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Soo Locks officially close for the season

1/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Soo Locks officially closed Sunday night at midnight, halting the vessel traffic from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond. The 1,000-foot tug-barge combo Presque Isle made its way slowly into the Poe Lock around 11 p.m. Sunday. It will continue on its journey to northeastern Ohio.

As every shipping season comes to an end in the Soo, "boatnerds" come and bid farewell to the final vessel passing through. “These boats have been a part of my life ever since I was a little guy,” says Don Crawford. “They are just exciting when you stand here when you hear those big engines rumble by!”

The locks will be closed until March 25. During this time, regular maintenance work will be done, while the hydraulic system gets upgraded and crews finish anchorage replacements on the larger of the 2 locks, The Poe Lock.

9&10 News


Lower coal shipments through Twin Ports tied to decreased demand

1/17 - Duluth, Minn. – As an industrial middleman, the Port of Duluth-Superior can't exactly control how much of anything moves through the docks. When there's less digging, there's less shipping.

That had been the big story with iron ore shipments until recently, but a commodity that has at times eclipsed taconite tonnage — coal — has seen its own big drop. Though January numbers aren't yet available, it's possible the port will hit its lowest coal totals in nearly 30 years.

"They've actually been on a downward trend since a high point at the end of the 2008 shipping season when coal tonnage hit an all-time high," said Duluth Seaway Port Authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde.

That 2008 peak was 22.1 million tons, while the 2016 season had just passed 10 million tons as of December. While that low could be the new normal, don't expect coal to disappear completely.

"I don't think we'll be going anywhere," said Jeff Papineau, president of the Midwest Energy Resources Co. coal terminal in Superior.

Coal production is driven by demand, which just isn't as robust as it was even five years ago.

"Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures during the 2015-16 winter that reduced electricity demand, the retirements of some coal-fired generators and lower international coal demand have contributed to declining U.S. coal production," according to the Energy Information Administration.

Data from the EIA shows coal production peaked in 2008 — the same year coal shipments peaked in the Twin Ports. In 2016, production reached its lowest level since 1978. The drop coincides with the decline of coal as a primary energy source. In the past decade, coal has fallen from 45 to about 30 percent of domestic electricity generation while natural gas passed it on its way to 34 percent of generation, according to the EIA.

The less coal is needed, the less coal is shipped by rail and unsalted sea.

"Coal will almost certainly have a major long-term place in America's energy supply, but how big that piece will end up being, and for how long, has been unclear for years and will likely remain unclear well into the future," according to a report by the Association of American Railroads, which will watch coal closely as it accounted for 37 percent of all tonnage moved on the rails in 2015.

Nearly all of the coal moving through the Port of Duluth-Superior is handled by the Midwest Energy Resources Co. terminal in Superior, and nearly all of that is destined for two power plants in Michigan — one of which is headed for retirement in 2023.

"Given the age of many of our coal plants, the declining costs of renewables and the increased costs of maintaining plants ... a transformation to cleaner energy production will result in less use of coal as well as a significant reduction in carbon emissions," said Brian Corbett, a spokesman with parent company DTE Energy.

The St. Clair power plant north of Detroit will shut down just shy of its 70th birthday, though the Belle River plant across the road, built in 1984, will continue to burn coal imported through the MERC terminal in Superior. Corbett said Belle River will be online for the foreseeable future.

That should buoy operations while the Twin Ports terminal looks at ways to diversify its offerings and/or find new customers.

"I see us being at about 10.5 million tons for the next two, three years," MERC president Jeff Papineau said, which would be flat from 2016 levels. "From a staffing standpoint, I think we're properly staffed for that."

He said the terminal's 83 employees will naturally be reduced through retirement, which is coming up for many workers, so layoffs appear unlikely.

At its busiest MERC was handling five or more 120-car trains of coal per day; now that number is down to two or so unit trains per day.

Trying different types of commodities to keep the dock busy is a possibility but a "difficult" one, Papineau said. More likely is different types of coal start moving through the MERC terminal for different end users.

"Right now we're specifically in Powder River Basin coal (from Montana and Wyoming), but there are opportunities for Colorado and Utah coals and serving other customers," Papineau said.

There's also the chance to export, though Canada has cut coal orders "dramatically," said Yorde at the Port Authority, and global demand is low as well.

"The economic transformation in China and environmental policies worldwide — including the recent climate agreement in Paris — will likely continue to constrain global coal demand," said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, following a market report released a year ago.

There was much talk of reviving the coal industry during President-elect Donald Trump's campaign. While that may make environmentalists cringe and industry backers cheer, the economics of coal will ultimately decide its fate.

"The plants are getting older, not as efficient, there's an ongoing expense cost, and then there's the declining costs of wind, solar and natural gas that make those investments in more modern and cleaner sources of energy more attractive," said DTE Energy spokesman Corbett.

All of which will keep coal in the dust, at least in the short term. The federal outlook for coal calls for modest growth in 2017 and a slight decline in 2018.

"Coal consumption in the electric power sector is forecast to increase ... mostly because of rising natural gas prices and increasing electricity generation," according to the EIA. "However, a reverse of these trends in 2018 is expected."

If regulations are to blame for coal's decline, it could be those allowing the widespread use of fracking that has seen oil and natural gas prices plummet and supplies stockpile — though tighter regulations on coal power plants have made it more costly to operate them at the same time.

Should the Trump Administration gut regulations, it could take time to see an effect as coal plants are getting mothballed faster than they are getting built — the number of coal-fired power plants used by electric utilities fell from 353 in 2005 to 256 in 2015, according to the EIA.

Coal will, for now, keep moving from Montana to Michigan. And MERC is confident it will be there to speed it along, Papineau said.

"We're going to be around for a long time, and we look to be a good corporate citizen."

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  January 17

Duluth, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Lee A. Tregurtha officially closed the Port of Duluth for the 2016 season when she passed under the lift bridge early Monday afternoon. The Tregurtha is the ninth and final vessel to lay up in Duluth for the winter. The layup fleet is as follows: Arthur M. Anderson, laid up at CN; Paul R. Tregurtha at Midwest Energy; American Spirit, American Century, Philip R. Clarke and Roger Blough all at Port Terminal; Lee A. Tregurtha and Herbert C. Jackson at Fraser Shipyards; and Burns Harbor at Lakehead Pipeline. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was in Superior loading Burlington Northern's final ore cargo of the season and was due to depart Monday evening, presumably for Essar Steel.

St. Marys River
Tug Leonard M and barge were downbound Monday the morning, with USCG Katmai Bay assisting through the Rock Cut. Manitoulin remained at Essar. Presque Isle locked downbound at 11 p.m. Sunday, and was the last vessel of the season. Tug Wilfred M. Cohen, likely with a barge, were upbound at DeTour at 10 p.m., headed for the Purvis dock in the lower harbor. Manitoulin and Michipicoten were at the Essar Steel dock.

Escanaba, Mich.
Great Lakes Trader and Joseph L. Block were at the ore dock on Monday.

Muskegon, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with cement barge Innovation departed in the early evening Sunday with an ETA for Alpena of Tuesday Jan. 17 in the early morning. She will take on another cement cargo. Tug Manitou is in Alpena breaking ice and will assist the Innovation into Lafarge if needed. All dates and times are estimates and could change with weather and ice conditions.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algoma Transport departed Monday evening after unloading salt.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird was loading salt on Monday.

Point Edward, Ont. – Matt Miner
Saginaw arrived for winter lay up in the north slip on Monday. Defiance / Ashtabula tied up along side her Monday evening.

Detroit, Mich. – Matt Miner
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was still tied up at Zug Island Monday night. Hon. James L. Oberstar has arrived at Nicholson’s Dock for winter layup. Algosteel was also in port.

Sandusky, Ohio
CSL Assiniboine was loading in Sandusky on Monday.

Conneaut, Ohio
American Integrity arrived to unload her cargo from Two Harbors on Monday.

Port Colborne, Ont. – Mike Bannon
Whitefish Bay arrived for layup on January 13. She is parked behind Algowood on the east wall of the canal below Lock 8. Saginaw was unloading salt Sunday on the dock, west side, down by the grain elevators. About 30 percent of Algosoo remains at the scrapyard, largely the stern deckhouse, stack and hull.


Seaway ties record for longest navigation season

1/17 - Cornwall, Ont. – After opening the 2016 season on March 21, the St. Lawrence Seaway closed on December 31, enjoying a navigation season of 286 days. This performance ties the record first established in 2008 and matched in 2013 for the longest navigation season.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation recorded a total of 35 million tonnes of cargo transiting the Seaway’s locks in 2016. Grain movements posted a strong performance for a third consecutive season, contributing 11 million tonnes of the total and continuing to track well above the five-year average.

The Port of Thunder Bay, the principal point of entry for grain into the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, reported a late-season surge in grain activity, as loadings in December trumped all previous December activity since 1995. Grain activity was also strong in the U.S. as the total volume originating from ports such as Duluth / Superior and Toledo increased by 21% during 2016.

“The Seaway System is able to respond to unpredictable surges in cargo movements from a broad number of sectors” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC). "We take it all in stride" said Bowles.

“The final tonnage statistics for the 2016 Seaway navigation season are a validation of the importance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System to the economy of North America’s ‘Opportunity Belt’,” added U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Administrator Betty Sutton.

“Cargo shipments this past year supported manufacturing, construction, energy, agriculture, and other industries throughout the Great Lakes region. In particular, the movement of containers with high value project cargo is an area where we foresee continued growth in the future. We are pleased to see our marketing efforts generating new opportunities in the global marketplace as businesses realize the value of utilizing our System.”

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Coast Guard closes West Neebish Channel

1/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Following the closure of the Soo Locks VTS St. Marys River will close the West Neebish Channel at 8 a.m. Thursday. Alternating one-way traffic will be established in the Munuscong and Middle Neebish channels. The Coast Guard USCG


Lake Michigan catwalk repair decision could be made soon

1/17 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Decisions regarding the repair of Grand Haven's iconic Lake Michigan catwalk are expected to be made soon. City officials met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this week to discuss the catwalk repair project.

The meeting involved reviewing proposals from contractors who gave bids on the project. City manager Pat McGinnis said a recommendation will be brought before the council at its meeting Monday, Jan. 16.

Removal of the south pier catwalk began in late August so U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could begin the $2.1 million pier repair project. The catwalk had to be removed for it to be saved. In the meantime, it is being stored at the Verplank docks in Ferrysburg.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link


Shipping season ends in Duluth

1/17 - Duluth, Minn. – For many, it's the sight of the massive ships coming in to the harbor to make the Twin Ports their home for the next couple of months.

"When they (the ships) come in with ice, water spray frozen to the bows, decks and steam rising off the lake it should be a pretty picture," said Jim Sharrow, Director of port planning for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "It's the last marking of the final transit of the season, which is kind of a benchmark for people."

Already, five ships are docked in the Duluth-Superior Port for winter lay-up this year- with the last four in route. Those include The Roger Blough, Lee A. Tregurtha, Arthur M. Anderson and Phillip R. Clarke, as reported in a story by Hubbard-owned WDIO.

"They're just finishing up their last cargos and coming in for the planned lay-up," said Sharrow."I understand there's quite a bit of steel work this winter and always a lot of work for main engine and power plant repairs."

Fortunately, this year's journey to the Twin Ports will be an easy one. "It's below average in ice accumulations this year," Sharrow said. "There is some ice forming in the connecting rivers but it hasn't slowed down their transits yet."

As for this shipping season, Sharrow says he's optimistic, and hopeful for the next. "We will end up the season at slightly over 30 million tons, which is actually down a little bit from last year. I guess the one bright point is that grain shipments are up 27 percent higher than the last five year average," he added.

"We look like we're going to have a really busy year," Sharrow said. "We're expecting iron ore to be an improved year and we'll see how the rest of it goes."

The Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie closed at midnight Sunday. The first ships will leave for the new season the last week in March.



Report: Soo Locks upgrade among top infrastructure projects

1/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A federal report lists upgrading the Soo Locks shipping complex among 40 proposed infrastructure projects nationwide that would give the economy a significant boost.

The locks network at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, enables vessels to move between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. The study says more than 60 percent of the ships in the U.S. and Canadian fleet are so large that they can fit through only one of the locks. If the Poe Lock were disabled, it could cause shortages of raw materials needed by steelmakers, utilities and other industries.

The report says building a second Poe-sized lock would pump up to $1.7 billion into the economy - about three times more than it would cost. The project was authorized in 1986 but hasn't been funded.

The Associated Press.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 17

NORTHERN VENTURE closed the Welland Canal for the season as she passed downbound for Hamilton with coal in 1975.

In 1978, the CLIFFS VICTORY, JOSEPH H. FRANTZ, WILLIAM G. MATHER, ROBERT C. NORTON, CRISPIN OGLEBAY and J. BURTON AYERS formed a convoy in the Detroit River bound for Cleveland.

PHILIP D. BLOCK (Hull#789) was launched at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building in 1925.

The tanker GREAT LAKES was launched in 1963, as the a.) SINCLAIR GREAT LAKES (Hull#1577) at Decatur, Alabama, by Ingalls Iron Works Co.

JOHN E. F. MISENER was float launched in 1951, as a.) SCOTT MISENER (Hull#11) at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd.

January 17, 1902 - PERE MARQUETTE 2 ran aground at Ludington.

PERE MARQUETTE 19 grounded in limited visibility on January 17, 1916, two miles south of Big Point Sable, Michigan, 600 feet off shore. The captain made three unsuccessful attempts to find the Ludington Harbor entrance and on the turn around for the fourth attempt she grounded.

On 17 January 1899, the GERMANIA (wooden propeller freighter, 136 foot, 237 gross tons, built in 1875, at Marine City, Michigan) caught fire and burned to the water's edge at Ecorse, Michigan. The previous day, Norman Reno of Ecorse did some painting inside the cabin and it was presumed that the stove used to heat the cabin may have caused the blaze. The vessel was in winter lay-up at the rear of the home of Mr. W. G. Smith, her owner.

2000: FEDERAL VIBEKE got stuck in the ice on the St. Lawrence and was almost carried into the bridge at Quebec City. The vessel was bound for Sorel with steel. It first came to the Great Lakes in 1993 after previous visits as a) NOSIRA LIN beginning in 1981, b) DAN BAUTA in 1989, and c) KRISTIANIAFJORD in 1991. It was back as e) KALISTI in 2000 and f) NOBILITY in 2004. This bulk carrier arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as h) OPAL II and was beached on November 14, 2012.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Anatomy of a grounding: Investigator shares details of Blough casualty

1/16 - Duluth, Minn. – The lake freighter that grounded last spring in the southeasternmost pool of Lake Superior known as Whitefish Bay was attempting to pass a dead ship being towed out of the lake.

In an interview with the News Tribune, the lead investigator of the U.S. Coast Guard's inquiry also revealed that the grounding of the Roger Blough caused so much damage to the ship as to make it the rare "major marine casualty" on the Great Lakes.

"There are different levels of marine casualty," said Lt. Daniel Every of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie. "A major marine casualty would be something with $500,000 damage or more."

The Roger Blough suffered $4.5 million worth of damages, Every said, based on the cost of steel and labor to replace the parts of the hull impacted by the grounding. The investigation is still considered open and will be until Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C., signs off on the final report, which will include safety and other recommendations directed at the people and companies involved and possibly even the government itself.

"I've written several," said Every, who could not go into detail about those recommendations or answer the question of culpability. What he did do was describe the 858-foot boat skidding to a stop on May 27, requiring the Blough to be unloaded at sea in a complex arrangement that lasted nearly two weeks.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Grounded tanker freed from Cape Breton shore

1/16 - Syndey, N.S. – The grounded bunkering tanker Arca 1 has been freed from the coast of Little Pond, N.S., and is now tied to a dock in the Sydney harbor after being stranded for a week. McKeil Marine Ltd., a marine transportation firm, and the Canadian Coast Guard worked together to remove the vessel during high tide Sunday morning.

"The work was done safely and professionally and proficiently. There were no lives lost, no injuries and no harm to the environment," said Keith Laidlaw, a senior response officer with the Coast Guard's environmental branch.

The Arca 1's crew of six were removed from the tanker in a helicopter rescue last Sunday. The tanker was towed out of the area around 10 a.m. Sunday, after high seas and winds foiled earlier attempts to free the vessel.

First, crews pumped out the ballast water in the hull. Ships carry ballast to increase stability and it was pumped out to make the Arca 1 lighter and easier to tow.

"They took several hundred tonnes (300 tonnes) of ballast water off the vessel...and it floated free," said Stephen Bornais, a spokesman for the Canadian Coast Guard who was at the scene when the ship was removed.

A towline attached to the 53-metre ship was used by a tugboat to pull it into deeper water during high tide Sunday morning.

The Arca 1's engine failed last Sunday during stormy weather north of Sydney Mines. With no propulsion the ship was pushed toward the shoreline and ended up grounded. Laidlaw said Arca 1 is now in the owner's hands.

"The owner has been very cooperative and very available and very responsive up until this point," said Laidlaw.

"Coast Guard is looking at demobilizing our incident command post, probably tomorrow, and, as in all these incidents ... there will be a report."



Port Reports -  January 16

Duluth, Minn. – Daniel Lindner, Jason Fyten
Sisterships Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson arrived Duluth on Sunday for winter layup. Philip R. Clarke docked across the slip from American Spirit at Port Terminal, and Arthur M. Anderson laid up at CN. Roger Blough was inbound late Sunday evening, and docked at Port Terminal. Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to be the final vessel of the season, and will arrive on Monday for winter layup at Fraser Shipyards. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin is also due on Monday, and will load iron ore pellets at Burlington Northern that she will presumably take to Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie.

St. Marys River
Manitowoc (for Toledo) and John B. Aird (for Goderich) were downbound on Sunday. Manitoulin, headed to Essar, was upbound and was the final upbound passage through the locks before they closed for the winter Sunday night. Presque Isle was in the locks downbound at 10 p.m. Michipicoten was also in the upper river, bound for Essar Steel.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was upbound off the tip of the Door Peninsula Sunday evening, headed for the CN dock.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Korey Garceau
Edwin H. Gott arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for winter layup on Sunday.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
James L. Barker arrived in the evening to unload at Arcelor/Mittal.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird is due in to load salt.

Detroit, Mich.
American Integrity was downbound Sunday headed for Conneaut. She was followed by the Algosteel. Hon. James L. Oberstar was unloading what was likely her last cargo of the season in the Rouge River.

Sandusky, Ohio
CSL Assiniboine was loading in Sandusky on Sunday.

Port Colborne, Ont. – Matt Koerner
Whitefish Bay arrived in Port Colborne Saturday night and docked SE wall of Lock 8.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 16

COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS (Hull#791) was launched in 1926, at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co.

In 1987, DETROIT EDISON, at Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping, was raised after being scuttled by vandals.

On 16 January 1909, TECUMSEH (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 200 foot, 839 gross tons, built in 1873, at Chatham, Ontario) burned to a total loss at her winter berth at Goderich, Ontario.

In 1978, CANADIAN CENTURY and NORTHERN VENTURE departed Toronto for Hamilton with coal after laying up at that port due to the bridge tender’s strike, which closed the Burlington Lift Bridge to navigation.

On 16 January 1875, The Port Huron Times printed the following list of vessels that were total losses in 1874: Tug IDA H. LEE by collision in Milwaukee, Tug TAWAS by explosion off Sand Beach, Steamer W H BARNUM by collision in the Pelee Passage, Steamer TOLEDO by partially burning at Manistee, Tug WAVE by burning on Saginaw Bay, Tug DOUGLAS by burning on the Detroit River, Steamer BROOKLYN by explosion on the Detroit River, Steamer LOTTA BERNARD by foundering on Lake Superior.

1926: The wooden steamer PALM BAY caught fire while laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario, and was scuttled in Lake Ontario the next year. It had previously sailed as a) PUEBLO and b) RICHARD W.

1988: ASHLAND, enroute to scrapping in Taiwan, dragged anchor off Bermuda and ran aground on the rocks in severe winds. It was pulled free 4 days later with heavy bottom damage and barely made Mamonal, Colombia, for scrapping on February 5.

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


McAsphalt Marine to rename tug Victorious after co-founder Leo A. McArthur

1/15 - Toronto, Ont. – McAsphalt Marine Transportation Limited has announced the renaming of the tug Victorious to Leo A. McArthur in memory of one of the two founding partners of the Miller-McAsphalt Group of Companies.

The tug was built in 2009 at Penglai Bohai shipyard in China. The Canadian-flagged tug is 35.7m long with a beam of 13.5m and a depth of 8.0m. It is powered by two MaK 2500 H.P engines and is paired with the double hulled, OPA 90 compliant barge John J. Carrick.

The Leo A. McArthur/John J. Carrick is ice-strengthened and fully integrated with an Articouple mechanical linkage system. The articulated tug/barge (ATB) combination was specifically engineered and built for the transportation of asphalt and other high temperature black oil products. The barge can load a total capacity of 70,000bbls while requiring less than 6.7 meters of draft making it one of the safest and most capable high heat ATB’s in Canada.

Leo A. McArthur and John J. Carrick founded McAsphalt Industries Limited in 1970, purchased Miller Paving in 1977 and grew the Miller-McAsphalt Group into one of Canada’s largest road construction and asphalt supply companies. John J. Carrick passed away in 2004 and Leo A. McArthur in 2016. Both will be reunited at a re-naming dedication ceremony to be held in Windsor on January 16th, 2017.

McAsphalt Marine Transportation


Port Reports -  January 15

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Presque Isle finally finished loading and was underway Saturday evening. This was the last vessel of the season at the Twin Ports and will likely be the final downbound passage at the Soo Sunday evening before the locks close for the winter.

Lake Superior
Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson were keeping each other company across Lake Superior Saturday. The Anderson’s AIS read “Duluth & home.”

Marquette, Mich.
Michipicoten was loading Saturday and will head to Essar when finished.

St. Marys River
Lee A. Tregurtha docked at Essar to unload on Saturday morning. She is expected to lay up at Fraser Shipyards on Monday. Roger Blough was upbound, headed for winter layup at Duluth. Hon. James L. Oberstar and American Integrity were down bound early, followed by Algosteel and Thunder Bay. John B. Aird and Joseph H. Thompson were stopped in the upper river, possibly waiting for daylight before continuing downbound.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Edwin H. Gott will be transiting the ship canal on Sunday morning about 7:30 a.m. Eastern time. She will sit in the ice till Monday afternoon off of the dry dock, then go on the blocks.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Stewart J. Cort was inbound for layup under the Daniel Hoan Bridge at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Muskegon, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Saturday the tug Barbra Andrie was breaking ice in anticipation of the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain with cement barge Innovation, which are due in Sunday afternoon for Lafarge Cement. Once unloaded, they will head to Alpena for another load. All times are subject to change with weather and ice conditions.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Sam Hankinson
Candace Elise was inbound Grand Haven Saturday afternoon, breaking ice up river for the last freighter of the season which will be inbound after dark.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Transport departed Saturday with salt for Milwaukee.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Philip deKat
John D. Leitch arrived just before 0630 on January 14 for lay-up. She is docked on the east side of harbor, north of the Miller cement silos and Algoma Olympic.

Detroit, Mich.
Ashtabula/Defiance were moored at the mouth of the Rouge River Saturday night. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was unloading at Zug Island.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The Torco Ore Docks will remain open after the Soo Locks close down for the 2016 season. Great Lakes Trader and the Joseph H. Thompson will be handling ore cargoes from Escanaba to Torco. It is unknown at this time how long these two vessels will operate for this trade. In previous years when this happened the boats operated into February.

Cleveland, Ohio
Saginaw was in port on Saturday. Her next destination is listed as Port Colborne.


High winds delay attempt to tow grounded tanker

1/15 - Little Pond, N.S. – Crews will attempt to free the grounded tanker near Little Pond, N.S., Sunday morning at high tide. Officials had previously said Saturday night would be an ideal opportunity to try to move the 53-metre tanker, but the attempt was called off due to poor weather.

"It's all relying on the weather and tide and wind conditions," said Keith Laidlaw, senior response officer with the Canadian Coast Guard and incident commander for Arca 1.

Engine failure caused Arca 1 to run aground last Sunday amidst stormy winter weather north of Sydney Mines. The salvage company tasked with the tow job, McKeil Marine, unsuccessfully tried to move the tanker on Tuesday. Laidlaw said they watched the wind and sea state all day Saturday and conditions caused delays moving assets into place.

"Everything was like borderline," he said. "We wanted everything in place just in case the wind dropped down and the sea calmed down in time to do this."

That didn't happen and the attempt was called off around 4 p.m. Aside from getting favorable weather, there needs to be enough time to get the tow rope in place and small boats on site, all while contending with the tide times, said Laidlaw.

"Our first priority is safety. There isn't a grounded tanker in the world that's worth a person's life."

Earlier this week, provincial Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said he was not concerned Arca 1 could turn into a repeat of the situation with the Canadian Miner, a ship that ran aground off Cape Breton and took years and cost millions of dollars to remove.

Laidlaw said officials met Saturday to determine "the soonest, safest time is to get this done."

The bunkering tanker wasn't carrying cargo but there are about 16 tonnes of fuel on board for its own engines. Although some local fishermen have expressed concerns about the vessel remaining in place while it still has fuel on board, Laidlaw said the double hull construction of the tanker means that fuel remains secure.

"Even if the hull got punctured, it wouldn't affect the fuel tank. The fuel is well protected," he said.



Iron ore shipments rebound as Soo Locks close for 8 weeks of maintenance

1/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Soo Locks will close Sunday night for annual maintenance work, bringing to close a 2016 shipping season that saw a rebound in iron ore shipments but an overall drop in total cargo movement.

On Friday, Jan. 13, the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers Association reported that U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 3.3 million tons of cargo in 2016, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to 2015.

The 2016 cargo total was also 7.7 percent below the fleet's 5-year average.

Iron ore shipments, however, totaled 44.1 million tons, 7.8 percent bump over 2015. Taconite shipments out of Lake Superior ports have rebounded after slump in demand for American steel in 2015 and part of 2016.

A late-season push helped dig iron ore shipments out of the hole they fell into last year, aided by an increase in domestic steel production in 2016.

Read more and view photos at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 15

In 1978, the upbound McKEE SONS, LEON FALK JR, WILLIAM P. SNYDER JR, A.H. FERBERT and CHAMPLAIN became stuck in heavy ice outside Cleveland Harbor. Eventually they were freed with the help of the U.S.C.G. icebreaker NORTHWIND and the U.S.C.G. MARIPOSA.

FORT YORK (Hull#160) was launched January 15, 1958, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

In 1917, the ANN ARBOR NO 6 left Ecorse for Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 15 January 1873, A. Muir began building a wooden 3-mast schooner ("full sized canaller") at his shipyard in Port Huron. Fourteen men were employed to work on her, including master builder James Perry. The schooner was to be the exact counterpart of the GROTON, the first vessel built at that yard. The vessel's dimensions were 138-foot keel, 145 foot overall, 26 foot 2 inches beam and 11 foot 6 inch depth.

On 15 January 1886, the tug KITTIE HAIGHT was sold to Mr. Fisken of Toronto for $3,900.

1986: The former Greek freighter PAULINA C., a Seaway trader beginning in 1976, ran aground off the Dutch coast near Rotterdam as c) RIO GRANDE. It was refloated January 23 and became d) NEPTUNIA later in 1986. It arrived at Bombay, India, for scrapping on December 3, 1986.

1990: The tanker MAYA FARBER came through the Seaway in 1981. It was anchored off Port Sudan as e) RAAD AL-BAKRY VIII when there was an explosion in a cargo tank. Fire broke out and the vessel was gutted. The hull later broke in two and the after end sank. The forebody was sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on March 28, 1990.

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


U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes down 4.5 percent in 2016

1/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 83.3 million tons of cargo in 2016, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to 2015. The 2016 float was also 7.7 percent below the fleet’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos totaled 44.1 million tons, an increase of 7.8 percent. However, all other commodities decreased. Coal was down 26.6 percent. Limestone (mostly aggregate and fluxstone) dipped by 8.4 percent. Cement decreased by 6 percent.

Salt cargos were off by nearly 11 percent. Shipments of sand fell by 17.1 percent and grain decreased by almost 30 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Soo Locks set to close for the season Sunday

1/14 - Detroit, Mich. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces the seasonal closing of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Jan. 15. The Locks will undergo maintenance and repairs until the Navigation Season re-opens on March 25.

"The Soo Locks are critical to the Great Lakes Navigation System and we have a tremendous team that operates and maintains them daily," said Lt. Col. Dennis Sugrue, district engineer. "This important maintenance and repair period is our highest priority, and is vital to the next shipping season. This work keeps the locks functioning safely and reliably for the benefit of our nation." Planned winter maintenance work includes Poe Lock hydraulic system testing and final commissioning, Poe Lock anchorage replacements and MacArthur Lock dewatering bulkhead weld repairs and coating replacement. Both locks are scheduled to reopen on March 25. The MacArthur Lock closed for season December 19.

More than 4,500 vessels carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo maneuver through the locks annually. Iron ore, coal, wheat and limestone are among the most frequently carried commodities. Opened in 1969, the Poe Lock is 1,200 feet long. The MacArthur Lock was opened in 1943 and is 800 feet long.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Port Reports -  January 14

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
John B. Aird departed Duluth just before noon on Friday after unloading salt at Hallett #8 and headed for Goderich. Thunder Bay departed Superior mid-morning after loading iron ore pellets at Burlington Northern.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
American Integrity departed Two Harbors before sunrise on Friday, bound for Conneaut with ore. Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and Presque Isle both arrived early to load ore. The Thompson was outbound during the afternoon. Presque Isle, the final vessel to load in Two Harbors for the 2016-17 season, was due to depart late Friday evening.

Marquette, Mich.
Hon. James L. Oberstar and Manitowoc were loading Friday night.

St. Marys River
Arthur M. Anderson and Philip R. Clarke were upbound during the day Friday headed for Duluth for winter lay up. Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound at DeTour Friday night late. She is expected to lay up at Fraser Shipyards on Monday, after a stop to unload at Essar.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Edwin H. Gott arrived outside of the Sturgeon Bay canal on Friday afternoon for winter layup, but she stopped and dropped anchor just outside of the canal entrance. She is presumably waiting for Bay Shipbuilding to make her berth ready, and should arrive on Saturday. The Gott is the sixth ship to lay up in Sturgeon Bay so far this winter; at least another five vessels should arrive within the next week or so.

St. Joseph, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Tug Samuel de Champlain with cement barge Innovation are due to make a late season delivery of cement in the early morning Saturday. Times could change with weather and ice conditions.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Joseph L. Block was at ArcelorMittal Friday night.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Steward J. Cort unloaded her final cargo of the season Friday and is now bound for winter lay up at Milwaukee, Wis.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin departed early Friday. AIS reports she is going to Superior/Duluth.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Terry Doyen
On Friday the CCGS Samuel Risley cleared a spot for the John D. Leitch, expected to arrive at 7a.m. Saturday for winter lay up. Algoma Olympic and Algoway are already tied up for the winter.

Sandusky, Ohio
Ashtabula and Manitoulin were in port Friday night. Manitoulin’s AIS reports an ETA of Sault Ste. Marie at one minute before midnight on Jan. 15. The locks close for the season at midnight.


Study sees $1.7 billion economic benefit from Soo Locks modernization

1/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – A new study commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department lists modernization of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., as one of the 40 American transportation and water “megaprojects” that could bring as much as $1.3 trillion in national economic benefits. The system resiliency that a second Poe-sized lock will provide has an estimated net economic benefit of as much as $1.7 billion, according to the study. The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Lake Superior is home to five iron ore loading ports, as well as the largest coal and grain shipping ports. Without the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, those cargos could not reach steelmakers, utilities and overseas markets. As the study notes, more than 60 percent of the current U.S. and Canadian fleet is restricted by size to the Poe Lock. Any type of service disruption or closure would result in vessel delays, and outages of the aging Poe Lock (it was built in 1969) are expected to increase. The study further notes that in the event of a closure, there may not be viable alternatives to transporting the more than 40 million tons of iron ore and coal to U.S. manufacturers along the Great Lakes. In fact, a 2016 Department of Homeland Security report on a six-month closure of the Poe Lock forecast 11 million jobs lost nationally as steel production and manufacturing quickly grind to a virtual halt. Construction of a second Poe-sized lock was authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, but an inaccurate analysis of the benefit/cost (b/c) ratio has stalled the project. The Treasury Department study puts the project’s b/c ratio between 2.0 and 4.0, well above the level required for inclusion in an Administration budget and notes that the Federal guidance followed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in determining the current b/c ratio does not fully capture impacts to the nation for each closure of the Poe Lock. “This new study is further proof that a second Poe-sized lock will be a wise investment, said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the Great Lakes. “The project is shovel ready. We just need an accurate b/c ratio.” Weakley further noted a second Poe-sized lock fits perfectly in President-elect Trump’s plan to invest in infrastructure. “The project will require 1.5 million labor-hours over the 10-year construction period. The jobs it will create have been likened to opening an auto plant in the Upper Peninsula. And the economic benefit will exceed $1.7 billion.” Lake Carriers’ Association T


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 14

On this day in 1970, IRVING S. OLDS entered winter layup at Lorain to close the longest season in Great Lakes shipping history.

On 14 January 1945, the W. Butler Shipyard built C1-M-AV1 ship LEBANON (Hull#40) was the last vessel through the Soo Locks. Ice was a serious problem. The newly-commissioned icebreaker U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW escorted the LEBANON to Lake Huron. The locks had never before been open this late in January. They were kept open to allow newly-built cargo vessels to sail from Superior, Wisconsin, to the Atlantic Ocean where they were needed for the war effort.

Scrapping began on CHICAGO TRIBUNE in 1989, by International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne, Ontario. January 14, 1920 - The Grand Trunk carferry GRAND HAVEN was fast in the ice three miles out of Grand Haven.

In 1977, CANADIAN MARINER laid up at the Consol Fuel dock in Windsor after her attempt to reach Port Colborne was thwarted by heavy ice off Long Point.

On Jan 14, 1978, JAMES R. BARKER departed the Soo Line ore dock in Ashland, Wisconsin, where she had been laid-up since August 7, 1977, due to the iron ore miner’s strike.

1946: The BADGER STATE, a former Great Lakes canal ship as a) FORDONIAN, b) YUKONDOC and c) GEORGIAN, foundered off the mouth of the Grijalva River in the Gulf of Mexico.

1969: SAGAMO, retired former flagship of the Lake Muskoka passenger ships in Central Ontario, burned at the dock in Gravenhurst as a total loss.

1981: The former Lake Erie rail car ferry and later barge MAITLAND NO. 1 rolled over between Yarmouth, NS and Rockland, ME. An attempt to tow the vessel upside down failed and it sank. The ship was under tow of IRVING MAPLE and bound for Port Everglades, FL with a load of scrap. It may have been renamed b) TRIO TRADO at Quebec City on the way south.

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


Salvagers will try again this weekend to free stranded tanker Arca 1

1/13 - Little Pond, N.S. – A marine salvage contractor will try again this weekend to move the tanker that ran aground off Cape Breton, according to the Canadian Coast Guard. McKeil Marine Ltd. tried to move the Arca 1, which is owned by Petroil Marine of Mexico, early Tuesday evening but was unsuccessful.

"The first attempt showed a need for a larger tug and additional equipment. There were some mechanical issues with the tanker," said Keith Laidlaw, a coast guard senior response officer.

"Those things have all been considered and we have additional equipment on site to handle it. We have additional pumps, tow lines have been put on board the tanker today to prepare for the next attempt."

Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan said he's satisfied the salvage operation is going as smoothly as possible.

"From a technical perspective, it looks like everything is in check. Obviously the longer the vessel sits there, the more opportunity for some kind of catastrophe to take place," he said. "Every hour that goes by, there's obviously a cause for concern."

The provincial Transportation Department is not part of the effort to free the ship, he said. Unlike the former laker Canadian Miner, which spent four years stranded at Scaterie Island before it was removed, the company that owns Arca 1 is taking responsibility,

The Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada have reviewed the salvage plan with McKeil Marine and have asked for additional information about the stability of the vessel before the next attempt to remove it, Laidlaw said. "

About 400 tonnes of ballast water will have to be pumped out in order to add a foot and a half of clearance to float the vessel, which ran aground Sunday en route from Montreal to Mexico. The other complication was the 60 centimetres of ice that topped the ballast water tanks, Laidlaw added.

The good news is the Arca 1's hull remains intact and tanks carrying 16,000 litres of fuel are not compromised, he said.

Laidlaw could not give an exact time when the next attempt will be made to move the ship. High tides in the area on Saturday and Sunday are between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., and 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

"We are at the mercy of the tide, wind and sea conditions. We need to have all three of those things lining up," he said.

A longer towline is being manufactured and a large tug will move the ship from the sandy bottom where it is lying before switching the line over to a smaller tug that will move the vessel to Sydney harbor.

"We were fortunate there were tugs in the area to start with. Normally we have to wait days, or a week," Laidlaw said.



Port Reports -  January 13

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
After waiting for weather conditions to improve, James R. Barker departed Duluth from CN late Thursday afternoon, bound for Indiana Harbor. This will be the Barker's last trip before heading to Sturgeon Bay for layup. John B. Aird arrived during the evening hours to discharge salt at Hallett #8. Thunder Bay arrived in Superior mid-afternoon Thursday to load iron ore pellets at BN.

Two Harbors, Minn.
American Integrity was loading Thursday night. Joseph H. Thompson was waiting and Presque Isle was enroute.

Marquette, Mich.
Hon. James L. Oberstar was loading Thursday evening. This will be her last cargo of the year. Michipicoten arrived late to load.

St. Marys River
Great Lakes Trader was downbound in the afternoon on her last trip of the season. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. followed after dark, headed for Zug Island. Manitowoc was at Essar, and Algosteel was at the Export Dock. USCG Mackinaw was hove to in Mud Lake.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Dan McNeil
Tug G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity arrived Lafarge Jan. 1 for winter layup.

Goderich, Ont.
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived Thursday and tied up at the grain elevator.

Detroit, Mich. – Interlake Steamship Co.
Kaye E. Barker unloaded in Dearborn Thursday. After 90 trips criss-crossing the lakes this season, she and her crew are headed to the barn.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The John J. Boland arrived at the CSX# 2 Coal Dock for winter layup on Thursday morning.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss, Dan McNeil
The steamer Alpena arrived Thursday morning with a winter storage load of cement for Lafarge. Karen Andrie was also in port. Cuyahoga was taking on a cargo of salt at Cargill in the evening.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 13

13 January 2005 - GENESIS EXPLORER (steel propeller tanker, 435 foot, built in 1974, at Port Weller, Ontario, formerly a.) IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR & b.) ALGOSAR) sailed from Halifax for Quebec City. She was registered in the Comoros Islands. She was carrying a few members of her former crew for training purposes, but her new crew was African.

On 13 January 1918, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA and the Grand Trunk ferries MILWAUKEE and GRAND HAVEN all became stuck in the ice off Grand Haven, Michigan. The vessels remained imprisoned in the ice for the next two weeks. When the wind changed, they were freed but Grand Haven’s harbor was still inaccessible. The ALABAMA sailed for Muskegon and stalled in the 18-inch thick ice on Muskegon Lake.

After lightering 3,000 tons of coal, the a.) BENSON FORD was refloated in 1974 and proceeded to the Toledo Overseas Terminal to be reloaded.

