Sam Laud
IMO 7390210

Coming off Lake Huron at Port Huron, Aug. 15, 2015.
(Matt Miner)


Bay Shipbuilding Corp. of Sturgeon Bay, WI, laid the keel for their hull # 712 on Jan. 4, 1974 to be built as a smaller-sized Great Lakes self-unloading bulk cargo carrier. The new vessel was launched on Nov. 19, 1974 for Buffalo's American Steamship Co. (ASC), a subsidiary of GATX Corp., Chicago, IL. Completed in 1975, the self-unloader was christened Sam Laud by Mrs. Edna Laud on behalf of her husband at a christening ceremony held April 15, 1975. Mr. Laud was the former president (1945) and chairman of the board (1956) of GATX Corp., having started with the company in 1916 as shop painter and riveter. Mr. Laud died August 1, 1963. GATX Corp. had acquired ASC in July of 1973. Mrs. Laud was accompanied by Mr. Frederick G. Jaicks, chairman and CEO of Inland Steel Co., Chicago, IL, who gave the address at the christening ceremonies.

One of a new generation of self-unloaders for the ASC fleet, the Sam Laud was built at an approximate cost of $13.3 million and was the fourth of 10 self-unloaders launched for the fleet under Chapter XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. Under this act, the U.S. government-guaranteed financing and tax deferred benefits for fleet modernizing. The other ASC self-unloaders built under this program were the Roger M. Kyes (now Adam E. Cornelius, 1973), Charles E. Wilson (now John J. Boland, 1973), H. Lee White (1974), St. Clair (1976), Belle River (now Walter J. McCarthy Jr., 1977), Buffalo (1978), Indiana Harbor (1979) and American Mariner (1980) and American Republic (1981) at an approximate total cost of $250 million.

At a time when several1,000-footers were being planned and built, ASC saw the advantages of building smaller, versatile carriers to access smaller ports. The Sam Laud was the first of three built with this thought in mind, the other two were the Buffalo (1978) and American Republic (1981).

Sam Laud is powered by two GM EMD 20-645-E7 V-20 cylinder 3,600 b.h.p. (2,685 KW), two-stroke cycle, single-acting diesel engines burning marine diesel oil, built in 1974 by General Motors Corp. Electro Motive Div., La Grange, IL. The power is fed through a Falk reduction gearbox to a single controllable pitch propeller giving the vessel a rated service speed of 16.1 m.p.h. She is equipped with a 1,000 h.p. (736 KW) bow thruster and a 600 h.p. (442 KW) stern thruster. The vessel's 20 hatches service five holds where she is capable of carrying 23,857 tons (24,182 mt) at a mid-summer draft of 27' 04" (8.33m) and approximately 22,066 tons (22,421 mt) at the Seaway draft of 26' 06" (8.08m). The holds have the cubic capacity to carry 17,800 net tons (equivalent to 15,893 tons or 16,148 mt) of coal. Other capacities include 96.45 tons (98 mt) of fresh water, 259 tons (263.2 mt) of fuel oil and 14,520 tons (14,753 mt) of water ballast. The self-unloading system consists of hopper type holds gravity feeding cargo through gates to a tunnel conveyor feeding a stern-mounted loop belt elevator lifting the cargo to a 250-foot-long (76.2m) deck-mounted discharge boom conveyor that can unload at rates up to 6,000 tons (6,096 mt) of iron ore per hour. Cargoes vary but can include iron ore pellets (taconite), coal, limestone, gypsum and other stone / aggregates.

Sam Laud cleared Sturgeon Bay, WI, on her maiden voyage April 29, 1975 bound for Escanaba, MI, to load iron ore for Indiana Harbor, IN. Not long after entering service, on June 28, 1975, Sam Laud grounded on a shoal south of Sturgeon Bay while enroute from Chicago, IL, to Green Bay, WI, with coal. Receiving serious damage, 6,000 net tons of coal were lightered the next day to fleetmate Nicolet before being freed and proceeding with the Nicolet to Green Bay to discharge her cargo. The damaged self-unloader arrived at Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay on July 3 for dry-docking and extensive bottom repairs to seven leaking double bottom tanks and forepeak, returning to service on August 21. The next year, on July 4, 1976, the vessel grounded entering Buffalo, NY, and had to proceed to Lorain, OH, for dry-docking and repairs to numbers 1, 2 and 3 port and starboard tanks. The laker grounded again on Nov. 15, 1981 above the Rock Cut, West Neebish Channel of the St. Marys River while downbound with potash from Duluth, MN, for Zilwaukee, MI. After lightering some cargo to fleetmate Adam E. Cornelius, Sam Laud was freed the next day with tug assistance.

