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Interlake Steamship Co.

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- James R. Barker

The third thousand footer in the lakes fleet was built in 1976 by American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio as Hull #905. She was the first 1000 footer built for the Interlake Steamship Co. and the first 1000 footer to be built entirely on the Lakes. Other firsts include a thousand footer having all accommodations located in a five story superstructure located at the stern, the model for the ten 1000 footers built after her. It is interesting to note that the original design called for her to be built with the traditional pilot house forward, and engine room at the stern.

Her keel was laid on October 14, 1974, float launched May 29, 1976, her sea trials took place on July 31st and Christened August 7, 1976 . She was built at a cost of more than $43 million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

Power for the vessel is provided by two 8,000 bhp V-16 cylinder, four stroke cycle, single acting, turbocharged Colt-Pielstick PC2V diesel engines, built by Fairbanks Morse Engine Division of Colt Industries, Beloit, WI driving through a Falk reversing gear box to two Bird-Johnson controllable pitch, stainless steel, four bladed propellers seventeen feet, six inches in diameter.

Her rated service speed is 15.75 knots (18 mph). Other equipment includes a 1500 hp Bird-Johnson bow thruster. Rated load capacity is 59,000 gross tons of iron ore pellets and 52,000 net tons of coal at a draft of 28 feet. Her self-unloading rig has a 250 foot boom fed by a three row hopper/belt system discharging at a rate of 10,000 long tons of taconite pellets per hour and 6,000 net tons of coal per hour.

As a comparison of unloading rates, Interlake's first bulk carrier, the 242’loa wooden steamer the V.H. Ketchum, built in 1874 at Marine City, Mich. and brought into the fleet in 1883, had a load capacity of 1700 tons of ore which took nearly twelve days to unload by wheel barrow.

The Barker's deckhouse was built at AmShip's Chicago yard and was transported in sections to Lorain on the deck of the steamer George D. Goble. The James R. Barker departed Cleveland August 8, 1976 on her maiden voyage.

While up bound October 27, 1986 on Lake Huron above Buoys 11 & 12, a high pressure fuel line on the starboard engine failed causing an engine room fire, which was extinguished by on-board fire fighting equipment. Fortunately no one was injured. On October 29 the Barker was lashed side-by-side to the thousand-foot William J. De Lancey and taken to Sturgeon Bay, Wis. arriving there November 2 for repairs.

Overall dimensions
Length 1,004'00"
Beam 105'00"
Depth 50'00"
Capacity (tons) 63,300 tons
Diesel engines horsepower 16,000
Self-unloading boom 250'

Unloading in Lorain. TZ

Loading in Escanaba. Eric & Sand Chapman

Close up. Eric & Sand Chapman

Winter lay-up with fleet mate Mesabi miner Bay Ship. Dick Lund

Close up. Dick Lund

Marquette. Lee Rowe


Stopped at Zug Island. Mike Nicholls

Bow view. Mike Nicholls

New highly screwed propellers installed in 2000. Interlake S.S.

Another view. These props offer less vibration and are more efficient than standard.

Arriving Conneaut, Oh.  Roger LeLievre

Heading for the coal dock. Roger LeLievre

Conneaut Coal Dock. Roger LeLievre

Loading rig. Roger LeLievre

Galley. Roger LeLievre

Dinner menu. Roger LeLievre

Life boat drill. Roger LeLievre

Pilot house. Roger LeLievre

Chart. Roger LeLievre

Log book. Roger LeLievre

Departing Nanticoke. Roger LeLievre

Work on hatch crane. Roger LeLievre

Hatch cover. Roger LeLievre

Mail delivery. Roger LeLievre

Close up of mail bucket. Roger LeLievre

J.W. Westcott II along side. Roger LeLievre

Life rafts. Roger LeLievre

Engine control room. Roger LeLievre

Controls.  Roger LeLievre

Steering engine. Roger LeLievre

Turbo chargers. Roger LeLievre

Generator. Roger LeLievre

Owners lounge. Roger LeLievre

Another view. Roger LeLievre

Bed room. Roger LeLievre

Aerial view. Don Coles

Another. Don Coles

At the Soo. Rod Burdick

Unloading coal, Marquette. Lee Rowe

From the mail boat. Roger LeLievre

Bay Ship Building. Dick Lund

Loading in Escanaba. Dick Lund

Barkers passing. Roger LeLievre

Inbound Duluth, 2002. Marvin Lewis

Port Huron. Clayton Sharrard

Inbound Erie for winter lay-up, 1992. Jeff Thoreson

Turning. Jeff Thoreson

Approaching the dock. Jeff Thoreson

In Duluth Kent Rengo

St. Clair River. Mark Thompson

Deck view. Roger LeLievre

Loading in Conneaut, Oh, Roger LeLievre

Upbound at the Soo. Roger LeLievre

Into the Poe Lock. Roger LeLievre

Blue Water Bridges. Roger LeLievre

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