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Coast Guard to begin spring icebreaking on Lake Superior

3/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Saint Marie officials are coordinating icebreaking operations on Lake Superior in preparation for the 2019 Shipping Season.

U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw, Alder, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Samuel Risley will transit upbound through the Sault Locks Tuesday. The Mackinaw and Alder will transit the upper St Marys River, Whitefish Bay and then the ice covered waters of Lake Superior in route Duluth, MN, to prepare the twin ports for commercial vessel departures.

The Risley will make her way to Thunder Bay, Ont. to begin icebreaking work there. Although not limited to a specific area, the three icebreakers, joined later by other icebreaking assets, will focus initial icebreaking activities on the western Lake Superior ports of Superior WI, Duluth, Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor and Two Harbors in Minnesota, and Thunder Bay. This work will expand and eventually encompass Marquette, the Keweenaw Waterway, and Chequamegon Bay. The icebreaking work in these latter areas will not begin until the end of the month. Specific public notices will precede icebreaking work planned for each of these areas.



Port Reports -  March 19

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
All six vessels that have been wintering in the Twin Ports are now transmitting AIS signals in preparation for the new season. The US Coast Guard cutters Alder and Mackinaw will arrive later this week to break out the harbor, and the first departures of the season should come over the weekend as vessels prepare for the opening of the Soo Locks on March 25.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
Reports on social media indicate the Paul R. Tregurtha will leave layup on Saturday to start the new season. On Monday Wilfred Sykes was taking on fuel at Bay Shipbuilding and had steam up later in the day. Other ships at Bay Ship are having their crews starting to arrive.

Lake Michigan
Algocanada was off Manistee Monday night headed for Sarnia. Algoma Hansa was still in S. Chicago.

Lake Erie
Tanker Algonova was westbound for Sarnia Monday night.

Bath, Ont. – Ron Walsh
The tug Sheri Lynn S broke ice Monday ahead of the arrival of the cement carrier NACC Argonaut.


Maintenance at frozen Soo Locks gets 'more intense'

3/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – It's cold, complex and dangerous work. But repairs to the Soo Locks are critical to ensuring ships can pass through the Great Lakes every year, despite challenges posed by frigid weather.

This season, the work began the day after the Locks closed for the season Jan. 15 and has kept up weekdays through the daylight hours.

Both the Poe and the MacArthur locks were emptied of water so $2.8 million in maintenance can be completed over 10 weeks prior to March 25, when the shipping season begins on the Great Lakes.

“We have a complex, accelerated work schedule in the winter,” said JoAnne Gray, chief of construction at the Army Corps' Soo Area Office. “It takes 10 hours to de-water a lock, then we put in stop logs and divers plug all leaks in the gates to ensure a dry environment to work.”

The two locks are massive, with the MacArthur Lock 80 feet wide and 800 feet long, the Poe Lock 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long, allowing 1,000-foot freighters to transit 21 feet to and from Lake Superior and Lake Huron around the St. Marys River Rapids between Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.

Divers in suits filled with warm water that ensure survival enter the locks upon closure to open drains. Stop logs are placed in the gates and drains at the bottom of the locks are opened. More than 22 million gallons of water are flushed from each lock by five 300-horsepower pumps.

Oakum, a fiber rope used in building wooden ships, is used by the divers to plug small leaks in the huge four-foot-wide wood gates that rise 61 feet from the lock’s floor.

Huge barges with cranes and other equipment are placed in the lock and slowly lowered 61 feet to the bottom of the locks as the water is removed. And plastic covers are placed over the gates trapping pumped steam onto the gates, melting ice and snow so work can commence.

“We perform maintenance all year. In the winter, our work becomes more intense,” said LeighAnn Ryckeghem, chief of maintenance engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A list of work to be completed by Monday included cylinder seal and embedded anchorage replacement as well as lock valve maintenance on the Poe Lock. Anchorage replacement, lock filling valve seal replacement and bevel gear replacement on the MacArthur Lock also were being done.

Read more and view photos at this link


Welland Canal trade corridor key to Niagara’s future: Mayors

3/19 - Port Colborne is poised to move forward as part of a larger national trade corridor along the Welland Canal, says Mayor Bill Steele.

And Welland Mayor Frank Campion says his city has been working to develop canal lands and establish a new port for nearly three years now.

Last month, a federal committee on transport, infrastructure and communities made a number of recommendations on a Canadian transportation and logistics strategy, two of which encouraged increased use of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and using Welland Canal corridor lands to expand and create new economic development opportunities.

At the time, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey said the Niagara region and Hamilton are a strategic location due to being within a day's drive of major Canadian and U.S. cities and he wanted the two areas to be designated a national trade corridor.

Steele says Port Colborne has been working on the issue for the past three to four months, and he was on it prior to being sworn in as mayor. "This is the big push I spoke of during the election … moving forward with the Hamilton Port Authority," says Steele.

With cargo moved on the seaway and Welland Canal up 14 per cent over the past two years, Port Colborne's mayor says there are more lands that could be used for marine- and transport-related industries.

Everything south of the Clarence Street Bridge, Bridge 21, says Steele is an open market for the canal trade corridor. "There are millions and millions of people we can serve. From Port Colborne, going west, every major city in the U.S. and Canada can be reached."

Steele says with more Canadian and American ice-breakers on Lake Erie, the shipping season could run year-round.

The Welland Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 19

W. R. STAFFORD (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 184 foot, 744 gross tons, built in 1886, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was freed from the ice at 2:00 a.m. on 19 March 1903, by the Goodrich Line’s ATLANTA. When the STAFFORD was freed, the ice then closed around the ATLANTA and imprisoned her for several hours. Both vessels struggled all night and finally reached Grand Haven, Michigan, at 5 a.m. They left for Chicago later that day in spite of the fact that an ice floe 2 miles wide, 14 miles long and 20 feet deep was off shore.

CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was launched March 19, 1960, as a.) RUHR ORE (Hull # 536) at Hamburg, Germany, by Schlieker-Werft Shipyard.

INDIANA HARBOR (Hull#719) was launched March 19, 1979, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by Bay Shipbuilding Corp.

CITY OF GREEN BAY was launched March 19, 1927, as a.) WABASH (Hull#177) at Toledo, Ohio, by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Wabash Railway Co.

ALFRED CYTACKI was launched March 19, 1932, as a.) LAKESHELL (Hull#1426) at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd.

On 19 March 1886, the PICKUP (wooden passenger/package freight steamer, 80 foot, 136 gross tons, built in 1883, at Marine City, Michigan, was renamed LUCILE. She lasted until she sank off the Maumee River Light (Toledo Harbor Light), Toledo, Ohio, Lake Erie, on August 8, 1906.

1916 The canal-sized PORT DALHOUSIE saw only brief service on the Great Lakes. It was built in England as TYNEMOUNT in 1913 and came to Canada as PORT DALHOUSIE in 1914. It left for saltwater in 1915 and was torpedoed and sunk by UB-10 while carrying steel billets to Nantes, France. It went down March 19, 1916, south and west of the Kentish Knock Light vessel and 12 lives were lost.

1978 BELKARIN was a Norwegian cargo carrier that made one trip inland in 1963. It struck a sunken warship in Suez Bay on March 19, 1978, as c) NAHOST JUMBO and the engine room was holed. The vessel, en route from Aqaba, Jordan, to Holland, settled in shallow water. The hull was refloated in January 1979 and sold for scrap.

1990 On March 19, an explosion in a container on board the Norwegian freighter POLLUX at La Baie, QC, killed two sailors, seriously injured a third as well as 7 Alcan dock employees. The ship made its first trip up the Seaway coming to to Port Weller Dry Docks May 18 for repairs. It was renamed there and left the lakes in August as d) NOMADIC POLLUX. This ship returned inland in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and was back as e) BALTICLAND in May 2004.

1993 An explosion and fire rocked the tanker SHIOKAZE in the North Sea en route to Rotterdam killing one member of the crew. The vessel had first been a Seaway trader in 1986 and returned in 1998 as DILMUN TERN bound for Hamilton with palm oil. It was scrapped, after 30 years of service, arriving at Alang, India, on June 14, 2010, as c) THERESA III.

2002 A hull crack of close to 13 feet was found on LAKE CARLING off Cape Breton Island while traveling from Sept-Iles to Trinidad with iron ore. Originally ZIEMIA CIESZYNSKA, the vessel first came to the Great Lakes in 1993 and was renamed LAKE CARLING at Chicago in October. The crack widened to 25 feet before the vessel could reach safety but the damage was repaired and it returned to service. The original name was restored in 2004 and the vessel was last on the lakes in 2009.

2003 A fire in the after end of the CALEDONIA on the Heddle Dry Dock in Hamilton was contained to one deck. The vessel was there for conversion to a sailing ship and the work was eventually completed. The ship had visited the Great Lakes as the coastal freighter PETREL in the late 1970s but was much more at home around Maritime Canada and Hudson Bay. As a sailing ship, it carries 77 passengers and visits Caribbean ports.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Canadian Coast Guard Ice breakers heading for the lakes

3/18 - The Canadian Coast Guard ships Pierre Radisson and Martha L. Black are heading for the lakes. They are due to work their way upbound on the St. Lawrence Seaway March 19 and 20. They are due into Lake Ontario on March 21 and then the Radisson is due to transit the Welland Canal on March 22 with the Black to follow.


Lake Superior ice breaking up

3/18 - Duluth, Minn – The most recent clear-weather satellite photo of Lake Superior, taken March 12, appears to show the big lake's winter ice starting to break up. The estimate of ice cover on the lake peaked at 95 percent earlier in March and now sits about 80 percent. NOAA photo.

Despite all the subzero temperatures the Polar Vortex threw at it, Lake Superior never quite froze over entirely this winter and already appears to be losing some ice cover.

Satellite photos from the most recent clear day — Tuesday — show vast areas of what appears to be open water just off Minnesota and Ontario's North Shore and many other areas of the lake.

And some areas that have ice cover appear to show fissures and cracks as the lake ice diminishes due to warm temperatures, rain and windy conditions. With no cold snaps anywhere in the forecast it's unlikely the lake ice will grow much again this season.

Estimates — based on satellite temperature data taken of the lake's surface — topped out at 95 percent ice cover for the big lake earlier in March. But that number quickly dropped and now sits at about 80 percent, based on the estimates by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The most recent satellite photo appears to show even less than 80 percent ice cover.

The western tip of Lake Superior near Duluth and Superior, and around the Apostle Island, appears well-locked in solid ice. Losing those vast sheets of ice still on Superior won't be easy or quick. Despite the recent warm and windy streak it could still take many weeks — even months — for the most solid Lake Superior ice to melt. As Duluthians well know, there has been remnant ice on the lake and beaches well into May some years, and in some cases into June.

Across the Great Lakes about 50 percent of the lakes are still ice-covered, according to the NOAA estimates.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  March 18

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
In preparation for the Coast Guard vessels scheduled to lock up on Wednesday, the Army Corps tug Billmaier has freed itself from the ice above the Soo Locks and on Sunday started to break up the ice to free the three barges which have also been frozen in place all winter. Also on Sunday, the USCGC Katmai Bay returned to the Soo USCG base from her ice breaking ops in the lower St. Marys River and Straits of Mackinaw. Cutter Mackinaw arrived in Soo Harbor Sunday afternoon.

Straits of Mackinac
Sunday the eastbound tug Leo A McArthur and barge finally made it through the Straits with assistance from the USCG Mackinaw, Hollyhock and tug Barbara Andrie. The McArthur continued downbound and the Hollyhock stopped in Mackinaw City. The Barbara Andrie headed to Cheboygan where they assisted the tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes out of port. The Andrie retuned to Cheboygan once the tug and barge were clear.

South Chicago, Ill.
Algocanada and Algoma Hansa remained in port on Sunday.

Northern Lake Huron
Tug Leo A. McArthur and her tank barge, and the tug Michigan and tank barge Great Lakes were headed down the lake Sunday evening. Both have a Sarnia destination on AIS.

Lake Erie
Tanker Algonova was at Nanticoke Sunday night.


AIS station hosts needed

3/18 - Last fall, we brought our Automated Vessel Passage System Online. This is a project we have been working on for many years that will provide a long-term record of vessel passages in all major ports.

To better support this system and our AIS map, we are looking for locations to host a receiver to share data from that location.

Boatnerd would send you, at no cost, an antenna and receiver. All that is needed is a location near the water and an Internet connection. The receiver sends out small data messages to our server, where it is processed. We can also accept data feeds if you have an existing AIS receiver (like Marine Traffic) that won’t affect your current use.

Data from these locations would be very helpful:

Lake Erie:
North shore, we need better coverage of the Pelee Passage, Port Stanley to Port Burwell and Long Point Bay: Nanticoke / Port Dover
Fairport, Ohio
Conneaut, Ohio

Lake Huron:

Bruce Peninsula
Tobermory, Georgian Bay and Manitoulin Island/ North Channel

Lake Michigan
Port Inland

Lake Superior

Anywhere on the North and East Shores
Grand Marais North Shore
Munising to Grand Marais South Shore
Ashland to Copper Harbor

Lake Ontario
Most, Port Weller to Cape Vincent

Seaway / St. Lawrence River / Gulf of St. Lawrence

Please e-mail if you would like to host or share data
If you have an area you would like us to set up an automated vessel passage system please e-mail The system can be customized for any area we have covered.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 18

In 1967, under the command of Captain Ray I. McGrath, the Columbia Transportation Company's HURON (steel propeller self-unloader bulk freighter, 415 foot, 4,810 gross tons, built in 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan) cleared Fairport, Ohio, and headed to Toledo, Ohio for a load of coal. She was the first freighter to sail in the new season. She sailed on the same day that the U. S. Steel's Bradley Fleet of seven vessels started fitting out.

On 18 March 1906, the Goodrich Line's ATLANTA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 200 foot, 1,129 gross tons, built in 1891, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing from Sheboygan, Wisconsin for Milwaukee. When she was 14 miles south of Sheboygan, fire was discovered in the aft hold and quickly spread to the engine room. She ran out of steam, making the fire pumps inoperable. There were 65 persons aboard and Capt. Mc Cauley gave the order to abandon. The fish tug TESSLER came to help and only one life was lost. As the TESSLER was steaming to port, the Goodrich Line's GEORGIA came into view and took on all of the survivors. The hull of the ATLANTA was beached by the TESSLER. Later, the burned hull was purchased by D. O. Smith of Port Washington.

ARSENE SIMARD (Hull#404) was launched March 18, 1972, at Sorel, Quebec, by Marine Industries Ltd., for Branch Lines Ltd.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 (Hull#209) was launched March 18, 1924, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. She was christened by Mrs. Charles C. West, wife of the president of Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co.

The straight-deck bulk carrier SYLVANIA (Hull#613) was launched March 18, 1905, at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co., for the Tomlinson Fleet Corp.

On 18 March 1890, CITY OF CHICAGO (steel sidewheeler, 211 foot, 1,073 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull#68) for the Graham & Morton Line. CITY OF CHICAGO was lengthened to 226 feet at Wheeler's yard one year later (1891). She was again lengthened in 1905-06, this time to 254 feet. On the same day and at the same yard the 3-mast wooden schooner A.C. TUXBURY was stern launched.

On 18 March 1928, M. T. GREENE (wooden propeller freighter, 155 foot, 524 gross tons, built in 1887, at Gibraltar, Michigan) burned to a total loss near Brigdeburg, Ontario, on the Niagara River.

1923 The wooden steamer JAMES P. DONALDSON was built in 1880 and often worked in the lumber trade. At the end, it was used by N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. to bring wet grain to the company elevator for drying. The ship caught fire at the Canadian Lakehead on this date and the remains were sunk off Isle Royale, Lake Superior, on May 6, 1923.

1991 The Canadian Coast Guard ship GRIFFON collided with the fishing trawler CAPTAIN K. sinking it in Lake Erie. Three lives were lost.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Break out causes concern along St. Marys River

3/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – With the Soo Locks set to open on March 25, the potential impact on island communities fueled discussion at Thursday’s meeting of the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners.

“Last year we were without ferry service for 28 days — 26 days straight,” said Neebish Island resident Les Laitinen, reminding the commissioners during public comment of the difficulties residents experienced in 2018. He seemed especially puzzled by the decision to eliminate the ice bridge to the island more than a week before commercial vessels can even use the locks.

“It’s not going to go anywhere. You can break it, break it and break it,” added a second individual expressing similar concerns. From his account, the narrow channel just traps the broken ice in an area that prohibits the ferry from running. “The ferry can operate just fine if that’s left alone.”

Commissioner Don McLean agreed. “If you break up the ice, it’s going to jam up there. It’s just too narrow,” McLean explained. “We need to somehow make the Coast Guard aware that somehow they’re not going about this the right way.”

But McLean’s fellow commissioners opted for a wait and see approach. “From my understanding, things are pretty good, probably the best they have been in a long time,” said Shackleton. “By all accounts it’s been a great year and I think instead of bugging them, we should send them a big thank you note.”

“At this point I think things are going well, we’re working towards, I believe, a much better relationship with the Coast Guard,” added Commissioner Jim Martin, reflecting on the communication channels of the involved parties. “I don’t want to do anything to derail the improvement.”

Commissioner Robert Savoie agreed that communications have improved and admitted the county had limited control over this matter. “We’re never going to be able to tell the Coast Guard what to do.”

“We have a role to play in this,” McLean countered. “Our hands aren’t tied and we don’t have a gag in.”

The commission effectively opted for a “wait and see” strategy leading up to the icebreaking season, taking no action related to this topic.

Sault News


Port Reports -  March 17

Spring updates – Dan McNeil
According to the Algoma Innovator’s AIS, they have a ETA for Windsor of 4 p.m. Monday. She's in lay-up in Sarnia and just arrived there a few weeks ago. Many of the Lower Lakes Towing ships laid up in Ashtabula are transmitting AIS signals. The steamer Alpena’s AIS signal has been transmitting the last two days as well and Stewart J. Cort’s AIS has also popped on.

Straits of Mackinac
Saturday the USCG Hollyhock and tug Barbara Andrie spent the day making slow progress escorting the eastbound tug Leo A McArthur and barge. They made it about 20 miles and stopped for the night off White Shoal Light.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
USCG Mackinaw was on Lake Michigan Saturday evening after breaking ice at Sturgeon Bay.

South Chicago, Ill.
Algocanada and Algoma Hansa were in port Saturday.  Samuel D. Champlain and barge Innovation departed with a partial load of Cement for St. Joseph, Mich. They were assisted out by the tug Arizona who was following them across the lake.

Lake Erie
Algonova was eastbound for Nanticoke Saturday, while Algosea was westbound for Sarnia with CCGS Griffon assisting.


Icebreaker scheduled to arrive in Owen Sound Saturday

3/17 - Owen Sound, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risely will be visiting Owen Sound likely on Saturday. The icebreaker will be clearing a path through the ice to allow commercial vessels to pass through for another shipping season, a Coast Guard news release said Friday. Its arrival depends on weather conditions.

The Coast Guard warned people to stay clear of the shipping lanes and icebreaking operations. “Unsafe ice conditions can persist long after icebreakers have left the area,” the release said.

The Welland Canal opens March 22, and the navigational locks at Sault Ste. Marie re-open March 25. The St. Lawrence Seaway officially opens for the 2019 shipping season on March 26.


Port Colborne holding top hat ceremony when Welland Canal opens Friday

3/17 - Port Colborne, Ont. – A beaver fur top hat will be presented to the captain of the first downbound vessel on the Welland Canal this week as the 2019 shipping starts in Port Colborne.

Port Colborne's top hat ceremony, which started in the early 1970s under Mayor John Buscarino, will be held Friday, March 22, in the pavilion at Lock 8 Gateway Park, 163 Mellanby Ave.

In St. Catharines, the annual top hat ceremony for the first upbound vessel is on Tuesday, March 26, at 10 a.m. at St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3, 1932 Welland Canals Pkwy.

Mayor Bill Steele will host Port Colborne's ceremony along with representatives from upper levels of government and the marine industry. It gets underway at 8 a.m. with Port Colborne's Fair Trade Committee providing a pancake breakfast with students from McKay Elementary School offering entertainment. The ceremony itself begins at 8:30 a.m.

Steele will present the old top hat to the first ship's captain for the ceremony and it will then be returned to Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum's archives. The captain doesn't leave empty-handed though. Steele will present them with a keepsake top hat and a silk tuxedo scarf bearing the Canada 150 logo.

The Welland Tribune


New phase unveiled in building of replica of historic Erie Canal boat

3/17 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Canal Corp. & Arts Council grants helped fund project; building of vessel will move to Canalside with backing from Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

The construction of a replica of the packet boat used by Gov. DeWitt Clinton to travel from Buffalo to New York City to open the Erie Canal in 1825 took a major step forward on Thursday, with the start of a painstaking, age-old process that will create the template for reimagining this historic wooden vessel.

The Buffalo Maritime Center, in conjunction with the New York State Canal Corp., unveiled a middle section of the boat, as part of a process called lofting, a critical first step in building a wooden boat.

“In the last decade, we have seen incredible growth along Buffalo’s waterfront and at Canalside thanks to a sustained commitment and infusion of state resources,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who attended the event at the Maritime Center. “Recreating the historic 1825 packet boat is a way to highlight Buffalo’s pivotal role in the history of the Erie Canal. The interactive construction of the replica boat will be a new driver for tourism over the next several years and an important part of our efforts to celebrate the bicentennial of the canal and our amazing history.”

The bulk of the construction of the packet boat – a medium-sized vessel popular on the canals in the 19th century, because it was able to travel in shallow drafts – will eventually be done in the “Longshed,” a 4,000-square-foot, year-round facility, to be constructed at Canalside by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. (ECHDC), a subsidiary of Empire State Development. The Longshed will appear as a wooden barn structure, emulating what was there when the Erie Canal was being built.

Visitors will be able to watch the building of the vessel as it happens and learn more about the canal through interactive exhibits.

The construction of the replica boat is expected to take about three years.

“ECHDC continues to foster our community’s awareness and celebration of Buffalo’s unique history,” ECHDC President Steve Ranalli said. “With ECHDC’s collaboration with Buffalo Maritime Center to build the Longshed and create a replica of Gov. Clinton’s 1825 replica packet boat, history will come alive at Canalside.”

The project is a major component of Buffalo’s celebration of the Erie Canal bicentennial, which began two years ago to mark the start of construction in 1817. It will culminate in 2025 with the commemoration of Clinton’s historic ride on the Erie Canal, when he traveled down to New York Harbor and emptied a barrel of Lake Erie water into the Atlantic Ocean.

Known as the “wedding of the waters,” it marked the symbolic completion of the Erie Canal and ushered in a new wave of prosperity that turned the U.S. from a largely agrarian economy to an industrial superpower by opening up the west to expansion and dramatically cutting the cost of shipping goods.

The beginning of the announced construction involves lofting, which helps builders estimate the volume of wood for the packet boat and assess how accurate the drawings for the boat construction are. From that process, a template will be created from which wood will be cut to begin constructing the Seneca Chief.

Brian Trzeciak, executive director of Buffalo Maritime Center, said, “Starting the lofting of the packet boat is exciting for us, because it is the first step toward the reality of the packet boat being built and in service to Buffalo, Western New York, and New York state as a whole. Lofting gets us one step closer to actual construction that will begin at Canalside when the Longshed building is complete.”

“There was no greater champion of the Erie Canal than DeWitt Clinton, so it’s fitting that he be honored in this way,” said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corp. director. “With the passion and attention to detail for this project exhibited by the Maritime Center staff and volunteers, this will be one of the premier Canal attractions.”

The project received $150,000 in funding from the Canalway Development Grant program along with $49,500 from the New York State Council on the Arts. In addition, the Maritime Center received $325,000 from David Rogers, the CEO and co-founder of Life Storage, to fund construction. ECHDC has committed $4 million toward the construction of the Longshed building.

New York’s canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities.


2019 Boatnerd Gatherings schedule now available

3/17 - The 2019 schedule of Boatnerd Gathering has been set and information is now available now on the Gatherings page

Gatherings include the always-popular S.S. Badger cruise, Soo Locks Engineers weekend festivities, and the annual Welland Canal weekend.

Reservations are now being accepted for the Badger Cruise and Soo Locks Freighter-Chasing Cruise. Sign up now. Don't be left out.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 17

On 17 March 1995, a fire started on the AMERICAN MARINER's self-unloading conveyor belt from welding being done on the vessel at the Toledo Ship & Repair Company in Toledo, Ohio. About $100,000 in damage was done. The Toledo fire department had the blaze out in half an hour.

The tanker LAKESHELL reportedly leaked over 21,000 gallons of Bunker C oil into the St. Lawrence River on March 17, 1982, after suffering a crack in her cargo compartment caused by striking an ice floe.

GEORGE R. FINK was launched March 17, 1923, as a.) WORRELL CLARKSON (Hull#174) at Toledo, Ohio, by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Kinsman Transit Co.

On 17 March 1916, CITY OF MIDLAND (wooden propeller passenger-package freighter, 176 foot, 974 tons, built in 1890, at Owen Sound, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway dock at Collingwood, Ontario, while fitting out for the coming season. No lives were lost.

In 1945 Stadium Boat Works of Cleveland Ohio launched the SOUTH SHORE (US. 247657) for Miller Boat Line of Put-In-Bay, Ohio. She carried 6 autos and 120 passengers. In 1973, she was sold to Beaver Island Boat Company until retired at the end of the 1997 season. In April of 1999, sailed to Chicago where she was docked at the foot of Navy Pier as a storage vessel for Shoreline Cruises.

1906: SOVEREIGN, a steel hulled passenger ship that operated on the St. Lawrence in the Montreal area, was destroyed by a fire at Lachine, Quebec. The vessel was rebuilt that year as IMPERIAL and remained in service until 1928 when the boilers and hull were condemned.

1916: CITY OF MIDLAND, a passenger and freight steamer for Canada Steamship Lines, caught fire at the Grant Trunk Railway Dock in Collingwood and was a total loss.

1973: A wild late winter storm swept into Goderich off Lake Huron on March 17-18. Eleven ships got loose, while only the PATERSON (i) remained fast at the dock. It sustained bow damage when struck by fleetmate MONDOC (iii). Varying amounts of damage were inflicted to other ships.

1980: SUNPOLYNA was built in 1956 and provided service for Saguenay Shipping between Eastern Canada and the West Indies. The ship first came through the Seaway in 1963 and, on May 16, 1967, it ran aground near Thorold. It was sailing as d) TEMERAIRE when abandoned by the crew on March 17, 1980, in position 28.16 S / 21.04 W after the hull had cracked. The ship was en route from Santos, Brazil, to Mina Qaboos, Oman, and, after drifting to northwest for several days, sank on March 21.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


City may move Norgoma to Algoma Steel

3/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Sault Ste. Marie City Council will be asked Monday to approve moving the M.S. Norgoma to a temporary location behind Algoma Steel made available to the city by Purvis Marine.

A resolution on the agenda for Monday's council meeting calls for St. Mary's River Marine Heritage Centre to be served notice that the ship must be moved out of Bondar Marina to the new location as soon as weather and ice conditions allow, by April 15 at the latest.

The cost and liability of the transfer must be paid by the marine heritage centre as the ship's owner, the resolution states. If the resolution passes, city staff will be directed to work with the volunteer-run centre to co-ordinate removal of the marina docks.

City officials are anxious to move the historic boat to allow replacement of the deteriorating wooden docks, and to take advantage of current high water levels.

Other locations for the ship that were investigated and removed included: Parks Canada canal, Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, Sault Area Hospital, St. Joseph Island and the SunCor site.

"Staff has been able to confirm that a temporary site has been secured located on a portion of the dock wall behind Algoma Steel and rented by Purvis Marine," Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services, says in a report to Mayor Provenzano and councillors.

"This site will be inaccessible to the public but will provide a temporary location that removes the vessel from the marina and enables the new dock project to proceed," Vair wrote.

"The vessel will have to be insured by the owner for the tow through the Sault locks to Algoma Steel. The insurance will also have to be carried on the vessel for the duration of its storage at Algoma Steel."

Cost of the move is estimated at $50,000 and Purvis Marine will require a purchase order for the tow and storage.

The ship must stay no longer than one year at the temporary location and Purvis will charge a discounted rate of $40 a day to keep the ship at the Algoma Steel dock.

If the marine heritage centre becomes insolvent because of the move, Vair is recommending that the Norgoma either be decommissioned at an estimated cost of $150,000 or be provided to a new owner interested in moving the boat elsewhere. "We continue to recognize the SMRMHC volunteers for the numerous hours they have contributed towards the management and maintenance of the M.S. Norgoma," Vair says. "They should be commended for their years of hard work and service."

At the same time, Vair points out that the centre's 10-month-old GoFundMe campaign for the Norgoma has raised just $1,008 from 13 contributors, despite extensive media coverage.



Port Reports -  March 16

Straits of Mackinac
Friday morning the USCG Hollyhock and tug Barbara Andrie were stopped in the ice about 15 miles west of White Shoal Light. They were waiting for the eastbound tug Leo A McArthur and barge. The escort struggled through the ice most of the day making little progress. Friday night they were stopped off Hog Island.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Icebreaker Mackinaw was breaking out Sturgeon Bay on Friday.

Sarnia, Ont.
CCGS Samuel Risley was upbound Friday afternoon. Late Friday night they were mid lake on the Cove Island course abreast of Goderich.


2018 Seaway salties: Update and statistics

3/16 - With the closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway on December 30, 2018 a look back at the season saw that there were a total of 225 saltwater vessels that made 527 westbound transits through the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. during the 2018 season. That is up 9 vessels from the 2017 season and up 6 vessels from the 5-year average period. Also, the 527 westbound transits by vessels is up 75 transits from 2017 and also up 104 transits from the 5-year average period.

The 527 westbound transits at the Eisenhower Lock was also the 14th highest total of westbound transits by vessel at the Eisenhower Lock in the past 38 years. It is also worth noting that during the 2018 season, several monthly transit records were either set or broken.

In the March/April timeframe in 2018, there were 68 westbound transits during that period. The 68 transits is the most for that time period in the 5-year average. Also in May there were 63 transits that month in 2018, followed by June with 61, July 55, August 57 and September 63. All of those respected months and transit totals were up significantly from the 5-year average during each of those months. The October and November totals though did not match the highest number of westbound transits recorded during those two months in which there were 72 transits in October 2015 and 72 in November 2014. However, in December there were 37 Westbound transits by vessels in 2018 the most in that month during the 5-year average period.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened on March 29 for the 2018 season.

A breakdown of the 2018 monthly transits at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. is as follows:

March/April: 68
May: 63
June: 61
July: 55
August: 57
September: 63
October: 61
November: 62
December: 37

The two oldest saltwater vessels to make westbound transits at the Eisenhower Lock in 2018 were the IT Intrepid built in 1989 and the Qamutik built in 1994. Both the Eemsgracht and the Mitiq, built in 1995, were two other oldest salties to make westbound transits. Several foreign flagged tankers also were kept quite busy during the 2018 season. Two of them, the Bro Anna and Duzgit Endeavour, were tied with the most westbound transits in 2018 with 15 each. Another tanker, the Patras, had 13 westbound transits, while Bro Agnes and Sten Moster each had 11 transits.

The 2018 season also saw, for the 5th straight season, westbound transits at the Eisenhower Lock at or above 400 or more transits. In 2014 there were 438 transits, in 2015 there were 431 transits, in 2016 there were 439 transits And in 2017 there were 452 transits. This was also the first time since the 2000 shipping season that westbound transits were at 500 or above.

Deny Dushane


SIU of Canada aims to bring hundreds of skilled workers on board

3/16 - Ottawa, Ont. – With the opening of maritime shipping season only a few weeks away, the Seafarers International Union (SIU) of Canada has an immediate need to hire hundreds of skilled workers to address an ongoing labor shortage in Canada's fast-growing marine shipping industry.

Skilled workers with trades and/or marine experience possess valuable and transferrable skills needed on board a merchant vessel. In June 2018, the SIU partnered with the Seafarers' Training Institute to launch a national hiring initiative aimed at recruiting, training and retaining young people. The initiative has been highly successful. However, the need for skilled workers is only increasing, with over 20 per cent of current SIU membership set to retire in the next five years.

"Canada's marine economy is thriving, and more demand for seafarers means skilled workers can earn great pay and benefits in a long and stable career they can be proud of," says Vince Giannopoulos, SIU member and recruitment campaign spokesperson. "If you have marine or trades experience, and you are a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, the SIU can help you transfer your skills on board and ensure a smooth a transition."

Upon joining the SIU of Canada, members immediately become part of a strong brotherhood and sisterhood of the sea, working for great Canadian companies like Algoma Central Corporation, Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines, among others. SIU members have the unique opportunity to sail Canada's waterways (and potentially to international ports) in modern, Wi Fi-equipped vessels that ensure Canadian sailors are never too far from home.

While seafaring is a tough job that requires workers to get their hands dirty, the SIU's commitment to the industry's top safety standards means our members are some of the best trained in the world. Thanks to a partnership with the Seafarers' Training Institute, SIU recruits develop in-demand skills and have access to skills upgrading throughout their career.

In 2018, thanks to SIU advocacy efforts, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TWFP) maritime policy was changed to ensure Canadian workers always have first access to jobs. This essentially means there are now more lucrative seafaring positions available for skilled Canadian workers than ever.

"With the increase in domestic and global trade, joining our country's merchant marine is not just a smart career move, it's a strategic one," says James Given, President, SIU of Canada. "If they're up for a little adventure, we're giving skilled workers the opportunity to make a great living for their family with access to full benefits and one of the best pension plans in the industry."

Interested candidates can visit to learn more and apply.


She's been investigating 13 haunted lighthouses in Michigan

3/16 - With 129 beacons across the Great Lakes, Michigan is home to the most lighthouses in the country. While they draw thousands of beachgoers who flock to the state during the summer, the lighthouses more often these days are attracting a different type of tourist: Ghosthunters.

Just ask Dianna Stampfler. Her book, "Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses," chronicles the history of some of the most spookiest beacons in the state.

She's been researching the subject for more than 20 years, and recently released her first book on the haunted histories of beacons: "Michigan's Haunted Lighthouses."

"I know many of these stories intimately, but I’ve been digging in even more to find photos, historical records, newspaper clippings and other details that shed light on the history of these beacons," Stampfler said. "I have even uncovered some facts that contradict what I previously believed about some of the keepers."

The book, part of the "Haunted America" series published by The History Press, focuses on 13 lighthouses in Michigan, while more than 30 are rumored to be haunted.

Read more and view photos at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 16

Today in Great Lakes History March 16 On 16 March 1901, ARGO (steel passenger/package freight propeller, 173 foot, 1,089 gross tons) was launched at the Craig Ship Building Company (Hull #81) at Toledo, Ohio, for the A. Booth Company. She left the Lakes in 1917, and was last recorded in 1938, out of Brest, France.

BUFFALO (Hull#721) was launched March 16, 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp., for the American Steamship Co.

On 16 March 1883, The Port Huron Times announced that the passenger and package freight steamer PICKUP would be built in Marine City, Michigan and would run on the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Algonac. The machinery from the burned steamer CARRIE H. BLOOD was to be installed in her. In fact, her construction was completed that year and she went into service in September 1883. Her dimensions were 80 foot x 19 foot x 7 foot, 137 gross tons, 107 net tons.

The Niagara Harbor & Dock Company, a shipbuilding firm, was incorporated on 16 March 1831, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

On 16 March 1886, the tug MOCKING BIRD was sold by Mr. D. N. Runnels to Mr. James Reid of St. Ignace, Michigan. Mr. Runnels received the tug JAMES L. REID as partial payment.

1924: MOHAWK of the Western Transit Co. was known as a fast ship. It was built at Detroit in 1893 and was renamed AMERICA in 1916. It was cut in two to exit the Great Lakes and re-assembled at Montreal for East Coast service. The ship was renamed BERMUDEZ in 1921 and sank in the Erie Basin at Brooklyn on March 16, 1924, with the stern resting on the bottom and the bow afloat. The hull was pumped out but scrapped at New York in January 1925.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Coast Guard plans northern Great Lakes shipping breakout

3/15 - Duluth, Minn. – The U.S. Coast Guard shared its icebreaking playbook on Thursday in advance of the March 25 start to the Great Lakes shipping season. It figures to get an assist from Mother Nature with thawing temperatures.

“I expect traffic will be moving in both directions on opening day,” said Mark Gill, Coast Guard director of vessel traffic services based at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. “It’s going to be a challenge, with 82-83 percent ice cover on Lake Superior, but there’s a great forecast over the next 10 days, and maybe we can whittle that down in half or greater.”

The Coast Guard will use the cutter Alder, its heavy icebreaker Mackinaw and get an assist from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley to break out Lake Superior in the coming days.

Mackinaw and Alder will leave Sault Ste. Marie next Wednesday, and cut a path along the South Shore of Lake Superior on their way to prepare tracks in the Duluth and Superior harbors.

From there, they’ll head along the North Shore through ports in Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor on their way to putting “a quick fracture into Thunder Bay,” Gill said.

The fractures all up the line help expose the ice sheet to elements, resulting in quicker deterioration, Gill said.

The Samuel Risley will work the eastern end of the lake above the Soo Locks, clearing the way through Whitefish Bay, where ice tends to gather as if around a drain.

In April 2015, 18 vessels got stuck in ice in Whitefish Bay, where the ice was 15 feet thick. Gill sees the potential for similar accumulation this year. “It’s premature to say we’re going to have a chaotic situation,” Gill said.

After Thunder Bay, the Alder will return to Duluth and remain at its home port, while the Mackinaw will head to Whitefish Bay, sending the Samuel Risley up to Thunder Bay. The Alder will concentrate on keeping the Duluth and Superior entrances open and shipping channels clear, while local tug operations work the ships in and out of the docks, Gill said.

Not all vessel companies will risk the early going.

Canadian National Railway’s Great Lakes Fleet, based in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Duluth under the ore docks, and operated by Key Lakes Inc., will keep itself grounded until April 1, Gill said. Other companies will follow suit.

“They’re sacrificing the early start and instead they’re playing the long game,” Gill said, explaining that puncturing a hole in a ship’s hull can cost up to $4 million to repair and put a ship out of commission in the meantime.

“These companies operate on razor-thin margins,” Gill said. “Sometimes it’s OK to be slower out of the gate with the promise of more production to come. Some companies don’t have that option.”

Taconite iron ore shipments figure to take up the bulk of the early movement. Blast furnaces at steel mills down the lakes have worked through stockpiles and are ready for replenishing.