In 1979, the U.S.C.G. tug ARUNDEL was beset by windrowed ice at Minneapolis Shoal in Green Bay. Strong winds piled the ice on her stern and soon she had a 25-degree list. The crew feared that she may sink and abandoned the tug, walking across the ice with the help of a spotlight onboard the ACACIA, which also became beset by the heavy ice. The MACKINAW, SUNDEW and a Coast Guard helicopter were dispatched to the scene, but northwest winds relieved the ice pressure and the crew was able to re-board the ARUNDEL. The ARUNDEL sails today as the tug c.) ERIKA KOBASIC.

On January 13, 1970, the lower engine room and holds of the SEWELL AVERY accidentally flooded, sinking her to the bottom of Duluth Harbor causing minimal damage, other than an immense cleanup effort.

January 13, 1909 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 was freed after her grounding the previous December.

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


Last layup? Familiar Algoway to be replaced by new freighter

1/12 - Owen Sound, Ont. – This will likely be the last time the lake freighter Algoway spends a winter in the Owen Sound harbor.

“We do expect this to be her last season as she will be replaced by one of the new 650s currently under construction in Croatia,” said Peter Winkley, vice-president, finance and chief financial officer at Algoma Central Corp.

The 646-foot Algoway, which is currently moored next to the Owen Sound Grain Elevators, was built in 1972 at the Collingwood Shipyards. The self-unloading bulk carrier is to be replaced by a new 650-foot Equinox Class vessel, which is being built on the northern shores of the Adriatic Sea. It's part of a fleet renewal and expansion project by Algoma Central.

The Algoway has been in the Owen Sound harbor many times over the years. This winter, both the Algoway and Algoma Olympic, which are owned by Algoma Central Corp., are spending the season in Owen Sound for off-season work. They will likely remain in the harbor until the Great Lakes sailing season begins in the spring, Winkley said.

A third Algoma Central ship – the John D. Leitch – had been scheduled to arrive Wednesday. The 50-year-old lake freighter was to be escorted into the harbor by the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley. However, the Risley was sent to do another task in the north channel of Lake Huron, so it will not be coming to Owen Sound until next week, said Kevin Hill, a spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Soo Locks close at midnight on Sunday

1/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – When clocks turn midnight on Jan. 15, shipping season on the upper Great Lakes will come to an official close as the Soo Locks shut down for their annual winter maintenance period.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers will begin their intensive maintenance period by completing a plethora of projects before shipping season resumes March 25. The winter work blitzkrieg will pack as much work as possible in roughly eight weeks and include maintenance and inspections.

"We stay open for any ship that leaves a Lake Superior port before midnight on the 14th," said Soo Area Engineer Kevin Sprague. "Every year it's the same date."

Sprague added that major projects this winter will include replacing embedded anchors and doing hydraulic work on the Poe Lock, the system's oldest operating chamber. The engineer noted that the scheduled work will be "wet" or done with water in the locks.

"We have a lot of miscellaneous jobs on a smaller scale," continued Sprague. "They add up to take quite a bit of time."

The MacArthur Lock will receive attention through a series of upkeep routines over the two-plus months. A new sand job, welding and paint job are in store of the smaller lock. The lock's dewatering bulkheads will be the primary beneficiary of the care. The bulkheads help drain water from the chamber during the year's when the maintenance is performed in an empty lock.

The manic work pace can condense roughly 10 weeks of work into eight figured Sprague. He expects over 200 contractors to help assist with the repairs and inspections. The Corps tries to finish the work a week before the March 25 opening to help the Coast Guard break ice.

"The last few years we've had good budgets," concluded Sprague, mentioning that the funding has helped complete a lot of work and "recapitalize major equipment."

Soo Evening News


Port Reports -  January 12

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
James R. Barker continued loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in Duluth on Wednesday. She was expected to depart late evening, but may be waiting for weather conditions to improve.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Great Lakes Trader and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. both departed Two Harbors on Wednesday during the day. American Integrity arrived during the early afternoon to load. Joseph H. Thompson and Presque Isle are expected on Thursday, however the weather may delay their arrivals.

St. Marys River
Manitoulin was at Essar Steel Wednesday night. Algosteel was at the Essar Export Dock. Algonova was unloading at the Purvis Dock. USCG Mackinaw was hove to in Mud Lake. Upbound traffic in the evening included Hon. James L. Oberstar. Cason J. Callaway was downbound earlier in the day.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Transport departed Wednesday evening with salt for Fisher Harbour.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Buffalo arrived at the former C&O Ore Dock for winter layup on Wednesday morning. She is directly across from the American Mariner. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay was escorting the tug Karen Andrie and her barge through the ice in western Lake Erie. The tug/barge combo is bound for Cleveland, Ohio. After the escort was completed, Morro Bay returned back to western Lake Erie and is waiting for the next vessels to be escorted through the ice.


Larger tug to be used to shift grounded Arca 1 off Cape Breton

1/12 - Sydney Mines, N.S. – A tanker remains grounded on the sandy bottom of a Cape Breton bay, as a salvage company readies a more powerful tug after a failed attempt to dislodge the boat Tuesday night. The bid to refloat and tow the Arca 1 resulted in only minor movements towards deeper water, Olous Boag, vice president of McKeil Marine, said Wednesday.

Boag said the tow was called off shortly after high tide, and it was determined the larger tug Tim McKeil would be required.

He said in an interview the company had hoped that by pumping out the 300 tonnes of ballast water from the tanker, it would have permitted a smaller tug to pull the vessel off the sand north of Sydney Mines, N.S.

However, difficulties breaking through a half metre of ice to install portable pumps to remove ballast water caused slowdowns – and it turned out additional portable pumps will be needed to fully empty the tanks between low and high tides. Only about half of the ballast water was pumped off in the first attempt.

“It turns out we need the larger horsepower and additional pumps,” said Boag.

The salvage executive says the firm remains optimistic the tanker can be moved in a few days, but it will require bringing in additional steel wire and floating rope because the more powerful tug must stay about a kilometre away from the grounded vessel.

Boag said the vessel is sitting in just 60 centimetres of water. “At low water, you can almost walk around the Arca,” he said.

There will be “challenges” in setting up the next towing effort, he said, including worsening weather and the freezing of ballast water. Tests will also be needed to ensure the force of the tow doesn’t rip off the connection points to the tanker, he added.

The precise timing of the next attempt to move the ship will depend on daily forecasts and wind speeds, and the Canadian Coast Guard must approve the plan, said Boag.

The Arca 1 – which is carrying 15 tonnes of fuel for its own engines – ran aground just north of Sydney Mines on Sunday after losing engine power, and its six-member crew was rescued later that day.

The tanker was en route to Mexico carrying no cargo when it experienced mechanical difficulties.

Global News


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 12

The steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, under tow, reached her intended destination of Santander, Spain on January 11, 1974, for scrapping.

In 1970, IRVING S. OLDS was the last ship of the season at the Soo Locks as she followed the PHILIP R. CLARKE downbound.

In 1973, ROGER BLOUGH collided with PHILIP R. CLARKE after the CLARKE encountered an ice pressure ridge and came to a stop in the Straits of Mackinac.

On 11 January 1962, ARCTURUS, formerly JAMES B. WOOD, was under tow of the Portuguese tug PRAIA GRANDE on the way to Norway to be scrapped when she foundered off the Azores at position 46.10N x 8.50W.

January 11, 1911 - ANN ARBOR NO 5 arrived in Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

On 11 January 1883, The Port Huron Times reported that a citizens' committee met to help Port Huron businesses. "A. N. Moffat decried the taxation of vessel property. High taxation of vessel property had driven much of it away from Port Huron. He cited the case of Capt. David Lester of Marine City who came to Port Huron a few years ago to live and would have brought here one of the largest fleets on the Great Lakes, but when he found what taxes would be, returned to Marine City."

1919: The laker CASTALIA left the lakes in two pieces and was rejoined at Lauzon, Quebec, for a new career on the Atlantic in 1918. The ship broke in two 65 miles off Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and the crew was rescued by the BERGENFJORD.

1962: The retired Interlake Steamship Company bulk carrier ARCTURUS was under tow of the tug PRIA GRANDE for scrapping in Europe when it sank in the Atlantic in position 46.10 N / 8.50 W.

1965: CELIA B. made 15 trips through the Seaway in 1959-1962 under Liberian registry. The vessel arrived at Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, as f) SEA MAID with engine damage and having lost its propeller. The ship was ultimately deemed not worth repairing and arrived at Rotterdam, Netherlands, under tow for scrapping on June 22, 1966.

1974: The first FEDERAL HUDSON to visit the Great Lakes was sailing as d) GOLDEN KING when it struck the wreck of the THETIS off Chittagong, Bangladesh, while inbound from Singapore Roads. It was beached in sinking condition and sustained water damage at high tide. The vessel was refloated on February 13, 1974, and taken to Chittagong to unload and get repaired. It was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as d) CHAR HSIUNG in 1980.

1981: ARNA began Seaway trading in 1965. It stranded off Shimonoseki, Japan, as b) IQBALBAKSH and was declared a total loss. The vessel was sold to South Korean shipbreakers and arrived at Busan, under tow on August 2, 1981.

1993: EUROJOY was anchored off Cadiz, Spain, when a spontaneous combustion fire broke out in the cargo of coal that had been bound for Turkey. The ship was listed as a total loss and sold for scrap but was repaired. It sailed additional years until scrapping at Alang, India, as g) LENA II in 1998. It first visited the Seaway as a) ATLANTIC CHALLENGE in 1971 and returned as b) ANGEBALTIC in 1981, c) ASTURIAS in 1986 and e) EUROJOY in 1990.

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


First attempt to tow tanker grounded off Cape Breton ends in failure

1/11 - Little Pond, N.S. – An attempt to tow a vessel grounded off Cape Breton ended in failure Tuesday evening when the salvage contractor couldn't remove enough ballast water from the ship, according to the Canadian Coast Guard.

The removal of Arca 1, which ran aground Sunday north of Sydney Mines, had been scheduled to coincide with the evening high tide, around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The ship, which was sailing to Mexico from Montreal, lost engine power in a winter gale and its six-member crew had to be rescued by helicopter. The vessel is carrying 15 tonnes of fuel for its engines. The contractor had been working to pump out ballast water since boarding the Arca 1 Tuesday afternoon, but ran into some trouble with frozen pumps.

Coast Guard officials said additional pumps were brought on board, but the tide began to turn before enough water was removed to give the ship the necessary buoyancy. The tow effort had to be abandoned around 7 p.m. and the Coast Guard said with inclement weather moving in, there will not be another attempt to move the ship on Wednesday.

Tuesday's attempt involved two tugs, two Coast Guard vessels and two DFO conservation and protection vessels. The contractor began pumping ballast water back on to the ship to give it more stability to ride out high seas and officials will monitor the weather for the next window of opportunity.

McKeil Marine Ltd. is the salvage company hired for the towing operation. Vice-president Olous Boag said the company delayed an effort initially scheduled for Tuesday morning to give it more time to assess how the operation could be carried out. The company, which has headquarters in Hamilton, Ont., operates on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and the East Coast.

Boag said earlier Tuesday his firm would use its salvage tug Tim McKeil along with a smaller tug, the Kaliutik, to attempt to tow the vessel to Sydney harbor.

He said that while he was optimistic the vessel can be towed off, "it may not come at the first try."

Senior coast guard response officer Keith Laidlaw said Tuesday that the tow process, once successfully completed, "will be very slow." The vessel will be towed to Sydney harbor where it will be secured.

"During the whole operation, the coast guard will be monitoring. We'll have conservation protection vessels out there doing safety and security," said Laidlaw. Once in Sydney, "the vessel will be inspected for why the incident happened to start with," he said.

He could not say if the Arca 1 will be permitted to continue its voyage to Mexico following the inspection.

The prospect of having the ship hauled away just days after it ran aground was music to the ears of Amanda McDougall, the new municipal councillor in the area, who remembers the almost four-year fight to have the former laker Canadian Miner removed from her community of Main-à-Dieu, N.S.

"Time is of the essence," she said. "You have to move fast. The longer that boat stays there idle on the shoreline, the more precarious the situation becomes."

When she heard that the Arca 1 had foundered off Little Pond, near Sydney Mines, she admits to feeling "nervously nostalgic." But those feelings have been somewhat allayed by the quick response of federal authorities who demanded that the Mexican owners of the vessel take responsibility right away.

"Making sure that the shipowner contracts a tug as soon as possible — that in itself was very reassuring, because I know with the Miner that was the biggest problem," she said. "Had that action been taken immediately, we wouldn't have had a vessel stuck on our shores for close to four years."

The salvage team determined Monday night the vessel's flat bottom wasn't damaged and that a large amount of ballast water on the ship could be pumped off to increase the vessel's buoyancy, he said.

The key challenge is to take the vessel off the bottom while the winds are blowing offshore. The Mexican company, Petroil Marine SA, that owns the ship is responsible for the costs of removing the tanker. On Monday, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the owner is co-operating with the Canadian government to organize and pay for the removal costs.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has said that booms are in place around the vessel to protect against environmental damage.

A team from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada is performing a technical analysis to determine what kind of mechanical failure left the boat adrift. The team is also trying to figure out why the boat was sailing in a forecasted storm.

Arca 1 was last used in the Port of Montreal to ferry bunker fuel or diesel to other ships anchored in the port. Previously, it ran fuel to Sarnia, Ont., by way of the Great Lakes.



Icebreaking planned at Muskegon ahead of vessel transits

1/11 - Muskegon, Mich. – Several vessels will call on the Muskegon Wednesday, Jan. 11 through Sunday, Jan 15. Ships are expected to transit the channel in or out of Muskegon at various times throughout the weekend. Tug Barbara Andrie will conduct ice breaking in support of these ship movements.



Port Reports -  January 11

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Herbert C. Jackson and Paul R. Tregurtha arrived Duluth for winter layup on Tuesday, the former at Fraser Shipyards and the latter at Midwest Energy. There are now five vessels laid up in the harbor, with four more expected this coming weekend. Also on Tuesday, Whitefish Bay and James R. Barker both arrived before sunrise to load iron ore pellets at CN. This will be the Barker's last cargo of the season before she will head to Sturgeon Bay early next week for layup. Whitefish Bay departed during the early afternoon. American Integrity remained at anchor offshore waiting for the dock at Two Harbors.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
The shipping season in Two Harbors is slowly winding down, after a very busy few weeks. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Great Lakes Trader were loading on Tuesday, while American Integrity was at anchor off Duluth waiting to load (her AIS read HRBRS 2 EH SOMEDAY). Joseph H. Thompson and American Integrity are both expected to load on Wednesday. The last vessel of the season to load in Two Harbors will be Presque Isle, which is due to load iron ore pellets on Thursday.

Marquette, Mich.
CSL Assiniboine was at anchor offshore on Tuesday night, most likely waiting on weather.

St. Marys River
Kaye E. Barker, Roger Blough, Philip R. Clarke and CSL Niagara were downbound in the afternoon and evening. Algosteel, Saginaw and Stewart J. Cort were at anchor above DeTour Tuesday evening for weather. Upbounders included John B. Aird, Manitoulin and Thunder Bay, were being assisted in the tight spots behind Neebish Island by the USCG Mackinaw. CSL Niagara was on the hook in the upper river off Bay Mills. The Soo Locks close for the season at the end of the day Sunday.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was loading at CN late Tuesday.

Alpena, Mich.
The steamer Alpena was in her home port Monday night.

Rogers City, Mich.
Roger Blough was riding at anchor off shore on Tuesday night due to high winds.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Transport was loading salt Monday, with a destination of Fisher Harbour.

Port Huron, Mich.
Rt. Hon Paul J. Martin and Hon. James L. Oberstar were anchored just off Sarnia Monday afternoon, likely for weather. They were joined later by Calumet and CSL Laurentien.

Detroit, Mich.
Manitowoc was loading in the Rouge River Monday evening. Lee A. Tregurtha was expected soon after dark.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The American Mariner arrived at the CSX#1 Dock for winter layup very early Tuesday morning. Buffalo is supposed to arrive at Toledo late Tuesday night sometime for winter layup. Unknown which dock she is bound for. On Tuesday afternoon the Canadian icebreaker Griffon was escorting Sam Laud, Algocanada, John J. Boland, and the Arthur M. Anderson through the ice in western Lake Erie. All vessels were headed eastbound on the lake.


Tankers try to get fuel to remote St. Lawrence community

1/11 - Quebec, QC – The tanker Jana Desgagnés has been unable to dock in La Romaine, Que., to deliver much-needed fuel for electrical generators, so on Tuesday the smaller tanker Juno Marie was headed for the isolated community to have a try. The smaller vessel can more easily get near the quay in spite of strong winds and weather conditions.

Two million litres of diesel must be delivered to Hydro-Québec, which has confirmed that the tanks are running low. The public is being asked to limit electrical consumption by using only one part of their house at a time and by using wood stoves whenever possible.

La Romaine is an Innu First Nations reserve in the Côte-Nord region of Quebec at the mouth of the Olomane River on the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.


Updates -  January 11

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 11

The steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, under tow, reached her intended destination of Santander, Spain on January 11, 1974, for scrapping.

In 1970, IRVING S. OLDS was the last ship of the season at the Soo Locks as she followed the PHILIP R. CLARKE downbound.

In 1973, ROGER BLOUGH collided with PHILIP R. CLARKE after the CLARKE encountered an ice pressure ridge and came to a stop in the Straits of Mackinac.

On 11 January 1962, ARCTURUS, formerly JAMES B. WOOD, was under tow of the Portuguese tug PRAIA GRANDE on the way to Norway to be scrapped when she foundered off the Azores at position 46.10N x 8.50W.

January 11, 1911 - ANN ARBOR NO 5 arrived in Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

On 11 January 1883, The Port Huron Times reported that a citizens' committee met to help Port Huron businesses. "A. N. Moffat decried the taxation of vessel property. High taxation of vessel property had driven much of it away from Port Huron. He cited the case of Capt. David Lester of Marine City who came to Port Huron a few years ago to live and would have brought here one of the largest fleets on the Great Lakes, but when he found what taxes would be, returned to Marine City."

1919: The laker CASTALIA left the lakes in two pieces and was rejoined at Lauzon, Quebec, for a new career on the Atlantic in 1918. The ship broke in two 65 miles off Sable Island, Nova Scotia, and the crew was rescued by the BERGENFJORD.

1962: The retired Interlake Steamship Company bulk carrier ARCTURUS was under tow of the tug PRIA GRANDE for scrapping in Europe when it sank in the Atlantic in position 46.10 N / 8.50 W.

1965: CELIA B. made 15 trips through the Seaway in 1959-1962 under Liberian registry. The vessel arrived at Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles, as f) SEA MAID with engine damage and having lost its propeller. The ship was ultimately deemed not worth repairing and arrived at Rotterdam, Netherlands, under tow for scrapping on June 22, 1966.

1974: The first FEDERAL HUDSON to visit the Great Lakes was sailing as d) GOLDEN KING when it struck the wreck of the THETIS off Chittagong, Bangladesh, while inbound from Singapore Roads. It was beached in sinking condition and sustained water damage at high tide. The vessel was refloated on February 13, 1974, and taken to Chittagong to unload and get repaired. It was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as d) CHAR HSIUNG in 1980.

1981: ARNA began Seaway trading in 1965. It stranded off Shimonoseki, Japan, as b) IQBALBAKSH and was declared a total loss. The vessel was sold to South Korean shipbreakers and arrived at Busan, under tow on August 2, 1981.

1993: EUROJOY was anchored off Cadiz, Spain, when a spontaneous combustion fire broke out in the cargo of coal that had been bound for Turkey. The ship was listed as a total loss and sold for scrap but was repaired. It sailed additional years until scrapping at Alang, India, as g) LENA II in 1998. It first visited the Seaway as a) ATLANTIC CHALLENGE in 1971 and returned as b) ANGEBALTIC in 1981, c) ASTURIAS in 1986 and e) EUROJOY in 1990.

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


Port of Thunder Bay has “unprecedented” year

1/10 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The 2016 shipping season officially closed Monday with the arrival of an inbound shipment via the Canada Steamship Lines’ vessel Frontenac. The Frontenac, which will winter at Thunder Bay Port Authority’s Keefer Terminal, delivered a load of road salt to the Mobil Ex Terminal on the Kaministiqua River.

In a news release, the Thunder Bay Port Authority categorized the 2016 season’s haul as “above average” for the third consecutive year, due to strong grain shipments (7.4 million tonnes) along with increases in coal (778,000 tonnes) and project cargo (31,540 tonnes) volume.

Cargo totals for the year amounted to just under 8.9 million tonnes, “virtually matching the 2015 season tally.” The port experienced its usual late-season surge in December with grain elevators loading out 1.3 million tonnes of grain for the month.

In tracking monthly grain records dating back to 1995, the port authority called the December volume “unprecedented.”

Keefer Terminal handled 14 project cargo shipments of electrical transformers, wind turbine parts, wood pellets, mining equipment, and an oriented strand board plant. All factored in, it was a 19-year high for Keefer, and port officials are optimistic 2017 will be another banner year with more shipments of transformers confirmed for the spring.

Northern Ontario Business


Strong outlook for Canadian shipping ports "more than a blip"

1/10 - Montreal, Que. – Some of Canada's largest ports are anticipating a stronger year for the transportation of cargo. The Port of Montreal says a new cargo terminal should again bolster volumes, which grew 10 per cent in 2016 to a record 35.2 million tonnes.

"We are entering a new year with a sense of accomplishment," said CEO Sylvie Vachon.

The Ontario ports of Hamilton and Thunder Bay say increased shipments of steel and wheat respectively should boost volumes above around nine million tonnes each handled last year.

"There's certainly reasons to believe it will be stronger," Ian Hamilton, new CEO of the port just west of Toronto, said pointing to the contribution from higher agricultural product shipments.

Although Hamilton is expecting its best performance in four or five years, shipping volumes have decreased over the last 20 years as steel plants shuttered or reduced their output. Thunder Bay says bulk tonnage has increased an average of two million tonnes a year since changes were made to the Canadian Wheat Board.

"Now we're considering this to be more than just a blip, it's actually a shifting paradigm," said port CEO Tim Heney.


Tugs set to pull stranded Arca 1 from sand

1/10 - Little Pond, N.S. – Two tugboats have arrived off Little Pond, N.S., to dislodge the Mexican-owned Arca 1 from where the stranded ship ran aground after sending out a distress call Sunday. The crew of six Canadian and American sailors was lifted by helicopter to safety from the deck of the vessel after it drifted, powerless in a storm.

Nova Scotia company McKeil Marine Ltd. sent its salvage tug Tim McKeil and a smaller twin-screw tug, Kaliutik, to retrieve the Arca 1 from the shallow water where it became stranded, said Olous Boag, vice-president of operations.

“We did go out to the vessel last night and do a preliminary assessment,” McKeil's Boag said. “The Coast Guard are also on scene, flying overhead.

“This particular area is a little bit of a bay. It’s an incredibly sandy bottom (but) there’s a cliff at the end of the beach, and if you go a quarter mile to either side, it’s rocky shoreline,” he said. “If they had been anywhere else, on one side or the other of where they landed, (the Arca 1) would be in bits and pieces by now.”

After word spread of the rescue of the six sailors, who were lifted from the boat by a Canadian Forces crew in a Cormorant helicopter Sunday, a steady stream of traffic began passing by the shore in front of the distressed vessel.

The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans confirmed that the Canadian Coast Guard vessel, the Earl Grey, was on site and monitoring the distressed Arca I.

Monday, the McKeil tugboat crews planned to assess how The Arca 1 was sitting, then tow it out Tuesday, Boag said.

“They’re going right now to inspect the vessel, and to make sure that everything is intact, that there is no damage, and that all the fuel that is on board and lube oils, any contaminants, are secured,” McKeil said.

First, the smaller Kaliutik will try to dislodge the Arca 1. If not, the Kaliutik will take a tow line out to the larger Tim McKeil.

“Because of the shallow water, the large tug is a half-mile away from … the distressed vessel. That’s the issue.”

Once the Arca 1 is pulled free, one of the McKeil tugs will tow it into the Port of Sydney, and then pass it back to the owners. Boag described the Arca 1 as “an extremely small vessel,” allaying fears of a potential large oil spill.

“It was used as a bunkering barge, in the Port of Montreal (but) there’s no heavy fuel oil in the cargo tanks,” he said. “It had fuel, but only that it uses for its own propulsion. . . .We understand there’s approximately 15,000 litres. You have fishing boats that carry much more than that.

Boag said he’s optimistic.

“We would hope that within the next 24–48 hours that they’re pulling it off the beach safely and securing it alongside in Sydney,” he said.

“It could have been a lot worse. . . .It was a relatively soft landing. Normally, we deal with holes in vessels and vessels that are heavily damaged, but this one had about the best land as you could get. You couldn’t have planned it better.”



Port Reports -  January 10

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner, Jason Fyten
CSL Assiniboine departed Duluth early Monday afternoon after loading iron ore pellets. Burns Harbor arrived Superior just before noon and laid up at Lakehead Pipeline, becoming the third vessel of Duluth's winter fleet. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and American Integrity both remain anchored off Duluth waiting to load in Two Harbors.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algolake and Frontenac were in port Monday.

St. Marys River
Saginaw was upbound in the evening headed for Essar. Lee A. Tregurtha and CSL Laurentien were downbound in the late afternoon.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Transport was loading salt Monday.

Midland, Ont.
Baie Comeau arrived at ADM on Monday. CCGS Samuel Risley was also in port.

Detroit, Mich.
The former Boblo passenger boat Ste. Claire was on the move Monday, headed up river to a dock at Riverside Marina, near Belle Isle. Two Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs handled the job. View a video of the move at this link:

Toledo, Ohio
H. Lee White has arrived at the Ironhead Shipyard and will be placed on the dry dock. Defiance/Ashtabula was at the Midwest Overseas Dock.


Saginaw River 2016 shipping season wrap-up

1/10 - Saginaw, Mich. – After an increase in commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River during the 2015 season, there was optimism that we would again see an increase in commercial traffic for the 2016 season. That optimism never became a reality, with numbers coming in more like the dismal 2014 season. The following is a look back at what took place along the banks of the Saginaw River during this past year.

The 2016 shipping season officially started on March 19th, with the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain and her cement barge, Innovation. This was the second year in a row that the pair called on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville to start the season, this time, starting the season 21 days earlier than the 2015 season opener. The 2016 season came to a close on December 18th, when the American Integrity departed the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. This was five days sooner than the 2015 close, for a season lasting 274 days. For 2016, there were a total of 113 commercial vessel passages. That is 19 fewer than the previous season. These passages were made by 28 different vessels, representing 14 different companies, an increase of one more unique vessel and one more company as compared to the 2015 numbers.

Looking at some of the other statistics from the 2016 season, there were 14 docks receiving cargos this season. While this number was unchanged from last year, the docks receiving product did change, as the GM Dock in Saginaw received two cargos, after not receiving any in 2015. The North Star Fertilizer Dock in Essexville did not receive any deliveries by boat in 2016, after receiving two in 2015. The dock seeing the most traffic in 2016 was the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City, seeing 25 vessel deliveries. This was the same number of deliveries as in the 2015 season. Coming in second was the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City, with 22 cargo deliveries, nine fewer than the previous season, and the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw coming in third, with 20 cargo deliveries. These three docks accounted for 47 percent of all vessel deliveries to the Saginaw River in 2016. The top two docks, Bay Aggregates and Bay City Wirt, have now been the two busiest docks for the past five years running. In all, accounting for split cargos by some vessels that unloaded at two different docks on the same visit, there were 143 deliveries to the various docks along the Saginaw River. This is 19 fewer actual dock deliveries than in 2015.

For the 10th year in a row, the tug Olive L. Moore, paired with the self-unloading barge Lewis J. Kuber, made the most trips to the Saginaw River, logging 25 visits. This is a huge decrease from 2015, when the pair made 55 trips to the river. The vessel with the second most trips to the Saginaw River, logging 18 trips and cutting into the total of the Moore-Kuber due to a new contract acquisition, was Interlake Steamship Company’s tug Dorothy Ann, paired with the self-unloading barge Pathfinder. The top two were followed by Manitowoc, with six passages and then the Alpena and the Herbert C. Jackson with five visits each.

Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation, as they have for many years, logged the most visits by a fleet in 2016, with 44 vessel passages. This was 19 fewer than 2015, but was still good enough for the tenth year in a row for LLT/GRN in the No. 1 position, accounting for 39 percent of the vessel passages on the Saginaw River. The next busiest fleet was the Interlake Steamship Company with 23 vessel passages, and in third was American Steamship Company with 16 passages. These three companies accounted for 73 percent of all deliveries on the Saginaw River in 2016.

There were a number of vessels that were visitors to the Saginaw River in 2015 that did not make a delivery here in 2016 – American Courage, American Mariner, Buffalo, Indiana Harbor, Sam Laud, Manistee, Harbour Fountain, Larsholmen and Chem Norma. The list of boats that were not visitors in 2015, but visited the Saginaw River in 2016 were John J. Boland, Sjard, Dorothy Ann – Pathfinder, Calumet, Defiance – Ashtabula, Robert S. Pierson, Saginaw, Harbour Fashion, Happy Ranger, and Floretgracht. The Floretgracht, Happy Ranger, and Sjard made their first-ever deliveries to the Saginaw River in 2016. The tugs Manitou and Kimberly Anne were also visitors. The USCG cutter Hollyhock made visits to work aids to navigation in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel, and the tug Gregory J. Busch, which calls the Saginaw River home, was also up and down the river numerous times.

There were a few notable stories during 2016. Crews from Dean Marine & Excavating worked out in the Saginaw Bay, west of the Saginaw River Front Range, dredging the Kawkawlin River Entrance Channel. As mentioned earlier, neither the North Star Dock in Essexville, nor the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City received any cargo deliveries by water this season. Another exciting story of note was the arrival of wind turbine components and blades, brought in to the Port Fisher Dock in Bay City, by foreign-flagged cargo ships. Port Fisher also received turbine components and blades by rail. Finally, the tall ship festival returned to the Saginaw River in 2016, with the following vessels taking part: Pride of Baltimore II, Denis Sullivan, US Brig Niagara, El Galleon Andalucía, Draken Harald Harfagre, Madeline, Mist of Avalon, Pathfinder, Playfair, When and If, Appledore IV, and Appledore V.

Todd Shorkey


Lake Michigan sanctuary proposal has shippers’ attention

1/10 - The federal government is seeking comments starting Monday, Jan. 9, through March 31 on proposed national marine sanctuaries in Lake Michigan and the Potomac River – the first such designations since 2000.

While the sanctuaries would promote preservation and tourism, shippers and others want to be sure they don’t hinder dredging and ballasting in the Great Lakes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants to designate a 1,075-sq. mi. area of Lake Michigan adjacent to Wisconsin’s Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties that holds 37 known shipwrecks. In Maryland, the proposed 52-square mile stretch of the tidal Potomac by Charles County contains more than 100 known and potential shipwrecks, including remains of the ghost fleet built during World War I.

The Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) has said it “welcomes the recreational and educational opportunities” a sanctuary may bring, but “what is currently a legal navigational practice should continue to be allowed once the sanctuary is established.”

It is especially concerned about three areas. “Dredging of federal navigation channels in ports, rivers, and their approaches is essential for our ships’ access to dockside customers. Removal of (dry cargo residue) from a ship’s deck is critical for the safety of crewmembers working on deck. Ballasting is crucial to maintain trim, draft, stability, and structural integrity of a vessel,” LCA wrote last year when NOAA was preparing a draft environmental impact statement.

The Lake Michigan sanctuary would be the second one on the Great Lakes, where a number of other sanctuary nominations are expected. Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay, site of nearly 100 discovered shipwrecks, became a national sanctuary in 2000 and was officially expanded in 2014 from 448 square miles to 4,300 square miles.

Sanctuary regulations are specific to each site, according to Ellen Brody, NOAA’s Great Lakes Regional Coordinator. “Some sanctuaries do include restrictions on discharge and dredging,” she earlier told WorkBoat. Thunder Bay does not. Its regulations focus on protecting shipwrecks.

To comment online, go to and use docket number NOAA-NOS-2016-0150 for Lake Michigan, and NOAA-NOS-2016-0149 for the Potomac.

NOAA said it will make a final decision on whether to designate the sanctuaries after reviewing the comments.



Updates -  January 10

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 10

On this day in 1952, EDWARD B. GREENE was launched at the American Shipbuilding yard at Toledo, Ohio. The 647-foot vessel joined the Cleveland Cliffs fleet. After lengthening over the winter of 1975-1976 and conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, the GREENE sailed briefly as the b.) BENSON FORD for Rouge Steel. She sails today as the c.) KAYE E BARKER of the Interlake fleet.

ONTADOC (Hull#207) was launched January 10, 1975, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. For N.M. Paterson & Sons. Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

On January 10, 1977, the CHESTER A. POLING, b.) MOBIL ALBANY) broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts.

January 10, 1998 - Glen Bowden, former co-owner of the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company (MWT) died.

In 1974, the W.C. RICHARDSON was towed from her winter berth in Toledo to assist in lightering the grounded a.) BENSON FORD.

On Jan 10, 1978, the tanker JUPITER became stuck in 3 to 5-foot ridged ice off Erie, Pennsylvania. The U.S.C.G. tug OJIBWA was sent from Buffalo, New York, to free her, but she too became beset in the ice 3 miles from the JUPITER's position. The JUPITER was lost after an explosion at Bay City in 1990. The OJIBWA is now the tug GEN OGLETHORPE in Savannah, Georgia.

On 10 January 1898, Alexander Anderson of Marine City was awarded a contract to build a wooden steamer for A. F. Price of Freemont, Ohio, Isaac Lincoln of Dakota, and Capt. Peter Ekhert of Port Huron, Michigan. The vessel was to be named ISAAC LINCOLN and was to be 130 feet long and capable of carrying 400,000 feet of lumber. The contract price was $28,000. Her engine and boiler were to be built by Samuel F. Hodge of Detroit. The vessel was launched on 10 May 1898, and her cost had increased to $40,000. She lasted until 1931 when she was abandoned.

1967: PRINDOC (iii) was laid up for the winter at Cardinal, Ontario, when it broke its moorings in a storm and drifted down the St. Lawrence. The shipkeeper was able to get the anchor down and they held just above the Iroquois power dam, averting a major problem.

1970: IOANNA stranded near Sete, France, in a gale while inbound from Barcelona, Spain and had to be sold for scrap. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) A.J. FALKLAND in 1959 and returned as b) PETER in 1960 and 1961.

1971: CATTARO came through the Seaway in 1959 for the Ellerman's Wilson Line. It caught fire in the engine room at Galatz, Romania, as b) VRACHOS and had to be beached. It was subsequently broken up for scrap.

1977: The tanker CHESTER A. POLING broke in two and sank off the coast of Massachusetts in a storm after an explosion in the forward pump room. Two members of the crew were lost. The ship had been a Great Lakes trader as a) PLATTSBURG SOCONY and as b) MOBIL ALBANY.

1981: SOL RIVER came to the Great Lakes in 1968. It ran aground as f) LIZA near Combi, Lemnos Island, Greece. The hull broke in two and sank January 15. The ship was carrying phosphate enroute from Sfax, Tunisia, to Kavalla, Greece, when it went down on the Aegean Sea with the loss of 5 lives.

2001: The Cypriot freighter ARETHUSA first came through the Seaway in 1987. Fire broke out in the engine room and spread to the bridge and accommodation area while the ship was in the northern Great Belt. The vessel, enroute from Casablanca, Morocco, to Gdansk, Poland, with phosphate, was towed to Gydnia, Poland, after the blaze was extinguished. Repairs to the 28-year-old vessel were not worthwhile and it arrived at the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling on March 26, 2001.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.



Rescue workers scoop crew from tanker stranded off Cape Breton

1/9 - Little Pond, N.S. – A tanker has run aground off Little Pond, N.S., after experiencing engine failure and rescue crews have successfully removed six people from the stranded ship. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the vessel's crew is safe and no pollution from Arca 1 has been reported.

Anne Miller, a regional director with the Canadian Coast Guard's Atlantic Region, said the bunkering tanker was heading to Sydney. A bunkering tanker carries fuel for other ships.

"The vessel's hull has not been compromised, and there's no report of pollution. There is approximately 15 tonnes of propulsion fuel on board," she said.

The coast guard says there's no information to suggest weather played a part in the ship's engine failure, but that the storm helped push the vessel closer to the shore. The six crew members who were on board the ship are now in Sydney, N.S., about 32 kilometres south of Little Pond.

The vessel, formerly named Arca and used by Shell Canada as a bunkering tanker at Montreal, was repositioning from Montreal to new owners in Mexico.

Once the crew was off the vessel, Miller said the ship will transfer over to the coast guard's environmental response group, which will try to "mitigate any risk of pollution to the environment." A coast guard aircraft was circling the area Sunday. Miller said it was monitoring and observing any potential pollution from the ship.

Capt. Liam Mather, the public affairs officer with the Joint Rescue Coordinator Centre in Halifax, said the center received a mayday distress call Sunday morning.

The ship "experienced engine failure and went aground near the entrance to Sydney Harbour at approximately 10 a.m.," Mather said.

The coordination centre sent a Cormorant helicopter from 14-Wing Greenwood to help, along with Canadian Coast Guard ships Spindrift and Earl Grey, which are travelling to the area, he said. People in the area said the vessel came close to shore some time through the night.



Port Reports -  January 9

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner, Jason Fyten, Robert Mills
CSL Niagara arrived Duluth early Sunday morning to load iron ore pellets. Algolake departed just before noon after completing her salt unload at the North American Dock. CSL Niagara departed from CN mid-evening, and her fleetmate CSL Assiniboine then took the dock and began loading. Stewart J. Cort arrived Superior mid-morning, and was expected to depart late Sunday night. American Spirit arrived at Duluth at 13:44 Jan. 7 for winter layup at the Port Terminal Berth 11. Paul R. Tregurtha will be spending winter layup at Minnesota's Midwest Energy. It will arrive on Jan. 10 with the Herbert C Jackson, which will be spending her layup at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
CSL Laurentien departed Sunday. USCG Mobile Bay was due in the early morning Monday. Algolake was headed here from the Twin Ports.

Marquette, Mich.
Lee A. Tregurtha was in port Sunday night.

St. Marys River
Baie Comeau (headed to Midland) and Edwin L. Gott were downbound in the afternoon. John J. Boland was at the locks downbound about 9 p.m. Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker were upbound in the early evening. Michipicoten was at Essar and the USCG Mackinaw was docked at the Coast Guard base,

Green Bay, Wis.
Samuel de Champlain and her barge Innovation unloaded cement and departed for Alpena on Sunday.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algosteel was unloading Sunday. She brought her cargo from Essar in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Joseph L. Block was unloading on Sunday.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird and Algoma Transport were in port Sunday.

Detroit, Mich.
Alpena was downbound on Lake Huron with cement from Alpena Sunday night.

Sandusky, Ohio
Manitoulin was in port Sunday night.


Coast Guard channel closures announced

1/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mi. - Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie will close the following water ways January 11 at 6 p.m.:
Waters between Cheboygan Michigan, and Bois Blanc Island, Michigan, known as South Channel; Grays Reef Passage on Lake Michigan; Pipe Island Passage (East of Pipe Island Shoal and North of Pipe Island Twins from Watson Reef Light to Sweets Point). The Pipe Island Course will become a two-way route.



Today in Great Lakes History -  January 9

On this day in 1973, the CHARLES M. BEEGHLY was the latest running Interlake vessel when she entered winter layup at Toledo, Ohio.