October 16, 1982 found the Sam Laud at Sept-Isles, QC, with a load of coal offloading the cargo with her self-unloading boom directly into the holds of the ocean going bulk carrier Mountain Thistle. It is believed to be the first time a U.S. flagged self unloader completed this unique operation, which had been pioneered by Canada Steamship Lines in 1980.

A number of groundings over the past 35 years have tarnished the Sam Laud's history. Examples include grounding off the Augsbury Dock, Ogdensburg, NY, on October 4, 1983 prior to loading marble chips for Chicago and the grounding on October 11, 1999 at Port Inland, MI, while outbound with a load of limestone. Another grounding happened on November 21, 2000 while entering the harbor at Manistee, MI, in strong winds and high seas with a load of coal from Toledo. No serious damage resulted nor was assistance required to extricate herself. The cause of some of the groundings has been the shoaling of harbor entrances and the less than satisfactory maintenance of the shipping channels into many of the smaller ports around the Great Lakes (due to lack of adequate funding available for proper and timely dredging). Other recent incidents of note include an allision with the Lower Lakes Coal Dock at Sandusky, OH on April 20, 2003 when caught by strong wind gusts during a thunderstorm while attempting to dock and a small fire reported on May 21, 2004 that started in the incinerator room while on Lake Michigan. Only minor damage was noted in both cases.

A snapshot of the ports visited by the Sam Laud over recent navigation seasons could read as a directory of U.S. Great Lakes ports with a couple of Canadian ports thrown into the mix. A sampling of ports visited include Cleveland OH, Silver Bay MN, Thunder Bay ON, Sandusky OH, Green Bay WI, Chicago IL, Duluth MN, Muskegon MI, Holland MI, Alpena MI, Wyandotte MI, Toledo OH, Essexville MI, Bay City MI, Ferrysburg OH, Stoneport MI, Sturgeon Bay WI, Sault Ste. Marie ON, Buffalo NY, Detroit MI, Marquette MI, Manistee MI, Ashtabula OH, Saginaw MI, Conneaut OH, Grand Haven MI, Calcite MI, Corunna ON, Monroe MI, Port Dolomite MI and St. Clair MI.

Sam Laud has retained her launch name and remained with the same fleet since entering service in 1975. For a short period of time, from 2002 through 2005, the vessel was a part of United Shipping Alliance LLC where the fleets of ASC and Oglebay Norton Marine Services were combined into one operating pool. United Shipping Alliance dissolved when Oglebay Norton Marine Services ceased operations with many vessels of the Oglebay Norton Marine fleet becoming fleetmates of the Sam Laud sailing under the ASC banner.

Sam Laud continues to sail as an active member of the expanded American Steamship Co. fleet. With the severe economic downturn that started in late 2008, the Sam Laud saw only limited service in 2009 sailing from mid April to mid June and mid September through early January of 2010 when the vessel went into winter lay-up at Cleveland, OH.


Written by George Wharton.



Ship Particulars
Length 634' 10" (193.5m)
Beam 68' 00" (20.73m)
Depth 40' 00" (12.19m)
Midsummer Draft 27' 04" (8.33m)
Unloading Boom Length 250' (76.2m)
Capacity 24,300 tons
Engine Power 7,200 bhp diesel

 


Sam Laud 1974 - Today
(American Steamship Co.)

Hull nearing completion, Aug., 1974.
(Matt Miner collection)

Launching into the water at Sturgeon Bay, Nov. 19, 1974.
(Roger LeLievre collection)

Under construction, 1975.
(Wendell Wilke)

Fully loaded on the St. Clair River.
(Peter Worden collection)

Aground just above the Rock Cut, Nov. 16, 1981.
(Tom Manse)

Unloading in Green Bay, May 1995.
(Wendell Wilke)

Loading in South Chicago, 1997.
(Gary Clark)

Passing the Herbert C. Jackson on the Saginaw River, Dec. 6, 2000.
(Stephen Hause)

Saginaw River, Dec. 9, 2000.
(Todd Shorkey)

Unloading in Erie, May 5, 2001.
(Jeff Thoreson)

Close up of the pilothouse.
(Jeff Thoreson)

Preparing to unload along the Saginaw River, June 24, 2001.
(Todd Shorkey)