When it comes to sailing through the ice, speed will be a factor. “They’re trying to get product to industry,” Gill said. “But they have to be careful. You don’t want to come up at lake speed on a field of ice 24 inches thick.”

Breaking out

The Soo Locks open March 25, signaling the start of the 2019 Great Lakes shipping campaign. The following vessels are currently docked in Duluth and Superior:

Vessel / Dock Tim S. Dool / Fraser Shipyards
H. Lee White / Fraser Shipyards
American Century / Enbridge Dock
American Spirit / Fraser Shipyards
Burns Harbor / Elevator “M” Dock
Mesabi Miner / Midwest Energy
Kaye E. Barker / Fraser Shipyards
Lee A. Tregurtha / Fraser Shipyards

Duluth News Tribune


Algoma applies for more coasting licenses

3/15 - Algoma Central has applied for a coasting license for the Malta flag pneumatic cement carrier NACC Capri. Citing the lack of suitable and available Canadian vessels of this type, they are planning an astounding 67 trips, to transport 200,000 metric tonnes of cement between April 26 and December 31, 2019. Most of the cement will be coming out of Bath for Toronto but there is the odd trip from Port Daniel, QC to Cote-Ste-Catherine, QC.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  March 15

Straits of Mackinac
Tug Barbara Andrie departed Alpena early Thursday morning for the Straits, they stopped just West of the Mackinac Bridge later that morning. The Andrie got under way in a convoy behind the Algoma Hansa  lead by the USCG Hollyhock about 5 p.m.

The Algonova arrived upbound under escort of the USCG Bristol Bay. They were joined by the Iver Bright who departed the Rouge River. Bristol Bay returned to their Detroit base and handed the escort off to the CCGS Samuel Risley. They passed upbound at Belle Isle about 1:30 p.m. for Sarnia.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 15

WESTCLIFFE HALL (Hull#519) was launched March 15, 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland, by Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd., for the Hall Corp. of Canada.

March 15, 1949 - The Ann Arbor carferry fleet was laid up due to a strike called by the boat crews. The fleet was idled until March 22nd.

On 15 March 1882, GRACE PATTERSON (wooden propeller tug/freighter, 111 tons, built in 1880, at Grand Haven, Michigan) was carrying lumber and lath when she stranded near Two Rivers Point, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. She caught fire and was totally destroyed. Lifesavers rescued the crew.

Mr. Russell Armington died on 15 March 1837. He operated the first shipyard at St. Catharines, Ontario from 1828, until his death.

On 15 March 1926, SARNOR (wooden propeller freighter, 228 foot, 1,319 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan, formerly BRITANNIC) caught fire at Kingston, Ontario near the La Salle Causeway. She burned to a total loss.

1942: The first SARNIADOC of the Paterson fleet was lost with all hands on the Caribbean en route from Trinidad to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was apparently torpedoed by U-161 in the night hours of March 14-15, 1942, while in the south for the wartime bauxite trade.

1969: The bulk carrier ALEXANDER T. WOOD, remembered by many for its regular early Seaway service in the ore and grain trades as well as for a collision with the Finnish flag freighter MARIA in the Detroit River on August 12, 1960, was lost on this day in 1969 as VAINQUER. The latter had been to the Great Lakes in 1968 but sank following a boiler room explosion in the Gulf of Mexico with the loss of one life. It was en route from Vera Cruz, Mexico, to New Orleans with a cargo of sugar.

1976: The rail car barge HURON rolled over and sank at the Windsor dock due to an uneven deck load. The 1875 vintage vessel had operated across the Detroit River as a steamer until March 1971 and then as a barge. It was refloated and returned to service.

1980: The Liberian vessel FRATERNITY was built in 1963. It visited the Great Lakes in 1967 and operated briefly as ARYA NIKU in 1975-1976 before becoming FRATERNITY again under Greek registry. Fire broke out in #1 and #2 cargo holds en route from Hamburg to Karachi on this date in 1980. An explosion followed the next day and the crew abandoned the ship in the Red Sea. The hull was beached March 17 around the border of Eritrea and Sudan but was refloated April 1 and deemed a total loss. After unloading at Sharjah, the hull was towed to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, arriving at the scrapyard on May 19, 1981.

1984: The Greek freighter ELINA likely made only one trip to the Great Lakes, coming inland in 1982 to load frozen meat at Kenosha, WI. It laid up at Emden, West Germany, on June 13, 1983, only to catch fire on March 15, 1984. The damage was extensive and the hull was towed into Gijon, Spain, for scrapping on April 23, 1984.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


St. Lawrence Seaway opens March 26

3/14 - The St. Lawrence Seaway will open for business on March 26. Expected to be one of the first ships to use the waterway will be the chemical tanker Tasing Swan, heading for Clarkson. Last year on opening day on March 29, she had been the first new foreign-flag ocean vessel of the year at the St-Lambert lock.

Rene Beauchamp


Port Reports -  March 14

Straits of Mackinac
USCG Neah Bay was eastbound through the Straits at noon Wednesday. Alder was in St Ignace. Mackinaw was stationed off the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. Samuel Risley was northbound out of Detroit to Lake St Clair. Hollyhock was upbound off Harbor Beach in the evening.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
USCG Mackinaw entered Sturgeon Bay through the Ship canal after spending the night off shore.

They tied up at the Fire Dock near the Oregon St. Bridge. Mackinaw was expected to break out the port on Friday


U.S.-Flag Cargo Movement on Lakes More Than Doubled in January

3/14 - Cleveland - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) moved 3.1 million tons of cargo in January, an increase of 110 percent compared to a year ago. The January float was also 44 percent above the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore shipments totaled 2.5 million tons, an increase of 84 percent. Coal loadings quadrupled to 137,000 tons. The limestone trade totaled 196,000 tons, an increase of 100 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lake Erie flood messages more than doubled in 2018

3/14 - There were 45 flood messages issued by the Essex Region Conservation Authority in 2018, the most in the last three years. That number, which includes messages about watershed conditions, flood watches, flood warnings and wind warnings, is a 55 per cent increase over 29 messages in 2017.

Those numbers are found in the 2018 ERCA annual report. General manager of ERCA Richard Wyma said over the last few years, Lake Erie has been observed to have high water levels. That means is less wind is needed for the water to cause damage on the landscape, and more flood messages.

"We're expecting lake levels in Lake Erie to again, remain high, and perhaps even exceed record highs that we've seen on Lake Erie, so that causes some concern as well," he said.

This spring, there's a potential for more flooding along the shoreline communities, according to Wyma. The conservation authority plans to tackle these higher lake levels by working with municipalities to ensure people are prepared for potential flooding.

According to the annual report, in 2018 ERCA held a workshop for municipal officials tasked with flood preparedness to talk about coordination and communications.

Wyma said the water that's in the Detroit River and Lake Erie came from elsewhere in the Great Lakes system, which may have been snow and ice cover in Lake Superior at one point.

Some homeowners have been working to improve the shoreline along their property, according to Wyma, and the authority has seen an increase in permits issued for shoreline infrastructure for personal properties.

"I think on a local level, people just have to take a look at what they can do to protect their own homes and properties," Wyma said.



Today in Great Lakes History -  March 14

March 14, 1959 - The ANN ARBOR NO 6 returned to service as the b.) ARTHUR K ATKINSON after an extensive refit.

In 1880, the harbor tug GEORGE LAMONT sank with her crew of three off Pentwater, Michigan after being overcome by weather during a race with her rival, the harbor tug GEM. The LAMONT was the only steamer to disappear with all hands during the many races that took place among steamers during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

On 14 March 1873, the new railroad carferry SAGINAW went into the Port Huron Dry Dock Company's dry dock where her engine was installed along with her shaft and propeller. Workmen had to break up the ice in the dry dock to release the schooner MARY E. PEREW so that work could begin on the SAGINAW. The work was done quickly since SAGINAW was needed to fill in for a disabled ferry in Detroit. Mr. Francois Baby was granted a "ferry lease" between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan on 14 March 1843. He built the steamer ALLIANCE for this ferry service and Capt. Tom Chilvers was the skipper. In 1851, Capt. Chilvers leased the steamer from Mr. Baby and ran it on the same route until the late 1850s.

On 14 March 1878, the first vessel of the navigation season passed through the Straits of Mackinac. This was the earliest opening of the navigation season at the Straits since 1854.

1918 ISLAND QUEEN, a wooden-hulled Toronto Island ferry, was destroyed by a fire at Hanlan's Point in Toronto. The ship was valued at $25,000 and the hull was left to rot.

1962: MILLY made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. It had been launched at Stockton, CA on May 13, 1915, as PORTHCAWL and became d) MILLY in 1950. The 295 foot freighter, sailing as f) HEDIA, last reported March 14 near Galita Island on the Mediterranean close to Malta and en route from Casablanca, Morocco, to Venice, Italy, with a cargo of phosphate. It was posted as missing and then lost with all hands.

1993: The Freedom Class freighter SHAMALY was a year old when it came through the Seaway in 1969. It returned December 1, 1990, as c) WALVIS BAY for Ogdensburg, NY to load corn gluten The 9650 gross ton freighter ran aground south of Greece off Cape Morakis in 1993 en route from Piraeus to Scotland as d) LIPARIT BAY. The hull was not worth repairing and sold for scrap. Renamed e) NORA for the delivery tow, it arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, April 4, 1994, for dismantling and work began May 16.

1999: The Panamanian freighter EVANGELIA PETRAKIS was built in Muroran, Japan, in 1978 as N.J. PATERAS. It came through the Seaway in 1988 and was renamed c) AMER VED in 1990. It survived a grounding off Horsetail Bank, UK on November 19, 1996, only to suffer serious damage in a collision with the newly built, 57,947 gross ton, Maltese flag tanker SEAPRIDE I off Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates. The damage to the 21-year old freighter was not worth repairs so it arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on June 19, 1999.

1964: MARIA G.L. went aground at Suno Saki, Japan, about 30 miles south of Yokohama, in fog. This Liberty ship had been a Great Lakes trader in 1961. It was enroute from Long Beach, California, to Chiba, Japan, with a cargo of phosphates and broke in two as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Shawn B-K, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Lake Superior nearly 100 percent frozen as cold and snow increases ice coverage

3/13 - Duluth, Minn. – It has been an impressive winter on Lake Superior. That’s because ice has covered nearly 100 percent of the big lake.

According to a professor at University of Minnesota Duluth, the lake hasn’t seen this much ice since 2014. And, it will have an effect on our summer.

“The timing of the start of that layer of warm water forming plays a huge role in sort of what sort of warm temperatures we see in the middle of the summer,” said Prof. Jay Austin, with the Large Lake Observatory. “This’ll be a cooler summer, yeah. And in fact the relationship there is pretty strong.”

This is only the fifth time in 20 years that Lake Superior has had more than 90 percent ice coverage. The last time the lake froze over was in 1996.

Fox 21


U.S. Coast Guard to start icebreaking operations in Sturgeon Bay

3/13 - Milwaukee – The Coast Guard will commence spring ice breaking operations in Sturgeon Bay, Friday. During the coming weeks, these icebreaking operations will increase in frequency as ice conditions deteriorate and commercial navigation increases. Ice breaking will eventually expand into the bay of Green Bay, to the port cities of Menominee, Escanaba, and Green Bay. On Wednesday, the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw plans to enter the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal from Lake Michigan and moor at the Municipal Pier at Sawyer Park.

Friday morning, Mackinaw will sail west to Sturgeon Bay, adjacent to Sherwood Point, to create a “turning circle” in the ice. This area of broken ice will enable local tugs to turn around commercial ships departing Bay Shipbuilding, allowing those large vessels to sail for Lake Michigan using the ship canal, avoiding the tough ice conditions in the bay of Green Bay.



Port Reports -  March 13

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
The tanker Algocanada was outbound at DeTour Tuesday early afternoon for Chicago after unloading at Sault, Ont. Cutter Mackinaw was ahead of her to escort her through Straits ice.

Straits of Mackinac
Algocanada was westbound about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday bound for Chicago. They were following about one hour behind the USCG Mackinaw and were assisted by the USCG Neah Bay.

Lake Erie 
The tanker Algoma Hansa was westbound across Lake Erie Tuesday after departing Nanticoke. They reached the Detroit River upbound under escort of the CCGS Griffon at 9 p.m. The Griffon went in their Amherstburg base while the Algoma Hansa showed a destination of Chicago.

Erie, Penn. - Jeff Benson
Michipicoten was towed from the drydock at Don Jon ship building today by the G tugs New York and Rhode Island. She was moved to the West side of Don Jon. Her ruder has not been replaced as of yet. Her unloading boom is raised and there is a crane working over the ship.


Army Corps of Engineers budgets $75 million toward Soo Locks upgrade

3/13 - Washington, DC – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed spending over $75.3 million toward upgrading the Soo Locks next year – a significant investment toward the project's long-awaited construction.

The Army Corps proposed the Soo Locks funding Tuesday as part of a $4.8 billion Army Civil Works program for the budget year starting Oct. 1.

A replacement lock in Sault Ste. Marie was first authorized by Congress in 1986 but had been stalled for decades, until President Donald Trump took an interest following an April 2018 trip to Michigan and lobbying by three Republican lawmakers.

The lock complex on the St. Mary's River connects Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Plans call for a new 1,200-foot-long lock to mirror the 49-year-old Poe lock, which is the only one of the four shipping locks that can handle the largest freighters carrying 89 percent of the cargo through the corridor.

A new lock would provide redundancy, so cargo could keep moving in the case of an unexpected outage of the Poe. The replacement lock project gained traction last year after the Army Corps released a new economic analysis that allowed the new lock to finally compete for construction funding.

The Army Corps last fall allocated an initial $32 million toward the project for design and some pre-construction work.

The process of building the replacement lock is expected to take seven to 10 years, requiring additional funds appropriated each year, after Congress reauthorized the project last fall.

The Army Corps said in November that initial work to support the new lock would include deepening the upstream channel to accommodate modern vessels.

A group of senators on the Great Lakes Task Force had asked the Army Corps in September to include $74 million in its fiscal 2019 work plan and $92 million for its 2020 budget request for the lock upgrade.

National security experts and economists have warned about the bottleneck that could result from a sustained closure of the Poe lock, crippling the supply chain for steel production and manufacturing across the country.

A report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2015 found no alternative transportation mode exists for getting iron ore from Minnesota mines to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes.

The same study concluded the Poe lock is a weak link in the North American industrial economy, and an unplanned, six-month closure could plunge the U.S. economy into recession, costing up to 11 million jobs.

In August 2015, the smaller MacArthur lock experienced mechanical problems that shuttered it for nearly two weeks, delaying 103 ships a total of 166 hours, among other effects, according to the Army Corps.

The Detroit News


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 13

The keel for the tanker IMPERIAL REDWATER (Hull#106) was laid March 13, 1950, at Port Arthur, Ontario, by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. She was converted to a bulk freighter at Collingwood, Ontario and renamed b.) R. BRUCE ANGUS in 1954. The ANGUS operated for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., until she was scrapped at Setubal, Portugal in 1985.

On March 13, 1989, the Rouge Steel Co. announced the sale of its marine operations to Lakes Shipping, Cleveland (Interlake Steamship, mgr.).

1994: SHIPBROKER was built at Varna, Bulgaria, in 1980 as OCEAN SEAGULL and came through the Seaway that year on July 3. It was renamed SHIPBROKER in 1986 and made its maiden voyage to the Great Lakes on November 19, 1991. The ship was in a collision with the Cypriot tanker NASSIA in the Bosporus Strait on March 14, 1994, and caught fire. It burned for days and 29 members of the crew of 33 plus four on the tanker, were lost. Following a sale for scrap, the gutted bulk carrier arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow on December 3, 1994, and dismantling began April 5, 1995.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  March 12

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
The tanker Algocanada, escorted by USCG Mackinaw, arrived at the Purvis Dock in the Canadian Soo to unload on Monday. USCG Alder was working in the lower river, continuing ice operations ahead of the Soo Locks’ opening day March 25.

Cleveland, Ohio – Roger Durfee, Bill Kloss‎
The season officially opened in Cleveland today with the arrival of the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder Monday morning from winter lay up at Erie. She went straight to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal to load ore for a shuttle up the Cuyahoga River to the ArcelorMittal steel mill. Little ice remains along the shore around Cleveland.


Custom ferry that will weather Lake Erie taking shape at Wisconsin shipyard

3/12 - Superior, Wis. – When you need something that can efficiently move 600 people across miles of open water, in safety and comfort, you don’t shop at the nearby marina. When you’ll need the ability to carry almost 200 tons of cargo, and be prepared to confront the foulest of Lake Erie’s cantankerous moods, you don’t find your vessel at the boat show.

When what you need is a bigger boat, it is best to go build one.

“We toyed around with the concept of lengthening one of the boats in our fleet, but when you build a boat from scratch, you get a much better boat,” said Jake Market, vice president of resources for the Miller Boat Line, which has operated a ferry service between the mainland and the Lake Erie Islands for more than 100 years.

As Miller faced increasing demand to move people, vehicles, and materials to the islands and back, and with four ferries already in service, the decision was made to expand the fleet.

View photos and a video at this link


46 rescued from ice floe in western Lake Erie

3/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard and local agencies rescued 46 ice fishermen from an ice floe that broke free near Catawaba Island Saturday. An additional estimated 100 people were able to self-rescue themselves from the ice floe either by swimming or walking on ice-bridges that were still connected to the floe initially.

At 8:13 a.m., Coast Guard Station Marblehead received notification from an Ohio Department of Natural Resources representative that there were approximately 100 people stranded on an ice floe and that there were an additional 30 to 40 people in the water. Coast Guard District 9 Command Center launched two 20-foot Special Purpose Craft–airboats from Station Marblehead, two MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Detroit, and two MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Traverse City to respond for a mass rescue.

Catawaba Island Fire, Put-in-Bay Fire and Southshore Towing also responded with airboats, while ODNR, North Central EMS and Danbury EMS assisted in the search and rescue efforts.

Coast Guard Station Marblehead arrived on scene at approximately 8:50 a.m. and there were no persons in the water. Those who had fallen in or intentionally entered the water to try to swim to land were all back on the ice or land.

Approximately 100 people were able to walk to shore via portions of ice that were still unbroken; however, as the temperature continued to rise, the ice broke into multiple separate ice floes. The remaining fishermen were rescued by the airboat crews and helicopter crews.

By approximately 11:15 a.m., all persons who had been stranded on the ice were rescued.

As temperatures begin to rise, the Coast Guard strongly urges people not to go out onto ice. Ice may look safe but it is difficult to determine the thickness visually and the increase in warm weather will continue to melt and weaken the ice.



Russian ship that crashed into South Korean bridge had visited Great Lakes

3/12 - The Russian cargo ship Seagrand crashed into a bi-level bridge on the coast of South Korea while its captain was drunk, authorities said last Thursday. The vessel traded into the lakes as Poolgracht in 1996 and Corn Hill in 2011.

No injuries were caused during the bizarre crash, but sections of the Gwangan Bridge in Busan were closed for precautionary purposes. It's not illegal to consume alcohol while aboard a ship, but it is illegal to sail a ship while intoxicated.

Although it is unclear if the captain was at the helm of the Seagrand during the time of the crash, the ship was going the opposite direction of its planned course, and the captain had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, according to South Korean news outlet Yonhap.

The Seagrand also reportedly hit another vessel moored at a nearby port an hour before the crash.

The Korean Coast Guard said the nearly 6,000-ton cargo ship caused about a 15-foot hole in the lower portion of the Gwangan Bridge. The captain apparently ignored radio signals from coast guards to change course, because he does not speak English well.

Fox News and Barry Andersen


Windsor's harbormaster given a rare honor from the U.S. Coast Guard

3/12 - Windsor, Ont. – Peter Berry has been presented with a Public Service Commendation. It's for his co-operative work with the US Coast Guard over his 10 years in the position. No one can remember when a Canadian official has previously been presented with this honor.

Berry says the relationship he's developed with American officials is not common.

"It's unusual to see the two countries working that close together like this, these agencies. We just sit on various committees do different work groups with them we really pitch in with each other and we take care of business here"

He says his role and that of the US Coast Guard are along similar lines. “It's in keeping with the mission of the coast guard for the safe and efficient navigation, safety of the waterway and the law enforcement side of it,” he said. “Working side by side like I have with the coast guard since I took the position that they were very kind to give me the commendation.”

Berry says the next big co-operative project is developing a plan for river traffic during the construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge.

"When things are being raised up or attached to the bridge platform, there can't be anything underneath it. So there can't be a paddleboard up to a large ship. A falling cable a piece of structural steel or concrete from that height will kill anybody"

He says up to now the largest co-ordinated effort is for the annual Ford fireworks. It takes 26 agencies to shut down the river for 5 hours for the event. Berry explains the Detroit River is a very busy waterway. The Port of Windsor handles around 1000 ships per season, but close to 8000 ships pass by this area.


Port Huron’s Great Lakes Maritime Center open for the season

3/12 - The 2019 season at the Great Lakes Maritime Center has begun. Hours are 8 am to 5 pm seven days a week. A new deli – The Boat House, an extension of Kate’s Downtown on Military Street – is also open on the premises.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 12

The b.) RUTH HINDMAN was launched March 12, 1910, as a.) NORWAY (Hull#115) at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the United States Transportation Co. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1978.

G.A. TOMLINSON was launched March 12, 1907, as a) D.O. MILLS (Hull#29) at Ecorse, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Mesaba Steamship Co.

March 12, 1941 - The ferry CITY OF MIDLAND 41 arrived in Ludington, Michigan, on her maiden voyage. She loaded cars of paper at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and then picked up some cars of canned milk at Kewaunee, with Captain Charles Robertson in command.

On 12 March 1883, the steam barge R. MC DONALD was renamed IDA M. TORRENT.

1917: ALGONQUIN was built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1888 and saw service for several companies on the Great Lakes. The ship was torpedoed by U-62 when it was 65 miles off Cornwall, England, while west of Bishop's Rock and en route from New York to London with general cargo. It was the first American merchant ship lost due to enemy action in World War One.

1942: ¬CRAIGROWNIE was a World War One Laker and had been launched at Ashtabula on April 12, 1919. It was sailing as d) OLGA when torpedoed by U-126, 20 miles off Nuevital Light, Cuba, while en route from Port Everglades, FL, to Beracoa, Cuba. One crewmember was lost but 32 were rescued and taken to Cuba.

1947: EXANTHIA struck a mine in the Mediterranean while 12 miles from the island of Elba while traveling from Istanbul to New York. The ship was flooded and abandoned but reboarded and eventually towed to New York for repairs. The ship sailed for the American Export Lines and came to the Great Lakes on nine occasions from 1959-1961. After a few years in the James River Reserve Fleet, the vessel was taken to Brownsville, Texas, in 1975 and broken up.

1971: SUNCLIPPER, a Seaway trader in 1966, was built in 1953 as BOW BRASIL. It ran aground at Haifa Bay as f) CLIPPER when the anchors dragged in a storm. The ship was refloated April 10, and taken to Perama, Greece. It was sold “as lies” to Turkish ship breakers, and arrived at Istanbul, Turkey, for scrapping on August 29, 1972.

1985: LETITIA was the 96th and final addition to the British flag Donaldson Line. It made four trips through the Seaway in 1966 and three more in 1967. It was sailing as d) TEPORA when it caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico en route to Veracruz, Mexico, on March 12, 1985. The Honduran-flagged freighter was abandoned by the crew. The fire was apparently extinguished and the vessel reboarded. It was taken in tow but the blaze broke out again and the ship sank on March 14.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Skip Gillham, the Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series


Port Reports -  March 11

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The new shipping season started at Lafarge Sunday afternoon with the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation. After docking was completed the barge began loading product from the silos. The tug Barbara Andrie broke a path in the ice and assisted the Innovation into port. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation departed about 10:30 p.m. with a load of cement for South Chicago.

Sarnia, Ont.
The tanker Algocanada departed Sarnia for Soo, Ontario.

Erie, Penn. 
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon arrived off Port Sunday afternoon to break out the harbor for the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder. The Dorothy Ann departed port after 6 p.m. under escort of the Griffon headed for Cleveland.


Port of Toronto has another record-breaking year

3/11 - Toronto, Ont. – The Port of Toronto moved approximately 2.2 million metric tonnes of cargo in 2018, which represents another strong year in marine imports and further confirms the Port’s position as a vital part of Toronto’s economic infrastructure.

In 2018, 178 ships visited the Port of Toronto, bringing sugar, road salt, cement, aggregate and steel directly into the heart of the city. Overall the port moved 2,179,795 metric tonnes of cargo in 2018, surpassing the record-breaking year the port experienced in 2017. Further, this is the third year in the last five years that the Port of Toronto has moved in excess of 2 million metric tonnes of cargo.

In 2018, the port received steel products including rebar, merchant bar, steel plate and coils totalling 69,281 metric tonnes, representing the highest level of steel product moved through the port in 20 years. In addition, the port recorded 14,391 metric tonnes in warehousing storage, the highest level recorded since 2011. Cement cargo imports remained strong for another year at more than 610,400 metric tonnes, and stone, aggregate and sand cargo levels continued to increase, ending the year at 189,133 metric tonnes. Salt and sugar imports at 735,948 and 560,625 metric tonnes respectively remained consistent with 2017 tonnages.

The port also welcomed 17 passenger cruise ships carrying approximately 6,000 passengers in 2018, highlighting the importance of the ever-growing Great Lakes cruise ship business and the role it plays in contributing to Toronto’s booming tourism industry. The port is expecting this number to more than double this year with 35 cruise ships coming to Toronto in the summer and fall of 2019.

“From the cement and steel used to build and enhance infrastructure across the Greater Toronto Area to the sugar used to support the food and beverage industry, the goods delivered through the Port of Toronto are part of an important supply chain that services many of the city’s key sectors. Additionally, the port’s cruise ship business continues to have a positive impact on tourism as more and more travellers are making their way through the Great Lakes and visiting Toronto,” said Geoffrey Wilson, PortsToronto Chief Executive Officer. “The Port of Toronto continues to play a vital role in Toronto’s transportation infrastructure network by providing businesses with a convenient, sustainable and cost-effective way to bring goods, and people, into the heart of the city.”

During this record-setting year, PortsToronto also welcomed Cinespace – the largest private owner, operator and developer of studios for film, television and digital media production in North America – to the Port of Toronto. Cinespace has leased Marine Terminal 51 and part of the Cruise Ship Terminal on a long-term lease to offer production offices and studio space to content creators. In February 2019, it was announced that Netflix will use this space as part of its Toronto production hub that will bring thousands in jobs and revenue to the city. This complementary use is facilitated in parallel with traditional port operations and has proven to be successful in ensuring the full utilization of PortsToronto property.

Source: Port of Toronto


Retired oil worker floats proposal to ship Alberta bitumen through Thunder Bay

3/11 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – A retired oil field worker in Alberta has "floated" a novel solution to Alberta's oil transportation woes: pipe the bitumen to Thunder Bay, Ont., then ship it up the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Irving oil refinery in New Brunswick.

Garfield Marks published his proposal in a small online newspaper out of Chesterville, Ont. Marks enjoys thinking outside the box and posting ideas on social media and other platforms to prompt discussion, he told CBC.

"I made a tongue-in-cheek thing first about doing it by air, you know, as another option," he said, "and then, in the [ensuing] discussion, we came up with, 'Well what about this idea?'"

In an era when proposed oil pipelines are facing delays or cancellations, and Alberta premier Rachel Notley has announced she is preparing to lease rail cars to transport bitumen to market, Marks' proposal might be more than a pipe dream, according to the director of the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.

"I don't think that it's a totally nuts idea," Warren Mabee said. "I think that there's some flaws to it ... but this is an idea that could work in certain circumstances and at certain times of year. ... It's not the craziest thing I've ever heard."

The chief executive officer of the Port of Thunder Bay said shipping oil from the port "could easily be done." "We ship refined gasoline and diesel up from Sarnia. We've done that for many many years," Tim Heney told CBC. "So it's not something that's that far-fetched."

There are, however, plenty of potential drawbacks to shipping crude through the Seaway, Mabee explained, not least of which is the fact that it isn't open year-round. The need to store oil or redirect it during the winter months could be costly, he said.

Another potential pitfall is capacity, he added; there may not be enough of the right-sized tankers available to carry the oil through the Seaway.

Finally, he said, the journey by sea from Lake Superior to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick is a long one, so it might make more sense to transport the product to a closer facility such as the one in Sarnia, Ont.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is still reviewing the idea of shipping crude oil from western Canada through its system, and it's a long way from happening, according to Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway's director of market development.

"Obviously, there needs to be an ongoing commitment on the part of a producer, and so that's going to be required for any project of this nature," he said. So far, no producer has come forward seeking to ship crude through Thunder Bay, he said.

Asked about the possible environmental risks of shipping oil on Lake Superior, both Hodgson and Heney said shipping by tanker is relatively safe; Hodgson noted that any tankers carrying the product would have to be double-hulled, and crews are heavily vetted. There hasn't been a spill in the Seaway system for more than 20 years he said.

Nonetheless, Mabee said, the potential for an oil spill on the Great Lakes could be a huge issue. "The St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes have a lot of people living in close proximity, a lot of people who rely on it for drinking water," he said. "There's a delicate ecosystem there. I think a lot of people would push back against this proposal simply from that perspective."

In fact, one of the reasons Mabee appreciates Marks' proposal, he said, is because it invites people to weigh the pros and cons of different methods of transporting oil. "If we're not going to build pipelines, but we're going to continue to use oil, it means that people are going to be looking at some of these alternative transport options," he said.

"And if we don't want oil on those alternative transport options, we need to give the pipelines another thought."

CBC News


Huron's lighthouse set for glowing upgrade

3/11 - Huron, Ohio - Let there be more light at the Huron Lighthouse. After speaking with U.S. Coast Guard personnel for almost two years, city officials finally received permission in recent days to cosmetically illuminate the North Main Pier’s lighthouse on a permanent basis. The Coast Guard, which maintains the lighthouse, has ultimate authority over its operations.

In 2018, on select days, officials tested with turning on white lights around the lighthouse’s exterior. It went over “very well” with community members, Huron city manager Andy White said, prompting his colleagues to pursue this endeavor on a full-time basis.

Officials committed almost $14,000 to install four LED lights and fasten them around the structure’s base. When on, each light shoots up and illuminates all four of the lighthouse’s corner sections.

People can expect to see the lighthouse glowing on a nightly basis come springtime. They can also insert different lenses to project various colors on special occasions. For instance, officials could project green and gold lights during St. Patrick’s Day; red, white and blue lights for the Fourth of July; or orange lights for Halloween.

Right now, the coloring process requires someone to manually swap out and change the lenses at the actual lighthouse. Officials, however, could spend about $2,000 for technology to automatically switch light colors from a remote location, such as City Hall.

“This is a quality-of-life issue, and we thought it was a cool improvement,” said White, noting how people can’t see the lighthouse when it’s dark out unless they’re standing on the pier. “The lighthouse is an iconic feature in the city, and this should make it even better.”

But don’t worry boaters: These lights, whether white or some other color, won’t interfere with a flashing red beacon, which guides ships navigating across Lake Erie, sitting atop this 72-foot-tall structure.

Sandusky Register


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 11

The keel was laid March 11, 1976, for the 660-foot-long forward section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. Renamed b.) WALTER J. McCARTHY JR in 1990.

L'AIGLE was launched March 11, 1982, as a.) ERRIA PILOT (Hull#308) at Imabari, Japan by Asakawa Zosen Co. Renamed b.) KOYAMA 3 in 1983, c.) IONIAN EAGLE in 1989. Purchased by Soconav in 1991, renamed d.) LÕAIGLE. Sold, renamed e.) ALAM KERISI in 1996, f.) SALDA in 1999, and sails today as the tanker g.) ARAL.

Sea trials were conducted on March 11, 1956, on Paterson's new canaller LACHINEDOC.

The tug RIVER QUEEN was sold to Ed Recor of St. Clair, Michigan on 11 March 1886.

1904: The wooden-hull Lake Erie car ferry SHENANGO NO. 1 caught fire and burned following an engine room explosion on March 11, 1904. The vessel had been frozen in the ice off Conneaut since January 1 and one member of the crew perished in the blaze.

1912: FLORA M. HILL sank in Lake Michigan en route to Chicago after being caught in an ice floe that crushed the iron hull. The vessel had been built as at Philadelphia in 1874 as the lighthouse tender DAHLIA and rebuilt and renamed at Milwaukee in 1910 for Lake Michigan service.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Sault prepared to move Norgoma, forward bill to Heritage Centre

3/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – If the St. Marys River Marine Heritage Centre won’t move the Norgoma, the City of Sault Ste. Marie will. And they’ll bill the volunteer organization for its costs.

City council will receive a report at its March 18 meeting outlining options on how and where the Norgoma will be moved to, said Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services.

Vair has penned a letter to Louis Muio, president of the board of directors of the SMRMHC, confirming the M.S. Norgoma must be removed by April 15 or as soon as weather conditions permit. He takes issue with the board’s cancellation and postponement of many meeting dates to discuss the removal of the Norgoma that had been scheduled last summer and again earlier this month.

The SMRMHC has been unable to find a new home for the museum ship and despite their pleas to city council to keep the vessel at its current location, those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Vair said several options will be presented in a report to city council, but he wouldn’t specify what those options are. “We need to let council see the report first and they will determine the path forward,” he said.

Vair says the city has been able to find a location within the city where the Norgoma can be moved to temporarily. “We should have that finalized very shortly but we think we have an alternative location,” for the ship, he said.

He would not identify the location but said he anticipates costs would be greater than the $25,000 expense expected if the Norgoma had been moved to a dock behind the former Sault Area Hospital.

“We are just fulfilling council’s wish to get the Norgoma out of the marina so we can replace the docks. What happens with the Norgoma after that is up to the SMRMHC to deal with,” he said.

Vair’s letter dated Feb. 22, 2019 to Muio said city council has confirmed and budgeted for the replacement of the Bondar Marina docks and staff are now moving forward rapidly with the planning for their installation. “We need to finalize the removal of the Norgoma in order to properly sequence events,” the letter reads.

“I am sending this letter to document these communications and also to communicate clearly that the M.S. Norgoma must be removed by the deadline imposed by council.”

He confirms that if the SMRMHC is unable to remove the vessel, city staff will make those arrangements and pass all costs to the board.

“It is clear that MS Norgoma needs far more investment in order to bring the vessel into a condition that the community can be proud of and properly provide services to visitors and residents,” Vair states, adding that the vessel does not meet the city’s current priorities.

The board has scanned the area – on both sides of the international border – to find a new home for the museum ship, but has not had any luck finding a new home. Efforts have been made to keep the ship local so the existing board can continue to operate the museum and other related events that have grown over the past two years.

The board sought – but was refused – approval to dock the ship on Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority property adjacent to the former hospitals. A licence of occupation permit the authority has with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not permit Norgoma to be stored on it.

Other options explored included Parks Canada and the Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. It’s most potential hope was at the Canadian Bushplane Museum Heritage Centre, Muio had said in an earlier interview.

Muio said the board has made it clear that it wants the 180-foot vessel to stay in the Sault Ste. Marie area and the board is eager to continue growing its activities and partnerships with other organizations.

But Vair says while there have been new activities introduced to revitalize the ship and provide some revenue for the organization, those activities are organized by other community groups of which the city is willing to partner with outside of the Norgoma.

The local food market held on the Norgoma last year can be held elsewhere by Harvest Algoma, including under the Bondar pavilion. The open Mic Night space for local youth and emerging artists can also be performed at the Bondar pavilion or on the March Street stage or elsewhere downtown.

Night markets held on the vessel to fundraise and showcase local small businesses also tie in with the City’s Thursday night markets and complement its summer concert series, Vair notes. Alternate locations can also be found for other festivals and events the board is encouraging on the ship.

“There are many exciting projects under development and, far from turning away young people we welcome their involvement in building out engaging activities in our downtown – it may not be, however, on the M.S. Norgoma,” the letter states.

City council’s next meeting is set for March 18.

Sault Star


‘Rebirth’ of Port of Monroe related at Chamber event

3/10 - Monroe, Mich. – Paul C. LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe, promotes the recent burst of activity at the Port of Monroe as a “rebirth” – and he was happy to explain how and why that description fits during a Monroe County Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday.

“The golden years of this industry is where we want to be again,” he told the audience.

His program “Port of Monroe: The Story Behind the Story – A Conversation about the Rebirth of Monroe’s Seaport,” was presented in a conversational style, with photos shown on a screen to illustrate the port and its operations. The questions were led by Matt Budds, chairperson of the chamber, who emceed the program.

The Port of Monroe is one of the oldest ports on the Great Lakes. It was established in 1932, and constructed during the 1930s and 1940s, according to a written report that LaMarre provided at the meeting. During the following decades, it was a transportation hub for the automotive, steel and power industries.

These days, port officials point to direct access to rail and nearby access to I- 75 as among the major draws for directing cargo from land to lake or in reverse. During 2017, the port and its maritime commerce supported $96 million in economic activity. This included support of 1,659 jobs.

The largest ship on the Great Lakes calls upon Monroe, LaMarre said. Shipments in recent seasons have included coal, limestone, asphalt, wind blades and wind power sections. There also are terminal services and a shipyard on site. The tugboat Wisconsin, now stationed at the port, is the oldest commercially operating tugboat in the world.

LaMarre said much of the credit for success goes to a core group of people who work at the port, including assistant director Mark Rohn. “I believe I have the best team on the Great Lakes for sure,” he said.

While operations include consultants, LaMarre explained that happens on an as-needed basis and with a deliberate plan: “That’s kind of been our motto: keep it mean, and lean and nimble.”

LaMarre explained that DTE Energy is the port’s biggest customer as the coal needed to run the Monroe Power Plant arrives by both marine and rail. “That power plant is a cargo machine,” he added.

But the vessel calls also include steel, limestone and grain. It’s homegrown American commerce,” he said.

LaMarre encouraged those in the audience to take a look at a video clip posted this week at to see the tugboat chopping through the ice to keep the shipping channels open.

When asked by Budd about the biggest frustrations, LaMarre mentioned some of his recent hurdles with U.S. Customs. He estimated the port lost about 50 vessel stops during 2018 that he was working on — only to have last-minute problems thrown in. In one situation, a vessel was two days out from a scheduled dock in Monroe when the shipping had to be rerouted into Ohio. “We need every vessel call we can get,” he said.