BAIE COMEAU II was laid up on January 9, 1983, at Sorel, Quebec, and was sold the following April to Progress Overseas Co. S.A., Panama renamed c.) AGIA TRIAS.

January 9, 1977 - The last survivor of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 disaster, Mike Bucholtz, died.

In 1974, a combination of wind and ice forced the beset BENSON FORD, of 1924, from the shipping channel in Western Lake Erie, running aground.

1974: MARDINA REEFER ran aground at the breakwall at Stephenville, Newfoundland, while inbound in stormy weather. The ship was scheduled to load pickled herring for Europe but became a total loss. Salvage efforts failed and the hull was pounded on the rocks and eventually split in two. The crew was rescued. The vessel had been through the Seaway in 1973.

1974: LUCIE SCHULTE had been a Pre-Seaway and Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes. It sank in bad weather as b) TEVEGA in the Bay of Biscay while enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Casablanca, Morocco, with a cargo of barley. Only one member of the crew survived.

1979: MARIGO M.F. had been a Seaway trader in 1973 and earlier as a) NEGO ANNE in 1971. The ship went aground off Alexandria, Egypt, and sustained hull and water damage. The bulk carrier was not worth repairing and sold to Brodospas of Split, Yugoslavia, for scrap. It arrived August 13, 1979, for dismantling.

1980: BILL CROSBIE was carrying steel when it got into trouble on the Atlantic on January 4, 1980. The vessel, a Seaway trader in 1974, was listing badly when it was brought into St. John's, Newfoundland, only to roll over and sink at the wharf on this date. The hull was towed out to sea, bottom up, on November 3, 1980, and scuttled 12 miles off shore.

1983: SANTONA stranded in the Red Sea off Sudan at North Jumna Shoal. The hull was refloated but sold for scrap. It arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on April 4, 1983, for dismantling. It was a busy Seaway trader and had made 36 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967.

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


Port Reports -  January 8

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Algolake arrived Duluth before sunrise on Saturday morning to discharge salt at Hallett #8. American Spirit arrived just after noon and laid up for the winter at Port Terminal's berth 11. CSL Assiniboine arrived two hours later, also with salt for Hallett #8. Algolake departed light later in the evening. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Great Lakes Trader/tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort were at anchor off Duluth waiting to load in Two Harbors. Stewart J. Cort was expected to arrive Superior late Saturday night to load ore at BN. View a video of the CSL Assiniboine arriving at this link:

Two Harbors, Minn. - David Schauer
The Great Lakes Fleet party continued in Two Harbors on Saturday, with Cason J. Callaway loading at CN and Arthur M. Anderson, Philip R. Clarke, and Roger Blough all docked waiting to load. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Great Lakes Trader/tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort were at anchor off Duluth waiting for the dock.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
CSL Laurentien was loading Saturday night.

Marquette, Mich.
Michipicoten was loading Saturday night.

St. Marys River
Baie Comeau and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin were anchored in the lee of Whitefish Point Saturday evening due to winds. Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound out of the locks at 9 p.m., and looked to be headed to anchor as well. Burns Harbor was upbound in the late afternoon. Algosteel left the Essar Export Dock in the afternoon and by 10 p.m. Saturday was westbound in the Straits.

Green Bay, Wis.
Samuel de Champlain and her barge Innovation were unloading cement Saturday night.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Indiana Harbor arrived in Sturgeon Bay Friday night and was immediately towed into the graving dock.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday morning the Manitowoc made its way into Lafarge, stern first, to tie up. It unloaded coal throughout the day. Around 5 p.m., the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived to take on cement for Green Bay. Friday evening the tug Manitou was in the area, going in front of the Alpena to make sure it was able to get into Lafarge. Ice continues to build with the colder temperatures. Alpena loaded cement for Whitefish, Ont., and was on her way Saturday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird was loading salt Saturday. Algoma Transport was next in line.

Detroit River
H. Lee White and Saginaw were at docks on the Rouge River Saturday night. John D. Leitch and CSL Welland were moored in Windsor.

Sandusky, Ohio
Manitoulin was in port Saturday night and Sam Laud was waiting for the dock.

Erie, Pa. – Gene Polaski‎
The tug Ken Boothe Sr. / barge Great Lakes Contender were in Erie Bay Saturday morning. There was about 1.5 feet of snow and the temperature was 15F. Whiteouts from the blowing snow sometimes obscured the view. The Boothe’s captain decided the ice was too stiff, and broke the Ken Boothe Sr. away from the barge so he could break ice in toward the slip where they were going to lay up for the winter.


Son of founders tell the history of the Selvick Towing

1/8 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - – You are not likely to find any resistance to the claim the green tugboats on the south side of the Sturgeon Bay Canal are a landmark.

Not many waterfronts boast a fleet of tugboats. They are like ducks in a row begging for attention. Artists pull up their easels to paint renditions and photographers position themselves for the best perspective like any other attraction in Door County.

About 75 people learned more about the history of tugs owned by Selvick Marine Towing Corp. during the Door County Maritime Museum’s popular Maritime Speaker Series with guest Steve Selvick on Thursday night. The seven working tugs are moored side-by-side between the Michigan Street and the Maple-Oregon Street bridges in Sturgeon Bay. Their names are Cameron O, Donny S, William C. Gaynor, Jimmy L, Sharon M. Selvick, Susan L, and led by William C. Selvick.

New to the Selvick fleet, the Gaynor arrived Jan. 3. During the winter, four to six tugs are required to break/crush ice while other tugs push/tow a freighter neatly into berthing at nearby Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.

Speaker Selvick began the program with a clarification. He is no longer with the family operation; his sisters Sharon Opiela and Susan Londo run the business. He has stepped back to focus on marine insurance for Door County Insurance Agency Inc.

Originally, the triplets purchased the business created by their parents, William and Bonnie Selvick, in 1969.

In the past 47 years, it hasn’t always been about tugboats. The towing company has operated or purchased barges and freighters under the company’s umbrella along with the 18 tugboats.

Steve Selvick outlined the company’s rich history in a slide presentation as he stood at the back of the room, making sure he saw every photograph himself. At the same time, it was a personal journey of his family scrapbook. Each vessel requires recognition, inspires a thought or a colorful memory.

When Steve arrived at the slide of the Steven M. Selvick tugboat, he gently put on the brakes. It’s the tug of his namesake. “And it’s sunk,’’ he smiles. And it is also a treasure.

The story goes that after 80 years of service, the tug was intentionally sunk near the Mackinac Bridge spanning Upper and Lower Michigan. It had many names and even served the U.S. Navy in 1946 for a couple of years. It also played an important role in the construction of the bridge in the 1950s and this is its final resting place.

It was retired and sold to the Alger Underwater Preserve for $1 and sunk in 1996. Its primary purpose is for a historical attraction for SCUBA divers. It lies in 65 feet of water and the pilothouse is visible at about 40 feet down. It is also a designation for a glass-bottom boat tour navigating the Munising Bay.

As the story goes, a sinking is not easy, or is it? “The tough part,’’ Selvick said, is “everybody had to approve it.’’ That includes such agencies as the DNR, U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers. “Then they had to take it apart piece-by-piece to inspect it, clean it, and put it back together,’’ Selvick said.

When they were nearly finished putting the retired tug back together, an unfortunate incident happened. It accidentally sunk. “They had to raise it, totally take it apart and re-clean it and re-inspect,’’ he said. The ceremonial sinking took place June 1, 1996. The fanfare included commemorative T-shirts, balloons and other souvenirs. Steve was the guest of honor. “It was my moment of fame, I guess,’’ he said, smiling.

A visible waterfront tugboat in the canal is the Donny S. The 143-foot, 2,000 bhp horsepower tug was built in 1950 in Texas. It was renamed in 2014. “It’s the next chapter,’’ explained Selvick. In 2014, the triplets started selling their business to marine captain and veteran ship-docking, ice-breaking and towing expert Donny Sarter (and wife Julie). The transition is expected to be completed within the next half-dozen years. They will be joined by their sons Brian and Brett.

The next monthly Maritime Speakers Series is slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 2 featuring Richard Purinton on his travel experiences last fall to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia aboard the National Geographic Explorer.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Obituary: Thomas A. Kucinski

1/8 - Thomas A. Kucinski, 66, of Two Harbors, Minn., passed away on Jan. 6 surrounded by family. He was born in Milwaukee, Wis., on June 29, 1950. After graduation from high school, he sailed the Great Lakes and later worked as a foreman on the ore docks Two Harbors, Minn., until he retired in 2010. It brought him great joy to volunteer and he served on many boards, including that of the Lake Superior Maritime Museum. He also gave tours on the William A. Irvin for many years. His knowledge of the boats, the docks and mining was second to none. He also helped bring the Irvin back to life as a museum, providing tour guides with information that they otherwise would never find.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the 11 am service on Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Two Harbors. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Lake Superior Maritime Museum or The Boy & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.


Updates -  January 8

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 8

On 08 January 2004, McKeil Marine’s CAPT. RALPH TUCKER was the first vessel of 2004 to arrive at the port of Manistee, Michigan. Once docked at the General Chemical facilities, Captain Bill Sullivan and Chief Engineer Otto Cooper were each presented with hand-carved Hackberry canes. This was a notable way for the vessel to start her last year of operation. Later that year she was sold for scrap.

JOHN HULST (Hull#286) was launched in 1938, at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 8 January 1877, the tug KATE FELCHER burned at East Saginaw, Michigan. Her loss was valued at $3,000, but she was insured for only $2,000. She was named after the wife of her owner, the well-known Capt. James Felcher of East Saginaw.

In 1939, several tugs helped release the CHIEF WAWATAM, which had been aground since January 3. In 1974, BENSON FORD, of 1924, became beset by ice in Western Lake Erie.

January 8, 1976, LEON FALK JR. closed the season at Superior, Wisconsin, after she departed the Burlington-Northern ore docks.

1996: The research ship CALYPSO, a converted wooden minesweeper, served noted deep-sea diver Jacques Cousteau for many years. It came to the Great Lakes in 1980 and explored several wrecks including the EDMUND FITZGERALD and GUNILDA. It sank at Singapore following a collision on this date. The hull was refloated but never repaired. Subsequently, there were disputes over ownership, with a later report saying the vessel would be displayed at the Bahamas as a tourist attraction.

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


Port Reports -  January 7

Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader were stopped outside the harbor entrance Friday night, with the tug North Carolina working in the vicinity.

Two Harbors, Minn. - David Schauer
The arrival of Philip R. Clarke Friday made for a family reunion with a full house of Great Lakes Fleet boats. Also present were Edwin H. Gott, Roger Blough and Arthur M. Anderson.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and Baie Comeau were loading Friday. CSL Laurentien was anchored.

Marquette, Mich.
Hon. James L. Oberstar was loading Friday night.

Green Bay, Wis. – Jeff Rueckert‎
USCG Mobile Bay and Biscayne Bay were up by Gills Rock breaking ice for the Samuel de Champlain and her barge Friday night.

Alpena, Mich.
Alpena was in her namesake port Friday. It is unknown if she was loading or laying up.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird was tied up in the North Harbor Friday. Algowood was at the grain elevator. Algorail is in winter layup.

Toledo, Ohio
John D. Leitch was unloading grain on Friday. Manitoulin left for Sandusky and Saginaw headed to Detroit.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
Sam Laud is running the shuttles to Arcelor Mittal in Cleveland. Recovery operations continue for the private aircraft missing since last week. Corps tug Cheraw, R/V Muskie and Salvage Chief are all assisting.


Algoma Innovator launching video

1/7 - The launching of the first Algoma Central’s new 650-foot self-unloader Algoma Innovator (Hull No. 732) in Croatia took place Dec. 29, 2016.

View a video at this link:


Fraser Shipyards reaches agreement to improve safety

1/7 - Superior, Wis. – Fraser Shipyards Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to improve safety and reduce a previously proposed fine.

"We appreciate the opportunity to work with OSHA and respect their oversight as well as our joint commitment to the health and safety of all workers at Fraser," said James Farkas, president and chief operating officer of Fraser Industries, which oversees Fraser Shipyards. "This agreement, reached with input from unions representing workers at Fraser ensures that we can move forward with a strong commitment to employee protection and business viability, in partnership with OSHA and everyone who earns a living at our 126-year-old family-owned company in Superior."

Last summer, OSHA proposed a $1.395 million fine for Fraser related to employee exposure to lead from paint and other sources during the repowering and refurbishing of the Herbert C. Jackson, a 57-year-old Great Lakes freighter. Fraser requested a settlement conference with OSHA to discuss the findings, consider the company's responses after it identified hazards and seek a settlement establishing strong safety procedures moving forward. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, which represents workers at Fraser, participated in the settlement conference.

The settlement agreement specifically provides that Fraser does not admit to fault or liability for the violations alleged by OSHA. Further, the settlement agreement calls for reducing Fraser's fine to $700,000 and establishing a new safety plan requiring Fraser to:

• Put in place a new health and safety management program, as well as additional worker protections, and work with OSHA for three years to monitor safety.
• Submit to regular OSHA inspections as well as two independent health and safety audits over two years.
• Meet regularly with OSHA, the Boilermakers other employee groups to review health and safety improvements and issues.

"We are committed to taking these steps and look forward to working with OSHA and all our team members at Fraser," Farkas said in a prepared statement. "Our business depends on taking the health and safety of our people seriously."

Representatives of the Boilermakers said they appreciated the actions taken by Fraser and the company's commitment to safety through the settlement agreement.

"We are pleased to see this settlement agreement, which will ensure the health and safety of workers while also allowing Fraser to move ahead as a business that provides valuable employment for our members," said Mark Garrett, director of health and safety services for the Boilermakers. "We have appreciated Fraser's responsiveness to working with us to get this issue resolved. We don't get many employers that step up like they did."

Fraser Shipyards, founded in 1890 in Superior, is the last major independent shipyard on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, providing dry docking floating repairs at its 60-acre facility or around the Great Lakes.

Superior Telegram


Lake Superior’s foggy phenomenon: sea smoke

1/7 - Duluth, Minn. – It's one of the most eye-popping sights you'll ever see, even looking apocalyptic at times. So, what causes sea smoke? What about the boats on the water? Are they affected by the mysterious winter fog, too?

First, let's explain what causes sea smoke.

The ominous looking fog is formed when cold winter air settles over the unfrozen Lake Superior. Cold air can't hold the same amount of moisture as warm air. So as the warmer lake air rises and interacts with a frigid airmass, water vapor over the lake condenses creating the ethereal looking phenomenon. The greater the difference in temperature between the lake and the air, the better the chances of finding sea smoke.

The best time to look for sea smoke is in the early morning hours of December and January. The pre-dawn light not only provides the coolest air temperatures, but the changing sky can create a kaleidoscope of colors, as well.

One man who has seen his fair share of sea smoke is Dave Campbell, the Aerial Lift Bridge operator. Campbell says the sea smoke doesn't get too close to the bridge, but it can hinder his visibility of the ships that are in the harbor. "All you can see is that top pilot house on the ship coming through that sea smoke. It's actually pretty cool,” Campbell said.

Even though the fog can look frightening from the banks of Lake Superior, one local ship captain says the ships on the water are built to handle the limited visibility the sea smoke can provide. Greg Sipper, a captain on the Stewart J. Cort, says he'll rely on the computerized instruments when the visibility from sea smoke drops to near zero.

Sipper said, "It's just like business as usual whether it be sea smoke or fog. We're all trained for dealing with the ice and the cold conditions. He said there is one fallback to the sea smoke. He says the ice that forms on parts of the ship can be a bit of a headache.

"The moisture will freeze on the railings of the ships, the hulls, the super's slippery and it's something that we have to salt, sand and remove depending if it's on our stairs or anywhere that it could be a hazard," Sipper added.

But no matter whether you are on the lake or on the land, Sipper said it is quite the sight to see. "If you're a photographer and there are other ships in the area, it sets up for a very nice backdrop,” he added.


View a video at this link:


Great Lakes Towing repositions tug Huron to Duluth

1/7 - Duluth, Minn. – The Great Lakes Towing Company repositioned its tug Huron to Duluth on Jan. 2 to enhance capabilities for ice breaking, harbor assist and other services essential to commercial shipping in the Duluth-Superior region.

Huron’s first icebreaking operation took place late Wednesday evening, Jan. 4, when she assisted longstanding customer Canada Steamship Lines’ Thunder Bay at Duluth.

The harbor fleet in Duluth now includes the Huron in addition to tugs Arkansas, Kentucky and North Carolina, giving the fleet fresh legs for the upcoming ice-breaking battle. According to a Great Lakes Towing Company statement, “this ensures (that) the first-class harbor assist, towing, and icebreaking services that commercial shippers expect in the Port of Duluth will continue for years to come.

“The Towing Company offers 365/24/7 service with experienced full-time crews, so that our customers always receive consistent and dependable service. With a full-service lakes-wide towing contract, including icebreaking and our other ancillary services, our customers gain an added level of safety and seamanship to protect their crew, equipment, and the environment; wherever their vessels may call on the Great Lakes. It’s added insurance,” said Joseph P. Starck, Jr., president of The Great Lakes Towing Company.

The Great Lakes Towing Company plans to bring two more former YTBs into service during 2017. These additional tugs will be strategically stationed in other ports where icebreaking services are normally required.

The Great Lakes Towing Co.


Leland Harbor to stay closed unless funds found for dredging

1/7 - Traverse City, Mich. - Leland Harbor could eventually close for good unless officials scrape together enough money to dredge its sand-choked entrance. The Leland Township Harbor Commission's tight budget and limited federal funding over the past several years has stalled dredging efforts for the harbor in Traverse City, which is a refuge for Lake Michigan boaters in distress and houses fishing boats and ferries.

The harbor was last dredged in 2014, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. Sand continues to pile onto the lakebed and has essentially blocked passage by cutting the channel to less than 6 feet deep. Harbormaster Russell Dzuba said he closed off the harbor after a recent storm and that it will stay closed in the spring.

Dzuba said annual dredging would cost about $200,000, and it seems unlikely the harbor will receive federal or state assistance from Michigan. Harbor commissioners are hoping to fundraise about $200,000 to help contribute toward purchasing a $500,000 dredging boat. By having the boat, the harbor would no longer need to look for outside assistance. Leland Township Supervisor Susan Och said about $368,000 has already been secured.

While there's been wide support for the dredging boat, Dzuba has expressed concern for the harbor commission's budget after operating, maintenance and staffing costs. But despite the financial worry, the harbormaster still supports the idea.

"The harbor itself brings a lot of people in and lot of dollars into the community," Och said. "If you look at any Pure Michigan literature, they love Fishtown."

Associated Press


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 7

07 January 1974 - EDMUND FITZGERALD (steel propeller bulk freighter, 711 foot, 13,632 gross tons, built in 1958, at River Rouge, Michigan) lost her anchor in the Detroit River when it snagged on ice. It was raised in July 1992. The anchor weighs 12,000 pounds and now resides outside the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan.

On January 7, 1970, the e.) ONG, a.) REDHEAD of 1930, had her Canadian registry closed. The tanker had been sold for use as a water tender at Antigua in the Lesser Antilles and had departed Toronto on December 1, 1969.

1924: The rail car ferry ONTARIO NO. 1 had a rough overnight crossing of Lake Ontario. The ship was diverted to Toronto with three feet of ice on the deck and anchored off Port Credit. With no seagate, it had to sail into the wind and could not make its docking at Cobourg as scheduled.

1943: ORNEFJELL came to the Great Lakes beginning in 1933 and returned as b) AKABAHRA after being sold in 1937. It was torpedoed and sunk on the Mediterranean in position 37.07 N / 4.38 E.

1977: BARFONN had visited the Seaway beginning in 1959 and returned as b) ORIENT EXPLORER in 1967 and as c) AEGEAN in 1971. It caught fire at Colombo, Sri Lanka, as d) TONG THAY and became a total loss. The vessel was taken to Singapore Roads, laid up, sold for scrap and arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for dismantling on March 24, 1978.

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


Port Reports -  January 6

 Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Joseph L. Block departed Superior with ore before sunrise on Thursday. Besides American Century, there were no other vessels in port.

Two Harbors, Minn.
Cason J. Callaway and Philip R. Clarke were anchored off Duluth Thursday night waiting their turn at Two Harbors. Edwin H. Gott and Joseph H. Thompson were loading.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, Baie Comeau and CSL Laurentien are expected in port to load grain early Friday after being delayed by weather.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On Thursday at the Upper Harbor, Walter J. McCarthy arrived and unloaded the last coal cargo of the shipping season for the Presque Isle Power Plant.

St. Marys River
The river was busy on blustery Thursday evening. Algolake, CSL Assiniboine, Defiance/Ashtabula and John J. Boland were upbound. Downbounders included Paul R. Tregurtha, Herbert C. Jackson, Victory/James L. Kuber, CSL Welland and Kaye E. Barker. Algosteel was still at Essar. American Spirit was inbound at DeTour at 10 p.m.

Escanaba, Mich.
James R. Barker departed some time Thursday and was headed for down Lake Michigan Thursday night.

Sarnia, Ont.
Cuyahoga has entered winter layup inboard of Ojibway.

Toledo, Ohio
Saginaw and Manitoulin were unloading Thursday night. John D. Leitch is due Friday morning with grain, depending on weather.


Carlton Street bridge over Welland Canal to close this winter

1/6 - The Welland Canal’s Carlton Street bridge is facing a four-month closure for motorists and pedestrians. Construction has started on the fixed approach span in east St. Catharines this week. As a result, the bridge will continue to be closed until April 30, said Alvina Ghirardi of St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

She said full bridge closure is necessary given the “construction scope and logistics.” Construction will not impede shipping when it resumes in the spring.

“As part of the (seaway’s) asset renewal program and enhancing reliability of its structure, construction project was commissioned this winter works to replace the fixed approach span,” Ghirard said of a contract awarded to Rankin Construction.

While a specific cost for the project was not immediately available, Ghirardi said the seaway authority will be investing about $50 million this winter into the continued enhancement of its locks and bridges infrastructure.

Ghirard noted that in October the seaway corporation launched a low-power radio station in collaboration with Niagara Region. When near canal bridges in north St. Catharines, people can tune into 93.3 FM (CFBN) to get updates on the status of St. Catharines bridges.

Those updates include the number of minutes remaining for a bridge to be up and unavailable for traffic crossings, or report that they are down and available for crossing.

St. Catharines Standard


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 6

While under tow heading for scrap, the HARRY R. JONES went aground at Androsan, Scotland, on January 6, 1961, and it wasn't until February 15 that she arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland.

January 6, 1999 - The Dow Chemical plant in Ludington, Michigan, announced a plan to close its lime plant, eliminating the need for Great Lakes freighters to deliver limestone.

In 1973, the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON ran aground at Escanaba, Michigan, after departing that port.

1976: The former GLADYS BOWATER was sailing as c) AGINOR when it caught fire and had to be abandoned off southwest Sicily. The hull was towed to Palermo, Italy, with serious damage and then to Piraeus, Greece, where it was laid up unrepaired. But the ship was resold, rebuilt and returned to service as d) ALEXANDRA in 1977. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as e) LAMYAA in 1985.

1979: OTTO NUBEL first came to the Great Lakes in 1953 and returned regularly until the final four trips in 1959. The ship was sailing as b) MARIA III when there was an explosion in the engine room on January 6, 1979, near Tamomago Island, Spain. A fire followed and the vessel went aground where it was abandoned as a total loss.

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

U.S.-flag fleets to keep Great Lakes shipyards busy this winter

1/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – Temperatures are dropping, but the pace at Great Lakes shipyards is heating up. Winter is their busiest time and this year is no exception. U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators are going to spend more than $80 million to maintain and modernize their vessels for the 2017 shipping season.

“Once again Lake Carriers’ Association members are demonstrating their commitment to Great Lakes shipping,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of the trade association representing the major U.S.-flag carriers.

“As a Department of Homeland Security report has emphasized, many steel mills, power plants and stone quarries do not have viable alternatives for the shipment of their raw materials. If the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet is not primed to meet the needs of commerce in 2017, industrial activity and hundreds of thousands of family-sustaining jobs would be in jeopardy. This year’s winter work program ensures the vessels will be ready.”

Much of the work to be done this winter is normal maintenance such as overhauls of engines, cargo hold renewal and replacement of conveyor belts in the unloading systems. Lakers get a real workout during the season. Vessels in the long-haul trades will carry perhaps 50 cargos. Hulls dedicated to the short-haul trades can easily double that total.

Reducing the industry’s carbon footprint is again a major focus. A 1,000-foot-long U.S.-flag laker will become the fifth vessel to have an exhaust-scrubbing system installed in the past few years. The conversion of a steamship to a diesel-powered vessel will also be completed this winter.

Several lakers will be drydocked so their hulls can be surveyed by the U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping as required by U.S law. Since they operate in a fresh water environment, lakers need only be drydocked every 5-6 years, whereas vessels in the ocean (saltwater) trades are required to be drydocked twice in a 5-year period.

The benign Lakes environment allows for long careers. Two vessels, the Mesabi Miner and the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., will mark their 40th year of operation in 2017. During those four decades of service those vessels have collectively carried approximately 220 million tons of iron ore and coal.

The oldest vessel expected to see service in 2017, the cement barge St. Marys Challenger, will mark her 111th season on the inland seas. That vessel has carried more than 100 million tons of several types of cargo since being launched as the ore carrier William P. Snyder in 1906

The major shipyards on the Lakes are located in Sturgeon Bay, Superior and Marinette, Wisconsin; Erie, Pa.; and Toledo, Ohio. Smaller “top-side” repair operations are located in Cleveland, Ohio; Escanaba, Mich.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and several cities in Michigan. The industry’s annual payroll for its 2,700 employees approaches $125 million and it is estimated that a wintering vessel generates an additional $800,000 in economic activity in the community in which it is moored.

Great Lakes shipyards continually upgrade their facilities to serve the fleet. For example, Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wis., added an additional 880 feet of dock and berthing space in 2016.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Seaway closes for season

1/5 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway shipping channel from Montreal to Lake Ontario has shut down for the season. The seaway shut down at noon on Saturday, Dec. 31.

It’s been a challenging year for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System. As of the end of November, nearly six per cent less cargo had moved through the transportation network – mainly due to losses in coal, dry bulk goods and iron ore. In fact, all categories of shipping were down except for one – a nearly 20 per cent jump year-over-year for liquid bulk shipments.

As for shutting down the seaway, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was in Cornwall on Dec. 21 as she worked to remove buoys from the St. Lawrence River. The buoys are replaced with winter ice spars (a winterized marker).

The Griffon was sporting a new makeover, having gone through a retrofit in Quebec City, which included new water piping, electrical work, galley refurbishment and a main engine overhaul. Her home port is Prescott, Ont.

Brockville NewsWatch


Port Reports -  January 5

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Thunder Bay arrived Duluth early Wednesday morning to load iron ore pellets at CN, and Herbert C. Jackson departed from Midwest Energy just after sunrise morning with a load of coal bound for Trenton, Mich. The air temperature was -7 and the wind chill was -30. Arthur M. Anderson, which had been at anchor waiting to load in Two Harbors, arrived during the afternoon to fuel at Calumet. She departed soon after, and headed to load. Thunder Bay departed during the evening. In Superior, Joseph L. Block arrived just after noon to load ore at BN. Cason J. Callaway was at anchor offshore, awaiting her turn to load in Two Harbors.

Silver Bay, Minn.
American Mariner was loading on Wednesday night.

Marquette, Mich.
Tug Victory / barge James L. Kuber and Kaye E. Barker were in port Wednesday night.

St. Marys River
CSL Laurentien, Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader, Baie Comeau and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin were anchored in the lee of Whitefish Point Wednesday night due to high winds. Algowood was downbound above Ile Parisienne. John D. Leitch was in the locks at 9 p.m. with a Toledo destination. Algosteel remained at the Essar Export Dock, with Michipicoten at the main dock unloading. Algocanada was at the Purvis Dock in the lower harbor.

Escanaba, Mich.
James R. Barker was still loading on Wednesday night.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Strong gusty winds brought the John J. Boland and CSL Assiniboine to anchor off Alpena on Wednesday morning. Manitowoc was off Alpena Wednesday night to anchor for weather also. The steamer Alpena was in port on Monday. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were at Lafarge last week, as well as the tug Leonard M and a barge, which unloaded cargo.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Transport was downbound Wednesday evening at the top end of Lake Huron, and is expected sometime Thursday. Earlier in the day, Algolake departed upbound with salt.

Toledo, Ohio – Aaron J. Border
Saginaw is docked at Sarnia with a grain load for Toledo, possibly for Andersons. They're waiting out winds and low water levels, and should be inbound Thursday morning. Manitoulin has a wheat load for the Kraft/Nabisco elevator, and is currently due in around midnight. They may anchor and wait out the low water levels as well. John D. Leitch is due early Friday morning with grain, depending on weather.


Winter layups begin for big ships

1/5 - Erie, Pa. – Erie's busy winter ship repair season is now underway. The first large ship, the tug-barge Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder, is now docked at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair. Three more big ships, including the 1,000-foot lake freighter Presque Isle are scheduled to arrive in Erie soon.

Erie's skilled work force and facilities at the shipyard and Erie Sand & Gravel help attract the ships, and help boost the local economy.

"When Donjon gets geared up for winter work, that typically means they are looking at bringing back individuals they laid off over the summer when they are slower,” said Erie Port Authority Executive Director Brenda Sandberg. “Often that means their employment rates will go up to 200 individuals."

The big ships typically leave Erie by late March when locks open, providing access to the upper Great Lakes.

Erie Now News



NYC fireboat finds new home in Door County

1/5 - Door County, Wis. – Mike Cole says it will probably be more than four years before the public sees it and, when it does, it won’t look much like its former self. But, regardless, his new boat has a story.

Unlike the fireboat Fred A. Busse that is spending its retirement from the Chicago Fire Department providing tours on Sturgeon Bay during the warmer months, the future for the Kevin C. Kane looks far different. The Kane served as a fireboat in the New York City Fire Department for more than 20 years and was an active participant in some of that city’s extraordinary events during that span.

The Kane lent assistance during 9/11, serving as one of the evacuation and relief vessels after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in 2001. Nearly a decade later, the fireboat would be called upon again when US Airways Flight 1549 suffered catastrophic engine failure and was forced to make a water landing in the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009.

It was neither of those momentous events that led directly to why that vessel finds itself in Door County, but rather another.

The Kane was damaged in Hurricane Sandy, the epic superstorm that ravaged the East Coast in October 2012. The boat was also in need of a mechanical upgrade, so the city opted for a replacement and auctioned it off. Unaware of the initial sale, Cole received a break when the person who purchased the 52-foot boat decided he didn’t want it and put it up for sale.

Cole owns Iron Works Construction in Baileys Harbor and one might think that a fireboat wouldn’t necessarily be ideal for marine construction. But Cole, who saw an advertisement for the boat in a trade publication, saw an opportunity to get a larger tug he had been looking for at a decent price.

“It’s a good boat,” said Cole, who added that the fire department might have seen the hurricane damage as an opportunity to get a new vessel. Cole admitted lightheartedly that he can’t find the damage.

Cole saw it as an opportunity to take a well-built vessel and convert it into a working tug. When finished, it won’t look much like the vessel that nuzzled up to the side of the floating US Airways plane eight years ago on the Hudson River. But Cole is excited to write an entirely new chapter that hopefully won’t require it to make any of the many emergency responses that were part of its illustrious career with the FDNY.

Cole is confident the Kane, named for an FDNY firefighter who was killed in the line of duty, could have served for decades to come. Built in 1992, it went up for auction alongside the John D. McKean that had been in service since 1938.

“It’s got big horsepower to pull and push,” said Cole. “It was built for heavy seas. It had a top speed of 34 knots.”

Cole used the word “had” since he’s taken 15,000 pounds of firefighting equipment off the boat, including its five water guns and pumps. “It came a foot out of the water and it’ll probably do 36-40 knots when we’re finished,” he said.

But Cole will be adding some weight back on as he converts a one-deck vessel with a pilot house to three, adding crew quarters for those jobs that will require multiple days away from home port.

Cole said his initial interest in the vessel was enough to fly to New York to see the boat and inspect it. He bought it but was disappointed to find that what he had been told about its condition wasn’t exactly true. What turned out to be a couple parts replacements proved to be a bigger job that delayed bringing the vessel back to Door County. What was expected to be about a 12-day trip involving repairs, sea trials and return to Door County, lasted 10 additional days with the boat arriving a day before Thanksgiving.

“But the response to the boat was amazing, especially in New York from former firefighters,” said Cole, who added that the vessel was an item of curiosity for its entire trip back, which began with a trip through the Erie Canal.

“Actually, I didn’t know much about its history until I got to New York,” said Cole, who got an inkling when he stepped into the pilothouse. “Right there on the ceiling is a handwritten card with the cell numbers for the fire chief as well as the numbers for the mayor and governor.”

Cole said he isn’t planning on removing the well-worn card.

While the FDNY may have sold the Kane prematurely, it was paid its due respect for services rendered. “It was assigned to (FDNY) Marine Company No. 6,” said Cole, who said its identification plate now hangs in the company’s station. “I was told they had a formal ceremony with the Kane family when the boat was retired.”

After hearing about the esteem in which Kane is held within the fire department and the deeds the boat and its crew performed in his name, Cole said he isn’t about to change the name of the vessel.

“His name will live on with this boat,” said Cole, who expects to have more than a few locals and visitors alike ask him who Kevin C. Kane is once it again hits the water. He’ll have quite a story to tell.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Memorial set in the Soo for late Capt. Mike Patterson

1/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The tug crew, line handlers and friends of Capt. Mike Patterson will be hosting a memorial get-together for Mike, who passed away on December 9, at the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., American Legion on Saturday, Jan. 21 from 4-8 p.m. The American Legion is located at 3 Legion Blvd. (on the waterfront just west of the U.S. Coast Guard station).

Bring you best Mike stories, your good humor, and a dish to pass (optional). We’ll get together and remember him in a happy way. Patterson was a long-time tug captain for The Great Lakes Towing Co.

Angie Patterson


Updates -  January 5

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 5

The keel was laid January 5, 1972, for ALGOWAY (Hull#200) at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd.

The wooden tug A. J. WRIGHT caught fire on 5 January 1893, while laid up at Grand Haven, Michigan. She burned to the water's edge. Her loss was valued at $20,000. She was owned by C. D. Thompson.

In 1970, PETER REISS broke her tail shaft while backing in heavy ice at the mouth of the Detroit River.

On January 5, 1976, Halco's tanker CHEMICAL TRANSPORT cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario, closing that port for the season.

1976: A.S. GLOSSBRENNER struck bottom entering Port McNicoll and had to be unloaded immediately due to the extensive hull damage. The ship was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks in the spring. The vessel became b) ALGOGULF (ii) in 1987 and c) ALGOSTEEL (ii) in 1990.

1982: The Norwegian freighter NORHOLT first came through the Seaway in 1962 and made a total of 15 inland voyages. It was renamed b) SALVADOR in 1966 and returned once in 1967. The ship went aground as c) SAN JUAN off Shadwan Island enroute to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on this date. It was refloated January 22, 1982, towed to Suez Bay and laid up. Fire broke out on August 26, 1982, and the ship was abandoned and later beached. It was taken over by the Suez Canal Authority in 1983 and scrapped.

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


Great Lakes limestone trade down 9 percent in 2016

1/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 26.3 million tons in 2016, a decrease of 9.3 percent compared to 2015. 2016’s loadings were also 5.3 percent below the trade’s 5-year average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 21.4 million tons, a decrease of nearly 13 percent compared to 2015. Shipments from U.S. quarries also trailed their 5-year average by 8.6 percent.

Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 5 million tons, an increase of 10.5 percent over 2015 and 12.4 percent better than their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Shipping peaks as Great Lakes season nears end

1/4 - Duluth, Minn. – Even with vessels steaming nonstop in and out of Lake Superior, ship owners play it close to the vest — not willing to “go there” when asked if the race is on to move as much cargo as possible in anticipation of the annual closing of the Soo Locks on Jan. 15.

“CN ore shipments for the remainder of the season are on schedule, as per our operating plan, which is designed to meet our customers’ transportation needs,” is all spokesman Jim Feeny of Canadian National Railway would say.

As owners of the Great Lakes Fleet of ships that include the popular local visitors Arthur M. Anderson, Edwin H. Gott and Roger Blough, CN would appear to be pouring it on as much as all of the other Great Lakes operators. Live maps of marine traffic found online have showed a dozen or more ships at a time on Lake Superior for the past several weeks.

It appears to be a peaking finale to the season throughout the ports of Duluth-Superior, Two Harbors and Silver Bay.

“We’ll wind up with this fourth quarter stronger than we’ve seen the first three going in,” said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “It was nice to see an uptick in iron ore, and certainly it was great to see advancing grain numbers.”

The season’s last saltie left the Twin Ports just before Christmas to beat the Welland Canal closing Dec. 31. Laker traffic will continue all the way up to the close of the Soo Locks that link lakes Superior and Huron. The locks are a vital link in the supply chain between taconite iron ore mines and steel mills and are scheduled for more maintenance than usual this offseason.

“Folks will start seeing a few of those vessels coming in (to stay),” Yorde said. “There will be ships berthing at our new dock, one on either side, which will be fun for folks to see.” Seven ships will berth locally for winter, and two others will be in port for longer layups, Yorde said. Many of those vessels will be undergoing maintenance and other work.

“It’s a good 10 weeks of work for labor crews ... getting all those ships in ship-shape for the start of the season in late March,” Yorde said. “It sounds like there will be a lot of steel work over the winter.”

With the close of the 2016-17 shipping campaign looming, it’s worth a review of what was a season filled with intrigue:

• In March, scientists announced that the Great Lakes hadn’t seen a confirmed new aquatic invasive species in a full 10 years. If not proof, it stood as a strong indicator that the U.S. Coast Guard’s ballast-flushing program for incoming oceangoing salties has been working.

• In June, the CN freighter Roger Blough ran aground in the far eastern edge of Lake Superior in Whitefish Bay. An elaborate rescue to offload its cargo helped to release the freighter, which returned to work in short order and was visiting the Twin Ports again by August. The U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board have yet to release the conclusions of their investigations.

• Also in June, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx visited the Northland for a round-table discussion on renewing aging infrastructure across all modes of transportation, including the ports.

• In July, a German shipping company whose vessel Cornelia was detained offshore from Duluth for six weeks in 2015 was slapped with $1 million in penalties after its owners pleaded guilty to dumping oily wastewater into the Great Lakes. The Cornelia, under new ownership, returned to Duluth in November to offload cement before it waited offshore several more weeks to secure an outgoing grain contract.

• August saw the start to a series of underwater discoveries, when local adventurers found the Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive 694 that had plunged into a bouldery grave in Lake Superior 106 years ago. The wrecks of the vessels Antelope and J.S. Seaverns, which sunk 119 and 122 years ago, respectively, also were discovered.

• Also in August, the Norwegian Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre pulled out of the Tall Ships Duluth festival after it said it could not afford pilotage fees. Pilotage law requires a local navigator be aboard foreign vessels traveling through the Great Lakes. Multiple foreign ship owners also are suing the Coast Guard over what they claim are increased pilotage fees that equate to a monopoly among the various U.S. pilot groups.

• In September, the first freighter to be repowered in Duluth since at least the 1980s made its way onto Lake Superior for sea trials as the 57-year-old Herbert C. Jackson became the last of Interlake Steamship Co.’s vessels to be modernized with diesel power. The Jackson is now back to work, but the repowering was not without issues. Fraser Shipyards, the last remaining shipyard in the Port of Duluth-Superior, performed the repowering and has appealed nearly $1.4 million in fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for what it alleges was improper handling of lead and asbestos by Fraser aboard the Jackson. Previously, a welder had filed a lawsuit against Fraser in U.S. District Court in Madison, seeking damages in excess of $75,000 for what he claimed was exposure to toxic levels of lead while performing work at Fraser on the Jackson.

