADM Parks is a 1982 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Government. He has a Master of Public Administration degree from George Washington University and a Master of Science in National Security Strategy and Policy from the National War College in Washington, D.C.

RADM Parks, a career “cutterman”, has more than 12 years of sea duty while serving aboard six different Coast Guard cutters, commanding four of those ships. RADM Parks’ awards include The Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legions of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, six Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbons and various service and unit awards.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Authorama returns to Port Huron’s Maritime Center Saturday

11/18 - Port Huron, Mich. – The 9th Annual Marine Authorama will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich.

Featured at the public event will be Dennis Hale, author of "Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor" (and only survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell freighter disaster), as well as Roger LeLievre, editor of the "Know Your Ships" guide. Authors Wayne “Skip” Kadar (“Cold Case Files”) and T.J. Gaffney / Dean Pyers (“Images of Rail”) will also be on hand. Paul Beesley will have two different calendars for sale – “Ice Battle and “Ships of the Welland Canal.”

Also, BoatNerd gear, such as hats and T-shirts, will be on sale. Admission is free. The Great Lakes Nautical Society Model Boatbuilders group will also be at the Maritime Center Saturday, with an event for kids.


Lookback #366 – John G. Munson struck the Shell Fuel Dock at Corunna on Nov. 18, 1996

It is a routine maneuver to take on fuel at a variety of docks around the Great Lakes. There are a number of locations from which to choose, and when traveling along the St. Clair River, the Shell Dock at Corunna is a popular destination.

The self-unloader John G. Munson, part of the Great Lakes Fleet, approached the dock eight years ago today with unfortunate results. The ship struck the dock with such force that 200 feet of the dock facing was knocked into the river.

The John G. Munson had been built at Manitowoc, Wis., and launched on Nov. 28, 1951, as the largest self-unloader on the Great Lakes. The 666 foot, 3 inch long vessel joined Bradley Transportation and usually carried stone to U.S. Steel docks around the upper four Great Lakes. Among the cargoes was a record 21,011 tons of limestone out of Calcite, MI for Gary, IN on July 4, 1953. That mark stood until 1966.

During the experiment with year-round navigation in 1974-1975, the John G. Munson carried iron ore from Two Harbors and returned up bound with coal, usually out of Conneaut, for Duluth.

The ship was lengthened to 768 feet 3 inches in 1976 with the addition of a seventh cargo hold. The vessel continues to operate throughout the upper lakes and the Shell dock continues to serve customers.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 18

On 18 November 1869, EQUATOR (wooden propeller package freighter, 184 foot, 621 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) was trying to pull the schooner SOUTHWEST off a reef near North Manitou Island on Lake Michigan. A storm swept in and EQUATOR foundered in the relatively shallow water. She was thought to be unsalvageable but was re-floated in 1870. Her hull was extensively rebuilt and became the barge ELDORADO in 1871, while her engine was used in the tug BISMARCK.

The CARL D. BRADLEY was lost in a violent storm on Lake Michigan on November 18, 1958.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC's sea trials were conducted on 18 November 1976. Her maiden voyage was on 28 November 1976, to load coal at Conneaut, Ohio for Nanticoke, Ontario. Her name honors the Olympic Games that were held at Montreal that year.

The bow and stern sections of the vessel that was to become the STEWART J. CORT were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Division, Litton Systems, Inc., Pascagoula, MS, as hull 1173. That 182 foot vessel, known as "STUBBY" was launched on 18 Nov 1969. "STUBBY" sailed under its own power from the Gulf of Mexico through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal to Erie, Pennsylvania where the sections were cut apart by Erie Marine, Inc. and the 818 foot mid section was added -- making the Lakes first thousand footer.

The ASHCROFT was launched November 18, 1924, as a) GLENIFFER.

On 18 November 1873, the tug CRUSADER was launched at 1:20 p.m. at the Leighton & Dunford yard in Port Huron, Michigan. Her dimensions were 138 foot overall, 125 foot keel, 23 foot beam, and 12 foot depth. She was built for Mr. G. E. Brockway of Port Huron.

On 18 November 1842, CHICAGO (wooden passenger & package freight sidewheeler, 105 foot, 166 tons, built in 1837, at St. Joseph, Michigan) was struck by a gale between Ashtabula and Conneaut in Lake Erie. She lost both of her stacks and became unmanageable when her fires went out. She was driven ashore about 3 miles east of Silver Creek, New York and was wrecked. About 60 persons were on board and amazingly no lives were lost.

On 18 November 1882, DROMEDARY (wooden propeller, 120 foot, 255 gross tons, built in 1868, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) burned to a total loss at the dock at Hamilton, Ontario when her banked fires overheated. She was owned by Burroughs & Co. No lives were lost.

A terrible storm swept the Lakes in mid-November 1886. On 18-19 November of that year, The Port Huron Times listed the vessels that were known to have foundered in that storm. Here is the list as it appeared on 18 November 1886. "The barge CHARLES HINCKLEY is ashore near Alpena. The schooner P S MARCH is ashore at St. Ignace. She will probably go to pieces. The schooner THOMAS P. SHELDON is ashore about 10 miles north of Alpena. The crew was rescued by the tug HAND. The schooner NELLIE REDINGTON is reported going to pieces at Two Rivers. Three of her crew reached harbor all right, but the other 7 men on board are in danger of their lives. The coal barges F. M. DICKINSON and EMERALD were driven ashore at Kewaunee, Wisconsin Wednesday morning [17 Nov]. Three of the DICKINSON's crew were drowned, the other four floated ashore on a plank. The EMERALD's crew started ashore in the yawl, but 5 were drowned.

On 18 November 1881, the schooner JAMES PLATT left Bay City with a cargo of lumber for Chicago. However, she was wrecked on Lake Michigan during a terrible snowstorm during the first week of December and never made it to Chicago. The storm lasted two full days and six of the crew survived but the rest were lost.

The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground on Green Isle, the island in Green Bay to the north of her course between Sturgeon Bay and Menominee on 18 Nov 1913. ANN ARBOR NO 3 pulled her off undamaged after about 2 hours work.

1911: TURRET CAPE stranded near Cove Island, Lake Huron and was not released until 1912. It last sailed as c) WALTER INKSTER and was scrapped at Port Dalhousie in 1959.

1926: The passenger and freight carrier MONTREAL was built at Toronto in 1902. It caught fire and burned near St. Joseph de Sorel in the St. Lawrence River while operating late season in a freight only capacity. The superstructure was destroyed and the vessel was beached. Five deckhands, believed trapped in the bow area, died.

1958: CARL D. BRADLEY sank in Lake Michigan with the loss of 33 lives.

1970: SILLERY, a Canadian freighter that operated on the St. Lawrence, was heavily damaged aft due to an engineroom fire while enroute from Sept-Iles to Montreal. The ship was a total loss. The bow was later removed and transplanted to sistership CACOUNA which received collision damage on July 6, 1971. The latter was later lost on Lake Michigan as c) JENNIFER on December 1, 1974.

2006: JOHN G. MUNSON hit the Shell Fuel Dock at Corunna and knocked about 200 feet of the structure into the St. Clair River.

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


Port Reports -  November 17

Saginaw River – Stephen Hause & Todd Shorkey
Mississagi arrived in the Saginaw River at about noon Sunday and proceeded up the river to the Sargent Dock at Zilwaukee. Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber was outbound from Saginaw early Sunday morning after unloading overnight at the Wirt Stone Docks in Bay City and Saginaw. The tug Thomas R. Morrish has been undertaking dredging operations in the river this autumn. The dredge is presently moored near the mouth of Cheboyganing Creek between Bay City and Saginaw.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Early Sunday afternoon the TPA ferry Marilyn Bell departed Terminal 52 and resumed service at Billy Bishop Airport. Apparently the engine room crew spent the weekend swapping out a main engine. The TPA Keating Channel dredging operation is slow slogging. After more than a month of operation the venerable Derrick 50 is still digging away at the east end of the channel at the mouth of the Don River.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Algocanada and Algonova cleared town in the early morning Sunday followed by the upbound Brant to Toronto, Ont., Elbeborg to Hamilton, Ont., Manitoba to Thunder Bay, Ont. and Mitiq to Windsor, Ont. The Pineglen passed through headed down to Montreal, Que. The upbound John D. Leitch to Burns Harbor and Dimitrios K to Hamilton, Ont. are expected to sail through later Sunday evening while the upbound CSL Niagara will be up in the late night to the port of Johnstown


Lookback #365 – Former Vardefjell an early casualty of war on Nov. 17, 1939

War in Europe had only been underway for just over two months when the former Vardefjell was torpedoed and sunk 75 years ago today. The ship was sailing as b) Kaunas under the flag of Lithuania, when it was sighted by U-57 and torpedoed not far from North Hinder Light, River Schelde.

The vessel had been a familiar Great Lakes trader shortly after being built at Porsgrunn, Norway, in 1931. The 246 foot, 6 inch long freighter was laid down as Dixie but this name had been changed by the time of completion in July.

Vardefjell saw early service in the North Sea-Baltic coal trade for Olsen & Ugelstad. When they began what was to become regular Great Lakes service in 1932, this was the first of what became known as the Fjell Line to visit the Great Lakes. It left Detroit for Swansea, U.K. on Oct. 13, 1932, and was back again the next year in September from London and Antwerp for Chicago.

On Dec. 7, 1935, Vardefjell was the last saltwater ship of the season to leave the lakes and it departed Montreal the next day requiring icebreaker assistance to reach Quebec City.

Vardefjell was sold and renamed b) Kaunas in 1938 and one life was lost when it was attacked on Nov. 17, 1939.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  November 17

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Atlantic Power, Bluewing, Cornelia, Dimitrios K, Kom, and Ziemia Cieszynska


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 17

On 17 November 1884, PHOENIX (wooden propeller wrecking tug, 173 gross tons, built in 1862, at Cleveland, Ohio) caught fire in one of her coal bunkers at 7 a.m. while she was tied up to the C. S. R. Railroad slip at Amherstburg, Ontario. Several vessels, including the Dunbar tug SHAUGHRAUN and the steam barge MARSH, tried to save her. The SHAUGHRAUN finally got a line on her and pulled her away from the dock and towed her near Norwell’s wharf where she burned and sank.

On 17 Nov 1969, the RIDGETOWN (steel propeller bulk freighter, 557 foot, 7,637 gross tons, built in 1905, at Chicago, Illinois as WILLIAM E. COREY) was laid up at Toronto for the last time with a load of grain. In the spring of 1970, Upper Lakes Shipping, Ltd. sold her to Canadian Dredge & Dock Co., Ltd. of Toronto. She was sunk at Nanticoke, Ontario, for use as a temporary breakwater during the construction of harbor facilities in the summer of 1970. Still later, she was raised and sunk again in the summer of 1974, as a breakwater to protect marina facilities at Port Credit, Ontario.

On November 17, 1984, the EUGENE P. THOMAS was towed by the TUG MALCOLM to Thunder Bay, Ontario, for scrapping by Shearmet.

In the morning of 17 November 1926, the PETER A.B. WIDENER (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,053 gross tons, built in 1906, at Chicago, Illinois) was running up bound on Lake Superior in ballast when it encountered strong Northeasterly winds. About six miles Southwest of the Rock of Ages Light on Isle Royale, the captain gave orders to change course for Duluth, Minnesota. There was no response because the wheel chains had parted from the drum, thus disabling the rudder. Repairs cost $4,000.

On 15 Nov 1972, the MICHIPICOTEN (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 549 foot, 6,490 gross tons, built in 1905, at W. Bay City, Michigan, as HENRY C. FRICK) departed Quebec in tow of Polish tug KORAL for scrapping in Spain. The tow encountered bad weather and the MICHIPICOTEN broke in two during a major fall storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Her forward section sank on 17 November off Anticosti Island, and the after section sank the next day.

The propeller JOHN STUART burned about two miles from Sebawaing, Michigan, at 9:00 p.m., 17 November 1872. She had been aground there for some time.

On 17 November 1887, ARIZONA (wooden propeller package freighter, 189 foot, 962 gross tons, built in 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying oils and acid used in mining operations when her dangerous cargo caught fire as she approached the harbor at Marquette, Michigan, in heavy seas. Poisonous fumes drove all of the crew topside, leaving the vessel unmanageable. She ran against the breakwater and the crew jumped off. The burning steamer "chased" the crew down the breakwater toward town with the poisonous fumes blowing ashore. She finally beached herself and burned herself out. She was later recovered and rebuilt.

On 17 November 1873, the wooden 2-mast schooner E.M. CARRINGTON sank in nine feet of water at Au Sable, Michigan. She had a load of 500 barrels of flour and 7,000 bushels of grain. She was recovered and lasted another seven years.

On 17 November 1880, GARIBALDI (2-mast wooden schooner, 124 foot, 209 tons, built in 1863, at Port Rowan, Ontario) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Ontario. She anchored to ride out the storm, but after riding out the gale for 15 hours, her anchor cable parted and her crew was forced to try to bring her into Weller's Bay. She stranded on the bar. One of the crew froze solid in a standing position and his ghost is supposed to still haunt that area. The vessel was recovered and rebuilt. She lasted until at least 1898.

1902: The wooden steamer ROBERT WALLACE sank 13 miles out of Two Harbors while towing the barge ASHLAND.

1922: CITY OF DRESDEN was anchored off Long Point due to high winds and some of the cargo was thrown overboard. The ship beached on the west side of Long Point and broke up as a total loss. One sailor perished.

1922: MALTON went aground on Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario and was stuck until November 30.

1936: The steering cable of the SIDNEY E. SMITH gave way entering the harbor at Fairport, Ohio, and the ship stranded on the break wall. While released on November 22, the heavily damaged vessel was broken up for scrap the following year.

1939: VARDEFJELL, which inaugurated regular Great Lakes service for the Fjell Line in 1932, was torpedoed and sunk as b) KAUNAS 6.5 miles WNW of Noord Harbor, N. Hinder Light, River Schelde.

1996: SEADANIEL went aground at Duluth due to high winds after the anchors dragged. The ship was released, undamaged, by tugs. It last visited the Great Lakes in November 1998 and arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on May 5, 1999.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Max Hanley, and Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Saltie Skawa strikes shoal in Seaway

11/16 - 11 a.m. update - Last night Skawa was moved up the river to the Wilson Hill anchorage. This morning the crew began pumping air into the forepeak tank that was holed in the grounding. After two hours the draft, which is monitored by a computer, has risen a little more than an inch.

Original report - At 5:05 p.m. Saturday, the downbound Polsteam ship Skawa radioed to Seaway Eisenhower that the ship had lost the main engine and was not under control. The Skawa then broadcast a warning to the Federal Kumano, nearby and upbound, to be careful as they could not bring the ship under control without the main engine. At that time, Skawa sheered to port and struck a shoal north of Richards Point between lighted buoys 52 and 54. She passed over the shoal and out of the channel into deeper water where she was stopped briefly. Federal Kumano passed by without any danger. Skawa restarted the engine, turned 180 degrees, and proceeded upbound north of the shoal she hit and went to anchor north west of Richards Point, clear of the shipping channel. The forepeak is holed and the ship is down by the head and up at the stern. Her forward draft is 27.88 feet and aft is 25.85 feet. The deepest allowable draft in the Seaway is 26.5 feet. The ship is now stable and not taking on any more water.

Ron Beaupre


Overseas traffic busy as season heads toward final month

11/16 - Bustling overseas trade on the Great Lakes - Seaway system this year looks to continue through the end of the season. Over 45 oceangoing freighters are listed as currently in the system or due within the next few days.

At least 25 additional Seaway-capable dry cargo ships (bulkers and multipurpose carriers) are due on the lower St. Lawrence before the end of November. Sixteen of those ships have confirmed destinations on the Great Lakes, including Puffin, Barnacle, Federal Danube, Erieborg, Three Rivers, Fuldaborg, Lubie, Federal Welland, Nogat, Sea Racer (ex Changi Hope), Federal Mattawa, Federal Mayumi, Federal Saguenay, Federal Yukina, Federal Miramichi and Federal Elbe.

Another nine vessels currently list destinations on the lower St. Lawrence, but at least a few of them are likely to continue west into the lakes. These possible visitors include Elbeborg, Deltuva (ex Clipper Eagle), Celine, Blue Phoenix 1 (ex Elise Oldendorff), Vancouverborg, Juno, Iryda, Bluebill and Apollon.