Despite the challenges, he loves the industry and the impact it can have on Monroe County. That’s one of the reasons LaMarre continues to serve on numerous committees and boards in support of Great Lakes history and maritime operations.

“We’re out there trying to advocate for all the ports,” he said about the regional and national efforts. “We succeed or fail as a system.”

Monroe News


Historical film takes viewers as passengers on a Great Lakes cruise ship

3/10 - Great Lakes cruise-ship season is still a few months away, but a film is taking viewers on a 52-minute voyage to ports of call and many famous sites on the freshwater lakes.

Titled “Sister Queens of the Great Lakes,” the film features the sister ships — the SS North American and the SS South American — as they traveled to Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo and Muskegon and passed through the famous Soo Locks, took in the scenery of the Mackinac Straits, toured Mackinac Island and passed by Niagara Falls.

The film is showing at 2 p.m.,Sunday, March 10 at Detroit’s Dossin Great Lakes Museum. It was produced by Keweenaw Video Productions, using an amalgam of promotional material released in the 1940s by the Georgian Bay Line to advertise leisure cruises on the Great Lakes.

Admission to each showing is free.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 10

CHARLES E. WILSON (Hull#710) was launched March 10, 1973, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp., for American Steamship Co. Renamed b.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 2000.

The ADAM E. CORNELIUS, built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#53) in 1908, was renamed b.) DETROIT EDISON on March 10, 1948. In 1954, she was renamed c.) GEORGE F. RAND and in 1962, the RAND was sold to Canadian registry and renamed d.) AVONDALE. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1979.

FORT HENRY (Hull#150) was launched March 10, 1955, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.

KINSMAN VENTURE was launched March 10, 1906, as a.) JOHN SHERWIN (Hull#617) at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co.

On 10 March 1881, the propellers MORLEY and A. L. HOPKINS were purchased by the Wabash Railroad Company from the Morley Brothers of Marine City, Michigan.

The N. K. FAIRBANK (wooden freighter, 205 foot, 980 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan) was sold by Morley & Morse to Captain H. Hastings on 10 March 1884.

The tug RIVER QUEEN sank at her dock in Port Huron, Michigan during the night of 10 March 1885. She was raised the following day and one of her seacocks was discovered to have been open that caused her to fill with water.

CADILLAC (steel ferry, 161 foot, 636 gross tons) was launched on 10 March 1928, by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan (Hull #260) for the Detroit & Windsor Ferry Company. The ferry company claimed that she was the largest and most powerful ferry in North American waters. When she was launched, the Ambassador Bridge and the tunnel, which connects Detroit and Windsor, were being constructed. She was placed in service on 25 April 1928, and had a varied history. From 1940 to 1942, she ran as a Bob-lo steamer. In 1942, she was sold to the U. S. Coast Guard and renamed b.) ARROWWOOD (WAGL 176) and used as an icebreaker. She was rebuilt in 1946, renamed c.) CADILLAC, and served as a passenger vessel on Lake Erie. At the end of the 1947 season, she was tied up to the dock for use as a restaurant. She went through a couple of owners until she finally arrived at the scrappers' dock in Hamilton, Ontario on May 26, 1962 for breaking up.

In 2000, the HARMONIOUS, a Panamanian freighter dating from 1977, visited the Great Lakes in 1978 and returned on several occasions through 1986. It was lost on the Arabian Sea as c) KASTOR TOO while traveling from Aqaba, Jordan, to Visakhapatnam, India, with a cargo of phosphate on March 10, 2000. The crew of 18 were rescued by the nearby container ship MILDBURG.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lake Superior freezes over 90 percent

3/9 - Marquette, Mich. – For only the fifth time in the past 20 years, Lake Superior has frozen over 90 percent. This may seem like bad news for those who don’t like winter. However, according to the National Weather Service, it’s actually a good thing for those who enjoy sunny days.

“So once the cap goes on the lake, or the ice coverage is there, it prevents the moisture from bubbling up from the lake and producing our lake effect snow. And thus, once we reach this point in the season, the lake effect snow winds down, and also we tend to see more sunny days,” says Matt Zika, meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Although this is a good sign for sunny days, it’s not good news for warmer days. Due to the lack of warming from the lake, we may see a tendency of colder stretches on average.

Since the thickness of the ice isn’t too deep, it shouldn’t affect the melting rate come spring.

ABC10 News


Port Reports -  March 9

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
Algonova departed the Purvis dock on the Canadian side of Soo Harbor on Friday downbound for Lake Huron.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa was unloading at Nanticoke Friday night. CCGS Griffon was assisting Algocanada through the Pelee Pasasage headed for Sarnia.


Neebish Island community braces for winter isolation

3/9 - Neebish Island, Mich. – Last winter freezing temperatures hit some people harder than others. On Neebish Island, 20 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie, thick ice formed on the St. Marys River.

When the U.S. Coast Guard cut the ice, it flowed down the river and blocked the ferry channel. Island residents were stranded at home for almost a month. They call this 'ice cutting season,' and they know they could be stuck at some point during each winter.

About 70 people live on the island year-round. There is no store and no gas station. When the ferry stops working, residents have to get creative. Bob Schallip keeps a bunch of tools and equipment in his workshop.

He says neighbors come by when they need something; if a septic tank goes out, he’s got the plumbing fixtures, if someone needs threaded bolts or nuts, he’s got dozens.

This is the way of the island. When the ferry isn’t running, one person brings people across the ice in a sleigh for doctors appointments. There’s a woman who keeps extra over-the-counter medication for children. There's a man who plows many of the island roads for free.

Bob Schallip and his wife have lived on the island for about 20 years.

"When we first moved here I went to all the old ones, and I asked, 'How do I not die?" Schallip says. "I learned about the ice. Ice is a big part of life."

This year Schallip says the ice bridge is about two feet thick and safe to travel on.

But that bridge could go away if the Coast Guard cuts the ice to make a channel for large ships. When that happens, it also ruins the ice bridges residents walk and snowmobile across.

Dorothy Tyner lives down the road from Bob. She is 86 years old and is also a year-round resident. Tyner prepares for ice breaking season by stocking up on toilet paper and canning different foods, but she’s currently out of her favorite meat.

"Beaver is the best mode of eating," Tyner says. "But I’ll tell you now, if I could have that in a jar, I’d be one happy person."

She also has to think about stocking up on medicine when she’s unable to get into town. "If you’re out of something like medicine, then shame on me for not thinking ahead of time," Tyner says. "So I can’t blame that on anybody else."

But she says island residents usually have what they need. Part of their mentality is to always have extra, because islanders know a day will come when they’ll need it.

Tyner's lived on the island for most of her life. Her husband died ten years ago, but she has her dogs and son for company. He lives next door, close enough to plow her driveway each day.

Still, she says it’s not always easy to be so far removed during the snow-filled months. "Cabin fever, I think I had it a couple days ago," Tyner says. "I was just ornery. And I try to say I’m not an ornery person, but I wan’t real agreeable for a while."

Saturday, the Coast Guard will begin it’s ice cutting operation in the St. Marys River. They say it won’t affect the ferry channel this time, but Neebish residents know you can’t predict the weather and things could change.

In the meantime, the islanders will have the supplies they need and will be all set either way.

See photos and listen to a podcast at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 9

In 1905, the JAMES C. WALLACE (Hull#334) of the Acme Steamship Co., (A.B. Wolvin, mgr.), was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. Purchased by the Interlake Steamship Co. in 1913, she was scrapped at Genoa, Italy in 1963.

On 09 March 1933, all nine steamers of the Goodrich Transit Company were seized by federal marshals under a bankruptcy petition. These steamers were CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, CAROLINA, ALABAMA, ILLINOIS, CITY OF BENTON HARBOR, CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, CITY OF ST. JOSEPH, CITY OF HOLLAND, and the CITY OF SAUGATUCK.

AMOCO ILLINOIS was launched March 9, 1918, as a) WILLIAM P. COWAN (Hull#724) at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co.

NOTRE DAME VICTORY (Hull#1229), was launched on March 9, 1945, at Portland, Oregon, by Oregon Shipbuilding Co., just 42 days after her keel was laid. She became the b.) CLIFFS VICTORY and sailed on the Great Lakes from 1951 until 1985.

WIARTON was launched March 9, 1907, as a) THOMAS LYNCH (Hull#73) at Chicago, Illinois, by Chicago Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. She was used as part of a breakwall at the Steel Co. of Canada Dock in Hamilton. The GROVEDALE of 1905, and HENRY R. PLATT JR of 1909, were also used.

March 9, 1920 - The PERE MARQUETTE 3 sank off Ludington after being crushed by ice.

On 9 March 1858, the propeller ferry GLOBE was being loaded with cattle at the Third Street dock at Detroit, Michigan. In the rush to get aboard, the cattle caused the vessel to capsize. All of the cattle swam ashore, although some swam across the river to the Canadian side.

1985: The Norwegian freighter TRONSTAD first came to the Great Lakes as a pre-Seaway visitor in 1957. It returned on another 12 occasions after the new waterway opened in 1959. The vessel was sailing a d) CRUZ DEL SUR when it was confiscated by U.S. authorities for drug smuggling and brought to Miami on this date in 1985. The 30-year old ship was towed out into the Atlantic and scuttled off Miami on December 19, 1986.

2007: The Greek freighter WISMAR was built in 1979 and came through the Seaway in 1980. It lost power below Lock 2 of the Welland Canal while upbound on August 30, 1980, and had to drop anchor. It was sailing as h) GRACIA from Thailand to Dakar, Senegal, with a cargo of rice, when the engine failed in heavy weather in the Indian Ocean on February 27, 2007. The crew took to the lifeboats and was rescued. The former Great Lakes visitor was last seen on March 7, adrift, with a 20-degree list to port, and likely soon sank.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Seaway, shippers spent estimated $130 million on repair, infrastructure projects

3/8 - St. Catharines, Ont. – As the Welland Canal gets ready to open for the 2019 shipping season, the Chamber of Marine Commerce said Canadian shipowners and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. spent an estimated $130 million on repair and infrastructure projects over the winter, supporting the economies of communities throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and East Coast.

The seaway corporation allocated $40 million for infrastructure upgrades and repairs in the Welland Canal and Montreal to Lake Ontario segments. The work included upgrades to electrical distribution systems, lock rehabilitation and canal bank protection in certain areas, among other projects.

In Port Colborne, Rankin Construction started a two-year project at Lock 8, installing stop locks stoplogs between the lock gates and Bridge 19 at Main Street. Those stoplogs, said the seaway's Niagara engineering manager, Cassie Kelly, in an earlier interview, will be used to stop any water from above Bridge 19 flowing back into the lock area once Lock 8 is dewatered next year. Rankin will then work on anchoring the lock floor.

Gates at the north end of the lock will also be replaced by the stoplogs as part of an overall five-year plan for lock major maintenance. The wood timber gates are from the original construction and opening of the canal in 1932.

"Every year, the marine industry invests in keeping our waterways, ships and locks safe and reliable and to improve our environmental performance," said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, in a release.

"This work will help ensure a successful 2019 shipping season and at the same time maintains marine-related jobs throughout the winter months in communities throughout the region."

The release said Canadian shipowners invested an estimated $90 million to prepare their ships for the upcoming season in layup locations at Canadian ports including Port Colborne, Port Maitland, Toronto, Hamilton, Quebec City, Montreal, Thunder Bay, Midland, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor, Les Mèchins and Sydney, and U.S. ports including Toledo, Sturgeon Bay, Erie and Ashtabula.

Five vessels were laid up in Port Colborne including Algoma Central Corp.'s Algoma Enterprise, Algoma Guardian, and Algoma Spirit and Canada Steamship Lines' Thunder Bay and CSL Assiniboine. The Algoma Guardian suffered an overheated transformer in its control room on February 20, but there was no fire on board. Work carried out on the laid-up vessels included steel replacement and coating projects, five-year dry dock inspections, communication and energy efficiency upgrades, standard maintenance checks and annual inspections.

While the work on the canal and vessels continue, the seaway corporation said it will open the season on the canal at 8 a.m., Friday, March 22, a week earlier than last year.

Top hat ceremonies are usually held on the canal's opening day in St. Catharines and Port Colborne. Port Colborne holds a ceremony for the first downbound vessel — a vessel headed from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario — at Lock 8 Gateway Park, and at the St. Catharines museum at Lock 3 for the first upbound vessel. No details have been released on those ceremonies.

St. Catharines Standard


Rand Logistics announces new president and chief operating officer

3/8 - Jersey City, NJ – Rand Logistics, Inc. has announced the promotion of Aaron Degodny as president chief operating officer of Rand, effective March 1. Scott Bravener will be leaving the company (for McKeil Marine), however he will remain a member of the board of directors of Rand, where he will continue to advise and support the company.

“Since joining the company, Aaron has proven himself to be a respected leader who possesses the right blend of transformative leadership ability, customer-centric commercial acumen, and knowledge of the operations that makes him uniquely qualified to lead Rand and build upon the company’s successful 2018 sailing season,” explained Jason Perri, a partner of American Industrial Partners.

Rand had a successful 2018 sailing season. The dedication and hard work of the team and trust of customers resulted in a strong year for the business. The company’s safety and environmental incidents improved 36 percent, sailing days were up 15 percent, and the fleet carried a record number of tons.

Rand Logistics, Inc.


Port Reports -  March 8

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
Algonova arrived at the Purvis dock on the Canadian side of Soo Harbor on Thursday, assisted by USCG Katmai Bay. Lower river ice was reported to be two feet thick and covered with 30 inches of snow.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was unloading at Nanticoke Thursday night. She was assisted into port by CCGS Griffon. Algoma Hansa remained at anchor off Port Dover.


Ontario salt shortage has been building for years, landscaper says

3/8 - Hamilton, Ont. – As Ontario grapples with a province wide salt shortage, Waterdown's David Lammers, president of Garden Grove Landscaping, says it has been building for years.

This year's salt shortage was exacerbated by a 12-week strike at the salt mine in Goderich and flooding at a Cargill mine in Cleveland that reduced production.

Garden Grove does snow and ice management for more than 150 properties — millions of square footage of parking lots — and Lammers also runs Great Lakes Salt Supply, which manages all the salt importing, buying and distribution. He said the salt shortage this year goes back close to a decade when, due to liability issues, property owners began to expect "bare pavement" in parking lots and privately maintained property.

"The consumption of salt has gone up exponentially over the past 10 years," he said. "What we're seeing is, every winter, regardless of the way the winter has gone, by mid-February it's a crisis.

"No matter what, mid-February is always the point of concern."

Lammers said that four years ago it was so bad that private companies were cut off by Cargill by Christmas. The issue, he said, is that domestic salt mines cannot keep up with both private sector and municipal commitments across the province.

Lammers said although governments generally get their needs filled first by the domestic salt producers, many municipalities have dealt with critical shortages — including the City of Burlington — and has now received more salt. Hamilton has not had the same issues this year. In 2014, the city dealt with a critical salt shortage, after which it entered into a five-year, $40-million deal to lock in its salt supply.

In October, the city said it expected to use 65,000 tonnes of salt in solid or brine form this winter — with most of that supply in storage at the Port of Hamilton. It all comes back to the bare-pavement clauses, Lammers said. "How do we assure free and clear (of snow and ice) in Canada in the winter? Major consumption of ice-melting products."

Read more at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 8

EUGENE P. THOMAS (Hull#184) was launched March 8, 1930, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

March 8, 1910 - A fire from unknown causes destroyed the ANN ARBOR NO. 1 of 1892. The hull was sold to Love Construction Co., of Muskegon, Michigan.

On 8 March 1882, the tug WINSLOW left Manistee to tow the NORTHERN QUEEN to Marine City for repairs. NORTHERN QUEEN had collided with LAKE ERIE the previous autumn and then sank while trying to enter Manistique harbor. Robert Holland purchased the wreck of NORTHERN QUEEN after that incident.

1981 MEZADA of the Zim Israel Line first came to the Great Lakes in 1966 after it had been lengthened to 676 feet. The vessel had been built in 1960 and foundered after breaking in two about 100 miles east of Bermuda on March 8, 1981. The 19,247 gross ton bulk carrier was traveling from Haifa to Baltimore with a cargo of potash and 24 lives were lost while only 11 sailors were rescued.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series


St. Marys River spring icebreaking operations begin Saturday

3/7 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – On Saturday the Coast Guard will start breaking ice in the lower St. Marys River in preparation for the 2019 shipping season.

To date, icebreaking activity has been limited to the lower St. Marys River south of Munuscong (Mud) Lake and the Middle Neebish Channel north and east of Neebish Island. Saturday, the Coast Guard will extend icebreaking activity into the southern half of the West Neebish Channel, working from Mud Lake Junction Light north to the south end of the Rock Cut. The Coast Guard will not disturb the ice north of the Neebish Island ferry crossing or south of West Neebish Channel Light 45.

In the coming weeks, as the March 25 scheduled opening of the Sault Locks approaches, icebreaking activities will encompass all navigable waters of the St. Marys River. Recreational users of the ice should plan their activities carefully, use caution near the ice, and stay away from charted navigation areas. USCG


Scott Bravener named McKeil Marine’s new president

3/7 - McKeil Marine has announced the appointment of Scott Bravener as company president. Bravener has had an impressive career of more than 30 years in the maritime industry, serving for well over a decade as a deck officer and captain on board lake ships. He was the founder of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., which started in 1994 and, under his leadership grew to own and operate, along with its U.S. affiliate Grand River Navigation Co., a fleet of 16 dry bulk vessels.

Bravener was most recently co-president and CEO of Rand Logistics Inc., the parent company of Lower Lakes and Grand River. He has a long-term involvement in all aspects of the industry, including directorships in the Chamber of Marine Commerce and Canadian Shipowners’ Association. In 2013, he was selected as Great Lakes Marine Man of the Year and inducted into the Great Lakes Marine Hall of Fame.

McKeil Marine


Port Reports -  March 7

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
Algonova was upbound for the Purvis dock on the Canadian side of Soo Harbor on Wednesday, assisted by USCG Katmai Bay. At nightfall Algonova was stopped in Munuscong Lake.

Toledo, Ohio – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel deChamplain with cement barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge cement dock in Toledo Wednesday March 6 at around noon. She arrived from Detroit where she spent winter lay up with a winter storage load of cement. She is the first arrival for the 2019 season.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa and Algocanada remained at anchor off Port Dover Wednesday night.


Great Lakes getting ice-covered fast, frozen by Polar Vortex cold

3/7 - The large area of extreme cold has influenced the ice increasing on the Great Lakes. The largest Great Lake by volume, Lake Superior, is now 90 percent covered with ice. The Great Lakes as a whole are now 74 percent covered with ice.

View imagery at this link


Sarnia is where vessels come to shape up and ship out

3/7 - Sarnia, Ont. – Though residents seldom give it a second thought, the St. Clair River is one of the busiest inland waterways in the world. Which gives Sarnians, smack-dab in the middle of the Great Lakes, a front row seat to a passing panoply of freighters, tankers, self-unloaders, icebreakers, salties, barges and tugs.

The city’s harbour is also an important stopping over point for ships, especially in winter, when 10 to 12 typically berth for layup or repairs. Not only do shipping companies pay Sarnia for the right to dock here, but the maintenance these massive vessels require generate hundreds of jobs for welders, machinists, fabricators and other skilled trades.

The ships will be leaving soon. Presented here are images Journal photographer Glenn Ogilvie has recorded of winter activity in Port Sarnia, which quietly goes on regardless of the weather.

View photos at this link


Busy winter repair season winding down at Erie shipyard

3/7 - Erie, Penn. – It is a sign that spring may not be that far away. The winter ship repair season is now starting to wind down at the Erie shipyard. The first ship is expected to leave Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair on Sunday.

Two tugs will be used to break a path through the ice in the channel and on Lake Erie. Other ships will leave over the next month, as repairs are finished.

The shipyard has been jammed since January, with six vessels at Donjon and the 1,000-foot freighter Presque Isle at nearby Erie Sand and Gravel.

"It has been extremely busy for us. We had two vessels that we had to turn away for the simple fact that we do not have a parking spot for them,” said Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair Assistant General Manager Rick Hammer.

Managers say this has been the busiest winter repair season in recent memory. And while the weather is always a challenge, this year the wind and cold have been bigger problems than snow.

View a video at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 7

ALGOSOO suffered a serious fire at her winter mooring on the west wall above Lock 8, at Port Colborne, Ontario on March 7, 1986, when a conveyor belt ignited, possibly caused by welding operations in the vicinity. The blaze spread to the stern gutting the aft accommodations. The ship was repaired at Welland and returned to service on October 6.

TEXACO BRAVE was launched March 7, 1929, as a) JOHN IRWIN (Hull#145) at Haverton-Hill-on-Tees, United Kingdom by Furness Shipbuilding Co.

On 7 March 1874, the wooden tug JOHN OWEN (Hull#28) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan, by the Detroit Dry Dock Company for J. E. Owen of Detroit, Michigan.

On 7 March 1896, L. C.WALDO (steel propeller freighter, 387 foot, 4,244 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #112). She had a long career. She was rebuilt twice, once in the winter of 1904-05 and again in 1914, after she was stranded in the Storm of 1913. She was sold Canadian in 1915, and renamed b.) RIVERTON. In 1944, she was renamed c.) MOHAWK DEER. She lasted until November 1967, when she foundered in the Gulf of Genoa while being towed to the scrap yard at La Spezia, Italy.

ANN ARBOR NO 1 (wooden propeller carferry, 260 foot, 1,128 gross tons, built in 1892, at Toledo, Ohio) got caught in the ice four miles off Manitowoc, Wisconsin in February 1910. She remained trapped and then on 7 March 1910, she caught fire and burned. Although she was declared a total loss, her hull was reportedly sold to Love Construction Co., Muskegon, Michigan, and reduced to an unregistered sand scow.

1969: The British freighter MONTCALM, a Seaway trader when new in 1960, made 29 trips to the Great Lakes to the end of 1967. A truck in #1 hold got loose on this date in an Atlantic storm 420 miles southeast of Halifax in 1969 causing a heavy list and a 12 foot gash in the hull. A U.S.C.G. helicopter dropped extra pumps and the ship reached Halifax and safety. The vessel later became a livestock carrier and arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as c) SIBA EDOLO on August 8, 1988.

1973: BISCAYA was a Danish flag freighter that first came inland in 1965. It was sailing as c) MARGARITA, and under Greek registry, when it sank following a collision with the ANZOATEGUI, a Venezuelan reefer ship, while in bound about 39 miles off Maracaibo, Venezuela on March 7, 1983. It was carrying barytes, a mineral used in oil-drilling fluids, from El Salvador.

1982: OCEAN LEADER came to the Great Lakes in 1980 and ran aground upbound near Sault Ste. Marie on November 11 when the radar malfunctioned. Later, in 1982 as c) FINIKI, the then 7-year old ship hit an underwater obstruction 10 miles west of the Moruka Light, while en route to Paramaribo, Suriname. The vessel reached Georgetown, Guyana, and was declared a total loss. It was reported as scuttled in the Atlantic off Jacksonville, Fla., on or after December 9, 1982.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, “Historical Collections of the Great Lakes,” “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  March 6

Chicago Il. – Christine Douglas
McAsphalt Marine Transportation's tug Leo A. McArthur & barge John J. Carrick arrived in the Port of Chicago Tuesday under sunny but very cold skies heading to the Kinder Morgan Terminal with a load of asphalt.

Monroe, Mich.
Tanker Iver Bright was in port Tuesday.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa and Algocanada were at anchor off Port Dover Tuesday night. CCGS Griffon was helping Algosea westbound through the Pelee Passage.

Port Colborne, Ont.
Scrapping is proceeding on Algoway and Algorail, with their aft superstructures now being cut away.


China cancels major canola shipments from Winnipeg company amid tensions

3/6 - China has cancelled major Canadian agribusiness Richardson International, based in Winnipeg, registration to ship canola to China, according to a document listing approved exporters posted on the website of the Chinese customs administration on March 1.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Richardson’s exports into China, the world’s top importer of canola, had been halted. Officials at China’s General Administration of Customs didn’t respond to requests for comment.

But the move comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries in a dispute over trade and telecoms technology that has ensnared the chief financial officer of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, Huawei Technologies Ltd, who faces U.S. criminal charges.

Much of that canola moves down the Great Lakes and Seaway via freighter.

The March 1 customs document is a revised version of a notice first posted on Jan. 14. A note beside the entry for Richardson International in the latest document says, “Canola export registration already canceled.”

A Canadian grain industry source with knowledge of the matter confirmed Richardson’s exports of canola to China had been halted. The person declined to be identified citing the sensitivity of the matter.

A lasting block on Richardson’s canola exports would be a headache for Canada’s biggest grain handler and a potential blow for the Canadian economy as a whole.

Oilseeds like canola, fruit and grain are Canada’s biggest China export category, making up nearly 17 per cent of all exports in 2017, the latest annual data available, according to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Spokespeople at Richardson’s headquarters in Winnipeg couldn’t be reached outside normal business hours.

China buys some C$2.5 billion of Canadian canola per year, and a slower sales pace would be another hit to exporters, which also include Viterra and Cargill Ltd in a year when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces a tough race for re-election.

Global News


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 6

EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON (Hull#366) was launched March 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. She lasted until 1980, when she was towed to San Esteban de Pravia, Spain, for scrapping.

At noon on 6 March 1873, the steam railroad carferry SAGINAW was launched at the Port Huron Dry Dock Co. She did not get off the ways at first and had to be hauled off by the tug KATE MOFFAT. She was built for use between Port Huron and Sarnia.

On 6 March 1892, SAGINAW (wooden 4-car propeller carferry, 142 foot, 365 tons, built in 1873, at Port Huron, Michigan) burned at the dock in Windsor, Ontario where she had been laid up since 1884. The hull was later recovered and converted to an odd-looking tug, a well-known wrecker in the Detroit River area until broken up about 1940.

1982 INDIANA was chartered to Swedish interests when it made four trips to the Great Lakes in 1962. It was sailing as d) ZOE II, under Liberian registry, when it was abandoned in the Adriatic Sea, south of Pula, Yugoslavia, (now Croatia) after a severe list had developed while on a voyage from Koper, Yugoslavia, (now Slovenia) to Ancona, Italy, on March 6, 1982. No further trace of the ship was ever found.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


New Soo Lock could bring mega boom to area economy

3/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - – More than 1,000 high quality jobs could be shipping into Sault Ste. Marie with plans of a new Soo Lock coming closer and closer to fruition. Upwards of $32 million has been secured for the 2019 fiscal year to help design and start initial construction of the project, and with smooth sailing the new lock could be funded as a part of the 2020 President’s Budget.

Earlier this fall $922 million was authorized by congress to construct a new lock in the world famous system that will allow large lake freighters to traverse between Lakes Superior and Huron. Currently, the Poe Lock is the lone lock capable of handling the larger vessels that are crucial to the national and global economy. Construction could last roughly 7 to 10 years and bring a boom to the national economy.

“If you look at the impact total, that’s 1,120 jobs over eight years,” said US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Project Manager Maureen Mahoney. “We estimate at the peak of construction there will be 250 workers on site.”

The USACE estimated a residual effect of $559 million in labor income impacting the local economy over the course of construction. This takes into account workers spending money at local restaurants, stores, hotels and bringing their families with them to the area.

Since the 1980s there have been plans to build a “Super Lock” where the dormant Davis and Saban Locks lay. In addition to bring jobs and the trickle-down effect of 1,000 employees, the new lock could help serve as blanket security incase anything happens that causes a closure to the Poe Lock during the Great Lakes navigation season between March 25 and January 15.

The United States Department of Homeland Security estimated in 2015 that a six-month closure to the Poe Lock during shipping season could temporarily reduce gross domestic product by $1.1 trillion and could result in the loss of over 10 million jobs in the US and up to 16 million across the continent. The main product freighters haul is taconite (a low-grade iron ore,” and there is no financially feasible way other than shipping to transfer the product across the country to steel mills and factories.

“If you look at the main commodities that come through, they’re bulk commodities,” explained Soo Locks area engineer Kevin Sprague. “If you get in a car that is made in the United States, it was made with iron ore that went through the locks. There’s no way around it.”

On Nov. 21, the USACE announced it would proceed with construction by deepening an upstream channel. The Corps received $32 million in the 2019 fiscal year for design and initial construction of the project.

“The funding that we’ve received in the fiscal year 2019 will allow us to compete for the design and partial construction upstream of the locks,” added Mahoney. “That’s the first step in the lock project.”

In a press release put on Nov. 21 regarding the $32 million, it was stated that the next opportunity for funding to continue working on the deepening of an upstream channel to accommodate the new lock would be in the 2020 President’s Budget.



Port authority seeks upgrade of Detroit sea wall

3/5 - Detroit - Major upgrades are needed for an aging port authority cargo terminal to attract more business to the area, its governing authority said Friday.

Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority Executive Director Kyle Burleson said there's an urgent need to apply for grant funding to rehabilitate a 50-year-old terminal south of the Ambassador Bridge at the foot of Clark Street.

“The urgency is not because something is going to collapse tomorrow,” said Burleson, who presented the authority’s strategic plan to stakeholders and government officials Friday. “The urgency is to take advantage of the opportunities to get federal dollars.”

The port authority, he said, owns the cargo terminal on West Jefferson that's one of between 25 and 30 terminals along the Detroit River and River Rouge. The cargo handling facility, he said, is the only one that's publicly owned.

“The sea wall, as one unit, is very old and serving well past its designed lifespan," he said.

The sea wall is where the ships tie, and Burleson said up to 2,000 feet of the wall could need upgrades. It still must be determined whether the sea wall can be repaired or rebuilt.

The concern about the location comes as officials with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority on Friday unveiled an effort to upgrade maritime infrastructure while encouraging public and private stakeholders, as well as elected officials, to become more aware of the port's potential.

“A lot suffer from aging infrastructure. They’re getting weaker, and there is a threat of collapsing,” Burleson said.

Burleson noted the sea walls in Detroit were built in the 1920s.

"The Port Authority took over the cargo docks in 2005, and we haven’t done a very good job of maintaining it," he said. "... But in order to increase cargo growth, we need to make an investment to be able to handle increased cargo loads.”

He said a sea wall collapsed in 2014, showcasing the potential problems further wall failure would cause.

“There was a facility along the Rouge River where a pile of material was too close to the water’s edge, and without a sea wall, material and land washed into the river. That slowed down commerce on the Rouge River for three or four weeks. It is a privately owned facility.”

Asked how much money it would take to address the urgent need, Burleson said he could only speak to the cargo facility at 4105 W. Jefferson.

“We’re still putting together all the numbers, but on the low end, it would be between $3 million and $4 million,” he said. “On the high end, it could be between $10 million and $15 million, depending on the scope of the project.”

Port officials will apply for federal funding for the infrastructure work.

The port authority is prioritizing infrastructure and government relations. It also is developing several subcommittees involving these efforts. It plans to establish subcommittees by mid-March.

“We want to develop better relationships with elected leaders and the business community, and we’re here to roll out the new strategy to get this accomplished,” Burleson said. “Our focus is on the waterfront, but in the 21st century, all transportation is connected.”

Luke Bonner, of Bonner Advisory Group, is working with the port authority to help with its strategic direction. He asked for a show of hands from those who know about it on Friday at the gathering.

A few of the about 30 people raised their hands.

“A handful of you,” he said. “We have a lot of opportunity here to do more.”

Roy Freij, deputy treasurer for Wayne County, said he is among those with limited interaction with the authority.

“I’ve never really been exposed to the Port Authority,” he said during the question-and-answer period after the presentation. “I know you’re trying to reach the business community, but you might want to appeal to the average citizen — getting exposure at community events and making sure people know who you are.”

Detroit News


Shipping's newest frontier: social media

3/5 - A Great Lakes bulk carrier cargo ship reverses slowly across the west basin of the Port of Cleveland, Ohio on Lake Erie after offloading Taconite pellets at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal on a beautiful sunny day in early November.

An apprentice pilot on the Great Lakes, Jason Church hops on numerous international cargo vessels in a given year as he transits the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway out to the Atlantic Ocean as a career.

For the past several years, using the digital sobriquet "Captain Jason Church," he's been delivering insight, imagery and videos of the lakes on social media. His Twitter and Instagram timelines offer a vantage point of shipping life once mostly foreign to the public.

"I hope to promote my industry by showing others a view rarely seen," Church said in a interview with the Duluth News Tribune via Twitter. "Most of my followers are industry professionals, however some are Midwest farmers who want to see where their product goes."

Church was an early adopter among mariners of social media, beginning roughly 10 years ago.

On Nov. 13, Church posted "#GoodFood makes a happy ship" — accompanied by an array of photos featuring a steaming Polish soup, garnished pears and an egg cooked delectably sunny side up. He posted a time-lapse video last season from the deck of a ship as it exited the Soo Locks and appeared to race under the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge and out into the wide blue open of Lake Superior.

"I chose to post shipping info (because) it's what I do," Church said.

He's not alone. For an industry that has fostered online vessel trackers, and long been adored by shoreline enthusiasts known as Boat Nerds, social media has created another, more connected way in which to observe the goings-on aboard the steel hulks knifing through inland seas.

"Used the right way, it brings our industry to life," said Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Co., based outside Cleveland. "It's not just a big metal ship floating through water. You're part of it."

Interlake Steamship and the Canadian giant Algoma Central Corp. are two of the industry leaders when it comes to use of social media. Their feeds are flush with onboard activity and midlake musings.

"It's growing more every day," said Algoma Central spokesperson Hannah Bowlby. "We're kind of a hidden gem of an industry that's extremely important to our economy. People like hearing from us."

The move to social media has been a contrast for an industry which is romanticized by Hollywood and shoreline photographers, but can be difficult to navigate otherwise — what with corporate hierarchies and their mostly on-brand messaging.

Because Interlake Steamship remains a private company, Barker said it's been easier for it to wade into the social media waters — a conscientious move the company made roughly four years ago. Now, it has 28,000 followers on Facebook, more than 2,200 on Instagram and about 1,000 on Twitter. Not to mention a YouTube channel and presence on LinkedIn.

The Interlake Steamship strategy is to post daily — everything from images of its boats, behind-the-scenes content about crew and work aboard the vessels, food pictures from the galley and even sharing information about critical industry issues, such as the need for a second Poe-sized lock at the Soo Locks.

"We move a lot of goods efficiently, in an environmentally friendly, low-impact way and we do it fairly quietly (as an industry)," Barker said. "We have a huge impact to the economy of the region and to the nation and it's important when people see a ship go by they put faces and jobs and people's lives with those ships."

Read more at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 5

On 05 March 1997, the Canadian Coast Guard cutter GRIFFON pulled the smashed remains of a 1996 Ford Bronco from the icy depths of the Straits of Mackinac. The vehicle flipped off the Mackinac Bridge on 02 March 1997, and the driver was killed. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter BISCAYNE BAY served as a platform for the M-Rover submersible craft used to locate the Bronco in 190 feet of water.

HARRY L. ALLEN was launched March 5, 1910, as a.) JOHN B. COWLE (Hull#379) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. She was declared a constructive total loss after a fire on January 21, 1978. The vessel was in winter lay-up at the Capitol elevator in Duluth when part of the elevator complex burned. Debris from the elevator fell on the boat, badly damaging it. The owners decided to scrap it rather than repair it. The ALLEN was scrapped at Duluth in 1978.

LEADALE was launched March 5, 1910, as a.) HARRY YATES (Hull#77) at St. Clair, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works. Scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1979.

March 5, 1932 - In distress with a broken steering gear off the Ludington harbor, S.S. VIRGINIA entered port under her own power.

On 05 March 1898, the WILLIAM R. LINN (Hull#32) (steel propeller freighter, 400 foot, 4,328 gross tons) was launched at the Chicago Ship Building Company in South Chicago, Illinois. In 1940, she was sold, renamed b.) L.S. WESCOAT and converted to a tanker. She was scrapped in Germany in 1965.

1997 - The former Greek bulk carrier ANTONIS P. LEMOS had been built at Osaka, Japan, in 1976, and visited the Great Lakes that year. As c) ALBION TWO, the ship departed Gdynia, Poland, for Kingston, Jamaica, with a cargo of steel products and was reported as missing on March 5. Wreckage was later found off the coast of France and identified as from the missing vessel. All 25 crewmembers were lost. The ship had also been through the Seaway as b) MACFRIENDSHIP in November 1993 with a cargo of steel for Hamilton.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Eric Holst, Mike Nicholls, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series


Port Reports -  March 4

Straits of Mackinac -
The tug Leo A McArthur and barge were westbound Sunday morning under escort of the USCG Mackinaw, USCG Alder and tug Barbara Andrie. The Coast Guard ice breakers return to their bases after escorting through the straits and the Andrie continued the escort. The Leo A. is headed to Chicago and the Andrie returning to Sturgeon Bay.

Sarnia, Ont. - Ben Caswill
On Sunday, Algoma Innovator tied up beside Algoma Niagara and Algoma Sault at the Government Dock in Sarnia.

Erie, Penn. – Jeff Benson
Work continues on Michipicoten in the dry dock. The bow thruster on the Oberstar is being worked on. Oberstar's hydraulic ram and cables had not been replaced as of Sunday.


Historic vessels will visit Sturgeon Bay during summer Nicolet Bank Tall Ships event

3/4 - Sturgeon Bay - Here's a sure sign that summer's coming: The tall ship announcements have started.

The Santa Maria, a replica of the Spanish ships that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in the 15th and 16th centuries, is among the first ships revealed for Nicolet Bank Tall Ships from July 26 to 28 in Green Bay.

Nine historic ships will travel to Sturgeon Bay for the Nicolet Bank Tall Ships Salute and dock overnight July 29.

The vessels depart about 8 a.m. July 30 for sail to Algoma which is the start for the Tall Ships Challenge race to Kenosha.

The event attracts thousands of visitors to the city and events are being planned to celebrate the tall ships, said Dawn Augustson, Nicolet National Bank marketing specialist.

The 2016 event attracted more than 10,000 people to Sturgeon Bay to see the historic ships, and about 7,000 lined the shores of the Sturgeon Bay canal to watch the fleet arrive on Aug. 14, Augustson said. She added that was a Wednesday, the middle of the week, when thousands of "fans" traveled to Sturgeon Bay to see the historic ships.

"Our Sturgeon Bay community has been incredibly welcoming of the Nicolet Bank Tall Ships," Auguston said.

Trained docents will be at the sites where the ships are docked to answer questions and provide additional insights about each vessel, Augustson said.

The Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center has started fielding inquiries about the pending Nicolet Bank Tall Ships Salute in the city, said Pam Seiler, center director.

"I love that this is such a community event and it's free," Seiler said. Seiler and Augustson are among the committee members organizing activities for the event.

As the ships begin to arrive near Sturgeon Bay, they will "muster off of Sherwood Point" between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. July 29 to enter the harbor as a fleet, said Holly Williams, consumer events vice-president of PMI Entertainment Group, which is coordinating the logistics for the ships.

The fleet will depart about 8 a.m. July 30 and sail through the canal to Lake Michigan.

The Santa Maria was named after the Nao Santa María sailed by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was built in Spain by the Nao Victoria Foundation in 2017. The 200-ton, three-mast ship travels with a crew of 17. It visited several ports in France and Spain last year and started a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in November.

The other ship revealed is the U.S. Brig Niagara out of Erie, Pennsylvania. It is a replica of the two-masted, square-rigged naval vessel that participated in the Battle of Lake Erie to defeat the British during the War of 1812

The Nicolet Bank Tall Ships Green Bay festival also includes the World's Largest Rubber Duck, food vendors, a maritime marketplace, a children's area and entertainment and education stages by the Port of Green Bay. There will be fireworks on July 26. Tickets for the Green Bay festival, including general admission and for excursions go on sale at 11 a.m. March 15 at

Green Bay Press Gazette


World Ship Society Casualties & Demolitions

3/4 - Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway connections reported as a casualty or sold for demolition, taken from March 2019 issue of Marine News - journal of the World Ship Society

Casualties: Kuzma Minin (7721263, Russia) 16,257 / 1980 - bulk carrier. By Murmansk Shipping Russia, stranded in heavy weather on 18.12.2018 after dragging her anchor in Falmouth Bay in position 50.08.33N, 05.04.00W. No injury or damage reported. She was re-floated with the assistance of four tugs. It was found that no. 7 bottom bunker tank was damaged and the vessel was detained for inspection. The ship was on a voyage from Terneuzen, Netherlands to Ceuta, Spain in ballast

Demolitions: Hekmeh (8901597; Vanuatu) (Odra-12 - 1st trip into the Seaway 2002, Odranes-99 - first trip into the Seaway 1994, launched as Odra) 9,815 / 1992 - bulk carrier. By Saray Maritime Co (Orontes Ship Management Inc), St Kitts & Nevis, to Arti Ship Breaking, India and arrived Alang 5.06.2018 - commenced demolition 15.06.2018

Olo (9053191; Palau) (Olivia I-18, Rheinstern-11 - 1st trip into the seaway 1999) 11,423 / 1993 - chemical products tanker. By Riverstone Services Ltd, United Arab Emirates, to Kathiawar Steels, India and arrived Alang 30.05.2018 - commenced demolition 2.06.2018

Oma (7432783; Sierre Leone) (Algoma Olympic-18, Canadian Olympic -12) 22,887 / 1975 - bulk carrier self discharging, laker. By Algoma Central Corp (ACC) Canada, to Oge Gemi Sokum Ithalat Iracat Turkey, and arrived Aliaga 4.06.2018 - commenced demolition 7.06.2018

Oste (6613299; Sierra Leona) (Algosteel-18, Algogulf-90, A.S. Glossbrenner-87) 18,423 . 1966 - bulk carrier self discharging, laker. By Algoma Central Corp (ACC) Canada, to Oge Gemi Sokum Ithalat Iracat Turkey, and arrived Aliaga 26.06.2018 - commenced demolition 26.06.2018

Report prepared by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 4

In 1944, the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW (WAGB-83) was launched by the Toledo Ship Building Company (Hull #188) at Toledo, Ohio. Her name was originally planned to be MANITOWOC. MACKINAW was retired in 2006.

CECILIA DESGAGNES, a.) CARL GORTHON, departed Sorel, Quebec, on March 4, 1985, bound for Baie Comeau, Quebec, on her first trip in Desgagnes colors.

March 4, 1904 - William H. Le Fleur of the Pere Marquette car ferries was promoted to captain at the age of 34. He was the youngest carferry captain on the Great Lakes.

In 1858, TRENTON (wooden propeller, 134 foot, 240 gross tons, built in 1854, at Montreal, Quebec) burned to a total loss while tied to the mill wharf at Picton, Ontario, in Lake Ontario. The fire was probably caused by carpenters that were renovating her.

On 4 March 1889, TRANSIT (wooden 10-car propeller carferry, 168 foot, 1,058 gross tons, built in 1872, at Walkerville, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railroad dock at Windsor, Ontario on the Detroit River. She had been laid up since 1884, and the Grand Trunk Railroad had been trying to sell her for some time.

In 1871, FLORENCE (iron steamer, 42.5 foot, built in 1869, at Baltimore, Maryland) burned while docked at Amherstburg, Ontario at about 12:00 p.m. The fire was hot enough to destroy all the cabins and melt the surrounding ice in the Detroit River, but the vessel remained afloat and her engines were intact. She was rebuilt and remained in service until 1922 when she was scrapped.

1976 - The former British freighter GRETAFIELD of 1952, a Great Lakes visitor for the first time in 1962, hit the breakwall entering Cape Town, South Africa, as c) SIROCCO I and received extensive bow damage. It was sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers and departed May 15,1976, arriving at Kaohsiung July 5 for dismantling.

1983 - The former Danish freighter MARIE SKOU of 1962, inland for the first time in 1966, caught fire in the engine room and was abandoned by the crew south of Sicily as b) CLEO C. The vessel was towed to Malta on March 9 and scrapped there beginning in April.

1986 - The onetime Greek freighter YEMELOS, built in 1962 as MIGOLINA and renamed in 1972, first came inland in 1973. It was abandoned as e) TANFORY off Trincomolee, Sri Lanka, en route from Kandla, India, to Chittagong, Bangladesh, with salt and bentonite. The ship was presumed to have sunk.

1995 - The tug ERIE NO. 1, a) DUNKIRK, b) PEGGY M., c) RENE PURVIS sank at the dock in Toronto. It was raised by a crane June 18, 1995, but the cable snapped, dropping the hull on the dock breaking the tug’s back. The vessel was broken up at that location in late 1995.

2011 - LOUIS JOLLIET caught fire at Montreal during winter work. The ex-St. Lawrence ferry was being used as an excursion vessel.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  March 3

Straits of Mackinac
Saturday the USCG Alder escorted the east bound Algoma Innovator and tug Barbara Andrie. Alder returned to the St. Ignace Coast Guard base while the Innovator continued east for Sarnia and the Andrie went to anchor east of Mackinac Island. Late Saturday night the tug Leo A. McArthur and barge were westbound for Chicago. They may stop for the night and wait for escort.

Mackinaw City - Noel Weaver
The original Mackinaw, now a museum ship, had company over the past day with the new Mackinac docked at the old state dock in Mackinac City.


Door County shipwreck makes state list of historic places

3/3 - Nasewaupee - A barge sunk in a storm in 1921 has been listed on the State Register of Historic Places.

The Advance was a barge built in 1871 and was sunk off of the Sand Bay Peninsula, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. The broken vessel lies in about eight feet of water on a rocky bottom.

The barge was built in 1871 by Alvin A. Turner in Trenton, Michigan, for the Peshtigo Lumber Company. The vessel spent 50 years towed around Lake Michigan until she went ashore in a storm and was lost in 1921.

The Advance is representative of a little-discussed vessel type that was once common throughout the Great Lakes, the barge. Little historical documentation exists on the construction and conversion of the barges, according to the news release.

"Evidence of a bustle on the shipwreck site suggests adaptation; further study allows the opportunity to learn more about barge conversion techniques," the release said.

Study of the barge also plays an important role in understanding the towing and wrecking industry.

"Her use as a lighter allows for insights into the methods and equipment used in salvage and helps us understand more about its use in the Great Lakes towing and wrecking industry," the release said.

The shipwreck is protected by state law and divers may not remove artifacts or pieces of the vessel when visiting the site. More information on Wisconsin’s historic shipwrecks is at the Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks website.

Click here for pictures and more information

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 3

The keel was laid on March 3, 1980, for the COLUMBIA STAR (Hull#726) at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. She now sails as AMERICAN CENTURY.

At midnight on 3 March 1880, DAVID SCOVILLE (wooden propeller steam tug/ferry, 42 foot, 37 gross tons, built in 1875, at Marine City, Mich.) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway wharf at Sarnia, Ontario. Arson was suspected. No lives were lost.

1947: NOVADOC of the Paterson fleet was lost with all hands (24 sailors) off Portland, Maine, while en route from Nova Scotia to New York City with a cargo of gypsum. The ship had also sailed as NORTHTON for the Mathews and Misener fleets.

1958: The tanker DON JOSE, formerly the ITORORO that operated on the Great Lakes for Transit Tankers & Terminals in the early 1940s, was destroyed by a fire, likely in a loading mishap, at Talara, Peru.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Steve Haverty, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports -  March 2

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algoma Innovator departed Milwaukee Friday about 3 p.m. after unloading a cargo of salt. They are reported to be heading back to Goderich.

Detroit / St. Clair River
The tanker Iver Bright departed Monroe Friday and was upbound passing Detroit shortly after 1 p.m. under escort of the CCGS Samuel Risley. They arrived at Sun Oil on the St. Clair River, Risley continued upbound and stopped for the night at the Government Dock.


Coast Guard issues largest fine for operating illegal passenger vessel service to Chicago mariner

3/2 - Chicago - Representatives from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago announced that the owner of two recreational pleasure boats has been fined $80,000 for operating as an illegal passenger vessel business on Lake Michigan for at least the past two years.

Robert Glick of Chicago, owner of the 35-foot boats Allora and Fun, was charged with violating three separate federal regulations for each boat while operating a business that involved transporting paying passengers.

The fine represents the largest civil penalty ever handed down by the Coast Guard to a recreational boat owner for operating as an illegal commercial passenger vessel business. The original recommended fine was $214,000.

In April 2016, after receiving information that Glick was operating an illegal charter business, the Coast Guard notified him that he was suspected of carrying passengers for hire, and provided information to help him come in compliance with regulations. The Coast Guard also warned him that failure to comply with federal regulations could lead to civil penalties.

Between June 3, 2017 and June 30, 2018, Allora and Fun were stopped multiple times by members of Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor and Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and were found to be operating a commercial passenger vessel service without the required documentation and safety equipment. In total, the Allora was boarded or witnessed underway with passengers 10 times on 10 different days.

During the investigation, evidence collected by Coast Guard Investigative Service confirmed that Glick knowingly advertised the two boats for commercial service, and that he continued operating a commercial vessel business after repeatedly being told to cease operations, including after a passenger was injured on the Allora on June 16, 2018.

Civil penalties include: $44,000 for operating without certificates of inspection, $22,000 for operating without having crew members chemical tested, $14,000 for failure to have stability letters issued before his boats were placed in service.

Operators who take on more than six paying passengers are considered to be a commercial passenger business and are required to carry a Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection and a mariner's license. If caught, the operator could be subject to criminal or civil liability.

"Regulations are in place to help ensure the safety of passengers," said Cmdr. Zeita Merchant, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago. "The Coast Guard's ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of the boating public through full compliance with the minimum safety standards required in law and regulation."

Any boat owner who needs information on operating a legal passenger vessel business, or anyone who wishes to verify a captain's license or certificate of inspection, or who wishes to report a vessel suspected of operating illegally, can contact the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago at 630-986-2155 or email at


Norgoma remains homeless

3/2 - A new home for M.S. Norgoma has not yet been found by the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre, but the city says the ship will be moved in the spring.

The M.S. Norgoma’s hopes haven’t totally sunk, but the board’s president says all the ship’s apparent options to move the vessel have fallen overboard. Louis Muio, president of the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre board, said he met with city officials Friday to discuss the fate of the Norgoma. “The letter I received from Tom Vair reaffirms clearly council’s direction to terminate the berthing rights of the Norgoma,” he said.

The letter also says the city is willing to work with the board to move the vessel, but all costs will be borne by the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre.  The board has scanned the area – on both sides of the international border – to find a new home for the museum ship, but has not had any luck finding a new home.

Efforts have been made to keep the ship local so the existing board can continue to operate the museum and other related events that have grown over the past two years.

The board sought – but was refused – approval to dock the ship on Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority property adjacent to the former hospitals. A licence of occupation permit the authority has with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not permit Norgoma to be stored on it.

Other options explored included Parks Canada and the Valleycamp in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.  It’s most potential hope was at the Canadian Bushplane Museum Heritage Centre, Muio said. “We have now confirmed that dredging is needed to get the ship there,” he said.  Costs for dredging haven’t been determined, but board approval to move the ship hasn’t been received either.

Muio said the president of the board has provided early indications that permission wouldn’t be granted, but the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre hasn’t made a full presentation to the bushplane museum board on how the two groups could create synergies.

“Even relocating the Norgoma to somewhere close like the (St. Joseph) Island would cost at least $250,000,” he said.  The St. Mary’s River Marine Centre has about $25,000 in its coffers.  And that’s what poses a problem for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Muio said.

“You can’t just take it out of there and anchor it in the river. If moving it is going to cost money, it’s money we don’t have,” he said, suggesting the city would need to ante up the remaining funds.  The city could bill the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre for the costs of moving it, however, if the not-for-profit board folds, the city would be out the money. 

It’s not known if the former Suncor property would be available to host the Norgoma, Muio said. Dredging of the channel would also be required to bring the ship in, close the channel up and then raise it to create a dry dock.  “The board doesn’t have the kind of funds to do that. That option would take care of taking it out of the water, but keep it in the vicinity of all the other museums,” Muio said.

Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services, confirmed the city has approached an entity with the possibility of storing the Norgoma temporarily. He would not say what the entity is.  “I think we need to get a confirmation first before we put anyone on the spot,” Vair said.

Muio said the city may make attempts to reach out to a Chicago businessman, who was interested in acquiring the Norgoma but the board wants to keep the ship as a local tourist attraction.

“It’s not what we wanted because we may never see it again,” he said. “The issue is that if you transport it from one country to another, there is a fair amount of paperwork that needs to be completed and it was because of that, that the option died . . . but it may still need to happen.”

The City of Sault Ste. Marie has set an April 15 deadline for the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre to move the Norgoma, but the board remains in limbo with no physical place to put it, even temporarily.

“It’s hard to find room for a 180-foot vessel and that’s the problem,” he said. “There is no place to move it to.”

It’s expected a report will be presented to council at its March meeting.

Sault Star


Giant vacuums clean empty Soo Locks in winter

3/2 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Anyone who has been behind the handle of a vacuum knows some pretty strange stuff can get sucked up from under the couch or behind a chair.

But what if you had to use a huge, industrial vacuum with a hose wider than your arm to clean up the bottom of Michigan's Soo Locks, drained dry after a season that saw more than 4,500 ships pass through them?

Each year during its winter maintenance season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Detroit District shuts down the massive lock system in the St. Marys River that helps the ships get from Lake Huron up to the higher-level Lake Superior, then back down again.

This means pumping out 73.3 million gallons of water from the Poe and MacArthur locks - the only locks of the four at the Soo that are in regular use.

Once the locks are drained, the engineers and work crews can make needed repairs, and clean up everything before the locks are refilled and re-opened for the new Great Lakes shipping season, which starts on March 25.

Earlier this winter, the Army Corps shared a series of photos showing how they clean out the locks -- and what they find at the very bottom when they descend the stairs to the chamber underneath the lock floor.

"One of the important tasks our crews are tackling at the Soo Locks this winter is debris removal, or 'mucking' below the lock floor. Despite using a high-powered vacuum, this still involves a lot of hard, dirty work," the Army Corps said in a recent post on its Facebook page.

We talked to the group for more details about some of the odd things they found this winter, and the down-and-dirty process of doing their spring cleaning. With their permission, we're sharing their photos and descriptions of the work.

Click here for the full story and pictures



Today in Great Lakes History -  March 2

On 02 March 1889, the U.S. Congress passed two acts for establishment of a light station at Old Mackinac Point and appropriated $5,500 for construction of a fog signal building. The following year, funds were appropriated for the construction of the light tower and dwelling.

March 2, 1938 - Harold Lillie, crewmember of the ANN ARBOR NO 6, stepped onto the apron as the carferry was approaching and fell into the water and suffered a broken neck.

March 2, 1998, a fire broke out on the ALGOSOO causing serious damage to the self-unloading belts and other nearby equipment. Almost 12 years earlier in 1986, a similar fire gutted the aft cabins.

On 02 March 1893, the MARY E. MC LACHLAN (3-mast wooden schooner, 251 foot, 1,394 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard in West Bay City, Michigan as (Hull #96). The launch turned into a disaster when the huge wave generated by the vessel entering the water hit the freighter KITTIE FORBES (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 209 foot, 968 gross tons, built in 1883, at W. Bay City, Michigan). The FORBES had numerous spectators onboard and when the wave struck, many were injured and there was one confirmed death.

1972 - HARMATTAN, a Seaway trader beginning in 1971, arrived at Karachi, Pakistan, for scrapping after suffering missile damage at sea from Indian Naval units during a conflict between the two countries.

1976 - BROOK, a former Seaway trader as EXBROOk beginning in 1968, arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, and Steve Haverty


Drop in salt deliveries offsets 2018 rise in Seaway cargo at Port Milwaukee

3/1 - A labor dispute at a major Canadian salt mine slowed the delivery of salt to Port Milwaukee in 2018, contributing to an 8 percent decline in overall cargo through the port last year, according to a release from the city of Milwaukee-run commercial facility.

Meanwhile, the delay in salt coming through the port in 2018 has led to an increase in activity in early 2019.

"Salt volume was down by 18% last year, but during the first seven weeks of 2019, ships have delivered salt weekly to Milwaukee,” said Adam Schlicht, Port Milwaukee director, in a statement. ”Port Milwaukee has remained accessible to our shipping and rail customers through the coldest parts of winter, and we are optimistic that 2019 volumes will rebound, finishing ahead of last year.”

Cargo entering the port via the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway, an international system of waterways extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes, was up 28 percent in 2018 compared with 2017. The cargo increase in the St. Lawrence Seaway, which extends from Montreal to Lake Erie, suggests international trade negotiations did not have a major impact on Port Milwaukee in 2018, the port stated.

Port Milwaukee reported 2.39 million tons of cargo passing through in 2018, compared with 2.57 million in 2017.

Milwaukee Business Journal


Port Reports -  March 1

St. Clair River
Algoma Sault was downbound Thursday morning from the Lake Huron Anchorage for the Sarnia’s Government Dock. After turned below Sarnia Harbor they were assisted upbound by the tug Pride into the Government Dock alongside the Algoma Niagara for a well-deserved winter lay-up rest. This ends the Algoma Sault’s first season on the Great Lakes, she entered service last April after deliver from the builder’s yard in China.

Detroit River
Thursday morning the USCG Bristol Bay was escorting the Iver Bright downbound for Monroe. Iver Bright arrived shortly before 1 p.m. Bristol Bay stopped at Mistersky Fuel before returning to their Detroit Dock. CCGS Samuel Risley was downbound Thursday morning to meet the upbound Algoma Hansa. They took the Hansa under escort for Sarnia.


Lake Ontario Water Level Is 16 Inches Higher Than Normal

3/1 - For people who live right along Lake Ontario, it's essential to keep an eye on the water. Chaumont resident James Price has noticed the growing levels. "This is about a foot from the top of my brick wall and usually it's about three feet below my brick wall, so it is a lot higher," he said.

The International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board releases water from the Moses-Saunders Dam to help control Lake Ontario. Right now, the amount of water being released is far more than normal.

According to the International Joint Commission, the lake's water levels are about 16 inches higher than normal for this time of year. Under Plan 2014, outflows are released from the Moses-Saunders Dam in Massena to help regulate levels.

Tony David, a member of the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, says a cold winter helps even more. "It allows us to create a stable ice cover in the St. Lawrence River, from under which high outflows can be passed," he said.

Right now, the dam is releasing water at the rate of 303,700 cubic feet per second, which is a near record amount.

Those with the IJC say they're doing what they can to maximize outflows and help regulate the water levels on Lake Ontario, but at the end of the day, they say there's only so much they can do. "The board does not control Lake Ontario water levels. It has some influence, but under extreme conditions, that influence goes away," said David.

But Price says he's still concerned.

"If it doesn't decrease, it means it's going to go higher and if it goes higher up, then we'll be in trouble again," he said.

People who live by Lake Ontario say they just don't want to see another repeat of the intense flooding in 2017, which some communities are still recovering from.

7News and Fox-28/MeTV


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 1

HENRY FORD II (Hull#788) was launched on March 1, 1924, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. She served as flagship of the Ford Motor Company fleet for many years and was eventually sold to Interlake Steamship Company when Ford sold its Great Lakes division. It was renamed b.) SAMUEL MATHER, but never sailed under that name. It was scrapped in 1994, at Port Maitland, Ontario by Marine Recycling & Salvage Ltd.

In 1881 the steamship JOHN B. LYON was launched at Cleveland, Ohio by Thomas Quayle & Son for Capt. Frank Perew. She was a four mast, double-decker with the following dimensions: 255 foot keel, 275 feet overall, 38 foot beam, and 20 foot depth.

On March 1, 1884 the I.N. FOSTER (wooden schooner, 134 foot, 319 gross tons, built in 1872, at Port Huron, Michigan) was sold by Clark I. Boots to E. Chilson. This vessel lasted until 1927, when she was abandoned in Buffalo, New York.

1926 - The passenger ship WHITE STAR of Canada Steamship Lines burned at Hamilton. It then became a coal barge and was rebuilt in 1950 as the diesel powered, self-unloading sandsucker S.M. DOUGLAS. It operated mainly on the St. Lawrence and was sunk as a breakwall at Kingston, ON in 1975.

1972 - The Dutch passenger and freight carrier PRINSES ANNA first visited the Great Lakes in 1967. It was lost in Osumi Strait, 18 miles south of Cape Sata, Japan, as HWA PO while on a voyage from Nagoya to Whampoa, China. The cargo shifted and 20 of the 36 on board were lost when the ship went down.

1980 - The Swedish freighter BARBARA was 4-years old when it first came inland in 1966. It returned through the Seaway as BARKAND in 1968 and as MARIANNA in 1969. The ship was under a fourth name of MARIA BACOLITSA and in bound from Brazil with pig iron for Constanza, Romania, when it went down on the Black Sea with all hands. An S.O.S. had been sent out without giving the location and rescuers were helpless to lend any assistance.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Steve Haverty, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


ArcelorMittal initiates process to assume management of Hibbing Taconite

2/28 - Change is inevitable, especially in Minnesota's iron ore mining industry. Ownership changes, bankruptcies, plant closures, technological advances, labor force adjustments, and efficiencies that reduce operating costs, have changed mining since the first shipment of ore left the Minnesota Iron Company mine in Soudan in 1884.

But one of the biggest changes in recent decades is on the horizon. On August 12, 2019, ArcelorMittal USA assumes management of Hibbing Taconite. ArcelorMittal USA takes over from longtime manager Cleveland-Cliffs. Cleveland-Cliffs for decades has managed the 8.0 million ton-per-year iron ore pellet facility just north of Hibbing. It's a change that surprised steelworkers who work at the facility and many industry observers.

However, assuming management is natural for ArcelorMittal, said Gary Norgren, ArcelorMittal USA manager of raw materials and transition team leader at Hibbing Taconite. “Assuming the role of managing partner of Hibbing Taconite was the right thing to do for our business, the Hibbing team, and the Iron Range,” said Norgren. “Serving as the managing partner also ensures the long-term supply of quality iron ore operations to our key operations in the United States.”

ArcelorMittal (62.3%) is majority owner of Hibbing Taconite. Cleveland-Cliffs holds 23% ownership and United States Steel 14.7%. Cleveland-Cliffs announced in August it would not manage the taconite plant beyond August 12, 2019. For several months, it was unclear who would take over management. Then, in December, ArcelorMittal USA announced it would replace Cleveland-Cliffs.

No changes in production volumes or operating plans will occur, according to ArcelorMittal USA.

But as the transition date approaches, a joint ArcelorMittal/Cleveland Cliffs transition team has begun meeting to plan the transition, said Norgren. Transition meetings began in mid-January.

“During the kick-off meeting, several ArcelorMittal/Cliffs teams were created to work on transitioning all functional areas,” said Norgren. “These areas include everything from information technology and mine planning to procurement and operations. Over the next six-and-a-half months, the partners will work to ensure there is an orderly transition with the goal of maintaining stability for Hibbing's workforce. ArcelorMittal is committed to communicating more information as it becomes available to both our team and the community.”

No significant changes in Hibbing Taconite leadership are anticipated, according to Norgren. Hibbing Taconite owners and ArcelorMittal, as manager, will continue to honor the terms of the labor contract reached last fall between United Steelworkers (USW) and Cleveland-Cliffs. About 650 steelworkers are employed at Hibbing Taconite. Steelworker leaders on Feb. 12 for the first time met with Norgren, other ArcelorMittal officials, and Cleveland-Cliffs representatives, to discuss the transition, said Chris Johnson, president of USW Local 2705 at Hibbing Taconite.

“They're going to make it as seamless as possible and try not to affect hourly or salaried worker,” said Johnson. “Most of the systems Cliffs had in place are going to stay unless it is something unique to Cliffs.” Though a seamless transition is planned, it's still a major change for workers at the taconite plant, said Johnson. “I guess I'm just a believer that that anytime there a change, there are always some hiccups,” said Johnson. “But I believe they will try to make it as seamless as possible.”

Beyond the transition, there's an even bigger issue on the minds of employees, said Johnson. Without securing new taconite reserves, Hibbing Taconite will run out of ore in the first quarter of 2025, said Johnson. Without new reserves, cutbacks at the taconite plant could occur beginning in 2023 or 2024, said Johnson.

“For the hourly people, the biggest concern is getting mine life and adding some years to this plant,” said Johnson. “Without life of mine, there's no future. Every day I'm getting calls from people wondering whether they should look for another job or other opportunities. It's a big worry for our people. The transition is small potatoes compared to this.”

At Norgren's Feb. 12 visit to Hibbing Taconite, Norgren made it clear that ArcelorMittal's top priority is to extend the life of the mine, said Johnson. “He said they have been working tirelessly and around the clock on it,” said Johnson. ArcelorMittal confirmed it is addressing the mine life issue, according to a statement from Norgren. “ArcelorMittal is actively working on efforts to ensure the long-term supply of quality iron ore from Hibbing Taconite to our key operations in the United States,” said Norgren.

The transition team will continue holding regular meetings with steelworkers, said Johnson. Smaller “break-off” groups that will address individual departmental transition, will also meet, he said. The next transition team meeting will likely be in early April, he said.Steelworkers continue to value its relationship with Cleveland-Cliffs, which will continue to hold ownership in the facility.

“We appreciate everything Lourenco Goncalves (Cliffs chairman, president and CEO)) and Cliffs has done for us,” said Johnson. “There's a loyalty to him because of the last contract and with what we did when we came close to bankruptcy. Lourenco did what he said he was going to do and he won our members over. That's how our members feel.”

Hibbing Taconite was built by Bethlehem Steel and Pickands Mather and began production in 1976. It's first shipment of iron ore pellets was in January 1977. Pickands Mather was the plant's original manager. Including hourly paid steelworkers and salaried employees, the facility today employs about 737. The majority of the standard iron ore pellets produced at Hibbing Taconite feed ArcelorMittal blast furnaces at Burns Harbor, Indiana.

As the transition continues, the top priority will be the health and safety of its employees, contractors and communities, said Norgren. “We have several programs and initiatives in place at our operations and mines throughout the world, including the U.S.,” said Norgren. “Those programs and initiatives will be implemented within Hibbing Taconite when appropriate.”

Grand Rapids Herald-Review


Port Reports -  February 28

Goderich, Ont.
CCGS Samuel Risley broke into Goderich Wednesday afternoon to escort Algoma Innovator out with salt for Milwaukee. Once off port the Innovator continued north in open water while the Risley turned downbound stopping off Grand Bend in lower Lake Huron.

St. Clair / Detroit Rivers
Iver Bright was downbound Wednesday morning under escort of the USCG Bristol Bay. They are headed for Monroe, Mich. but stopped Wednesday afternoon in the Ojibway anchorage, likely waiting for ice escort on Lake Erie. The Iver Bright shifted to Mistersky Fuel Wednesday evening.

Algoma Sault was upbound from Detroit under escort of the USCG Hollyhock. Hollyhock returned to their Port Huron dock while the Algoma Sault continued upbound into Lake Huron. About 7 p.m. they turned off Lexington to head downbound going to anchor above Port Huron shortly before 9 p.m.


Algoma Conveyor makes fuel stop

2/28 - The Algoma Conveyor arrived in Davao, Philippines Saturday to fuel before heading out on the next leg of her journey. The ship will continue crossing the Pacific Ocean and travelling through the Panama Canal before eventually ending its journey in Canada. The trip is expected to take the ship approximately two months. The Algoma Conveyor is also carrying a foreign crew and is registered in Tuvalu however, this registration will change once the vessel arrives in Canada where it will then be re-flagged and registered Canadian and also will have a Canadian crew.

Algoma Conveyor was originally built in 2015 in Nantong City, China at the Nantong Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. shipyard. That ship yard went into bankruptcy while the ship was under construction leaving the ship half finished. The hull was then purchased in 2017 at auction by Algoma and then then taken to the Jiangsu New Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. shipyard for refurbishment and final construction.

Denny Dushane


With great benefits and pay, jobs are available in Cleveland's booming maritime industry

2/28 - Cleveland - Great pay and benefits, free meals plus room and board all without a college degree. Sounds like a dream job, right? The catch, you need to hop on a freighter ship for weeks and even months at a time and set sail on the Great Lakes.

In the middle of winter, the waters of Lake Erie are harsh and unforgiving. Too dangerous to navigate for most. But come spring, once the ice thaws and the air warms up, there will be money to be had on the water. Always has been always will be.

"You can have a job on a boat out of school making $60,000 a year,” Jason Toth, director of training and vessel personnel for the Interlake Steamship Company said. "We have an aging workforce, with all the baby boomers retiring."

The maritime industry is plagued with the same problems you see on land. The work force is getting older and young replacements are harder and harder to come by. The industry is looking to groom the next generation of cooks, engineers and deckhands to continue a proud Midwestern tradition.

"There's great opportunities out here for jobs to be had starting off at a maritime academy and coming out as a licensed officer or engineer or coming straight out of high school," said Jayson Toth.

From March to January, the Interlake Steamship Company based in Cleveland employs more than 300 workers who hop aboard a freighter and haul materials like iron ore which is used by Arcelor Mittal to help produce steel.

The experiences on the water and sights from port to port are priceless.

"The best part of the job is getting to see so many cool things and just meeting a lot of cool people," Ron Wilson, able bodied seaman for the Interlake Steamship Company said. Wilson got his start working high-speed passenger ferries in NYC. He resides in New Jersey while not on the Great Lakes. Interlake pays for his travel to and from whatever city their freighters are docked.

Cooking on a freighter is another in-demand job in the booming maritime industry. In steps the man of the world, Thom Bennett. From Antarctica to Cleveland by way of Traverse City Michigan. Traveling man, cooks where he can. And at the moment that’s the kitchen of the Mesabi Miner.

"I got a call from Interlakes, they said could you be in Sturgeon Bay in a week, I said yeah. So I called Antarctica said I wasn't coming back always wanted to be out on the Great Lakes," Thom Bennett, relief chef steward for the Interlake Steamship Company said. “I do three meals a day, seven days a week, plus there are snacks out there, cookies. Plus I have a second cook that helps me, we go through a lot of food.”

But there is sacrifice, the crew is on the water weeks at a time away from friends and family. It's something Geneva native Mike King knows all too well.

"There is definitely a great sacrifice for doing this job with a family at home with everything you miss," Mike King, Interlake Steamship Company first mate said. ”But you're also in the greater scheme making a better life for them and you can do more. Plus once one trip is done you get longer times off.”

Hard, rewarding, steady work. The story of life at sea.

"I have a lot of pride in this, it’s a very prideful job when it comes down to it.” Ron Wilson said. “For people who want to go out there and start doing it, its overall very rewarding and have fun doing it."

Interested in a job on the lake? Apply here.

News 5 Cleveland 


Terry Pepper

2/28 - Terry Pepper, 70 of Brutus, passed away at his home on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Born in West Bridgford, England, Terry was the son of Kenneth and Doreen Pepper. He moved to Canada with his family where he lived for several years, receiving degrees in Advertising and Business Administration before immigrating to the United States.

Terry held management positions with various manufacturing companies throughout the Midwest. Later, after settling in northern Michigan, Terry was the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, a position he held for ten years. He often told his tour audiences that his real calling was to be a teacher, and tens of thousands of tourist ‘students’ would agree with that.

Terry was recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Great Lakes Lighthouse history, with his writing, research and photography appearing in numerous books, magazines, newspapers and websites. He was a well known speaker throughout the Midwest, known for his spirited interpretation of all aspects of Great Lakes lighthouse history and preservation. In his spare time, he enjoyed woodworking, model making and photography.

On May 5, 2007 Terry married his wife, Mary, at the Cheboygan River Front Range Light, the same place they met a year earlier. Also surviving is his daughter, Kristi (Andy) Fulk of South Carolina and two granddaughters.

A private ceremony will be held for family only but a public memorial is being planned by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. Those who wish are asked to consider donations in his memory to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, P.O. Box 219, Mackinaw City, MI 49701 or Hospice of the Straits, c/o McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation, 360 Connable Avenue, Suite 3, Petoskey, MI 49770.

Please share your memories and personal messages with the family at


AIS station hosts needed

2/28 - Last fall, we brought our Automated Vessel Passage System Online. This is a project we have been working on for many years that will provide a long-term record of vessel passages in all major ports.

To better support this system and our AIS map, we are looking for locations to host a receiver to share data from that location.

Boatnerd would send you, at no cost, an antenna and receiver. All that is needed is a location near the water and an Internet connection. The receiver sends out small data messages to our server, where it is processed. We can also accept data feeds if you have an existing AIS receiver (like Marine Traffic) that won’t affect your current use.

Data from these locations would be very helpful:

Lake Erie:
North shore, we need better coverage of the Pelee Passage and Long Point Bay, Nanticoke / Port Dover
Lorain, Ohio
Fairport, Ohio
Conneaut, Ohio
Erie, PA*

Detroit River / St. Clair River:
Algonac to Marine City*

Lake Huron:
Anywhere on the thumb including from Port Hope to Caseville*
Alpena to Cheboygan*
Bruce Peninsula
Tobermory, Georgian Bay and Manitoulin Island/ North Channel

Lake Michigan
Port Inland
Sheboygan to Port Washington*
Racine to Waukegan
St. Joseph to Saugatuck*
Manistee to Grand Traverse Bay

Lake Superior
Anywhere on the North and East Shores
Grand Marais North Shore
Munising to Grand Marais South Shore
Ashland to Copper Harbor

Lake Ontario
Most, Port Weller to Cape Vincent

Seaway / St. Lawrence River / Gulf of St. Lawrence

Please e-mail if you would like to host or share data If you have an area you would like us to set up an automated vessel passage system please e-mail The system can be customized for any area we have coverage.
*Station pending


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 28

VENUS (steel propeller bulk freighter, 346 foot, 3,719 gross tons) was launched on 28 February 1901, by the American Ship Building Company (Hull #307) at Lorain, Ohio for the Gilchrist Transportation Company, converted to a crane-ship in 1927. She was renamed b.) STEEL PRODUCTS in 1958, and lasted until 1961, when she was scrapped at Point Abino, Ontario, the spot where she had run aground and partially sunk while being towed for scrap.

The lighthouse tender MARIGOLD (iron steamer, 150 foot, 454 gross tons, built in Wyandotte, Michigan) completed her sea trials on 28 February 1891. The contract price for building her was $77,000. After being fitted out, she was placed into service as the supply ship to the lighthouses in the Eleventh District, taking the place of the WARRINGTON. The MARIGOLD was sold in 1947, converted to a converted to dredge and renamed MISS MUDHEN II.

The rail ferry INCAN SUPERIOR (Hull#211) was launched February 28, 1974, at North Vancouver, British Columbia by Burrard Drydock Co. Ltd. She operated between Thunder Bay, Ontario and Superior, Wisconsin until 1992, when she left the Lakes for British Columbia, she was renamed b.) PRINCESS SUPERIOR in 1993.

OUTARDE was launched February 28, 1906, as a.) ABRAHAM STEARN (Hull#513) at Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co.

In 1929, the Grand Trunk carferry MADISON, inbound into Grand Haven in fog and ice, collided with the U.S. Army dredge General G.G. MEADE, berthed on the south bank of the river for the winter. Damage was minor.

1965: The bow section of the tanker STOLT DAGALI, broken in two due to a collision with the passenger liner SHALOM on November 26, 1964, departed New York for Gothenburg, Sweden, under tow to be rebuilt. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) DAGALI in 1961, 1962 and 1963.

1974: The Dutch freighter AMPENAN visited the Great Lakes in 1960 and 1961. It arrived at Busan, South Korea, for scrapping as c) OCEAN REX.

1995: CHEM PEGASUS, a Seaway trader as far as Hamilton in 2012, was launched on this date as a) SPRING LEO.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Dave Swayze, Steve Haverty, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Ice coverage on Lake Superior is above average, lab says

2/27 - More than three-quarters of Lake Superior is covered in ice right now, making this an above average winter for ice on the lake, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The yearly average is about 65 per cent, said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at the lab. It isn't a new record however.

The lake completely froze over in 1996, and it reached 95 per cent ice cover six times in the past 60 years. In fact, it's exceeded 80 per cent 25 of the past 60 years making this year's level of ice cover relatively common.

Ice on the lake is between 30 and 70 centimetres deep around Thunder Bay but only 5 to 15 centimetres deep along the rest of the north shore, Wang said. "Some people say, 'Oh this year's cold, and we have a lot of ice cover in Lake Superior. There's no global warming, no climate change," Wang told CBC. "But long term, [in] the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Superior, water temperature still increases ... so the water is warming up regardless of this year's ice cover." Ice cover does help mitigate the effects of climate change, he said, by allowing less water to evaporate in the heat of the sun. Ice also protects the ecosystem from the impacts of harsh winter weather.

"Of course you have disadvantages," Wang said. "Maybe the shipping season will be open later."