• In October, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken wrote Foxx asking for a study on maritime bottlenecks and barriers across the Great Lakes, surmising that the system remains underutilized.

• In November, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority wrapped up its two-year, nearly $18 million revitalization of Docks C and D in the Superior Bay across the slip from its existing Clure Public Marine Terminal. The 26 acres feature new steel dock walls, a new rail spur and a roll-on/roll-off dock that will be the first of its kind in Duluth. A grand opening is expected to be held in the spring.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  January 4

Duluth, Minn. – Daniel Lindner, Jason Fyten & Jared Nelson
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived Duluth at 04:45 on Tuesday to load coal at Midwest Energy. Her sister American Century passed under the lift bridge at 10:45, and docked at Port Terminal Berth 8 for winter layup. She is the first ship to lay up in Duluth for the winter of 2016-17. The McCarthy finished loading and departed from Midwest Energy at 15:58, and Herbert C. Jackson arrived at 21:00 to load at the same dock. Thunder Bay was expected very late Tuesday evening to load iron ore pellets at CN. Arthur M. Anderson, Roger Blough, and Joseph L. Block were anchored off Duluth Tuesday night waiting to load in Two Harbors.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
The CN docks in Two Harbors continue to experience delays. Paul R. Tregurtha was loading on Tuesday night, while Presque Isle and Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and barge were docked waiting to load. Arthur M. Anderson, Roger Blough, and Joseph L. Block were on the hook off Duluth. Paul R. Tregurtha was tentatively expected to depart from the dock Tuesday night, while Edwin H. Gott and her fleetmate Cason J. Callaway were due to join the waiting party off Duluth.

St. Marys River
Whitefish Bay, Manitoulin and Saginaw were downbound Tuesday evening. Great Lakes Trader was upbound. Algosteel and Michipicoten were at Essar Steel.

Escanaba, Mich.
James R. Barker was still loading on Tuesday night.

Midland, Ont. – Phillip Stevens
Baie Comeau unloaded grain Tuesday, and then headed upbound for Thunder Bay.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Paul Martin, Philip de Kat
Algoma Olympic arrived Tuesday morning to join fleetmate Algoway in wintering in the port along the east wall of the harbor. St. Mary's Challenger with her tug Prentiss Brown arrived at the cement elevator on the east side of the harbor to unload. She was expected to depart in the evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Algolake was still loading salt on Tuesday.

Point Edward, Ont. – Marc Dease
Ojibway arrived in the North Slip at Point Edward, Ont., for winter lay-up on Jan. 3.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
H. Lee White was unloading at Cleveland Bulk Terminal Tuesday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
English River unloaded cement Tuesday.


Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway connections – reported as a Casualty or Demolition

1/4 - The following information taken from January 2017 Marine News – Journal of the World Ship Society

Casualties: none to report

Sea Wave (8009557; Togo) ex Gulluk-11, Al Safi-01, Trans Friendship-95, Gazania-87 - First trip into the Seaway 1981 - 10,922 / 1980 bulk carrier. By Sea Falcon Marine Inc; (Al Ryadh Trading FZCO), Panama, to Pakistani breakers and arrived Gadani Beach - commenced demolition 19/08/2016

True Brothers (8316522; Belize) ex Federal Agno-14 - First trip into the Seaway 1989, Federal Asahi-89 - First trip into the Seaway 1985 - 17,821 / 1985 bulk carrier. By January Marine Inc; (Island-Star Maritime), Liberia to Nagarsheth shipbreakers India. Arrived Alang 27/07/2016 - commenced demolition 3/08/2016

Compiled by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 4

On January 4, 1978, IRVING S. OLDS was involved in a collision with the steamer ARMCO while convoying in heavy ice in the Livingstone Channel of the lower Detroit River. The OLDS hit a floe of heavy ice, came to a complete stop and the ARMCO, unable to stop, hit the OLDS' stern.

In 1952, the car ferry SPARTAN (Hull#369) was launched at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Christy Corp.

1966: FARO, a Liberty ship that had visited the Seaway in 1965, ran aground in heavy weather off Nojima, Japan, enroute from Muroran, Japan, to Keelung, Taiwan, in ballast. It had to be abandoned as a total loss. It was sold to Japanese shipbreakers in 1967 and broken up.

2012: FEDERAL MIRAMICHI was disabled by a mechanical problem during stormy weather on the English Channel, 12.8 miles northwest of Guernsey enroute from St. Petersburg, Russia, to Paranagua, Brazil, with 22,900 tons of urea. French authorities, fearing the ship could blow ashore, dispatched a tug and the vessel was towed into Cherbourg for repairs. It has been a frequent Seaway trader since 2006.

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



Port Reports -  January  3

The Great Lakes Towing Co. tug Huron arrived Monday after a trip from the lower lakes. Reports indicate she will be stationed here.

Marquette, Mich.
Lee A. Tregurtha departed Monday and Michipicoten arrived.

Escanaba, Mich.
James R. Barker arrived on Monday evening.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algoma Transport was bound for Milwaukee with salt Monday evening. John B. Aird left Goderich headed to Milwaukee on Monday.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Burns Harbor was in her namesake port unloading Monday night.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algolake was loading salt Monday night.

Detroit, Mich. – Kenneth Borg
Cuyahoga was loading coke from Zug Island in the old channel of the Rouge River on Monday.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
John J. Boland, Defiance/Ashtabula and Sam Laud are running shuttles up the Cuyahoga to ArcelorMittal.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 3

For the second year in a row the tanker GEMINI (steel propeller tanker, 420 foot, 5,853 gross tons, built in 1978, at Orange, Texas) was the first vessel of the year in Manistee, Michigan. She headed to the General Chemical dock to load 8,000 tons of brine for Amherstburg, Ontario. The vessel arrived at Manistee in 2002, on January first, and Captain Riley Messer was presented a hackberry cane, crafted by local resident Ken Jilbert. A similar cane was presented to the vessel Saturday morning. Sold Canadian in 2005, renamed b.) ALGOSAR (i).

In 1939, the CHIEF WAWATAM ran aground on the shoals of the north shore near St. Ignace, Michigan.

On Jan 3, 1971, BEN W. CALVIN ran aground at the mouth of the Detroit River after becoming caught in a moving ice field.

In 1972, TADOUSSAC cleared Thunder Bay, Ontario, for Hamilton with 24,085 tons of iron ore, closing that port for the season.

1945: While not a Great Lakes event, what is considered the deadliest marine disaster in world history occurred on this date. The little-remembered event claimed the German passenger liner WILHELM GUSTLOFF loaded with over 10,000 refugees and naval personnel fleeing Germany in the latter stages of World War Two. It was torpedoed by a Russian submarine on the Baltic Sea and a reported 9,343 lives were lost. Another 1,239 reached safety.

1979: KOIKU MARU first visited the Seaway in 1967. It ran aground near Tartous, Syria, in stormy weather overnight and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard , Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port of Montreal presents gold-headed cane to first ship of the year

1/2 - Montreal, Que. – Chem Sirius, a chemical tanker flying the Liberian flag, was the first ship of the year to reach Montreal’s Old Port. The ship left the Port of Antwerp in Belgium on Dec. 19 and arrived at the downstream limits of Montreal’s port in Sorel at 3:16 a.m. Sunday.

Ship captain Daniel Ju will be rewarded with the 178th gold-headed cane at a ceremony Wednesday. The cane is awarded each year to the captain of the first ocean-going vessel to reach Montreal without a stopover.

Sophie Roux, the Port of Montreal’s vice-president of public affairs, said recent meteorological conditions made the last stretch of the journey difficult, with waves reaching heights of 20 feet in the last few days. The tanker was carrying phosphoric acid on its transatlantic journey. Phosphoric acid can be used to make fertilizers, food products and cosmetics, Roux explained.

Global News


Port Reports -  January 2

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Frontenac started the new year off early, departing Duluth at 05:10 on Sunday after loading ore at CN. Whitefish Bay finished unloading salt at Hallett #8 and departed at 09:50, arriving Superior an hour later to load ore. American Integrity, Arthur M. Anderson, and Paul R. Tregurtha were all at anchor waiting for the dock at Two Harbors.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
The CN docks in Two Harbors have been experiencing long delays over the past few days. On New Year's Day, Indiana Harbor, Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr, and Presque Isle were all loading ore or waiting to load. American Integrity, Arthur M. Anderson, and Paul R. Tregurtha were all at anchor off Duluth waiting for the dock. The Tregurtha is making a rare visit to Two Harbors, deviating from her usual coal run from Superior to St. Clair.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Manitoulin and Saginaw were in port Sunday.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Sunday included American Spirit early and CSL Niagara after dark. Upbounders included Algowood, tug Victory/barge James L. Kuber, Roger Blough, John D. Leitch, Tecumseh, Joseph L. Block, Buffalo and Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

S. Lake Michigan
Algosteel was in South Chicago Sunday night. James R. Barker was at Indiana Harbor.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Philip de Kat
Algoway laid up at 1700 Jan. 1, at the end of west pier.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Transport left for Milwaukee Sunday evening. John B. Aird moved over to the salt dock. Algolake was upbound in the Detroit River in the evening for Goderich.

Sarnia, Ont. – Matt Miner
Capt. Henry Jackman arrived at the Government Dock for winter layup on Sunday. She is the first of the port’s winter fleet to tie up.

Trenton, Mich.
Herbert C. Jackson arrived Sunday afternoon to unload at the Trenton Power Plant, assisted by G tugs.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Algoma Olympic arrived Sunday at the A.R.M.S. Dock to unload an oats cargo. Edgar B. Speer is expected around 8 a.m. Monday for winter layup at the Midwest Overseas Dock.


Updates -  January 2

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 2

While on the North Atlantic under tow for scrapping, ASHLAND parted her towline but was tracked by U.S. Coast Guard aircraft and was retrieved by her tug on January 2nd, 1988, some 300 miles off course.

The 3-masted wooden schooner M. J. CUMMINGS was launched at the shipyard of Goble & MacFarlane in Oswego, New York. Her owners were Mrs. Goble & MacFarlane, Daniel Lyons and E. Caulfield. Her dimensions were 142 foot 6 inches X 25 foot 2 inches X 11 foot 6 inches, 325 tons and she cost $28,000.

January 2, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 (Hull#214) was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corp. She was sponsored by Jane Reynolds, daughter of R. H. Reynolds, marine superintendent of the railroad. Renamed b.) VIKING in 1983.

1967: The small Norwegian freighter RAAGAN dated from 1919 and had been a Pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes as a) ERICH LINDOE, b) GRENLAND and c) HILDUR I. It sank in the North Sea about 60 miles north of the Dutch coast after developing leaks on a voyage from Egersund, Denmark, to Dordrecht, Netherlands, with a cargo of titanium. The crew was rescued.

1976: The XENY, which was towed into Cadiz Roads on January 1, capsized and sank on her side. The ship had caught fire on December 2 and was abandoned by the crew. It had first visited the Great Lakes as a) PRINS WILLEM II in 1955 and had been back as d) XENY in 1971.

1981: The heavy lift vessel MAMMOTH SCAN had heeled over while unloading at Abu Dhabi on October 15, 1980. The ship was righted and under tow when the towline parted off Algeria on December 28, 1980. The listing vessel was brought to Malaga Roads, Spain, on this date, healed over and sank as a total loss.

1987: A fire in the cargo hold of REMADA at Barcelona, Spain, resulted in heavy damage and the ship had to be sold for scrap. It had made one trip through the Seaway in November 1973 as b) ONTARIO.

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


Happy New Year from Boatnerd!

1/1 - Boatnerd wishes a very happy 2017 to all our readers. Thank you for your support. A big three long and two short goes out to all who send news to this page or contribute to the Port Reports, among them Daniel Lindner, Gordy Garris, Todd Shorkey, Denny Dushane, Rene Beauchamp, Ron Beaupre, Rod Burdick, Ned Goebricher, Brian Wroblewski, Bruce Douglas, Barry Andersen, Capt. Mike Nicholls, Gene Polaski, Jim Hoffman, Jake H., Ben & Chanda McClain, Phil Nash, Bill Bird, Phil Leon, Jake H., Al Miller, Jens Juhl and anyone else we’ve inadvertently left off this list. We’d also be remiss in not acknowledging the many contributions to this page by author and historian Skip Gillham, who passed away earlier this year.

Ton Hynes deserves a big thank you for keeping up with the Photo Galleries, as does Matt Miner, who rides herd on saltie comings and goings. A shout out as well to Dave Wobser, who maintains the winter lay-up list and the gatherings page. It’s the contributions of all these volunteers, and many more, that make this site possible.

With that in mind, we are always seeking contributions to this page from readers around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. If you see news in your area, or want to offer your observations of vessel arrivals and departures, please send to If you spot an interesting shipping-related story in your local newspaper, please take a moment to forward a link so that we may share it with our audience.

Smooth sailing to everyone in 2017. - T


Port Reports -  January 1

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
On New Year's Eve, Frontenac arrived Duluth at 09:48 to load iron ore pellets at CN. CSL Niagara, which arrived Friday night, departed from CN at 12:53. Whitefish Bay was expected to arrive late Saturday evening to discharge salt at Hallett #8. American Integrity remained at anchor, waiting for her sister Indiana Harbor to finish loading in Two Harbors. In Superior, Stewart J. Cort arrived at 10:12 to load ore at Burlington Northern.

Two Harbors, Minn.
Indiana Harbor was loading ore on Saturday afternoon.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Saginaw was due in the late evening Saturday. Manitoulin was expected New Year’s morning.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Saturday included Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, Sam Laud, Anglian Lady / barge, John J. Boland, Cason J. Callaway, CSL Laurentien, Burns Harbor and Great Lakes Trader. Upbounders included Arthur M. Anderson, Lakes Contender / Ken Boothe Sr., Hon. James L. Oberstar and Lee A. Tregurtha. The new G tug Huron left the Soo, where it had been at the MCM dock the last two weeks, on Saturday en route to Duluth. Sharon M. 1 and barge were at the Purvis Dock in the early afternoon. Michipicoten and Leonard M / barge were at Essar in the early afternoon, however Michipicoten soon departed upbound. Baie Comeau was at anchor above DeTour earlier in the day, but was outbound DeTour at dusk.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algosteel arrived Saturday in the late afternoon with salt.

S. Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block left Burns Harbor Saturday afternoon headed for Two Harbors. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departed Indiana Harbor. Edwin H. Gott was due in at Gary in the late evening.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Transport arrived around 8:30 p.m. Saturday. John B. Aird is due Sunday morning for salt.

St. Clair-Detroit Rivers
Algoway was upbound Saturday afternoon, her AIS reporting a destination of Owen Sound for lay up. Tecumseh and John D. Leitch were upbound during the day for Thunder Bay. Buffalo was headed for Silver Bay.

Ashtabula, Ohio
CSL Welland was in port on New Year’s Eve.

Lake Erie
Algolake and CSL Assiniboine were anchored Saturday evening off Turkey Point, likely for weather.

Sorel-Tracy, Que. – Laurent Côté‎, René Beauchamp
The fueling tanker Arca 1 (formerly Shell Canada’s Arca) departed Saturday morning on her way to new owners in Mexico. She was expected to overnight in Quebec City.


Today in Great Lakes History -  January 1

On this day in 1958, 76-year-old Rangvald Gunderson retired as wheelsman from the ELTON HOYT 2ND. Mr. Gunderson sailed on the lakes for 60 years.

On January 1, 1973, the PAUL H. CARNAHAN became the last vessel of the 1972 shipping season to load at the Burlington Northern (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe) ore docks in Superior, Wisconsin. Interestingly, the CARNAHAN also opened the Superior docks for the season in the spring of 1972.

On 1 January 1930, HELEN TAYLOR (wooden propeller steam barge, 56 foot, 43 gross tons, built in 1894, at Grand Haven, Michigan) foundered eight miles off Michigan City, Indiana. She was nicknamed "Pumpkin Seed," due to her odd shape.

January 1, 1900 - The Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad merged with the Chicago & West Michigan and the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroads to form the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

On 1 January 1937, MAROLD II (steel propeller, 129 foot, 165 gross tons, built in 1911, at Camden, New Jersey, as a yacht) was siphoning gasoline off the stranded tanker J OSWALD BOYD (244 foot, 1,806 gross tons, built in 1913, in Scotland) which was loaded with 900,000 gallons of gasoline and was stranded on Simmons Reef on the north side of Beaver Island. A tremendous explosion occurred which totally destroyed MAROLD II and all five of her crew. Only pieces of MAROLD II were found. Her captain's body washed ashore in Green Bay the next year.

At time of loss, she was the local Beaver Island boat. The remains of the BOYD were removed to Sault Ste. Marie in June 1937.

1943: HAMILDOC (i) went south during World War Two to assist in the bauxite trade. The N.M. Paterson & Sons bulk canaller sank in the Caribbean after a three-day gale. The vessel, enroute from Georgetown, British Guiana, to Trinidad, was at anchor when the hull broke in two. All on board were saved.

2000: WISTERIA was built at Imabari, Japan, in 1976 and came through the Seaway that year. It was taking water in #1 hold as c) AIS MAMAS while enroute from West Africa to India with a cargo of logs. The crew was removed but the ship was taken in tow and reached Capetown, South Africa, on January 5. It was subsequently sold for scrap and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on April 23, 2000 and was beached the next day.

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



Croatian shipbuilder launches Algoma Innovator

12/31 - Zagreb, Croatia – Croatian shipyard Brodogradiliste 3. Maj said on Thursday it launched a self-unloading bulk carrier for Canadian shipping company Algoma Central Corp. The vessel will be named Algoma Innovator.

The vessel, with a carrying capacity of 24,900 tonnes, is 198 metres long and 23 metres wide (650.08 x 78). She and a sister vessel still under construction have their superstructures aft and unloading booms mounted at the bow. They are expected to replace the aging Algoway and Algorail.

Brodogradiliste 3. Maj is 83.15 percent owned by Pula-based shipbuilder Uljanik. St. Catharines-headquartered Algoma owns and operates the largest Canadian flag fleet of dry-bulk carriers and product tankers operating on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway.

View a video of the launch at this link:


Port Reports -  December 31

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Great Lakes Trader and her tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort departed Duluth from CN at 00:47 on Friday. There were no other vessels in port, except American Integrity, which was anchored offshore awaiting the dock at Two Harbors. CSL Niagara was due around midnight to load at CN. In Superior, Burns Harbor departed with ore at 00:15.

Two Harbors, Minn.
American Spirit was loading Friday night.

Silver Bay, Minn.
H. Lee White was at the loading dock Friday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
According to AIS, there were no vessels loading or waiting to load Friday.

St. Marys River
Algoma Olympic (headed for Toledo), Ojibway (grain for Windsor, Ont.), James R. Barker, Baie Comeau (grain from Thunder Bay, with a destination of Midland, Ont.), and Kaye E. Barker were above the locks downbound early Friday evening. Herbert C. Jackson (loaded for Trenton, Mich.) was at anchor. American Mariner was downbound in the afternoon. Presque Isle and Joseph H. Thompson were upbound in the evening. Manitoulin and Saginaw were at Essar. The Roen tug Stephan M. Asher, which has been busy with a project at the Soo Locks this fall, has departed, likely for her Sturgeon Bay home port.

Milwaukee, Wis.
John B. Aird was unloading salt on Friday. Algosteel is expected sometime Saturday.

S. Lake Michigan
Joseph L. Block spent Friday evening at Burns Harbor. Roger Blough was unloading at Gary. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was at Indiana Harbor.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algosteel cleared late Thursday night or early Friday with salt for Milwaukee. Algolake will be the next boat in. She was in the Welland Canal Friday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y.
Calumet backed out of the Lackawanna Canal, winded in the outer harbor southern channel, and departed the South Entrance at 1 a.m. Friday.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
The Seaway closed for the winter Friday, one day before the official closing. The last transit was the small Urgence Marine tug Simon Côté Friday afternoon bound for Beauharnois. It will be working in this area this winter. However once it reached Lac St. Louis, the large waves were too much and it limped back to the shelter of the dock at the Côté.


Updates -  December 31

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 31

In 1905, B. F. JONES (Hull#15), 530 x 56 x 31 with a capacity of 10,000 tons, slid down the ways at Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Mich. The JONES was built at a cost of $400,000 for Jones and Laughlin Steel. She was declared a constructive total loss after a collision with the CASON J. CALLAWAY in the St. Marys River on August 21, 1955. Most of the hull was scrapped at Superior, Wis., in 1956. Part of the hull became the crane barge SSC-1. Her forward cabins and hatch crane and covers were installed on the SPARKMAN D. FOSTER.

In 1952, a total of 35 boats were laid up for the season at Cleveland. The WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, GEORGE STEPHENSON, and ANDREW S. UPSON had storage cargoes of flax, the MICHAEL GALLAGHER had a storage cargo of wheat, and the remaining 31 vessels were empty.

In 1941, at the close of the shipping season, the Great Lakes fleet consisted of 513 boats of U.S. Registry and 279 boats of Canadian Registry.

At 4:00 p.m., 31 December 1895, the PURITAN (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 172 foot, 289 gross tons, built in 1887, at Benton Harbor, Michigan) burned at the dock in Oak Hill (Manistee), Michigan. She was a total loss.

Upon suggestion from the U.S. Maritime Commission, surplus World War II cargo vessels, many of which had laid up on the James River, were made available for sale under the Great Lakes Vessel Sales Act of 1950 (enacted September 28, 1950) to be converted for Great Lakes use. The act allowed Great Lakes fleets to purchase up to 10 surplus ships by December 31, 1951, and receive a 90% cost subsidy to convert and refurbish them for lakes use. The first such conversion occurred when the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought the NOTRE DAME VICTORY (later CLIFFS VICTORY) on December 10, 1950.

GEORGE M. HUMPHREY of 1953 was laid up for the last time at the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip at River Rouge, Mich., beginning December 31, 1983.

The QUEDOC, a.) NEW QUEDOC, was laid up for the last time on December 31, 1984, at Toronto, Ont., alongside the SENATOR OF CANADA.

On 31 December 1884, ADMIRAL (wooden propeller steam tug, 49 gross tons, built in 1883, at Chicago, Ill.) had her boiler explode in Chicago harbor. All four of the crew was killed.

In 1884, the PERE MARQUETTE NO 1 ran aground at Ludington, Mich.

December 31, 1919 - The entire Ann Arbor carferry fleet was tied up in Frankfort, Mich., due to bad weather.

On 31 December 1889, H. M. Loud of Oscoda, Mich., sold the 551-ton wooden schooner ANGUS SMITH to Mitchell Brothers of Marine City, Mich., for $16,000. The vessel was built in 1871.

1905: The whaleback Barge 126 had left the Great Lakes earlier in the year and was renamed b) BADEN. It stranded at Buzzard's Bay, Mass., enroute from Newport News, Va., to New Bedford, Mass., with coal and was a total loss. The crew of six was also lost.

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


Keetac to reopen; workers to return in January

12/30 - Duluth, Minn. – U.S. Steel announced Thursday that it will reopen its shuttered Keetac taconite iron ore mine and processing center and sell taconite pellets to a third party. The Keewatin operations closed in May 2015 amid a downturn in the U.S. iron and steel industries, leaving more than 400 people laid off.

Employees will begin getting called back to work in January, and the company said it hopes to begin production in March.

Company officials in Pittsburgh said they have “reached agreements to supply iron ore pellets to third-party customers. U. S. Steel will adjust its iron ore pellet production in order to take full advantage of these business opportunities.”

Those adjustments include “a restart of the Keetac Plant.”

The plant can produce about 6 million tons of taconite pellets annually. U.S. Steel did not reveal what company was going to buy the pellets.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  December 30

Marquette, Mich.
Kaye E. Barker was in port Thursday evening.

Escanaba, Mich.
Manitowoc departed Thursday afternoon for Detroit.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algosteel was still at the salt dock Thursday night.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Thursday the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Spirit unloaded aluminum bars.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Calumet was on her way in for the south entrance channel at 7:15 p.m. Thursday headed for Gateway Metroport with salt from Cleveland.


Updates -  December 30

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 30

On December 30, 1987, the THOMAS WILSON, under tow in the North Atlantic heading to be scrapped, parted her towline and sank near position 34.08'N by 61.35'12"W (approximately in line with Cape Hatteras, North Carolina) early the next day.

GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (Hull#796) was launched December 30, 1926, for Kinsman Transit Co. at Lorain, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co. Renamed b.) CAPT JOHN ROEN in 1945, c.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1948 and d.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1958, scrapped at Taiwan in 1988.

The first steel carferry, PERE MARQUETTE, was launched in nearly completed form on December 30, 1896. The ship was built for the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad (predecessor to the Pere Marquette) and entered service just a few weeks later.

1981: VISHVA DHARMA came through the Seaway when new in 1970. The vessel was in a collision on this date with the ADMIRAL S. ALTINCAN and sustained damage to the forecastle and sides. The ship reached Istanbul, Turkey, enroute to Russia on January 7, 1982. The damage was repaired and it survived until scrapping at Bombay, India, in 1988.

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


Port Reports -  December 29

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
In Duluth on Wednesday, American Century arrived at 14:18 to load coal at Midwest Energy. James R. Barker was loading iron ore pellets at CN, and was expected to depart late Wednesday. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was expected to arrive from anchor to load after the Barker. In Superior, CSL Laurentien arrived during the late afternoon to load at Burlington Northern. Burns Harbor was expected late Wednesday night to load.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ojibway was heading in late Wednesday to load grain.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Wednesday included Mississagi, Algoma Enterprise, Roger Blough, Manitowoc, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Hon. James L. Oberstar and Thunder Bay. Upbound traffic included American Spirit, CSL Niagara, American Integrity. Scrapping is continuing on Yankcanuck, with most of the superstructure gone.

Escanaba, Mich.
Manitowoc was expected early Thursday morning.

St. Joseph, Mich.
Alpena was unloading cement Wednesday night.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Joseph L. Block was in port Wednesday afternoon.

Gary, Ind.
Presque Isle was unloading Wednesday night.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Paul L. Tregurtha was at ArcelorMittal Thursday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Algosteel was loading salt Wednesday night. Algorail arrived Tuesday and went into layup. She did not load salt as previously reported.

Toledo, Ohio
Manitoulin and Cuyahoga were in port Wednesday night.

Hamilton, Ont.
Tim S. Dool was unloading Wednesday night.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
Nilufer Sultan and Qamutik will be the last eastbound salties of the year through the system.


Scientists propose ways to measure Great Lakes water quality

12/29 - Traverse City, Mich. - A U.S.-Canadian agency is considering additional ways to measure the safety of Great Lakes water for drinking and activities such as swimming and fishing.

The proposals were developed by researchers with the International Joint Commission, which advises both nations on issues involving shared waterways.

Scientists who advise the commission say assuring good water quality in the Great Lakes will require accurate measurements of not just treated drinking water, but also the sources of that water.

Also needed is a good accounting of phosphorus flows into the lakes from major tributaries. Phosphorus contributes to harmful algae blooms that have plagued sections of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan.

Additionally, the researchers call for close monitoring of invasive Asian carp, which might out-compete native fish species if they infest the Great Lakes.

Associated Press


Door County Maritime Museum’s speaker series resumes Jan. 5 with Selvick tugs

12/29 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum’s popular Maritime Speaker Series resumes Thursday, Jan. 5 with a presentation by Steve Selvick delving into the history of the Selvick Marine Towing Co.

The presentation will be held at the museum in Sturgeon Bay beginning at 7 p.m. Admission is free with the donation of a non-perishable food item appreciated.

Selvick’s green tugs have become a fixture on Sturgeon Bay’s Westside waterfront dating back to 1969 when the company was created by Steve’s parents William and Bonnie Selvick. Selvick is one of six children and one in a set of triplets. Later the triplets, which also included his sisters Susan and Sharon, purchased the company from their parents. Steven will delve into the two decades of ownership with his siblings.

Programs will continue the first Thursday of the month in February and March with a couple of personal accounts. The Feb. 2 program will feature Richard Purinton on his travel experiences last fall to the Falkland Islands and South Georgia aboard the National Geographic Explorer. It will be followed on March 2 by Mike Peters for a presentation on his time crewing the tall ship Baltimore.

Call (920) 743-5958 or visit for more information.


Updates -  December 29

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 29

B. F. JONES was launched December 29, 1906, as a.) GENERAL GARRETSON.

KINSMAN INDEPENDENT was launched in 1906, as a.) WILLIAM B. KERR (Hull#72) at Chicago, Illinois, by Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Weston Transit Co.

Kinsman's new GEORGE M. HUMPHREY was christened on December 29, 1926.

GOLDEN HIND was laid up for the last time on December 29, 1985, at Toronto, Ontario.

On 29 December 1813, ARIEL (4-gun armed schooner, 112 tons, built in 1813, at Erie, Pennsylvania, as part of Perry's fleet) ran aground in a squall at Black River (now Buffalo) and was burned by the British.

CAROLINE (wooden sidewheeler, 71 foot, 46 tons, built in 1822, at New York City, New York) was chartered to transport arms and munitions to Navy Island near Buffalo. On 29 December 1837, she was commandeered by about 60 Canadian rebels under the command of a Royal Navy officer at Schlosser on the Niagara River. In the fight that followed, she was set afire, abandoned and allowed to drift down the river. Some sources say that she went over the falls. This incident caused hostile feelings along the U.S. northeastern frontier for many months.

1935: The Norwegian freighter AGGA came to the Great Lakes as early as 1923 and returned on several occasions until at least through 1934. It had gone aground in the St. Lawrence on October 27, 1924 and again on November 25, 1925. The 1905-vintage cargo carrier was wrecked on this date at Gunnorstenarne, Sweden.

1974: The Swedish freighter RAGNEBORG was newly built when it came to the Great Lakes in 1947 and was a regular inland trader through 1963. The vessel was sailing as c) CHAVIN when the engine broke down and it was towed into Puerto Cortes, (not sure if it was Costa Rica or Honduras), and beached. It never sailed again and was still there as late as 1978.

1979: A spark from a welder's torch spread from the conveyor belt and gutted the pilothouse and officer's quarters of the NICOLET at Toledo. The vessel was rebuilt with a new pilothouse at Lorain and returned to service on April 4, 1981.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports -  December 28

Two Harbors, Minn.
Edgar B. Speer was loading Tuesday night.

St. Marys River
Traffic was on the move on a snowy Tuesday after being delayed by weather. A day-long parade of upbounders included Baie Comeau, American Century, Great Lakes Trader, CSL Laurentien, Lee A. Tregurtha, Burns Harbor and, after dark, John J. Boland, Michipicoten (to Essar), H. Lee White, Herbert C. Jackson and Ojibway. After dark, Algoma Transport, tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber and Mississagi were downbound in the upper river headed for the locks.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
John B. Aird departed Tuesday night and Algorail took her place at the salt dock.

Monroe, Mich.
Indiana Harbor remained in port Tuesday night unloading coal.

Toledo, Ohio
Algosteel departed Tuesday with an AIS destination of Goderich. Tug Wilf Seymour / barge and tug Sea Eagle II / barge remained in port.

Sandusky, Ohio
John D. Leitch remained in port Tuesday night. Algolake was waiting offshore for the Leitch to depart.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
As of Tuesday afternoon, four eastbound salties remained in the system: Andean, HHL Mississippi, Nilufer Sulatan and Qamutik.


Canadian river cruise ship won’t visit U.S. Seaway ports

12/28 - Trois-Rivieres, Que. – Canadian maritime law restrictions could discourage a fourth-generation ship owner and his wife from sailing their renovated cruise ship to the north country during cruises along the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System in 2018.

Michel Harvey and Maryse Camirand, who own Croisieres M/S Jacques-Cartier, will upgrade their 180-foot-long Jacques-Cartier to take up to 66 passengers throughout the St. Lawrence River, Great Lakes and near the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The couple will run their first season from May to October 2018.

Yolaine Masse, the marketing and sales representative for the company, said the couple will take passengers to large cities to learn about local cultures and nature preserves to hike and bird watch. Cruises will also feature kayaking, paddling, picnics and barbecues with local food.

“It’s a whole other dimension it could add to the Thousand Islands,” said Gary S. DeYoung, executive director of the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council.

Customers will have the option to choose from one of three multiple-day cruises including a 10-day cruise, a seven-day cruise and a five-day cruise.

The 10-day cruise, Ms. Masse said, will take passengers to Kingston, Quebec city, Montreal and one or two of the Thousand Islands.

The seven-day cruise will depart from Quebec City and show passengers multiple lighthouses along the St. Lawrence River. The five-day cruises will explore the St. Lawrence Islands and the Saguenay Fjord. Mr. Harvey and Mrs. Camirand will determine specific stops and prices for their three cruises and any other potential cruise options in January or February.

“We have a good idea, but we are still in negotiations,” Ms. Masse said. “Right now, we are finalizing the five, seven and 10 days.”

While the Jacques-Cartier is a Canadian ship, Mr. Harvey and Mrs. Camirand considered hosting international cruises and stopping at north country U.S. ports.

“Anytime someone comes into Clayton — we welcome that,” said Tricia L. Bannister, the executive director of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Masse said that if they choose to sail across the border, making them an international carrier, cabotage laws would require them to stop at non-Canadian ports like Ogdensburg and Clayton, which could affect their proposed tours. Rather than docking at ports, however, Ms. Masse said that small ships like the Jacques-Cartier could dock in small bays near cities. Remaining a Canadian vessel and staying in Canadian waters, the company would not be required to dock at ports.

Cabotage laws are designed to protect national maritime interests from foreign-flagged ships. Essentially, it prohibits foreign ships from traveling from one port to another within a country.

“Most of the time, (international ships) are doing Boston and Montreal,” Ms. Masse said.

In order to host multiple-day tours, Mr. Harvey and Mrs. Camirand will invest $5 million to build enough cabins for 66 passengers, expand the dock tail by 40 feet and install a spa, sauna and terrace on the deck, Ms. Masse said. Renovations will begin next spring.

“Almost the entire ship is changing,” she said.

Michel Harvey and Mrs. Camirand purchased the company and the vessel from Michel’s father and mother, Luc Harvey and Sermande Laurendeau, last September.

Luc Harvey and Mrs. Laurendeau operated Croisieres M/S Jacques-Cartier for 40 years and sailed the Jacques-Cartier across the St. Lawrence River from Kingston to the Riviere-du-Loup, stopping at the Ottawa, Richelieu and the Saguenay rivers. Luc Harvey and Ms. Laurendeau would host hourly and daily expeditions until they retired in 2012.

“There were no cabins (originally),” Ms. Masse said. “That is why we are having $6.6 million in Canadian dollars to transform the ship.”

Mr. DeYoung said the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council has attempted to encourage more cruise lines to sail to the Thousand Islands for 15 years. While the number of ships docking in the region have increased over the past two years, he said that garnering interest from international cruise lines is still difficult.

“The impact could be really great,” he said.

The Journal


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 28

HENRY FORD II was laid up in the Rouge Steel slip at Dearborn, Michigan, on December 28, 1988.

On 28 December 1907, CALDERA (steel propeller freighter, 504 foot, 6,328 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan.

On 28 December 1881, the steamer R J GORDON arrived in Port Huron from Marine City on her maiden voyage with a large number of passengers. She was powered with a steam engine with an 18-inch cylinder and 20-inch stroke. Her dimensions were 116 feet long with a 26-foot beam. She cost nearly $20,000 and was built to run between Algonac and Lexington.

1980: DUNAV reported taking water in heavy seas off Central Japan, enroute from Hamilton, Ontario, via Los Angeles, to Tsingtao, China, with steel and was never seen again. Thirty-one sailors perished.

1980: HOLMSIDE, a Seaway trader beginning in 1960, hit a jetty while inbound at Casablanca, Morocco, as b) CABINDA and sank in the outer harbor with the loss of 9 lives.

1980: The former PRINS ALEXANDER, a Seaway trader for the Oranje Lijn beginning in 1959, struck a reef off Shadwan Island as f) POLIAGOS and sank in the Gulf of Suez. It was loaded with bagged cement and enroute from Piraeus, Greece, to Giza, United Arab Republic.

2011: An arson fire gutted the former NORMAC, most recently a restaurant ship at St. Catharines.

2011: MISSISSIPPIBORG ran aground leaving Pictou, Nova Scotia, with paper, but was refloated on the high tide only to go aground again on a second try. It had been a Seaway trader in 2011.

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



Port Reports -  December 27

Duluth, Minn.
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was anchored for weather off Duluth Monday evening, and could be joined by Roger Blough and Edwin H. Gott. Edgar B. Speer was anchored in the lee of Sand Island.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Mississagi, Algoma Transport and Algoma Enterprise were at docks Monday. Thunder Bay and an unidentified vessel were at anchor.

Marquette, Mich.
Cason J. Callaway, Philip R. Clarke, Sam Laud and American Mariner were anchored offshore for weather Monday night. The tug Victory / barge James L. Kuber and Manitowoc were docked.

St. Marys River
Weather sent Baie Comeau and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin to anchor off Bay Mills in the upper river Monday. Hon. James L. Oberstar was anchored in the lee of Whitefish Point. Joseph H. Thompson tug and barge were downbound at the locks at dusk, then went to anchor in the Nine Mile anchorage. Ken Boothe Sr. / Lakes Contender remained at anchor above DeTour, joined in the late evening by CSL Laurentien. South-southwest gale warnings were up for lakes Huron and Michigan until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Northern Lake Huron
Monday afternoon found Paul R. Tregurtha and Joseph L. Block anchored in the lee of the Michigan shore just a couple miles east of Mackinaw City. The tug Karen Andrie, likely with a barge, was also on the hook. Alpena was hugging the Michigan shoreline Monday night, and may well join the others at anchor. South-southwest gale warnings were up for lakes Huron and Michigan until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Rogers City, Mich.
Kaye E. Barker was in port Monday night.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas John B. Aird was loading salt on Monday.

Port Huron, Mich.
H. Lee White, Arthur M. Anderson, Herbert C. Jackson and John J. Boland were anchored above Port Huron Monday night waiting for weather. Ojibway and Leonard M with barge were in the vicinity, headed up the lake.

Monroe, Mich.
American Integrity was still at the power plant dock Monday night. Indiana Harbor appeared to be next in line to unload coal.

Toledo, Ohio
Algosteel was still in port Monday, as were Cuyahoga, tug Wilf Seymour / barge and tug Sea Eagle II / barge.

Sandusky, Ohio
John D. Leitch remained at the stone dock Monday night.

Hamilton, Ont.
Algoway was in port Monday night. Algoma Guardian and Kaministiqua have arrived for winter layup. Radcliffe R. Latimer and Esta Desgagnes, showing Hamilton destinations, and Cedarglen, with a destination of Thunder Bay, were anchored offshore.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
A late Christmas present arrived on Monday. The 664-foot self-unloader Manitoulin came in with a load of Canadian Red Wheat for the ADM Standard elevator at 11 a.m. Her tug, the Washington, was a little late getting down to the Outer Harbor so the captain started winding the ship by using the thrusters. The tug got there just in time to take the stern tow line and start upriver. Everything went pretty well, with a little light ice to get through on the way in, but trouble was brewing at Ohio Street. After making it almost all the way around the bend under the bridge, the Manitoulin just missed contact with the Electric Elevator dock on the port side aft. The tow came to a stop with her stern only a few inches off the wall and the ship started ahead again. Once they moved about 50 feet downriver, the tow resumed and this time they cleared with a little more room to spare. All told, the Ohio Street bridge was up almost a half hour.