Port Reports -  November 16

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Denny Dushane
In what may possibly be one of the busiest seasons in recent memory for grain movements, several salties and a few Canadian vessels have been busy lately loading, with many at anchor waiting for berths at the grain elevators. There were five salties in port as of Saturday, with an additional two at anchor waiting for berths at the elevators. They included Transhawk, Yulia, Solina, Pochard S and Miewie. Two salties, Strandja and Federal Mackinac, were at anchor waiting for clear docks before they could load. Tecumseh a Canadian laker owned by the Lower Lakes Towing Co. fleet, was also at anchor. Several other vessels – mostly saltwater ships and a few more Canadian vessels – are scheduled for arrivals in the next few days to load. Among them are the saltie Mottler, the Canadian laker Algoma Equinox, and the salties Federal Yoshino, Finnborg and Zealand Delilah.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the harbors in Marquette, Kaye E. Barker loaded ore at the Upper Harbor and USCGC Alder arrived for the night at the Lower Harbor Mattson Park dock.

Port Inland, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive at Port Inland on Friday in the late evening. Wilfred Sykes is due to arrive on Sunday during the morning. Due in Tuesday is the Saginaw in the early evening.

Cedarville, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes is due at Cedarville on Wednesday in the late evening. Two vessels are due on Friday in the late afternoon, with the Joseph H. Thompson arriving first followed by Philip R. Clarke.

Calcite, Mich.
Cason J. Callaway was expected on Saturday in the late afternoon for the South Dock. Due on Sunday is the Lakes Contender in the early evening for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday. Due on Tuesday in the early evening is the Arthur M. Anderson for the South Dock. No vessels are scheduled in for Wednesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calumet loaded on Saturday and was due to depart at around 10 a.m. Also due on Saturday was the Pathfinder, expected to arrive around 5 p.m. Three vessels are due on Sunday, with the Lewis J. Kuber first in the early morning followed by the Joseph H. Thompson. Great Republic is scheduled to arrive on Sunday in the late evening. There are no vessels scheduled Monday. Four vessels are on the schedule for Tuesday, with the Pathfinder due first in the early morning, followed by the Lewis J. Kuber in the late morning and the Philip R. Clarke in the late afternoon. Joseph H. Thompson is also due on Tuesday in the late evening.

Saginaw River – Stephen Hause
Algorail traveled up the Saginaw River on Saturday morning, arriving shortly after noon at the Buena Vista Dock just above the Zilwaukee Bridge. The tug G.L. Ostrander was outbound from Essexville on Saturday morning with the cement barge Integrity. The pair had been at the LaFarge dock in Essexville for several days. Fleetmates Manitowoc and Mississagi were both unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee on Wednesday afternoon. Also on Wednesday, the Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber visited the Bay Aggregates dock near Bay City, then continued up river to Zilwaukee. Otherwise, little activity has been noted on the river since Nov. 5, when the Algoway called at Zilwaukee. The Moore-Kuber returned to the Saginaw River late Saturday afternoon and docked at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Mesabi Miner arrived in Toledo to unload iron ore at the Torco Dock on Saturday during the morning. Due at Torco will be the James L. Kuber on Wednesday, November 19 in the early afternoon followed by the John J. Boland on Monday, November 24 in the early morning. Algomarine is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Monday in the late afternoon. Michipicoten is also due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Friday, November 21 in the late evening. Saginaw is due at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday in the early morning hours followed by the H. Lee White also on Sunday in the late afternoon. Manitowoc is due at CSX on Monday in the early evening, followed by the H. Lee White and Indiana Harbor on Tuesday, November 18. Other vessels in port at the time of this report included the tug Paul L. Luedtke, saltwater vessel Mandarin at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, tug Barbara Andrie with a barge, the Saginaw unloading a grain cargo along the Maumee River, and further upriver the saltwater vessel Federal Asahi loading grain. The tug Wilf Seymour with barge Alouette Spirit were also upriver at one of the as well.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway entered the harbor at 4:20 p.m. Saturday and left at 10:30 p.m. Joseph H. Thompson left Lorain about 10:45 a.m.


Builder for new Desgagnés tankers revealed

11/16 - In September, Groupe Desgagnés announced its intentions to purchase two new-build 15,000-dwt ice-class 1A asphalt and bitumen tankers. This week it was revealed the vessels will be built by Besiktas Shipyard in Yolova, Turkey. The ships have a capacity of 13,350 tonnes of asphalt (at a draft of 7.8 m) and will be powered by duel fuel engines capable of running on liquid natural gas or fuel oil. They will have 600 cubic meters of on-deck storage capacity of LNG.

Before Desiktas developed its own shipyard in 2008, it was a project manager overseeing the construction of vessels at other Turkish shipyards. In this capacity Besiktas oversaw the construction of the 2007-built Sarah Desgagnés.

Tom Hynes


Stranded ship crew lacks food and water, union says

11/16 - St. John’s, Nfl. – Eleven men stranded on a cargo ship at the port of Argentia in Newfoundland are low on food and water and are among increasing numbers of abandoned crews, say union leaders.

"My concern right now is these guys do not have a penny in their pocket," Gerard Bradbury, an inspector with the International Transport Workers Federation, told a news conference Friday. "They have no winter clothing whatsoever."

Bradbury is appealing for donations to help the eight Ukrainian and three Russian crewmembers stranded at the port in southeastern Newfoundland since Aug. 4. The crew aboard the 131-metre MV Jana arrived in Argentia from Poland after delivering its cargo of steel rails in Halifax, Bradbury said.

The 12-year-old vessel is in relatively good shape but needs significant repairs to its main engine shaft, he added. Jana was a Great Lakes visitor in 2010.

Bradbury said the crew has not been paid since June and is now owed about US$160,000. The vessel was last owned by a German company that claims the ship was seized when it filed for bankruptcy, he said.

Gregor Reiter, a legal adviser for the company's insolvency administrator, confirmed Friday that the ship is now tied up in court proceedings in Germany that could take several more weeks.

He said in an emailed statement that the vessel is still owned by the MS "Hanna" Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Co. Reederei KG, a private limited partnership.

Reiter said the insolvency administrator, Andreas Sontopski, wired Friday about 15,000 Euro (around C$21,000) "to address the bare necessities of the crew."

"We know that this is a mere drop in the ocean, but we hope that at least the minimum requirements can be met."

Reiter said the insolvency administrator has been working to secure funds to repair the ship or tow it to a more accessible port.

"Having talked to (Gerard Bradbury) today, we will put pressure on the secured creditors to secure funding and to make a decision on how to proceed by next week," he said.

Transport Canada issued a statement confirming the vessel has mechanical problems, but spokesman Ben Stanford said in an email the ship would be allowed to leave once repairs were made.

John Boland, a union representative with the Fish, Food and Allied Workers, said such strandings are becoming alarmingly frequent.

"You know, once every 10 years we would have something like this in Newfoundland," he told the news conference. "It's just getting more and more all the time."

Boland blames international free trade deals that he says erode the rights of already low-paid crews.

"I think it's a race to the bottom," he said. "Everybody is having to do more and more for less and less money. The end result is what you see."

Capt. Sergey Alipichev said there's heat on the ship and enough fuel to last another 20 days. But he said tensions are escalating as the men live on chicken and rice with little fresh fruit or vegetables. A lack of cigarettes hasn't helped boost morale for the heavy smokers on board, he added.

Able-bodied seaman Sergey Orel of Odessa, Ukraine, said he keeps in touch with family through text messages on his five-year-old cellphone. It's the only means of communication for the crew right now, he said.

"Of course, they're waiting," Orel said of loved ones who rely on cash sent home by the men.

He said the crew spends long days maintaining the ship, fighting boredom and hoping to get back to sea.

Canadian Press


Palmer Johnson's newest yacht departs Sturgeon Bay

11/16 - Palmer Johnson's newest yacht, the 157-foot-long Khalilah, departed Sturgeon Bay from the CenterPointe Marine dock on Saturday. According to AIS, the vessel's name was still her shipyard number, PJ Hull 265.

The vessel was partially constructed in Russia, and was brought to Sturgeon Bay in the summer of 2013 aboard the Netherlands-flagged heavy-lift vessel Qamutik. It was launched at Bay Shipbuilding earlier this year, and has been undergoing finishing touches, including sea trials, in the past weeks. The ship is definitely different from the yachts we see on the lakes, as she has a very specific and, most likely, fuel-efficient hull design. Khalilah is in the 48M SuperSport class, giving her a top speed of 32 knots. She is also 50 percent more fuel efficient than any other yacht. She isn't hard to miss because of her gold-painted hull. Rumors suggest that the vessel's home port will be in Russia.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday night, Khalilah was eastbound in the Straits of Mackinaw with no updated destination posted.

Daniel Lindner


Lookback #364 – Pascal P. Pratt caught fire in Lake Erie on Nov. 16, 1908

11/16 - Pascal P. Pratt was a wooden bulk carrier from another era. The 286-foot-long vessel was built at Cleveland in 1888 and was originally equipped with twin stacks and four masts.

A 700 horsepower double-compound steam engine enabled the vessel to operate effectively with a tow barge most notably the Annie M. Ash, in the early years, and later the Athens.

There were three owners listed in its 20 years of service but none changed the name of Pascal P. Pratt. It was still sailing as such when it caught fire 106 years ago today.

The ship had loaded anthracite coal at Buffalo for Milwaukee but did not get far. Fire broke out in the engine room WNW of Long Point, Lake Erie and the blaze spread quickly.

The Captain elected to beach the Pascal P. Pratt and he succeeded in doing so and all on board were rescued. But the hull burned to the water line. About 600 tons of the cargo of coal was salvaged the next year but the accident of Nov. 16, 1908, spelled the end for the Pascal P. Pratt.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 16

On 16 November 1870, BADGER STATE (3-mast wooden bark, 150 foot, 302 tons, built in 1853, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) stranded and wrecked at Sleeping Bear Dune on Lake Michigan during a storm.

The tug portion of the PRESQUE ISLE (Hull#322) built by Halter Marine Services, New Orleans, Louisiana, was up bound in the Welland Canal on November 16,1973, en route to Erie, Pennsylvania, to join with the barge.

FRED R. WHITE JR (Hull#722) was launched in 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

On 16 Nov 1909, the JAMES S. DUNHAM (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,795 gross tons, built in 1906, at W. Bay City, Michigan) encountered heavy seas and began hitting bottom where charts indicated 35 feet of water, even though she was in ballast and only drawing 17 feet of water. Rather than risk tearing the bottom out of her, the captain decided to beach her at Marble Point, just east of the Bad River outlet. After the heavy snow showers cleared, a message in a bottle was floated ashore to an observer.

The steel bulk freighters SIR JAMES DUNN and GEORGIAN BAY in tow of the Panamanian tug MC THUNDER arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping on 16 Nov 1989, 129 days after departing Thunder Bay.

On 16 November 1887, PACIFIC (wooden propeller freighter, 187 foot, 766 gross tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) was loaded with lumber bound from Deer Park, Michigan, for Michigan City, Indiana. After leaving the dock, she grounded on a shoal due to low water levels. The nearby Lifesaving Service took her crew off and then returned for the captain's dog. She was broken up by a gale on 19 November.

In 1892, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 arrived at Frankfort, Michigan on her maiden trip.

November 16, 1990 - MWT ceased operations, ending more than a century of carferry service. The last run was made by the BADGER, with Capt. Bruce Masse in command.

In 1981, Interlake's JOHN SHERWIN entered lay-up in Superior, Wisconsin and has not seen service since.

On 16 November 1869, ADELL (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 25 gross tons, built in 1860, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was driven ashore during a storm about a half mile below Bay View Pier near Milwaukee. Her skipper had every penny he owned sunk into that vessel. He was able to salvage her rigging and spars and left them on the beach overnight. The next day he returned and found that all had been stolen during the night.

On 16 Nov 1883, MANISTEE (wooden side-wheeler, 184 foot, 677 tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio) broke up in a gale west of the Keweenaw Peninsula off of Eagle Harbor, Michigan. This is one of Lake Superior's worst disasters. Estimates of the number who died range from 23 to 37.

1901: The wooden freighter ELFIN-MERE was damaged by fire at Green Bay after a lamp exploded in the engineroom. The crew got away safely although an engineer was burned. The vessel was rebuilt the following year and returned to service in 1903 as b) CHARLES B. PACKARD.

1908: PASCAL P. PRATT was carrying anthracite coal from Buffalo to Milwaukee when it caught fire in the engineroom off Long Point, Lake Erie. The blaze spread quickly and the wooden vessel was beached. All of the crew got away safely. The hull burned to the waterline and the remains sank.

1923: GLENSTRIVEN, loaded with 160,000 bushels of oats, was wrecked at Cove Island, Georgian Bay in wind and fog. The vessel was enroute to Midland and was salvaged December 5 by the Reid Wrecking Co. The damage was too severe to repair and the hull was scrapped at Collingwood in 1924.

1927: JOLLY INEZ stranded at Saddlebag Island in the False Detour Channel and was abandoned.

1964: THOMAS F. COLE and INVEREWE collided in heavy fog off the southern end of Pipe Island in the St. Marys River. Both ships were repaired but the latter was later lost as d) THEOKEETOR off Mexico following another collision on June 20, 1973.

1965: The LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL sank in the St. Lawrence after an early morning collision with the SUNEK off Ile d'Orleans. The former, a laker in the Halco fleet, rolled on its side but all on board were saved. The ship was refloated in March 1966, repaired and returned to service. It later sailed as DAVID K. GARDINER and CANADIAN VENTURE before scrapping at Alang, India, in 2005. SUNEK received bow damage but this was repaired and this ship was scrapped at Barcelona, Spain, as b) NOTOS in 1979.

1967: CALIFORNIA SUN, a Liberty ship, made one trip through the Seaway in 1966. It suffered an engineroom explosion off Nicobar Island on the Indian Ocean and was gutted. The abandoned ship was taken in tow by JALARAJAN, a familiar Seaway salty, and delivered to the Seychelles.

1978: MONT ST. MARTIN was battered by a storm on Lake Erie and escorted to Southeast Shoal area by the STEELTON.

1978: NYX visited the Great Lakes in 1958 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. It sustained severe fire damage at Sidon, Lebanon, as c) DOMINION TRADER. It was subsequently blown aground by strong winds November 30-December 1 and broke in two.

1979: ALDORA dragged anchor while off Port Weller and was blown aground, only to be freed the same day. This ship was scrapped at Vado, Italy, in 1985-1986.

1979: SARONIC SEA was also anchored off Port Weller when it dragged anchor and stranded at the foot of Geneva Street in St. Catharines. The hull was not refloated until December 6. The ship had first visited the Great Lakes as RAVNANGER in 1964 and was later a victim of the war between Iran and Iraq, being shelled with mortar fire at Basrah on September 25, 1980.

1986: CARINA, an SD-14, first came through the Seaway in 1969. It was abandoned by the crew as d) HYMETUS when the hull cracked in heavy weather 180 miles SSE of Hong Kong while enroute to Shanghai, with steel. The ship sank the next day in the South China Sea.

2009: CSL ASSINIBOINE went aground near Cardinal. It had to be lightered and was released on November 21.

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


Annual Dossin Marine Mart in Grosse Point today

11/15 - The Dossin Maritime Group will hold its annual Marine Mart today from 10 a.m. 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive (between Cadieux and Moross) in Grosse Pointe Farms. Early-bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m.

The annual Marine Mart is for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features great holiday shopping and shiploads of nautical items and treasures including lighthouse prints, nautical ink prints, original and acrylic prints, unique nautical gifts, hand painted Christmas ornaments with Michigan lighthouses, postcards, magazines, china, souvenirs, clocks, marine art, nautical charts, maritime artifacts, boat items, nautical artifacts, nautical photographs, woodworking, lithographs, brochures, acrylic paintings, out-of-print Great Lakes books, ship models and more.


Former Canadian Ambassador beached for scrapping

11/15 - Only months after its Port Weller Dry Docks-built sistership, the former Canadian Pioneer, was beached at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as b) Pioneer, her long-time running mate Ambassador was pulled onshore in what appears to be Gadani Beach, Pakistan.

The latter vessel had burned while unloading coal at Banten, Indonesia, on Sept. 12, 2013, and there was extensive damage to the after end accommodations and wheelhouse. The vessel had been sailing in Far East waters as e) Pramudita since 2012.