CBC News


Port Reports -  February 27

Goderich, Ont. - Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator remained at the Compass Mineral Dock Tuesday. They arrived late on Saturday to load. Storms in the area early Monday morning brought Westerly gales gusting to over 50 MPH. The westerly winds have packed the ice field into the Goderich shore and it will take Easterly winds and ice break assistance to leave port. CCGS Samuel Risley was headed to Goderich Tuesday night.

St. Clair River
USCG Hollyhock was escorting Algonova downbound late Tuesday morning. The CCGS Samuel Risley was escorting the Algosea and Algoma Sault downbound through the lower river and to Detroit.

Detroit, Mich.
USCG Neah Bay was downbound Tuesday afternoon for Cleveland. USCG Bristol Bay departed their Detroit base and headed upbound to assist the Algonova’s passage. Samuel Risley reached the Detroit River and turned upbound to escort the Leo A. McArthur and barge who had departed Sterling Fuel in Windsor for Sarnia. CCGS Griffon departed Windsor that afternoon to take over the downbound escort of the Algonova. Tuesday night Algonova, Algosea and Griffon were stopped off Colchester in Western Lake Erie.

Straits of Mackinac
Mackinaw departed her home dock in Cheboygan heading westbound through the straights to assist the tanker Algocanada returning from South Chicago.


High winds force Port of Oswego to shut down operations Monday

2/27 - Oswego, NY - High winds whipped across Central New York Monday and forced the Port of Oswego to do something it rarely ever does, shut down operations.

Port Executive Director Bill Scriber made the decision to close for the day based on weather conditions and safety for workers. The port measured wind gust at over 80 mph on Monday. Scriber tells NewsChannel 9, "This is probably the worst I've ever seen it in the entire time I've been here." He's been at the Port of Oswego for a decade. Scriber describes watching waves nearly 30 feet high crash over the break wall between Lake Ontario and the harbor, which itself was seeing waves nearly 10 feet high.

Shipping is always shut down this time of year but the Port of Oswego is more than just shipping. "We can't run rail cars, we can't run trucks so we're more or less a transportation center, we had to close down because we're on the lake and we can't safely conduct business right now." Shingles, made to withstand high winds, were being ripped off of huge sheds used to store things like soybeans. "We've had to hunker down all our doors, bring in our equipment. We've had to look at damage to our roofs, we've lost gutters, right now we're losing our back roof."

Scriber was working on a plan to aggressively get out and make repairs once the wind finally does die down.



Today in Great Lakes History -  February 27

GOLDEN SABLE was launched February 27, 1930, as a.) ACADIALITE (Hull#170) at Haverton-Hill-on-Tees, United Kingdom by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

In 1916 MOUNT STEPHEN, formerly of Canada Steamship Lines, struck a mine and sank off Dover, England, while carrying coal as part of a convoy but the crew was rescued.

The former Great Lakes trader GEORGETOWN, built at Buffalo in 1900, sank in 1917 as ETRETAT in a storm off the Bay of Biscay while carrying barreled oil although there was some suspicion of enemy action.

1917: GEORGETOWN was built at Buffalo in 1900 and sank on this day enroute from New York to Le Havre in heavy weather while carrying barreled oil. The ship went down as b) ETRETAT off Ile D'Yeu, Bay of Biscay, and there was lingering suspicion of enemy action being involved.

1966: In 1966, the Greek Liberty ship EUXEINOS was abandoned in the Atlantic 360 miles southwest of the Azores after developing leaks the previous day. She had made three trips through the Seaway as MOUNT ATHOS in 1959. The crew was picked up by a passing tanker and delivered to Halifax.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Steve Haverty, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Ice boom in Lake Erie breaks due to winds

2/26 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Sunday evening the ice boom in Lake Erie off Buffalo had a section fail due to the high winds. Large chunks of ice were jamming up the Niagara River and could cause flooding.

A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for north-central Erie County and southwestern Niagara County until 12 a.m. Monday.

The ice boom, installed every winter, prevents large chunks of ice from flowing down the river.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz confirmed the failure on Twitter saying "The Ice Boom has broken and the Niagara River is being flooded with ice. This is a picture of a piece taken near Grand Island. Allegedly 7 sections were seen in the river. Ice is building up along the shore."

The New York Power Authority issued a statement Sunday evening about the break of the boom.

"NYPA is actively monitoring the extreme weather situation in Niagara County and is responding to any operational issues as quickly as possible. NYPA had previously staged equipment to prepare for any necessary ice boom repairs and for any needed ice-breaking activity.

The ice boom is designed to submerge during high wind and high water events, allowing ice to overtop the boom. Current flooding is not due to the ice boom. This is a wind-driven event."

Click here for pictures



Join the crew of Friends Good Will

2/26 - Ahoy! Are you ready to feel the wind on your face, the waves beneath your feet and hoist sail on a traditionally rigged square topsail sloop? If the answer is yes, or even maybe, look no further. The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven, Michigan has announced the 2019 dates for Basic Seamanship Training for their tall ship Friends Good Will.

If you have a desire to act as volunteer crew aboard Friends Good Will, they will show you the ropes. Seamanship skills, line handling, knot tying and more are on the agenda.

Built for and by the Michigan Maritime Museum in 2004, Friends Good Will is a replica of an 1810 merchant ship that plied the Great Lakes in the early years of Great Lakes shipping. She was captured by the British at Mackinaw Island during the war of 1812 and served under the British flag until she was re-captured by the United States Navy when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813.

History is kept alive through educational programs as well as public sails where museum guests enjoy a step back in time as the museum preserves Michigan’s maritime heritage through traditional sailing and historical interpretation.

“Keeping our maritime heritage alive aboard Friends Good Will is one of life’s most satisfying experiences,” said Captain Bob Harnish, Commander of the Fleet for the museum. “Seeing the smiles and excitement on the faces of our guests is the grandest of rewards.”

New ship’s company crew work alongside trained staff and seasoned volunteer crew members. With the ship sailing up to four trips each day, seven days a week, volunteers will have ample opportunity to sign up to crew as much as they desire, be it one or two sails a week or one or two days per week on multiple sails, the choice is theirs.

The dates for Basic Seamanship Training are April 27-28 and May 18-19. Training consists of both classroom and on-water training. Participants must complete both weekends of training to be considered for crew. Minimum age requirement is 16 years. The course is free to the participants. Museum membership is required. To register, contact or call 269-637-8078.

Holland Sentinel


Ice Shoves crash onto northern lake shores

2/26 - C Winter is coming to towns along the shores of the Great Lakes—literally, as walls of ice have risen from the lakes and piled up on shorelines.

These ominous “ice tsunamis” formally called ice shoves —some of which are big enough to overwhelm lampposts and retaining walls are piles of broken-up ice blown to shore by especially strong winds.

Since Sunday, gusts of 60 miles an hour or more have been hammering the region around the Great Lakes, knocking out power and delaying air travel. Pictures shared on social media and by local emergency services also show sprawling floes of ice cluttering up beaches, roads, and even some lakeside residences.

"We've had storms in the past but nothing like this," Hoover Beach, New York, resident Dave Schultz told the WGRZ news service. "We've never had the ice pushed up against the walls and right up onto our patios.”

Historically speaking, though, these ice tsunamis aren't without precedent. The scientific study of these events traces back to 1822, when an anonymous U.S. naturalist reported seeing “rocks, on level ground, taking up a gradual line of march [along a lakebed] and overcoming every obstacle in ... escaping the dominion of Neptune.” From 1825 onward, scientists across Earth's northern latitudes have found that the movement of lake ice can push these wandering boulders along.

Formally called ice shoves, ice pushes, or ivu, the striking phenomena are most likely to occur in the early spring, when ice just starts to weaken and break up. In addition, they tend to happen when strong winds blow directly onto gently sloped beaches. The gentler the slope, the farther inland incoming water can push the ice.

These piles of ice can get immense. In 2001, ice shoves on the coast of Alaska's Chukchi Sea reached up to 16 feet tall.

Beyond wind, lake ice also can move shoreward when sudden temperature swings force the ice to expand and contract. The two factors combined can cause lake ice to nudge boulders across lake bottoms and even onto shorelines, forming ridges of rocks and boulders called ice-push ramparts.

Boulders within these ramparts average one-and-a-half to three feet wide—and some can get up to five feet across. These lakeside structures resemble moraines, the rock-strewn debris pushed out by glaciers flowing downhill. The strands of boulders can help scientists track lakes' past water levels and ice activity.

Click here for pictures  

Click here for a video

 National Geographic


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 26

The completed hull of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) was floated off the ways February 26, 1977, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. Renamed b.) WALTER J. MC CARTHY JR in 1990.

JOSEPH L. BLOCK (Hull#715) was launched February 26, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp.

On 26 February 1874, the tug WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE JR. was launched at Port Huron Dry Dock. Her dimensions were 151 feet overall, 25 foot 6 inches beam, and 13 foot depth. Her machinery was built by Phillerick & Christy of Detroit and was shipped by rail to Port Huron. She cost $45,000. Her master builder was Alex Stewart.

On 26 February 1876, the MARY BELL (iron propeller, 58 foot, 34 gross tons, built in 1870, at Buffalo, New York) burned near Vicksburg, Michigan.

The Liberty ship BASIL II, a Seaway visitor in 1960, ran aground on a reef off the west coast of New Caledonia as EVER PROSPERITY in 1965 and was abandoned as a total loss.

ANGLEA SMITS, a Seaway trader in 1983, was abandoned and believed sunk in the Atlantic en route from Norway to Australia in 1986.

1947: The T-2 tanker ROYAL OAK came to the Great Lakes in 1966 as b) TRANSBAY and was rebuilt at Lorain. The vessel departed later in the year as c) TRANSHURON. But as a) ROYAL OAK, it caught fire on this day in the Pacific off Esmeraldas, Ecuador, and had to be abandoned by the crew. The vessel was later reboarded and the fires extinguished. The listing vessel almost sank but it was salvaged and rebuilt for Cities Service Oil.

1965: The Liberty ship BASIL II came through the Seaway in 1960. It ran aground on a reef off New Caledonia as d) EVER PROSPERITY. The vessel was traveling in ballast and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

1981: A spark from a welder's torch ignited a blaze aboard the MONTCLIFFE HALL, undergoing winter work at Sarnia. The fire did major damage to the pilothouse and accommodations area, but the repairs were completed in time for the ship to resume trading on May 27, 1981. It was still sailing in 2013 as d) CEDARGLEN (ii).

1986: ANGELA SMITS, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1983, developed a severe list and was abandoned by the crew on a voyage from Norway to Australia. The hull was sighted, semi-submerged, later in the day in position 47.38 N / 07.36 W and was believed to have sunk in the Atlantic.

1998: The Abitibi tug NIPIGON was active on Lake Superior and often towed log booms from the time it was built at Sorel in 1938 until perhaps the 1960s. The vessel also saw work on construction projects for different owners, and left the Seaway for the sea on December 12, 1988. It was operating as b) FLORIDA SEAHORSE when it sank in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. All 5 on board were rescued.

2011: Fire broke out on the bridge of DINTELBORG while enroute from the Netherlands to Virginia. The ship was taken in tow the next day by the ROWAN M. McALLISTER out of Providence, R.I. The repaired Dutch freighter was back through the Seaway later in 2011. The tug was also a Seaway caller in 2012, coming inland to tow the fire ravaged PATRICE McALLISTER back to Providence.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Federal committee recommends increased use of St. Lawrence Seaway

2/25 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A federal committee on transport, infrastructure and communities will recommend the Canadian government consider the creation of a mid-peninsula corridor, encourage increased use of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and utilize Welland Canal corridor lands to expand and create new economic development opportunities.

The recommendations came about after Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey tabled a report on Establishing a Canadian Transportation and Logistics Strategy in the House of Commons Thursday, a release from his office said.

"As a result of our deliberations, the committee established 31 recommendations. Contained within the recommendations is that the government acknowledge the Niagara Region's and City of Hamilton's strategic location, within a one day's drive of major Canadian and U.S. cities, provincial designation as an economic gateway centre and zone, and federal recognition as a foreign trade zone transportation-related infrastructure, through designating the Region and city as a national trade corridor," said Badawey in the release.

Specific to Niagara and Hamilton, the committee said the federal government must recognize the regular congestion on the QEW, and emphasized the need for an alternative route.

It recommended the government consider the creation of a mid-peninsula corridor and encourage increased use of the St. Lawrence Seaway to eliminate existing bottlenecks, bring the Seaway to further capacity, and utilize Welland Canal corridor lands to expand and create new economic development opportunities.

"Our next steps will be to work with our local partners — users, stakeholders and municipalities — to strengthen the Niagara-Hamilton economic cluster. This will bring together complementary businesses, skills, professions, research facilities, arts and entertainment entities, educational institutions, and other factors combined, to ensure our cluster is internationally recognized as a conduit for growth and innovation," said Badawey.

As it worked through the process, the committee met with various transportation users, stakeholders and municipalities to identify opportunities to increase the efficiency of Canada's trade corridors in Niagara, Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle WA.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  February 25

Goderich - Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator was loading salt on Sunday.

St. Clair River
Algoma Sault was downbound Sunday morning stopping at the Shell Fuel Dock in Corunna. She remained at the dock all day waiting for the next downbound convoy. They are loaded with salt for Detroit.

Toledo, Ohio
The tanker Algoscotia entered the Maumee River Saturday afternoon and docked at the Ironhead Shipyard. They were escorted in by the CCGS Griffon.


Longest-serving keeper at Split Rock Lighthouse retires

2/25 - Two Harbors, Minn - After nearly forty years caring for one of the most iconic lighthouses on Lake Superior’s shores, the light is turning off for a Minnesota man’s career.

Lee Radzak has served 36 years as a lighthouse keeper at Split Rock Lighthouse, and 42 years with the Minnesota Historical Society, but will retire from that role in April.

Radzak first started his role at Split Rock Lighthouse in 1982, after working for six years as an archaeologist at the Minnesota Historical Society.

As the lighthouse site manager, Radzak has dealt with power outages and raging storms, as well as overseeing restoration on the site’s historic buildings.

He says since the highway to the lighthouse opened in the 1920’s, roughly 160,000 people come to the lighhouse every year, and has seen about 4.75 million people since he started the role.

Radzak says he and his wife, Jane, are happy to have been given the unique privilege to live an extraordinary life at Split Rock.

After lobbying for a lighthouse in the early 1900’s when a single storm damaged 29 ships on the lake, construction was finished in 1910, and Orren “Pete” Young became the first keeper.

Throughout the past 40 years, Radzak has seen the site named a National Historic Landmark in 2011, and also oversaw construction of the visitor center in 1986, and helped celebrate the site’s 100th birthday in 2010.

Split Rock was decommissioned by the Coast Guard in 1969.

The Minnesota Historical Society began managing the site in 1976.

Click here for more and pictures: KBJR Television


Digital signs may be added to Cuyahoga River to warn of freighters

2/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Cuyahoga River may have digital signs this summer, warning paddlers and boaters when freighters are on the way.

Members of the Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force are studying the possibility of adding temporary signs in several places, broadcasting when a freighter is expected or when the Norfolk Southern railroad bridge is may lift, to let boats between the river and Lake Erie.

Members believe they could install temporary, solar-powered signs -- like the Ohio Department of Transportation signs in construction zones -- for the summer for less than $10,000. Who would pay for them has yet to be decided, though sponsorships are possible.

“We just want to let people know what’s coming,” said Captain Don Young, who works on the BrewBoat party-paddle boat.

Concern for safety on the Cuyahoga River has grown as the river grows more crowded. Rowing shells, paddleboards, kayaks, pleasure boats and jet skis all compete for space against 1,000-foot freighters navigating the twisty waterway.

Cleveland last summer painted NO DOCKING signs on 10 safety zones in the river. Students at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School patrolled the river on a boat, handing out literature with safety tips. And the U.S. Coast Guard led a Port and Waterways Safety Assessment.

Now members of the safety task force -- which includes the Coast Guard, shipping companies, business owners, government officials and recreation representatives -- are considering a program to train kayakers and paddlers as ambassadors. Ambassadors would carry radios and be trained in first aid.

Many paddlers don’t know the dangers of paddling on such a busy river, near giant boats with bow thrusters, said Bill Cochrane, owner of Nalu Stand-up Paddle & Surf. Another member said he’d seen a pontoon boat pulling kids in a tube right in front of a barge.

The freighters are capable of generating nearly 20,000 horsepower. Their bow thrusters can suck in water or capsize paddleboards. They can take more than a mile to stop.

There are apps people can buy to see marine traffic. But those aren’t necessarily feasible.

“If I’m on my kayak, I’m not going to pull out my phone and see what’s going on,” Young said. “But if you see it right in front of you...”

Until the signs are up, if you want to see whether the Norfolk Southern bridge is up, check out RocktheLake’s Music Box Supper Club bridge cam.

Click here for more details



Today in Great Lakes History -  February 25

CREEK TRANSPORT was launched this day in 1910, as a.) SASKATOON (Hull#256) at Sunderland, England, by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co.

1964: CISSOULA, a Greek freighter that visited the Seaway in 1961 and 1965, was abandoned after a collision in fog with the Swedish vessel SOLKLINT off Selsey Bill in the English Channel. The damaged freighter was taken in tow and repaired. It was delivered to shipbreakers at Hsinkang, China, on September 24, 1969.

1968: AZAR first came to the Great Lakes as c) CELESTE in 1960 and returned with one trip under this, her fifth name, in 1967. The Liberian-registered, but Canadian-built freighter went aground off Cuba enroute from Venezuela to Tampa, Florida. The ship suffered extensive damage when it caught fire on February 29 and was declared a constructive total loss. It is believed that the hull was dismantled locally.

1978: The Italian freighter ANTONIO was the last saltwater ship to transit the Welland Canal in 1965. It ran aground off Chios Island, Greece, enroute from Constanza, Romania, to Vietnam as e) OMALOS. The ship was refloated on March 1 but laid up at Piraeus, Greece, and subsequently sold, at auction, for scrap. The vessel was broken up at Megara, Greece, beginning on June 13, 1983.

1979: The Panamanian freighter d) FENI was damaged in a collision on the Black Sea at Sulina Roads, Romania, with ATLANTIS STAR and had to be beached. The ship was refloated on February 28 and repaired. It had been a Seaway trader as a) DEERWOOD in 1960 and returned as b) SEBASTIANO in 1969. The ship was scrapped as f) SIRLAD at Split, Yugoslavia, following an explosion off Algeria, on January 3, 1982.

1994: BANDERAS visited the Great Lakes from 1975 through the 1980s. It was abandoned by the crew off the coast of Brazil as b) AEGEAN TRADER due to a fire in the accommodation area. The vessel was towed to Valencia, Spain, to be unloaded and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as c) EGE TRADE on August 11, 1994.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports -  February 24

Soo, Ontario -
Algonova arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Friday morning to unload. They departed downbound for another load of fuel, 1p.m. Saturday.


Three historic lighthouses to split more than $113K state preservation grants

2/24 - Lansing, Mich. - Three historic lighthouses in need of assessment and repair will receive Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) grants from the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) at MSHDA to keep them shining bright on our coasts.

“The lighthouses that dot Michigan’s vast coastlines and stand tall offshore are vulnerable to the elements and require upkeep,” said MSHDA Executive Director Earl Poleski. “SHPO’s lighthouse preservation grants help lighthouse stewards protect and preserve these beacons for all of us.”

Funding for this program comes from the sale of specialty Save Our Lights license plates available at all Secretary of State branch offices. To date, SHPO has awarded more than $2.2 million to help rehabilitate and preserve lighthouses for tourists and residents alike to explore and appreciate.

“Because of the generosity of people who pay a little extra for a lighthouse license plate, we are able to award grants that help preserve these iconic Michigan structures for the long term,” Poleski said.

The 2019 MLAP grant recipients are:

North Manitou Light Keepers, Inc. - $40,000
Historic Resource: North Manitou Shoal Light

Location of Nearest City: Leland
Use of Funds: The North Manitou Light Keepers, Inc. will hire a consultant to produce a Historic Structure Report (HSR) for the North Manitou Shoal Light to guide future rehabilitation in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Township of Grosse Ile - $40,000
Historic Resource: Grosse Ile Light
Location of Nearest City: Grosse Ile, MI
Use of Funds: The Township of Grosse Ile will hire contractors to replace deteriorated exterior wood features, repaint the entire exterior of the Grosse Ile Light, rehabilitate four double-hung wood windows and repair damaged interior finishes in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Keweenaw County Historical Society - $33,333
Historic Resource: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Location of Nearest City: Eagle Harbor, MI
Use of Funds: The Keweenaw County Historical Society will hire contractors to replace or rehabilitate 12 double-hung wood windows, rehabilitate two original wood casement windows in the tower and build and install 13 new wood storm windows at the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. The project will also include improvements to the interior ventilation of the lighthouse. All work will comply with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Awardees are chosen annually through a competitive application process. Grant recipients are required to contribute 50 percent of the grant amount as matching funds. SHPO’s Historic Lighthouses of Michigan maps, auto decals and other materials are available at welcome centers throughout the state. More information about the program, including electronic versions of the lighthouse map, posters, postcards and more is available at


Breaking ice aboard the Hollyhock

2/24 - C - With the St. Clair River thick with ice, a nearly 430-foot long tanker waited for an escort through the waterway Wednesday.

The Algonova was upbound from Lake St. Clair, heading to Sarnia, Ontario.

The Hollyhock and Bristol Bay, two U.S. Coast Guard ships, were deployed to assist.

The Bristol Bay came with it from the south and took the lead.

With its flags flapping in the wind, the Bristol Bay sounded its horn as it approached the Hollyhock, which came from the north. Lt. Cmdr. Nick Monacelli, the Hollyhock's commanding officer, stepped outside from the bridge to greet the Bristol Bay. The Hollyhock also sounded its horn.

That, Monacelli said, is called a Great Lakes Salute.

Click here for more

Times Herald


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 24

The Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s RICHARD V. LINDABURY (Hull#783) was launched February 24, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. Purchased by S & E Shipping (Kinsman) in 1978, renamed b.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1988.

The founder of Arnold Transit Co., long-time ferry operators between Mackinac Island and the mainland, George T. Arnold filed the Articles of Association on Feb. 24, 1900.

On 24 February 1920, TALLAC (formerly SIMON J. MURPHY and MELVILLE DOLLAR, steel propeller, 235 foot, built in 1895, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was on a voyage from Colon, Panama to Baltimore, Maryland, when she stranded and was wrecked 18 miles south of Cape Henry, Virginia.

1975: The MOHAMEDIA foundered in the Red Sea enroute from Djibouti to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a cargo of livestock that included 1300 cattle, 700 sheep and 118 camels. One member of the crew was also lost. The vessel had been a Seaway trader as b) ULYSSES CASTLE in 1969 and c) ITHAKI CASTLE in 1973.

1976: FRAMPTONDYKE visited the Seaway in 1969. It sank following a collision with the ODIN in the English Channel enroute from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Cork, Ireland, as b) WITTERING. All on board were rescued.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Andrie sold to investment firm

2/23 - Muskegon, Mi – Growth is on the horizon for a Muskegon-based, family-owned Great Lakes shipping company now that a majority share was sold to a private equity firm.

Andrie Inc. just got a growth-inducing cash infusion from the sale of a majority stake in the company to Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners, Auxo managing partner Jeff Helminski told MLive/Muskegon Chronicle.

Specifically, the funds will be used to purchase tug boats and barges that will traverse the Great Lakes and beyond, he said.

Andrie, headquartered on the Muskegon Lake shoreline, was founded in 1988 by Barbara Andrie. The company is a bulk transporter of specialty products including liquid asphalt, cement, light oil petroleum products, and calcium chloride throughout the Great Lakes.

Barbara Andrie’s, son Stan Andrie Jr., is staying on as CEO despite the sale, according to a news release from Auxo.

“This company has been a big part of my family since its earliest days, so deciding to bring in a new partner wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” Stan Andrie Jr. said. “Not only is this new partnership a cultural fit that will preserve the legacy of what we’ve accomplished, it’s one that will position us for strong growth in the years ahead.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Andrie has 19 vessels with a cargo capacity of 125,000 tons. The company employs about 150 people, according to a release.

With the cash infusion from the acquisition, Helminski expects to see all those figures increase.

“The Andrie family has built a strong company, which is clear given its unrelenting focus on highly trained crews, company culture and unrivaled customer service,” said Helminski, who grew up in Muskegon and is a 1992 graduate of Muskegon Catholic Central.

Auxo specializes in investment in industrial businesses – usually niche manufacturing – that are founder- or family-owned and have a need for growth capital or are interested in transitioning to retirement, he said.

Andrie is Auxo’s second marine acquisition after purchasing New Orleans-based M/G Transport Services in 2017.

"Andrie will also work very well with the team at M/G Transport Services as we build out a broader platform for both companies,” Helminski said in a written statement.

Auxo was founded during October 2016. It has acquired a list of industry-leading cutting die manufacturers, including Bernal Rotary Dies, Atlas Die, Atlas Chem Milling (ACM) and Midway Rotary Die Solutions. It also purchased Prestige Stamping, Inc., a high-speed niche manufacturer of custom engineered stampings for the fastener industry.

Click here for more details



Port Reports -  February 23

Goderich – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Sault was assisted into Goderich by the tug Escorte Friday afternoon. The USCG Hollyhock was upbound from Port Huron to assist.

Detroit River
CCGS Samuel Risley escorted the Algosea upbound Friday morning.

St. Clair River
Algosea was upbound late morning with the Risley escorting the tanker as far as East China. The Risley stopped in the River while the Algosea continued one. With the exception of the lower river problem areas, the St. Clair River is mostly ice free.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 23

EDWIN H. GOTT arrived at Two Harbors, Minnesota, (her first trip) February 23, 1979, with the loss of one of her two rudders during her transit of Lake Superior. The other rudder post was also damaged. She was holed in her bow and some of her cargo hold plating ruptured as a result of frozen ballast tanks. Even the icebreaker MACKINAW suffered damage to her port propeller shaft on the trip across frozen Lake Superior.

At Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., the keel of the new bow section for HILDA MARJANNE was laid on February 23, 1961, while at the same time the tanker hull forward of her engine room bulkhead was being cut away.

On 23 February 1929, SAPPHO (wooden propeller passenger ferry, 107 foot, 224 gross tons, built in 1883, at Wyandotte, Michigan) burned at her winter lay-up dock in Ecorse, Michigan. She had provided 46 years of service ferrying passengers across the Detroit River. She was neither repaired nor replaced since the Ambassador Bridge was nearing completion.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Algoma Announces Purchase of Additional Product Tanker

2/22 - St. Catharines, Ontario - Algoma Tankers announced Thursday the purchase of a 2010-built product tanker that will become the eighth ship in Algoma’s Great Lakes based product tanker fleet. The 16,512 dwt vessel will be re-named the Algoterra as part of its transition to Algoma Tankers ownership.

“We expect to take ownership of the Algoterra in mid-March in Europe and she will join our fleet in early April. The ship will be the youngest tanker we operate and as our newest ship, she will be the workhorse of the Algoma Tankers fleet for many years to come,” said Gregg Ruhl, President and CEO of Algoma.

The acquisition of a second tanker vessel in just over three months demonstrates Algoma’s willingness to invest to meet the growing needs of our customers for marine-based transportation of petroleum products. Acquiring high-quality assets is critical to our commitment to operate in a safe and efficient manner. We saw this as the ideal time to take advantage of the availability of attractive international assets in this segment, leverage our robust existing infrastructure for technical and commercial management, and capitalize on our position as the employer of choice for Canadian seafarers across the provinces.

“With a long-term contract in place with a strong counterparty, we expect this acquisition to be accretive to earnings upon the ship’s arrival in Canada,” said Peter Winkley, Algoma’s Chief Financial Officer.

Algoma continues to invest in fleet renewal for its domestic fleet. The Company also recently announced the delivery of the Algoma Conveyor, a 740’ self-unloading dry-bulk carrier that is currently en route from China and which will join the 18 vessels of Algoma’s dry-bulk fleet early in the 2019 navigation season.

Algoma Central Corporation


Opening of the 2019 Navigation Season and Maximum Allowable Drafts

2/22 - The opening of the 2019 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times:
• Welland Canal: 8 a.m. March 22
• Montreal / Lake Ontario Section: 8 a.m. March 26
• Soo Locks - March 25

Vessel transits will be subject to weather and ice conditions. Restrictions may apply in some areas until lighted navigation aids have been installed.

In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the maximum allowable draft will be 80.0 dm (26' 3") until the South Shore Canal is ice-free or April 15th, whichever occurs first, at which time, if water levels are favorable, the maximum draft will be increased to 80.8 dm (26' 6") for all vessels.

Mariners are reminded that for ships loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26' 3"), speeds will be monitored carefully between St. Lambert Lock and St. Nicolas Island.

In the Welland Canal, a maximum allowable draft of 80.8 dm (26' 6") will be in effect from the start of the navigation season for all vessels.

Please note that, for vessels loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26' 3"), speeds will be monitored carefully between the upper entrance to Lock 7 and former Bridge 12 in order to reduce bank erosion in this area.

Vessels equipped with an approved and operational draft information system will be permitted to transit at a draft of up to 7cm above the maximum allowable draft.

There will be zero tolerance for vessels to transit at drafts in excess of those specified in this Notice.


Canada looking to buy fourth second-hand icebreaker

2/22 - The Canadian government is seeking information on the potential procurement of an existing light icebreaking vessel to fill interim requirements of the Canadian Coast Guard.

A request for information was issued on February 18 seeking input from the marine industry regarding the procurement. The interim vessel would be used for icebreaking services for the St. Lawrence Seaway while other ships in the fleet undergo maintenance This vessel will complete the Canadian Coast Guard’s plan to add four interim icebreakers to its fleet.

Canada has purchased three interim medium icebreakers, which are being converted at Chantier Davie in Levis, Quebec. The first of the three medium icebreakers, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Captain Molly Kool, was welcomed into the Canadian Coast Guard fleet on December 14, 2018.

“Our government is providing the women and men of the Canadian Coast Guard with the ships they need to carry out their important work,” Carla Qualtrough minister of public services and procurement and accessibility, commented. “This project is another example of how we are investing in Canada’s largest civilian fleet to meet short- and longer-term requirements.”

Naval Today


Port Reports -  February 22

Straights of Mackinac
Algoma Sault was West of the Mackinac Bridge under escorted of the USCG Neah Bay late Thursday morning.

Algoma Innovator departed port at 7 a.m. with a load of salt for Detroit.

St. Clair River
The USCG Bristol Bay was escorting the tanker Iver Bright downbound Thursday morning from Sarnia. CCGS Samuel Risley arrived downbound escorting the Algoma Innovator shortly after 2 p.m.

Detroit - Raymond H.
The tug Leo A MacCarthur and barge John J Carrick arrived at the Marathon Asphalt Terminal to load Thursday morning. The Iver Bright called on the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal to unload. The Algoma Innovator was inbound Rouge River ay 8:30 p.m. with assistance from the tug Nebraska.

Port Colborne, Ont.
Cutting has begun on the rear cabins of Algorail at the Marine Recycling Corp. yard. On Wednesday, the stack was removed.


Corps stresses importance of new Soo Lock

2/22 - Appearing before a special meeting of the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission, Commander Greg Turner of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District was essentially preaching to the choir as he outlined the importance of constructing a new Soo Lock.

“The new Soo Lock would eliminate the single point of failure in our nation’s iron ore supply chain,” said Turner, adding the national significance of the headwaters of the St. Marys River can be seen in the form of more than 7 million private sector jobs that rely on this vital mode of transportation.

To date there has already been $32 million allocated in preparation for the construction of a new Soo Lock, with fiscal year 2019 more than doubling that allocation including more than $32 million in federal funds and nearly $37 million from the State of Michigan. Plans for the immediate future, according to Commander Turner, include completion of upstream channel deepening, upstream approach wall design and the resumption of the new lock chamber design.

“Build it the same size,” said Commander Turner of construction to be done in the footprint of the Davis and Sabin Locks. “The younger brother of the Poe, but built to the same dimensions.”v The Poe Lock can pass Great Lakes Shipping vessels up to 1,200 feet in length, 110 feet wide at a depth down to 32 feet. The new lock design will become virtually the mirror image or twin of the Poe Lock.

The timetable for construction appears to be somewhat fluid relying on the federal funding, but assuming all plans remain on track, Commander Turner was projecting somewhere between seven and 10 years for completion.

Predictions on the labor force were also seemingly broad. The number of workers needed to complete the new lock could be in the 400 range or surpass the 1,100 mark over an eight-year period.

Many of those jobs would fall under the category of “long-term, temporary’ meaning they would not last forever, but workers could be here for a number of years before their portion of construction came to a close.

There was no official action taken at Wednesday’s special meeting as the commission heard from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding this phase of the proposed $922.4 million Soo Lock.

The Soo Evening News


Overheated transformer fills ship control room with smoke

2/22 - Port Colborne A ship-keeper's quick actions averted a potential fire on board the Algoma Guardian Wednesday night in Port Colborne.

Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services Chief Tom Cartwright said alarms on the vessel, docked on Barber Drive, alerted the ship-keeper to a problem.  Cartwright said the man found smoke in a control room area and he shut down power to the ship, which was coming from a shore-based power station.

"They were lucky he picked up there was a problem."

Once firefighters arrived on scene — Port Colborne's fire hall is only a two-minute drive away — the on-duty captain assessed the situation.  Cartwright said the fire service's standing policy is not to go below decks to fight fires on board vessels in the Welland Canal.

"It was smoke than anything else … the crew went in with a line to protect themselves."  Once below deck, firefighters ventilated the control room as best they could, as the fire service's aerial ladder truck arrived and set up to provide additional access to the ship.

"It was found to be an overheated transformer," said Cartwright as to the cause of the smoke.

He said Canadian Niagara Power, an Algoma Central Corp. employee and an electrician were all called to the ship to assess the problem.

Niagara Emergency Medical Services paramedics were on scene Wednesday night. The fire chief said while the ship-keeper did inhale some smoke, he refused treatment.  Cartwright said most ships have automatic suppression systems or in some cases sprinklers. "Nothing came on," he said of the Algoma Guardian's system. 

When vessels dock for winter maintenance or just dock for the winter season, the fire service boards them all.  "As soon as they come in the crews go on board and find out where the ship-keeper will be, where the records are … we prebuild a fire plan for every ship that is tied up."

Though there was no fire on board the Algoma Guardian, a U.S. vessel laid up for the winter at the Port of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio burned for two days.

 Click here for video and pictures

The Welland Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 22

On 22 February 1920, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2,626 gross tons, built in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) ran aground on a concrete obstruction which was the foundation of the old water-intake crib in Lake Michigan off Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The SIDNEY O. NEFF (wooden package freighter, 149 foot, 346 gross tons, built in 1890, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) took off the ALABAMA’s cargo and then harbor tugs pulled the ALABAMA free. Repairs to her hull took the rest of the winter and she didn’t return to service until May 1920.

February 22, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 made her maiden voyage. On 22 February 1878, the 156 foot wooden freighter ROBERT HOLLAND was purchased by Beatty & Co. of Sarnia for $20,000.

1942: The Great Lakes canal-sized bulk carrier GEORGE L. TORIAN of the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. had been requisitioned for saltwater service in the bauxite trade in 1941. The ship was torpedoed by U-129 off the coast of British Guiana in position 09.13 N / 59.04 W and sank quickly. Most of the crew were killed.

1945: H.M.C.S. TRENTONIAN was a Flower Class naval corvette that had been built by the Kingston Shipbuilding Company and completed at Kingston, Ontario, on December 1, 1943. It was torpedoed and sunk by U-1004 near Falmouth, England, and went down stern first. Six on board, one officer and 5 enlisted crew members, were lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Smoke reported onboard the Algoma Guardian

2/21 - Port Colborne - 8 a.m. update: The smoke was reported to be from a small transformer that shorted out, there is no threat of fire to the vessel.

Original report: Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Algoma Guardian at her lay-up dock in Port Colborne Wednesday night. No smoke was visible from outside the vessel but there was a report of smoke in a control room.

A ladder truck is set up and fire fighter's have dry lines set up ready to feed water if necessary. One person was reported to have suffered smoke inhalation.

Check back for updates

Brenda Benoit and Dave Johnson


Port Reports -  February 21

Milwaukee, Wis. - Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
Algoma Sault made a brief appearance at Port Milwaukee Tuesday adding 16,000 tons of deicing salt to the pile at the Bulk Transfer Dock on Jones Island. With assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard, she departed Goderich just after 10:30 on the morning of February 17. She was escorted through the Straits of Mackinac by the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking tug Neah Bay and arrived Milwaukee at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. After unloading part of her cargo, she left for Chicago six hours later

S. Chicago
Algoma Sault departed South Chicago about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning upbound for Goderich in Ballast. They were assisted out of S. Chicago by the tug Massachusetts

St. Clair River
Wednesday morning the USCG Bristol Bay was escorting the Algonova upbound from Group Detroit. They met the USCG Hollyhock in the St. Clair Cutoff Channel for the trip through the lower river. The Algonova was assisted into Imperial Oil by the Sarina based tug Pride Wednesday afternoon.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 21

EDWIN H. GOTT arrived at Two Harbors, Minnesota, (her first trip) February 21, 1979, with the loss of one of her two rudders during her transit of Lake Superior. The other rudder post was also damaged. She was holed in her bow and some of her cargo hold plating ruptured as a result of frozen ballast tanks. Even the icebreaker MACKINAW suffered damage to her port propeller shaft on the trip across frozen Lake Superior.

At Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., the keel of the new bow section for HILDA MARJANNE was laid on February 21, 1961, while at the same time the tanker hull forward of her engine room bulkhead was being cut away.

On 21 February 1929, SAPPHO (wooden propeller passenger ferry, 107 foot, 224 gross tons, built in 1883, at Wyandotte, Michigan) burned at her winter lay-up dock in Ecorse, Michigan. She had provided 46 years of service ferrying passengers across the Detroit River. She was neither repaired nor replaced since the Ambassador Bridge was nearing completion.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


St. Clair Fire

2/20 -  Investigators remain on scene in Toledo for what will likely be a lengthy investigation. Tuesday the St. Clair was reported to be listing and required to be pumped out. It is unclear if the water was from fire fighting or another source.

We have combined pictures from the event in a special gallery: Click here to view


Port Reports -  February 20

S. Chicago
Tuesday morning the Algocanada arrived and was inbound about 11 a.m. Algoma Sault arrived Tuesday evening with a load of salt. The Sault was assisted inbound by the G Tugs Arizona and Massachusetts.