Being a lighthouse keeper is on many bucket lists

12/27 - Holland, Mich. – There's no question as to why staying at a lighthouse is on many people's bucket list. The crashing waves against the shoreline. The quiet isolation offering reprieve from a hectic world. The adventure of keeping watch over a historical building and meeting people from all over the world.

There's no question as to why staying at a lighthouse is on many people's bucket lists.

"It's the romance of doing it," Peter Manting, executive director of Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, said. "You step back in time."

Luckily, hundreds of people every season have an opportunity to do just that by becoming a temporary lighthouse keeper for one or two weeks at a time. The association is accepting applications now for next season.

Those who sign up can expect to perform daily duties during their stay including manning the gift shop, greeting visitors and taking tickets and sharing historical information at the top of the lighthouses, as well as basic upkeep, such as cleaning and restocking bathrooms and sweeping walkways. These duties would be performed 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day of the stay.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Updates -  December 27

Lay-up list updated
Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 27

SAVIC, b.) CLIFFS VICTORY cleared the Welland Canal on Christmas night 1985, and finally anchored at Pointe aux Trembles near Montreal, Quebec, on December 27, awaiting another load of scrap. The SAVIC remained there the entire winter, because the underwriters ordered that her hull be re-enforced by welding straps to her stress points for her overseas journey.

THOMAS W. LAMONT as a single tow arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on December 27, 1987, where she was scrapped. The LAMONT was one of the last bulkers that retained her telescoping hatch covers to the very end.

1985:The wooden sailing ship CIUDAD DE INCA sank in shallow water at Portsmouth, Ontario, during a snowstorm. The vessel was refloated January 10, 1986, with machinery but no structural damage. It had come inland for the Lake Ontario Tall Ships Extravaganza in 1984. Due to an earlier problem, it had to stay out of American waters where it was subject to an arrest warrant due to the sinking of the MARQUES, owned by the same company, in a Tall Ships race from Bermuda to Halifax.

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



Port Reports -  December 26

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Enterprise and Mississagi were at docks Sunday night. Thunder Bay and Algoma Transport were at anchor.

Keweenaw Peninsula
Sam Laud was anchored for weather on the southwestern side of the peninsula Christmas night.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Christmas Day included Ken Boothe St./Lakes Contender, Frontenac, Paul R. Tregurtha and Robert S. Pierson. Upbounders included Cason J. Callaway, Hon. James L. Oberstar, Manitowoc, Philip R. Clarke and American Mariner. By nightfall, three vessels - Boothe Sr./Lakes Contender, Pierson and Oberstar – were on the hook above DeTour due to deteriorating weather/winds. Above the locks, James R. Barker, Joseph H. Thompson tug and barge, and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin went to anchor.

Muskegon, Mich. – Tom Hynes
About 11 p.m. local time Saturday, the tug Katie G. McAllister entered the breakwall at Muskegon, towing the Colleen McAllister. They were finishing a long delivery voyage from the east coast. They tied up in the north slip at the Mart Dock in the early morning hours of Christmas. Mary E Hannah was also present, having brought an asphalt barge from Milwaukee. It is assumed that the barge will be laid up at the Mart Dock for the winter. They waited off the dock in new ice while the tugs were tied up.

Alpena, Mich.
Steamer Alpena was in port Christmas Day and was still there in the evening,

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
John B. Aird was upbound, passing Leamington, Ont., on Sunday, with a destination of Goderich. Algorail was also in port, tied up in the spot where vessels often lay up or pause for repairs.

Monroe, Mich.
American Century departed in the evening after unloading coal. American Integrity was headed in around 10 p.m.

Toledo, Ohio
Algosteel was still at Overseas Dock Christmas night. Cuyahoga, tug Wilf Seymour and barge, tug Petite Forte and barge and tug Sea Eagle II and barge were all at docks on the Maumee River.

Sandusky, Ohio
John D. Leitch was in port Sunday evening.

Erie, Pa. – Gene P.
Dorothy Ann / Pathfinder arrived at the DonJon shipyard Christmas Eve for winter layup.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Manitoulin is expected Monday afternoon. Buffalo’s fire tug Edward M. Cotter made an icebreaking run all the way up the Buffalo River on Thursday, Dec. 22. She headed out around 8:45a.m., and worked her way to the Buckeye (Mobil) Terminal off Elk Street at the extreme end of the navigation channel. Heavy plate ice was found in the upper section near South Park Avenue as thick as six inches, making the task take most of the daylight hours. Backing and ramming was required to get through it all, slowing the process down to a crawl. She was finally able to head back down during the late afternoon.


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 26

In 1981, the steamer ENDERS M. VOORHEES laid up for the last time at the Hallett Dock #5 in Duluth, Minnesota.

On 26 December 1916, the wreck of the wooden self-unloading freighter TOPEKA was leveled by dynamiting. She sank just off Windsor/Sandwich, Ontario, in the Detroit River on 15 April 1916, in a collision with the small steamer CHRISTOPHER. Her machinery was removed prior to dynamiting.

1909: The former whaleback steamer COLGATE HOYT, operating on the East Coast since 1906, was wrecked as c) THURMOND in a storm at Tom's River Bay, NJ enroute from Newport News, VA to Portland, ME with a cargo of coal.

1973: The Liberian freighter ADELFOI, a Seaway caller in 1972 and 1973, was under tow on the St. Lawrence due to engine trouble. The ship broke loose and came ashore at St. Laurent, Ile d'Orleans and became a total loss. It was refloated on May 9, 1974, and eventually towed to Santander, Spain, for scrapping.

1982: BELMONA was newly built when it visited the Great Lakes in 1962. It sank as e) RHODIAN SAILOR south of Taiwan after the holds were flooded in a storm. The ship was carrying bagged cement and there was only one survivor.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.



Port Reports -  December 25

Duluth-Superior -Daniel Lindner
On Christmas Eve, Paul R. Tregurtha departed Duluth from CN at 01:24 with ore. Sam Laud arrived on a somewhat rare trip at 06:47 to load 16,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy. She departed at 12:30. Christmas Day has no vessels on the arrival schedule in Duluth or Superior.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Frontenac and Robert S. Pierson departed in the late morning Saturday. Thunder Bay was inbound in the afternoon. Mississagi was loading.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic on a busy late-season Saturday included Herbert C. Jackson, Andean, Cedarglen, CSL Niagara, Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader, Algocanada, Algoma Harvester, Manitoulin, Indiana Harbor and, in the late evening, Algoma Mariner and CSL St-Laurent. Upbound traffic included James L. Kuber / tug Victory (to Essar), Hon. Paul J. Martin, Algoma Transport and Edwin H. Gott. Algoma Enterprise was at the Essar Export Dock earlier, but left in the afternoon headed for Thunder Bay.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Burns Harbor was in her namesake port Christmas Eve.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Calumet was in port Saturday afternoon.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
Saturday afternoon about 2 p.m. the Alpena had departed the Mistersky fuel dock and the Joseph L. Block was going in to take on fuel. Manitowoc was loading coke in the old channel of the Rouge at Zug Island. American Mariner was unloading coal at Zug Island and the Sea Eagle II was at the St. Marys Cement dock. Hon. James L. Obserstar was unloading up the Rouge River.

Toledo, Ohio
Algosteel was still at Overseas Dock on Christmas Eve.

Cleveland, Ohio
H. Lee White, English River, Lee A. Tregurtha and tug Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were at various docks Saturday afternoon.


Freighter crews celebrate Christmas afloat

12/25 - Port Huron, Mich. – Capt. Joseph Ruch will be home for Christmas — but that's not always been the case for the Fort Gratiot resident. Ruch is the master of the M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, one of the nine active vessels traveling the Great Lakes for the Interlake Steamship Co. He got his first ship in 1977, so he'll have been a Great Lakes sailor for 40 years come the new year.

He spent many of those 40 years far from home and out of touch with friends and family. "It's not like Christmas at home," he said. "We're going to be working. We're not going to be anchored. We will at least have a decent dinner," he said. "You think about home a lot, and you try not to complain a lot because everybody else is thinking about the same thing.

"We try to decorate a little bit," Ruch said. "We used to get a Christmas tree and put it in the dining room."

He said crew members often don't get to celebrate together. "Sometimes you're working," he said. "We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You hope for a good window when you're out on the lake where you can all get together at meal time and enjoy it."

Read more and view photos at this link:


Free film screenings next week at Dossin Museum

12/25 - The Detroit Historical Museum and Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit will be open all week between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. From Monday, December 26 – Saturday, December 31, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum will feature free daily film screenings at 1 p.m. each day in DeRoy Hall, including:
• Monday, December 26 – “Superior Lights on the Shipwreck Coast”
• Tuesday, December 27 – “Sister Queens of the Great Lakes”
• Wednesday, December 28 – “The Fitzgerald Tragedy”
• Thursday, December 29 – “The Christmas Tree Ship”
• Friday, December 30 – “Great Lakes, Ancient Shores: A Voyage into History”
• Saturday, December 31 – “Detroit Mob Confidential”

Dossin Great Lakes Museum


Updates -  December 25

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Africaborg, Andean, Billesborg, Cinnamon, Eider, Federal Columbia, FWN Bonafide, Hemgracht, HHL Mississippi, Ludogorets, MTM Southport and Sunda.
Lay-up list updated
Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 25

E.G. GRACE carried 14,797 tons of taconite ore on her last trip out of Taconite Harbor, Minnesota bound for South Chicago, Illinois and then was laid up at Ashtabula, Ohio on December 25, 1976, with engine trouble which often plagued the six "Al" ships powered with Lentz-Poppet engines. The lay-up of the E.G. GRACE lasted until April 1984, when she became the first Maritimer to be sold for scrap.

On 25 December 1849 the SISKAWIT (wooden schooner, 50 t, built in 1840) was sailing light on Lake Superior when a storm drove her onto a bar near the mouth of the Chocolay River, southeast of Marquette, Michigan, where she was wrecked. Those aboard had “kidnapped” her and her cargo at L’Anse a few days earlier.

1975: GEORGE M. CARL (ii), inbound at Toronto with a winter storage cargo of grain, missed the turn for the Western Gap and stranded in Humber Bay. Tugs pulled the ship free on December 27.

1981: The Halco tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT caught fire 200 miles east of Quebec City enroute from Montreal to the Magdalen Islands with 40,000 barrels of Bunker C. oil. The accommodation area was destroyed and 7 lives were lost. The ship was towed to Sept-Iles, unloaded and then to Montreal where it was declared a total loss. It later saw brief service as the barge b) SCURRY and went to Nigeria in 1992 as c) REMI.

1985: The former CLIFFS VICTORY passed down the Welland Canal as c) SAVIC, enroute to eventual scrapping in South Korea. It does not arrive there until Dec. 12, 1986.

2000: TWINSISTER had come to the Great Lakes in 1985. The vessel was reported to have caught fire in the engineroom as d) MELATI off Vung Tau, Vietnam, with the blaze spreading to the accommodation area. The listing freighter was abandoned by the 18-member crew and the ship was presumed to have sunk. It was located December 31 and found to have been looted by pirates. The ship arrived in Singapore, under tow, on January 4, 2001, and was apparently repaired, becoming e) WIN DUKE in 2003 and f) HAN LORD in 2006.

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


Hamilton’s Mission to Seafarers a sailor’s haven for the holidays

12/24 - Hamilton, Ont. – His father-in-law takes care of the peach orchard when Evgeniy Veadychenko is away at sea. There are hundreds of trees and many kinds of peaches in the orchard, and sometimes Evgeniy is away for half the year, so the old man gets plenty of work.

Evgeniy has just two children – many fewer than he has peach trees – but they are even more work. His son is a toddler and enjoys causing havoc. Evgeniy calls him the “human atom bomb.”

Their home is near Odessa, a big city with a zoo where his son learned not to be afraid of elephants. Today, the Ukrainian sailor is about 8,000 kilometres away in Hamilton. He has been aboard a bulk carrier called the Andean for seven months, and this week the ship is docked in the Southern Ontario city while it delivers a load of steel.

Evgeniy is flipping through Facebook pictures of his children in the Mission to Seafarers here, a clubhouse and chapel for visiting sailors. Two staff and four volunteers spend the year helping seamen run errands, manage labour disputes, connect with their families and occasionally even pray. Around Christmas, bitter weather and sailors anxious to get home for the holidays make the work all the more vital.

Evgeniy celebrates Christmas on Jan. 7, in accordance with his Orthodox faith, but Dec. 25 has another meaning for him. It’s his daughter’s birthday. She’s turning six this year. The Andean will probably be in Duluth, Minn., when she blows out the candles.

“My whole world is 17 men,” he says.

Thousands of homesick and seasick sailors call at Hamilton every year aboard some 700 ships, both lakers and the ocean-going vessels known as “salties” in the freshwater harbors of the world. Within 12 hours of a ship’s arrival in Hamilton, Mission to Seafarers workers will go aboard with a bag of chocolates and the long-distance calling cards that are always in demand amid the chronic isolation of a mariner’s life.

The organization is run by the Anglican Church and has chapters in about 50 countries, but the work of the Hamilton chapter is relentlessly local. Sometimes, a ship will stay in Hamilton for as long as two weeks, unloading steel and loading grain. In that span, staffers Dan Phannenhour, Ronda Ploughman and Janice Maloney-Brooks will serve as all-purpose helpmeets to the crew.

Seafarers don’t ask for much, said Mr. Phannenhour, a Lutheran pastor. “They want to go to Niagara Falls, they want to go to Walmart – those are the two big things.”

There isn’t as much call for strong rum and fast women in today’s seaports as there might once have been. Modern sailors are often upwardly mobile, middle-class family men from relatively poor countries, such as the Philippines and Ukraine; once on dry land, they’re likelier to gravitate toward the nearest WiFi hot spot than to the local tavern.

Judith Alltree, executive director of the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario (comprising Oshawa, Toronto and Hamilton), remembers one Ukrainian sailor who was intent on buying a Canadian diamond ring for his girlfriend, because Canadian diamonds were more ethically sourced than African ones. Such are the rather staid, bourgeois preoccupations of the 21st-century seafarer.

Some missions are elaborate. The facility in Sorel, Que., has a bar. Houston’s boasts a basketball court and a pool.

In Hamilton, the facilities are humbler. Sailors are usually content with creature comforts and a way of calling home, so the mission obliges with WiFi passwords and chocolate bars. A pool table (favored by Filipino sailors) and a foosball table (popular with Eastern Europeans) provide sober diversion.

The mission’s work bends around the customs of the floating United Nations that is the world’s commercial seafaring corps. Sailors on Dutch ships need to be driven around less because they usually have bikes on board. Mr. Phannenhour has more trouble meeting Indian crews because they insist on treating him as an “honored guest” and serving him food in the officers’ mess. And since about 40 per cent of the world’s 1.7 million seafarers are Filipino, the Toronto mission has a cupboard full of Tagalog Bibles.

Still, whatever their customs, all sailors are alike in suffering the deprivations of life at sea. Atlantic crossings this year were especially rough. One captain recently told the mission that his crew had gone nine days without sleep or hot meals because of choppy seas. Pair that with voyages that can last almost a year and routinely surpass six months, often on contracts that are unilaterally extended, and sailors rejoice at the sight of land.

“It’s a hard, dangerous career,” Ms. Alltree said. “They don’t see their family for months on end. They put themselves in harm’s way to feed their families and to make sure we can have cheap clothing [and] we can drink coffee from Brazil.”

Sailors are often uncannily upbeat despite these hardships and more generous than they can afford to be. “You can’t out-give a seafarer,” Mr. Phannenhour said, who once repaid for his assistance with a dinner of curried lamb. One ship’s cook made a cake for Ms. Maloney-Brooks.

That warmth and resilience has been on display in recent weeks aboard the Ardita, a cargo ship that has been detained in Hamilton since April because of an ownership dispute.

They have only visited shore a handful of times since spring, but with Christmas on the horizon, their spirits seem to have been buoyed. After the season’s first big snowfall, they built a snowman on the Ardita’s deck and posed for selfies with it. They are expected to be flown home for Christmas, as most crews are this time of year.

Evgeniy and his colleagues aboard the Andean seem likely to prove an exception. He doesn’t think he’ll make it home for Jan. 7. The ship still has to traverse a series of tricky locks through the Great Lakes en route to Duluth. While passing through the locks, the crew works through the night, with two-hour intervals of sleep.

“It’s like you’re a machine, but a broken machine,” Evgeniy says with a tired laugh.

On Christmas, he usually goes to church with his family. He is a pious man. “My nationality is Christian,” he says. “I was born in one country, now live in another country, maybe I die in another country. All the time, God stay one.”

Last week, Ms. Alltree gave Evgeniy a box of good English chocolate in the Hamilton mission. Wearing an anchor-shaped crucifix, she said, “Merry Christmas.”

Globe & Mail


Port Reports -  December 24

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Mariner, Frontenac and CSL St-Laurent were loading on Friday. Algoma Harvester and Manitoulin departed in the late afternoon.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic Friday included American Century, passenger ferry Ottawa (from MCM), Algoway, Sharon M / barge, Stewart J. Cort, Algoma Equinox, American Integrity and the saltie Andean (late evening). Upbound traffic included Roger Blough, Avenger IV / barge (to Soo Harbor), Algocanada (to Soo Harbor) and Thunder Bay. Kaye E. Barker was inbound at DeTour in the mid-evening, followed by Edgar B. Speer. Brash ice in Mud Lake is posing no problem for traffic.

Mackinac Straits
The tugs Katie McAllister and Colleen McAllister were westbound at the Straits Friday in the late afternoon. They are on the last leg of a delivery trip from New York to Muskegon, Mich.

Muskegon, Mich. – Tyler Fairfield
Calumet unloaded salt on Friday.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
James R. Barker remained at ArcelorMittal Friday.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Mottler departed with grain. Algorail was loading salt on Friday and was headed up the lake Friday night.

Toledo, Ohio
Toledo’s last saltie of the season, Federal Hudson, departed with grain on Friday, with the tug Nebraska on the bow and the Mississippi on the stern. Joseph L. Block and Algosteel arrived. Philip R. Clarke was also in port. American Mariner departed in the evening.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Friday was busy at the canal with a flurry of downbound salties headed for the ocean, among them Irma, Kwintebank, Resko and Miedwie. Ruddy stopped at Port Colborne and the Africaborg was at wharf 12 unloading some cargo, as she was over draft.


Wall of apocalyptic-looking 'sea smoke' appears over Lake Superior harbor

12/24 - Duluth, Minn. – An ominous wall of fog that would rival something out of a Hollywood disaster film appeared near a Lake Superior port earlier this week. In a short vide captured by Minnesota photographer Levi Drevlow, a freighter can be seen moving through the Great Lakes harbor in Duluth, Minn. on Wednesday, Dec. 21. In the distance, a massive wall of cloud-like matter can be seen. And while it looks like something similar to the end of days, it's actually a naturally-occurring phenomenon known as sea smoke.

View the video at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 24

In 1973, a crewman from the Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC fell overboard at 11:41 p.m. while the boat was at anchor off Stoneport, Mich. The FRONTENAC launched a lifeboat to search for the missing man. When he could not be found and the lifeboat had trouble returning to the FRONTENAC, a distress call went out. The American Steamship Co. steamer McKEE SONS, Captain Robert J. Laughlin, responded and received a Citation of Merit for rescuing the six sailors in the lifeboat on Christmas morning.

December 24, 1969 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 made her last trip out of Ludington, Mich., pulled by two tugs. She was sold to Norfolk and Western Railway Company to be converted into a river ferry barge and renamed b.) ROANOKE by Nicholson’s Terminal & Dock Co. at Ecorse, Mich.

On 24 December 1910, ALASKA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 165 foot, 348 tons, built in 1879, at Detroit, Michigan) was sheltering from a storm a few miles from Tobermory, Ont., when she caught fire from an overheated boiler and burned to a total loss. She was originally built as a side-wheel passenger vessel, her engine came from the JOHN SHERMAN of 1865 and went into the steamer FRANK E. KIRBY of 1890.

On 24 December 1875, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels at winter lay-up at St. Clair, Mich. -- Scows: ANNA H MOORE, A MONROE, MYRTLE, CLIPPER VISION, J SNADERS and B MONROE; Steamers: BERTIE DAHLKE and HELEN; Schooners: JOHN RICE and M R GOFFE; Barges: MILLIN and JUSTIN R. WHITING; Tug: C.M. FARRAR; and Dredge: H LIFIAN.

On Christmas Eve 1979, while at her temporary dock in Milwaukee, Wis., the steamer E. M. FORD sank when gale force winds forced her from her moorings and repeatedly slammed her bow into the dock facing. By Christmas morning her stern was settled on the bottom, her engine room flooded. Her storage cargo of powdered cement was partially flooded also. By afternoon, the proud steamer lay sunken at her dock. She stayed on the bottom for several weeks as crews had to remove a solid 3 feet of hardened cement and patch her holed bow. On January 20th, 1980, she was refloated and towed to Bay Shipbuilding where work began on rebuilding her.

1976: The former MARIA K., of 1956, visited the Seaway in 1963. It sustained a fire in the engine room as c) ASTYANAX at Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The vessel was loaded with cement and became a total loss. It was scuttled in the Atlantic south of Abidjan, on November 18, 1977, after the cargo had solidified.

1977: The West German freighter MAGDEBURG began visiting the Seaway in 1959 and had made 31 voyages inland to the end of 1967. It was sailing from Hull, England, and Antwerp, Belgium, for East Africa when it ran aground at Haisborough Sand in bad weather. The ship was refloated the same day but with serious damage. It was sold for scrap and dismantling began in May 1978.

1982: TUKWILA CHIEF came through the Seaway in 1982 after previous visits as a) ESTHER CHARLOTTE SCHULTE as early as 1962. Fire broke out on board, two days out of Souris, PEI, with a cargo of potatoes. The blaze spread through the cabins and the ship was gutted. One sailor was lost but the remainder was rescued. The ship was brought to Sydney and, on September 20, 1983, was towed out into the deep waters of the Atlantic and scuttled.

1983: The Welland Canal pilot boat CISCOE was enroute to Port Dover for the winter when it lost power in heavy seas. The GRIFFON took the small ship in tow but it flipped over, broke loose and eventually sank. The 2 members of the crew were saved.

1987: The tug G.W. ROGERS left the Great lakes in November 1987 but sank at Albany, on this date during the trip south to the Netherlands Antilles. While refloated, it never made it south and was noted at Liberty Park, New York, in October 1997.

1997: The barge DUPUIS No. 10, under tow of the tug TECHNO-ST. LAURENT, sank in Lake Erie while bound from Buffalo to the Welland Canal. There were no casualties.

1999: The BARDE TEAM, enroute from Singapore with steel pipes, began taking on water, developed a list and sank in the Indian Ocean. It first came through the Seaway in 1976 as a) SAMSON SCAN and returned under her final name in 1992.

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


Grain buoying Seaway volumes in 2016

12/23 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Grain made a lot of bread for Seaway operators this year. As the St. Lawrence Seaway edges to its Dec. 31 close, it reports that Canadian and U.S. grain shipments through its waterway totaled 9.4 million metric tons up to the end of November — which is in line with 2015.

Total cargo shipments reached 30.3 million metric tons for the period from March 21 to Nov. 30. In December, dozens of ships were still in the navigation system.

Volumes are expected to be robust this month as freighters deliver raw materials and exports for North America’s industrial and agricultural sectors before the waterway closes.

The Seaway says the Port of Thunder Bay —the largest grain port on the Great Lakes-Seaway waterway — was expecting another 65 ships in December and the first two weeks of January. Most of these ships are loading Prairie grain for export and some will still be delivering grain and coal to ports within the Lakes during early January.

“Grain is the strongest player in our cargo mix,” said Seaway spokesman Andrew Bogora. “The last two or three years have been very strong, and this year we’re pleased to report our results are in step with 2015 and 2014.

Shipments of oversized, high-value project cargo through the Seaway are also up 42 per cent this season with wind turbines and machinery leading the way.

The spokesman said “liquid bulk” continues to be strong in cargos that include chemicals shipped in double-hulled tankers. “We continue to face some trying time with the iron-ore trade,” Bogora said. “And that’s a reflection of the steel industry having gone through some very difficult years.”

Steel, he explained, is a global industry and mills that once produced a variety of product tend to be more highly specialized. When other products are brought in, it may be semi-finished or finished. With the closing of blast furnaces in at least one North American plant, it affects the volume of iron-ore being shipped.

“Coal, to no one’s surprise, also continues to decline in volume,” he said. “Electrical generation is shifting more and more away from coal.”

Bogora said an objective is to tie last year in overall volume at 36.25 million tones, with a longer-term goal at about 40 million tonnes.

The Welland Canal is about even with last year in total transits with about 2,500 inland transit via ships that are typically lakers and about 700 ocean vessel transits.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  December 23

The saltie Andean passed outbound under the Duluth Aerial Bridge at 7:06 p.m. Thursday, ending the international shipping season in the Twin Ports for 2016. The Andean departed after loading grain at Cenex Harvest States elevator in Superior.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On Thursday at the Upper Harbor, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. unloaded coal and Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
James R. Barker was at ArcelorMittal Thursday evening.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Mottler was still loading grain on Thursday.

Toledo, Ohio
Federal Hudson was still upriver loading grain on Thursday. American Mariner and Ashtabula/Defiance were also in port. Joseph L. Block was midway across Lake Erie Thursday evening headed for Toledo, while Algosteel was in the Welland Canal.


S.S. Norisle group begins legal action against township

12/23 - Owen Sound, Ont. – An organization on Manitoulin Island is trying to prevent a township council from disposing of the historic S.S. Norisle, which the Tobermory Maritime Association is hoping to turn into a dive site near the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.

The S.S. Norisle Steamship Society has initiated legal action against Assiginack Township, the municipality's chief administrative officer confirmed Wednesday.

“I can tell you what they're claiming. They're claiming $10 million in damages and asking for an order that the municipality not be allowed to dispose of the Norisle until the matter is heard in court. That's all I can tell you because it's gone to our solicitor so we don't comment on ongoing lawsuits,” Alton Hobbs said in a brief interview.

John Coulter, director of restoration for the society, also confirmed “a claim has been filed,” but refused to comment further. Jean McLennan, founder of the society, and Rob Maguire, another member of the group, would not comment either.

The Norisle, which transported passengers and vehicles between Tobermory and South Baymouth from 1947 until the Chi-Cheemaun took over the seasonal service in 1974, has been owned by Assiginack Township since 1975. It has been berthed at Manitowaning Bay since that time.

Assiginack Mayor Paul Moffatt, who The Sun Times has been unable to reach, has been quoted by the media on Manitoulin Island as saying his council has been discussing ways to get rid of the Norisle, which he said is deteriorating.

Hobbs, in an interview Tuesday, said the township is interested in hearing a proposal from the Tobermory Maritime Association, which is in the preliminary stages of a plan to acquire the Norisle and sink it in Little Cove for use as a dive site.

Michael Marcotte, president of the association, was told about the legal action regarding the Norisle by a Sun Times reporter. He said the organization remains committed to its plan to “bring history home.”

Friends of the Norisle, later incorporated as the not-for-profit S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, formed about a decade ago with the goal of saving the vessel, which was built in the Collingwood Shipyards in 1946.

Assiginack Township and the Norisle society created a committee to investigate the feasibility of refitting the ship and returning it to service as a heritage passenger steamship on the Great Lakes.

A study, completed in 2010, found there is “good evidence of a significant market being available for multi-day, berthed passenger cruises on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River from mid-May through October.”

The report said it would cost about $17.3 million to refit the ship, purchase necessary shore equipment and to cover operating deficits in the first two years and start-up costs. By Year 4 of operation, the vessel could generate a $427,000 profit from a five-month sailing season.

“To make the project of appeal to commercial investors, most of the capital budget will need to be found from government and donors not seeking a return or repayment. Norisle’s charitable status will provide unique benefits for capital funding, philanthropy and in-kind support,” the report said.

Last January, Assiginack Township petitioned the province to reassume ownership of the Norisle and work with the society to see if the cruise ship proposal was viable. If not, it asked the province to remove the vessel from the Manitowaning waterfront.

Marcotte said his association approached Assiginack Township about the Norisle because it heard the municipality was trying to get rid of it. He said the bottom of the bay off the Bruce Peninsula is like a maritime museum and he would much rather see it there than scrapped.

He noted the Norisle society has had years to bring its cruise ship plan to fruition.

“That ship serviced Manitoulin – but more so South Baymouth and not Manitowaning – and Tobermory so it should come back here. We have a museum and it's underwater. So I'm going to continue to pursue it,” he said of the dive site plan.

Marcotte has said the maritime association intends to secure the necessary approvals to sink the vessel as a dive site before making an offer to purchase it. He said the group has applied for permits from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada.

Dave Ham, the former chairman of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, said sinking the ship as a dive site would be “an awful waste of a very, very good vessel.” Ham, who stepped down as chairman in September because of work commitments, said the society has already spent about $2 million to refurbish the Norisle.

The vessel has been surveyed, he said, and its hull is “just as sound as it was perhaps when it was built.” It's not true that the ship is deteriorating, he said. The society paid to have all of the vessel's generators and pumps removed and overhauled, he said, and the components are ready to be reinstalled.

It purchased paint for the outside of the Norisle. About half of the ship has been painted so far and the rest of the paint is stored on board. The society also paid to have asbestos removed from inside the vessel and has secured drawings to turn the vessel into a cruise ship, he said.

Ham said the society had planned to get an updated study completed for its cruise ship plan. The group, he said, estimates the refurbishment would now cost about $35 million, but could be paid off within 11 years of the ship operating on the Great Lakes.

He said four companies expressed a desire to operate the ship if it was refurbished. Grants from the federal government are available, he said, to refurbish heritage vessels.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Services set for Flower Lady Arlene Earl

12/23 - Visitation for Arlene Earl will be at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28 (funeral service at 6 p.m.) at St. Paul's Protestant Church, 208 Orchid Blvd., Harsens Island, Mich. There will be a private interment at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit.

Earl, who for decades sent bouquets of fresh flowers to the captains and crews of Great Lakes freighters, earning her the nickname The Flower Lady, died on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. She was 78.

Contributions in memory of Arlene's life may be made to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen; 1264 Meldrum St.; Detroit, MI 48207. Arrangements are by the Martenson Funeral Home of Allen Park.


Historical Society donates fishing tug to Knife River

12/23 - Knife River, Minn. – A historical landmark paying homage to the North Shore's once-thriving commercial fishing industry began its journey Wednesday back to where it was built in 1939. After sitting on the shore of Agate Bay in Two Harbors for 26 years, the fishing tug Crusader II was lifted off its supports, placed on a trailer and hauled off to Knife River in the hopes of restoring it to its former glory.

"We are basically giving the Crusader back to the community of Knife River as a Christmas present more or less," Mel Sando, director of the Lake County Historical Society, said as he watched a crew from Knife River Marina secure the boat to the trailer.

Used primarily for catching herring in Lake Superior, the Crusader II was built in Larsmont by Reuben and Helmer Hill and was christened in Knife River by Crown Prince Olav of Norway during his visit to the North Shore, according to the Historical Society.

In the past few years, the society has had difficulty securing grant money for the maintenance and restoration of the 36-foot vessel mostly because it doesn't own the property near the lighthouse where the boat has sat since 1990.

"A group from Knife River approached the Historical Society and asked if they could have the boat back," Sando said. "We recognize that they are in a much better position to provide good stewardship for the boat."

That group is a subcommittee of six people, mostly boat builders, who were granted possession of the boat through a resolution by the Knife River Recreation Council to restore and maintain it "under good intent."

"We adopted it in a sense," said Paul von Goertz, a grant writer and member of the subcommittee.

The group plans to restore the boat with the idea that it could be placed back in the water. For now it's going to sit in the yard at the Knife River Marina with 70-80 other boats stored there for the winter.

The group said they are looking at a few potential homes for the Crusader II once its restoration is complete, but nothing has been finalized.

Duluth News Tribune


Lay-up reports needed

12/23 - As the end of the shipping season approaches, please send reports of vessel lay-ups to This will help us compile our annual lay-up list. Please include vessel name, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 23

IMPERIAL ST CLAIR was selected to participate in the three-year winter navigation experiment during which the Soo Locks remained open all year. On December 23, 1976, at the very onset, she ran aground entering ice-jammed Parry Sound on Georgian Bay in a blinding snow squall. One of her cargo tanks ruptured spilling 1,800 barrels of diesel oil.

The SAVIC, c.) CLIFFS VICTORY was down bound past Detroit, Michigan, December 23, 1985, by-passing a 15,000 ton load of scrap because of the lack of time to clear the Seaway.

CHARLES DICK was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario, on December 23, 1976.

SIR TREVOR DAWSON was laid up after the Great War until December 23, 1920, when she was sold to Pioneer Steamship Co. and renamed c) CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON.

On 23 December 1905, JAMES B. WOOD (steel propeller freighter, 514 foot, 7,159 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. In 1913, she was renamed b.) ARCTURUS.

On 23 December 1885, MARY MARTINI (wooden propeller passenger-package freight vessel, 85 foot, 91 gross tons, built in 1877, at W. Bay City, Michigan) stranded on Brule Point, 13 miles east of Grand Marais, Minnesota, on Lake Superior in fair weather. A navigational error was blamed. She became a total loss but her passengers and crew were taken off by the Duluth tug T H CAMP.

In 1903, the PERE MARQUETTE 20 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage.

1916: A.B. WOLVIN, a former Great Lakes bulk carrier that went to sea in 1911, sank in a gale on the Atlantic southeast of Bermuda. The crew of 26 were picked up by the BRAZIL, a two-year old Norwegian freighter.

1954: The former FEDERAL AMBASSADOR, while not a Great Lakes trader but once part of the Federal Commerce & Navigation of Montreal, foundered in the North Sea as c) GERDA TOFT

1963: The Greek passenger liner LAKONIA caught fire off Madeira with 1041 passengers and crew on board. While 132 lives were lost in the tragedy, another 470 were rescued by the freighters SALTA and MONTCALM. The latter was a regular Seaway trader beginning in 1960 and returned as b) CAPO SAN MARCO in 1971.

1986: MARINE COASTER, a Great Lakes visitor as e) EVA MARIE in the mid-1960s, was scuttled off Newfoundland.

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


Port Reports -  December 22

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
The saltie Andean arrived Duluth at 01:46 on Wednesday and docked at CHS 1 to load wheat. American Century arrived at 12:33 to load coal at Midwest Energy. Her sister American Integrity followed at 15:05, and docked at Calumet to fuel and wait to load at Midwest. American Century was expected to depart from Midwest Energy late Wednesday night, and Herbert C. Jackson was due to arrive to load coal after the Integrity. On the south side of the harbor, Stewart J. Cort was expected Wednesday evening to load at BN.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Harvester, Algoway and Algoma Equinox were loading Wednesday evening.

St. Marys River
Heavy snow Wednesday evening was slowing traffic in the river. Upbounders included Hon. James L. Oberstar, Frontenac, Algoma Mariner, Paul R. Tregurtha, Great Lakes Trader and Sam Laud. Burns Harbor, H. Lee White, Oakglen, Flevoborg and Arthur M. Anderson were downbound in the upper river, however on AIS it looked like they were either at or going to anchor. The downbound salties Resko and Kwintebank were outbound at DeTour around 10 p.m.

Escanaba, Mich.
Edwin H. Gott was at the CN dock loading on Wednesday.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
James R. Barker was unloading Wednsday night.

Alpena, Mich.
The steamer Alpena was inbound at her namesake port Wednesday night.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Mottler was loading grain Wednesday. Algowood was loading salt.

Trenton, Mich. – Capt. Mike Nicholls
John J. Boland, assisted by tugs Wyoming and New Jersey, transited the Wyandotte and Trenton channels in route to the Trenton Edison power plant Wednesday. She turned at Bishop Park and backed down the Trenton Channel.

Toledo, Ohio
Federal Hudson, Evans Spirit, American Mariner, John D. Leitch, Atlantic Huron and Victory/James L. Kuber were all in port Wednesday afternoon. Joseph L. Block and Algosteel are headed for Toledo from the Seaway but have no ETAs as yet. Wednesday night both vessels were on Lake Ontario at the eastern end of the Welland Canal.

Sandusky, Ohio
Kaye E. Barker was loading Wednesday night. Kaministiqua, Algoma Olympic, Cinnamon and Ardita were at docks Wednesday late. CCCS Hudson has arrived for a winter refit at Heddle Marine.


Arlene Earl, beloved Flower Lady of the Great Lakes, dies at 78

12/22 - Harsens Island, Mich. – Arlene Earl, who for decades sent bouquets of fresh flowers to the captains and crews of Great Lakes freighters, has died. She was 78.

Earl battled cancer for years, and passed away about 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 20, in hospice in Chesterfield Township with family at her side. She'd lived away from her Harsens Island home on the St. Clair River since late 2015. She started sending flowers to the freighters in the 1980s, and how, in response, freighter captains would sound a loud horn when they passed by her house.

Visitation for Arlene will be 3:30 PM on Wednesday, December 28 (Funeral Service at 6:00 PM) at St. Paul's Protestant Church; 208 Orchid Blvd.; Harsens Island. Private interment at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit. Contributions in memory of Arlene's life may be made to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen; 1264 Meldrum St.; Detroit, MI 48207.

Read more and see a video at this link:


Boblo Island ferry making minimal progress

12/22 - The Boblo Island ferry St. Claire V is now being assisted by the tug Annie M. Dean in the Detroit River because of continued severe ice conditions. Earlier in the day, air boats were being used to ferry people back and fourth from the island. The ice is still being held up in the river by south winds and it is not flushing into Lake Erie.

Kevin Sprague


Dredging shut down until spring in Cuyahoga River shipping channel

12/22 - Cleveland, Ohio - Dredging in the Cuyahoga River shipping channel has come grinding to a halt and won't be completed until next year due to mechanical breakdowns and inclement weather.

The dredging delay is the latest in a series of setbacks linked to a lingering federal lawsuit between the Army Corps, the Ohio EPA and the Port of Cleveland. The dispute centers on where the dredged sediment should be disposed of and who should pay for it.

In the latest clash in U.S. District Court, defense lawyers filed documents contending the Army Corps isn't legally required to dredge Cleveland Harbor - a job the Army Corps has performed annually for at least the past 30 years.

The defense motion for summary judgment cited a federal statute that states the Army Corps "shall expedite the operation and maintenance, including dredging, of the navigation features of the Great Lakes and the connecting channels" for commercial navigation.

"There is no mandate that the Corps 'shall dredge,'" the Army Corps lawyers concluded.

Port of Cleveland spokesman Jade Davis said the Army Corps made the same arguments last year, and they were rejected by federal Judge Donald Nugent. The Army Corps' lawyers also denied allegations that the agency intentionally delayed dredging to allow sediment to build up and threaten shipping in the river, with the intent to "put pressure on the locals."

EPA/Port lawyers previously produced emails from the Corps' Cleveland Harbor project manager that suggested the Corps could reduce the amount of dredging in the shipping channel to impede navigability and "keep the heat on the local users" to approve open-lake dumping.

The Army Corps delayed the $3.7 million dredging project this year until Nov. 14. In a typical year, the Corps would have dredged the shipping channel twice by that date.

The Army Corps' contractor, Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan, Mich., first attempted to finish dredging the docks at the ArcelorMittal steel mill, where the sediment buildup was the worst on the river. But on Dec. 9, after about a week of work, a pump on an excavator-mounted barge broke down, said Matthew Snyder, the Army Corps' construction branch chief.