As Canadian Ambassador, this 730-foot-long self-unloader had been built at Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines, Ont., and christened on June 11, 1983. It entered service the following month for Upper Lakes Shipping carrying grain on its maiden voyage.

After early service on the Great Lakes, the ship was transferred to Marbulk Carriers, a sister company, for deep-sea service in 1986. Renamed b) Ambassador at Sorel, the vessel left there for Savannah, Ga., on Dec. 16 and spent much of the ensuing years in the east coast coal trade.

Ambassador did travel elsewhere including delivering coal from Hampton Roads, VA to Europe in 1987 and bringing Venezuelan coal to Halifax in Feb. 2000.

The recent fire was not the first as a blaze had broken out in the self-unloading tunnel at Belledune, N.B., on Dec. 14, 1994. This location proved to be a difficult challenge to fight the flames but the area was deliberately flooded and this action saved the ship.

From April 13-December 21, 2000 this vessel operated for the Algoma Central Corp. on charter and was renamed c) Algosea. As such, it often traded on the St. Lawrence but also came through the Seaway on two occasions. In the first, it delivered taconite ore to the Dofasco steel mill in Hamilton, while the second time it brought gypsum from Little Narrows, N.S., to the Lake Ontario port of Bath. The ship was renamed d) Ambassador again at Trois Rivieres, Que., shortly after tying up there on Dec. 9.

Ambassador never returned to the Great Lakes and finished its days on saltwater. It was noted to have gone to Gdansk, Poland, for a refit in 2003 and almost a decade later was sold for service as e) Pramudita under the flag of Indonesia in 2012. Pramudita had been idle since the fire of Sept. 12, 2013, and reports indicate that it has been sold for scrap, towed to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, and recently beached under the abbreviated name of f) Pramuda.

Matt Miner and Skip Gillham


Twin Ports Report

11/15 - Duluth-Superior saw another fairly busy day Friday. Indiana Harbor arrived early in the morning for a load of coal at Midwest Energy. CSL Assiniboine entered the harbor just before sunrise to fuel at Calumet before departing again and anchoring out on the open lake, waiting her turn after the Indiana Harbor.

Dutch-owned, Gibraltar-flagged ARA Rotterdam arrived mid-morning headed for CHS 1 in Superior to load grain. Before visiting Duluth she delivered a cargo to Owen Sound, Ontario which sources indicate may have been a somewhat unusual cargo of wheat imported from northern Europe. ARA Rotterdam visited the lakes previously as Sabrina, one of many familiar saltwater visitors that were part of the disintegrating Intersee Schiffahrts fleet and are now returning under new names and ownership. Upon berthing at CHS she began loading fairly quickly, and seemed likely to depart Friday evening or possibly Saturday.

John G. Munson arrived an hour or so after ARA Rotterdam with a cargo of eastern coal. The Munson followed the CSL Assiniboine for a stop at the fuel dock before heading up St. Louis Bay to Reiss Inland. As the Munson slipped past the Grassy Point Drawbridge she approached the innermost terminus of the Great Lakes / Seaway system and likely became one of the first ships on Lakes this fall to encounter significant harbor ice. Ice has covered much of the upper St. Louis River estuary in recent days, and Friday afternoon it spanned shore to shore as far as the eye could see in the vicinity of the Reiss dock. This early season ice was fairly thin and the Munson didn't appear to have any trouble negotiating her way to the dock. She was expected to complete discharging eastern coal overnight and shift to the CN ore dock in Duluth to load.

As the Munson made her way upriver, Algoma Olympic cleared Superior with iron ore pellets from BNSF. She was quickly replaced at the Allouez ore dock by Lee A. Tregurtha, which had delivered coke breeze to Hallett Dock 8 on Thursday. The Tregurtha finished unloading overnight Thursday and headed down St. Louis Bay and the Superior Front Channel before departing the Superior piers and dropping anchor to wait her turn behind the Olympic. BNSF has loaded a steady string of ships the past few days, so the Tregurtha had a wait ahead of her while the dock reclaimed pellets from the stockpile to charge the dock silos. She was expected to begin loading Friday evening.

Also in port Friday Sam Laud loaded iron ore pellets at CN in Duluth, and Dutch saltie Volgaborg loaded beet pulp pellets at Gavilon / Peavey in Superior. Volgaborg's state of the art hull lines provided a notable contrast to the similarly-sized J.B. Ford, at over 110 years old one of the most venerable freighters in existence. Volgaborg departed just after sunset bound for Casablanca, Morocco. Sam Laud and Indiana Harbor cleared about two hours later.

At north shore ore docks Friday the Roger Blough loaded at Two Harbors and John J. Boland was expected at Silver Bay.


Port Reports -  November 15

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive Thursday during the early evening, and expected to return Friday in the mid-afternoon. Wilfred Sykes is due Saturday at midnight. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 are due on Sunday at noon.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes is due next at Cedarville next Thursday in the early morning. Philip R. Clarke is due next Friday in the late afternoon.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded at the South Dock on Friday. Mississagi loaded at the North Dock on Friday and was expected to depart around 2 p.m. Due in on Saturday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the morning for the South Dock. Due in on Monday will be the tug Ken Boothe Sr. with barge Lakes Contender in the early afternoon for the North Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader loaded Friday and was expected to depart around 11 p.m. There are two vessels due on Saturday, with the Calumet arriving first in the early morning, followed by the Cason J. Callaway in the late afternoon. Due in on Sunday are three vessels, with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving first in the early morning along with the Joseph H. Thompson. Great Republic is also due on Sunday in the early evening. There are no vessels scheduled Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Mesabi Miner, making a rare visit to Toledo, is expected at the Torco Dock on Saturday morning to unload iron ore. Also due at Torco is the James L. Kuber on Tuesday in the early evening. Two vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, the Algomarine on Sunday in the late afternoon followed by the Michipicoten on Friday, Nov. 21 in the late evening. Due at the CSX Coal Dock is the Saginaw on Sunday in the early morning, followed by the H. Lee White also in the early afternoon. Three vessels are due to load at CSX on Monday, with the Manitowoc and Michipicoten both for afternoon arrivals followed by the H. Lee White returning to load in the late evening. Three other ships were also in port at the time of this report, with the saltwater vessel Mandarin at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The salty Federal Asahi and CSL's Mapleglen are still loading grain cargoes upriver at the grain elevators. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was off of Toledo.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Early Friday morning the Toronto Drydock tug Radium Yellowknife headed across the harbor over to Terminal 52 with the TPA ferry Marylin Bell on the hip. The back- up ferry David Hornell VC is maintaining service to Billy Bishop Airport and giving the new Caterpillar main engines a good workout. Late Friday afternoon the CSL Laurentien cleared the East Gap outbound after delivering a load of salt at Cargill on Unwin Ave.


Lookback #363 – Firat stranded off a Florida beach on Nov. 15, 1994

Hurricane Gordon, a late season storm, swept the coast of Florida 20 years ago today. The Turkish freighter Firat had been anchored awaiting dock space but the anchors failed to hold in the high winds. As a result, the 506-foot-long cargo carrier came ashore in shallow water at Fort Lauderdale, south of Las Olas Blvd.

Firat was on a voyage from the Dominican Republic to Delaware when it made the Florida stop. Some cargo and some fuel had to be pumped off the ship before it could be pulled free on Nov. 26, 1994.

This ship had been built at Trogir, Yugoslavia, in 1970 and entered the Seaway for the first time on June 30, 1990, with a cargo of iron and steel pipe plus fittings for delivery to Hamilton, Ont.

Firat sustained serious bottom damage in the accident of Nov. 15, 1994, was sold for scrap and towed overseas. There the ship was resold and repaired at Istanbul for additional service in 1995. It sailed another two years, still under the flag of Turkey, before being resold for scrap one last time.

The final destination of Alang, India, was reached on June 27, 1997, and the Firat was broken up by the Jai Bharat Steel Co.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 15

In 1883, the schooner E. FITZGERALD, Captain Daniel Lanigan, went ashore and was completely covered with ice. The crew of six drowned while attempting to make shore in the yawl. A couple days after the loss, Mrs. Lanigan received a prophetic letter from her son stating he was tired of sailing and this would be his last trip.

On 15 November 1871, EVERGREEN CITY (wooden propeller freighter, 193 foot, 624 gross tons, built in 1856, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying lumber camp supplies when she was driven on to the southwest coast of Long Point on Lake Erie by a westerly gale. She hogged and broke up. Most of her cargo and fittings were stolen over the winter. Surprisingly, she was recovered and rebuilt in 1872-1873, but only lasted until 1875, when she was abandoned at Buffalo, New York.

The cargo mid-body of the then-under construction GEORGE A. STINSON was towed from Toledo, where it was built, to Lorain, Ohio, in 1977.

PAUL THAYER left Lorain on her maiden voyage November 15, 1973, light for Escanaba, Michigan to load iron ore. Renamed b.) EARL W. OGLEBAY in 1995.

On November 15, 1974, W. W. HOLLOWAY struck an embankment at Burns Harbor, Indiana, causing extensive damage.

Departing Duluth on November 15, 1909, the BRANSFORD encountered a gale driven snowstorm. She battled the storm the entire day only to end up on the rocks near Siskiwit Bay on Isle Royale.

On 15 November 1894, ANTELOPE (wooden schooner, 56 foot, 32 gross tons, built in 1878, at Grand Haven, Michigan) capsized in a storm while trying to make harbor at Grand Haven, Michigan. 4 lives were lost.

November 15, 1924 - The carferry PERE MARQUETTE was renamed PERE MARQUETTE 15.

On 15 November 1875, The Port Huron Times reported that "there is little doubt but that the scow SUTLER GIRL has been lost with all hands on Lake Erie. She has now been overdue two weeks."

On 15 November 1869, W. W. ARNOLD (wooden schooner, 426 gross tons, built in 1863, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying iron ore when she was driven ashore near the mouth of the Two Hearted River on Lake Superior during the great gale of November 1869. The violent storm tore the schooner apart and she sank quickly losing all hands (11) including several passengers.

On 15 Nov 1905, the W. K. BIXBY (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 480 foot, 5,712 gross tons, later b.) J.L. REISS, then c.) SIDNEY E. SMITH JR) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan, for the National Steamship Co. (M.B. McMillan). She lasted until 1972, when she was wrecked at Sarnia, Ontario, in a collision with the PARKER EVANS.

1901: The consort barge JOHN SMEATON broke loose of the steamer HARVARD and came ashore on the rocks off Au Train, Mich., and rested in 4 feet of water. The crew was safe and the ship released at the end of the month by Reid Wrecking and went to Superior for repairs.

1909: The Canadian freighter OTTAWA foundered stern first off Passage Isle, Lake Superior when the cargo of grain shifted. The crew, while they suffered terribly, were able to reach the safety of Keweenaw Point in the lifeboats after 12 hours on the open lake in wild seas.

1915: A. McVITTIE took out the gate at Lock 12 of the Third Welland Canal leading to a washout.

1919: J.S. CROUSE was enroute from Glen Haven to Traverse City when fire was discovered around the stack. The blaze spread quickly. The ship burned to the water line and sank in Sleeping Bear Bay, Lake Michigan.

1920: The wooden hulled steamer MAPLEGULF broke her back in a Lake Ontario storm. It was considered beyond economical repair and beached at Kingston.

1931: A storm forced the wooden passenger and freight steamer WINONA back to Spragge, Ontario, and the next day the ship was found to be on fire over the boiler. The vessel was towed from the dock to protect a pile of lumber and it became a total loss.

1952: The newly-built tanker B.A. PEERLESS lost power and went aground below the Detroit River Light. It was refloated on November 17.

1975: The ocean tanker GATUN LOCKS made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. The vessel was lying at Piraeus Roads, Greece, as c) SUNARUSSA when it was gutted by a fire. The hull was sold for scrap in 1977 and broken up at Laurion, Greece, beginning on April 26, 1977.

1981: ALFRED was gutted by a fire off Benghazi, Libya, after the blaze broke out in the engineroom. The hull was scuttled 100 miles out in the Mediterranean on November 24. The ship had been on the Great Lakes earlier in the year and first traveled inland as a) ALFRED REHDER in 1972.

1994: The Turkish freighter FIRAT was blown ashore at Port Everglades, FL by Hurricane Gordon when the anchors failed to hold. The ship was a beach attraction until lightered and released on November 26. FIRAT first came through the Seaway in 1990 and was scrapped at Alang, India, in 1997, after sailing 27 years under the same name.

2007: CALUMET was damaged when it struck a wall at Cleveland while moving to the salt dock. It was sold for scrap and departed for Port Colborne two days later.

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


Great Lakes limestone rally continues in October

11/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes limestone trade racked up its fifth straight month of increases over the corresponding period last year in October. Stone cargos totaled 3.7 million tons, an increase of 2.8 percent. The trade also bettered its long-term average by 8.1 percent.

Despite the 5-month rally, year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade is still slightly behind last year’s pace. The 23 million tons shipped through October represent a decrease of 2.1 percent. Weather will play a leading role in determining if the 500,000-ton gap between this year and last can be erased. Some Novembers have been so stormy that the Lakes fleet had to go to anchor for more than 5,000 hours. Last year the U.S. Coast Guard started breaking ice on Dec. 6, the earliest date on record.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  November 14

Drummond Island, Mich. – Jake H.
On Thursday, the American Courage arrived and began loading.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H.
Joseph L. Block arrived on Thursday in the late morning. They are due to return to Port Inland on Friday in the late morning. Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive on Saturday just before midnight. Due on Sunday is the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 about noon.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H.
Joseph L. Block was expected on Wednesday during the late evening. Thursday the Wilfred Sykes was loading. The Sykes is due again on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H
Thursday loadings included the tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender. Two other vessels were also due to arrive on Thursday with the Manitowoc arriving first for both the North and South docks. Mississagi was also due to arrive in the late afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H
Cason J. Callaway loaded at Stoneport on Thursday and was due to depart around noon. Also due on Thursday was the Philip R. Clarke in the morning, however they were going to anchor waiting for the Callaway's departure. The Lewis J. Kuber was also due to load on Thursday in the early afternoon. Two vessels are due for arrivals on Friday in the early morning, with the Calumet and the Pathfinder scheduled in to load. The Joseph H. Thompson is due to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Great Republic is due on Sunday in the early morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White is due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday during the early morning followed by the Saginaw. H. Lee White returns to CSX to load again on Monday in the morning, followed by the Michipicoten and Manitowoc on Monday all in the morning. Indiana Harbor is also due on Monday in the late evening to load at CSX. There are two vessels due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with cargoes of limestone, with the Algomarine arriving first on Sunday during the morning followed by Michpicoten on Monday just after midnight. Mesabi Miner is due at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore on Saturday in the morning followed by the James L. Kuber on Tuesday during the early afternoon. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the tug Paul L. Luedtke. The salty Maccoa of Cyprus flag was departing after loading at one of the grain elevators upriver, while the salty Mandarin, a fleetmate to the Maccoa, was still at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit were also in port and the salty Federal Asahi of Hong Kong registry was upriver loading a grain cargo at one of the elevators.


Lookback #362 – Pointe Marguerite sank after collision on Nov. 14, 1978

The tug Pointe Marguerite only sailed the Great Lakes on its delivery trip. The 105-foot-long vessel was built at Collingwood as Hull 202 and launched on Oct. 2, 1972. It departed for saltwater on April 4, 1973.

This ship was ordered by the Eastern Canada Towing Co. and headed east for service at Sept-iles, Quebec. It was designed to serve the visitors, deep sea as well as lakers, at the busy iron ore shipment center.

Pointe Marguerite put in just over five good years in this work. It was towing the 90,000 dwt. Italian bulk carrier Cielo Bianco towards Pointe Noire when it got caught between the vessel and the Algobay. The tug was crushed between the two large ships and sank with the loss of two lives, the mate and an engineer.

Pointe Marguerite went down in 1,800 feet of water on Nov. 14, 1978, 36 years ago today, and there were no thoughts of salvage.

As for the other two ships: Algobay is still in service as b) Radcliffe R. Lattimer while Cielo Bianco, which had been built at Monfalcone, Italy, was far too large for the Seaway. The latter arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping on July 7, 1983.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 14

ALGOBAY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 719 foot, 22,466 gross tons, built at Collingwood, Ontario in 1978) departed Sept Iles, Quebec on 14 Nov 1978, with an iron ore pellet cargo for Sydney, Nova Scotia when she collided with the 90,000 ton Italian-flag ore carrier CIELO BIANCO. The Collingwood-built tug POINTE MARGUERITE, which was towing the big salty, was unfortunately crushed between the two vessels and sank, killing two crewmembers.