St. Clair River
Algoscotia was escorted upbound by the CCGS Samuel Risley about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Leo A. McArthur and their tank barge were then escorted downbound for Windsor.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 20

On February 20, 1959, Interlake Steamship Co.’s HERBERT C. JACKSON (Hull #302) was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan.

The Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker DES GROSEILLIERS (Hull #68) was launched February 20, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

On 20 February 1903, the straight-deck steamer G. WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller, 376 foot, 3,785 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull #608). She lasted until 1964, when she was scrapped by Lakehead Scrap Metal Co. at Fort William, Ontario. The other names she had during her career were b.) HENRY P. WERNER in 1924, c.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 1937, and d.) ALGOWAY in 1947.

1940: A fire broke out in the cargo hold of the package freighter KING at Buffalo when insulation, being installed for refrigeration purposes, ignited. Several firemen were overcome by the smoke, but damage to the ship was negligible.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


St. Clair fire out

2/19 - Oregon, Ohio - 3 p.m. update - Monday night the fire aboard the St. Clair had stopped burning. The Oregon Ohio Fire Department reported that they were no longer on scene and the investigation continues. Tuesday the St. Clair was reported to be listing and required to be pumped out. It is unclear if the water was from fire fighting or another source.

Original Report: Monday Fire crews had been unable to enter the St. Clair to fight the fire because it is still too dangerous due to the intense heat and smoke. The fire is expected to be burning for days to come. The fire department has no idea when the fire will be extinguished. The U. S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation board as well as other agencies are on scene monitoring the fire.

Local reports


 St. Clair damage Monday - Corey Hammond

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Smoldering Sunday morning USCG Photo Closer view Sunday morning. Jake Bourdage Fire Fighting efforts Saturday Night. USCG Photo St. Clair ablaze Saturday night -  source unknown


Port Reports -  February 19

Straits of Mackinac
Algoma Sault passed Westbound Monday morning with a load of salt for Milwaukee. They were escorted by the USCG Neah Bay who docked in Cheboygan after the escort.

Algoma Innovator arrived Monday morning and was assisted to the Compass Minerals Salt Dock by the CCGS Samuel Risley. The Risley then headed downbound for icebreaking in the St. Clair River.

St. Clair River
The tanker Algoscotia was upbound under escort of the USCG Hollyhock and Bristol Bay Monday morning. Early afternoon the tanker became stuck in the ice below Russell Island. The tanker stopped in the ice and will wait for the CCGS Samuel Risley to continue the escort upbound Tuesday morning. The tug Leo A. McArthur and tank barge are anchored below Marine City waiting to pass downbound.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 19

The b.) TROY H. BROWNING, c.) THOMAS F. PATTON was towed from the James River with two other C4s, LOUIS MC HENRY HOWE, b.) TOM M. GIRDLER and MOUNT MANSFIELD, b.) CHARLES M. WHITE, to the Maryland Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, Maryland, February 1951, to be converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier according to plans designed by J.J. Henry & Co., New York, New York.

Wolf & Davidson of Milwaukee sold the JIM SHERIFFS (wooden propeller, 182 foot, 634 gross tons, built in 1883, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to Kelley Island Line on 19 February 1887.

1981: The Indian freighter JYOTI VINOD, a Seaway caller as a) JALAZAD beginning in 1969, departed Bombay with a cargo of jute, general freight and school buses. The nightmare voyage, which proved to be its last, did not reach Tema, Ghana, until December 23, 1981

1992: VIHREN, a Bulgarian built and flagged bulk carrier, was driven on the breakwall at Tuapse, USSR, in severe weather. The vessel later broke in two. The ship first came inland in 1983, headed for Thunder Bay. The two sections of the hull were refloated and each arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling in August 1992.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


St. Clair may burn for days

2/18 - Oregon, Ohio - Noon update: Fire crews have been unable to enter the St. Clair to fight the fire because it is still too dangerous due to the intense heat and smoke. The fire is expected to be burning for days to come, the fire department has no idea when the fire will be extinguished. The U. S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation board as well as other agencies are on scene monitoring the fire.

Original Report:

On Sunday, the fire was under control but not out. Two ladder trucks remained at the scene cooling off hot spots.  “Nobody can think of a fire of this magnitude in the city of Oregon,” said interim fire chief Dennis Hartman.

Two conveyor belts on the ship caught fire, burned and melted.

“Just think of two tire piles—big tire piles—basically same kind of thing: rubber. That’s on fire under the vessel. We just can’t get to that,” Hartman said.

It was a tough fire to battle. Only one in four fire hydrants on the dock worked.  Tanker trucks from 15 area departments were dispatched to a hydrant on Bay Shore Road.  “Those tanker trucks would come out here. We had an engine out here that would fill them, bring them back,” Hartman said.

The future of the St. Clair is uncertain. Parts of her superstructure have been destroyed such as the pilots deck and the captain and crew living quarters.

Hartman says the fire could continue to burn for several days.  No cause has been determined.

WTOL and local reports


Split Rock Lighthouse's longest-serving keeper retiring

2/18 - It's the end of an era at the North Shore's most iconic tourist destination. Lee Radzak, the main custodian of the Split Rock Lighthouse for 36 years, is retiring.

It's not just a long tenure, but the longest tenure of any lighthouse keeper at the historic site. He and his wife Jane have lived on the grounds since 1982. "The couple easily holds the record for the longest residents (sic) at Split Rock Lighthouse in its nearly 110-year history," a Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) news release says.

Radzak started at Split Rock after spending six years as a MNHS archaeologist, and has overseen "some the biggest achievements in the site’s last 40 years. That includes the construction of a visitor center in 1986, the centennial celebration in 2010, and in 2011, the naming of the lighthouse as a National Historic Landmark — "a process that took several years to complete," MNHS says.

And his service has not gone unnoticed. He's received a number of civic awards for his work, including the 2014 Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award and the American Lighthouse Council’s lifetime achievement award.

He plans to officially step down in April, the Duluth News Tribune says. It's been a nice commute, just a couple hundred-foot walk to work every day," Radzak told the paper, adding, "the flip side is that you never get away from it."

Split Rock Lighthouse is located north of Two Harbors on the Superior North Shore.


Algoma Innovator makes third Milwaukee visit with salt

2/18 - Milwaukee - For the third consecutive weekend, Algoma Innovator was at Port Milwaukee delivering salt as Compass Minerals tries to catch up on salt shipments interrupted by a three-month strike last summer at their Goderich mine. She arrived Milwaukee at 7 a.m. on Saturday. After dropping almost 25,000 tons of deicing salt at the outer harbor open dock, she departed for Goderich just after 5:30 that afternoon.

Algoma Central is still operating two boats hauling salt for Compass Minerals. Algoma Innovator, a 650-foot Equinox-class bulk carrier that entered service in 2018, is shuttling between Goderich and Milwaukee. Algoma Sault, a 740-foot Equinox-class boat that also entered service in 2018, is doing the same between Goderich and Detroit.

As of mid February ice covered almost 35 percent of Lake Michigan and 60 percent of Lake Huron. Equinox-class vessels were not designed for operation in heavy ice and have required assistance.

Recent cold temperatures and strong westerly winds have created severe ice conditions in some areas along the eastern shore of Lake Huron. Around Goderich, ice fields are reported to be from three to seven feet deep. The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley has been busy keeping the harbor entrance open for the salt boats. To do this they have relied on a Coast Guard helicopter to locate seams between shifting ice plates, which the Risley then widens to create channels for the freighters.

Through the Straits of Mackinac, ice ranges from 12 to 28 inches thick. The U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking tug Katmai Bay, which is homeported at Sault Ste. Marie, has been escorting Algoma Innovator as she navigates the narrow passage connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan.

On her most recent trip, Algoma Innovator departed Goderich February 14 at 8:30 in the morning. So the 485-mile trip by water took about 47.5 hours (time change). This means her average speed exceeded ten miles per hour – not bad for February on the Great Lakes.

Wisconsin Marine Historical Society


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 18

IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR participated in an historic special convoy with DOAN TRANSPORT, which carried caustic soda, led by C.C.G.S. GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ontario on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ontario through Lake Superior ice as much as six feet thick, and at one point it took four days to travel 60 miles. The trip was initiated to supply residents of the Canadian lakehead with 86,000 barrels of heating oil the reserves of which were becoming depleted due to severe weather that winter.

The b.) JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, was towed to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River and arrived at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin on February 18, 1957, where her self unloading equipment was installed. This was the last large vessel to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. Renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. SHARON was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

The Murphy fleet was sold on 18 February 1886. The tugs GLADIATOR, KATE WILLIAMS and BALIZE went to Captain Maytham, the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE to Mr. Grummond, the schooner GERRIT SMITH to Captain John E. Winn, and the tug ANDREW J. SMITH to Mr. Preston Brady.

1980: PANAGIS K. arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was soon placed under arrest. The ship was idle and in a collision there with NORTH WAVE on January 23, 1981. The hull was abandoned aground, vandalized and, on October 12, 1985, auctioned off for scrap. The ship first traded through the Seaway in 1960 as a) MANCHESTER FAME and returned as b) CAIRNGLEN in 1965, again as c) MANCHESTER FAME in 1967 and as d) ILKON NIKI in 1972.

1983: A fire in the bow area during winter work aboard the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RICHELIEU (ii) at Thunder Bay resulted in the death of three shipyard workers.

2010: The sailing ship CONCORDIA visited the Great Lakes in 2001 and participated in the Tall Ships Festival at Bay City, MI. It sank in the Atlantic about 300 miles off Rio de Janeiro after being caught in a severe squall. All 64 on board were rescued from life rafts after a harrowing ordeal. 2010: The tug ADANAC (Canada spelled backwards) sank at the Essar Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was refloated the next day.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Serious fire onboard the St. Clair

Smoldering Sunday morning USCG Photo
Fire Fighting efforts Saturday Night. USCG Photo
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St. Clair ablaze Saturday night -  source unknown

2/17 - Oregon, Ohio - Noon update - Thick black smoke is still coming from the cabin area of the St. Clair. This is almost 16 hours since the first alarm was sounded for this fire.

The Coast Guard was conducting pollution assessment of the Maumee River. Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center were notified of the fire about 9: 30 p.m. by members of Coast Guard Station Toledo. The Coast Guard responded along with fire fighters from eight local fire departments

The external fire is currently under control. Preventative measures continue on adjacent ships using water-cooling techniques.

A helicopter crew and a pollution responder, aboard a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, conducted an aerial observation of the area at first light Sunday and determined there was no pollution in the Maumee River.

9 a.m. update - Sunday morning the fire is still burning in the accommodations block of the St. Clair. Pictures from the scene show extensive heat damage through the vessel from the unloading system at deck level to the upper cabins. Fire crews are reported to be making progress but it is unknown when the fire will be extinguished.

12 a.m.  update  –  Late Saturday firefighters in Toledo were battling flames aboard the St. Clair docked at the Port of Toledo. The fire department was dispatched about 8:45 p.m. to the Torco Dock. Arriving firefighters reported seeing smoke and fire from the vessel’s stack. An aerial ladder was hoisted to attack the blaze. No one was aboard, and there was no cargo on the vessel at the time of the fire.

Nearly two hours later, residents several miles away reported they smelled burning rubber and saw gray smoke in the air. The St. Clair arrived for winter lay-up at the Torco Dock on January 14.  Repair work is performed on a vessel while they are in lay-up, it is not uncommon to have welding crews completing steel work.

Pictures posted to social media showed fire crews pumping water onto the stern and others showed the entire length of the self unloading boom on fire. The unloading conveyor belts run under the cargo hold and then loop through the accommodations block. A fire spreading through these spaces could cause catastrophic damage to a vessel covering multiple decks.

Fire fighting efforts have also been hampered by lack of water, there was only one hydrant reported in that area and the river was said to be frozen. Crews have been unable to fight the fire from aboard the vessel adding to the concern for the fire spreading through the ship. 

Fire crews have been working to keep the fire from spreading to the Great Republic, dock off the St Clair's starboard side.

Reports from Toledo Blade, WTOL, USCG, local reports and various Social Media reports.


Algoma Conveyor departs China for long journey home to Canada

2/17 - The Algoma Conveyor departed from the shipyard in Jiangsu, China Saturday enroute to Canada on its delivery trip and maiden voyage. The ship has a present ETA for Davao, Philippines on February 22 where it is expected to arrive and take on fuel. From there the ship will continue on its long journey crossing the Pacific Ocean and travelling through the Panama Canal before eventually ending its journey in Canada. The trip is expected to take the ship approximately two months. The Algoma Conveyor is also carrying a foreign crew and is registered in Tuvalu however, this registration will change once the vessel arrives in Canada where it will then be re-flagged and registered Canadian and also will have a Canadian crew.

Algoma Conveyor was originally built in 2015 in Nantong City, China at the Nantong Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. shipyard. That ship yard went into bankruptcy while the ship was under construction leaving the ship half finished. The hull was then purchased in 2017 at auction by Algoma and then then taken to the Jiangsu New Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. shipyard for refurbishment and final construction.

It was supposed to have been Algoma's first self-unloading vessel. With the completion of the Algoma Conveyor the ship now joins seven other Equinox-class ships in the Algoma fleet. The Algoma Equinox built in 2013 followed by the Algoma Harvester in 2014 and the G3 Marquis ex-CWB Marquis also built in 2014. The Algoma Strongfield was also added to the fleet in 2017 followed by three self-unloading bulk carriers the Algoma Niagara in 2017. In 2018 the Algoma Innovator built in Croatia and the first 650-foot long forward mounted self-unloading vessel and the self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Sault built in China.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  February 17

Milwaukee, Wis. -
Algoma Innovator arrived with another load of salt from Goderich.

Goderich, Ont. -
Algoma Sault waited off port Saturday morning and was escorted into the Salt Dock by the CCGS Samuel Risley about 12:30 p.m.


Obituary: Dr. Alfred “Al” A. Hart

2/17 - Dr. Alfred “Al” A. Hart, 86, of Bay Village, Ohio, died Feb. 15. He was well-known around the Great Lakes not only for his work with the Great Lakes Historical Society and the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, but for the many friends he made at Boatnerd gatherings, selling collectibles on eBay and attending marine marts around the Great Lakes.

He was was born Jan. 3, 1933 in Pittsburgh, PA. During his time as a Presbyterian pastor, he served churches in Benkelman, NE, Orwell, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Then, for 29 years, until his retirement in 1998, he served as pastor of the Avon Lake Presbyterian Church. He went on to serve as Parish Associate at John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted.

Al hosted a jazz radio program, “Sounds for Sunday,” on two Cleveland radio stations. He was listed in a 1993 issue of “Cleveland Magazine” as one of Cleveland’s 20 most interesting people. He served on the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Historical Society and the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History; as well as serving as chaplain of Cleveland Lodge 4 of the International Shipmasters' Association.

He leaves behind his wife, Jan Hart (nee: Doll) of over 40 years; children, Susan Hart: and step-children: Bonnie Hedges (Chris), Brin Odell (Erin); grandchildren: Amber, Heather (Aric), Lexie, Peyton and Taylor; and great-grandchildren: Porter and Stella. Al was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Chris Hart.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Al to John Knox Presbyterian Church, 25200 Lorain Rd, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070 and the Great Lakes Historical Society 1701 Front St, Toledo, Ohio 43605.

The family will receive friends at Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon-Belden Rd, Avon Lake from 2-4 and 6-8 pm Saturday, March 2, 2019. A memorial service will be held at John Knox Presbyterian Church Sunday, March 3, at 2pm.(440) 933-3202

Lorain Morning Journal


Captain's Dinner

2/17 - Traverse City Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy will present the fourth annual Captain's Dinner, a benefit for cadet groups, on March 1.

The evening at NMC’s Great Lakes Campus includes dinner in Lobdell’s Teaching Restaurant and a cadet-guided tour of the Academy and the training ship T/S State of Michigan. Dinner will be prepared by chefs from the college's Great Lakes Culinary Institute, with the menu theme taken from former and current Great Lakes ships.

Dinner seating is unreserved, and tickets are $55 each. Tickets, menu and details on reserved table sponsorships, available for groups of two to ten, are all available online at

A silent auction of local and maritime-inspired items will also be held. The cadet groups benefitting are the Propeller Club, Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineers and Women on the Water.


Video: Edward M. Cotter breaks ice in Buffalo

2/17 - Buffalo News Video of the historic fireboat Edward M. Cotter from the Buffalo Fire Department breaking up ice in the Buffalo River to prevent flooding in communities upstream.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 17

IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR participated in an historic special convoy with DOAN TRANSPORT, which carried caustic soda, led by C.C.G.S. GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ontario on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ontario through Lake Superior ice as much as six feet thick, and at one point it took four days to travel 60 miles. The trip was initiated to supply residents of the Canadian lakehead with 86,000 barrels of heating oil the reserves of which were becoming depleted due to severe weather that winter.

The b.) JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, was towed to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River and arrived at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin on February 18, 1957, where her self unloading equipment was installed. This was the last large vessel to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. Renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. SHARON was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

The Murphy fleet was sold on 18 February 1886. The tugs GLADIATOR, KATE WILLIAMS and BALIZE went to Captain Maytham, the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE to Mr. Grummond, the schooner GERRIT SMITH to Captain John E. Winn, and the tug ANDREW J. SMITH to Mr. Preston Brady.

1980: PANAGIS K. arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was soon placed under arrest. The ship was idle and in a collision there with NORTH WAVE on January 23, 1981. The hull was abandoned aground, vandalized and, on October 12, 1985, auctioned off for scrap. The ship first traded through the Seaway in 1960 as a) MANCHESTER FAME and returned as b) CAIRNGLEN in 1965, again as c) MANCHESTER FAME in 1967 and as d) ILKON NIKI in 1972.

1983: A fire in the bow area during winter work aboard the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RICHELIEU (ii) at Thunder Bay resulted in the death of three shipyard workers.

2010: The sailing ship CONCORDIA visited the Great Lakes in 2001 and participated in the Tall Ships Festival at Bay City, MI. It sank in the Atlantic about 300 miles off Rio de Janeiro after being caught in a severe squall. All 64 on board were rescued from life rafts after a harrowing ordeal. 2010: The tug ADANAC (Canada spelled backwards) sank at the Essar Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was refloated the next day.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lake Superior State University president wants Coast Guard center in Soo

2/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard is interested in building a National Center of Expertise on the Great Lakes which will focus on combating oil spills, and Lake Superior State University is very interested in housing the facility.

LSSU President Rodney Hanley hopes to make the university’s case to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters when the senator visits Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. Hanley wants to emphasize how the Sault already houses a Coast Guard station, the city’s location on or near three of the five Great Lakes, its status as a shipping hub, its proximity to existing oil pipelines, and LSSU’s freshwater research program.

“We believe we are uniquely positioned to meet those very specific requirements,” Hanley said.

His planned conversation with Peters comes after Hanley sent a letter outlining LSSU’s interest in the project to the senator in December, shortly after federal legislation appropriating funds for the Center of Expertise was signed into law. It was part of a bill that also established a framework for ballast water regulations on the Great Lakes.

Another selling point for the university is the planned construction of a new $13.2 million Center for Freshwater Research building along the banks of the St. Marys River. Administrators have been hopeful that project would begin this summer, and Hanley said the Coast Guard facility could be affiliated with it.

The exact timetable for developing the Center of Expertise is unclear and Hanley noted that, as with many federal projects, it could move slowly. Still, he wants LSSU to be ready if the process picks up speed.

Hanley also said projects of this magnitude seldom come together without broad community support. But he noted the university has a history of forging partnerships with local organizations to turn similar ideas into reality.

Sault News


Lake ice, high water levels lead to advisory and concern for the spring

2/16 - Windsor, Ont. – With area lake levels well above the norm and ice piling up on shorelines, concerns are escalating about possible major flooding and shoreline erosion this spring, according to the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

With high winds kicking up this week, a large amount of precipitation and water levels above the norm, ERCA on Wednesday issued an advisory that lake ice may be pushed onshore with waves exacerbating already icy conditions primarily along the Lake Erie shoreline.

“The forecast for wind speed is just below the threshold for flooding, but that wind and open nature of channel areas will allow for ice floes to move on land,” said Tim Byrne, ERCA’s director of watershed management.

“What we are seeing (with water levels) is unusual for Lake Erie for this time of year. If enough broken ice accumulates it will come on shore, especially where there are lower-lying breakwalls.”

Among areas at greatest risk are the Lake Erie shoreline between the east area of Essex to Point Pelee, plus the western portion of Pelee Island. Residents in those areas with anything of value on their property should consider moving the items to another location, Byrne said.

“Especially if you are in close proximity to low-lying breakwalls, I would consider moving it,” he said. “Ice does not stop and anything in its way will get bulldozed over.”

Given the wet winter to date, Byrne also expressed concerns Wednesday for how area water levels across Essex County are shaping up to potentially cause trouble this spring.

Currently, Lake Superior is only two inches below its record high for February, while Lake Erie is seven inches below the record for February, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers in Detroit which tracks lake levels on the U.S. side.

“This is the fourth year in a row of high lake water,” Byrne said. “Historically in my 34 years, you normally see a year or two of a typical high point then it recedes, but for the past four years we continue to sit at an elevated state.

“The trend is showing the potential (this spring) for surpassing the record water levels in 1986 that were the all-time high. We are reviewing our assessments on how we are going to deal with it.”

A chief watershed hydrologist for the U.S. army corps said Wednesday there is an expectation Lake St. Clair will remain between 18 inches and two feet above its long-term average for the next six months with much the same predicted for Lake Erie.

“We are not outside the recorded range,” said Keith Kompoltowicz. “We have been here before. But we have been above the average consistently now the last several years. People should be conscious (of flooding) as things can change quickly especially with inshore winds.”

A spokesman for the Lake Superior Board of Control, however, is not as concerned as others that lakes will reach record levels this year.

The control board this month released numbers that show Lake Michigan-Huron — which includes local waterways — is currently 52 cm above average and six cm above last year’s beginning-of-February level.

“It’s similar conditions to last year, so it’s hard to say where we will end up over the next six months,” said Rob Caldwell, Canadian secretary for the control board. He pointed to Canadian six-month forecasts for Lake Erie which show the potential this year to reach the record levels of 1987 under a worst-case weather scenario.

“There is no reason to panic quite yet, but there is no reason to stop paying attention either because the water levels remain very high,” Caldwell said.

Windsor Star


Port Reports -  February 16

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off the Door Peninsula Friday night headed for Milwaukee with salt.

St. Clair River
Algoma Sault was in the St. Clair River Friday night with CCGS Samuel Risley providing escort services. She shows a Goderich destination on AIS. Tanker Algocanada was ahead of her.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H
Friday morning the Algocanada and Algoma Hansa arrived upbound. The Algocanada went to the Ojibway Anchorage and the Hansa was upbound for Sarnia under escort of the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker Iver Bright was downbound with the USCG Neah Bay for the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal in Detroit.

The Algoma Sault was anchored in the Belle Isle Anchorage after unloading salt in the Rouge River overnight. USCG Hollyhock and Bristol Bay were upbound on Lake St. Clair behind the Algoma Hansa Friday afternoon.

The Algocanada and Algoma Sault were under way passing Belle Isle about 4 p.m. Algocanada is reporting Chicago as her destination but stopped at Shell Corrunna.

Lake Erie
Algosea was anchored off Nanticoke Friday night. Algonova was eastbound, with CCGS Griffon escorting.


Great Lakes getting saltier, thanks to runoff

2/16 - Southfield, Mich. – Walking along a branch of the River Rouge in Southfield, Marie McCormick, executive director of Friends of the Rouge, points out the high volume of traffic up above. “You have really close proximity to the road, here,” she said pointing out Telegraph Road and a nearby apartment complex.

In some ways, it’s great to have a tributary that empties directly into Lake Erie — one of metro Detroit’s prime sources for drinking water — it means plants, animals and recreation. On the other hand, thanks to its proximity to the road, it means salt runoff.

“It runs off really quickly,” said McCormick. “So if you drop salt really close to these bodies of water it flows in and changes the chemistry of the water.”

That’s the catch 22 for local governments, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, when it comes to road salt. Studies show lakes, streams and even wells are getting saltier. Scientists believe that road salt is to blame, but it’s also considered the safest way to decrease crashes.

MDOT has worked to reduce the use of salt in recent winters because it costs less money, and it’s safer for the environment.

“We’re happy with our management practices we’ve incorporated,” said Mark Geib, MDOT’s Transportation Systems Management Operations Director. “It’s shown up in our numbers that our management plan works, but we’re always watching to see how we can get better.”

The current practices include a computerized system on each salt truck MDOT sends on the road, that system is calibrated based on the current weather conditions — it reduces wasteful salt usage. They also pre-wet salt to ensure it sticks, and trucks drive slower than in years past to reduce the amount of salt that bounces off the road.

“Without some of the management practices we’ve incorporated, the amounts we use would be greater.”

McCormick said last year that still meant more than 500,000 tons spread across Michigan roadways — that doesn’t include what local counties and cities used to de-ice their roads.

With some scientists warning that fresh water sources could become so salty they’d be undrinkable (less severe predictions warn that salty water could harm animals, insect and plant-life), folks like McCormick are recommending people take safer approaches to de-ice their personal property.

Rock salt, the most common de-icer used by homeowners, becomes ineffective when temperatures drop below 15 degrees. While some de-icers, such as calcium chloride and manganese chloride, work better in lower temps, they are also more expensive.



Grand Traverse Bay officially frozen for 6th time in 20 years

2/16 - The Watershed Center in Grand Traverse County says Grand Traverse Bay is officially frozen over. The bay is considered frozen when West Bay freezes up to Power Island for at least 24 hours.

The thickness of the ice varies though. This is the sixth time in 20 years the bay has frozen over. The last time the bay froze was February 11 of last year, and it stayed that way for two weeks before thawing.

9 & 10 News


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 16

EDWIN H. GOTT sailed on her maiden voyage February 16, 1979, in ballast from Milwaukee, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. This was the first maiden voyage of a laker ever in mid-winter. She was in convoy with three of her fleet mates; CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE and JOHN G. MUNSON each needing assistance from the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW to break through heavy ice 12 to 14 inches thick the length of Lake Superior. The GOTT took part in a test project, primarily by U.S. Steel, to determine the feasibility of year around navigation.

JAMES E. FERRIS was launched February 16, 1910, as the ONTARIO (Hull#71) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

On February 16, 1977, a four-hour fire caused major damage to the crews' forward quarters aboard the W.W. HOLLOWAY while at American Ship Building's South Chicago yard.

February 16, 1939 - The state ferry CHIEF WAWATAM was fast in the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. She freed herself the next day and proceeded to St. Ignace.

The little tug JAMES ANDERSON burned on Long Lake near Alpena, Michigan, on the morning of 16 February 1883. Arson was suspected.

1943: WAR OSIRIS was built at Port Arthur, Ontario, now part of Thunder Bay, in 1918. It was mined and sunk as c) LISTO near Spodsbjerg, Denmark, while enroute from Larvik, Norway, to Emden, Germany, with iron ore.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Leonard Gabrysiak, survivor of Cedarville sinking, passes away

2/15 - Leonard Gabrysiak, 88, a survivor of the Cedarville sinking on May 7, 1965, passed away Feb. 13 at home in Rogers City, MI. He was a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City as well as Rogers City and Great Lakes shipping.

The 600-foot Cedarville, of the Bradley Transportation Co. fleet, sank after an oceangoing Norwegian freighter, the Topdalsfjord, collided with it. According to the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council, the Cedarville remains on its starboard side, nearly broken in two, in 105 feet of water.

Gabrysiak, who was the wheelsman, recalls that the captain had trouble contacting the captain of the Norwegian freighter, which was in the vicinity.

"It hadn't anchored and we hadn't anchored, either," he told the Detroit Free Press in a 2015 interview. "We altered our course numerous times to get away from it, and we happened to get hit. The Norwegian ship backed off in the fog and that's the last I saw of it."

Gabrysiak said his crew dropped the anchor, but there was a sizable hole in the ship. Crew members rushed to cover it with collision tarp, but it wouldn't hold so they decided to try and beach the ship on shore.

"Suddenly the ship shuddered a little bit and started tipping to the side," he said. "The captain shut the engine off and I went out on the port side and it started to roll. ... The boat rolled right over and I got pulled down in the suction. I was down underwater and didn't think I was going to come back up."

A German ship was in the area and rescued the crewmembers who survived.

Gabrysiak said the water's temperature was only 37 degrees and doctors marveled at the fact he survived the incident. "I don't even remember how many days I was in the hospital," he said. "I was pretty banged up."

He is survived by his son, Leonard II, of Rogers City.

Friends may visit at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. through time of his memorial mass at 10 a.m. with Father Arthur Duchnowicz officiating. Rogers City VFW will offer a military tribute at church following mass. Arrangements are in care of the Beck Funeral Home.


Port Reports -  February 15

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared Goderich early Thursday morning for Milwaukee Wis. They were escorted out of port by the CCGS Samuel Risley who then headed downbound.

St. Clair River
The USCG Hollyhock got underway from her dock in Port Huron Thursday and headed upbound to escort Algoma Sault downbound through the river. They carefully cut a track in the ice, hoping not to disturb an ice bridge that had formed above buoys 1 & 2. The ice bridge is an ice formation that holds ice behind it, preventing large amounts of ice from breaking loose and heading down the St. Clair River. If the ice were to break loose it could clog the river, causing flooding and an even more difficult passage downbound. Algoma Sault and Leo A. MacArthur have been waiting to transit downbound to Detroit since Monday.

USCG Neah Bay had spent the past several days stopped at Algonac. Thursday she escorted the tug Leo A. MacArthur and her tank barge downbound through the lower St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair. USCG Hollyhock escorted the Algoma Sault downbound, with the CCGS Samuel Risley escorting the Algonova behind. All vessels had an uneventful trip down the river.

Detroit - Rouge River - Raymond H
The Algoma Sault arrived at the Motor City Materials dock to unload salt on Thursday. The Lee A MacCarthur/John J Carrick arrived at the Buckeye Terminal to unload.

Lake Erie
Algoscotia was docked at Nanticoke Thursday night, while Algosea was at anchor. CCGS Griffon was assisting Algocanada and Algoma Hansa eastbound through the Pelee Passage.


Condition analysis stirs new hope for Norisle

2/15 - Owen Sound, Ont. – There is perhaps a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the S.S. Norisle will sail again. The 215-foot ship that once transported passengers between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island and has spent the last 45 years moored at Manitowaning on the island, appeared destined to be scuttled as a dive site.

But in late December an analysis by members of the group that long tried to have the vessel saved as a heritage cruise ship, found that the hull of the ship was “in relatively sound condition,” according to the mayor of the Township of Assiginack, which owns the ship.

“Over the past number of years it hasn’t deteriorated at all hardly,” Mayor John Ham said Tuesday.

“The township, we were presented with an analysis report and a potential to move forward with the project, but the council has not made a firm decision on that one yet simply because they do not have enough information.”

Ham, who was elected mayor in last fall’s municipal elections, said council will wait for a detailed report from the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society (SSNSS) “to see exactly what is intended and where this project hopes to go.”

The SS Norisle, which covered the Tobermory to Manitoulin ferry route from 1947 until the Chi-Cheemaun took over in 1974, was purchased by Assiginack for $1 not long after it was taken out of service. The Norisle served as a floating museum and tourist attraction in Manitowaning for more than 30 years.

But the condition of the ship deteriorated, until more than a decade ago attempts began to have it restored as a heritage cruise ship. Eventually the SSNSS was formed, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Assiginack supporting the project. A number of initiatives moved forward, including preparation of the ship for drydock, removal of all non-ship related items for safe storage and fundraising initiatives.

Then in 2015, the township withdrew its support for a grant application to the Ministry of Tourism.

The SSNSS would bring a lawsuit against the township in 2016 and it was announced last fall that it had been settled, with a condition of the settlement being that the township would pay the SSNSS $45,000, equal to the amount the organization paid to have asbestos removed from the ship.

The township said in a news release in the fall that negotiations were underway to have the ship removed as soon as possible and confirmed that there had been talks with the Tobermory Maritime Association (TMA) to acquire the vessel.

Ham, who owns Henley Boats in Manitowaning, said he was with the team that originally retrieved the Norisle from Owen Sound and he has always considered the ship an important part of his community. He feels the Canadian and Ontario governments should take more interest in the shipping industry’s history on the Great Lakes, much like in Europe, where such vessels are preserved for the community to enjoy.

He commended the SSNSS for their perseverance to see the ship saved, but added that the township would not have the funds to tackle a project expected to cost in the millions of dollars.

He said if he had his way, he would like to see the ship make calls at Assiginack twice a week on an excursion that could include a trip around Manitoulin, down the Bruce Peninsula, into Owen Sound and around Georgian Bay.

“I think it would be a major tourist attraction,” Ham said. “I think if you went around and took a vote of all the municipal governments surrounding Georgian Bay they would all vote very much in support of doing something like that, but I know most of them aren’t in the position to throw any money at it.”

But Ham expects no decision to be made on the future of the ship until a report on it is received and council has a look at it.

“They may wish to sell it off, they may wish to put it in the hands of another entity and there could be other very interested parties out there that are keen on doing something with it,” said Ham.

The TMA had hoped to bring the Norisle to Tobermory and scuttle it as a dive site in Little Cove near the Niagara II, which was sunk there in 1999.

On Tuesday, TMA president Mike Marcotte said he was disappointed when he learned that the plan to turn the ship into a dive site may not happen, but added it would be nice to see the Norisle sail again.

Marcotte was not convinced that the funds to do such work could be found. “I put a lot of work into it and I will be sad if we can’t get it, but time will tell,” said Marcotte. “Everything comes to an end. The boat isn’t going to live forever, so if it is a few years down the road before we can move forward and put it in the museum, as I like to call it here, then we will have to wait.”

Originally Marcotte had hoped to bring the ship to Tobermory in the fall of this year and then scuttle the ship in the spring of 2020.

The TMA has already secured a permit from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but still needs a navigation permit from Transport Canada and permission from the Owen Sound Transportation Company to use the federal dock at Tobermory, Marcotte said. He expects to have discussions with Transport Canada shortly about the use of the dock.

Marcotte said he hasn’t had contact with anyone from Assiginack since last fall’s election. Since the TMA can’t move forward until the permits are secured, he has decided not to press the issue at this time.

The TMA will continue to explore future possibilities to make new divesites, and maintains seven moorings for five different divesites outside the Fathom Five National Marine Park, Marcotte said.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Tall Ships festival announces its first ship, and it's a 200-ton, three-mast beauty

2/15 - Green Bay, Wis. – Here's a sure sign that summer's coming: The tall ship announcements have started. The Santa Maria, a replica of the Spanish ships that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in the 15th and 16th centuries, is the first ship revealed for Nicolet Bank Tall Ships from July 26 to 28 in Green Bay.

The Santa Maria was named after the Nao Santa María sailed by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was built in Spain by the Nao Victoria Foundation in 2017. The 200-ton, three-mast ship travels with a crew of 17. It visited several ports in France and Spain last year and started a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean in November.

Nine historic vessels and the World's Largest Rubber Duck will be part of the festival, which will also include food vendors, a maritime marketplace, a children's area and entertainment and education stages by the Port of Green Bay. There will be fireworks on July 26.

After the three-day event in Green Bay, there will be a sail through Sturgeon Bay on July 29 and a sail past Algoma on July 30.

Tickets, including general admission and for excursions, go on sale at 11 a.m. March 15 at The Tall Ships festival was last in Green Bay in 2016 and was estimated to have a $4.4 million economic impact in Brown County.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 15

In 1961, HARRY R JONES, a.) D.G. KERR arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland, where she was cut up for scrap the same year.

1990: The tug LOIS T. was swamped while docked at Hamilton and sank in a storm. The vessel was pumped out, refloated and repaired. It now serves as the Port Colborne based tug CHARLIE E.

1993: BELLE ISLE, an SD-14 cargo carrier, visited the Seaway when new in 1971. It was sailing as g) VAST OCEAN when it reported in on this day as sailing on the Sea of Japan. It was never heard from again and disappeared with all hands on a voyage from Vanimo, Russia, to Shanghai, China.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


More than half the Great Lakes are covered in ice, experts say

2/14 - Detroit, Mich. – Ice has blanketed more than 56 percent of the five Great Lakes as of Monday, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The lab issued a report that found ice coverage is close to 35 percent on Lake Michigan, 60 percent on Lake Huron, close to 90 percent on Lake Erie, 70 percent on Lake Superior and about 20 percent on Lake Ontario. WLUC-TV reported that the amount of ice was more than normal for this time of the winter season and frigid temperatures in January and February significantly added to the ice coverage.

"You see the shelf ice close to the shoreline, but you have to remember that there is always moving ice underneath them and you have to be careful because if you do fall in there is no way to get out," Matt Zika, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the TV station.

A Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA) showed that water temperatures on the Great Lakes were 40 degrees and below.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  February 14

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator continued to load salt on Wednesday.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was docked at Nanticoke Wednesday night. Algosea, Algoscotia and Algoma Hansa remained at anchor. There were high winds in the area on Wednesday, with one vessel reporting 56-knot winds, gusting to 103.


Poor weather strands U.S. Coast Guard cutter

2/14 - Goderich, Ont. - (Feb. 8) – An ice cutter with the United States Coast Guard was docked in Goderich harbor last week because of 75-kilometre an hour winds.

The Hollyhock, a 225-foot-long cutter, attracted the attention of the public on Friday, and some residents were permitted to board the vessel to check it out. The Hollyhock was in the Goderich area to break ice to allow safe passage for vessels carrying loads of salt. The vessel is usually used as a Great Lakes bouy tender.

“Salt ships come from Goderich to Detroit and need a safe route to achieve this,” said Ensign Kevin Wetmore.

“While conducting this the wind increased to 40 knots which left us in need of a safe place to stay until the wind decreased.”

The Hollyhock is based out of Port Huron. Crew members said they conduct missions throughout the Great Lakes.

“We conduct operations throughout the Great Lakes frequently and there is never any issues between the U.S. and the Canadians,” said Wetmore.

“There are times when we will help them with a buoy, and in turn, they will help us.”

The ship’s crew consists of eight officers and 44 enlisted members. Their time in Goderich presented an opportunity to provide public tours of the vessel.

For two days The Hollyhock allowed curious Canadians to board and visit the officers’ quarters, the mess hall, the engine control room and the operations deck.