"It was a pretty significant breakdown," Snyder said, and must be rebuilt before dredging of the remaining five miles of shipping channel can resume in the spring. "The cold water causes a lot of issues to their pumps and safety issues due to ice."

Port spokesman Davis said the Army Corps brought the problems onto themselves by delaying dredging for nearly a year. "We don't have as much ship traffic during the winter, but if we have a lot of snowfall and precipitation we could see a lot more sediment build-up in the spring," Davis said.

Meanwhile, the courtroom combatants are awaiting a ruling from federal Judge Donald Nugent. The EPA/Port team is seeking a judicial order compelling the Army Corps to dispose of the dredged sediment in a lakefront containment dike, and to pay the additional $2.1 million required for land disposal.

The Army Corps contends the sediment is clean enough for open-lake disposal, and that if the EPA/Port insists on land storage they should be required to pay the difference. The EPA/Port say the sediment is too polluted with PCBs to be dumped into Lake Erie, and insisted the dredgings be stored at the Port-owned Dike 12 near Burke Lakefront Airport.

In October, the Army Corps agreed to pay the initial costs of onshore storage, and the EPA agreed to reimburse the Corps if it fails to prevail in the pending federal lawsuit.


Council gives nod to disposal of S.S. Norisle to be scuttled at Tobermory for divers

12/22 - Assiginack, Ont. – The Expositor has confirmed that Assiginack Township is in negotiations with the Tobermory Maritime Association (TMA) regarding the sale/donation of the S.S. Norisle to be relocated to Tobermory, sunk and used as a dive site.

“Council had been discussing ways to get rid of the Norisle and we had an inquiry from a marine group (TMA),” explained Assignack Mayor Paul Moffatt. “We are interested in getting it out of our harbor. We can’t keep it forever—it’s deteriorating. Nothing is formalized yet, but we offered it to them if they can get the okay from the government. We can’t afford to keep it.”

Assiginack Clerk Alton Hobbs confirmed that council was approached by the TMA in the fall about the Norisle and that council authorized staff to negotiate with the group. When asked if the ship would be sold or donated, Mr. Hobbs responded that staff are still in negotiations with the TMA.

The Expositor contacted long time S.S. Norisle Steamship Society member Jean McLennan Monday night who commented, “Council (the township) has been served by the Friends of the Norisle (S. S. Norisle Steamship Society) and it’s (the sale/donation of the Norisle) not going to happen.”

Ms. McLennan and the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society learned about the negotiation from a social media article and not from the township.

“I haven’t been notified,” said Dave Ham, past chair of the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, of the sale. “I resigned from being the chair in September, but I said I would step up if anything critical came up. If the town is doing this, they have just sold the project from under us. The Friends (steamship society) have a lot more money invested in the Norisle than the town. Assiginack Township has garnered over a million dollars out of the province over the years to turn it into an historical attraction.”

“This is a terrible waste of a valuable resource,” Mr. Ham continued. “The Assiginack council is working against the community, in my opinion, by doing this. It’s a shame—what’s next? Selling Queen Street or Arthur Street to Little Current? Nothing would surprise me now.”

As reported previously, the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society hired Compenso Communications, based out of Owen Sound, to help them with their goal of seeing the 70-year-old steamer refitted and plying Great Lakes waters once again. It is currently docked in Manitowaning Bay, where it has been berthed for over 40 years, in the care of Assiginack Township, since the former Owen Sound Transportation Company ferry was decommissioned for use and replaced by the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun.

Late last year, the Society approached council, asking the municipality to apply for a grant from the Ministry of Tourism on its behalf for the commission of a study. This would have required one-third funding from Assiginack to the tune of $90,000, which was offered up by a member of the Society in exchange for a tax receipt—a suggestion that made council nervous.

Last spring, Assiginack council carried a motion, asking the province to take over the responsibility of the Norisle, although nothing ever materialized from that communication.

Just at press time, The Expositor received this statement from Michael Marcotte, representing TMA: “Our mission is to return the Norisle to Tobermory where she served for 28 years and retire her to the museum of Tobermory waters. We feel this a better end then a scrapyard. We have had unequivical support from stakeholders. At this point in time we are securing permits to be able to sink the Norsile, although approvals are still pending.”

Manitoulin Expositor


Obituary: Clarence Gilbert "Gil" Porter

12/22 - Clarence Gilbert "Gil" Porter, 93, of Duluth passed away Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Born in Rochester, N.Y., he was raised in Montreal, Canada until he enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard at the age of 18. During his career he was a master of the Coast Guard Cutter, Woodrush. He retired in 1965 as the Commander of the Port of San Francisco after 24 years of service.

In 1965 Gil returned to Duluth to embark on his second career as a pilot on the Great Lakes. That same winter he and his friend Jack Saunders co-founded the Lake Carriers' Association Navigational School that produced numerous Great Lakes ship officers. In addition he made several trips to Brazil to serve as a cargo supervisor. After his retirement as a pilot in 1977, Gil launched his third career, starting the Duluth Magnetic Compass Service that he operated until 2012.

Capt. Porter was an active member of the Duluth Marine Community, serving as Harbor Master, President of the Marine Museum and Treasurer of the Duluth-Superior Harbor Club. He was also a member of the Propeller Club, the Twin Ports Lodge of International Ship Masters and the ROMEO'S (Retired Old Men Eating Out). In 1979, he was named Harbor Man of the Year. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  December 22

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 22

SAVIC, b.) CLIFFS VICTORY finally arrived at Masan, South Korea, December 22, 1986, for dismantling, which was completed in 1987.

DETROIT EDISON grounded on Gray's Reef in northern Lake Michigan December 22, 1980, inflicting heavy damage to 350 feet of her bottom. She was later sold for scrap.

GORDON C. LEITCH (i), no longer economically able to compete, was laid up on December 22, 1981, and was used for grain storage at Toronto.

RAYMOND H REISS arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, Ontario, on December 22, 1980, for scrapping there.

LIGHTSHIP 103 was commissioned December 22, 1920.

On 22 December 1922, CORNELL (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 66 gross tons, built in 1888, at Buffalo, New York) foundered somewhere between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania while enroute to new owners in Syracuse, New York. She had a crew of 8. The weather was clear and mild with almost no wind. She had just been put back into service and inspected after several years of idleness. Her ice-encrusted lifeboat was found on 26 December, 25 miles east of Long Point, containing the frozen body of the fireman.

1978: MARTHA HINDMAN hit the breakwall while inbound with a winter storage cargo of grain at Goderich and tore open the hull on the starboard side. The vessel settled on the bottom but was patched, pumped out and unloaded. It returned to service in 1979 as LAC DES ILES.

1982: NETANYA began Great Lakes trading for the Zim Israel Navigation Co. in 1960. It went aground off Diamond Point, Cuba, as c) KRIOS and sustained heavy damage. It was taken over by salvors and, while refloated, only saw brief service as a barge before being dismantled.

2001: The former Fednav bulk carrier FEDERAL SKEENA (i), was too big for the Seaway. It had been sold and was sailing as c) CHRISTOPHER when it disappeared, with all 27 on board lost, in the Atlantic north of the Azores.

2004: CANADIAN PROVIDER hit the dock at Redpath Sugar in Toronto and both the vessel and structure were damaged. The ship was inactive in 2005 but returned to service in May 2006.

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


Storm warnings send vessels to anchor again

12/21 - Vessels were at anchor on the upper Great Lakes Tuesday and Tuesday night as another wintry one-two punch of wind and waves moved across the region.

Stewart J. Cort and Herbert C. Jackson were on the hook off Marquette. CSL Niagara, Cedarglen, Buffalo, Ken Boothe Sr./Lakes Contender and Resko were in the lee of Whitefish Point. Anglian Lady with barge and CSL St. Laurent were anchored above DeTour. Alpena was spending another night on the hook off the Wisconsin shoreline north of Marinette.


Great Lakes/Seaway iron ore trade up 13 percent in November

12/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 5.5 million tons in November, an increase of 13 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments were also slightly ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. Great Lakes ports totaled 5 million tons in November, an increase of 19.5 percent. However, loadings at Canadian terminals in the Seaway fell nearly 26 percent to just 530,000 tons.

Year-to-date the iron ore trade stands at 48.9 million tons, a slight decrease compared to the same point in 2015. Year-over-year, loadings at U.S. ports total 44.1 million tons, an increase of 3.2 percent, but shipments from Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway have slipped to 4.8 million tons, a decrease of nearly 27 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  December 21

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
On a quiet Tuesday, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departed Duluth with coal from Midwest Energy at 14:10. In Superior, Algolake departed from Burlington Northern at 10:35 with iron ore for Hamilton.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
The saltie FWB Bonifide has departed. Mottler was loading grain Tuesday.

Amherstburg, Ont. – Kevin Sprague
On Tuesday, the Boblo Island Ferry Ste. Claire V, which ferries vehicles from Amherstburg to Boblo Island in the Detroit River, was taking hours to make a one-way crossing that usually takes a few minutes. Ice was being pushed the opposite way of the current in strong winds and was not being flushed out of the river into Lake Erie creating ice jams.

Toledo, Ohio
Federal Hudson, Evans Spirit, John D. Leitch, Atlantic Huron and Victory/James L. Kuber were all in port Tuesday afternoon. Joseph L. Block and Algosteel are headed for Toledo from the Seaway but have no ETAs as yet.


Coast Guard proposes removal of lenses from 2 lighthouses

12/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard has announced a proposal to remove the Fresnel Classical lenses from two lighthouses in Wisconsin. The two lighthouses affected are the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse in Algoma, Wisconsin, and the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

The Fresnel Classical lenses will be replaced with modern light-emitting-diode lanterns, which are more dependable and energy efficient.

The lenses will be removed and preserved. Due to the harsh environmental conditions including temperature fluctuations and ultraviolet rays, the lenses slowly deteriorate. Once removed, the lenses may be loaned to a local museum where they would be maintained in a controlled environment and placed on display.

Comments about the lens removal can be addressed to Wayne Kean, Coast Guard Civil Engineering Unit, Cleveland, Ohio 216-902-6258 or until Jan. 31, 2017.



Canadian buoys damaged by ice

12/21 - Severe ice conditions and rapid ice growth has damaged and moved dozens of Canadian lighted navigational buoys from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. These new plastic buoys replaced the previous steel ones. Usually these buoys are replaced with winter spars before ice conditions become this severe, but the CCGS Caribou Isle, based at the Amherstburg Coast Guard Base, demobilized early for the winter because of mechanical problems. The Samuel Risley and Griffon, which normally remove the majority of these buoys, are on other assignments. Some of the buoys are gone, have been moved significant distances from where they should be, or are partially submerged and damaged.

Kevin Sprague


What's icy, metal and two miles long? A Great Lakes ice boom

12/21 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The deep freeze has arrived in Great Lakes states and that means one thing: It's time for the Lake Erie/Niagara River Ice Boom.

"The ice boom is meant to help Mother Nature do its job and create a stable ice jam at the mouth of the Niagara River," said Lou Paonessa, communications director for the New York Power Authority.

The ice boom consists of 22 spans of large steel pontoons that stretch about two miles across the lake, from Buffalo, N.Y., to the shores of Fort Erie, Ontario. The power authority and Ontario Power Generation are responsible for its annual installation and removal.

"What happens is those pontoons are then anchored to the bottom of the lake floor and it helps Mother Nature form that stable ice cover. It will form no matter what, but this helps it to form sooner," Paonessa said. "And what that does is it prevents a lot of ice flows from coming down the Niagara River jamming intakes which are used for collecting water for power production."

Hydroelectric companies in the U.S. and Canada depend on the constant flow of the Niagara River to provide electricity for millions of residents on both sides of the border.

About 4,000 megawatts of electricity goes into two separate grids. In Canada, it's distributed throughout Ontario. In New York, it's distributed statewide, but also goes to six neighboring states: Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Peter Kowalski, operating manger at the Ontario Power Generation's Niagara River Control Board said large-scale ice blockages could slow the flow of water and power generation.

"Without the ice boom, pans of ice would form on the lake and continue to flow out, creating issues for hydropower management downstream, issues for water management, the occurrence of blockages in the river, " he said. "So the ice boom really helps to mitigate all those kinds of things."

Also, because Lake Erie is the shallowest of all the Great Lakes, it freezes quickly from end to end. Kowalski said about 90 percent of the lake is covered by ice in winter months.

Installation started Dec. 16 and can last for several days. When winter is over, the boom is usually removed in early April.



Today in Great Lakes History -  December 21

In 1987, ASHLAND and THOMAS WILSON departed Quebec bound for a Taiwanese scrap yard. The tow line parted on 12/30 and the THOMAS WILSON sank on 12/31 off the coast of North Carolina. The ASHLAND was found 300 miles off course on January 2 1988. Due to sustained damage, the ASHLAND was resold to Columbian ship breakers where she arrived in critically leaking condition on February 5 1988.

On 21 December 1901, the MUSKEGON (composite propeller carferry, 282 foot, 1,938 gross tons, built in 1895, at Toledo, Ohio as SHENANGO NO 2) sank at Ludington, Michigan with a 10-foot crack on her starboard side. She was raised a week later and repaired.

The 437-foot bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH was float-launched December 21, 1968, at Lorain, Ohio, less ballast tanks because the existing dry dock wasn’t wide enough to accommodate her 105-foot width.

WILLIAM G MATHER was laid up for the last time December 21, 1980, at the Hocking Valley coal dock at Toledo, Ohio.

AMOCO ILLINOIS was laid up for the last time at Bay City, Michigan on December 21, 1980.

CSL's HOCHELAGA was laid up on December 21, 1981, for the last time at Cardinal, Ontario.

The OUTARDE of 1906, operated until December 21, 1983, when she was laid up for the last time at Toronto.

On 21 December 1891, the whaleback steamer CHARLES W WETMORE tied up at the dock at Everett, Washington, ending a voyage of 93 days that started in Philadelphia and went around the tip of South America.

On 21 December 1879, CITY OF TOLEDO (wooden propeller package freighter, 413 gross tons, built in 1865, at Ogdensburg, New York) was carrying winter provisions from Milwaukee to Ludington. In a white squall, she struck a reef and was stranded 7 miles north of Ludington, a few hundred yards from shore. Some of the crew made it to shore and sought help. The local Lifesaving Station was only in the planning stages, but a crew captain was on hand. He hastily assembled a volunteer lifesaving crew and over a five-hour period, rescued all on board. None of the 24-person crew was lost.

1908: The AMERICAN EAGLE burned at the dock in Toledo.

1963: The French freighter DOUALA foundered southwest of Newfoundland while enroute from Montreal to Bordeaux, France. The vessel had been a Seaway caller from 1961 to 1963. Twelve sailors died.

1977: The former COL. ROBERT R. McCORMICK was taken out to sea at Miami as d) LINDA and scuttled. The ship had run aground off the Florida Keys in May. Once released, it was brought to Miami, unloaded and then abandoned by the owners.

1989: The second ELMGLEN ran aground in the Middle Neebish Channel when ice forced the ship out of the channel. The damage was serious but the vessel's certificate was extended to June 1990 and then the ship was retired.

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


Ice developing; Coast Guard starts Operation Taconite

12/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie began Operation Taconite Monday in response to developing ice conditions in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior and the St. Marys River. Before ice impedes commercial navigation, icebreakers were assigned to the respective regions.

Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. As a result of the operation, certain waterways may close once consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, aids to navigation, the need for cross-channel traffic (e.g. ferries) and the availability of icebreakers.

Monday U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder was directed to manage the ice breaking needs of western Lake Superior. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay was dispatched to provide icebreaking support to the St. Marys River. In the coming days and weeks, as ice growth continues on the Great Lakes, additional Coast Guard icebreakers will join the operation.

Currently there are no channel closures. However the implementation of Operation Taconite does place additional measures on commercial shipping plying the western lakes, St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac. These measures include restricting tanker transits to daylight only in the presence of ice, reducing speeds by two miles per hour in various locations and requiring additional voice and position reporting points throughout the operation’s area of responsibility.

The Coast Guard would like to advise all recreational ice users there are currently no channel closures, and to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of waterway closures.



Port Reports -  December 20

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived Duluth at 08:28 on Monday to load coal at Midwest Energy. She was expected to depart during the evening. Kwintebank, which was loading beet pulp pellets at Peavey, was also expected to depart late Monday night. In Superior, Saginaw departed with iron ore from BN at 02:27, and Burns Harbor arrived from anchor at 02:49 to load. She was due to depart during the evening hours. Algolake remained anchored offshore, waiting to load ore at BN after fueling in Duluth.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson, Edwin H. Gott and Stewart J. Cort were at anchor off Marquette's Lower Harbor Monday evening due to gale warnings on the lake.

St. Marys River
CSL Niagara and Cedarglen were at anchor in the lee of the Keweenaw Peninsula Monday night.

Alpena was at anchor for weather offshore on Monday night.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Indiana Harbor was unloading at her namesake port Monday.

Buffington, Ind.
Philip R. Clarke was in port Monday night.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
The saltie FWB Bonifide was still at the elevator on Monday evening. Mottler was offshore and will probably take the dock with FWB Bonafide leaves.

Toledo, Ohio
Paul R. Tregurtha finally made it to the Torco Ore Dock late Monday afternoon to unload ore. Evans Spirit and Algoma Olympic were also in port. Both the ore and coal docks will be busy during the week ahead. Since the Ashtabula coal dock was closed down the Toledo coal docks have shown an increase in coal traffic. Joseph L. Block and Algosteel are headed for Toledo from the Seaway.


Refit completed, Chi-Cheemaun back in Owen Sound

12/20 - Owen Sound, Ont. – The Chi-Cheemaun arrived in its winter berth in Owen Sound Sunday after passing inspection in Wisconsin, the Owen Sound Transportation Company said. The ferry underwent a five-year out-of-water inspection and maintenance at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Owen Sound Transportation said in a news release.

“No issues were found,” said Kaleena Johnson, the manager of customer and media relations for the Owen Sound Transportation Company. “It's all routine maintenance, like we do that every five years.”

She said the “Travel in Good Spirits” feather-wheel decal on the ship's side will be re-applied in spring because the hull was sandblasted and repainted white. The Chi-Cheemaun will get a further makeover in April when First Nation-themed artwork will grace the bow of the ship too for the first time. Last year A First Nations-themed decal was installed on the ferry's smokestack.

Also, this winter more renovations will be done on top of the $2.4-million renovation to convert the cafeteria into a fine dining area last winter. “The forward lounge (Fathom Five Lounge) will be completely overhauled with a focus of transforming it to be more of an entertainment space for live onboard concerts,” Owen Sound Transportation said in its release.

The vessel hosts live entertainment for its dinner cruises in the Fathom Five Lounge. “There's going to be new seating, a new bar, and it's just going to be more suited for live entertainment,” Johnson said. Better lighting and sound systems will also be installed in the room, which holds 190 people.

The renovations are part of a three-year renovation plan which is to conclude with the aft lounge, which houses the play area, gallery space and where other events are held.

The Chi-Cheemaun was built in 1974. It can carry up to 600 passengers and up to 140 vehicles. It travels between Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island.

The Chi-Cheemaun will make her way to Tobermory May 4. Tickets are available for that annual spring sailing up to Tobermory. Regular service resumes May 5.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Remembering the time lakes’ biggest luxury liner was set ablaze in Lake St. Clair

12/20 - View a photostory at this link


Lay-up reports needed

12/20 - As the end of the shipping season approaches, please send reports of vessel lay-ups to This will help us compile our annual lay-up list. Please include vessel name, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Give the Boatnerd on your list a gift of books, history for Christmas

12/20 - Give the gift of history this Christmas with a membership in the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. Membership includes the Society's monthly publication “The Detroit Marine Historian,” which offers a variety of articles exploring aspects of Great Lakes shipping past and present. Membership also includes the 2017, full-color calendar, featuring superb photographs of Great Lakes ships of the past Join at this link:

In addition, out friends at “Know Your Ships” are offering 20 percent off all in-stock merchandise – Know Your Ships 2016 (regular and spiral), t-shirts, Great Lakes hats and more – until the end of December. Ten percent of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to To order, use this special order link:

There are also some new nautical-themed books on the Boatnerd Bookshelf page. Click here to browse:

Membership in the National Museum of the Great Lakes is always a good gift. They’re the folks who have lovingly restored the 1911-laker Col. James M. Schoonmaker into a showpiece attraction in Toledo, Ohio. Join them here:


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 20

In 1948, the ROBERT HOBSON was blown against the Duluth-Superior breakwall as she tried to enter the harbor during a 68-mph gale. Damage to the vessel was kept to a minimum when Captain John Mc Nellis ordered the seacocks opened to settle the HOBSON on a sandbar. Renamed b.) OUTARDE in 1975, she was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1985.

On 20 November 1854, BURLINGTON (2-mast wooden brig, 80 foot, 117 tons, built in 1842, at Cleveland, Ohio) was driven hard aground near Port Bruce, Ontario, on Lake Huron while trying to assist the stranded Canadian bark GLOBE.

SAGINAW was christened at the Government Dock in Sarnia, Ontario, in 1999. Bonnie Bravener and Wendy Siddall broke the traditional bottle of champagne adding the second vessel to Lower Lakes Towing's fleet. The company then opened the vessel for tours to all those in the large crowd that had gathered to witness the event. She was built in 1953 as a.) JOHN J. BOLAND.

Hall Corporation of Canada's EAGLESCLIFFE HALL was launched in 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland. Sold off the lakes, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1974, she sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas, on February 9, 1983.

The ferry WOLFE ISLANDER was christened on November 20, 1946, at Marysville, Wolfe Island. The new ferry was the unfinished OTTAWA MAYBROOK which was built to serve the war effort in the south Pacific Ocean. She replaced two landing barges which were pressed quickly into service following the condemned steamer WOLFE ISLANDER, a.) TOM FAWCETT of 1904, which had served the community for 42 years. Officially christened WOLFE ISLANDER by Mrs. Sarah Russell, it took five tries before the champagne bottle finally broke on her port side.

Pittsburgh Steamship's steamer RALPH H. WATSON (Hull#285) was launched in 1937, at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

On 20 November 1872, the side wheel steamer W. J .SPICER was finally laid up and the crew dismissed. She had served for many years as the Grand Trunk ferry at Fort Gratiot on the St. Clair River.

On 20 November 1880, BAY CITY (wooden barge, 199 foot, 480 tons, built in 1852, at Trenton, Michigan as the sidewheeler FOREST CITY) was carrying coal when she was cast adrift east of Erie, Pennsylvania by the steamer JAMES P. DONALDSON in a storm. She was driven ashore and wrecked. Her crew was saved by the U.S. Lifesaving Service using breeches' buoy. November 20, 1898. ANN ARBOR #3 left Cleveland, Ohio for Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

November 20, 1924 - Pere Marquette fleet engineer Finlay MacLaren died after 42 years with the railroad. He was succeeded by his brother Robert until Leland H. Kent was named fleet engineer in 1925.

On 20 Nov. 1871, the schooner E. B. ALLEN was sailing from Chicago to Buffalo with a load of corn when she crossed the bow of the bark NEWSBOY about six miles off the Thunder Bay Light on Lake Huron. The NEWSBOY slammed her bow deep into the schooner's hull amidships and the ALLEN sank in about 30 minutes. The crew escaped in the yawl. The NEWSBOY was badly damaged but did not sink.

On 20 Nov. 1999, the Bermuda-flag container ship CANMAR TRIUMPH went aground on the St. Lawrence River off Varennes about 15 kilometers downstream from Montreal. She was the third vessel to run aground in the St. Lawrence River that autumn. The Canadian Coast Guard reported that she was having engine problems and the CBC News reported that the vessel's rudder was damaged in the grounding.

On Saturday morning, 20 Nov. 1999, Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wisconsin, launched the 175-foot Coast Guard Cutter HENRY BLAKE. The BLAKE was one of the "Keeper" Class Coastal Class Buoy Tenders. Each ship in the "Keeper" class is named after a famous American lighthouse keeper. 1917: JOHAN MJELDE, built at Cleveland in 1916, was sailing as b) STORO when captured by the German submarine U-151 near the Azores and, after 22 tons of copper were removed, the ship was scuttled on November 26.

1920: J.H. SHEADLE ran aground on the rocks at Marquette when the steering failed while backing from the dock. The ship was badly damaged. It last sailed in 1979 as e) PIERSON INDEPENDENT.

1943: The former LAKE FINNEY, later a Pre-Seaway trader in the 1930s as SANTA EULALIA, was torpedoed and sunk by British forces as the enemy ship c) POLCEVERA off Carlovassi, Italy. 1966: The Liberty ship MOUNT EVANS made two trips through the Seaway in 1961. It stranded off Mapingil, Philippines as h) EASTERN ARGO on this date in 1966. The hull was refloated with damage and then towed to Taiwan for scrapping in 1967.

1990: GINA, a Lebanese freighter, began leaking at Varna, Bulgaria. The ship was later taken to Piraeus, Greece, and laid up. The superstructure was removed and installed on a fire damaged vessel while the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1991 and dismantled. GINA had been a Great Lakes trader as a) MARCOSSA-I in 1972

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


Port Reports -  December 19

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
On Sunday, Algoway finished unloading salt and departed Duluth at 08:00 bound for Thunder Bay. Her fleetmate Algolake arrived at 15:50 to fuel, carrying iron ore from Superior. Ruddy departed with wheat from Riverland during the evening. Kwintebank continued loading at Peavey on Sunday. In Superior, Algolake arrived at 08:27 to load at Burlington Northern. She departed at 14:10 and arrived Duluth shortly after to fuel. Saginaw then arrived at 15:33 to load. Sunday night, Burns Harbor was headed for Superior, and was expected to anchor offshore until Saginaw cleared the dock.

Green Bay, Wis. – Dan Drella
Alpena arrived Sunday with help through river ice from the tug Texas.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Great Lakes Trader and Indiana Harbor were unloading Sunday evening.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Presque Isle was unloading Sunday night.

Tobermory, Ont.
Reports indicate the Tobermory Marine Association has been offered the Collingwood-built, 1945-era ferry Norisle by the Township of Assiginak. It would be sunk as a dive site. Norisle was retired in 1974, when the ferry Chi-Cheemaun replaced her.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
The saltie FWB Bonifide was at the elevator on Sunday evening. Mississagi was at the salt dock.

Saginaw River – Logan
The tug Manitou was assisting the inbound American Integrity in ice on Sunday.

Toledo, Ohio
On Sunday, Great Republic arrived in Toledo for winter layup at the Midwest Terminals Overseas Dock. She is at the north end of the dock towards the CSX Frog Pond area. Manitoulin was loading coal at the CSX Dock. Algoma Olympic and Atlantic Huron were anchored in northern end of western Lake Erie off of Colchester, Ont. Both vessels are due in at the CSX Dock to load coal. Whitefish Bay was loading grain at the ADM Elevator. Joseph L. Block was upbound in the St. Lawrence below Three Rivers showing a Toledo destination.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner departed the Frontier Elevator at 5:15 a.m., backed out, winded in the outer harbor and cleared the Buffalo Piers around 6 a.m.


A few minutes with ... a captain who builds tiny boats

12/19 - Detroit, Mich. – Sam Buchanan, age 49, has worked as a captain at J.W. Westcott mail boat in Detroit since 1985. That makes him well known to the captains and crews aboard Great Lakes freighters who receive supplies and mail from Buchanan's boat on the Detroit River. But Buchanan is also well known for a hobby he has had longer than he has worked at the Westcott. He builds scale models of the Great Lakes ships, past and present, by hand. And he does them very well.

Read more and view photos and video at this link


Photo essay: See inside the rusting Kathryn Spirit

12/19 - Beauharnois, Que. – Images have revealed the decay inside the cargo ship Kathryn Spirit after it was abandoned following unsuccessful attempts to scrap it and later, a fire. A series of pictures, taken by photographer Keven Lavoie show the forgotten vessel covered in dust and graffiti. Kathryn Spirit is expected to be scrapped this winter. View at this link


Lay-up reports needed

12/19 - As the end of the shipping season approaches, please send reports of vessel lay-ups to This will help us compile our annual lay-up list. Please include vessel name, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Updates -  December 19

Our volunteer staff has been busy with work and other commitments but hope to catch up on the photo gallery over the next few days. 

News Photo Gallery                 


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 19

ASHLAND was launched December 19, 1942, as the L6-S-B1 class bulk carrier a.) CLARENCE B. RANDALL (Hull #523) at Ashtabula, Ohio, by Great Lakes Engineering Works. She laid up for the last time on the same day in 1979.

ELMGLEN ran aground December 19, 1989, near Johnson’s Point in the Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River. Downbound, loaded with grain, she had been diverted to the Munuscong Channel because of difficulties encountered by her fleet mate BEECHGLEN in the ice-clogged West Neebish Channel.

Because of the increased demand for iron ore during the Korean conflict, more ships were needed and as a consequence the yards on the Great Lakes were operating at capacity. In December 1950, the Republic Steel Corp. bought 70 percent of Nicholson-Universal stock in order to purchase ships from the surplus fleet.

On 19 December 1927, ALEXANDRIA (wooden propeller freighter, 97 foot, 201 gross tons, built in 1902, at Chatham, Ontario) burned in the harbor of Little Current, Ontario, off the Government Dock, where her remains still lay.

1959: The British freighter ALBANO, which had made three trips through the newly opened Seaway earlier in the year, ran aground at Rethymo, Crete, in heavy weather and was not refloated until December 27. It received extensive hull and engine repairs and was back on the Great Lakes in 1960.

1980: The tanker LAKESHELL (III) went aground at Telegraph Rock, near Parry Sound, due to high winds and ice. The vessel was lightered to IMPERIAL SARNIA and released December 21.

1998: SHURA KOBER first came to the Great Lakes under the flag of the USSR in 1971. The vessel went missing on the Mediterranean north of Cyprus as d) MARELIE after sending out a distress call. It disappeared with all hands.

2006: SELNES came through the Seaway in the 1980s after having been inbound as a) RISNES in 1978. The ship went aground off Stafnes, Iceland, as c) WILSON MUGGA and the crew were rescued by helicopter. It was expected to be broken up on location but was salvaged and repaired. It returned to service as d) KARIM in 2007 and became f) RAKAN M. in 2011.

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



Port Reports -  December 18

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
There was no traffic in Duluth on either Thursday or Friday, however on Saturday, the saltie Ruddy arrived at 02:21 to load grain at Riverland Ag. Algoway was expected to arrive Saturday evening with salt to discharge, and Kwintebank was expected to load beet pulp pellets at Peavey.

Escanaba, Mich.
Paul R. Tregurtha was still at the CN dock Saturday.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
The saltie FWB Bonifide was at the elevators.

Toledo, Ohio
Whitefish Bay was loading grain upriver on Saturday.

Sandusky, Ohio
Algoma Transport and John J. Boland were in port on Saturday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The English River departed Buffalo around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Stephen B. Roman was expected Saturday afternoon.


Ex-McAllister tugs on their way to the lakes

12/18 - Capt. Ed Hogan recently purchased two former McAllister tugs, the Katie G. McAllister and the Colleen McAllister. He and his wife June are aboard the Katie G. now as they transit from New York City to Muskegon, Mich. The tugs, now owned by Port City Towing, were in the St. Lawrence Seaway, passing Summerstown Ont., on their way to their destination.

Brenda Benoit


Tug Pacific Hickory to be scrapped as well

12/18 - Not only did the tug Pacific Hickory tow the retired Canadian laker Atlantic Erie to the scrapyard and Aliaga, Turkey, reports indicate the tug herself was beached for scrapping on December 15. Built for Atlantic Towing Ltd., she later worked as Irving Miami and later became Atlantic Hickory. As the latter, she pushed the barge Sarah Spencer in the grain trade on the lakes prior to the tug Jane Ann IV taking over that task. She had been laid up in Rotterdam prior to the Atlantic Erie tow.

Mac Mackay


Lay-up reports needed

12/18 - As the end of the shipping season approaches, please send reports of vessel lay-ups to This will help us compile our annual lay-up list. Please include vessel name, port and lay-up dock name (if known).



Give the Boatnerd on your list a gift of books, history for Christmas

12/18 - Give the gift of history this Christmas with a membership in the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. Membership includes the Society's monthly publication “The Detroit Marine Historian,” which offers a variety of articles exploring aspects of Great Lakes shipping past and present. Membership also includes the 2017, full-color calendar, featuring superb photographs of Great Lakes ships of the past Join at this link:

In addition, out friends at “Know Your Ships” are offering 20 percent off all in-stock merchandise – Know Your Ships 2016 (regular and spiral), t-shirts, Great Lakes hats and more – until the end of December. Ten percent of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to To order, use this special order link:

There are also some new nautical-themed books on the Boatnerd Bookshelf page. Click here to browse:

Membership in the National Museum of the Great Lakes is always a good gift. They’re the folks who have lovingly restored the 1911-laker Col. James M. Schoonmaker into a showpiece attraction in Toledo, Ohio. Join them here:


USCG Alder Slideshow

12/18 -  View a slideshow of ice on the USCG Alder at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 18

The 425-foot Finnish tanker KIISLA ran aground while transiting the North Entrance of Buffalo Harbor on the 29th of December 1989. The ship was inbound with xylene for the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda when it strayed from the navigation channel due to reduced visibility from heavy snow squalls and grounded near the #1 green buoy of the Black Rock Canal. She was towed off the rocks by tugboats from Buffalo and then tied up at the Burnette Trucking Dock (formerly the Penn Dixie Dock) on the Buffalo River for Coast Guard inspection. A diver found a 47-inch by 5-inch crack below the waterline at the #1 ballast tank, with a large rock firmly wedged in the outer hull plating, but with no damage to the inner hull or cargo tanks. The ship was cleared to head back to Sarnia to off-load her cargo before repairs could be made.

In 1921, 94 vessels were laid up at Buffalo with storage grain when a winter gale struck. The 96 mile-per-hour winds swept 21 vessels ashore and damaged 29 others. Three weeks were required to restore order to the Buffalo waterfront.

Canada Steamship Lines NANTICOKE (Hull#218) was launched December 18, 1979, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The tug AMERICA freed the ore carrier IRVING S. OLDS in 1956, after the OLDS grounded entering the River Raisin from Lake Erie. The OLDS stuck at a 45-degree angle to the channel, while entering for winter lay up.

Canada Steamship lines GEORGIAN BAY (Hull#149) was launched during a snowstorm on December 18, 1953, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

JOHN T. HUTCHINSON was laid up for the last time December 18, 1981, at Cleveland, Ohio.

On December 18, 1921, gale force winds drove the CARMI A. THOMPSON ashore at Buffalo, New York where she was laid up with grain for winter storage. She ended up wedged between the LOUIS W. HILL and the MERTON E. FARR. The THOMPSON was released on January 5, 1922, but required the replacement of 156 hull plates before her return to service.

The Goodrich Transit Co.’s ALABAMA (Hull#36) was launched in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. Reduced to a barge in 1961.

On 18 December 1899, 115 (steel whaleback barge, 256 foot, 1,169 gross tons, built in 1891, at Superior, Wisconsin) was carrying iron ore in a storm on Lake Huron when she broke from her tow steamer well out in the lake. She went ashore five days later at Pic Island off Thunder Bay, Ontario, and broke up. Her crew was thought to be lost, but they showed up days later after a long trek through the wilderness.

On 18 December 1959, BRIDGEBUILDER X (propeller tug, 71 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio) foundered in a storm while enroute from Sturgeon Bay to N. Fox Island on Lake Michigan. Two lives were lost. She had been built as the fish tug PITTSBURG. In 1939, she was converted to the excursion boat BIDE-A-WEE. Then she was converted to a construction tug for the building of the Mackinac Bridge and finally she was rebuilt in 1958, as a logging tug.

1909: Ice punctured the hull of the F.A. MEYER, formerly the J. EMORY OWEN, on Lake Erie while enroute from Boyne City, Michigan, to Buffalo with a cargo of lumber. The crew was rescued by the sailors aboard MAPLETON.

1915: The canaller PRINCE RUPERT, requisitioned for World War 1 service, was lost at sea enroute from Newport News, Virginia, to Trinidad with a cargo of coal. It foundered P: 34.40 N / 74.45 W.

1932: A fire in the coal bunker of the BROWN BEAVER, laid up at Toronto with a winter storage cargo of wheat, brought the Toronto Fire Department to extinguish the blaze.

1947: The tug EMERSON was Hull 5 at the Collingwood shipyard and completed in 1903. The ship stranded at Punta Sardegna, in the Maddalena Archipelago, as f) GIULIANOVA. The hull broke in two January 8, 1948, and sank.

1950: The tug SACHEM sank in Lake Erie and all 12 on board were lost. The hull was later located, upright on the bottom. It was refloated October 22, 1951, reconditioned and returned to service. The ship became c) DEREK E. in 1990.

1962: RIDGEFIELD, a Liberty ship that visited the Great Lakes in 1961 and 1962, ran aground at the east end of Grand Cayman Island in ballast on a voyage from Maracaibo, Venezuela, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The hull was never removed and visible for years.

1968: The Canadian Coast Guard vessel GRENVILLE was trapped in an ice flow and rammed against the St. Louis Bridge along the Seaway. The crew was removed safely by stepping on to the bridge before the ship sank. It had been retrieving buoys. The hull received considerable ice damage over the winter but was refloated in June 1969, towed to Sorel and scrapped.

1975: TECUN UMAN visited the Seaway in 1969. It disappeared without a trace in heavy seas 250 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, enroute from Mobile, Alabama, to Port Cartier, Quebec, as b) IMBROS. All 22 on board were lost.

1985: FEDERAL ST. LAURENT (ii) collided with the Mercier Bridge in the Seaway with minor damage to both the ship and the structure. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, as c) DORA in 2003.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Dean J. Frazer, Russ Plumb, Brian Wroblewski, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lay-up reports needed

12/17 - As the end of the shipping season approaches, please send reports of vessel lay-ups to This will help us compile our annual lay-up list. Please include vessel name, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


Crew of cargo ship Ardita, detained in Hamilton harbor, heading home

12/17 - Hamilton, Ont. – The crew of an Italian cargo ship detained in Hamilton Harbor during a lengthy legal dispute over its ownership was expected to finally go home Friday. About a dozen members of the Ardita from Italy and the Philippines are set to disembark and fly home Friday, Ronda Ploughman, a chaplain with the Mission of Seafarers in Hamilton said.

"If they had to be here this long, going home in time for Christmas is just a nice thing," Ploughman said. The charitable organization has provided the sailors with "goody bags" and support during their months-long sojourn in Hamilton.

The ordeal started when the Ardita arrived here in late April and underwent repairs. A legal dispute over its ownership ensued not long afterward. Blair McKeil, vice chair of McKeil Marine, said his company bought the Ardita from the Italian shipping company Setramar, which is based in Ravenna, Italy. The company's bank, however, wouldn't release the ship to McKeil after he paid for it to sail here, he said.

That dispute has been resolved, Heidi Pereira, McKeil's manager of marketing and communications, said Thursday night. The purchase of the Ardita was expected to close Friday morning barring any setbacks, she said.

Ploughman noted the crewmembers themselves weren't under arrest; it was just the ship. Most of the original Italian officers and able-bodied seamen went home after their contracts ended. But those who took their place have stuck it out until now, tending to the ship anchored about a kilometre and a half off shore with few opportunities to spend time on dry land, Ploughman said.

"They're pretty resilient. Those are tough guys."

Ploughman said the sailors' plight has struck a chord with locals, who have dropped off gifts — razors, cologne, chocolates and toothpaste — for them.

