This L6-S-B1 design "Maritimer" class bulk freighter was built by Great
Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge (Detroit), MI at a cost of $2.2
million. The second of sixteen similar vessels built for the U.S
Maritime Commission during World War II, this laker was launched as the
Adirondack and delivered to the Reiss Steamship Co. (part of the C.
Reiss Coal Co.) on May 25, 1943. Shortly after her delivery (on May
28th), she was rechristened Richard J. Reiss(2) at the company's home
port of Sheboygan, WI. In exchange for this new tonnage, the Reiss Co.
was required to turn over to the U.S. Maritime Commission older obsolete
vessels. These older vessels were the steamers Richard J. Reiss(1)
which was renamed Superior(3) in 1943 and the Alex B. Uhrig. Both of
these vessels were scrapped shortly after the war. The Richard J.
Reiss(2) was powered by a 2,500 horsepower triple expansion steam
engine. The "L6-S-B1" designation meant that this was a Great Lakes
vessel (L), 600-699 feet long (6), steam powered (S), particular design
(B), and sub-design(1).
She continued sailing as a staight-decker for Reiss Steamships until
1964 when she was converted to a self-unloader. In addition to coal,
she also carried other bulk commodities such as limestone and iron ore.
On June 27,1969, the C. Reiss Coal Co. sold all of its vessel assets to
American Steamship for a price of $10.5 million. The Reiss Steamship
Co. continued to operate as a separate entity until July 23,1986 when
Reiss Steamship was merged into the American Steamships fleet. The
Richard J. Reiss (2) was chartered to the Erie Sand Steamship Co.
(managed by Erie Sand & Gravel Co., Erie, PA) in 1986 who shortened her
name to Richard Reiss at that time. Some say the name was shortened because crews believed it was unlucky for a vessel to sail with a 13 letter name.
The Richard Reiss is now powered by a 2,950 horsepower diesel engine (her
original power plant being replaced in 1976) and is equipped with a bow
thruster. Her 16 hatches feed into 6 compartments where she is capable
of carrying 14,900 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 24 feet 7
inches. She is equipped with a 250 foot bow-mounted self-unloading
discharge boom that can be swung 105 degrees to port or starboard.
On Dec. 18, 2001 the Reiss entered what was expected
to be normal winter lay-up at Erie, Penn. In January 2002 the Erie Sand &
Gravel Company, including the Reiss, was purchased by the Oglebay Norton
Ships sailing in the Oglebay Norton fleet took over
the routes normally served by the Reiss and the steamer remained in lay-up.
As the Oglebay Norton Company struggled through
financial difficulties in 2003 and 2004 the vessel was sold to Grand River
Navigation in January, 2004 for 1.8 million dollars.
The new owners kept the Reiss name and paint scheme
for the 2004 season with only the stack being painted in the Grand River
On December 17, 2004 the Reiss entered the Bayship graving dock at Sturgeon
Bay, WI for its five-year inspection
and was painted in the Lower Lakes / Grand River Navigation colors.
Emerging from the drydock on Dec. 30, 2004, the Richard Reiss proceeded to
Sarnia, ON where, on March 14, 2005, her new name Manistee was painted onto
her hull. Of historical significance, this renaming ends an era of almost
100 years of the Reiss name appearing on the hull of a vessel on the Great
||Diesel engine horsepower