Members of the public were invited to tour the interior of the Hollyhock while it was docked in Goderich. Among them were members of the Killbourne family. Daniel Caudle / Postmedia Network

“This ship is really big and I’ve never seen this before,” remarked Lincoln Kilbourne, who was excused from school to attend the tour. Crew members embraced the chance to spend the night in Goderich, a place many said they had never visited.

“We had the opportunity to see Canada’s prettiest town, which I don’t think anyone on board had visited before,” said Wetmore. The Hollyhock was to depart Goderich once favorable conditions returned.

Goderich Signal Star


Coast Guard icebreaking support for commercial vessels in Goderich

2/14 - Goderich, Ont. - (Feb. 8) – The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley worked in severe ice conditions on eastern Lake Huron this week to ensure a cargo ship could safely reach the port of Goderich.

Recent extreme cold temperatures combined with strong and gale force westerly winds created very heavy ice conditions. Rough estimates have the ice field from three to seven feet deep.

Icebreaking was necessary over the course of several days.

Signe Gotfredsen, commanding officer of CCGS Samuel Risley reported that with persistence and information gathered from the air, from a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, they were able to complete this challenging icebreaking mission.

“Early Monday afternoon, with an open water lead that developed between two large shifting ice plates, we used this opportunity to widen a path that allowed for the safe passage of the cargo ship into Goderich,” added Captain Gotfredsen.

The Goderich-based tug Escort broke out the harbour and entrance channel. Coast Guard Icebreaking on the Great Lakes is delivered in close cooperation between the Canadian and United States Coast Guards and industry.

The United States Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock is now working on Lake Huron to continue ice-breaking operations.

Goderich Signal Star


Waukegan's popular 'lighthouse pier' lined up for an extreme makeover

2/14 - Waukegan – From the boat launch all the way out to the lighthouse, Waukegan Harbor’s south pier — known bureaucratically as the “government pier,” but to locals as the “lighthouse pier” — extends more than a half-mile out into Lake Michigan.

If you haven’t enjoyed that walk on a calm, sunny day almost any time of year, put it on your list. If you have, you know about the pier’s many characteristics, from the holes used to anchor fishing poles to the rocks that form works of art along the south side of the breakwall.

The view from the eastern tip, in the shadow of the lighthouse, delivers a pocket of calm beyond the noise of the city. Walking back toward the harbor, the postcard sight of the boat slips stands against the towers on the bluff and the remaining industrial silos to illustrate the history of Waukegan.

The pier is one of the great public amenities in not just Waukegan, but Lake County as a whole. But, as with most man-made structures, there comes a time when nature starts to reclaim its territory to a point where something has to be done.

That point was reached a while ago. Along with the charming features mentioned above, the eastern half of the lighthouse pier is a minefield of fractured concrete and exposed rebar. In a city wrestling to balance its books and repair aging infrastructure, the casual visitor might think this is just another post-industrial reality that will stubbornly remain as-is.

Fortunately, as the above-mentioned “government pier” title might imply, the facility is under the umbrella of the federal government — and the good news is that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to cover a renovation that will wipe away all that damaged concrete.

According to a report before the Waukegan City Council last week by Waukegan Port District General Manager Joe Seidelmann, taxpayers can thank rising lake levels for the Corps having the available funds to do the job — which will cost about $1.6 million.

The lighthouse at the end of what is formally known as the "government pier" in Waukegan Harbor sits more than a half-mile out from the Lake Michigan shore. (Dan Moran/News-Sun).

“Last year, there was a surplus of funding because of the lake level being up, and they did not have to dredge as much sand (out of the harbor entrance),” Seidelmann said. “They were able to redo the concrete on the north pier (in 2017) near the public beach.

“This year, due to a surplus of funding due to the lake level continuing to rise, the Corps of Engineers is going to finally take care of the concrete problem on the (south) pier of that channel.”

Read more and view photos at this link:


Cuyahoga River Ambassador Program aims to keep paddlers safe

2/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – Oh CRAP, here comes a freighter! The first-ever volunteer Cuyahoga River Ambassador Program will patrol the Cuyahoga this summer in kayaks and paddleboards, to warn paddlers when freighters are coming and teach them to stay safe.

The Cleveland Metroparks, Nalu Paddle & Surf, the Foundry and Phastar Corp. are organizing the group of two dozen volunteers. They’re embracing the acronym, too, with plans for cheeky T-shirts.

Concern for safety on the Cuyahoga River has grown as the river grows more crowded. Rowing shells, paddleboards, kayaks, pleasure boats and jet skis all compete for space against freighters navigating the twisty waterway.

Cleveland last summer painted NO DOCKING signs on 10 safety zones in the river. Students at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School paced the river on a boat, handing out literature with safety tips.

“Our interactions last year could have gone better if we were in a kayak,” said Drew Ferguson, founder of Phastar, the Northeast Ohio aviation non-profit that provides the aerospace and marine instruction at Davis. Phastar has applied for grants to cover volunteer training in CPR and first aid and equipment, including radios and maybe paddlecraft. They will work weekends and holiday shifts, entering the river from Whiskey Island or around Rivergate Park.

The ambassadors will solve one of the major issues discussed by the Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force – educating casual river users. “From a paddling stand point, I don’t think people are doing it intentionally,” said Bill Cochrane, owner of Nalu surf shop. “They just don’t know any better.”

Tim McKenna, director of facilities and operations for the Foundry, which teaches youth rowing and sailing, said 20 rowing coaches could also help with the program. Paddlers and boaters need to know the dangers of the river and the freighters.

“This is not Mohican,” he said, referencing the state park. “You can’t get your cooler full of beer and float around.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, email Drew Ferguson at

Read more at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 14

MESABI MINER (Hull#906) was launched on this day in 1977, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. becoming the fourth 1,000-foot bulk carrier on the Great Lakes and Interlake's second. She had been built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $45.1 million.

Ford Motor Co., looking to expand its fleet, purchased the JOSEPH S. WOOD, a.) RICHARD M. MARSHALL on February 14, 1966, for $4.3 million and renamed her c.) JOHN DYKSTRA. In 1983, she was renamed d.) BENSON FORD. Renamed e.) US.265808, in 1985, she was scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1987.

On February 14, 1973, the LEADALE’s forward cabins burned during winter lay-up at Hamilton, Ontario and were later repaired. Built in 1910, at Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#77) as a,) HARRY YATES, for the American Steamship Co. renamed b.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1934, c.) FRED A. MANSKE in 1958 and d.) LEADALE in 1962. Scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1979.

1997: The SD 14 cargo ship PATRICIA M. was a Seaway trader in 1974 and returned as c) SELATAN in 1991. It was sailing as d) NIKA II when it stranded on a breakwall near Veracruz, Mexico, while inbound, in ballast, to load sugar. The hull was refloated on March 8, towed to an anchorage and declared a total loss. It was broken up for scrap at Tuxpan, Mexico, beginning on April 27, 1997.

2000: ZAFIRO, a Seaway trader in 1984, sank as d) ZAFIR off Calabria, Italy, after a collision with the ESPRESSO CATANIA while carrying 6000 tons of cement clinker. Thirteen sailors were lost or missing.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  February 13

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator was at the salt dock on Tuesday.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was docked at Nanticoke Tuesday night. Algosea, Algoscotia and Algoma Hansa were at anchor.


Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor extends Federal Marine Terminals as stevedore

2/13 - The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor has renewed its contract with the stevedore Federal Marine Terminals through 2023.

Since 1999, Montreal-based FMT has unloaded and loaded steel, wind turbine blades, beer tanks, forest products, breakbulk cargo and heavy lift cargo including the Icarus, the world's largest liquid argon particle hunter that was shipped from Europe to the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont in 2017.

"FMT has been a vital collaborator with the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor since 1999," Port Director Ian Hirt said. "This consolidated operating agreement underscores FMT's commitment to the greater Northwest Indiana and Chicago markets."

Spun off from Fednav Limited, Federal Marine Terminals handles bulk, specialized and general cargoes along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The stevedore has 12 facilities along the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, including at the 49-year-old deepwater port on Lake Michigan in Burns Harbor and Portage.

"FMT is solidifying our commitment to the port and our customers by investing in our fleet of equipment at Burns Harbor," said Matthew McPhail, FMT's vice president of sales and marketing. "FMT has recently ordered a new crane and we are bringing in a second crane to accompany it. FMT strives to meet the needs of all its customers, regardless of shipment size. Our ability to handle large-dimensional cargo is due to our safety-conscious staff, our modern equipment and the facilities the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor provides."

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor decided to extend the long-term stevedore's contract after a record amount of cargo passed through Indiana's port system in 2018, the most since the state's port authority was founded in 1961. The three-port system, which also includes two ports on the Ohio River on Indiana's southern border, handled 14.8 million tons of cargo last year, 25 percent more than the previous year and 21 percent more than the previous annual record in 2015.

NW Indiana Times


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 13

POINTE NOIRE was launched February 13, 1926, as a.) SAMUEL MATHER (Hull#792) at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

February 13, 1897 - PERE MARQUETTE (later named PERE MARQUETTE 15) arrived in Ludington on her maiden voyage, with Captain Joseph "Joe" Russell in command.

1941: The first WESTCLIFFE HALL, overseas to assist in the war effort, was damaged when hit by a bomb while two miles off Whitby High Light. The ship was repaired and returned to the Great Lakes after the war. It last sailed as b) WHEATON in the Misener fleet before scrapping at Hamilton in 1965-1966.

1973: MITERA MARIA loaded street cars on deck during a Great Lakes visit to Toronto in August 1967. The ship sustained fire damage in the engineroom at Karachi, Pakistan, as d) MARBELLA and sold for scrap. The 25-year old vessel was broken up at Gadani Beach in 1974.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


Two Great Lakes levels could hit record, forecast finds

2/12 - Detroit, MI – Great Lakes water levels will be higher than normal, and some may approach record levels, for the summer boating season, according to the latest forecast of Great Lakes water levels issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Superior is already near record high levels and by May could reach a record that was set in the mid-1980s, according to a six-month forecast. Lake Erie could reach record highs in late spring as well. Lakes Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair won't break records but are expected to be above normal, the Army Corps predicts.

Higher levels can mean more erosion, less beach and less room to pass under bridges. They also could mean more clearance from underwater obstacles and help prevent the need for costly dredging of harbors.

Lake levels, dependent on precipitation and evaporation, have recovered substantially from January 2013, when Lakes Huron-Michigan set record lows.

Lake Superior is just 2 inches below its record high February level and Lake Erie is 7 inches below its record this month, according to the Corps.

The above-normal lake levels are happening despite the Great Lakes area getting below average rain in January and December.

The Detroit News


Grosse Ile Lighthouse damaged by ice piled up in Detroit River

2/12 - Grosse Ile, Mich. – Shifting ice on the Detroit River has caused damage to the foundation and a railing at the Grosse Ile Lighthouse. According to the Grosse Ile Historical Society’s Facebook page, the damaged was noticed last week when a resident saw piles of ice had come ashore.

The lighthouse was built in 1906 and has been deactivated since 1963. Tours of the lighthouse are still given, but you must be accompanied by someone from the historical society.

As a result of the damage, a committee has launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the historical society which is seeking $75,000. However, it does not appear all the money sought would be used strictly for the repairs. The campaign also lists preventative measure to stop ice from coming ashore again, a new paint job, window and door repair and more as possible uses for the funds.

See photos at this link


Port Reports -  February 12

Straits of Mackinac
The USCG Katmai Bay and Algoma Innovator resumed their trip east bound on Monday morning. Once through the Straits, the Innovator continued down Lake Huron for Goderich while the Katmai Bay stopped in Mackinaw City.

Goderich, Ont.
The CCGS Samuel Risley was waiting at Goderich Monday for the Algoma Innovator. The Risley broke out the harbor and then headed down the lake. She was downbound past Sarnia Monday night.

St. Clair River
On Monday, the tug Leo J. McArthur and tank barge John M. Carrick and the Algoma Sault started down the St. Clair River and had planned to stop in the lower river and wait for ice escort. By early afternoon the pair had passed Marine City when Sarnia Traffic informed them ice escort would not be available until Tuesday morning. McArthur/Carrick anchored below the Salt Dock in Marine City while the Sault turned and headed upbound to anchor below Recors Point in St. Clair. Both are bound for Detroit.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was unloading Monday. Algosea, Algoscotia were at anchor off Port Dover. Algoma Hansa was headed back to Sarnia.


Coast guard's $227M ships rock 'like crazy,' making crews seasick, unable to work

2/12 - Canada's $227-million fleet of mid-shore coast guard vessels are rolling "like crazy" at sea, making crews seasick and keeping some ships in port during weather conditions where they should be able to operate, CBC News has learned.

Some of these vessels are stationed at Great Lakes and Seaway ports. Canadian Coast Guard records and correspondence obtained under federal access to information legislation raise questions about the patrol vessels' seagoing capability and reveal a two-year debate — still unresolved — on how to address the problem.

At issue is the lack of stabilizer fins — blades that stick out from the hull to counteract the rolling motion of waves — on nine Hero class ships that were built by the Irving Shipyard in Halifax between 2010 and 2014.

The problem is reportedly so bad that a trip along the West Coast required one Fisheries and Oceans Canada supervisor in B.C. to place rolled up jackets under the outer edge of his bunk to keep him pinned against the wall instead of being tossed out by the amount of roll in the ship.

"It goes without saying that the crew [is] in favour of [stabilizers]," wrote supervisor Mike Crottey. "Seasickness is felt both by conservation and protection and coast guard personnel and has an impact on vessel operation."

The coast guard decided it did not need stabilizers when the ships were being built, but has been considering retrofitting them since 2017 amid criticism from commanding officers and others who serve on board.

Crottey said that in exposed water, the skipper of the CCGS M. Charles sets a weather course to "keep the ship from really rocking around," which can result in more fuel consumption and increased operating costs. "This course is based on the swell and the wind direction and is used [to] alleviate excessive ship motion and not based on the shortest distance to destination," Crottey wrote.

The vessels, which are 42 metres long and seven metres wide, are known as the Hero class since each is named after an exemplary military, RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard or DFO officer. Their primary mission is fisheries enforcement and maritime security in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ships also provide search and rescue and pollution control.

The coast guard denies there is any problem with the safety and stability of the fleet. However, in a March 2017 "configuration change request" to have stabilizers installed, coast guard project manager David Wyse described "an increased hazard of crew injuries and program failures.

"All vessel operators agree the Hero class vessels require stabilizers in all area of operation," Wyse wrote. "Program operations can suffer [due] to the fact that the vessels have extreme roll in high sea state conditions."

More than a year later, in May 2018, Wyse relayed an unidentified at-sea testimonial: "I'm rolling 15 degrees port and starboard (30 degrees total) out here today and the winds are less than 10 knots and seas are less than one metre. We need to make this platform more workable."

Read more at this link


New café to open at Great Lakes Maritime Center

2/12 - Port Huron, Mich. – When the Maritime Center at Vantage Point reopens for the season this spring, visitors will be able to get a different taste of downtown Port Huron while they watch freighters. Kate’s Downtown owner Kate Voss is opening another daytime café spot in the center in March and plans to give local foodies a new menu of options.

And the name of the second venue? The Boathouse by Kate's.

“We’re going to have pastries and some coffee and some fun nautical-themed drinks,” she said. “Some cool stuff for the kids. I’m really into plating and presentation. So, I want to make the kids’ sandwiches look like they’re sailboats with the triangle, a little mast, a strawberry sail. Maybe some goldfish crackers at the bottom of the plate. You know, something the kid’s going to get excited about.”

Vantage Point, including the Great Lakes Maritime Center, is one of the properties along the river listed for sale by Acheson Ventures. In addition, Acheson is looking to sell several acres of land along the river south of Vantage Point, the Seaway Terminal and Bean Dock and several other buildings along Military Street.

The Boathouse’s first day of business is expected to be March 11. Acheson Ventures owns the Maritime Center, which also opens that month.

Mike Delong, vice president of operations at Acheson, said the owners of the Waterfront Deli, the last establishment in the center, moved south. “There wasn’t anything wrong; we loved their service,” he said. “But for family reasons and retirement, they moved south.”

He said it was important they worked with another local business to fill the spot.

Voss is entering into a one-year lease there. And while they want the venture to succeed, Delong said businesses there are also briefed on one point, like all Acheson’s other riverfront properties in that area, the Maritime Center is technically listed for sale. “We’re not there yet. That’s why we go year by year,” Delong said. “We’re trying different things and trying to get other developers into the property. We don’t do anything long term because things could change.”

But of the Boathouse, he said, “They’ll be there all season, and hopefully after that, many more.”

Voss said she understands those circumstances, but opening another spot has been something she’s thought about for a while.

“I was looking in St. Clair when the St. Clair Inn was going to be opening. I thought that might be a good avenue, but it was all just pipe dreams, really,” she said. “It was really just me putting it out to the universe if I could do it. But this makes so much more sense because it’s so close. I can be at both locations, hopping back and forth each day, which would’ve been very hard if I were in St. Clair.”

Times Herald


ISMA announces winners of 2019 Freighter Trip Raffle

2/12 - International Shipmasters’ Association Grand Lodge President Capt. Mark Mather had announced the winners of the 2019 Grand Traverse Lodge 23 freighter trip raffle. Sandie Young of Madison Heights, MI, won the 2019 car ferry Badger round trip for 2. Ron Moss of Springsport, MI, won the round trip for 2 on the VanEnkevort ATB Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader, and Bruce Morrison of Port Huron, MI, won the Interlake Steamship Co. trip for 4.

Capt. Mark Mather


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 12

RED WING was launched February 12, 1944, as a.) BOUNDBROOK (Hull#335) at Chester, Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., a T2-SE-A1 Ocean Tanker. She was renamed b.) IMPERIAL EDMONTON in 1947. In 1959, she was brought to Port Weller Drydocks for conversion to a bulk freighter for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., renamed c.) RED WING. Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1987.

1965: MARGIT, a Danish vessel, came inland in 1964 for one trip. It suffered an explosion and fire in the engine room about 1,000 miles southwest of Honolulu on a voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Calcutta, India, and had to be abandoned. Three members of the crew were killed and the ship was burning fiercely when last seen. The drifting hull later grounded at Wotje Atoll, Marshall Islands, and was found, still burning, on March 11, 1965. The ship was a total loss.

1975: E.B. BARBER was in winter quarters at Port Colborne when a fire broke out in the engine room. Local fire fighters contained and extinguished the blaze.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  February 11

Lake Michigan
Sunday the Algoma Innovator was eastbound through the Straits of Mackinac escorted by USCG Katmai Bay. That stopped for the night west of the Mackinaw Bridge.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Sault was at the salt dock on Sunday. USCG Hollyhock had been on scene performing ice escort. They were relieved by the CCGS Samuel Risley Sunday afternoon and headed back to their dock in Port Huron. Sunday night about 9 p.m. the Algoma Sault was outbound under escort of the CCGS Samuel Risley and tug Escorte.

Lake Erie
Algoscotia was leaving Nanticoke Sunday night. Algosea, Algocanada and Algoma Hansa were at anchor off Port Dover.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 11

On 11 February 1994, the tug MARY E. HANNAH and an empty fuel barge became trapped in the ice in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. The vessels were freed by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter NEAH BAY and the Canadian Coast Guard ship SAMUEL RISLEY.

NIXON BERRY was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap on in 1970, she was the former a.) MERTON E. FARR.

BEN W. CALVIN (Hull#388) was launched in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The keel was laid for ROY A. JODREY (Hull#186) on February 11, 1965, at Collingwood, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. The tanker IMPERIAL CORNWALL was retired on February 11, 1971.

Albert Edgar Goodrich, the founder of the Goodrich Steamboat Line, was born in Hamburg, New York, near Buffalo on 11 February 1826.

February 11, 1918 - Amid blasts of whistles from nearby ships and factories and the cheers of several hundreds of people, the cargo steamer Asp was launched at the Polson Iron Works. Fears that the launching could not be carried out because of the thickness of the ice proved unfounded. Gangs of men cut away the ice barrier and at 3:20 the vessel slipped easily into the water without any mishap. Curiosity was aroused when one of the ice cutters found a three-foot alligator frozen just under the surface of the ice. Whether or not it escaped from some sailor or from the local zoo is not known.

1987: UNILUCK first came through the Seaway in 1977. The vessel was sailing as b) TINA when it reported water entering the engine room and cargo holds in the Sula Sea off the Philippines. The crew said they were abandoning the ship but no trace of them or their vessel was ever found.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Sale sinks cruise ship visits to Duluth this year

2/10 - Duluth. MN – Duluth will need to wait at least another year to welcome its next load of cruise ship passengers. The city had been scheduled to receive two visits in 2019 from the Victory II, a member of the Victory Cruise Lines fleet. But a change of ownership resulted in a change of plans.

The American Queen Steamboat Co. recently acquired the Victory cruise line and soon after announced that it would cancel all Lake Superior cruises this year. When contacted Thursday, an American Queen public relations representative said the company would release a statement regarding the cancellation, but the company has yet to respond.

Although she was admittedly disappointed to hear the news, Kate Ferguson, director of trade and business development for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said American Queen's decision to suspend Lake Superior cruising in 2019 is understandable.

"I think with any ownership change, they had to review what was on the books and see what they were comfortable with. And they want a chance to create their own Lake Superior itinerary," she said. "So, they are continuing to look towards the future of coming to Lake Superior... But with the change of ownership happening in January of this year, they aren't prepared to do that in 2019, Ferguson said.

The now-canceled MC Victory II visit would have marked the return of cruise ship traffic to Duluth after a six-year hiatus. The most recent cruise vessels to call on the city were the Yorktown in 2013, the Columbus in 2011 and the Clelia II in 2010.

To accommodate the MC Victory II and future cruise ships, Duluth was preparing to set up a cruise ship terminal, equipped with the necessary systems for international visitors to clear U.S. Customs. Funding for the proposed facility was to have come in the form of $50,000 from the Duluth Economic Development Authority, $25,000 from the city of Duluth and $10,000 from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, according to Heather Rand, DEDA's former executive director.

Ferguson said local support for the project has not wavered, despite recent developments. "We continue to march ahead," she said.

"We can continue our preparations for the interest that we're seeing in 2020. We don't have anything confirmed yet, but there has been much stronger interest in 2020. We already knew that. The momentum was building. But this just gives us more time," she said.

The recent setback has not dimmed Ferguson's confidence that Duluth will emerge as a popular cruise ship destination. "The partners here are on Lake Superior are working closely with American Queen Steamboat Co. to help them develop an itinerary for the future that they're comfortable with. Whether that be 2020 or beyond, we are working with them," she said.

But American Queen isn't the only prospect Duluth officials are pursuing. "There are several other cruise lines that are plying the Great Lakes right now with their vessels. So, we continue to converse with those cruise lines and work with them on their potential future operations on Lake Superior, as well," Ferguson said.

"Of course it's a disappointment, but we're really still very optimistic about cruising on Lake Superior. The demand for Great Lakes cruising is nothing but strong. So, we're looking forward to the future and what it holds for Duluth," she said.

Duluth News Tribune


Cleveland-Cliffs: Possible Restart at Empire Mine

2/10 - Cleveland-Cliffs is looking at supplementing their pellet supply, as they eventually feed their new HBI plant in Toledo. And one of those ways, would be to restart the idled Empire Mine in Michigan. It was idled in 2016.

CEO Lourenco Goncalves said, "We still have a few i's to dot and a few t's to cross. But I'm very pleased to inform for the first time, that we are close to announcing the resurgence of Empire. It's great news for Michigan and for the great people of Michigan."

He said it could be an investment of $600 million dollars over the course of three years. The potential pellet capacity would be around 3.2-3.5 million tons. He also said it would take three years to get down to the ore that they need.

The other opportunity for more pellets would be the Nashwauk property, which Cliffs owns part of. Goncalves praised Governor Tim Walz for taking action to bar Essar from doing business with the state of Minnesota. "As soon as this virus is eradicated from Minnesota, we are ready to step in and take care of Nashwauk."

Cliffs plans on increasing the capacity of their new HBI facility in Toledo. Construction is underway, with the expectation to see the briquettes in mid 2020. "We have 350 people on-site now, with 900 expected this summer," Goncalves updated on the call.

DR grade pellets from Northshore Mining in Silver Bay will feed the plant. The company plans on investing $40 million dollars into that project in 2019, according to their earnings statement.

Goncalves added that the unions and USW have been great partners, through the company transformation. Also, the former U.S. Iron Ore segment is now "Mining and Pelletizing."



Port Reports -  February 10

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator departed Milwaukee after unloading salt and was headed back up the lake on Saturday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Sault was at the salt dock on Saturday.

Lake Erie
Algosea and Algocanada were eastbound on Lake Erie Saturday evening for Nanticoke. Algoscotia was anchored off that port.


Buy a castle for $495,000 on island in St. Lawrence River

2/10 - There's a majestic estate standing on the tip of Carleton Island near Cape Vincent in the Thousand Islands. Its beauty and grandeur still shine although you can see the years of neglect eating away at the structure.

Before the famous Boldt Castle and Singer Castle were built on the islands, there was Carleton Island Villa built in 1894. Also known as Wyckoff castle, the home has not been lived-in for more than 70 years. Although set behind a barbed wire fence, its once Gilded Age glory continues to fascinate those cruising nearby on the waters.

The Villa is currently on the market for $495,000, according to listing agent Barry Kukowski of Howard Hanna. He says it will probably cost $10 to $12 million to rebuild.

The story behind this mansion starts out like an American dream, but ends tragically.

William O. Wyckoff was born on his father's farm in the town of Lansing of Tompkins County. He attended public schools and the Ithaca Academy. He studied law but quit during the Civil War. He joined 32nd N.Y. Inf., going in as a private and rising to the rank of captain. After the war, he graduated from Ames Business College in Syracuse and was later appointed as an official stenographer for the New York State Supreme Court Sixth Judicial District. He was one of the founders of the York State Stenographers Association.

Wyckoff made his fortune helping the Remington Arms Company develop a market for the typewriter.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 10

UHLMANN BROTHERS was launched February 10, 1906, as a.) LOFTUS CUDDY (Hull#341) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. The MARKHAM (Twin Screw Hopper Suction Dredge) was delivered February 10, 1960, to the Army Corps of Engineers at Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1998, The Ludington Daily News reported that a private investment group (later identified as Hydrolink) was planning to start cross-lake ferry service from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee running two high-speed ferries.

On 10 February 1890, NYANZA (wooden propeller freighter, 280 foot, 1,888 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (Hull #63) in W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. In 1916, she was renamed LANDBO and she lasted until abandoned in 1920.

In 1975, a fire onboard CRISPIN OGLEBAY a.) J.H. HILLMAN JR of 1943, caused $100,000 damage to the conveyor and tunnel while she was laid up at Toledo. The forward end of CRISPIN OGLEBAY is now ALGOMA TRANSFER (C.323003).

1973: The CUNARD CAVALIER was launched at Seville, Spain. It first appeared on the lakes in 1978.

1981: A pair of former Seaway traders collided in the Mediterranean off Algiers and one sank. The FEDDY had been inland as b) SUNSEA in 1969, c) SAGA SAILOR in 1971 and as d) ELLY in 1976. It went to the bottom with the loss of 32 lives. This ship had been enroute from Boston to Volos, Italy, with a cargo of scrap steel. The second vessel, SOUNION, survived. It had been to the Great Lakes as a) SUGAR CRYSTAL in 1968 and was back as b) SOUNION in 1979. It sailed until scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, following arrival as c) MED VITORIA on April 17, 1993.

1982: TEXACO BRAVE (ii) was pushed off course by the ice and current and struck the bridge crossing the St. Lawrence at Quebec City damaging a mast and the radar. The vessel still sails as d) ALGOEAST.

1984: Scrapping of the Italian freighter b) VIOCA got underway at La Spezia, Italy. The ship made 8 trips through the Seaway as a) BAMBI from 1959 to 1964.

1984: The AEGIS FURY arrived at Shanghai, China, for scrapping as e) WELL RUNNER. The ship first came to the Great Lakes in 1972.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Plans for museum ship Norgoma still under wraps

2/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The deadline has gone by and the city staff has not received any word from the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre board on what it plans to do with the M.S. Norgoma.

City council gave the volunteer board until Feb. 1 to come up with a plan to move the Norgoma from the Bondar Marina this spring. Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services, said the Feb. 1 council-imposed deadline has past and the city has not received any word from the Norgoma’s board. “We will have to set up a meeting with them to discuss next steps,” Vair said.

St. Mary’s River Marine Centre president Louis Muio said the board is making “progress” and city officials will be provided details shortly. “I can’t tell you what we’re going to do until I tell the city first,” he said.

The board has been busy looking for a new location to dock the ship and continue using it as a marina and as a host for events and activities. The board sought – but was refused – approval to dock the ship on Conservation Authority property adjacent to the former hospitals. A license of occupation permit the authority has with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not permit the Norgoma to be stored on it.

The Norgoma’s board also explored options at Parks Canada and the Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and the Canadian Bushplane Museum Heritage Centre. Earlier reports also indicated Parks Canada couldn’t entertain the request.

“We have one other iron in the fire as well,” Muio said.

He admits that finding a location for the ship was much more difficult than originally anticipated. “We expected more positive responses, but we quickly learned that it was difficult for something that large,” he said. “But we haven’t given up.”

Limited funds mean the ship can’t be moved very far because of high costs, he said. The board is banking on the city’s information that the ship will float with higher water levels and dredging won’t be necessary. “If it hits bottom, it’s extremely expensive to dredge and that could be the end of it,” he said.

Muio says any dredging costs should be incurred by the city because they want the ship out of Roberta Bondar Marina. The Norgoma was raised at city council’s budget deliberations as councillors were pondering an $800,000 cost to replace the docking system at the marina. Council was told the new docks would not be rebuilt until the Norgoma was moved from its current location.

Mayor Christian Provenzano told city council the decision has already been made by the former council – that the ship would be moved this spring.

Muio said the Norgoma has attracted a strong following in recent years, partly because of its improved aesthetics and because of events and activities that have taken place on board and around the ship.

Norgoma was acquired by the city in 1975 and has been located at the Roberta Bondar Marina since 1994. The 185-foot-long vessel served as a means of transportation between Owen Sound, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, and a car ferry between Tobermory and South Maymouth. It’s considered one of the last surviving ships from that era.

In more recent years, the museum ship has struggled to survive on the city’s downtown waterfront. But, a new board of directors that has taken over operations has injected new life into the operation. Visitor numbers, activities and revenues have all increased but the efforts do not have the support of the majority of city council.

The Sault Star


Algoma announces resignation of CEO, and names Ruhl new CEO

2/9 - St. Catherines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation has announced that Ken Bloch Soerensen has resigned as president and CEO to spend more time with his family in Europe. Gregg A. Ruhl, the current CEO, has been named president and CEO and will assume that role immediately.

Soerensen joined Algoma in April 2015 and was charged with redefining the strategic focus of the company to include growth markets beyond North America. He led the development of the global short sea business and spearheaded the creation of the NovaAlgoma partnership. During his tenure, Algoma’s international business grew to represent nearly one half of the revenue streams in which the company participates.

Ruhl joined Algoma in November of 2015 as senior vice-president, technical and became CEO in 2017. He has over 30 years experience in the transportation industry, including 20 years in marine transportation. Prior to joining Algoma, Ruhl was managing director of CN’s marine divisions. Currently, he has commercial responsibility for Algoma’s domestic businesses, as well as oversight of its operations both domestically and globally.

Business Wire


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 9

EAGLESCLIFFE, loaded with 3,500 tons of grain, sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas on February 9, 1983, after the hull had fractured from a grounding the previous day. She began taking on water in her forward end en route to Galveston. To save her the captain ran her into shallow water where she settled on the bottom in 20 feet of water with her bridge and boat deck above water. All 16 crewmembers and one dog were rescued. She was built for the Hall Corp. of Canada in 1957 at Grangemouth, Scotland as a.) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1973.

The ALEXANDER LESLIE was launched February 9, 1901, as a.) J T HUTCHINSON (Hull # 405) at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The HOMER D. WILLIAMS suffered extensive fire damage to her side plating and forward lower cabins during her lay-up at Toledo, Ohio on February 9, 1971. The fire was started by a spark from welding that caused the tarpaulins stored in the hold to catch fire.

February 9, 1995 - The founder of Lake Michigan Carferry, Charles Conrad, died at the age of 77.

In 1899, JOHN V. MORAN (wooden propeller package freighter, 214 foot, 1,350 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull#44) was cut by the ice and developed a severe leak during a mid-winter run on Lake Michigan. The iron passenger/package freight steamer NAOMI rescued the crew from the sinking vessel. The MORAN was last seen on the afternoon of 12 February 1899, drifting with the ice about 20 miles off Muskegon, Michigan. She was a combination bulk and package freighter with hatches in her flanks as well as on her deck.

1964: The Collingwood built tug PUGWASH (Hull 85 - 1930) was torn from its moorings at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The vessel drifted out to sea and sank.

2009: The SONATA suffered engine failure in the Gulf of Finland and had to be towed to Talinn, Estonia, for repairs. It was arrested there, sold at auction and broken up for scrap locally. The ship had been a Great Lakes visitor first as c) RENTALA in 1988 and was back as d) MARY W. in 1990 and f) LANGESUND in 2000.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Army engineers release projected water levels in Great Lakes

2/8 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the forecasted water levels for all the Great Lakes. According to the Army Corps, all the lakes are above their long-term average for December and January.

The forecast shows lakes Superior and Erie have a small chance of reaching or breaking their record highs in the spring or early summer.

View charts at this link:



Port Reports -  February 8

Goderich – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator left Goderich for Milwaukee with salt on Thursday. Algoma Sault took her place at the salt dock Thursday evening. USCG Hollyhock was working in Goderich harbor to clear ice.

Lake St. Clair
USCG Morro Bay was assisting the tug Leo A. McArthur and her tank barge on Thursday night. They are headed for Windsor.

Detroit River
Thursday morning the tanker Iver Bright cleared Detroit upbound for Sarnia. They were followed by the Algoma Sault who cleared the Rouge River with assistance from the tug Illinois. The Sault fueled at Sterling before heading upbound. CCGS Samuel Risley was stopped in Windsor.


Buy tickets now for rare tour of White Shoal Light

2/8 - The White Shoal Light will be open to the public for the first time in its 109-year history beginning July 22. Proceeds from tours go directly toward restoration. Purchase tickets now at White Shoal Light is located 20 miles due West of the Mackinac Bridge.

White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 8

While in lay-up on February 8, 1984, a fire broke out in WILLIAM G. MATHER's after accommodations killing a vagrant from Salt Lake City, Utah, who started the fire that caused considerable damage to the galley.

On 8 February 1902, ETRURIA (steel propeller freighter, 414 foot, 4,653 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull#604). She was built for the Hawgood Transit Company of Cleveland but only lasted three years. She sank in 1905, after colliding with the steamer AMASA STONE in the fog off Presque Isle Light in Lake Huron.

1983: EAGLESCLIFFE sank in shallow water at Galveston, Texas, while carrying a cargo of cattle freed for Tampico, Mexico. The ship developed hull cracks and subsequently broke in two during an August 1983 hurricane. The canal sized bulk carrier operated on the Great Lakes as a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL (ii) from 1956 through 1971 and went south in 1974.

1990: LE SAULE NO. 1 received a hole in the bow after striking the Yamachiche Beacon in the Lake St. Peter area of the St. Lawrence and went to Sorel for lay-up. The damage was later repaired at Les Mechins.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


American Spirit’s horn creates ruckus in Superior

2/7 - Superior, Wis. – If you heard a loud noise coming from Superior's East End on Tuesday night, you weren’t alone. “The air horn on the American Spirit, docked behind McDonalds on E. 2nd St. at 21st Ave. E., is malfunctioning,” the Superior Police Department reported on Facebook. “We are working on finding a speedy resolution to the issue.” Police announced around 9 p.m. that the horn had been shut off. Witnesses said the sound could be heard for miles.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  February 7

Lake Huron
Algoma Innovator was still loading salt at Goderich on Wednesday.

St. Clair River – Marc Dease
Frontenac arrived at the elevator Feb. 4.

Detroit-River Rouge – Raymond H
Iver Bright arrived at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal Wednesday afternoon to unload. Algoma Sault arrived later, calling on the Motor City Materials dock to unload salt.


Transport Canada announces intent to merge Hamilton, Oshawa port authorities

2/7 - Hamilton, Ont. – Transport Canada has announced plans to merge the Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities. Both carry similar commodities, including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo like fertilizers, asphalt and grain, according to the release.

The federal government's intention to merge the Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities makes sense for "economic reasons," according to Canada's transport minister. Marc Garneau said the amalgamation, which would see one new entity formed, would allow for synergy between the two ports — both of which are primarily focused on cargo.

The Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities carry similar commodities, including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo like fertilizers, asphalt and grain, according to a government news release.

If the amalgamation happens, the newly formed port authority would have a single board of directors and be responsible for all assets and liabilities, despite the lands being physically separate, Garneau said.

While PortsToronto — formerly the Toronto Port Authority — is geographically sandwiched between the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa, it is smaller and responsible for managing the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in addition to the harbour.

The federal government created the Hamilton Port Authority, which is the largest port in Ontario, in 2001 to replace the 89-year-old Hamilton Harbour Commission. In 2012, Oshawa's Harbour Commission became a port authority. The Oshawa Harbour Commission, which had been in place since 1960, was the last harbour commission in the country.

The move toward amalgamation comes after Garneau announced a review of Canada's port authorities in March 2018 — 20 years after they were first established.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who served as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority board in the early 2000s, said the possibility of a merger was raised then as the government looked to create efficiencies.

Hamilton Spectator


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 7

HURON (Hull#132) was launched February 7, 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for Wyandotte Transportation Co. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1973.

In 1973, ENDERS M. VOORHEES closed the Soo Locks downbound.

In 1974, ROGER BLOUGH closed the Poe Lock after locking down bound for Gary, Indiana.

1965: The Liberty ship GRAMMATIKI visited the Seaway for one trip in 1960. The vessel began leaking in heavy weather on the Pacific enroute from Tacoma, Washington, to Keelung, Taiwan, with a cargo of scrap. The vessel, also slated to be scrapped, was abandoned by the crew the next day and slowly sank.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Five-year record broken at Port of Green Bay

2/6 - Green Bay, WI – The Port and Resource Recovery Department has announced a new record for the Port of Green Bay. More than 2,000,000 tons were moved this year. The port closed on January 28 after a shipment of petroleum products was imported.