The crew of another ship, Evans Spirit, which worked alongside the Ardita sailors in April, ferried gifts over to them, she noted. Just a couple of days ago, the holdouts snapped a photo of a snowman they'd built on the Ardita's deck and sent it to the Seafarers via cellphone. Friday morning, a ceremony with a change of flags — Italian to Canadian — and gifts to the sailors will mark the nautical milestone.

Shipping agents are to accompany the discharged sailors as they disembark and head to the airport to fly home, Ploughman said. The Hamilton Port Authority declined to comment Thursday, said spokesperson Larissa Fenn.

The Spectator


Judge dismisses union, city objections to U.S. Steel restructuring

12/17 - Toronto, Ont. – A judge has given the go ahead for U.S. Steel Canada to negotiate details of a restructuring agreement that could eventually see the steel company lifted out of court-supervised creditor protection with a new owner.

Judge Herman J. Wilton-Siegel dismissed objections from the United Steelworkers Union Local 1005, the City of Hamilton as well as a salaried worker saying there is still opportunity to deal with their concerns.

At this stage, no transaction is being approved, the judge noted. Instead, the court is only granting terms of reference for an ongoing, complicated process to continue a dialogue that may or may not land a final deal.

And if a purchase agreement is eventually reached for U.S. Steel Canada — which is in the process of legally changing its name back to Stelco — it would still require judicial approval at that stage.

The judge's order grants American-based Bedrock Industries exclusive rights to negotiate and provides some compensation if no deal is reached.

Bill Aziz, the chief restructuring officer of Stelco, said it's all a work in progress and the endorsement by the court Thursday is an important milestone.

"We are closer to the standalone company continuing substantially all of its existing operations in both Hamilton and Nanticoke, preserving in excess of 2,100 direct jobs, and safeguarding the interests of pensioners through the continuation of the Stelco Plans and (health-care benefits for retiring)," he said.

Lawyer Sharon White, who represented Local 1005, argued the restructuring plan — in its current, preliminary form — should not be given endorsement by the court because pensions and health-care benefits for retirees are not being sufficiently met. As well, she said, there has not been enough time for union representatives to examine the plan in detail.

Union officials say company pension funds need more than $1 billion to shore up many years of underfunding, and health-care benefits for retirees are being severely underfunded under the current deal.

"This is not fair and reasonable or secure enough for the needs of retirees," White said, adding "there does not appear to be very much room for negotiation" and "I don't share the opinion that this is the best possible outcome."

Lawyer Michael G. Kovacevic, who represented the City of Hamilton, said it has so far been left out of the negotiations. The city has been treated like a mushroom, he said, "kept in the dark and fed you know what."

The biggest concern, he said, is no discussion has taken place about municipal taxes owed by the company. Last fall, Wilton-Siegel granted a U.S. Steel Canada request to not have to pay local taxes while creditor protection continued under Companies' Creditors Arrangements Act.

The city says it is owed $6.3 million in unpaid property taxes from the past year. That figure would jump to $7.9 million by March 31, if its creditor- protected status continues until then.

Kovacevic argued the judicial decision a year ago to spare the company from paying taxes was an extraordinary step, and the time has come now for the company to pay up, especially considering it has more than $236 million in cash reserves.

Local 1005 president Gary Howe told reporters after the hearing that, "this is not a company that is on the verge of going under" and should be treated accordingly.

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  December 17

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
After weather delays, Manitowoc and Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived the Upper Harbor on Friday to load ore. Oberstar departed for the lower lakes in the early evening.

Munising, Mich.
AIS listed H. Lee White upbound on the St. Marys River Friday evening, showing a Munising destination. This is most likely a load of coal for the power plant.

St. Marys River
Tim S. Dool, Algolake and Presque Isle were anchored Friday in the upper river, however by evening they were all on the move. The MacArthur Lock will be shut down for the season at 7 a.m. December 19.

Escanaba, Mich.
Paul R. Tregurtha was at the CN dock loading ore on Friday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The Manitoulin Island ferry Chi-Cheemaun departed Friday for Tobermory, Ont., after a refit.

Green Bay, Wis. – Dan Drella
Interlake freighter Kaye E. Barker unloaded coal Fiday at the C. Reiss Dock. She departed around 4 p.m., backing the mile or so from Reiss to near the mouth of the Fox River. Tug Texas hustled ahead breaking ice to allow Barker to negotiate the bends in the river and to make a turn into a slip to the West side of the river, at Great Lakes Calcium, so she could head out onto the Bay of Green Bay bow first.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Lee A. Tregurtha was unloading Friday afternoon. She departed in the evening with an AIS destination of Silver Bay.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algorail arrived to load salt Friday morning. She departed in the evening for Parry Sound. The saltie FWB Bonifide was at the elevators.

Saginaw River – Gordy Garris
The tug G.L. Ostrander and the barge Integrity were still moored at the Lafarge Cement Terminal in Essexville late Friday night, likely waiting for weather conditions to improve out on the lake before departing. The pair had arrived on Wednesday to unload. Due in on Sunday is the American Integrity with a load of coal for the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. This appears to be the last scheduled load of coal for the Karn Weadock power plant this season. With ice now becoming a factor in transiting the river system, American Integrity may be the last visitor of the 2016 shipping season on the Saginaw River.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Whitefish Bay went up river to one of the grain elevators to load grain Friday night. The tug Colorado was waiting for her off the Torco Dock. The tug Nebraska was breaking ice along the Maumee River all the way up to the elevators.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner came in for the Frontier elevator around 1 p.m. Friday. English River was towed up to Lafarge at 10:30 a.m.


Plan for Duluth-Superior ports adopted

12/17 - Superior, Wis. – The Metropolitan Interstate Council on Wednesday adopted the plan to ensure the future of the Twin Ports maritime industry.

The plan calls for maintaining strategically advantageous lands for transportation as industrial; looking for opportunities to enhance the Duluth-Superior area multi-modal transportation, working with partnerships in rail and trucking; and identifying opportunities to rehabilitate and reuse underutilized dock structures. Other recommendations include encouraging land use strategies that maintain the federal navigational channel in the Twin Ports, developing a dredged material management and updating the Erie Pier management plan developed in 2007, and improving access to the port.

"We've been at this for a couple years; it's been a long project," said Andy McDonald, a private consultant who worked as a senior planner with the MIC when planning began. "It's an important project."

The goal of the plan is to maintain the economic, ecological and recreational value of Lake Superior.

"The Duluth-Superior port is part of the larger, Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and a global transportation network," McDonald said. "So decisions that we make here on land use have a lot of impact on other ports in the Great Lakes. We've got to be mindful of that — we're not just a port by ourselves. There's a lot of other ports that are interconnected with our port."

McDonald said the port is one of the biggest transportation assets the region has and roads and rail all radiate to the port.

"This isn't just a local thing," McDonald said. "This is a regional, a national, an international, asset. We want to protect the viability of the working port."

He said the goal is to bring certainty to the businesses in the area that rely on the port, and take advantage of the Twin Ports location on the Great Lakes. McDonald said there is a projected 30 percent increase in transportation needs over the next 20 years, and the Twin Ports is in a position to take advantage of that.

Critical to that is maintaining the federally-designated shipping channel in the Twin Ports, and protecting land uses near that to take advantage of opportunities to grow the port, McDonald said.

The committee that helped develop the plan will continue to work with the plan to develop a strategy to put it into action.

Superior Telegram


Great Lakes get another maritime school

12/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School will open in July with 100 to 120 9th graders for the school year, officials announced this week. From there, the school will slowly begin offering other grades. The school will share a building with the Cleveland High School for Digital Arts.

Christine Fowler-Mack, the chief innovations officer for Cleveland schools, says the public school will train students to become pilots, marine biologists or boat captains, or to go on to higher education.

“It is a school that will teach the core curriculum, but in addition to that it will offer students knowledge, experiences, and internships in the aerospace and maritime fields,” she said.

The new school will also relate to a couple of the city’s assets – Lake Erie and the city’s 2 airports. "It’s an opportunity to make teaching and learning both rigorous but also relevant," says Fowler-Mack. "There will be careers and opportunities in the aviation and maritime fields in Cleveland for many years to come."

There are fewer than 60 maritime-focused schools in the country. In the Great Lakes region, there are existing schools in Buffalo, Toledo and Erie, Pa.

Davis Aerospace and Maritime is a partnership between Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the city department of Port Control, and PHASTAR, a nonprofit aviation company focused on providing public health education.

Fowler-Mack says the school will be similar to other maritime schools, including the Maritime Academy of Toledo, which will serve as a mentor. “We are similar in that we use this lens to really motivate our students to learn.”

Great Lakes Today


Obituary: Captain Joseph Craig

12/17 - Captain Joseph Craig, born September 14, 1933 in Aberdeen, Scotland, passed away at Cornwall (Ont.) Hospice on Sunday, December 11, at the age of 83. Captain Craig was the Regional Ship Inspector at the Welland Canal for many years. In 1986, he was appointed as the Chief Marine Officer at the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority headquartered in Cornwall, Ont. He retired in 1997.

Capt. A. Soni


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 17

While breaking ice off Colchester Reef, Lake Erie on 17 December 1917, the HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wis., formerly a.) PILLSBURY) was in a collision with the MIDVALE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 8,271 gross tons, built in 1917, at Ashtabula, Ohio). The PILLSBURY sank in thirty feet of water 4 1/2 miles from Colchester Reef. Her crew walked across the ice to the MIDVALE. The wreck was located on 24 April 1918, four miles from its original position, with seven feet of water over her and raised later that year to be repaired.

C. L. AUSTIN was launched December 17, 1910, as a.) WILLIS L. KING (Hull#79) at Ecorse, Mich., by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

With an inexperienced Taiwanese crew, boiler problems and the collapse of Lock 7's west wall in the Welland Canal, the departure of SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) was delayed until December 17, 1985, when she departed Chicago, Illinois, under her own power.

Paterson’s NEW QUEDOC sank at her winter moorings at Midland, Ont., on December 17, 1961, with a load of storage grain. The sinking was caused by the automatic sea valves that were accidentally opened.

The ROGERS CITY was laid up for the last time at Calcite, Mich., on December 17, 1981.

On December 17, 1955, in heavy fog, the B.F. AFFLECK collided head-on with her fleetmate HENRY PHIPPS in the Straits of Mackinac. Both vessels were damaged but were able to sail under their own power for repairs.

In 1905, the Anchor Line steamer JUNIATA was launched at the yards of the American Shipbuilding Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The JUNIATA was the first large passenger boat built in Cleveland since the NORTH LAND and NORTH WEST. Today the JUNIATA exists as the National Historic Landmark MILWAUKEE CLIPPER in Muskegon, Mich.

On 17 December 1875, the steamboat JENNISON of Captain Ganoe's line, which ran between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven, burned at Grand Rapids. She was laid up for the winter just below the city on the Grand River. She was insured for $12,000.

1957: The Great Lakes-built LAKE HEMLOCK foundered in Long Island Sound.

1964: The former T-2 tanker GOOD HOPE, operating as a bulk carrier, ran aground in a blizzard at Ulak Island, in the Aleutians, as d) SAN PATRICK. The ship had loaded wheat and cattle feed at Vancouver for Yokohama, Japan, and all on board perished. It had been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1972: THOMAS SCHULTE began Great Lakes trading in 1957 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. It was sailing as c) CAPE SABLE when it sank with the loss of 13 lives in a gale 100 miles west of La Corunna, Spain. The vessel was enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Algiers, Algeria, with general cargo when it went down.

1977: STADACONA (iii) went aground after clearing the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current with a cargo of ore pellets. The ship was stuck for several days.

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.



Grain shipments flowing as Seaway shipping hits final stretch

12/16 - The St. Lawrence Seaway is expecting a strong finish to the shipping season as freighters deliver critical raw materials and exports for North America’s industrial and agricultural sectors before the waterway closes December 31.

"The St. Lawrence Seaway has been a significant export gateway for American grain and iron ore pellets this season and that’s expected to continue in these final weeks of December,” said Bruce R. Burrows, the new president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “High-value project cargo such as wind turbines and machinery have also been a star cargo category this season with shipments up 42 percent. Manufacturers increasingly recognize that the Great Lakes-Seaway system is a safe, cost-effective way to ship these very large components directly into the heart of North America.“

According to the latest figures from the St. Lawrence Seaway, total year-to-date cargo shipments for this year (March 21 through November 30) have reached 30.3 million metric tons.

U.S. grain shipments reached nearly 2.3 million metric tons through November, about 7.7 percent above last year’s strong performance.. Iron ore shipments, albeit down 10 percent over 2015 volumes, have improved in recent months due to the resurgence of iron ore pellet exports via the Seaway to Japan and China following improved global pricing.

The Port of Duluth-Superior is among those reporting a recent uptick in shipping. “We have seen a 15 percent increase in vessel visits by Canadian lakers through November of this year, reflective of increased shipments of iron ore and grain through the Seaway,” said Vanta Coda, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We all know economic recovery in Minnesota’s mining industry still has a way to go, but seeing pellets pick up the pace is encouraging. And the stream of grain shipments is still running nearly 25 percent above the Port’s 5-year average.”

November 2016 shipments through the Port of Toledo outpaced last November and brought total tonnage increasingly closer to 2015 totals. Despite a slow start and much lower iron ore throughput, grain, coal, petroleum products, and general cargo shipments are outpacing last year and the Port is finishing the season strong. “We have now surpassed the 7 million ton mark and all the terminals have been very busy over the last several weeks firing on all cylinders,” said Joe Cappel, VP of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We are having a record year for aluminum shipments and the fall grain harvest was also very good. This is a great way to end the season and we hope to continue the momentum into next year.”

For the Port of Green Bay, petroleum products lead the way following the shutdown of the main pipeline that supplies petroleum products to Northeast Wisconsin. “This year’s shipping season, which typically ends between Christmas and New Year’s, will extend through January and possibly into February, with the U.S. Coast Guard breaking ice to allow for continued shipments of petroleum products within the Great Lakes,” said Dean Haen, director of the Port of Green Bay. “Those shipments, coupled with expected import of additional salt and limestone this month, will help the overall 2016 shipping totals.”

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Port Reports -  December 16

Munising, Mich.
AIS listed H. Lee White upbound on Lake Huron near Croswell, Mich., Thursday, showing a Munising destination. This is most likely a load of coal for the power plant.


Traditional and project cargoes transit the St. Lawrence Seaway in November

12/16 - Washington, D.C. – “November was a good month for the export of agricultural products and shipments of aluminum ingots on the Great Lakes Seaway System,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

“Under the binational trade development program known as ‘Highway H2O’, the U.S. and Canadian Seaway Corporations have raised international awareness about the advantages of exporting grain products via the Great Lakes Seaway System and it is paying off.”

Sutton added, “The U.S. Great Lakes ports of Toledo, Duluth, Burns Harbor and Milwaukee handled corn, soybeans and wheat exports bound for Europe, South America, and Central America. Additionally, aluminum ingots arrived at the ports of Oswego and Toledo bound for local manufacturers supporting the automobile industry. With the current pace of both commodities, I anticipate a strong finish to the Seaway System’s 2016 navigation season.”

Through November, the Port of Toledo has seen a considerable increase in coal, petroleum, and general cargo shipments over the 2015 year-to-date totals. General cargo shipments were mainly comprised of steel, project cargo, super sacks of various bulk materials and aluminum. “2016 will be a record-breaking year for aluminum volumes through Toledo,” said Joe Cappel, Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We thought that 2015 was a great year for aluminum and we have now exceeded those volumes by over 40 percent. The aluminum arrives from eastern Canada by water and feeds the manufacturing industry in this region. The Port of Toledo plays a critical role in this massive supply chain and we have capacity to handle even more.”

In early November, the Spliethoff Lines vessel M/V Marsgracht called at the Port of Monroe to load empty containers which had been collected throughout the season from around the Great Lakes region. Earlier in the year, in preparation for future container activities planned for 2017, the Port’s terminal operator, DRM Terminal Services, invested in reach-stackers, container trailers, and other necessary equipment to handle containerized cargo in high volume. The 130 containers loaded in November represents the largest single load volume handled by any port in recent years except for Cleveland.

“This container handling evolution was an enormous success for the Port of Monroe and DRM Terminal Services,” Port Director Paul LaMarre said. Whether loaded or empty these containers represented increased activity across our docks and proved that the Port of Monroe is strategically positioned and highly capable to handle increased volume next season.”

November Seaway cargoes at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor were the highest for any single-month within the last five years. “We had a significant increase in ocean shipments this past month – up 50 percent from last November and over 80 percent from the previous month,” said Port Director Rick Heimann. “This included steel-related products for Midwest manufacturers and raw materials for the steel industry as well as two ships loaded with over 45,000 tons of Indiana grain bound for world markets. The port’s ability to handle global shipments also creates advantages for moving large-dimensional shipments by water into the heart of the Midwest. Our November cargoes included several 200-foot molds for wind turbine blades, a competitive sailing yacht for an upcoming boat show and two 10-ton freezers for an Indiana food processor.”

“In compiling tonnage totals for November, it was heartening for us here at the Head of the Lakes to finally see an uptick in iron ore shipments,” said Vanta Coda, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We all know it’s been a slow, painful climb out of last year’s mining industry downturn. Seeing pellets pick up pace through the Port of Duluth-Superior is encouraging. The steady stream of grain shipments continues, as well—up nearly 25 percent over the Port’s five-year YTD average.” Coincidentally, with the increase in outbound shipments of iron ore and grain, the number of vessel visits by Canadian lakers is up 15 percent this year.”

Port of Oswego Executive Director and CEO, Zelko Kirincich said the port had a busy month of November. “Nearly 4,000 metric tons of aluminum shipped into the port in two shipments from Sept Iles, Quebec, Canada. The aluminum was delivered to the local Novelis Plant which makes the aluminum sheets used in the assembly of the Ford F-150 trucks, as well as for other uses. We anticipate a strong close to the 2016 shipping season.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments for the period March 21 to November 30 were 30.3 million metric tons, down 5.89 percent over the same period in 2015. The dry bulk category was down 13 percent. Iron ore was down almost 11 percent; coal was down18 percent. The general cargo category was down 6 percent overall, but within that classification project cargo posted a 42 percent increase. The liquid bulk category was at 19 percent over 2015.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Help wanted: McKeil Marine

12/16 - McKeil Marine Limited has immediate openings for captains aboard our modern 15,000 DWT bulk ship on a permanent full-time basis. We are looking for eager and self-starting individuals to lead the operation of this newly acquired vessel. To qualify, candidates will need a minimum of Master Near Coastal, and GLPA certificate. If interested, please forward your resume to

McKeil Marine Limited has immediate openings for Chief Engineers on a permanent full-time basis on our cargo ships. We are looking for eager and self-starting individuals to manage all machinery and lead engine room personnel. To qualify, candidates will need a Second Class Motor or higher Certificate of Competency issued by Transport Canada. If interested, please forward your resume to


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 16

In 1949, the tow line between the tug JOHN ROEN III and the barge RESOLUTE parted in high seas and a quartering wind. The barge sank almost immediately when it struck the concrete piers at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Eleven crewmembers, including Captain Marc Roen, were safely taken off the barge without difficulty.

On 16 December 1922, the JOSHUA W. RHODES (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,871 gross tons, built in 1906, at Lorain, Ohio) struck bottom in the middle of the St. Clair River abreast of Port Huron, Michigan. Damages cost $6,179.32 to repair.

In 1983, HILDA MARJANNE's forward section, which included a bow thruster, was moved to the building berth at Port Weller Dry Docks where it was joined to CHIMO's stern. The joined sections would later emerge from the dry dock as the b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

IMPERIAL BEDFORD (Hull#666) was launched December 16,1968, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co.

Canada Steamship Lines’ J.W. MC GIFFIN (Hull#197) was launched December 16, 1971, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards.

Litton Industries tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE departed light from Erie, Pennsylvania, on December 16, 1973, on its maiden voyage bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. This was the latest maiden voyage date at that time. There, the PRESQUE ISLE loaded 51,038 long tons of taconite pellets for delivery to Gary, Indiana. After this ice-covered trip, the vessel returned to Erie for winter lay-up. PRESQUE ISLE was the second thousand-foot vessel on the Great Lakes (the Erie-built STEWART J. CORT which came out in 1972, was the first).

While in tandem tow on the way to scrapping with the former Ford Motor Co. steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, BUCKEYE MONITOR developed a crack in her deck amidships. The crack extended down her sides to below the waterline and she sank at 0145 hours on December 16, 1973, at position 43¡30'N x 30¡15'W in the North Atlantic.

BENSON FORD, a) RICHARD M. MARSHALL made her last trip to the Detroit’s Rouge River where she was laid up on December 16, 1984.

The PIC RIVER was the last vessel to use the old Welland City Canal on December 16, 1972, as the new Welland by-pass opened the following spring.

WOLFE ISLANDER III arrived in Kingston, Ontario on December 16, 1975. Built in Thunder Bay, she would replace the older car ferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA on the Kingston - Wolfe Island run.

WILLIAM A. IRVIN sustained bottom damage in Lake Erie and laid up December 16, 1978, at Duluth, Minnesota.

The Maritimer THOMAS WILSON operated until December 16, 1979, when she tied up at Toledo. During that final year, the vessel carried only 30 cargoes and all were ore.

On 16 December 1906, ADVENTURER (wooden propeller steam tug, 52 foot, built in 1895, at Two Harbors, Minnesota) broke her moorings and went adrift in a gale. She was driven ashore near Ontonagon, Michigan on Lake Superior and was pounded to pieces.

On 16 December 1954, the 259-foot bulk carrier BELVOIR was launched at the E. B. McGee Ltd. yard in Port Colborne, Ontario. She was built for the Beaconsfield Steamship Co. and sailed in the last years before the Seaway opened. During the winter of 1958-59, she was lengthened 90 feet at Montreal. She left the lakes in 1968, and later sank in the Gulf of Honduras with the loss of 21 lives.

1939: GLITREFJELL was torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea by U-59 while sailing southwest of Norway. The vessel was newly built when it first came to the Great Lakes in 1934.

1941: The Norwegian freighter NIDARDAL, best remembered as LAKE GORIN, a World War One-class laker, foundered in the Atlantic P: 56.07 N / 21.00 W enroute from Freeport, Bahamas, to Manchester, England, with sulphur.

1962: ARISTOTELES of 1943 sank in the Atlantic 250 miles off Cape Vincent, Portugal, after developing leaks. The vessel, enroute from Detroit to Calcutta with steel, had first come inland in 1961. All on board were rescued by the Liberty ship HYDROUSSA, which had also been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1964: DONNACONA (ii) was disabled by a fire while downbound in Lake Huron and the forward cabin was burned out before a distress call could be sent. The ship was found, brought to safety and repaired.

1966: CABOT was loading at Montreal when the ship rolled on her side at Montreal and sank in 30 feet of water. Two lives were lost. It was righted on the bottom and refloated in January 1967 for a return to service. The stern of this vessel was cut off to help form CANADIAN EXPLORER in 1983 and has been part of ALGOMA TRANSFER since 1998.

1975: THORNHILL (i) went aground in the St. Marys River, was lightered and released.

1979: ARCHANGELOS ran aground in the St. Lawrence while outbound from the Great Lakes with a cargo of scrap. The ship was lightered and released December 21. It had to spend the winter in the harbor at Port Weller as it was too late to depart the Seaway that year.

1980: D.G. KERR (ii), enroute overseas to Spain for scrapping, was lost in the Atlantic, after it began leaking in bad weather.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Brian Johnson, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series and the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Northwest gale warnings send several ships to shelter

12/15 - With strong northwest winds and waves as much as 27 feet in the forecast, several lakers sought shelter in the lee of the land Wednesday night.

Lee A. Tregurtha and Cason J. Callaway were at anchor in the lee of the Wisconsin shore north of Marinette/Menominee.

On the St. Marys River, Roger Blough was waiting out the storm in the shelter of Whitefish Point with Algolake Ruddy, Manitowoc and GS Marquis. Hon. James L. Oberstar and Algoway were stopped off Bay Mills. In the lower river, Edwin H Gott was at anchor in Potaganissing Bay in company with Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr. and Capt. Henry Jackman.

Kaye E. Barker and James R. Barker were tucked in between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.

CSL Welland, Avenger IV/barge, John D. Leitch, Spruceglen, Algocanada and Whitefish Bay were at anchor off of Long Point on Lake Erie.


Port Reports -  December 15

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Great Lakes Trader and her tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort departed Duluth with ore from CN at 12:56 on Wednesday, and American Integrity departed with coal at 13:09. Besides Pineglen, which remained at anchor with her cargo, the Duluth harbor was empty. Ice is forming quickly around docks.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
AIS Wednesday evening night showed Miedwe, Vikingbank, Orsula and Ojibway at anchor. Tim S. Dool was underway moving toward the loading dock. Baie Comeau, Africaborg and Federal Leda were loading. Yulia departed earlier in the day.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Wilfred Sykes arrived Sturgeon Bay for winter layup on Wednesday, joining Mesabi Miner, John G. Munson and American Courage. Chi-Cheemaun was also docked.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Alpena arrived with cement in the late afternoon.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Stewart J. Cort and Burns Harbor were still at the unloading dock on Wednesday evening. Irma was still in port as well.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Paul R. Tregurtha was still in port Wednesday night.

Saginaw River – Gordy Garris
The tug G.L. Ostrander and the barge Integrity arrived Wednesday morning to unload cement at the Lafarge Terminal in Essexville. The pair are expected to be back outbound for the lake on Thursday.

Welland Canal
Herbert C. Jackson was anchored off the eastern end of the canal Wednesday evening, waiting for better weather before resuming her trip westbound. Joseph L. Block passed through the canal earlier in the day, headed for Quebec City, however in the late evening she appeared to be headed for Hamilton.

Hamilton, Ont.
Three Rivers and Ardita were at anchor Wednesday afternoon. Florence Spirit, Algoma Equinox, Andean, Mottler and Eider were at docks. Robert S. Pierson and Algoma Enterprise were stopped offshore.


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 15

On 15 December 1902, the TIONESTA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 340 foot, 4,329 gross tons) was launched at the Detroit Ship Building Company, Wyandotte, Michigan (Hull #150) for the Erie & Western Transportation Company (Anchor Line). She was christened by Miss Marie B. Wetmore. The vessel lasted until 1940, when she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

ROBERT KOCH went hard aground December 15, 1985, on Sheldon Point off Oswego, New York, loaded with 2,000 tons of cement, when her towline parted from the tug R & L NO 1. Dragging her anchors in heavy weather, she fetched up on a rocky shelf in 16 feet of water 300 yards off shore. She spent the winter on the bottom but was released in July 1986 and taken to Contrecoeur, Quebec, for scrapping. The dismantling was finally completed at Levis, Quebec, in 1990-1991.

NORTHCLIFFE HALL departed Kingston on December 15, 1974, headed for Colombia with a load of newsprint. She traded briefly in the Caribbean and then laid up at Houston, Texas, later to return to the lakes.

On December 15, 1972, GEORGIAN BAY was reported as the last ship to pass through the city of Welland as the new $8.3 million by-pass channel was to be ready for the beginning of the 1973, shipping season. (Actually two other ships, the TADOUSSAC and PIC RIVER, followed her through.)

The JOHN E. F. MISENER, a.) SCOTT MISENER, was laid up for the last time on December 15, 1982, at Port McNicoll, Ontario.

JOE S. MORROW (Hull#350) was launched December 15, 1906, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

RED WING was laid up for the last time at Toronto on December 15, 1984, due in part to the uneconomical operation of her steam turbine power plant.

The self-unloader ROGERS CITY cleared Lauzon, Quebec, on December 15, 1987, in tow of the Maltese tug PHOCEEN on the first leg of her tow to the cutter’s torch.

On December 15, 1988, Purvis Marine's ANGLIAN LADY departed Mackinaw City with the CHIEF WAWATAM under tow, arriving at the Canadian Soo the next day. During the winter of 1988-89, Purvis removed items tagged by the state of Michigan (including the pilot house) and began converting her into a barge.

On 15 December 1888, GEORGE W. ROBY (wooden propeller, 281 foot, 1,843 gross tons,) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#45).


1915: The passenger and freight steamers MAJESTIC and SARONIC of Canada Steamship Lines caught fire and burned while laid up at Point Edward, Ontario.

1952: The three-masted barquentine CITY OF NEW YORK came to Chicago for the World's Fair in 1933 and was also on display at Cleveland while inland. The famous ship had been active in Antarctic exploration and the Arctic seal hunt. The shaft broke on this date in 1952 and the vessel stranded off Yarmouth, N.S. Released at the end of the month, the vessel caught fire and stranded again off Chebogue Point as a total loss.

1973: RICHARD REISS (ii) broke loose in a gale at Stoneport, Michigan, and went aground with heavy bottom damage. The ship was refloated, repaired at South Chicago, and returned to service in 1974. It has been sailing as d) MANISTEE since 2005.

1983: CARIBBEAN TRAILER spent much of the summer of 1983 operating between Windsor and Thunder Bay. It was outbound from the Great Lakes when it was caught pumping oil in the St. Lawrence. The vessel remained active on saltwater routes until arriving at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on August 29, 2009.

1987: The French bulk carrier PENMARCH began regular Seaway service when new in 1974. It was also back as b) PHILIPPI in 1985 and became c) MIMI M. in 1987. The ship was attacked by Iraqi aircraft December 15 and again on December 16, 1987. It reached Bushire, Iran, December 22 with heavy damage and was ultimately sold to shipbreakers in Pakistan.

2008: ALIKRATOR began Great Lakes trading in August 1983. It was moored in the estuary at Vilagarcia, Spain, as b) DOXA when a fire broke out in the accommodations area. One life was lost and another 8 sailors injured. The ship was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) ADO on June 29, 2009.

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


U.S.-flag lakes cargos up nearly 7 percent in November

12/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 8.4 million tons of cargo in November, an increase of 6.7 percent compared to a year ago. However, the November float was 6.7 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry totaled 4.7 million tons in November, an increase of 29.6 percent compared to a year ago. However, coal shipments to power plants and steel mills fell to 1.2 million tons, a decrease of more than 20 percent. Aggregate and fluxstone for construction projects and steel production totaled 2 million tons, a decrease of nearly 10 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-over-year U.S.-flag carriage stands at 76.2 million tons, a decrease of 4.5 percent. Iron ore cargos are up 6.6 percent, but coal loads have dipped 25.8 percent. Limestone shipments trail last year by 7 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


New Soo Lock could prevent a trillion-dollar headache

12/14 - Lansing, Mich. – The decades-long effort to build a new lock connecting Lakes Superior and Huron at Sault Ste. Marie is getting renewed state attention. Advocates hope it will also be taken up by President-elect Donald Trump because of his infrastructure campaign pledge.

But it will be at least another year before the next step, a cost-benefit analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“It’s so important,” said Linda Hoath, executive director of the Sault Area Visitor’s Convention and Bureau. Not just for Michigan but for the whole region, she said.

The U.S. would lose $1.1 trillion if the existing lock capable of handling the biggest freighters breaks down for six months, according to a new report from Gov. Snyder’s 21st Century Infrastructure Commission. That report cited information from the Department of Homeland Security and encouraged a replacement for the aging Poe Lock as a failsafe to the nation’s economy.

The commission, created in the wake of the Flint water crisis that brought attention to the threat of aging water systems, released a 188-page report detailing the state’s infrastructure needs. It touches on transportation, communications and other issues.

Meanwhile, infrastructure was one of Trump’s key issues during his presidential campaign. He said he wants to spend $1 trillion on it. Advocates say they hope Trump will push the construction of a new lock.

“It’s kind of the perfect project for everything he talked about in his campaign,” said Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers Association, which represents Great Lakes shippers. “It’s very consistent with his national security comments, economic security interests and homeland security statements.”

A new lock would take a big bite of those funds. A 2005 estimated price tag was $580 million to complete it. Preliminary work started in 2009-2010 but was not completed. The money would come from the federal government.

The commission is calling for completion of a second lock capable of handling 1,000-foot freighters. In addition to the $1.1 trillion hit to the economy, the commission said a breakdown of the Poe Lock, which handles the largest freighters now, would kill 11 million jobs and cause a recession and bankruptcies.

The report says a second lock capable of handling the biggest ships would create the “redundancy” needed to save those jobs. But it will be at least a year before anything can be done.

That’s because the Army Corps of Engineers would be responsible for building the new lock and the project has to meet the agency’s cost-benefit standards. That means the benefits of the new lock and consequences of a Poe Lock breakdown must outweigh the cost of the project.

The last time the corps ran the numbers, the new lock didn’t measure up. But key assumptions have changed. When the corps did the math in 2005, it assumed raw materials such as iron ore could simply be transported by rail if the Poe Lock were to break down, said Scott Thieme, deputy for project management in the Detroit district of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We now know that we can’t,” Thieme said.

The railways simply don’t exist near the mines, said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission, an organization created by the states to track environmental and economic issues in the Great Lakes states and Canada. If the Poe Lock were to fail, railways couldn’t be built fast enough to prevent the nation from feeling the pinch.

Seventy-five percent of all U.S. steel production would halt, Eder said. The U.S. auto industry would start to shut down within six weeks, Weakley said. Quoting the Department of Homeland Security’s report, he said, “It is hard to conceive a single asset more consequential than the Poe Lock.”

A long-lasting Poe Lock failure would hurt Michigan’s unemployment rate hardest, with unemployment rates reaching 22.6 percent, Weakley said.

The corps is re-doing the math, but the Detroit division won’t know for sure if the new lock project meets its standards until December 2017, according to the commission’s report. But Weakley thinks it will take even longer because there are two more steps the corps’ report goes through. By then, it could be half-way through Trump’s presidency, Weakley said.

Building the new lock on the site of older, non-operational locks would take 10 years, Hoath said.

Building the lock would mean 1.5 million hours for middle-class workers, Weakley said. He wasn’t sure how many contractors would be local.

Mining Journal


Ice-coated vessel arrives in Duluth

12/14 - Duluth, Minn. – The barge/tug combo Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. VanEnkevort arrived in Duluth on Tuesday morning to pick up a load of taconite. It already was carrying a cargo of ice.

Below-zero temperatures and westerly winds left the vessel coated in ice as it passed through the Duluth ship canal before a group of onlookers who braved the frigid conditions. It had warmed up to about zero in Canal Park by the time the ship arrived at about 10:20 a.m., after subzero temperatures to start the day.

Meanwhile, at least one other vessel was at anchor on Lake Superior offshore from Duluth on Tuesday morning, shrouded in steam rising from the still relatively warm waters of the lake.

Morning lows in the Northland were in the single digits and teens below zero, including 11 below at the Duluth airport, 14 below at Hibbing and International Falls, 16 below at Cotton and 17 below at Togo, according to the National Weather Service. Wind chills dropped to 30 below zero in parts of the region.

The cold weather is going to continue through much of the week ahead, with highs near zero on Wednesday and Thursday. After a slight warmup on Friday - highs perhaps near 10 degrees - temperatures are forecast to again struggle to climb above zero on Saturday and Sunday.

View the video at this link


Port Reports -  December 14

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
American Century departed Duluth from Midwest Energy at 04:37 on Tuesday. The barge Great Lakes Trader arrived at 10:20 to load iron ore pellets at CN. During the evening, American Integrity arrived to load coal at Midwest Energy, and Virginiaborg departed after loading beet pulp pellets at Peavey. Great Lakes Trader and Federal Colombia, which was loading on Tuesday, were expected to depart late Tuesday evening. Pineglen, which departed Duluth from CHS 2 late Monday night, remained anchored offshore Tuesday, presumably waiting for weather conditions to improve.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
AIS Tuesday night showed Miedwe, Vikingbank, Orsula and four other unidentified vessels at anchor. Ojibway, Africaborg, CSL Laurentien, Federal Leda, Federal Rideau were loading. Algoma Guardian was headed in.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
James R. Barker remained at the CN dock Tuesday evening.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Stewart J. Cort and Burns Harbor were still at the unloading dock on Tuesday. Irma was also in port.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Paul R. Tregurtha was still in port Tuesday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Joseph L. Block should be downbound on the Welland Canal Wednesday for her second trip ever through the Seaway. American Mariner should arrive with wheat from Duluth for the Frontier Elevator in Buffalo Wednesday evening. English River has an ETA of 8 a.m. Wednesday for Lafarge in Buffalo.

Herbert C. Jackson is heading back up the Seaway after delivering ore to Quebec. Tuesday evening she had just passed Brockville, Ont., westbound. Meanwhile, Joseph L. Block was on Lake Erie Tuesday night on a second trip with ore for Quebec.


National Museum plans final sale Friday and Saturday in Vermilion

12/14 - The National Museum of the Great Lakes will sell the last of their duplicate material in two sessions on December 16 and December 17. The Friday session will begin at 6 p.m. and last till 9 p.m. The cost of admission is $50, but if you purchase $250 or more of material your admission fee will be given back. Only 100 people will be permitted to participate in the Friday session. You can reserve your space by contacting the museum at 419-214-5000, extension 0.

The Saturday session will begin at 10 a.m. and last till 3 p.m. The cost of admission is $3, which will be returned if you purchase $15 or more of material. No reservations are required but the museum expects a large crowd to gather prior to 9 a.m.

Both sessions will be at 480 Main St., Vermilion Ohio.

The museum will be selling new material not shown on November 12 in Vermilion or at the Dossin Show on November 19. Material includes more lithographic prints, framed photos and unframed photos. Material that did not sell at November 12 will be deeply discounted

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 14

On 14 December 1902, JOHN E. HALL (wooden propeller freighter, 139 foot, 343 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was towing the barge JOHN R. NOYES (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 333 gross tons, built in 1872, at Algonac, Michigan) on Lake Ontario when they were caught in a blizzard-gale. After a day of struggling, the NOYES broke loose and drifted for two days before she went ashore and broke up near Lakeside, New York without loss of life. The HALL tried to run for shelter but swamped and sank off Main Duck Island with the loss of the entire crew of nine.

On December 14, 1984, WILLIAM CLAY FORD laid up for the final time at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

The JIIMAAN was towed out of dry dock at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on December 14, 1992, by the tugs JAMES E. McGRATH and LAC VANCOUVER to the fit out dock for completion.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE was sold for scrap in 1988, and was towed up the Welland Canal on December 14, 1988, by the tugs THUNDER CAPE and MICHAEL D. MISNER to Port Colborne, Ontario.

On December 14, 1926, W.E. FITZGERALD was caught in heavy seas and suffered damaged frames and hull plating. Repairs consisted of replacing nearly 25,000 rivets and numerous hull plates.

The package freighter GEORGE N. ORR, a recent war acquisition from the Canada Atlantic Transit Company, was wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island, on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

On 14 December 1883, MARY ANN HULBERT (wooden schooner-barge, 62 gross tons, built in 1873, at Bayfield, Wisconsin) was carrying railroad workers and supplies in tow of the steamer KINCADINE in a storm on Lake Superior. She was sailing from Port Arthur for Michipicoten Island. The HULBERT was overwhelmed by the gale and foundered, The crew of five plus all 15 of the railroad workers were lost.

December 14, 1903 - The PERE MARQUETTE 20 left the shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio on her maiden voyage.

1977: SILVER FIR, outbound from Great Lakes on her only trip inland, went aground at Squaw Island, near Cornwall and was released two days later.

1991: The small tug HAMP THOMAS sank off Cleveland while towing a barge. They were mauled by 12-foot waves but the barge and a second tug, PADDY MILES, survived as did all of the crew.