On November 14, 1934, the WILLIAM A. REISS grounded off Sheboygan and was declared a constructive total loss. Built as the a.) FRANK H. PEAVEY in 1901, renamed b.) WILLIAM A. REISS in 1916. She was scrapped at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1935.

Cracks across the ENDERS M. VOORHEES' spar deck were first noticed in a storm on Lake Superior November 14, 1942. Her fleetmate NORMAN B. REAM came to her assistance by releasing storm oil which helped calm the seas so the crew of the VOORHEES could run cables the length of her deck and winch them tight to arrest the cracking. She proceeded to the Soo escorted by the REAM and later sailed to the Great Lake Engineering Works for repairs.

The THOMAS WILSON (Hull#826) was launched November 14, 1942, at Lorain, Ohio, for the U.S. Maritime Commission.

The U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender MESQUITE (Hull#76) was launched November 14, 1942, at a cost of $894,000, by Marine Iron & Shipbuilding Co. at Duluth, Minnesota. MESQUITE ran aground off Keweenaw Point on December 4, 1989, and was declared a total loss. MESQUITE was scuttled off Keweenaw Point on July 14, 1990.

On November 14, 1952, the SPARROWS POINT, b.) BUCKEYE entered service for Bethlehem Steel Corp. Reduced to a barge at Erie, Pennsylvania, and renamed c.) LEWIS J KUBER in 2006.

On 14 November 1879, C G BREED (2 mast wooden schooner, 140 foot, 385 tons, built in 1862, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying 24,000 bushels of wheat from Detroit to Buffalo when she capsized and sank in a sudden squall near Ashtabula, Ohio in Lake Erie. 5 lives were lost, but 3 were saved. The three survivors were rescued by three different vessels.

In 1940, following the Armistice Day Storm, The CITY OF FLINT 32 was freed by the tug JOHN F. CUSHING assisted by the PERE MARQUETTE 21.

In 1990, Glen Bowden (of MWT) announced that he would suspend cross-Lake Michigan ferry service indefinitely.

On 14 November 1886, the steamer BELLE WILSON was crossing Lake Ontario with a load of 11,800 bushels of oats when a severe gale and snowstorm blew in. The vessel lost her rudder and the crew rigged sails, but these were blown away. Then they rigged a drag made of 600 feet of line and a log to help maneuver the vessel and they headed for Oswego, New York. This lasted for 12 hours, but the chain parted at 3:00 a.m. and the vessel was driven ashore at Ford's Shoals, 4 miles east of Oswego harbor. No lives were lost.

On 14 November 1892, the 2-mast, 95 foot wooden schooner MINNIE DAVIS was rammed on a dark night by the 2-mast, 117 foot wooden schooner HUNTER SAVIDGE near Amherstburg, Ontario. The DAVIS sank, but no lives were lost. The wreckage was removed in May 1893.

1922: The composite hulled freighter JOS. L. SIMPSON was upbound on Lake Ontario from Ogdensburg to Milwaukee when it stranded at Tibbett's Point. The repair bill was close to $12,000 but the vessel returned to service and last operated in 1957 as YANKCANUCK (i).

1933: The wheat laden D.E. CALLENDAR stranded in Lake Erie off Long Point and was a total loss. The hull was salvaged in 1934 and laid up at Toledo. It was taken to New Orleans during World War Two for reconstruction as a barge but the change was never registered and the hull was likely scrapped.

1933: The wooden tug FLORENCE sank off False Duck Island in a storm that brought snow, high winds and waves on Lake Ontario. All 7 on board were saved and taken aboard the barge PETER G. CAMPBELL.

1943: RIVERTON stranded at Lottie Wolf Shoal, Georgian Bay and declared a total loss. Later salvaged and repaired, it returned to service as MOHAWK DEER.

1960: ISLAND KING II was destroyed by a fire while laid up for the winter at Lachine, QC. The vessel had been built as DALHOUSIE CITY and operated across western Lake Ontario between Toronto and St. Catharines from 1911 until the end of the 1949 season before being sold and moving to Montreal.

1966: The Liberian freighter FREIDA went aground at Poe's Reef, Lake Huron, and had to be lightered by MAITLAND NO. 1. The ocean ship began Great Lakes terading as c) SEAWAY STAR in 1960 and returned as d) DEALMOUTH in 1962 and as e) FREIDA earlier in 1966.

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


New laker named after historic wheat variety

11/13 - Canada Wheat Board’s first Equinox-class laker, the CWB Marquis, is on its way to Canada, the Winnipeg-based organization has announced.

The vessel left China on Oct. 31 and is now in international waters. It is expected to the reach the St. Lawrence Seaway, via the Pacific Ocean, Panama Canal and Atlantic Ocean, by the end of December.

In a release, the organization said the CWB Marquis, its first Equinox-class laker, is named after the historic Marquis wheat variety, the first wheat variety bred specifically for the short Canadian growing season.

“Marquis wheat has a long and distinguished history on the Prairies and we are proud to name CWB’s first laker vessel in honor of its legacy,” said Canada Wheat Board president and CEO Ian White.

“Almost every variety of wheat grown on the Prairies since the beginning of the 20th century can be traced back to Marquis wheat.”

Canada Wheat Board’s release said Equinox-class vessels are the next generation of Great Lakes bulk carriers with the ability to carry more cargo, sail faster and consume less fuel than their predecessors.

‘The ships are also more environmentally-friendly with exhaust scrubbing systems designed to remove 97 per cent of sulphur oxide emissions generated by the vessel engines. The CWB Marquis is the third Equinox class vessel constructed at Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries shipyard in Jiangsu province, China. The first two — the Algoma Equinox and the Algoma Harvester — were delivered to Algoma Central Corp.”

The second Canada Wheat Board vessel is scheduled to be completed in early 2015, and both vessels will be managed and operated by Algoma Central Corp. within its vessel pool.

The ships will be used extensively to carry grain eastward out of Thunder Bay, and iron ore on the return trip from seaports back into the Great Lakes.

“Algoma is very excited about the partnership with CWB and is looking forward to managing the vessels and providing continued quality service to our customers,” said Algoma CEO Greg Wight.

White said Canada Wheat Board’s state-of-the-art lakers complements its growing list of assets, and “the ships will play a strategic role in an integrated grain handling supply chain.”

“All of our assets are key to ensuring our Farmer Equity Plan is an attractive reason for farmers to choose CWB as their marketing partner.”

Canada Wheat Board launched the Farmer Equity Plan in 2013, which provides farmers who deliver grain against CWB contracts the opportunity to receive an equity interest in the company after privatization.

“It is the only opportunity for farmers to gain an ownership stake in a Canadian-focused grain company,” the release said.

Canada Wheat Board


Lake Superior coal deliveries lower through October

11/13 - After a "brutal" winter that saw coal traffic on Lake Superior fall as much as 4 million short tons through the end of April, shippers are still behind 800,000 short tons heading into winter, the director of the Lake Carriers' Association said Tuesday.

Coal shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 13.5 million st through the end of October, down 5.6 percent from 14.3 million st at the same point in 2013, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the association.

While still behind, the industry has narrowed the gap mainly by spending $5.7 million to repair damaged hulls and machinery and by boosting load capacity on the lake, Nekvasil said.

"We've had a stroke of luck here," he said. "With all that snow and ice melting, water levels have come up and we've picked up a lot of cargo."

For every inch of draft, another 270 tons of cargo can be loaded on the lake, Nekvasil said. That has allowed coal ships up to 70,000 st compared with the largest ships carrying less than 60,000 st in January 2013, he said.

Coal shippers are eager not to see a repeat of last winter's long freeze, which pushed deliveries back about a month for one utility. Milwaukee-based We Energies had to ship its coal by truck from Marquette, Michigan, to its 431-MW Presque Isle coal-fired plant in the state's Upper Peninsula.

With uncertain winter weather ahead, the company has been able to make sure that its coal inventories are sufficient to last through winter, said company spokeswoman Jessica Williamson.

"We are working with stakeholders to make sure that our coal inventories are where we need them to be so we have sufficient coal to allow (us) to operate the plant at desired levels," she said.



Twin Ports report

11/13 - Duluth's Port Terminal hosted two oceangoing vessels Tuesday. The German-owned, Liberian-flagged bulker Yulia was in the final stages of discharging kaolin clay at Berth 4. The Dutch multipurpose cargo carrier Muntgracht made a brief visit to Berth 1, discharging machinery reportedly destined for Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Muntgracht arrived Tuesday morning following a similarly quick delivery of general cargo to Thunder Bay, and cleared Duluth later that evening bound for Menominee.

The northerly gale blowing on central and eastern Lake Superior began subsiding late Tuesday. Vessels which had taken shelter in places like Thunder Bay began moving; others which had taken the longer route hugging the Lake's north shore finally neared their destinations. Wednesday brought the flurry of activity that Duluth-Superior often sees as weather abates further east; a number of vessel movements occurred between midnight and noon Wednesday. Before sunrise Paul R. Tregurtha and Arthur M. Anderson cleared Duluth while Burns Harbor and Alpena departed Superior. Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. arrived Duluth at daybreak. Thunder Bay dropped anchor roughly two hours later to wait for the McCarthy to load at Midwest Energy. Herbert C. Jackson was hot on the Thunder Bay's heels. She coasted into Duluth amid intermittent snow squalls, headed for the Riverland Ag. grain terminal just inside the harbor. The Jackson loaded wheat for Buffalo, NY, the first such visit for her in several months. For much of 2014 she has been absent from her occasional trips to Duluth-Superior for grain, loading several Buffalo-bound wheat cargoes at Thunder Bay instead.

As the Jackson secured at Riverland, Yulia got underway from the Port Terminal and quickly made her way out of the harbor. She was in ballast for busy Thunder Bay, where numerous other oceangoing vessels are currently lined up to load grain. She may be joining them, or loading another type of bulk cargo at Thunder Bay Terminals. As the Yulia motored out the Duluth entry the Stewart J. Cort arrived Superior on her usual run to the BNSF dock for iron ore pellets. Yulia turned east out of Duluth to clear an arrival course for the inbound James R. Barker, headed to Calumet Fuel in Duluth and an eventual load of coal at Midwest Energy. The hours after noon were quieter. Algoma Olympic dropped anchor off Superior, waiting to load behind the Cort. Thunder Bay picked up anchor and arrived Duluth just after sunset to position herself to slide into Midwest Energy after the Walter McCarthy, which departed mid-evening.

Up the north shore, American Spirit cleared Two Harbors midday. St. Clair arrived Silver Bay with coal from Superior during the morning, and departed again during the evening headed back to the Twin Ports to load iron ore pellets in Duluth. H. Lee White left weather anchorage in Thunder Bay during the morning headed for Silver Bay to load, but spent the day slow-belling back and forth along the north shore in the vicinity of the port. She had yet to arrive as of late Wednesday evening.

Vessels due at Duluth-Superior Thursday included Lee A. Tregurtha, and Dutch-flagged Volgaborg. Thursday arrivals were originally projected for CSL Assiniboine and John G. Munson, though weather seems likely to change that. Wednesday evening the Assiniboine was slogging into still-significant seas north of Whitefish Point and John G. Munson was anchored in Whitefish Bay, making Friday arrivals more likely for both ships. Also on Thursday American Century is scheduled for a load at Two Harbors, and Sam Laud is expected at Silver Bay after sheltering with the Kaye E. Barker off the Goulais River on the eastern end of the Lake.

Another notable sign of winter appeared as some of Wednesday's arrivals at Duluth-Superior sported light ice accumulations on railings, masts, and bulwarks up forward. More of the same might be expected on some of the other ships that ventured upbound into the middle of Superior's eastern end as seas diminished from their gale-driven magnitude but still maintained significant heights of up to around ten feet.


Port Reports -  November 13

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block is due at Port Inland on Thursday in the early morning and is also due back right away on Friday also in the early morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H.
On Wednesday, the Joseph L Block was back again and began loading.

Drummond Island, Mich. – Jake H.
On Wednesday, the Wilfred Sykes arrived and began loading. She departed after dark.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane & Jake H.
American Mariner and the Buffalo loaded on Wednesday, with the American Mariner expected to depart around 10 a.m. while the Buffalo was expected to depart around 6 p.m. On Wednesday, the tug Ken Boothe Sr. with the barge Lakes Contender arrived and began loading.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson arrived on Tuesday during the late evening to load and was expected to depart on Wednesday at about 6 a.m. Also due on Wednesday was the Cason J. Callaway in the late afternoon. Two vessels are due on Thursday, with the first to arrive being the Philip R. Clarke in the early morning followed by the Lewis J. Kuber in the early afternoon. On Friday, Calumet and the Pathfinder are due in the early morning. On Saturday the Joseph H. Thompson returns in the early morning to load. Due on Sunday in the early morning will be the Great Republic. Expected to arrive on Monday, November 17 will be the Pathfinder in the early morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algolake arrived on Tuesday and began loading at the CSX Coal Dock, however loading was stopped late in the evening account of water levels being low. Due next at CSX will be American Mariner on Friday morning. Two vessels are due at CSX on Sunday evening, with the Saginaw arriving first followed by the H. Lee White. There are two vessels due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with limestone. Michipicoten and Algomarine are both expected on Sunday during the morning. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock with iron ore include the 1,000-footer Mesabi Miner on Saturday in the early morning, followed by the James L. Kuber on Tuesday, during the late morning. H. Lee White wraps up the schedule on Sunday, November 23 in the early morning. American Fortitude and American Valor remain in long-term lay-up. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report, among them the tug Paul L. Luedtke. Both Anglian Lady with a barge and the saltwater vessel Mandarin of Cyprus registry were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The saltwater vessel Maccoa of Cyprus registry and a fleetmate to the Mandarin was upriver loading at one of the grain elevators, as was CSL's Oakglen. Algoway was also upriver, as she arrived sometime on Tuesday to deliver salt.


Lookback #361 – Ocean Sovereign lost steering at Soo Locks on Nov. 13, 1976

11/13 - Ocean Sovereign, a 520-foot-long Liberian-registered bulk carrier, got into trouble at the Soo Locks while downbound 38 years ago today. The vessel lost steering in 35 m.p.h. winds and got wedged against the wall on Nov. 13, 1976.

The vessel was stuck for seven hours and received rudder damage. Once released, arrangements had to be made to tow the ship from the Great Lakes. It departed on Nov. 17 but made slow progress en route to Lauzon, Quebec, for drydocking.

This vessel dated from 1966 and construction at Greenock, Scotland, as Bolnes. It first came through the Seaway in 1970 and returned in 1973, a year after being sold and renamed Ocean Sovereign.

Once repaired, the ship resumed its duties. It was sold again and became Ingapirca in 1978 and then Maria Jose in 1985. Neither of these ships came to the Great Lakes.

Typhoon Vera caught the former lakes visitor unloading at Ulsan, South Korea, on Sept. 27, 1986. It went to anchor as the storm arrived but the anchors failed to hold and the ship was blown aground and was severely damaged.

Once refloated, the only viable option was a sale for scrap. The vessel was broken up by the Hyundai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. beginning Nov. 5, 1986.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 13

In 1952, the 626-foot SPARROWS POINT successfully completed her sea trials and departed Chicago on her maiden trip. The new Bethlehem boat, the largest boat to enter the lakes via the Mississippi River Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, was under the command of Captain Wilfred Couture and Chief Engineer James Meinke. She was lengthened to 682 feet in 1958, converted to a self-unloader in 1980, renamed b.) BUCKEYE in 1991, converted to a barge in 2006, renamed c.) LEWIS J. KUBER.

ARAB (2-mast wooden schooner, 100 foot, 158 tons, built in 1854, at Buffalo, New York) beached on 01 November 1883, near St. Joseph, Michigan, during a storm, but quick work by salvagers got her free. However on 13 November 1883, while being towed to Racine, Wisconsin, she capsized and sank well off of Arcadia, Michigan. One man lost his life, an engineer who was desperately trying to start her pumps when she rolled.

On November 13, 1976, the TEMPLE BAR (later LAKE WABUSH and ALGONORTH) arrived at Singapore, where she was lengthened 202 feet.

