St. Clair
IMO 7403990

Downbound at Grassy Island, Sept. 20, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)


The St. Clair was launched July 24, 1975 at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. When hull # 714 slid down the ways, she was the largest vessel ever to be side launched, built at a cost of $24.3 million. St. Clair was built primarily to deliver western low sulfur coal from Superior, WI, to Detroit Edison's Belle River power plant near St. Clair, MI.

The vessel was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. This program allowed U.S. shipping companies to construct new vessels or to modernize their existing fleet by government guaranteed financing and tax deferred benefits. St. Clair was the fifth of 10 ships launched for American Steamship under this program. The total cost of the 10 ships was more than $250 million. The ships were Roger M. Kyes (1973), Charles E. Wilson (1973), H. Lee White (1974), Sam Laud (1975), St. Clair (1976), Belle River (1977), Buffalo (1978), Indiana Harbor (1979), American Mariner (1980) and American Republic (1981).

St. Clair's power came from three V-20 cylinder, two-stroke cycle, single-acting diesel engines, 230mm (9.1") bore x 254mm (10.0") stroke, built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors Corp., La Grange, IL, driving through a Falk single reduction gear box to a controllable pitch propeller. Total engine output: 10,800 bhp. Rated service speed: 14.5 knots (16.7 mph). She was equipped with bow and stern thrusters.

St. Clair was christened April 22, 1976 at Bayship. On her maiden voyage May 4, 1976, St. Clair departed Sturgeon Bay for Escanaba, MI, to load 39,803 gross tons of iron ore pellets for Indiana Harbor, IN, arriving there on May 5th.

In the years that followed, American Steamship Co. launched two 1,000-foot foot vessels, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. in 1977 and Indiana Harbor in 1979. Those vessels could carry more cargo per trip and the McCarthy took over as the primary vessel delivering coal to the power station. By the mid-2000s, St. Clair saw frequent lay ups due to her size.

In 2018, St. Clair received major steel work in her cargo holds, as well as fresh paint. She reentered service in October and passed downbound at the Soo Locks on December 29 on her last trip of the season.

On Sunday, Feb. 16, 2019, a devastating fire swept through St. Clair while she was docked in Toledo, OH, for winter lay up. The fire burned the length of the ship along the unloading belts and also destroyed the superstructure. No one was injured. Although her fate has yet to be determined, it is believed she will be declared a total loss. Cause of the fire has yet to be determined.


Written by George Wharton.



Ship Particulars
Length 770' 00" (234.7m)
Beam 92' 00" (28.04m)
Depth 52' 00" (15.85m)
Midsummer Draft 30' 01" (9.17m)
Unloading Boom Conveyor Length 250' (76.2m)
Capacity 44,800 tons
Engine Power 10,800 bhp diesel

 


St. Clair 1975 - Today
(American Steamship Co.)

Loading at night in Marquette, Aug. 1993.
(Rod Burdick)

Aerial view, Nov. 23, 2000.
(Don Coles)

Toledo lay-up, Feb. 2001.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Close up of prop.
(Neil Schultheiss)

St. Clair and Indiana Harbor at Duluth transferring coal into Indiana Harbor before heading for repairs, May 21, 2001.
(Al Miller)

Another view.
(Al Miller)

On the Detroit River, May 28, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Bow passing the Lorain Light, July 18, 2001.
(TZ)

Another view.
(TZ)

Inbound Lorain, Aug. 7, 2001.
(TZ)

Lorain Pellet Terminal.
(TZ)

Upbound in the St. Marys River, Aug. 27, 2001.
(Pat Pavlat & Frank Bachnak)

Off Fawn Island, St. Clair River, July 2002.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Stern view.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Aerial view on Lake Huron, July 25, 2002.
(Don Coles)

Arriving Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, Jan. 19, 2004.
(Wendell Wilke)

Downbound at Grassy Island, Sept. 20, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Downbound off Lake Huron at Point Edward, Aug. 9, 2008.
(Edward Schuyler)

Downbound at the Blue Water Bridge, April 28, 2010.
(Edward Schuyler)

Close up of the stern.
(Edward Schuyler)

Stern view.
(Edward Schuyler)

Downbound off Lake Superior at Gros Cap, June 26, 2010.
(Matt Miner)

Passing Port Huron downbound, Nov. 20, 2010.
(Matt Miner)

Laid up in Strugeon Bay, June 1, 2011.
(Peter Groh)

Laid up in Strugeon Bay next to the H. Lee White, Aug. 8, 2011.
(Dick Lund)

In Strugeon Bay for the winter, Jan. 27, 2012.
(Dick Lund)

In Strugeon Bay drydock getting sand blasted and paint, Feb. 5, 2012.
(Dick Lund)

Stern view in the drydock.
(Dick Lund)

Tied up for the winter in Toldeo, Jan. 23, 2015.
(Bob Vincent)

Sterns of the St. Clair and American Spirit.
(Bob Vincent)

Close up of the stern.
(Bob Vincent)

Upbound in the Soo Locks, June 27, 2015.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the stern.
(Matt Miner)

Tied up at Donjon Shipyard, June 10, 2018.
(Barry Andersen)

Fire photo Gallery
February 2019

     

 


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