"We're very pleased to see the high totals for the 2018 season," said Dean Haen, Port Director. "Two million tons is typically our goal for a shipping season, and this year's strong economy in Northeast Wisconsin made that achievable."

The season began March 26, 2018, five days later than 2017 and 2016. Foreign imports allowed the increase of petroleum products by 528 percent.

Haen also said, "Growth in petroleum product movements continues to be exceptional year after year." He went on to say, "Much of the growth can be attributed to the closure of petroleum pipeline serving Northeast Wisconsin."



Moran Iron Works to build tour boat for Pictured Rocks Kayaking

2/6 - Onaway, Mi – Moran Iron Works, Inc. (MIW) has signed a contract with Pictured Rocks Kayaking to build a specialized passenger tour vessel. Together, and in conjunction with DLBA (a division of Gibbs & Cox, Inc.), they are creating a special purpose tour boat that is first of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

The 64’ by 19’ vessel will be constructed out of aluminum at Moran Iron Works’ headquarters in Onaway. The purpose of this particular unnamed vessel is to escort 72 passengers and 36 kayaks around Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for guided kayak tours. This vessel will feature a custom-designed kayak launch system that is tailored to meet the specific needs of offshore kayak launching.

“Fabrication officially began with the laying of the deck plate on December 6, 2018,” said Lee Fayssoux, project manager at MIW. “This is a very exciting project for us. It is a real privilege to have an ‘Inspired by Michigan’ vessel in our shop. This vessel will not only be capable of carrying passengers, but will also be capable of deploying and retrieving guests in kayaks. It’s a revolutionary way of experiencing the beauty that Northern Michigan, particularly Pictured Rocks, has to offer. This vision was recognized by our customer, and acted on with development from MIW and our partner architect DLBA. We are ecstatic that they chose MIW for this build, and ecstatic that this vessel will serve tourists who visit the waters of Pictured Rocks.”

The main engines will be twin Cummins QSK19, rated at 800HP each, driving propellers through Twin Disc reduction gears. Twin Seakeeper HD gyro stabilizers will be fitted for passenger comfort and safety. The hull form will be a double chine, variable deadrise monohull for improved seakeeping and efficiency. The vessel’s hull form, structure, machinery, and electrical systems will be designed by DLBA (a division of Gibbs & Cox, Inc.) to meet USCG Subchapter T requirements.

With nearly two months into the project, MIW and PRK are on their way to achieving the goal of launch and delivery in late 2019.


Port Reports -  February 6

Lake Huron
Algocanada departed Cheboygan and was downbound for Sarnia on Tuesday. Algoma Innovator was loading salt at Goderich. Algoma Sault departed with a load of salt for Detroit.

St. Clair River
CCGS Samuel Risley was leading the tanker Algosea into the lower end of the river Tuesday night headed for Sarnia.

Lake Erie
CCGS Griffon was leading the tanker Algoscotia through the Pelee Passage Tuesday night with a Nanticoke destination.


Welland Canal’s shipbuilding past to be unearthed

2/6 - Hidden under several metres of soil along the Twelve Mile Creek lies a significant part of the history of St. Catharines. A Brock University history professor hopes to bring it back from the depths.

Kimberly Monk will lead a team whose mandate is to re-engage local historical environments – specifically the Shickluna Shipyard. Monk said the project will look at different ways not only managing local historical sites but also interpreting them.

"It's been a long time coming for me," said Monk, whose connection to the [project goes back to 1997 when she was working on her master's thesis on shipbuilding along the Welland Canal.

The project is focused on the maritime landscape of the Shickluna Shipyard, which was operated from 1828 by a previous shipbuilder and then Shickluna who took possession in 1838. It remained a shipbuilding yard until 1891, when it was leased to a box and basket making manufacturer. After 1901 the site was abandoned.

Monk called it as a nationally significant archeological site. "It was the most important Canadian shipbuilding centre during the 19th century."

While some groundwork was done in 2017, Monk said archeological investigations will begin in earnest this spring, with geophysical investigations in May followed by archeological coring.

The Standard


Cruise ship not coming to Thunder Bay this summer

2/6 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – No cruise ships will be sailing into Thunder Bay’s harbour this year and while the city will lose a significant economic benefit, the future may still be bright for this niche tourism market.

“Long term the prognosis is really good for growth in the industry,” said Thunder Bay manager of tourism, Paul Pepe. “Right now we just have to take this as a bit of a speed bump.”

Victory Cruise Lines was scheduled to have a turnaround stop in Thunder Bay during the 2019 season, making it the first cruise ship to come to the city since 2012. However, a recent change in ownership has left those plans in dry dock.

According to Pepe, American Queen Steamboat Company acquired the company just two weeks ago following a deal that has been negotiated for more than a year. “The new owners have made a decision just to dial things back a little bit on their Lake Superior itineraries, go back to the drawing board, and reconfigure them,” Pepe said.

The 202-passenger vessel, Victory II, was originally scheduled to stop in Thunder Bay in the summer of 2018 but delays in retrofitting the ship pushed that date back to 2019.

With this latest delay, Pepe said the city is still in talks with the new owners and he anticipates they will once again have Thunder Bay on their itineraries in 2020 because they appear to be committed to Lake Superior.

Pepe added that the city is also speaking with other cruise line companies about bringing ships to Thunder Bay to explore what he calls an exotic gem right in our own back yard. “There are a number of new builds that started entering service in 2018, 2019, we have new ships that are being built right into 2021,” Pepe said. “There is interest in the Great Lakes and there is interest in Superior, it just takes time to build it out and we just have to be patient.”

Because Victory’s stop in Thunder Bay was scheduled to be a turnaround, meaning it would have been where one voyage ended and another began, Pepe estimates that it would have brought between $120,000 and $150,000 into the city.

“It had a different kind of economic impact, a much bigger economic impact on the city,” Pepe said. “So we are disappointed to lose that.”

“That is a bit of a chunk of money for us. But at the end of the day cruising is still a very small part of our overall tourism economy. We believe in the Great Lakes product, but it’s also a niche. It’s going to take time to build.”

The city did not make any capital investments this year specifically for the cruise ship coming to Pool 6. “It just gives us some breathing room to develop future opportunities,” Pepe said.



Casualties/Demolitions from World Ship Society

2/6 - Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway connection reported as a casualty or sold for demolition taken from February 2019 issue of Marine News - Journal of the World Ship Society.

SOMAYA (8116960; Tanzania) (Castor-12, Arklow Day--3, Diane Green-00, Sarine 2-96, Fastnes-93 - (1st trip into the Seaway 1987), Fjellnes-86 - (1st trip into the Seaway 1982) - 8,351 / 1982 general cargo ship. By Best Leaders International SA (Mallah Ship Management Co Ltd), Panama to Sa Traders, Pakistan and arrived Gadani Beach 4.05.2018 - commenced demolition 10.05.2018

GEN. OGLETHORPE (8971683, United States of America) (John G. Amato-86, Ojibwa WTM-97-80) - last trip down Seaway 8.04.1979, - 147 / 1943 - USCG tug (latterly stationed at Buffalo, N.Y.) Sold 1980 by U.S.Coast Guard to Crescent Towing & Salvage, U.S.A. and renamed John G. Amato - 1986 - renamed Gen. Oglethorpe - 2017 resold to State of South Carolina for use in the formation of the Comanche Reef off Charleston, S.C. - scuttled 5.16.2018

Report compiled by Barry Andersen, René Beauchamp and Ron Beaupre


Update: Bob-Lo boat Ste. Claire

2/6 - The following appeared on the Facebook page for the former Bob-Lo boat Ste. Claire, which burned last summer while undergoing restoration at a Detroit dock.

“Right now is all about protecting the ship through the winter season. After 2 years of waiting, we were finally able to dredge the river where we are. This allowed us to move the boat much closer to the shore (approximately 28 feet from shore). We also moved her forward about 80 feet, allowing boaters easier access to the marina entrance. With the ship secured to shore, we placed 3 large piling clusters at the bow of the ship to block ice and protect her hull. The ship being closer to the shore will be a huge help to the crews this spring when we plan to aggressively start the restoration process again.

As many may have seen, the ship has a fresh coat of paint! We want you to know that this is a white primer designed to preserve any remaining good steel. It also makes the ship’s presentation much better for the public in the meantime. She will, however, receive a final paint job later in the process.”


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 6

On 06 February 1952, the LIMESTONE (steel propeller tug, 87 foot 10 inches) was launched at Bay City, Michigan, by the Defoe Shipyard (Hull #423) for the Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. Later she was sold to U.S. Steel and in 1983, to Gaelic Tug Company who renamed her b.) WICKLOW. She is currently owned by the Great Lakes Towing Company and is named c.) NORTH CAROLINA.

LORNA P, a.) CACOUNA was damaged by fire at Sorel, Quebec, which was ignited by a welder's torch on February 6, 1974.

ALVA C. DINKEY (Hull #365) was launched February 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

HALLFAX (Hull#526) was launched February 6, 1962, at Port Glasgow, Scotland by William Hamilton & Co. Ltd.

On February 6, 1904, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 went aground on Fox Point, Wisconsin approaching Milwaukee in fog. Engulfed in ice and fog, she quickly filled with water.

On 06 February 1885, Capt. William Bridges of Bay City and A. C. Mc Lean of East Saginaw purchased the steamer D.W. POWERS (wooden propeller freighter, 140 foot, 303 gross tons, built in 1871, at Marine City, Michigan) for the lumber trade. This vessel had an interesting rebuild history. In 1895, she was rebuilt as a schooner-barge in Detroit, then in 1898, she was again rebuilt as a propeller driven steamer. She lasted until 1910, when she was abandoned.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Thunder Bay off Victory Cruise Lines itinerary

2/5 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Admitting he’s disappointed, the city’s tourism manager has confirmed there will be no cruise ship visit to the city this year. Paul Pepe says it’s because of the sale of Victory Cruise Lines to another company that has decided to strike us off their list for this year.

He tell us he is going to try to convince the new company to have a ship stop in Thunder Bay next year and beyond. At the same time, the city tourism manager says he is talking with other cruise lines that are looking at Lake Superior for future stops as well.



Port Reports -  February 5

Lake Huron
Algocanada was discharging petroleum products at Cheboygan on Monday. Algnova was headed back down the lake after unloading in the Canadian Soo. Algoma Innovator was headed for Goderich and Frontenac arrived at Sarnia Monday, possibly for winter layup.

Samuel Risley opened a track for the Algoma Sault on Monday. The Sault arrived in port and was loading salt. Algoma Innovator is the next vessel due.


New saltwater vessel visitors to the system in 2018

2/5 - As the St. Lawrence Seaway's 2018 shipping season ended with the closing of the Seaway on December 30, a look back saw that there were a total of 39 new saltwater visitors at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. that made westbound transits into the Great Lakes/Seaway for the first time. That is down a total of 3 new visitors from 2017, when there were 42 newcomers.

The 39 vessels are: Adfines, Star, Amarant, Anet, Arsland, Atlantik Miracle, BBC Georgia, BBC Luanda, BBC Polonia, BBC Utah, Calypso, Cape Dawson, Carolus Magnus, Celsius Mumbai, Emanuele S, Erin Schulte, Falstria Swan, Federal Dart, Federal Dee, Federal Delta, Federal Nagara, Gardno, Holandia, Isabelle G, IT Intrepid, Iver Bright, Johanna G, Kitikmeot W, Lolland, Maple Lea, Mississippi Star, Momentum Scan, MTM Antwerp, NACC Alicudi, Onego Rio, Rike, Senja, Sichem Marseille, Sten Fjord and Tasing Swan.

Three of those vessels had name changes during the season. BBC Luanda was renamed CLI Pride and registered in Antigua and Barbuda on or about August 22. The tanker Kitikmeot W was reflagged to Canada on or about July 3, and the tanker Sten Fjord was later renamed Kivalliq W and was also registered Canadian on or about June 14. Kitikmeot W made two inland voyages in November under Canadian registry, while the Kivalliq W also made a return trip and inland voyage under Canadian registry in mid-December.

Denny Dushane


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 5

ASHLAND, in a critically leaking condition, barely made Mamonel, Colombia, on February 5, 1988, where she was scrapped.

February 5, 1870 - Captain William H. Le Fleur of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet, known as "the Bear" was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On February 5, 1976, the carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III was inaugurated into service between Kingston and Wolfe Island Ontario. Later that night, two blocks over, a Kingston resident noticed the captain turning off the running lights of the 'ol WOLFE ISLANDER as she joined her already winterized sister, the UPPER CANADA.

1972: CHRISTIANE SCHULTE, a West German Seaway trader, went aground at Khidhes Island, Cyprus, while on fire and was abandoned by the crew. The ship was traveling from Lattakia, Syria, to Mersin, Turkey, as b) CITTA DI ALESSANDRIA and was a total loss.

1977: The Israeli freighter TAMAR, a Seaway caller in 1959 and 1961, was gutted by a fire in the Aegean Sea south of Thira Island as c) ATHENA. The vessel, enroute from Mersin, Turkey, to Albania, was towed into Piraeus, Greece, on February 12, 1977. It was a total loss and scrapping began at Eleusis in January 1978.

1982: The Canadian tanker JAMES TRANSPORT spent 10 hours aground in the St. Lawrence near Batiscan, Quebec.

1996: A shipboard fire caused extensive damage to the Jean Parisien docked at the stone docks in Port Colborne. No one was injured in the blaze, which took two hours to extinguish and was the second one on board a ship in two days.

Data from: Gerry Ouderkirk, Max Hanley, Brian Johnson, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Icebreaker Samuel Risley has a busy weekend, including break out of Goderich

2/4 - Saturday the CCGS Samuel Risley completed the downbound escort of the tanker Iver Bright to Detroit and turned upbound for Goderich. Once into Lake Huron the Algoma Sault followed the Risley North.

Risley arrived shortly after midnight and spent about two hours breaking a relief track about two miles off shore, The relief track eases the pressure on the ice closer to shore and gives the ice somewhere to go as they move in to break ice closer to shore.

Sunday morning the Goderich-based tug Escort began breaking out the harbor and entrance channel. The Risley then focused on breaking into the port. By 10 a.m., she had come within a quarter mile of the breakwalls. This is the area of the heaviest ice, as the wind has piled the chunks on top of each other. It is not uncommon to have ice piled up to the bottom of the channel after days of heavy wind. South West winds in the area have not helped to lessen the pressure on the ice field.

Risley moved father off shore and began breaking more relief tracks to ease pressure on the ice field piled against the piers. By 6 p.m., the Risley had successfully broken through the field and reached the  harbor. Sunday night both vessels were stop off port.


Port Reports -  February 4

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
Algonova arrived in Sault, Ont., on Sunday morning. The USCGC Mackinaw assisted her through the ice in the lower St. Marys River below Neebish Island.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator departed Milwaukee and was headed north Sunday afternoon.

Erie, Pa. – Jeff Benson
On Sunday, crews from Don Jon were removing the hydraulic ram and cables from the unloading boom of the Oberstar. Work continued on the Michipicoten in the dry dock, and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder had crews working on the holds.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 4

The two sections of the a.) WILLIAM J. DE LANCEY, b.) PAUL R. TREGURTHA) were joined at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. and float-launched on February 4, 1981, (Hull #909).

In 1977, ROGER BLOUGH arrived at the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain, Ohio for winter lay up and a 5-year hull inspection. She had departed South Chicago after unloading on Jan 25th and the trip took 10 days due to weather and heavy ice.

February 4, 1904 - Captain Russell of the PERE MARQUETTE 17 reported that Lake Michigan was frozen all the way to Manitowoc.

In 1870, The Port Huron Weekly Times reported that “a Montreal company has purchased all the standing timber on Walpole Island Indian Reservation [on the St. Clair River…] A large force of men are employed in hewing, cutting and delivering the same on the banks of the river in readiness for shipment… The proceeds of the sale of timber on Walpole Island will probably amount to $18,000 to $20,000, to be distributed among the Indians of the island to improve their farms.

1964: OCEAN REGINA, which would become a Seaway visitor in 1971, ran aground in the Makassar Strait, Indonesia, while enroute from Geraldton, Australia, to China. The ship was refloated February 11.

1965: The Liberty ship IRINI STEFANOU visited the Great Lakes in 1959 and 1960. It struck a reef, 1 mile west of the San Benita Islands, Baja Peninsula and had to be beached. The vessel was enroute from Vancouver, British Columbia, to London, England, with timber. While abandoned, the hull was refloated on February 25 and taken to Los Angeles for examination. They discovered a serious distortion of the hull and it was broken up at Terminal Island.

1970: ARROW, a Liberian tanker quite familiar with Great Lakes trading, stranded in Chedebucto Bay, while inbound from Venezuela to Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. The ship broke in two as a total loss on February 8 spilling millions of gallons of oil. This resulted in a major environmental problem and clean up took two years and $3.8 million.

1976: A fire aboard the freighter KERKIS broke out in #3 hold off the northern coast of Sicily. The vessel was brought into Milazzo, Italy, the next day and when the hold was opened on February 12, the blaze flared up again. The hull was beached as a total loss. It had begun Seaway trading as a) BYSANZ in 1959 and was back as b) ALSATIA beginning in 1967.

1984: The former MANCHESTER RENOWN was idle at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as c) EDESSA. The ship was being reactivated when a fire broke out and destroyed the upper works. The vessel was sold to Taiwan shipbreakers and arrived at Kaohsiung on April 6, 1984. It had begun Seaway trading as a new ship, in 1964.

1992: PATRICIA was wrecked at Crotone, Italy, and abandoned. The hull was visible years later, partially submerged. The ship began Seaway service as a) RUMBA in 1971 and was back as b) JANJA in 1975, c) JANJE in 1979 and e) FIGARO in 1988.

1999: The former BAUNTON caught fire in #1 hold 350 miles west of Dakar, Senegal, as c) MERSINIA and was abandoned by the crew. The ship, enroute from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, with cocoa beans in bulk, was a total loss and was delivered to Spanish shipbreakers at Santander for dismantling on January 21, 2000. It first came through the Seaway in 1981 when it was a year old.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lake Erie freezes over; ice covers half of the Great Lakes

2/3 - Following the polar vortex in the Midwest this week, Lake Erie has frozen over and nearly half of Michigan's Great Lakes are covered in ice. More than 90 percent of Lake Erie is covered in ice, prime conditions for fishing on the shoreline. Meanwhile, about 48 percent of the Great Lakes are ice covered, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Even though it's the southernmost of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie tends to freeze over the earliest because it is shallow and has less heat capacity than the other lakes, NOAA Researcher Brent Lofgren said.

"It's not all that rare. Lake Erie freezes often," Lofgren said. "There aren't really any negative effects of it. Actually, it will prevent further lake effect snow for that season."

Most of the lakes have between 2-6 inches of ice covering with parts of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with anywhere between 12-28 inches of ice. Weather temperatures are expected to rise through the weekend starting Saturday with a high of 37. Sunday and Monday will be in the high 40s.

"The warm weather isn't going to have all that big of an effect on Lake Erie. But for other lakes like Lake Michigan, you'll see a lot of open water again soon because of transport and it's likely to melt quickly," Lofgren said.

"Do not go ice fishing far from shore on Lake Erie, because that ice can shift," he said. "Check with local authorities on the safety of fishing on nearshore ice."

Visit  for more information

The Detroit News


Port Reports -  February 3

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
With the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Katmai Bay in the lead and the Avenger IV following up the rear, the tug Anglian Lady / Ironmaster barge finally arrived at the Purvis Marine home dock in Soo, Ont., Saturday afternoon struggling for several days with ice. Katmai Bay tied up at the USCG dock in Soo, Mich., for the night. Cutter Mackinaw was in the lower river above Lime Island Saturday night. Tanker Algonova is expected in Soo, Ont., Sunday.

Lake Michigan
Canada Steamship's Frontenac was assisted out of South Chicago Saturday morning by the G-tugs Massachusetts and Arizona. Frontenac had been unloading road salt. Algoma Innovator was still at Milwaukee Saturday.

Lake Huron
Samuel Risley and Algoma Sault were underway north of Port Huron Saturday night and will make another attempt to enter Goderich on Sunday.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H.
The Michigan/Great Lakes, with the assistance of the tug Patricia Hoey, docked at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal to load/unload Saturday afternoon. The tanker Iver Bright was inbound on the Rouge River, calling on the Buckeye Terminal to unload.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 3

In 1960, The Ludington Daily News reported that the S.S. AVALON, formerly the S.S. VIRGINIA, had been sold to Everett J. Stotts of Artesia, California.

On 03 February 1899, the steamer GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller freighter, 182 foot, 977 gross tons, built in 1895, at Marine City, Michigan) burned while laid up near Montreal, Quebec. She had just been taken from the Great Lakes by her new owners, the Manhattan Transportation Company, for the Atlantic coastal coal trade, The loss was valued at $50,000 and was fully covered by insurance. The vessel was repaired and lasted until 1906 when she was lost near Cape Henry, Virginia.

1939: LUTZEN came ashore in dense fog at Nauset Beach, Chatham, Mass., off Cape Cod. The vessel rolled over on its side with its cargo of frozen fish and fruit. The small ship had been built at Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) in 1918.

1970: The tanker GEZINA BROVIG sank 300 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. An explosion in the main engine on January 31 blew a piston through the side of the ship and it gradually sank. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader beginning in 1965.

1993: The former Spanish freighter MARTA, a Seaway trader in 1981, was sailing as b) PROSPERITY when it began leaking in a storm. The ship subsequently broke in two and sank with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel went down 120 miles west of Sri Lanka while enroute from Jordan to Madras, India.

1996: An engine room fire aboard the C.S.L. self-unloader JEAN PARISIEN at Port Colborne resulted in about $250,000 in damage.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.


Three strikes for Algoma Sault at the port of Goderich

2/2 - The Canadian laker Algoma Sault has been trying to enter Goderich since Tuesday alternating between waiting off port and anchored in Lower Lake Huron while the port is broken out.

The extreme cold temperatures over the last few days, combined with strong and gale force westerly winds, have created very heavy ice conditions outside of Goderich piers. The ice that has developed extends approximately 1 nautical mile wide west of the piers and is called pack ice. It is dense, refrozen brash and pancake ice that has frozen under pressure. Rough estimates have the ice field from 3-7 feet deep.

Algoma Sault arrived off port Tuesday afternoon, but after failed attempts to make it through the ice they headed downbound to anchor above Port Huron and wait for assistance, arriving in the anchorage Wednesday morning.

Thursday morning they departed the anchorage and headed back to Goderich. The Goderich-based tug Ocean Golf was attempting to break out the port. The tug was not able to open a track for the Algoma Sault, so the Sault returned to the anchorage above Port Huron that night.

Thursday night the CCGS Samuel Risley headed upbound to attempt ice breaking into the port. About 11 p.m. they were making 1.5 knots while 20 miles west of the port.

Algoma Sault departed the Port Huron Anchorage about 4 a.m. Friday upbound to wait off Goderich, the third time for the vessel making the trip to the port.

Samuel Risley spent the night fighting through the ice making it about a mile off the port before stopping in the ice. They tried multiple routes adjusting course north and south of the port but found the same heavy ice field on each course. About 8 a.m. the icebreaker set a course downbound for Sarnia to assist the tanker Algonova and the Algoma Sault followed.

Friday afternoon Algoma Sault took up her position in the anchorage while Samuel Risley proceeded downbound to break ice off the Imperial Oil Dock in Sarina for the arrival of the Algonova. The tug Pride assisted in breaking out the Imperial Oil dock. The Risley headed upbound to the Sarnia Government Dock for a well-deserved over night rest.

The Canadian Coast Guard reported Friday that there was no emergency and they are working closely with the shipping company requesting icebreaker assistance and the U.S. Coast Guard to plan icebreaking activity near the community of Goderich and it's vicinity.

Temperatures are forecast to increase over the next several days as well as light winds which will help with icebreaking.


Port Reports -  February 2

St. Marys River
On Friday the USCG cutter Mackinaw was working to get the Purvis Marine tug Anglian Lady and barge Ironmaster, beset in heavy ice, moving again. AIS late Friday showed them just north of Sailors’ Encampment on the east side of Neebish Island.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algoma Innovator remained in port Friday, frozen in. The tug John Marshall was working Friday night to clear a path so she can leave.

S. Chicago
Frontenac was unloading salt at Chicago Friday night.


Port of Montreal considers taking on more debt to fund $500-million expansion

2/2 - Montreal, Que. – The Montreal Port Authority will need about $500 million for a proposed expansion of container facilities by the middle of the next decade, said vice-president Ryan Dermody. A potential debt issue would help pay for a first phase of infrastructure work.

“We absolutely have the capability to borrow, so debt could be an option,” Dermody, who has been overseeing the project since his appointment last year, said in a telephone interview. “We will look at everything that’s required to make this project work. Nothing is off the table.”

Montreal, Canada’s biggest port by volume after Vancouver, is coming off five consecutive years of rising volumes. After tonnage climbed 9 per cent last year to 1.6 million containers, the federally owned facility expects to reach full capacity within five years if the proposed expansion doesn’t proceed.

Montreal serves as a gateway between North America and Europe for imports of wine and electronic devices and exports of commodities such as lumber. Its main competitor for shipments to the U.S. Midwest is the port of New York and New Jersey.

Key carriers with service to and from Montreal include MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., Hamburg-based Hapag Lloyd AG and Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S.

Having picked up a sixth shipper last year, Montreal is planning to add a seventh in April. The new terminal would initially add about 500,000 20-foot equivalent units annually to Montreal’s current capacity of 2.1 million containers.

“We don’t have a choice but to grow with the customers,” Dermody said. “We have had record years, and we need to unlock additional capacity. Based on the growth figures in our financial model, we have to have that built around 2023 or 2024. It’s an absolutely strategic objective for us.”

To help with the project, the port authority has hired London-based Arup Group as its engineering firm. Bank of Montreal will help the port assess financial options.

Montreal’s new container terminal would be built in the town of Contrecoeur, about 40 kilometres northeast of the city on a 468-hectare site.

Port officials are working on securing federal environmental approval for the project, possibly by the end of 2020, Dermody said, and construction would begin once that was obtained.

Montreal Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 2

SAMUEL MATHER, a.) PILOT KNOB (Hull #522) had her keel laid February 2, 1942, at Ashtabula, Ohio, by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

February 2, 1939 - CHIEF WAWATAM went to the shipyard to have a new forward shaft and propeller placed.

1913: The wooden passenger and freight carrier MANITOU sustained fire damage at Owen Sound and sank at the dock. The vessel was refloated, repaired and operated to the end of the 1939 season.

1972: IRISH SPRUCE first appeared in the Seaway in 1960. The ship was enroute from Callao, Peru, to New Orleans with zinc and copper concentrates as well as coffee, when it ran aground on Quinta Suero Bank (14,25 N / 81.00 W) off the coast of Nicaragua. The ship had its back broken and became a total loss.

1981: EDOUARD SIMARD and JAMES TRANSPORT collided in the St. Lawrence River east of Port Neuf, Quebec. Both received bow damage.

1981: ARTHUR SIMARD received extensive bottom damage after going aground in the St. Lawrence. It was enroute from Montreal to Sept-Iles, but returned to Trois Rivieres to unload and then to Montreal for repairs.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Ships trapped or stalled as polar temperatures freeze St. Lawrence River

2/1 - Montreal, Que. – Shipping traffic remained stalled Thursday morning on the St. Lawrence River between Sorel-Tracy and Trois-Rivières, even as a pair of Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers continued their efforts to force open a channel. Navigation on the waterway has been stalled since Wednesday.

The icebreakers Des Groseilliers and Pierre-Radisson will remain at work until further notice after a storm in the region on Tuesday led to a rapid freeze on the river, creating a series of ice jams.

Merchant ships on either side of the blockages remain stalled, with ships anchored in Montreal headed downriver forced to wait for an opening while other vessels are trapped in Trois-Rivières. Some ships arriving at the mouth of the St. Lawrence have been obliged to anchor at Escoumins, about 30 kilometres northeast of the Saguenay River.

Last week, traffic was interrupted for several days on the St. Lawrence because of an ice jam that formed on Lac Saint-Pierre. That incident drew the ire of the maritime industry and its clients, who complained about the lack of icebreakers.

Montreal Gazette


Port of Duluth-Superior posts strong finish to 2018 shipping season

2/1 - Duluth, Minn. – The Port of Duluth-Superior finished the 2018 shipping season on a strong note, handling 35.9 million short tons of cargo.

“Shipments of Minnesota iron ore accounted for the lion’s share of tonnage moved through the Port of Duluth-Superior—21.5 million short tons, to be exact,” said Deb DeLuca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “Iron ore cargoes were up nine percent year-over-year, outpacing the five-year average by 30-plus percent.”

Thanks to favorable ice conditions earlier this month, the last 1,000-footer left Duluth-Superior with pellets just two days before the Soo Locks closed on Jan. 15.

International shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway, in and out of the Great Lakes, had its best year in more than a decade—posting a seven percent increase over the previous season and the most since 2007. Grain exports alone posted a 20 percent year-over-year increase, virtually mirroring increased grain traffic through the Port of Duluth-Superior in 2018.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Shipping season wraps up at Grand Haven

2/1 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Grand Haven has received its final delivery of the 2018-19 shipping season. Amid snow flurries and plenty of ice, the steamship Wilfred Sykes arrived Saturday morning Jan. 26 with a load of slag for Meekhof’s D&M on Harbor Island.

Ashton Marine’s tug Candace Elise came down from Muskegon and broke the ice in the Grand River before the Sykes arrived, remaining in port while the freighter unloaded. Shortly after dark, the Sykes was ready to leave, and both vessels departed.

There were a couple of more loads of slag scheduled for the Sykes, but with sub-zero temperatures and gales expected in the coming days, the next port of call for the vessel was Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for a well-deserved winter layup.

The departure of the Sykes marked the end of a shipping season that had begun March 23, 2018. Over the course of the season, the port of Grand Haven saw the arrival of 15 different vessels that delivered a total of 92 cargoes to four different docks.

This season’s total is a 9 percent decrease from last season, when the port finished with 101 cargoes. However, it is above the five-year average of 85. The decrease in shipments can be attributed to the harsh winter weather that affected both the start and end of the season.

The 15 different vessels that made trips to Grand Haven this season consisted of the American-flagged vessels Ashtabula/Defiance, Calumet, Herbert C. Jackson, Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr., Joseph L. Block, Kaye E. Barker, Menominee/Olive L. Moore, Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted, St. Marys Challenger/Prentiss Brown, St. Marys Conquest/Bradshaw McKee and Wilfred Sykes. Additionally, the Canadian-flagged vessels Algoma Buffalo, Cuyahoga, Mississagi and Saginaw visited.

Noticeably absent this season were the vessels Manitowoc, Manitoulin, Michipicoten and Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann.

Looking forward, there will be a few changes next season in the port of Grand Haven.

The port should see the arrival of a new face, as Port City Marine’s new barge Commander entered the cement trade recently and will likely make trips to the St. Marys Cement terminal in 2019.

On a sadder note, Algoma Central Corp. is retiring a number of vessels that have made trips to Grand Haven during their careers. The Algoway (last visit was 2016) Algorail (last visit was 2015) and Algosteel (last visit was 2017) were all sent for scrap this season. Additionally, the Algowood and Capt. Henry Jackman (both last visited in 2016) are expected to head for scrapping this year.

If the barge Menominee calls on Grand Haven next season, it will be with a different tug, as its old tug Olive L. Moore is being retired. The tug Invincible, which has previously been in port with the barge McKee Sons, will be paired with the Menominee next season.

The end of the 2018-19 shipping season concludes my third season at the helm of the Tribune’s Ships Log. This season was incredibly busy for me and I would like to thank a number of people who helped me.

Sam Hankinson, Grand Haven Tribune McKeil Marine adds tug to fleet McKeil Marine has added another tug to its fleet. Lois M arrived in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia Septmber 17 and was registered in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, September 23. It was built in 1991 by Matsuura Tekko Zosen of Japan for an Australian operation of Cleveland-Cliffs. Named Lambert it served Port Lambert, in Western Australia, a large iron shipment area.

Lois M is built to a similar design to Beverly M1 and Sharon M 1 acquired last year by McKeil. Powered by Niigata main engines of 4800 bhp, it rates 60 tonnes bollard pull, delivered through two Rexpeller azimuthing stern drives.

McKeil has a great deal of work in Newfoundland, and after fitting out at Mulagrave, the tug is expected to go to work in the island province.

A sister tug named Pannawonica I has also been acquired by McKeil, and it is currently working in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  February 1

St. Marys River
USCG cutters Mackinaw and Katmai Bay were working to get Purvis Marine tug Anglian Lady (with barge Ironmaster), beset in heavy ice in Lake Munuscong south of Neebish Island, moving again on Thursday. They are headed to the Purvis dock in Sault, Ont. Mackinaw spent the night anchored off Nine Mile Point.

Lake Michigan
Frontenac was anchored off Chicago Thursday night.

Lake Huron
Thursday, USCG Mackinaw and USCG Katmai Bay departed for the St Marys River to assist Anglian Lady and Ironmaster. Sarnia Anchorage: Algoma Sault departed the anchorage about 5 a.m. Thursday and made the trip to Goderich. When she arrived the vessel waited off shore while the tug Ocean Golf was breaking ice leading into port and the harbor. The Sault waited off shore until about 10 a.m. when they headed back down the lake and returned to anchor above Port Huron. CCGS Samuel Risley passed the downbound Algoma Sault as they headed upbound to Goderich. Late Thursday night Risley was about 20 miles west of Goderich.

The Iver Bright departed Mistersky Fuel and joined the CCGS Griffon for the upbound trip across Lake St. Clair. The escort was handed over to the USCG Morro Bay and the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker had an uneventful trip up the St. Clair River.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Sault, which was anchored above Sarnia Thursday night, is scheduled to be the next vessel at Goderich.

Sarnia, Ont. – Marc Dease
Early Thursday morning the tug Pride departed the Government dock and broke ice around the Imperial Oil Dock on the St. Clair River. This allowed the Algocanada to depart the Lake Huron anchorage and make the short trip downbound to the dock. Algoma Niagara, under the command of Captain Clarence Vautier, hove anchor and proceeded downbound from Lake Huron Thursday, turning at the Black River and heading up to her winter quarters at the Government Dock in Sarnia. The tug Pride had been working to break ice for the Niagara’s arrival.

The Iver Bright departed Mistersky Fuel and joined the CCGS Griffon for the upbound trip across Lake St. Clair. The escort was handed over to the USCG Morro Bay and the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker had an uneventful trip up the St. Clair River.

Amherstburg, Lower Detroit River – D Cozens
The CCGC Griffon departed the Amherstburg Coast Guard Base at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon heading downbound to Lake Erie. When she left the dock she backed down the river approximately 1/2 mile before making a U-turn and heading to Lake Erie. This was done to avoid disrupting the path the Boblo Island ferry has created from the mainland to the island. This path is about 200 feet up river from where the Griffon was docked. With the heavy ice conditions in the river, the ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes, instead of the normal five minutes in open water. The DME tug Madison R was in town Tuesday afternoon assisting the Boblo ferry. Once reaching Lake Erie, the Griffon made another U-turn & headed up the Livingston Channel bound for Windsor.


Coast Guard helps rescue seven fishermen from ice near Sturgeon Bay

2/1 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A Coast Guard crew helped rescue seven fishermen stranded on the ice near Sturgeon Bay Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay says the seven anglers were in an ice shanty about a mile northeast of Snake Island. They were unable to make it back to shore because their UTV wouldn't run in the subzero temperatures and drifting snow.

"The weather on scene was reported as 4 below zero with a wind chill factor of minus 30 degrees and large snow drifts," the Coast Guard says.

The Coast Guard and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources helped get the anglers on airboats and transported them to shore. No one was hurt. The Coast Guard warns people against going out on the ice during this deep freeze due to the risks to personal safety and safety of the first responders.



Today in Great Lakes History -  February 1

On 01 February 1871, the SKYLARK (wooden propeller steamer, 90 tons, built in 1857) was purchased by the Goodrich Transportation Company from Thomas L. Parker for $6,000.

On February 1, 1990, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was officially decommissioned.

The steamer R. J. GORDON was sold to M. K. Muir of Detroit on 1 February 1883.

In 1904, ANN ARBOR NO. 1 found the rest of the ferry fleet stuck in the ice outside Manitowoc. She made several attempts to break them loose, she became stuck there herself with the others for 29 days.

In 1917, ANN ARBOR NO 6 (later ARTHUR K. ATKINSON) arrived Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

On 1 February 1886, Captain Henry Hackett died in Amherstburg, Ontario, at the age of 65. He and his brother, J. H. Hackett, organized the Northwestern Transportation Company in 1869.

In 1972, ENDERS M. VOORHEES locked through the Poe Lock downbound, closing the Soo Locks for the season.

1966: The Liberty ship IOANNIS DASKALELIS came through the Seaway for one trip in 1962. It was abandoned in heavy weather as d) ROCKPORT on the Pacific and taken in tow. The vessel slowly sank about 600 miles from Midway Island on February 5. ROCKPORT was enroute from Vancouver to Japan and three dramatic photos of the ship sliding beneath the surface appeared in a number of newspapers.

1969: The third LUKSEFJELL to visit the Great Lakes was anchored at Constanza, Romania, as b) AKROTIRI when there was an explosion in the engine room. A roaring fire spread throughout the midships accommodation area and the blaze claimed the lives of 21 of the 25 crewmembers on board. The hull was sold to Romanian shipbreakers and broken up in 1970.

1974: AMETHYST ran aground off River Douro, on the northeast coast of Portugal, while inbound for Leixos with maize from New Orleans. The vessel had been anchored waiting to enter the river when heavy weather swept the area. The vessel dragged anchor, stranded and, on February 6, broke in two as a total loss. It first came through the Seaway in 1971.

1981: The former ANDERS ROGENAES and MEDICINE HAT came inland in 1964. It ran aground as h) YANMAR at Guayaquil, Ecuador, while outbound for Port Limon, Costa Rica. An onboard crankcase explosion followed on February 23. The vessel was a total loss and sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas. Work began on dismantling the ship at that location on June 12, 1981.

1988: L'ORME NO. 1, the former LEON SIMARD, struck a pipe while docking at St. Romauld, Quebec, in fog. A fire and explosion followed that damaged the ship and wharf. Repairs were made and the ship was last noted sailing as d) GENESIS ADVENTURER under the flag of Nigeria.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

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