CONDARRELL was laid up for the last time on November 13, 1981. Built in 1953 as a.) D. C. EVEREST, she was renamed b.) CONDARRELL in 1982.

GEORGE HINDMAN was in collision with the British salty MANCHESTER EXPLORER on Lake St. Louis, above the Lachine Lock in 1956. Built in 1921, as a.) GLENCLOVA, renamed b.) ANTICOSTI in 1927, c.) RISACUA in 1946, d.) GEORGE HINDMAN in 1955, and e.) ELIZABETH HINDMAN in 1962. Scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota, in 1971.

J. P. MORGAN JR (Hull#373) was launched November 13, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio, for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

HOMER D. WILLIAMS was involved in a collision with the steamer OTTO M. REISS at Duluth November 13, 1917.

In 1984, HOMER D. WILLIAMS was towed to Thunder Bay, Ontario, by the tug MALCOLM for dismantling.

On 13 November 1870, the schooner E. FITZGERALD left Port Huron on her maiden voyage to load lumber at Au Sable, Michigan, for Chicago. She was commanded by Capt. A. McTavish.

On 13 November 1883, H. C. AKELEY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 240 foot, 1,187 tons, built in 1881, at Grand Haven, Michigan) was carrying corn from Chicago to Buffalo when she encountered a heavy storm off Holland, Michigan. She took the disabled tug PROTECTOR in tow but let her go when her own rudder broke off. AKELEY anchored but started to sink when she fell into the troughs of the waves. The disabled schooner DRIVER managed to save 12 of the crew who had taken to AKELEY's yawl before she went down. 6 lives were lost.

Captain W. H. Van Dyke was born at Escanaba, Michigan, on November 13, 1871, and spent most of his life on the Great Lakes (he joined the crew of a schooner at the age of 15). He first captained the Pere Marquette Line Steamer PERE MARQUETTE 8 then, in 1916, he joined the Pere Marquette carferry fleet. His first command was the str. PERE MARQUETTE 15. Then for 10 years he served as master of the PERE MARQUETTE 17, and after the launch of the CITY OF FLINT 32 in 1929, he served as master of the PERE MARQUETTE 22.

On 13 November 1865, CLARA PARKER (3-mast wooden schooner, 175 foot, 425 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit, Michigan) was fighting a losing battle with storm induced leaks, so she was beached 400 yards off shore near the mouth of the Pigeon River, south of Grand Haven, Michigan. The local Lifesaving Service plucked all 9 of the crew from the rigging by breeches buoy after the vessel had gone down to her decks and was breaking up.

On 13 November 1888, LELAND (wooden steam barge, 148 foot, 366 gross tons, built in 1873, at New Jerusalem, Ohio) burned at Huron, Ohio. She was valued at $20,000 and insured for $15,000. She was rebuilt and lasted until 1910.

JAMES DAVIDSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 587 foot, 8,349 gross tons, built at Wyandotte, Michigan, in 1920) entered service on 13 Nov 1920, for the Globe Steamship Co. (G. A. Tomlinson, mgr.) when she loaded 439,000 bushels of wheat at Duluth, Minnesota, for delivery to Buffalo, New York. She was the last ship built at Wyandotte, Michigan.

An unnamed salty (formerly RANGUINI) arrived at Milwaukee's heavy lift dock on Saturday night, 13 Nov 1999, to load a large desalinization filtration system built in Milwaukee for Korea. The vessel entered the Seaway in ballast for Milwaukee on 09 Nov 1999. The following day, the crew rigged scaffolding over the side so the new name BBC GERMANY could be painted on the ship.

The Toledo Blade published the following vessel passages for Detroit on this date in 1903: -Up- VOLUNTEER, AMAZON, HARLOW, 12:30 Friday morning; ROCKEFELLER, 4:20; MARISKA, 4:40; FRENCH, 5:20; CONEMAUGH, 6; S M STEPHENSON, FAUSTIN, barges, 7:30; OLIVER, MITCHELL, (sailed), 7:50; AVERILL, 8.

1909: The steamers CHARLES WESTON and WARD AMES collided in lower Whitefish Bay. The former, which had been at anchor waiting to head downbound through the Soo Locks, ran for shore but settled on the bottom. The ship was saved, repaired and last sailed as c) SAUCON for Bethlehem Transportation before being scrapped at Hamilton, ON in 1950.

1909: JAMES H. HOYT went aground on a reef about two miles off the northeast corner of Outer Island after the engine was disabled in a snowstorm. The vessel was refloated November 29 and later became the BRICOLDOC.

1929: BRITON was wrecked in Lake Erie off Point Abino. The stranded vessel was battered for two days before being abandoned as a total loss.

1934: WILLIAM A. REISS (i) stranded off Sheboygan while inbound with 7025 tons of coal from Toledo. The ship was refloated November 17 with heavy damage and considered a total loss.

1942: H.M. PELLATT, a former Great Lakes canal freighter, was sailing as f) SCILLIN under the flag of Italy, when it was hit by gunfire from the British submarine H.M.S. PROTEUS while 9 miles off Kuriat, Tunisia, and sank.

1956: The downbound and grain-laden GEORGE HINDMAN and the upbound MANCHESTER EXPLORER collided in fog on the St. Lawrence above Lachine and both ships were damaged.

1958: LUNAN, a Pre-Seaway trader on the Great Lakes, sustained major bottom damage in a grounding on the St. Lawrence near Murray Bay. The ship was refloated, towed to Lauzon for repairs and it returned to service as b) MARIDAN C. in 1959.

1967: SANTA REGINA, the first American saltwater vessel to use the St. Lawrence Seaway, put into San Francisco with boiler problems and machinery damage while headed from Los Angeles to Saigon, South Vietnam as f) NORBERTO CAPAY. The vessel was sold at auction and towed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping in 1969.

1971: The small St. Lawrence freighter C. DE BAILLON, better known as a) DONNACONA NO. 2 and b) MIRON C., went aground at Mont Louis and was a total loss.

1975: There was a boiler explosion on the Egyptian freighter CLEOPATRA after leaving Hartlepool, England, for Alexandria, Egypt, and 8 crewmen were severely injured with at least one fatality. The former Victory Ship first traveled through the Seaway in 1963. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in 1981.

1976: OCEAN SOVEREIGN lost steering at Sault Ste. Marie and was wedged into the wall at the Soo Locks. The rudder was damaged and the Greek saltie had to be towed to Lauzon, Quebec, for repairs. The vessel initially traded inland as a) BOLNES in 1970 and returned as b) OCEAN SOVEREIGN for the first time in 1973. It was scrapped at Ulsan, South Korea, as d) MARIA JOSE after being blown aground from the anchorage during Typhoon Vera on September 27, 1986.

1979: A steering failure put VANDOC aground at Harvey Island in the Brockville Narrows. The vessel spent time at Port Weller Dry Docks after being released.

1996: JOLLITY reported it was taking water in the engine room (Pos: 17.47 N / 119.20 E). The ship was was taken in tow two days later and reached Hong Kong on November 18. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 1999.

1997: ARCADIA BERLIN visited the Great Lakes in 1971 when it was a year old. The ship was carrying bagged cement and sailing as f) ALLISSA when it collided with and sank the Ukrainian vessel SMENA off Yangon, Myanmar. The former was apparently laid up with collision damage and scrapped at Alang, India, in 1998.

2002: WILFRED SYKES was inbound with a cargo of limestone when it went aground in Muskegon Lake. Some of the cargo was lightered to PERE MARQUETTE 41 and the stranded ship was pulled free.

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


Port Reports -  November 12

Cedarville, Mich. – Jake H.
On Tuesday, the Joseph L Block arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Jake H.
On Tuesday, American Mariner arrived and called on the North Dock. Later in the day, her fleetmate Buffalo arrived. The dock she called on was unknown.

Stoneport, Mich. – Jake H.
On Tuesday, the tug Joseph H Thompson Jr. with the barge Joseph H Thompson arrived, but dropped anchor to wait for the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder to depart.

Ship movements in Quebec/Montreal to Great Lakes – Andre Blanchard
Vessels expected in Montreal then heading to the Great Lakes
Kom - due Nov. 10, then to Hamilton, Ont.
Algoeast - due Nov.11, then on to Sarnia, Ont.
Dimitrios K - due Nov. 11, then on to Hamilton, Ont.
Federal Rideau - due Nov. 11, then on to Ashtabula, Ohio
Labrador - due Nov. 12, then on to Hamilton, Ont.
Sarah Desgagnes - due Nov. 12, then on to Oakville, Ont.
Ziemia Cieszynska - due Nov. 15, then on to Toldeo, Ohio

Vessels in Quebec City departing for the Great Lakes
Birchglen - due to depart Nov. 12, then on to Sarnia, Ont.
Algoma Hansa - due to depart Nov. 11, then on to Oakville, Ont.

Vessels expected in Quebec then heading to the Great Lakes
Brant - due Nov. 14, then on to Toronto, Ont.
Federal EMS - due Nov. 16, then on to Chicago, IL


Great Lakes Shipyard awarded drydocking contract for Nautica Queen

11/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has been awarded a contract for routine drydocking of the motor vessel Nautica Queen The cruise ship was hauled out using the 770-ton capacity Marine Travelift at Great Lakes Shipyard on Monday, Nov. 10. The repair contract includes drydocking, USCG inspection and repairs, hull cleaning and painting, and miscellaneous steel repairs.

The Nautica Queen offers cruises along Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio providing views of historic architecture and the ever-changing skyline of downtown Cleveland.

Great Lakes Shipyard


Petitioners aim to change Welland Canal bridge opening policy

11/12 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Duane Todd and Bill Thorne are on a mission to improve the way the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp. operates bridges at the north end of the Welland Canal. They’ve been at it for nine months and have no intention of stopping.

Todd and Thorne, armed with almost 500 signatures on a petition, have been meeting with Seaway officials and local politicians in an effort to change Seaway policy. It’s been an uphill struggle, Todd said.

“We’ve worked hard with all levels of government but the Seaway keeps delaying and delaying and hoping we will go away,” said Todd, who like Thorne is a retired high school teacher.

“We know that in the past 10 years there have been other attempts to do what we are doing, but eventually the people just give up. It’s big business and bureaucracy.”

Todd and Thorne want to ensure that only one of the Lakeshore Rd. and Carlton St. bridges are closed or raised at the same time. They say it’s a matter of safety for the people living and working in Port Weller East.

“Don’t tell us for a second that you can get emergency services over here,” Thorne said. “It’s just not happening.

“Sooner or later there is going to be an incident, an accident, a fire — some kind of tragedy is going to happen here — and those services will not be able to get here. As far as we are concerned, it will be directly on the Seaway’s head.”

Andrew Bogora of the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp. said their control centre is in direct contact with dispatchers for fire, ambulance and police services.

“The moment there is a need for an emergency vehicle to cross the canal, our traffic control centre is giving their full attention to that need,” Borgora said.

He said during an emergency, immediate priority is given to first-response vehicles to make sure the bridges are available. If a bridge is already in a raised position, efforts are made to bring the bridge back down as soon as possible.

“We will put the emergency responders ahead of any other interest,” Bogora said. “That is our commitment and has always been our commitment.”

Thorne and Todd said the situation gets worse when repairs and maintenance are undertaken on the bridges.

“When we live here in Port Weller East, when the bridge is up, that is part of living here, but the Seaway sees what we want as something that inconveniences them,” Todd said. “They have the traffic to run and they see that as far more important than controlling a few little bridges. If we have to wait 10 to 15 minutes, so be it.”

Bogora said the Seaway has introduced a number of trial measures to lessen the impact of bridge operations on motorists.

The Seaway worked during the summer to try and reduce the instances in which the Lakeshore and Carlton bridges are up at the same time. They also tried to limit times when two ships were allowed to pass, one after another, during a single bridge lift.

There is a website ( which lists the status of the bridges as well as the CAA’s smartphone app.

“We are closely examining different measures we can as best as possible co-ordinate vehicle and ship traffic,” Bogora said. “Right now, we are still testing these measures.

“Once the navigation season has concluded, which is typically the end of December, our managers will sit down and examine the results. Did we increase efficiency on the road for motorists? Did we incur significant delays in vessel navigation?

“There is no doubt with these two groups of stakeholders, we have to balance their interests. As anyone in leadership can attest, that is always a delicate process.”

St. Catharines Standard


Explorers map shipwrecks with lasers, sonar, photo sleds and robots

11/12 - Alpena, Mich. – Diving is not the only way to get an in-depth look at the mysteries beneath the surface of the Great Lakes. Lasers, underwater robots and other innovative technologies are simplifying the discovery and research of hundreds of shipwrecks at the bottom of the Great Lakes.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, a part of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a 4,300-square-mile shipwreck sanctuary in northwestern Lake Huron near Alpena, Mich. It has one of America’s best-preserved and nationally significant collection of shipwrecks.

There are 92 known wreck sites in the newly expanded sanctuary and four have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said Sarah Waters, the educational coordinator at the sanctuary.

Thunder Bay still uses divers to study shipwrecks, but recently it began investigating them with lasers.

“This past year we worked with a company called 2G Robotics and produced a laser scan/point cloud data of one of the shipwrecks called the Monohansett,” Waters said. “It’s basically a laser scanning technology and it has been done a lot, but not underwater.”

In museum collections, such as paleontology collections, the laser scans an object and makes a three-dimensional image of it, Waters said. When Thunder Bay teamed up with 2G Robotics this year they made a three-dimensional model of the Monohansett wreck site.

The purpose of the project was to use laser-scanning technology to more fully document sanctuary resources, Russ Green, Thunder Bay’s deputy superintendent and research coordinator, said in an email. It allows sanctuary archaeologists to document complex areas of shipwreck sites that would be otherwise difficult to capture in detail.

Lasers aren’t the only technology used to study shipwrecks at Thunder Bay.

“We use different kinds of sonar, including multi-beam,” Waters said. “That sonar is in the hull of our research vessel and our ships, but we can also tow sonars behind ships too.”

Thunder Bay also studies shipwrecks with remotely operated vehicles—known as ROVs—which run on a tether.

Alpena Community College’s marine technology program brings even larger ROVs to the sanctuary for research, she said. Other researchers at Thunder Bay bring autonomous underwater vehicles—these are known as AUVs— which are not connected by a tether, Waters said.

Mark Schwartz and Mark Gleason, two teachers from Grand Valley State University, demonstrated how they use ROVs to explore shipwrecks at the recent Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) conference. The annual conference is for educators and organizations working to develop stewards of the Great Lakes and its ecosystems.

Gleason and Schwartz have also partnered with Alpena Community College’s marine technology program and Thunder Bay.

Gleason said their team has used several different ROVs and side-scan sonars to explore shipwrecks. Their partnerships with other schools, government agencies and businesses have allowed them access to a wide range of marine gear, he said.

Schwartz said the great thing about ROVs is you don’t need dive certification and you can operate them for as long as you have power. In comparison, divers can spend only a limited amount of time underwater.

New photo technology also gives people a detailed image of a wreck, Waters said. Thunder Bay researchers use photographs and video to create photo mosaics. A camera is mounted onto a special underwater sled that holds it at a fixed level. The images can then be put into Photoshop to make a mosaic of the site.

There is a specific protocol for characterizing and evaluating a site when a shipwreck is discovered, Waters said. Since pieces of the wreck can be scattered, remote sensing is first used to show researchers what the bottom of the lake looks like so they can locate all of the pieces.

Researchers evaluate a site with divers, sonar or robots. Then they use laser-scanned imaging to build a photo mosaic.

The main goal is to identify the ship.

“Not only its name, but what kind of ship it was,” Waters said. “Was it a sailing ship and what type of sailing ship was it? Was it a schooner? Was it motorized or did it have a propeller?”

Those who research shipwrecks at Thunder Bay are interested in finding out more about the people who were on the ship, such as if any of them survived the wreck and if they continued to work on ships, Waters said. Finding out if the ships carried passengers or goods tells researchers more about the commercial activity that was happening in the Great Lakes when they sank.

The most eye-catching characteristic about Great Lakes shipwrecks to experts is that their preservation is unparalleled, Schwartz said.

“You see this kind of preservation in areas like the Black Sea,” Schwartz said. “None of the woods decay as much because you don’t have the kind of organisms that you do in the ocean that eat away the wood.”

And the cold, fresh water also helps preserve them, he said.