Stern view.
(Todd Shorkey)

Aerial view on the Detroit River, Aug. 3, 2001.
(Don Coles)

Detroit River, Aug. 18, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Detroit River, Sept. 3, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Passing fleet mate American Mariner Sept. 3, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Wave from the pilot house, Sept. 9, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Saginaw River, Sept. 27, 2001.
(Todd Shorkey)

Stern view.
(Todd Shorkey)

Detroit River, Nov. 16, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Saginaw River, May 26, 2002.
(Todd Shorkey)

Departing Erie, June 18, 2002.
(Jeff Thoreson)

Stern view.
(Jeff Thoreson)

Stewart J. Cort off loads onto the Sam Laud (Joe Bigane fuel boat to the right of the Cort), Oct. 2002.
(Gary Clarke)

Saginaw River, Dec. 16, 2002.
(Todd Shorkey)

Stern view.
(Todd Shorkey)

Winter lay-up, Feb. 17, 2003.
(Dick Lund)

Downbound the St. Clair River passing under the Bluewater Bridges, May 2003.
(Roger LeLievre)

Departing Green Bay, Aug. 29, 2003.
(Scott Best)

Unloading at Holland, Sept. 6, 2003.
(Dave Rosema)

St Clair River, April 9, 2004.
(Roger LeLievre)

Saginaw River with the CSL Tadoussac, April 29, 2003.
(Todd Shorkey)

Detroit River, May 30, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view, May 30, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Upbound the St. Clair River, May 31, 2004.
(Paul Hoffmeyer)

St. Clair River, June 4, 2004.
(Roger LeLievre)

Detroit River, May 8, 2005.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Upbound the Saginaw River, Sept. 22, 2005.
(Todd Shorkey)

On the Cuyahoga River, Cleveland, Mar. 18, 2006.
(Rex Cassidy)

Lake Erie, arriving at Sandusky, April 2006.
(Kevin Davis)

At Marquette, May 16, 2006.
(Lee Rowe)

Outbound the Saginaw River passing the Consumers Power Plant, July 21, 2006.
(Gordy Garris)

At Sterling Fuels, Windsor, July 28, 2006.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Downbound the St. Clair River at Port Huron, Oct. 2006.
(Roger LeLievre)

Passing downtown Detroit, Nov. 1, 2006.
(Angie Williams)

At Toledo, May 27, 2007.
(Bob Vincent)

Off Alpena, July 7, 2007.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Stern view.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Wheelhouse at sunrise, Sept. 4, 2007.
(Rob Butler)

Following fleetmate Adam E. Cornelius into Lake Huron, Sept. 20, 2007.
(Marc Dease)

Leading fleetmate Buffalo coming off of Lake Huron, Oct. 9, 2007.
(Marc Dease)

Heading to the DMIR dock, Duluth, Jan. 11, 2008.
(Sam Lapinski)

Winter lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Jan. 18, 2008.
(Matt Ludvigson)

Downbound the St. Clair River near Algonac State Park, April 13, 2008.
(Don Detloff)

Into Lake Huron, April 18, 2008.
(Marc Dease)

Upbound the St. Clair River at Point Edward, June 11, 2008.
(Wayne Brown)

Upbound Lake St. Clair, June 25, 2008.
(Alex & Max Mager)

Upbound Lake St. Clair, June 25, 2008.
(Bob Pennock)

Stern view into Lake Huron, July 13, 2008.
(Alex & Max Mager)

Entering the Mac Lock at the Soo, Sept. 25, 2008.
(Roger LeLievre)

St. Marys River, Sept. 29, 2008.
(Lee Rowe)

Winter lay up at Sturgeon Bay showing new paint, Jan. 5, 2009.
(Dick Lund)

Stern view.
(Dick Lund)

rom the deck of the Arthur M. Anderson at Sturgeon Bay, Mar. 1, 2009.
(Danny Hecko)

Rafted to the Pathfinder at Sturgeon Bay, April 9, 2009.
(Dick Lund)

Upbound in the Detroit River, Aug. 7, 2010.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Upbound at Mission Pt., July 5, 2012.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the stern.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Upbound in Port Huron just after sunset, Nov. 17, 2012.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Upbound in the St. Marys River with heavy ice, April 6, 2014.
(Mark Sipper)

Taking on fuel at Misterski's in Detroit, June 6, 2015.
(Matt Miner)

Closer view.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the stern.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Coming off Lake Huron at Port Huron, Aug. 15, 2015.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

 


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