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 At the Soo

Roger Lelievre

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Edwin H. Gott

By Rod Burdick

Edwin H. Gott is one of thirteen 1000 foot vessels sailing the Great Lakes. She was the eighth super carrier to enter service during a ten year building program from 1971 to 1981. Gott is a product of Bay Shipbuilding and was launched on July 19, 1978. From 1979 to 1995, Edwin H. Gott exclusively carried taconite loaded in Duluth, Silver Bay, and Two Harbors. Two Harbors was her main loading port, and Gary became her principal unloading port because of her original self-unloader design. She was built with a short "shuttle" boom different from a traditional, long tubular boom. Her shuttle boom could move only 52 feet laterally over her side to discharge taconite into a hopper positioned close to dockside. Gary is one port with this feature along with Conneaut, Ohio, which became her secondary unloading.

At the end of the 1995 shipping season, Gott returned to her builders yard for lay-up and to receive a new self-unloading boom. Her shuttle boom was replaced with a traditional, long tubular boom. Her conversion is significant not only because she is now a more versatile and efficient carrier, but her new self-unloading boom is the longest in lakes history. At 280 feet, her boom is 15 to 30 feet longer than other laker's booms. Since her conversion, Edwin H. Gott has remained in taconite trades but has visited a few new ports including Taconite Harbor, Indiana Harbor, and Lorain.

The commissioning of the Gott and her 1000 foot near-sister, Edgar B. Speer, built in 1980 at Lorain, changed the USS Great Lakes Fleet. Before the Gott and Speer, USS Great Lakes Fleet had a large fleet of smaller, traditional straight-deck lakers supplying their steel mills. Together, the Gott and Speer represent over 120,000 tons of capacity. This added capacity meant the retirement of the fleet's smaller lakers. During the 1980's, these older lakers were moved one-by-one to scrap yards. Other Great Lakes fleets followed the same trend. Edwin H. Gott, on the other hand, should ply the lakes well into the century.

Vessel Statistics
Length 1004'
Beam 105'
Depth 52'
Capacity 74,100 ton
Horsepower diesel engine 19,500 (largest on the lakes)

On the Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Stern view Mike Nicholls

Another view. Mike Nicholls

Downbound at the Soo. Lee Rowe

Taking on supplies from the
Ojibway. Lee Rowe

Winter view at the Soo.

Fueling in Duluth. Al Miller

Fueling on the St. Clair River. Jeff Osborne

Jeff Thoreson

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