The Cornelia B. Windiate, a schooner that is sitting perfectly intact at the bottom of Lake Huron, is one of Waters’ favorites. Typically when a wooden ship sinks, the air trapped inside will push out as it’s going down which causes the hatch covers to come off. What’s unique about the Cornelia is that the hatch covers are still attached to the ship.

“The Cornelia is still in place though and it’s very ghostly—it’s very telling of most shipwrecks in the sanctuary,” Waters said.

As of now, Schwartz said he and Gleason are focused on the archeology aspect of shipwrecks. But the application of ROV technology is widespread. They said they hope to partner with another academic department that would find this technology useful to its own research, such as a department that is looking for invasive species, Schwartz said.

Great Lakes Echo


Dredging shifts to another Buffalo waterway needing to be cleaned

11/12 - Buffalo, N.Y. – With the cleanup of the once toxin-laden Buffalo River finished, the dredging derricks, scows and scoopers will move to another Buffalo location. Starting this week, dredging operations shift to the three-mile-long Black Rock Channel.

Crews will dredge the navigation channel to a 21-foot depth from the mouth of the Buffalo Harbor to the edge of the Black Rock Lock.

Officials project the crews will remove enough contaminated sediment to fill the equivalent of about 77 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The sediment contains the kinds of toxins scrubbed from the Buffalo River: mercury, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls and other chemicals.

The work comes as part of a $2.2 million contract the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded to Luedtke Engineering Inc., the firm that dredged the 6.2-mile corridor of the Buffalo River.

Andrew Lenox, environmental engineer for the Army Corps, said the Buffalo Gas Light Company Works and combined sewage overflows are just a couple of the sources of the contamination in the channel. “There was a lot of industry along that area,” Lenox said.

The navigation channel has been dredged before – it last happened in 2009 – but this time an environmental cleanup element has been added for the first time.

“It’s toxic material and it has to be confined,” Lenox said.

Like the Buffalo River project, the toxic silt will be scooped up, hauled away and interred at a federal disposal facility on the Outer Harbor near the former Bethlehem Steel site.

Unlike the Buffalo River project, this project’s goals are limited. So the crews will not deal with all of the contamination.

“It’s limited to the navigation channel,” Lenox said. “There is legacy material on the banks. Right now, that’s still being looked at.”

Initial sampling for the channel’s cleanup effort began in 2003, but it wasn’t until funding through the EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative became available that designs with the environmental tie-in became feasible.

“The remediation of the Black Rock Canal is a priority due to the significant amount of human activity and ecological value within that waterway,” said Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper.

“Historical sources of contamination to the canal include the Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek, and in turn this degraded waterway ultimately impacts the health of the Niagara River.”

The 2009 routine channel dredging, which is necessary to keep the waterway open to travel, removed about 115,000 cubic yards – or about the volume of more than 35 Olympic sized swimming pools.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding means of sediment will be removed from the channel during this dredging operation.

Jedlicka credited the Great Lakes initiative as “an absolutely critical tool to have to achieve the cleanup of area waterways.”

The cleanup became a priority as more boaters and fishers head to the channel and nearby Squaw Island.

The schedule calls for the dredging to be completed by the end of January. But the weather could delay progress.

“If we do get ice in there – if the weather does get too bad – they will have to stop,” said Capt. Kelly Polashenski, project manager.

Ice in the canal could delay completion until the summer.

Crews would have to wait to continue their work until July 1 – after the nesting season for the protected terns and gulls at the Corps’ facility on the Outer Harbor.

The Buffalo News


Water levels bounce back in Georgian Bay

11/12 - Water levels in the middle Great Lakes have bounced back dramatically, nearly two years after hitting historic lows. But just because the water is higher doesn't mean the problem is solved, say those working to keep the issue of low water levels in the public eye.

In Lake Huron, which includes Georgian Bay, the water level remains 20 inches above chart datum.

It's also about 31 inches above where it was two years ago, as the level of the lake was headed to set a new record low.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which tracks water levels on the lakes, Huron-Michigan's seasonal rise continued through October due to persistently wet conditions, and was the second consecutive month with above-average water levels after a 15-year stretch of continuously below-average conditions.

The middle lakes also benefited from near-record ice cover this past winter, which helped keep evaporation low.

It's predicted - especially if it's another cold winter - that water levels in Michigan and Huron could stay 16-to-20 inches above chart datum over the next six months.

Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says the rise in water levels from a record low in January, 2013, to the current level, is the largest in recorded history.

"The challenge for us is to understand what variables are driving this change," he said from his office in Ann Arbor, Michigan. "There is a combination of factors."

Along with increased precipitation and less evaporation because of ice cover in the winter, the middle lakes have also seen increased flow from Lake Superior, which is 30 cm higher than last year, and above its long-term average.

Collingwood's Ulli Rath, who's made water levels his passion and was instrumental in forming a Collingwood chapter affiliated with Stop The Drop, is not convinced the tide has turned on water levels.

Rath, a geologist by trade, communicates on a regular basis with water level experts at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NOAA, and the International Joint Commission.

"Most of the people I deal with tend to think what we're experiencing is an outlier," Rath said. "We've had 14 years of [low water conditions], and now we've had these extremes in a very condensed period. I don't believe this is the start of a long-tern trend."

Gronewold said NOAA expects Michigan-Huron will follow its current trend for the next six months, but otherwise it can be difficult to predict what water levels will do in six months - especially in the big picture of changing water levels.

"Last June [of 2013], no one could have predicted the cold air mass that gripped the area [last winter], so it's hard to tell where things are going, and it's hard to say what's occurring is some kind of blip," he said. "Historically, the lakes can oscillate in extremes, and can go up or down ... variability is part of the system."

Georgian Bay Forever executive director David Sweetnam cautions that a one-year blip in water levels shouldn't be taken as an indication the issue is solved.

"We're looking at weather impacts, and climate is different - it takes a lot longer to look at those impacts," he said. "In terms of [shoreline] ecology and the economy, we're not out of the woods. We're still trying to understand the science. In five years, we could be back at record lows ... we can't keep starting and stopping the process.

Rath says the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is wrapping up a study that would outline the parameters of a proposal for a long-term solution to maintain water levels in the middle lakes by installing compensation structures in the St. Clair River.

He also wants the Canadian government to take more of an interest, in both the issue, and in the funding of a study.

"I still think [a study] is a very relevant process that needs to be done," he said. "I think we should continue to keep the pressure on the politicians. It's nice to see the lake levels up, but I just don't believe it's a responsible approach to say 'that's it'."

Wasaga Sun


Lookback #360 – Belvoir hit submerged object in Gulf of Honduras on Nov. 12, 1974

11/12 - The bulk carrier Belvoir, a sistership to Griffon and Tecumseh, in the Beaconsfield Steamship Co., was built at Port Colborne and launched on Dec. 16, 1954. The 259- foot-long vessel was commissioned on June 10, 1955, and went to work in the canal trades.

The vessel could carry 3,000 tons deadweight or 135,000 bushels of grain. It was powered by Fairbanks Morse diesel engines. It was lengthened by 90 feet with the addition of a fifth cargo hold and deepened by 3 feet, 6 inches. This was carried out by Canadian Vickers Ltd. at Montreal in 1958–1959, making the ship ready for the opening of the Seaway.

Belvoir moved under the banner of sister company Mohawk Navigation in 1963 and was sold to Bamar Marine Ltd. in 1968. It was registered in Nassau, Bahamas, for trading on the Caribbean. The vessel became b) Nazca, with registry in Peru, in 1970 but was sailing again as Belvoir when it was lost 40 years ago today.

Belvoir struck a submerged object, while carrying ore concentrates on a voyage from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, to Corpus Christi, Texas, and sank in the Gulf of Honduras near Halfmoon Cay. Four members of the crew were rescued but 21 were listed as missing and presumed lost.

The two sisterships lasted longer around the Great Lakes. Griffon later sailed as b) Franquelin (ii) and c) Eva Desgagnes before leaving the Great Lakes for Mexican service as d) Telchac. Tecumseh became b) New York News (iii), c) Stella Desgagnes, d) Beam Beginner and e) Wolf River. The latter has been idle at Thunder Bay for many years.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 12

In 1920, FRANCIS WIDLAR stranded on Pancake Shoal in Lake Superior and was written off as a total constructive loss of $327,700. The wreck was purchased by Mathews Steamship Company in 1921 and placed back in service as BAYTON. The BAYTON sailed until 1966, and the hull was later used as a temporary breakwall during construction at Burns Harbor, Indiana.

On 12 November 1878, JAMES R. BENTLEY (3-mast wooden schooner, 170 foot, 575 tons, built in 1867, at Fairport, Ohio) was carrying grain when she struck a shoal in heavy weather and foundered off 40 Mile Point on Lake Huron. Her crew was rescued in the rough seas by the bark ERASTUS CORNING.

On 12 Nov 1964, THOMAS F. COLE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,268 gross tons, built in 1907, at Ecorse, Michigan) collided with the British motor vessel INVEREWE off the south end of Pipe Island on the lower St. Marys River in foggy conditions. The COLE suffered severe damage to the port bow and was taken to Lorain for repairs.

On 12 Nov 1980, ALVA C. DINKEY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,514 gross tons, built in 1909, at Lorain, Ohio) and GOVERNOR MILLER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 593 foot, 8,240 gross tons, built in 1938, at Lorain, Ohio) arrived near El Ferrol del Caudillo, Spain for scrapping in tow of the FedNav tug CATHY B. Demolition by Miguel Partins began on 28 Nov 1980, at Vigo, Spain.

On November 12, 1919, PANAY, upbound on Lake Superior for Duluth, Minnesota, in rough weather, was one of the last vessels to see the down bound JOHN OWEN which, apparently later the same day, disappeared with all hands. Renamed b.) WILLIAM NELSON in 1928, and c.) BEN E. TATE in 1936. Scrapped at Bilbao, Spain in 1969.

On 12 November 1881, BRUNSWICK (iron propeller bulk freighter, 248 foot, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) was carrying 1,500 tons of hard coal in a night of fitful squalls in Lake Erie. CARLINGFORD (wooden schooner, 155 foot, built in 1869, at Port Huron, Michigan) was also sailing there, loaded with 26,000 bushels of wheat. They collided. After the skipper of BRUNSWICK made sure that the sinking schooner's crew were in their lifeboats, he ran for shore with his sinking vessel, but sank a few miles off Dunkirk, New York. A total of 4 lives were lost.

On 12 November 1835, the small wooden schooner ROBERT BRUCE was sailing from Kingston, Ontario to Howell, New York when she was wrecked west of Henderson, New York. Her crew of 4, plus one passenger, were all lost.

On 12 Nov 1886, the tug WM L. PROCTOR (wooden tug, 104 foot, 117 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) left Oswego, New York with the schooner-barges BOLIVIA and E.C. BUCK in tow before a big storm struck. During the snowstorm, the tug got lost and the towline broke. Alone, the PROCTOR finally made it to Charlotte, New York, badly iced up, but there was no word on the barges. They were presumed lost with all onboard.

1881: BRUNSWICK sank in Lake Erie after a collision with the CARLINGFORD. The wooden hulled, coal-laden steamer, made a run for the American shore but the effort fell short. Three lives were lost.

1914: The wooden steamer COLONIAL began to leak on Lake Erie and was beached in Rondeau Bay only to be pounded to pieces by gale force winds. All on board were rescued.

1967: The Swedish freighter TORSHOLM began visiting the Great Lakes as early as 1953. The ship was enroute from the Seaway to Stockholm when it ran aground near Uto, Sweden, and became a total loss.

1968: CLARA CLAUSEN, a Danish freighter, ran aground at Les Escoumins on the St. Lawrence and was abandoned. After being salvaged, the vessel came to the Great Lakes in 1970 and was rebuilt at Kingston as ATLANTEAN.

1974: BELVOIR (ii), enroute from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, to Corpus Christi, Texas, with a load of ore concentrates, struck a submerged object in the Gulf of Honduras and sank. Only 4 crew members are rescued while the other 21 were presumed lost.

1980: The former Lake Michigan rail car ferry PERE MARQUETTE 21 left the Great Lakes in 1974. It was lost on this date as the barge d) CONSOLIDATOR. It was hit by Hurricane Jean off the coast of Honduras while carrying a load of truck trailers.

2005: SPAN TERZA, an Italian freighter, first came through the Seaway in 1977 and returned as b) ANANGEL HORIZON in 1983. It was damaged on this date as d) SALAM 4 in a collision near Dondra Head, Sri Lanka, with SHANGHAI PRIDE and had to go to Colombo for assessment. The ship was repaired and eventually scrapped as e) ALINA at Xinhui, China, in 2009.

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


Boom repairs to Algorail continue

11/11 - Algorail was unloading salt at Parry Sound, Ont., on Nov. 6 when the boom buckled just forward of the reinforcing beam and came to rest on the top of the pile of salt. The damaged part was cut off and a large shore-based crane arrived to help. The remaining intact section of the boom was swung back on deck. As of Monday, work continued on repairing and reattaching the broken part in hopes that the vessel could resume discharging on Tuesday.

Skip Gillham


St. Lawrence Seaway System keeps cargo moving in October

11/11 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of 29.5 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to October 31. Total cargo volume is up 4.5 percent compared to the same period last year, due mainly to the robust tonnage of grain and steel moving through the system. Year-to-date, 8.4 million metric tons of grain were handled – an increase of 49.9 percent compared to 2013. This increase has been more than offset by a 26.5 percent decrease in iron ore volume through the system, and an 11 percent decrease in coal tonnage.

“October was another active month for our hard-working longshoremen handling cargo at the ports in the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System,” said Administrator Betty Sutton of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “There were significant increases in the number of ships arriving in the Seaway System carrying steel, salt, sugar, aluminum and pig iron. With an excellent grain harvest, most of those ships left the System filled with wheat, soybeans, corn and lentils. With two months remaining in the navigation season, we anticipate our longshoremen will continue to be extremely busy.”

The Cleveland-Europe Express continues to prove to be a viable option for shippers moving their goods from the Midwest to markets around the world,” said David S. Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime & Logistics at the Port of Cleveland. “In October, we moved cargo from various points in the Midwest to Belgium, Finland, Germany, Russia, Poland, and the Netherlands, among other destinations, and those shipments included containerized cargo and heavy machinery.”

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is on a record pace this year, having exceeded its previous five-year average for total annual shipments in just three quarters. Officials project a 25 percent increase in 2014, driven by strong shipments of grain, steel, salt and limestone.

“This is the busiest shipping season we have had at this port in more than a decade,” Port Director Rick Heimann said. “Last year this port handled its highest volume of steel cargoes since 2006, and this year’s steel shipments are on pace to double the 2013 total. Much of this is driven by increased throughput by manufacturers in Northwest Indiana and Chicago, but there is also significant new business being generated by metal processors that have expanded facilities or developed new businesses within our port complex. These sizeable investments signify strong confidence in the long-term future of the Midwest economy and Great Lakes shipping.”

“Aluminum shipments at the Port of Oswego are ahead of projections for 2014 and well over the 2013 numbers,” said Zelko Kirincich, Executive Director of the Port of Oswego Authority. “For the month of October, shipments of aluminum ingots rose 145 percent to 13,337 metric tons. “McKeil Marine barges are regularly unloading at the Port. Transits through the Seaway ensure that aluminum from Sept-Iles, Quebec helps keep pace with the upswing in the automotive manufacturing sector.” The Port anticipates another four to six shipments before the shipping season closes in December.

Grain shipping was in full swing at the Port of Toledo as a result of a good harvest in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. “McKeil Marine barges have been loading grain at ADM in Toledo after they deliver aluminum to Midwest Terminals,” said Joe Cappel, Director of Cargo Development at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “For us, it’s the perfect scenario when a vessel or barge can discharge and reload without leaving the Port of Toledo.”

Toledo’s grain terminals were also busy loading a steady stream of lakers and ocean-going vessels in October, including CSL’s new Trillium-Class Baie Comeau, as well as numerous Canfornav and Polsteam vessels. At the general cargo dock operated by Midwest Terminals, a lineup of overseas deliveries included steel coils, wire rod, salt, pig iron, fertilizer and project cargo. Toledo’s coal and iron ore docks operated by CSX are on track to surpass last year’s totals by a wide margin.

American Great Lakes Ports Association


Canada Steamship Lines consolidates ship and shore operations

11/11 - Montreal, Que. – Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), a division of The CSL Group, the world’s largest owner and operator of self-unloading vessels, Monday announced it is consolidating its ship and shore operations under one umbrella and one CSL brand.

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, ship management activities currently provided by V.Ships Canada will be integrated into CSL’s organizational structure to streamline operations and customer service, and create a more robust alignment of its employees, corporate values and business approach.

Among the V.Ships Canada managerial functions that will be transitioned to CSL are operations and technical, crewing, labor relations, purchasing, accounting and local IT support. Under a new service agreement, the wider V.Group brand will continue to provide management systems to CSL including VMS, ShipSure, Marcas Purchasing, V.Catering, among others.

This action represents the natural evolution of CSL’s long-standing partnership with V.Ships Canada and builds on the success of the past 15 years that brought world-class management systems and economies of scale to CSL, and gave rise to the SafePartners program.

CSL is grateful to V.Ships for its valuable contribution over the years, and for the many accomplishments achieved together, but now the owner-operator has decided to enter a new phase in its organizational model.

“We are confident about our future as an integrated organization that will see the return of ship management to our core internal functions,” said Louis Martel, President of Canada Steamship Lines.

“We made this decision because we firmly believe that our new structure will benefit our employees and crews, foster greater collaboration and communication, drive accountability throughout the business, and give us a stronger foundation for growth. For our customers, our streamlined operations will deliver more consistent, harmonized and efficient service.”

This decision does not affect the day to day operation of CSL’s vessels. It also does not involve or impact CSL’s relationship with V.Group in other divisions, nor with other ship managers. For CSL’s customers and suppliers in Canada and around the world, it is business as usual.



The gales of November: What are they and why in Michigan?

11/11 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Monday was the 39th anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The song written by Gordon Lightfoot talks about the "gales of November."

What are the gales of November, and why do they happen in Michigan and on the Great Lakes?

A gale is a sustained wind between 39 mph and 54 mph. Gales are usually caused by the air pressure difference between a strong low-pressure system and a strong, cold high-pressure system. Wind is caused by air pressure differences over a certain distance. The greater the air pressure difference, the higher the winds will be.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was caught in a very strong low-pressure system that moved out of Wisconsin and tracked over Lake Superior. The top graphic shows the surface map at 7 a.m. November 10, 1975. The center of the storm had a very low air pressure of 29.02". This would be the same air pressure as a category one hurricane. The storm track from Wisconsin across Lake Superior and then northeast produced the deadly wind conditions. In front of the storm, southeast winds blew. As the storm passed to the northeast, winds switched to blowing out of the northwest. That strong northwest wind built massive waves as the water was pushed east. The Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in the southeastern part of Lake Superior, where the waves would be the biggest on a northwest wind.

Imagine being on the lake with a decent chop, then a switch in the winds, a big increase in wind, and waves building behind you. That's what the Edmund Fitzgerald faced.

November is a very common month for long-lasting wind storms in Michigan and the Great Lakes. Why? The Great Lakes are relatively warm and the cold air in Canada builds up and moves into Michigan from the north. At the same time, the storm track that has been in Canada for the summer usually drops southward into Michigan.

So powerful low-pressure systems track across the northern U.S. and move to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes strengthen those storms in November. As the storm approaches, it sucks right to one of the Great Lakes, where the water is warmer, and the air is light and rising over the lake surface. So the Great Lakes have their own "stationary low pressure" over the lakes in November. When the storm hits the lakes, the two factors for low pressure combine, and the large-scale storm intensifies. A storm that produced 40 mph gusts out in the Plains then produces 60 mph gusts in Michigan and over the Great Lakes.

Prior to November the storm centers aren't as strong, and the temperature difference between the lake surface and the air above isn't that big. By December, the lake water has started to cool down considerably, and the lake low-pressure effect isn't as strong.

So November is the month when gales are common on the Great Lakes. In fact, think back to our latest two storm systems, one on Halloween, and the second last week. Both of those storms produced high winds, and waves high enough for surfing.

If the Edmund Fitzgerald were crossing Lake Superior in the next few days, it would encounter a weaker version of the same weather it actually faced in 1975. It's that storm that could produce a Top 10 snowfall in Marquette over the next few days.

Now you may think that the forecast wasn't good back in 1975. Actually the path of the Edmund Fitzgerald was under a gale watch before their voyage. So the nasty weather wasn't a surprise. It was just a surprise at how severe the gale.

M Live


Monday marked 39 years since Edmund Fitzgerald sank on Lake Superior

11/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – It was Nov. 10, 1975, when the Edmund Fitzgerald disappeared in the waters of Lake Superior during a severe storm, taking 29 lives with it.

After nearly 40 years the story of the ship continues to intrigue, with some saying its legend is second only to the Titanic. Several books have been written about it and it famously was memorialized by Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 hit "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

When the ship was christened on June 8, 1958, it was the largest freighter on the Great Lakes at 729 feet long. It was named after Edmund Fitzgerald, president of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

It's final journey began at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, 1975, in Superior, Wisconsin, according to the website for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. It was loaded with more than 26,000 tons of iron-ore pellets and destined for Zug Island near Detroit.

Captain Ernest M. McSorley was aware of building storms on the lake and decided to take a northerly course along Lake Superior so the ship would be protected by highlands on the Canadian shore.

Gale warnings were issued at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 and it was upgraded to a storm warning during the early morning hours of Nov. 10. Winds were gusting to 50 knots and seas were at 12 to 16 feet, according to the GLSM website.

By 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 10, McSorley radioed Capt. Bernie Cooper of the Arthur M. Anderson, which was 17 miles behind the Fitzgerald, saying the ship was listing.

The conditions worsened, with a steady wind of 58 knots and gusts up to 70 knots and seas of 18 to 25 feet. The last communication with the Fitzgerald came at 7:10 p.m. when McSorley radioed to a crewmember on the Anderson "We are holding our own."

The ship sank about 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan, where the Shipwreck Museum is located. There are several theories about how the ship sank, including rogue waves, structural failure, shoaling or the flooding of the cargo hold.

The Shipwreck Museum held a service at 7 p.m. Monday at Whitefish Point to honor the ship's crew. The bell from the ship, which was recovered in 1995, was rung 29 times during a "Call to the Last Watch Ceremony.


Port Reports -  November 11

Cedarville, Mich. – Jake H.
On Monday, the Olive L Moore with the barge Lewis J Kuber arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Jake H.
On Sunday, the Buffalo arrived and began loading at the North Dock. Also, the Defiance with the barge Ashtabula arrived at the South Dock and began loading.

Stoneport, Mich. – Jake H
On Monday, the Manistee arrived and began loading. A few hours later, the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder arrived and dropped anchor to wait for the Manistee to depart.

South Chicago – Chris Douglas
Volgaborg (saltie) was docked at T.O.T. as of Monday afternoon.

Indiana Harbor – Chris Douglas
Lee A. Tregurtha departed late Monday morning bound for Superior. Mesabi Miner was expected to arrive in the early morning Tuesday.

Buffington Harbor – Chris Douglas
Great Republic was expected to arrive late Monday night.

Gary Harbor – Chris Douglas
Roger Blough was expected arrival early Monday evening. Cason J. Callaway’s expected arrival was Tuesday early a.m.

Burns Harbor – Chris Douglas
Federal Nakagawa was at Fed Nav dock. Finnborg arrived early Monday morning and docked at north end of Fed Nav.


Obituary: Raymond Ramsay

11/11 - Raymond Ramsay, 83, the naval architect at Great Lakes Engineering Works during construction of the Edmund Fitzgerald, on Oct. 24 in Silver Springs, Md. His insights into the shipyard and the design, fabrication, materials, and operation of that first-of-her-kind vessel are available to us through his books, particularly “S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald: Requiem for the Toledo Express” and “For Whom the Bells Toll: The Unexplained Losses of S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, M.V. Derbyshire, and Other Vessels of the Bulk-Cargo Silent Service.”

Thom Holden


Annual Dossin Marine Mart in Grosse Point Saturday

11/11 - The Dossin Maritime Group will hold its annual Marine Mart on Saturday from 10 a.m. 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Drive (between Cadieux and Moross) in Grosse Pointe Farms. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m.

The annual Marine Mart is for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features great holiday shopping and shiploads of nautical items and treasures including lighthouse prints, nautical ink prints, original and acrylic prints, unique nautical gifts, hand painted Christmas ornaments with Michigan lighthouses, postcards, magazines, china, souvenirs, clocks, marine art, nautical charts, maritime artifacts, boat items, nautical artifacts, nautical photographs, woodworking, lithographs, brochures, acrylic paintings, out-of-print Great Lakes books, ship models and more.


Lookback #359 – Anna C. Minch lost in Lake Michigan on Nov. 11, 1940

The Anna C. Minch was lost with all hands on Lake Michigan. It went down 74 years ago today in what became known as “The Armistice Day Storm.”

The vessel was loaded with screenings and on a voyage from Fort William, Ont., to Chicago when it disappeared off Pentwater, Michigan. Twenty-five sailors lost their lives.

The Anna C. Minch was built at Cleveland in 1903. The ship had been part of the Minch fleet when they joined in the formation of the Kinsman Transit Co. in 1905. The 400-foot-long bulk carrier was steam powered and used to carry ore, grain and coal.

The ship came to Canada under the Western Navigation Co. in 1926 and served the interests of the James Murphy Coal Co. Management moved under the banner of Scott Misener in 1933 and this was the first large upper laker in that company's service. Misener added cargoes of pulpwood to the ship's list of trades.

Anna C. Minch suffered a grounding at Vidal Shoal, above the Soo Locks, on April 26, 1933, while upbound. But the ship was released and repaired for further service.

There was some speculation that the Anna C. Minch was lost in a collision with the William B. Davock in the devastating storm of Nov. 11, 1940. But the hulls of both ships have been found and there is no evidence of collision damage between the two ships. The remains of the Anna C. Minch rest on the bottom of Lake Michigan in about 40 feet of water.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 11

The Port of Huron, Ohio received its first grain boat in seven years when Westdale Shipping's AVONDALE arrived at the Pillsbury Elevator on November 11, 1971, to load 200,000 bushels of soybeans for Toronto, Ontario.

On 11 November 1883, NEMESIS (2-mast wooden schooner, 74 foot, 82 gross tons, built in 1868, at Goderich, Ontario) was wrecked in a terrific storm that some called a hurricane. She went ashore near Bayfield, Ontario, on Lake Huron. She may have been recovered since her registration was not closed until 1907. In 1876, this little schooner rescued all but one of the crew from the sinking freighter NEW YORK.

The Armistice Day Storm of November 11, 1940, was one of the worst storms in the recorded history of Lake Michigan. In all, the storm claimed 5 vessels, and 66 lives. The storm hit late Monday afternoon, November 11th, with winds of hurricane proportions. The winds struck suddenly from the southwest at about 2:30 p.m. and were accompanied by drenching rain, which later changed to snow. The winds reached peak velocities of 75 miles per hour, the highest in local maritime history.

Some of the vessels affected were: CITY OF FLINT 32: Beached at Ludington, no damage. Jens Vevang, relief captain, in command. Her regular captain, Charles Robertson, was on shore leave. Also: PERE MARQUETTE 21: Blown into a piling at Ludington, no damage, captained by Arthur Altschwager. She had 5 passengers aboard. CITY OF SAGINAW 31: Arrived Milwaukee 6 hours late with over a foot of water in her hull. The wireless aerial was missing and her seagate was smashed by the waves. She was captained by Ed Cronberg. Ann Arbor carferry WABASH: A railcar broke loose from its moorings on her car deck and rolled over, nearly crushing a crewman. The steamer NOVADOC: Ran aground at Juniper Beach, South of Pentwater, Michigan. Two crewman (cooks) drowned when the ship broke in half. Seventeen crewman, found huddled in the pilothouse, were rescued by Captain Clyde Cross and his 2 crewman, Gustave Fisher and Joe Fontane of the fishing tug THREE BROTHERS. CONNEAUT of 1916, ran hard aground on Lansing Shoal near Manistique, Michigan, on Lake Michigan. She reportedly had lost her propeller and rudder. Two days later she was pulled off. The SINALOA had taken on a load of sand near Green Island and was heading for Chicago through Death's Door on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula when the November 11th Armistice Day storm of 1940, struck in upper Lake Michigan. During the storm the SINALOA lost her rudder. The anchor was dropped but her anchor cable parted. In this helpless condition she ran aground at Sac Bay on Michigan's Garden Peninsula. Fortunately the stricken vessel was close to shore where the Coast Guard was able to rescue the entire crew. Declared a constructive total loss, her owner collected the insurance and forfeited the vessel to the Roen Salvage Co.

ANNA C MINCH: Sank South of Pentwater with a loss of 24 lives.

WILLIAM B DAVOCK: of the Interlake fleet, Capt. Charles W. Allen, sank in 215 of water off Pentwater, Michigan. There were no survivors among the crew of 33.

The fishing tugs INDIAN and RICHARD H: Lost with all hands off South Haven, Michigan.

On 11 November 1872, the schooner WILLIS collided with the bark ELIZABETH JONES on Lake Erie and sank in a few minutes. The crew was saved.

On 11 November 1936, J. OSWALD BOYD (steel propeller fuel tanker, 244 foot, 1,806 gross tons, built in 1913, in Scotland) was carrying 900,000 gallons of gasoline when she stranded on Simmons Reef on the north side of Beaver Island. The U.S. Coast Guard from Beaver Island rescued the entire crew of 20.

On 11 November 1890, BRUNO (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 136 foot. 475 gross tons, built in 1863, at Montreal) was carrying coal to Cleveland with the schooner LOUISA in tow when she struck Magnetic Reef, south of Cockburn Island in Georgian Bay and sank in rough weather. No lives were lost.

On 11 November 1835, the 2-mast wooden schooner COMET was carrying iron and ashes on Lake Erie when she foundered in a gale, one mile northwest of Dunkirk, New York. Just her topmasts protruded from the water. All seven on board lost their lives, including a passenger who was a college student bound for Vermont.

In a storm on the night of 11 November 1874, The schooner LA PETITE (3-mast wooden schooner, 119 foot, 172 gross tons, built 1866, J. Ketchum, Huron, Ohio) was on Lake Michigan carrying a cargo of wheat and corn from Chicago when she sprang a bad leak and tried first to reach Ludington, then Manistee. Before reaching safety, she grounded off Big Point au Sable, eight miles from land, in eight feet of water. Previous to striking, the vessel had lost her bowsprit and foremast. After she struck, her main and mizzenmasts went by the board, and the schooner began to break up rapidly. The crew clung to the forecastle deck, and when that washed away, four men were drowned. Captain O. B. Wood had his arms broken by the falling off a square-sail yard. When he fell into the water, the ship's dog jumped in and kept him afloat until they were rescued by the crew of the steam barge CHARLES REITZ. Of the 10 crewmen, six were saved. The LA PETITE was salvaged and repaired and lasted until 1903, when she was lost in another storm.

On 11 Nov 1999, the Maltese flag bulk carrier ALCOR was examined by personnel from Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, a salvage company and the vessel's owners in hopes of forming a plan to save the vessel. She ran aground on a sand bar off the eastern tip of d'Orleans Island on the St. Lawrence River two days earlier. This vessel did not visit Great Lakes ports under the name ALCOR, but she did so under her two previous names, firstly as PATRICIA V and then as the Soviet flag MEKHANIK DREN. The Groupe Desgagnes finally refloated the ALCOR on 05 Dec 1999, after part of the cargo of clinker had been removed. The ship was then towed to Quebec City. Later, it was reported that Groupe Desgagnes purchased the ALCOR from its Greek owners.

Below is a first hand account of the Storm of 1913, from the journal of John Mc Laughlin transcribed by his great grandson Hugh McNichol. John was working on an unknown vessel during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John McAlpine and Harry Roberts as Chief Engineer. The boat was loading iron ore in Escanaba when the storm started on November 8th.

Tuesday, November 11, 1913: I got up at 12 a.m. and went on watch. We were above Presque Isle. It is still blowing hard and quite a sea running. Presque Isle at 1:45 a.m., Thunder Bay Island at 4:30 a.m., Harbor Beach at 1:00 p.m., we are about in the River at 7:05 p.m. It is fine tonight, wind gone down.

1940: The famous Armistice Day storm claims the ANNA C. MINCH, WILLIAM B. DAVOCK and NOVADOC (ii), on Lake Michigan and leaves CITY OF FLINT 32 and SINALOA aground and damaged.

1946: The former Canada Steamship lines bulk canaller LANARK was scuttled off the coast of Ireland with a load of World War Two bombs.

1977: The 380-foot, 8-inch long West German freighter GLORIA made 4 visits to the Great Lakes in 1959-1960. It went aground on the Adriatic at Sestrice Island as d) ARISTOTELES. While the 25-year old hull was refloated, it was declared a total loss and towed to Split, Yugoslavia, for scrapping.

1980: The DINIE S. suffered an engineroom fire at Palermo, Italy and became a total loss. The ship had visited the Seaway as a) CATHERINE SARTORI (1959-1967) and b) CURSA (1967) and was sailing under a seventh name. It was scrapped at Palermo in 1985

1980: CITY OF LICHFIELD stranded near Antalya, Turkey, while leaving the anchorage in heavy weather as c) CITY OF LEEDS. The ship was refloated but never sailed again and was eventually scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 1984. The ship had visited the Great Lakes in 1964.

1995: JAMES NORRIS was loading stone at Colborne, ON when the wind changed leaving the hull exposed to the gale. The ship was repeatedly pounded against the dock until it settled on the bottom. Subsequent hull repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks resulted in the port side being all welded while the starboard remained riveted.

1995: The Cuban freighter AREITO had a mechanical problem in the St. Lambert Lock and had to be towed back to Montreal for repairs. This SD-14 class vessel was scrapped at Alang, India, as e) DUNLIN in 2001.

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


Port having best shipping season in more than a decade

11/10 -Portage, Ind. – Overhead cranes are lifting tons of bulk and break bulk shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, which is having its best year in more than 10 years because of a robust trade of grain and steel.

The deepwater port on Lake Michigan's southern shore surpassed its previous five-year average of total annual shipments in just the first three quarters of the year.

"This is the busiest shipping season we have had at this port in more than a decade," Port Director Rick Heimann said.

A total of 29.5 million metric tons passed through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes through the end of October, a 4.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

Strong shipments of grain, steel, salt and limestone have driven the record pace of traffic at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. By year's end, cargo should be up 25 percent over 2013.

Year-to-date shipments at the port in Portage had been up 27 percent over 2013 last month after a surge in steel and limestone freight caused September cargoes to double.

Last year, the port handled the highest amount of steel cargo since 2006, when dockworkers loaded and unloaded 2.5 million tons of cargo. This year's shipments are expected to double the 2013 total.

"Much of this is driven by increased throughput by manufacturers in Northwest Indiana and Chicago, but there is also significant new business being generated by metal processors that have expanded facilities or developed new businesses within our port complex," Heimann said. "These sizable investments signify strong confidence in the long-term future of the Midwest economy and Great Lakes shipping."

Overall, U.S. exports of steel -- 90 percent of which go to Canada and Mexico -- are down 6 percent so far this year because its usual trade partners have been going through a period of anemic economic growth, according to the American Institute for International Steel. Meanwhile, steel imports have been surging and were up 36 percent year-over-year through the end of September.

"The expansion of imports is a sign of -- and contributor to -- good economic health," the American Institute for International Steel said in a statement. "Steel imports are up by more than a third this year because demand is increasing, which means business is thriving."

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor does not track whether shipments are imports or exports, since so much of the cargo that passes through is bound for other domestic ports on the Great Lakes or the Mississippi River.

NWI Times


Prepping for winter: Road salt coming from Venezuela, Morocco, Egypt

11/10 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The Port of Milwaukee is especially busy this time of year with hundreds of trucks loading up on salt and moving out — they’re gearing up for winter.

Just over 2 million tons of salt were brought into the Port of Milwaukee last year, it expects the same this year. Now, typically the salt comes from the Great Lakes salt mines. But this year, salt is coming from places much farther away.

“I think everyone, landscapers, municipalities and others they want to make sure they have enough salt. That’s why this ship is here today,” said Jeff Fleming, Port of Milwaukee.

A ship that’s holding 20,000 tons of salt. Ordinarily the salt used to melt ice form our roads and parking lots come from mines all around the Great Lakes.

“But this season at the Port of Milwaukee we’ve seen salt from Venezuela, from Morocco, and we’re expecting salt from Egypt,” said Fleming.

Matt Ryan, President of MCR, a landscaping and snow removal company, typically buys his salt from local companies but with last year’s harsh winter, supplies are down so Matt had to look elsewhere.

“Because their reserves were depleted last year, the only opportunity we had was to go overseas. And we were lucky enough to find two different areas where we could pull salt from,” said Matt.

One ship took several weeks to arrive, and it will take 7 days to unload.

“What we wanted to do is help the economy, stimulate the economy and get a bunch of the local guys salt that they may not have had otherwise,” said Matt.

MCR is bringing in a second ship with another 20,000 tons of salt. That ship is coming from Egypt. It is expected to arrive November 29th and will take 7 days to unload.


Port Reports -  November 10

Cedarville, Mich. – Jake H. & Denny Dushane
On Saturday, the Arthur M Anderson arrived and began loading. Lewis J. Kuber is expected on Monday during the mid-afternoon. Joseph L. Block is expected Wednesday in the late afternoon.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes loaded on Sunday. Also expected Sunday was the Joseph L. Block, due to get the dock after the Sykes clears in the late afternoon. Rounding out the schedule is the barge Huron Spirit, due to arrive on Tuesday during the early morning to load.

Calcite, Mich. – Jake H. & Denny Dushane
On Saturday, the Saginaw called on the south dock and began loading. Both Buffalo and the tug Defiance / barge Ashtabula were expected to load Sunday. Buffalo was due in during the morning for the North Dock, while the Defiance/Ashtabula were due to arrive in the evening for the South Dock. There are no vessels due on Monday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Deshane
Great Republic loaded at Stoneport on Sunday and was expected to depart around 1:30 p.m. Also due Sunday was the Kaye E. Barker in the late morning, however they would be going to anchor to await the departure of the Great Republic. Due in on Monday in the early morning will be the Manistee.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland loaded at the CSX Coal Dock #4 machine on Sunday. Due next at CSX will be the John G. Munson on Monday during the late afternoon. James L. Kuber is due at CSX to load on Tuesday in the early morning. Algolake is due at the CSX to load Tuesday in the early morning. There is no activity scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were anchored due to water levels, however they did managed to get in and unload at the Torco Dock in the morning. Also due at Torco on Sunday was the tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender, arriving in the early evening to unload. Rounding out the schedule will be the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber, due on Monday in the early afternoon. American Fortitude American Valor remain in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Among the other vessels in port was the saltwater vessel Cinnamon of Cyprus registry at one of the grain elevators upriver loading cargo. The saltwater vessel Mandarin was at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Another salty, the Federal Shimanto of the Marshall Islands flag, was departing after loading a grain cargo at one of the grain elevators upriver. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga was in port at around noon Sunday. She departed around 5 p.m.


Flagship Niagara will be at Put-in-Bay for five years

11/10 - Put-In-Bay, Ohio –Those who are looking to get a glimpse of maritime history won’t have to travel far, as the U.S. Brig Niagara will remain in port in Put-in-Bay for the next five years.

Representatives from the Flagship Niagara League were in Toledo last Wednesday to announce two new partnerships, including a five-year port agreement with the Put-In-Bay Chamber of Commerce.

The league announced details on a new five-year deal with the Put-In-Bay Chamber of Commerce ensuring that U.S. Brig Niagara will be sailing into Put-In-Bay through 2020.

“We are looking forward to our new agreement with the Flagship Niagara League,” Ty Winchester, Put-In-Bay Chamber of Commerce president, said in a statement. “We’ve always considered Put-In-Bay the second home port for U.S. Brig Niagara.

“This gives Put-In-Bay the opportunity to celebrate our important shared maritime heritage manifested in U.S. Brig Niagara and her ongoing mission of education and sail training.”

The second partnership announced was between the Flagship Niagara League and The Maritime Academy of Toledo, which launches a scholarship fund for its Trainee Cadet program.

Shawn Waskiewicz, Flagship Niagara League executive director, presented the Maritime Academy of Toledo with a $10,000 check to help launch a $30,000 Scholarship fund for the school.

“The Flagship Niagara League is contributing the first $10,000 for this program and will be looking for matching funds, private donors, and corporate partners to raise the other $20,000,” Waskiewicz said.

The funds would allow 20 cadets to go through a two-week trainee program aboard the Niagara in the summer of 2015.

The News-Messenger


Lost Mariners Remembrance webcast tonight at 6 p.m.

11/10 - This annual program remembering lost mariners of the Great Lakes will be highlighted with a program about the Benjamin Noble, a Detroit-built and owned freighter that was chartered to a Cleveland firm. In the Spring of 1914, she was carrying rails out of Conneaut, Ohio and sank.

• Performance by Lee Murdock, Great Lakes balladeer

• Honor Guard escort of the memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by the Honor Flotilla of Great Lakes vessels

• Lantern vigil at the Edmund Fitzgerald anchor

Click here to view this free webcast


Lookback #358 – Atlantic lost in Georgian Bay on Nov. 10, 1903

11/10 - The wooden steamer Atlantic was destroyed off the Pancake Islands, Georgian Bay, 111 years ago today. The ship, with passengers, freight and crew, had ridden out a fall storm en route to Parry Sound and had almost swamped.

Some coal oil spilled in the tumult and was soaked up by the cargo of hay. When this caught fire, the ship was doomed. All of board took to the lifeboats and all were saved.

Atlantic had been built at Owen Sound in 1880 and first sailed for the Great Northern Transit Co. as Manitoulin. It operated around Georgian Bay, through the North Channel and, in summer, ventured as far as Mackinac Island.

The ship caught fire due to an overturned lamp in the engine room on May 18, 1882. The burning ship was run aground near Manitowaning and abandoned. The damage was extensive and 11 lives were lost.

The hull was later refloated, taken to Owen Sound and rebuilt for continued service on the old route. It moved to the Northern Navigation Co., via merger, in 1889.

Today, the remains of the Atlantic rest on the bottom, off Spruce Island west of Parry Sound. The rudder and propeller are at a depth of about 10 feet while the rest of the hull angles into deeper water.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 10

On this day in 1892, whaleback barge 102 loaded 2,073 tons of iron ore at Superior consigned to Cleveland. This was the first shipment of Mesabi Range iron ore carried by Oglebay Norton.

On 10 November 1901, the ROBERT A. PACKER (wooden freighter, 209 foot, 921 tons, built in 1882, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was found by the wrecking tug RUMBLE eleven miles north of off De Tour, Michigan, ablaze and abandoned by her crew. Captain Isaac Zess of the RUMBLE fought the flames for four hours and then was helped by the THOMAS W. PALMER. The fire was speedily extinguished with both vessels pouring water on the flames and the PACKER was tied up at the dock in DeTour, Michigan.

On 10 November 1887, A. BOODY (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 287 gross tons, built in 1863, at Toledo, Ohio) struck the Port Austin reef on Lake Huron and was declared a total loss. However, after ten days of hard work, the BOODY was finally pulled off the reef.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD foundered on Lake Superior during a severe storm November 10, 1975, at approximately 7:10 p.m. about 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan, at position 47 0'N by 85 7'W in Canadian waters.

IMPERIAL ST CLAIR (Hull#57) was launched November 10, 1973 , by Port Weller Drydocks at St. Catharines, Ontario. Renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 1998, sold off the lakes, renamed c.) GENESIS EXPLORER in 2005.

The STEELTON sailed on her maiden voyage for Bethlehem Steel Corp. on November 10, 1943.

The ROBERT C. STANLEY, in her first season of operation, on November 10, 1943 during a Lake Superior storm, developed a significant crack across her spar deck and 12 to 14 feet down both sides of her hull. As the hull worked in the heavy seas, the crack widened to as much as three to four inches. The crew ran cables between the fore and aft winches that maintained a force sufficient to hold the hull together.

November 10, 1972, in the vicinity of the entrance to the East Outer Channel near Amherstburg, Ontario, the UNITED STATES GYPSUM collided with her towing tug MAINE and as a result her bow was punctured. The GYPSUM was beached to prevent sinking.

Pittsburgh Steamship's WILLIAM A. IRVIN (Hull#811) was launched November 10, 1937, at Lorain, Ohio. The IRVIN serves as a museum ship in Duluth, Minnesota since 1986.

November 10, 1892, the carferry ANN ARBOR NO 1 left the shipyard in Toledo, Ohio, bound for Frankfort on her maiden voyage. In 1895, the first major accident caused by cars coming free on the car deck of a rail ferry happened when the ANN ARBOR NO 1, was on an eastbound voyage. Approaching Frankfort in a northwest gale, she rolled so violently that many of the car fastenings broke and the cargo began to move about on the car deck. None of the early rear-loading car ferries were equipped with a sea gate to protect the stern from the seas, and seven cars of flour and butter went off the deck of the NO 1 into the lake. Captain Charles Moody resigned from the Ann Arbor as a result of this incident and returned to the Pere Marquette and Goodrich lines.

ATLANTIC (formerly MANITOULIN, wooden propeller passenger/package freight, 147 foot, 683 gross tons, built in 1880, at Owen Sound, Ontario) was bound for Byng Inlet with lumber camp supplies when she was caught in a storm and grounded in the lee of Pancake Island in Georgian Bay. Her cargo and aft cabin were thrown overboard to lighten her, but she caught fire and was destroyed. Her passengers and crew took to her boats and survived.

On 10 November 1856, ST JOSEPH (wooden propeller steam barge, 170 foot, 460 tons, built in 1846, at Buffalo, New York) stranded and was wrecked near Fairport, Ohio. No lives were lost.

November 10, 1911 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 was back in service after damaging several plates in October. The tanker MARIA DESGAGNES struck bottom in the St. Lawrence Seaway on 10 November 1999. After temporary repairs were made, the vessel was cleared to proceed to Hamilton, Ontario, to discharge its cargo of jet fuel. A survey of the seaway was completed with no indications as to what caused the vessel to ground.

On 10 November 1887, BLAZING STAR (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 265 tons, built in 1873, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was sailing on Lake Michigan in fine weather with a load of lumber. However, she grounded on Fisherman Shoal near Washington Island, Wisconsin even though the wreck of the steamer I N FOSTER was in full view on that reef. The captain was unable to locate a tug to pull the BLAZING STAR off and later she broke up in heavy weather. No lives were lost.

Below is a first hand account of the Storm of 1913, from the journal of John Mc Laughlin transcribed by his great grandson Hugh Mc Nichol. John was working on an unknown vessel during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John Mc Alpine and Harry Roberts as Chief Engineer. The boat was loading iron ore in Escanaba when the storm started on November 8th.

Monday, November 10, 1913: I got up at 12 a.m. and went on watch. We were laying at anchor. It was blowing a living gale and kept it up. They hove up the anchor near 10 o'clock but monkeyed around until after dinner. We got under way. We passed the Light Ship about 3, and White Shoal at 5:15.

More entries from the Storm of 1913 tomorrow.

1900: The iron package freighter ARABIAN went aground 8 miles west of Whitefish Point, Lake Superior due to heavy weather. The ship was salvaged with only minor damage. It was later part of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet and was broken up about 1939.

1903: The passenger and freight steamer ATLANTIC was destroyed by a fire on Georgian Bay enroute to Parry Sound. The blaze apparently started in the cargo of hay that had become soaked with coal oil while riding out a late fall storm off Spruce Island west of its destination.

1922: Fleetmates GLENMAVIS and GLENCLOVA were in a collision at Montreal. Both were repaired and remained as part of the Great Lakes fleet for years as ACADIAN and GEORGE HINDMAN (ii) respectively. 1936: SIR WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN was upbound in Lake Huron and ran into a fall storm that damaged 62 automobiles as part of the deckload of new Packard & Chrysler cars.

1968: MANTADOC and FRANCOIS L.D. collided in heavy fog on the Seaway and sustained considerable bow damage. Both were repaired and the former still sails as d) MANITOBA while the latter was scrapped at Alang, India, as b) CINTA in 1987.

1989: ELPIS, Freedom Class deep sea freighter, first came through the Seaway in 1978. It raised considerable ire after stranding on a coral reef off Key Largo, FL while carrying sugar to Mexico. When it was refloated on November 12, the ship was seized by U.S. Marshals until assessment of the damage to the delicate coral reef could be made. The ship was later released and survived further trading until being scrapped at Alang, India, as c) CITY OF HOUSTON, in 2001.

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

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