1997: CANADIAN EXPLORER of Upper Lakes Shipping and the ISLAND SKIPPER collided in the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois with minor damage. The former reached Hamilton and was retired. The latter was repaired and resumed service. It revisited the Great Lakes as late as 2010.

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


Mesabi Metallics hopes to rise from wreckage of Essar Steel Minnesota

12/13 - Hibbing, Minn. – There's a new CEO, a new name and a new attitude at the company formerly known as Essar Steel Minnesota. But the same problems loom: How to escape more than $1 billion in debt and finish the half-built project in Nashwauk already years overdue and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.

Throw in the fact the governor of the state won't play ball with you. And, by the way, the whole thing is mired in federal bankruptcy court with tentacles that reach from Iron Range construction companies to multinational banks in India, New York and Hong Kong.

The new name is Mesabi Metallics, if a bankruptcy judge in Delaware agrees at a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Gone are the last vestiges of Essar Group, the Mumbai, India, company that took the project over in 2008 only to run out of money, twice, and then walk away owing $1.1 billion.

The new CEO is Matthew Stock, 45, a British-born veteran of the iron ore and steel business who worked developing and running ore processing plants in India and steel sales in Thailand. Stock was brought in by SPL Partners LLC, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based, three-family owned investment company that sees promise in buying the Nashwauk project for pennies on the dollar, finishing the job and then making money selling taconite iron ore pellets.

Read more, and view photos at this link:


Port Reports -  December 13

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Philip R. Clarke departed Duluth light at 02:41 on Monday after unloading limestone, and headed north to load at Two Harbors. Lee A. Tregurtha departed with iron ore at 04:27. American Century arrived at 13:21 to load coal at Midwest Energy. Over the weekend, Federal Colombia arrived on her first visit to the Twin Ports, and was loading wheat at CHS 1. Pineglen was next door at CHS 2 loading the same cargo. In Superior, Michipicoten arrived at 06:02 to load ore. Virginiaborg arrived at 13:11, and headed to Peavey to load beet pulp pellets. Michipicoten departed at 14:12.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
AIS Monday night showed Vikingbank, Miedwe, Federal Rideau, Cape, Orsula and Tim S. Dool at anchor. Africaborg and Thunder Bay were loading. CSL Laurentien was expected.

Marquette, Mich.
Indiana Harbor was in port Monday evening.

St. Marys River
The Great Lakes Towing tug Huron was upbound Sunday from Cleveland with an AIS destination listed as Duluth. This is the recently-purchased ex-Daniel McAllister.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
On Monday, James R Barker arrived at CN to load ore, taking her alternate Paul R Tregurtha' s place

Grand Haven, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes was in Monday with slag. After unloading, she will head to Sturgeon Bay for winter layup.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Stewart J. Cort, Irma and Burns Harbor were in port on Monday.

Gary, Ind.
Edwin H. Gott was unloading Monday night.

Buffington, Ind.
Cason J. Callaway was in port Monday afternoon. By late evening she had moved to S. Chicago.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoway was loading salt on Monday. Algorail was expected early Tuesday.

Toledo, Ohio
On Monday morning, CSL Niagara was loading coal. She departed in the afternoon. Kaye E. Barker was next up at the coal dock. Cuyahoga arrived around midday with grain. On Wednesday, H. Lee White and Algoma Enterprise are due in at the coal dock. There are several 1,000 footers from the Interlake fleet due to unload ore at the Torco dock. On Friday, James R. Barker has an ETA for 10 a.m. On Saturday, Paul R. Tregurtha is due in around noon. This is a rare trip for the Tregurtha, as she is usually involved in the coal trade from Superior, Wis., to the St. Clair River and Monroe, Mich., power plants. On Sunday, the James L. Kuber is due in. Arrival times can change due to weather conditions.

Sandusky, Ohio
Algoma Enterprise and Algoma Olympic were both in port Monday evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The USGS survey vessel Muskie was docked at the Erie Basin fuel dock Monday night.

Herbert C. Jackson was entering the St. Lambert Lock Monday at 10:30 p.m. on her trip to Quebec City.


Retirements: Capt. Anders Rasmussen

12/13 - Capt. Anders Rasmussen of the Kaministiqua retired on Sunday as his ship passed through the Welland Canal during a trip downbound with grain from Thunder Bay. He also sailed for Algoma Central and was skipper of the Algolake for several years. Well known and respected around the lakes, he and his wife Donna Mae (aka Mrs. Captain) live in Vermont. Best wishes, Anders!

Summerstown LookOut - Massena N.Y.


Obituaries: Services set for Capt. Michael Patterson

12/13 - Capt. Michael Patterson of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., died Dec. 9 after a long battle with lung cancer. The family will accept visitors at the St. Stephens Parish Hall in Port Huron, Mich., on Saturday Dec. 17 from noon until 4 p.m., with a eulogy service at 1 p.m. All are welcome to come and share memories. Updates on a celebration of his life will be held in Sault Ste. Marie at a later date and will be published by Hovie Funeral Home, Sault Ste. Marie, at

Mike was born in 1957 in Marysville, Mich. After graduating from Marysville High School in 1975, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 82nd Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, as well as the 7th Special Forces Group, until his honorable discharge in 1978. He married his high school sweetheart, Angela Troy, on Nov. 11, 1978. They had two children, Sean and Kelli.

Mike was a tugboat captain; one of the lucky few who spent his life doing the thing he really loved. It was more than a career – it was who he was, and what he had wanted to be since childhood. After working for various companies including the Lake Pilots Association, Gaelic Tugboat Company, NOAA, Malcolm Marine and Windsor Detroit Barge Lines, he proudly spent the last 29 years of his career aboard G tugs with The Great Lakes Towing Company. He worked in the port of Detroit for many years before transferring to Sault Ste. Marie in 2000.

During his life, Mike was a record-setting swimmer, a skilled and courageous tugboat captain, a member of the Army Special Forces; an Airborne Ranger, scuba diver, snowmobiler, dirt bike rider, faithful son, caring father, loving husband, Jeep enthusiast, union member, Western movie buff, leader, mentor, animal lover, a valued neighbor and beloved friend, and a great Tugboat Philosopher. Mike is survived by his mother, Marjorie Patterson of Marysville, brother Scott of Smith Creek, sister-in-law Pam Patterson of Port Huron, wife Angie and son Sean of Sault Ste. Marie, daughter Kelli of Ferndale, Aunts and Uncle Bob and Eva Philips of Port Huron, and Kay Force of Marysville, Mother & Father In-Law Robert and Patricia Troy of Marysville, Brothers and Sisters In-Law Robert (Joan) Troy, Jeff (Patty) Troy, Mary (Gary) Siemen, Chris (Lisa) Troy, several cousins, and many nieces and nephews. He was pre-deceased by his father William.

Mike Patterson was a member of the Port Huron Lodge of the International Shipmasters Association and the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots maritime labor union.


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 13

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE entered service for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. on December 13, 1979.

On December 13, 1989, Kinsman’s HENRY STEINBRENNER, a.) WILLIAM A. MC GONAGLE was laid up at Toledo's Lakefront Dock.

G.A. TOMLINSON, a.) D.O. MILLS arrived under her own power at Triad Salvage Inc., Ashtabula, Ohio, on December 13, 1979, to be scrapped.

THOMAS WILSON ran aground in the St. Marys River on December 13, 1976. The accident required lightering before she would float free.

On 13 December 1872, the Port Huron Times added three vessels to those in winter lay-up at Port Huron: Steamer MARINE CITY, tug JOHN PRINDEVILLE, and wrecking tug RESCUE. December 13, 1906 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 departed for Manitowoc, Wisconsin on her first trip.

In 1929, the McLouth Steamship Company filed a claim against the City of Port Huron for $687 because its sand sucker, the KALKASKA, was held up for 27-1/2 hours in the Black River because of an inability to open the north span of the Military Street Bridge.

On 13 December 1961, SWEDEN, a.) L C SMITH, steel propeller, 414 foot, 4702 gross tons, built in 1902, at W. Bay City, Michigan) arrived in tow at Savona, Italy, for scrapping.

1899: BARGE 115 broke loose of the towing steamer COLGATE HOYT in northern Lake Superior and drifted for 5 harrowing days before it stranded on Pic Island on December 18. While feared lost with all hands, the crew managed to come ashore in the lifeboat, found their way to the rail line and hiked to safety. They were found December 22.

1906: JOHN M. NICOL was loaded with barbed wire when it stranded off Big Summer Island, Lake Michigan. The crew was rescued by fishermen in a gasoline-powered launch, but the ship broke in two as a total loss.

1916: BAY PORT, a whaleback steamer built at West Superior as a) E.B. BARTLETT in 1891, struck bottom in the Cape Cod Canal enroute to Boston with coal. The ship was refloated but sank again December 14 blocking the entrance to the canal. All on board were saved. The hull had to by dynamited as a hazard.

1939: The Russian freighter INDIGIRKA went aground in a blizzard off the coast of Japan while trying to enter Laperouse Strait, near Sarafatsu, Japan. The ship rolled on its side and was abandoned by the crew. It was carrying fishermen and political prisoners. A reported 741 died in the cargo holds after being left behind. Only a few were still alive when salvagers returned after the storm had subsided. The vessel had been built at Manitowoc, WI in 1919 as a) LAKE GALVA and was renamed b) RIPON before leaving the lakes the next year.

1965: The Liberty ship PONT AUDEMER made one trip through the Seaway in 1960. It was abandoned by the crew as d) VESPER following an engineroom explosion on the Mediterranean enroute from Marseilles, France, to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The vessel arrived at Cartagena, under tow on December 18, 1965. It was sold to Spanish shipbreakers and left for Villanueva y Geltru for dismantling on May 18, 1966.

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


Atlantic Erie scrap tow arrives at Aliaga

12/12 - The former Atlantic Erie, now Spirit of Shpongle, under tow of the Pacific Hickory, arrived off the beaches of Aliaga on Sunday. She will be scrapped in the coming months.

Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  December 12

Escanaba, Mich.
Paul R. Tregurtha was loading Sunday evening at the CN dock.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Algolake and Burns Harbor were unloading Sunday. James R. Barker departed in the evening.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Wilfred Sykes was unloading at ArcelorMittal Sunday.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoway was loading salt on Sunday.

Erie, Pa. – Gene Polaski
Olive L. Moore/ barge Kuber arrived in Erie about noon Saturday, but due to high winds and snow, she went to anchor in the lake. Sunday at noon was at the Old Ore Dock at Erie Sand and Gravel unloading.

Herbert C. Jackson was passing Trois-Rivieres around 7 p.m. Sunday on her way to Quebec City.


Toledo ship’s savior revives Monroe port

12/12 - Monroe, Mich. – He kept the Willis B. Boyer museum ship in Toledo — and potentially out of a scrap yard. And for the past four years, Paul C. LaMarre III has breathed new life into the once sleepy Port of Monroe.

Coal shipments to Detroit Edison’s massive power plant at the River Raisin’s mouth have dominated the port’s cargo statistics for decades, and that’s not changing any time soon.

But since Mr. LaMarre took over in July, 2012, as the Monroe port’s first full-time director since the late 1970s, a new trade in synthetic gypsum has begun across its docks, and ships also have brought in loads of salt, pipe, and wind-turbine parts while carrying out crushed brick and a repositioning of empty shipping containers.

Read more and view photos at this link


Artifacts help tell story of steamship’s past

12/12 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – It’s the little doll that was recovered on the bottom of Lake Michigan that motivated Bob Desh to find its past. It is a nameless remnant from the paddle-wheeled steamship Niagara that caught on fire in 1856 and sunk off Port Washington.

The former Door County Maritime Museum’s executive director kicked off the popular maritime speaker series Thursday night with the results of his research “A Doll, a Wrench and a Thimble — Remembering the loss of the ‘Palace Steamer’ Niagara.’’

“The doll and the thimble are so personal,’’ said Desh, a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain, and self-proclaimed maritime geek. There were many women and children on the passenger steamship (with auxiliary sails) en route to Chicago. It was at the height of immigration. There was also heavy cargo.

The thimble appears to be pristine, seemingly lifted directly from a sewing basket. The long wrench shows some corrosion. But three-inch doll had a rough time surviving its watery grave. Its arms are both broken off. One leg snapped off at the knee and the other leg is missing her foot. It has painted blue eyes and a blue bow below an emotionless face.

“The Niagara was one of the greatest losses of life and tragedies in the maritime Wisconsin history,’’ Desh added. More than 60 people on board died, according to some reports. The wreck is still there and is on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places. It is precisely a mile and a half of Harrington Beach State Park. A few of its artifacts are part of the Door County Maritime Museum’s collection. It is the not the same sailing vessel as the tall ship replica USS Niagara serving the War of 1812 that visited Sturgeon Bay in August.

One of the largest steamships on the Great Lakes at the time, the 245-foot Niagara was a palace steamer that was reserved for the upper class. One of its passengers was former U.S. Congress member John B. Macy of Chicago.

It left Sheboygan on Sept. 23, 1856, and was heading for Port Washington when the fire broke out in the engine room.

Read more and view photos at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 12

On 12 December 1898, FANNY H (wooden propeller tug, 54 foot, 16 gross tons, built in 1890, at Bay City, Michigan) was sold by J. R. Hitchcock to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. She underwent a major rebuild in 1908, when she was lengthened to 60 feet.

The push tug PRESQUE ISLE was launched December 12, 1972, as (Hull #322) by the Halter Marine Services, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana.

SPINDLETOP, e.) BADGER STATE was launched December 12, 1942, for the United States Maritime Commission.

WHEAT KING returned to Port Weller Dry Docks on December 12, 1975, for lengthening to the maximum Seaway size of 730 feet overall for the iron ore and grain trade, thus ending her salt water activities.

One unusual trip for the WOODLAND occurred when she arrived at Toronto, Ontario on December 12, 1987, to load a 155-foot, 135-ton self-unloading unit for delivery to the Verolme Shipyard in Brazil, where the Govan-built Panamax bulk carrier CSL INNOVATOR was being converted to a self-unloader.

On Monday December 12, 1898, the AURORA was fast in the ice at Amherstburg, Ontario, when a watchman smelled smoke. The crew tried to put out the fire, but to no avail. They were taken off the burning vessel by the tug C A LORMAN. The ship burned to the water's edge, but was salvaged and rebuilt as a barge.

On December 12, 1956, the once-proud passenger vessels EASTERN STATES and GREATER DETROIT were taken out onto Lake St. Clair where they were set afire. All the superstructure was burned off and the hulls were taken to Hamilton, Ontario, where they were scrapped in 1957.

On 12 December 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels at winter lay-up at Sarnia, Ontario: Schooners: MARY E PEREW, KINGFISHER, UNADILLA, ONEONTA, AMERICAN, J G MASTEN, PELICAN, UNION, B ALLEN, and CAMDEN; Brigs: DAVID A WELLS, WAGONER, and FRANK D BARKER; Barks: C T MAPLE, EMALINE BATES, and D A VAN VALKENBURG; Steamer: MANITOBA.

On 12 December 1877, U.S. Marshall Matthews sold the boiler and machinery of the CITY OF PORT HURON at auction in Detroit, Michigan. Darius Cole submitted the winning bid of $1,000.

1898: The wooden passenger and freight carrier SOO CITY sank at the dock in Holland, Mi after bucking ice while inbound.

1925: SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY stranded on a rocky shoal inside the breakwall at Fairport, Ohio. Hull repairs were listed at over $18,000.

1966: AMBROSE SHEA, a new Canadian carferry, was hit by a flash fire while under construction by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel, Quebec, and sustained over $1 million in damage. Completion of the vessel was delayed by 3 months before it could enter service between North Sydney, NS and Argentia, Newfoundland. The ship arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as d) ERG on June 22, 2000.

1972: SIR JAMES DUNN went aground in the St. Lawrence near the Thousand Islands Bridge while enroute to Sorel with grain.

1990: CLIPPER MAJESTIC was abandoned by the crew due to an engineroom fire off the coast of Peru. The vessel had been through the Seaway as a) MILOS ISLAND in 1981, MAJESTIC in 1989 and was renamed c) CLIPPER MAJESTIC at Toronto that fall. The damaged ship was towed to Callao, Peru, on December 13, 1990, and repaired. It also traded inland as d) MILLENIUM MAJESTIC in 1999 and was scrapped at Alang, India, as e) MYRA in 2012.

2009: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier SPRUCEGLEN (ii) went aground near Sault Ste. Marie and had to go to Thunder Bay for repairs.

2010: The tug ANN MARIE sank in the Saginaw River while tied up for the winter. It was salvaged a few days later.

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


Tanker tanker Mia Desgagnés launched

12/11 - The new motor tanker Mia Desgagnés was launched Dec. 10 at the Besiktas shipyard in Turkey. The vessel, owned by Canada’s Groupe Desgagnés, is an IMO-II chemical tanker propelled by dual-fuel engines allowing the use of liquefied natural gas, marine diesel oil or heavy fuel oil. View a video of the launching at this link


Port Reports -  December 11

Goderich, Ont.
Capt. Henry Jackman loaded salt for Detroit on Saturday. Radcliffe R. Latimer was at the elevators. Algoway was in the basin.

Saginaw River News - Gordy Garris
The tug Leonard M. and the barge Huron Spirit arrived Friday afternoon with a load for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair completed unloading early Saturday morning and were back outbound for the lake, headed to take on their next load in Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The Manitowoc was also inbound on Friday, passing by the Front Range light just after dusk. Manitowoc delivered a split load to the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City and the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. Manitowoc finished unloading in Saginaw early Friday morning, turned at the Sixth Street basin and was back outbound for the lake around 6 a.m. headed for Marquette to take on her next cargo. The American Integrity will be arriving Saturday night just before midnight to unload coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville and is expected to be back outbound for the lake Sunday morning.

Erie, Pa. – Gene Polaski
Olive L. Moore/Kuber were scheduled to arrive in Erie about noon Saturday. When they got a few miles off the channel entrance, they decided to go to anchor, likely due to the high winds and poor visibility from the snow squalls. Upon entering the harbor they would have had to make a 90-degree turn, beam wind, to pull into the narrow slip.

Montreal, Que. – Phil Nash
Algoma Integrity has arrived at Section 25 in Montreal at for winter layup.


Obituary: Captain Mike Patterson

12/11 - Captain Mike Patterson passed away Friday night at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., where he lived and worked for the Great Lakes Towing Co. He had been battling cancer. He was a Port Huron, Mich., native and was married to Angie, also of Port Huron. Mike worked for many years for Great Lakes Towing in Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie. He was a Vietnam veteran and a member of the International Shipmasters’ Association Lodge 2. Arrangements are incomplete.

International Shipmasters’ Association Lodge 2


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 11

On 11 December 2002, after last minute dredging operations were completed, Nadro Marine’s tugs SEAHOUND and VAC took the World War II Canadian Naval Tribal-class destroyer H.M.C.S. HAIDA from her mooring place at Toronto’s Ontario Place to Port Weller Dry Docks where a $3.5M refit was started in preparation for the vessel to start her new career as a museum ship in Hamilton, Ontario.

TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193) was launched December 11, 1968, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The H. LEE WHITE collided with the Greek salty GEORGIOS on December 11, 1974, near St. Clair, Michigan, and had to return to Nicholson's dock at Detroit, Michigan for inspection.

On December 11, 1979, while about 11 miles off Manitou Island near the Keweenaw Peninsula, the ASHLAND's engine stalled due to a faulty relay switch. Caught in heavy weather and wallowing in the wave troughs, she put out a distress call. True to Great Lakes tradition, four vessels immediately came to her assistance: two 1,000 footers, LEWIS WILSON FOY and EDWIN H. GOTT, along with WILLIS B. BOYER and U.S.C.G. cutter MESQUITE.

WILLIAM CLAY FORD loaded her last cargo at Duluth on December 11, 1984.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 passed down the Welland Canal (loaded with the remnants of Port Huron's Peerless Cement Dock) on December 11, 1974, towed by the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and DANIEL MC ALLISTER on the way to Sorel, Quebec where she was laid up.

The fishing boat LINDA E vanished on Lake Michigan along with its three crewmen on December 11, 1998.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.’s WHEAT KING was laid up for the last time December 11, 1981.


On 11 December 1895, GEORGE W. ADAMS (wooden schooner-barge, 231 foot, 1444 gross tons, built in 1875, at Toledo, Ohio) was in tow of the steamer CALEDONIA with a load of coal, bound from Cleveland for Chicago. Her hull was crushed by ice and she sank near Colchester Shoals on Lake Erie. A salvage operation on her the following summer was a failure.

1911: A fire broke out in a wooden grain elevator at Owen Sound. The KEEWATIN was moored nearby for the winter but not yet locked in ice. The ship was moved to safety but the elevator was destroyed.

1963: MANCOX went aground in Lake St. Clair, near Peche Island, enroute from Sault Ste. Marie to River Rouge.

1984: The Yugoslavian freighter BEOGRAD, outbound in the Seaway with soybeans for Brazil, collided with the FEDERAL DANUBE at anchor near Montreal and had to be beached. The hull was refloated and arrived at Montreal for repairs on December 27. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as b) MURIEL in 1999. FEDERAL DANUBE (i) now operates for Canada Steamship Lines as c) OAKGLEN (iii).

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


Cleanup plan comes together at Fraser Shipyards

12/10 - Superior, Wis. – A plan to clean up Howard's Pocket is nearing completion; work could get underway next year. The project is a collaboration among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the city of Superior and Fraser Shipyards — the only U.S.-based shipyard remaining on Lake Superior.

The Superior City Council was presented with an update on the project planning.

"We're looking at funding a $12.5 million cleanup project on the pocket," said Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director for the city. "It makes sense. It's a great project, not only for the city of Superior, but for the environment, Fraser Shipyards and putting our name on the map for cleaning up the St. Louis River."

Howard's Bay has been a used for shipyards, grain terminals, commercial shipping operations and other operations for over 100 years, said Joe Graham of the Wisconsin DNR Great Lakes Program.

"Fraser Shipyards has been around for about 125 years — family owned and everything," said Fraser's Sean Smith. "We are the only shipyard on Lake Superior; we're also a very capable shipyard."

Smith said dredging that will be done during the cleanup project will clean up existing contamination stemming from 125 years of shipyard activity and will deepen the navigable channel leading to the dry docks in the bay, which will benefit the shipyard and the city.

"The state of Wisconsin feels the shipyard is a very important business," Graham said. "Through our Wisconsin Department of Transportation, we have funded some very important infrastructure projects for the dock wall and some of the electrical upgrades through our Harbor Assistance Program."

Other facilities in the bay include the Cenex-Harvest States terminal, the largest grain elevator in the Twin Ports, which is also in the Area of Concern.

"Howard's Bay is identified as a site where action is needed to address contamination within the St. Louis River Area of Concern," Graham said. He said sediment is contaminated with elevated levels of lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from petroleum, mercury and tributyltin.

"There is no question this needs to be done," said Superior City Councilor Warren Bender. Bender said he remembers as a child swimming in the slip, and when it was closed off, there were signs that said "future recreation area," he said.

The project involves the Army Corps dredging the shipping channel to a depth of 27 feet as well as clean up dredging of the polluted areas, Graham said. He said the dredging and cleanup will happen at the same time to make the project more efficient. Handling of dredged materials will be done at Fraser, with dredge material later stored at Erie Pier for land uses while contaminated dredge material would likely go to a demolition landfill, Graham said.

Planning for the project is about 90 percent complete, and they are currently working on the remedial design, funded by Great Lakes Legacy Funding with a 35 percent in-kind match from Fraser and the state of Wisconsin, Graham said.

"We're also looking at the Wisconsin Point Landfill to improve that cap," Graham said. The landfill that closed in 1977 is experiencing some uneven settling that is causing some drainage issues so increasing the thickness over the waste could be beneficial by improving drainage and make it usable for recreation such as foot paths or a dog park, he said.

He estimates the dredging will take several months to complete, and the project is likely to get underway late next year with completion in the spring of 2018.

Superior Telegram


Seaway Message No. 1 – 2016

12/10 - This is the first radio message for the closing of the 2016 navigation season. Messages will be issued Monday through Friday. As the need arises, weekends will be included. The purpose of this message is to provide Seaway users with information that may facilitate the planning of vessel transits throughout the remainder of the navigation season. Mariners are advised that the Montreal-Lake Ontario and Welland Canal drafts are as outlined in Seaway Notice No. 9 of 2016.

It is important for mariners to note that any vessel which enters the Seaway upbound at CIP2 after 2359 hrs on December 9th shall be designated a wintering vessel in accordance with all the terms outlined in Seaway Notice No. 11 of 2016.

Water temperature at St. Lambert on December 9 is 3.4 degrees Celsius. Last year’s temperature was 5.1 degrees Celsius. The ten-year average is 2.5 degrees Celsius.

At midnight December 8, the number of ocean vessels above St. Lambert was 39, as compared to 35 in 2015. Above Port Weller the number was 26 as compared to 28 in 2015.

The Prescott/Ogdensburg ice boom opening has been reduced to 610m and is indicated by quick flashing green and red buoys. All closing procedures outlined in Seaway Notice No. 11 of 2016 remain in effect.

The next radio message will be issued Monday, December 12.


Port Reports -  December 10

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Yulia arrived Friday from Duluth. Cuyahoga, Frontenac and Algoma Spirit were loading, Shoveler, Orsula and Cape were at anchor.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Friday included Indiana Harbor, CSL Welland, Spruceglen, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Lakes Contender / Ken Boothe Sr. Downbound traffic included Drawsko, Kaministiqua, Federal Ems, Radcliffe R. Latimer and Redhead.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
Wilfred Sykes was loading ore at CN on Friday.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
James R. Barker was unloading on Friday afternoon.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived at ArcelorMittal to unload in the evening Friday on a rare trip to Lake Michigan.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula were unloading coal at Lafarge. The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was out in the bay Thursday afternoon doing buoy work. Friday morning the Alpena returned to load another cargo of cement at Lafarge. Later in the afternoon, the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity tied up under the silos.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain departed and Algoway was due in late Friday to load salt.

Toledo, Ohio
As of 6:05 p.m. Friday, the Mississagi was inbound and most likely bound for an elevator to unload grain.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
John B. Aird arrived off Buffalo around 9:30 a.m. Friday and came straight in for Lackawanna to unload salt. She backed into the Outer Harbor around 11:30, winded, and backed in to a different section of the Gateway Metroport Main dock to unload more salt. She departed for Port Colborne at 5:09 p.m.

Welland Canal – Bill Bird
Herbert C. Jackson arrived at Port Colborne, Ont., in the late afternoon Friday on a rare trip down the Seaway with ore. She tied up at Wharf 16 for inspection before proceeding on her way.

Hamilton, Ont.
Ardita remained at anchor Friday afternoon. Florence Spirit, Federal Nakagawa, Stella Polaris, Eider, Federal Rhine and Qamutik were at docks.

Erie, Pa. – Gene Polaski
The USCG Hollyhock was in port Friday, presumably to exchange buoys. She has been there several days, awaiting the snowstorms to die down.


New St. Lawrence water strategy signed

12/10 - Local boaters, anglers and naturalists should be pleased that St. Lawrence water levels above Moses-Saunders Dam will be more agreeable to their hobbies.

A new water control strategy, called Plan 2014, was signed Thursday morning by the Canadian and U.S. governments as a result of extensive and collaborative consultations by the International Joint Commission (IJC).

Plan 2014 would allow for more natural variations in water levels throughout the upper portion of the St. Lawrence River, resulting in a number of seasonal benefits.

For the river below the Moses-Saunders Dam, there will be no change. That area was not as strongly impacted by the current water level plan, which dated back to 1958.

“We are pleased that Plan 2014 will bring system-wide improvements, with consideration of ecosystem health and recreational boating along with shoreline communities, commercial navigation and hydro power production,” said Gordon Walker, Canadian section chair for the IJC.

“Plan 2014 is a modern plan for managing water levels and flows that will restore the health and diversity of coastal wetlands, perform better under changing climate conditions and continue to protect against extreme high and low water levels,” added U.S. section chair Lana Pollack.

The pair alluded to the long process to create the new plan, which took about 16 years.

Even after Plan 2014 was agreed upon two years ago, it needed to go through various governmental and agency loops before it was ready for it to be formally signed and put into practice.

Asked if the plan could be repealed by a new presidential administration, Pollack said the IJC agreement requires an arduous process that would take many years.

Both Walker and Pollack were available for further questions from the media via a teleconference.

“It’s great news,” said regional Senator Bob Runciman who, as a former Brockville area MPP, has been close to the issue of water level impacts for more than two decades.

“(Plan 2014) will restore the river to the more natural flow of the Seaway,” Runciman said.

“It’s estimated it will be the second largest wetland restoration (in North America),” he said of the 26,000 hectares that will improve wildlife and fish habitat.

A coalition of New York state advocates for Plan 2014 also praised the new agreement, including Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Chief Eric Thompson.

“Protecting and restoring our territory’s ecosystem, damaged by more than 50 years of regulated water levels on our shorelines, wetlands, fish and wildlife has always been a priority.” Thompson said.

“As a result, we welcome the immediate implementation of Plan 2014 and will continue to voice the ongoing need to safeguard the well-being and long-term health of the St. Lawrence River.”

“Today is the day the St. Lawrence River starts recovering,” said Bob Irvin, president of American Rivers, noting the new agreement also increases hydro electricity production at Moses-Saunders dam by an estimated $5.3 million. “This is a win-win for all.”

The plan will result in: a 40 per cent increase in wet meadow acreages; allow for an expected 39 per cent population increase of northern pike, a top fish predator on shoreline areas; a 16 per cent rebound in black terns, an endangered species; a $9.1 million annual increase of economic activity from recreation along the river and Lake Ontario; and the continuation of 50 years of shoreline protection.

Runciman recounted that he was forced to get a professional tower to haul his boat out of the water.

The most notable detriment of the plan is the south shore of New York state near Rochester.

Runciman explained that shoreline erosion could increase impacting properties there that had been built on flood plains.



Today in Great Lakes History -  December 10

The steamer EDWARD Y. TOWNSEND loaded the last cargo of ore for the 1942 season at Marquette.

CEDARGLEN, a.) WILLIAM C. ATWATER, loaded her last cargo at Thunder Bay, Ontario on December 10, 1984, carrying grain for Goderich, Ontario.

Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950. She would later become b.) CLIFFS VICTORY.

IRVIN L. CLYMER was laid up at Superior, Wisconsin on December 10, 1985, for two seasons before returning to service April 30, 1988.

An explosion occurred in IMPERIAL LEDUC's, b.) NIPIGON BAY ) forward tanks on December 10, 1951. This happened while her crew was cleaning and butterworthing the tanks. Five crewmembers were injured with one eventually dying in the hospital. Multiple explosions caused extensive damage in excess of $500,000.

On December 10, 1905, WILLIAM E. COREY finally was pulled free and refloated after grounding on Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands in late November.

FRANK A. SHERMAN laid up for the last time at Toronto, Ontario on December 10, 1981.

Donated by Cleveland-Cliffs to the Great Lakes Historical Society on December 10, 1987, the WILLIAM G. MATHER was to become a museum ship at Cleveland's waterfront.

PAUL H. CARNAHAN and her former fleet mate, GEORGE M. HUMPHREY, arrived safely under tow at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on December 10, 1986, for scrapping.

On 10 December 1891, a fire started on MARY (2-mast wooden schooner, 84 foot, 87 gross tons, built in 1877, at Merriton, Ontario) when an oil stove in the kitchen exploded. The vessel was at anchor at Sarnia, Ontario and damage was estimated at $10,000.

The CORISANE (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 137 foot, 292 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was tied up alongside MARY and she also caught fire but the flames were quickly extinguished. She was towed away from MARY by the ferry J C CLARK.

PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground in 1893, north of Milwaukee.

1922: The wooden freighter JAMES DEMPSEY, built in 1883 as a) JIM SHERIFFS, was destroyed by a fire at Manistee, MI.

1963: The Canadian coastal freighter SAINTE ADRESSE went on the rocks off Escoumins, QC and was leaking in high winds while on a voyage from Montreal to Sept-Iles. Local residents helped lighter the cargo of beer and ale. The remains of the hull were visible at low water for several years.

1975: PAUL THAYER went aground in Lake Erie off Pelee Island. It was lightered to WOLVERINE and released Dec. 12 with extensive damage.

1994: The Maltese registered YIANNIS Z. entered Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, in leaking condition after apparently hitting bottom while enroute from Manzanillo, Cuba, to Peru. The ship was arrested for non-payment of the crew. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 1970 as a) MATIJA GUBEC. The hull was sold at public auction on August 28, 1997, and apparently partially dismantled to become a barge. It was noted sinking at its moorings on October 14, 2006, under the name f) KELLYS MARK and subsequent fate is unknown.

2005: JOHN D. LEITCH hit bottom above the Eisenhower Lock and began leaking.

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


Lakes limestone trade down almost 17 percent in November

12/9 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 2.5 million tons in November, a decrease of 16.8 percent compared to a year ago. November’s loadings were also 15.1 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 2.1 million tons, a decrease of 16.2 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 406,000 tons, a decrease of 19.3 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 25.3 million tons, a decrease of 8.3 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings out of Michigan and Ohio quarries total 20.5 million tons, a decrease of 12.1 percent. Shipments from Ontario quarries total 4.8 million tons, an increase of 12.9 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port of Oswego welcomes first container ship

12/9 - Oswego, N.Y. - In Oswego, a massive, rust-covered container ship glided across Lake Ontario Wednesday morning. It eased toward the Port of Oswego and abruptly came to rest after bumping against the dock.

The Qamutik was carrying equipment from Germany that will head to a brewery in Rochester. The port is expecting another shipment of similar equipment next year for a brewery in Fulton. Port director Zelko Kirincich wants to see more container ships visit the port because he says it's more cost efficient for businesses that are importing and exporting by ship.

“They are efficient, there’s less chance for damage, everything goes right in the truck, there’s less storage issues -- it’s all about the bottom line," Kirincich said.

Kirincich thinks the port may be poised to host more of these ships in the coming years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished a major dredging project earlier this year that opened the port to bigger ships with more cargo. And Kirincich predicts the amount of grain to be exported through the port will double in 2017.



Port Reports -  December 9

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Yulia finished unloading at Port Terminal and departed at 10:30 on Thursday, bound for Thunder Bay to load. Volgaborg continued loading at Riverland throughout the day, and was expected to depart late Thursday night. Stewart J. Cort was also expected to depart Superior from BN on Thursday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Radcliffe R. Latimer and Kaministiqua departed Thursday in the afternoon, while Drawsko left in the early evening. Shoveler and Algoma Spirit arrived in the evening. Cape, Orsula and Federal Mackinac were at anchor.

Keweenaw Peninsula
Frontenac was at anchor for weather in the lee of the peninsula’s northern tip Thursday evening. Cuyahoga was anchored at the south end.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
On Thursday, the Joyce L Vanekevort/Great Lakes Trader were back again, loading ore at CN. Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive an hour or two after midnight.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Federal Biscay was joined by Miedwe in port on Thursday.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Hon. James L. Oberstar was unloading Thursday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain was still at the elevator loading grain on Thursday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson arrived at 01:10 Thursday and went to Dock 3.

Hamilton, Ont.
CSL Niagara and Ardita were at anchor Thursday afternoon. Florence Spirit, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Rhine, Eider and Qamutik were at docks.


BayShip: ‘The Best Kept Secret in Shipbuilding’

12/9 - In 2009, Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri S.p.A, purchased the assets of the Manitowoc Marine Group, which included Bay Shipbuilding Company. Located in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Bay Shipbuilding was the “feather in the cap,” with a long history in U.S. commercial shipbuilding and repair. Maritime Reporter & Engineering News recently visited the shipyard and found an enviable level of new builds and repair activity; which gave us a better understanding why the yard is dubbed the “best kept secret in shipbuilding.”

Read more and view photos at this link:


Magnetation asks court for total asset sale, Iron Range facilities could reopen

12/9 - Duluth, Minn. – Magnetation LLC late Wednesday said it is asking for bankruptcy court permission to sell all its remaining assets to ERP Iron Ore LLC in a deal, if approved, that could see some operations resume.

The request follows Magnetation’s shutdown in late September after more than a year after bankruptcy court proceedings failed to reach a deal with the company’s creditors.

If approved by the bankruptcy court, the deal would give ERP Magentiton’s now idled plants in Keewatin, Bovey and near Grand Rapids that turn former waste iron ore into valuable iron ore concentrate.

The deal also includes all of Magnetation’s rail loading and rail services operations and the company's pellet making plant in Reynolds, Ind.

A Dec. 15 bankruptcy hearing has been scheduled in federal court in St. Paul to consider the sale. The deal could mean former Magnetation employees at some of the facilities could be back to work sometime soon.

Magnetation LLC was founded in 2006 and is a joint venture between Grand Rapids-based Magnetation Inc. and AK Iron Resources LLC, an affiliate of steelmaker AK Steel. Magnetation recovers valuable iron ore from waste dumps left behind by long-closed mining operations.

Duluth News Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 9

While tied up at Port Colborne, Ontario, waiting to discharge her cargo of grain, a northeast gale caused the water to lower three feet and left the EDWIN H. OHL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 5141 gross tons, built in 1907, at Wyandotte, Michigan) on the bottom with a list of about one foot. The bottom plating was damaged and cost $3,460.19 to repair.

Cleveland Tankers’ JUPITER (Hull#227) was christened December 9, 1975, at Jennings, Louisiana, by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

JEAN PARISIEN left Quebec City on her maiden voyage December 9, 1977.

CLIFFS VICTORY ran aground December 9, 1976 near Johnson’s Point in the ice -laden Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River.

The FRANK C. BALL, b.) J.R. SENSIBAR in 1930, c.) CONALLISON in 1981) was launched at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works as (Hull #14) on December 9, 1905.

ARTHUR B. HOMER was towed by the tugs THUNDER CAPE, ELMORE M. MISNER and ATOMIC to Port Colborne, Ontario, December 9, 1986, and was scrapped there the following year.

HILDA MARJANNE was launched December 9, 1943, as a.) GRANDE RONDE (Hull#43) at Portland, Oregon, by Kaiser Co., Inc.

The keel for Hall Corporation of Canada’s SHIERCLIFFE HALL (Hull#248) was laid on December 9, 1949, at Montreal, Quebec by Canadian Vickers Ltd.

On 9 December 1871, CHALLENGE (wooden schooner, 96 foot, 99 tons, built in 1853, at Rochester, New York) missed the piers at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, in heavy weather, stove in some of her planking and sank. She was a particularly sleek craft, actually designed as a yacht and once owned by the U.S. Light House Service as a supply vessel.

On 9 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that "the old railroad ferry steamer UNION at Detroit is having machinery taken out and preparing to go into permanent retirement, or perhaps to serve as a floating dining room for railroad passengers."

1910: JOHN SHARPLES of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co., stranded on Galops Island in the St. Lawrence due to low visibility. The vessel was holed fore and aft and not released until April 1911 with the help of the tug HECLA.

1943: SARNIAN, the first member of what became the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet, stranded on Pointe Isabelle Reef, Lake Superior, while downbound with 162,489 bushels of barley. The vessel was not refloated until July 24, 1944, and never sailed again.

1956: FORT HENRY, a package freighter for Canada Steamship Lines, hit Canoe Rocks approaching the Canadian Lakehead, cutting open the hull. It reached the dock safely, quickly unloaded, and went to the Port Arthur shipyard for repairs.

1968: NORTH CAROLINA lost power and sank in Lake Erie five miles west of Fairport, Ohio, in rough weather. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the three-member crew. The hull went down in about 30 feet of water and is a popular dive attraction.

1980: The salt-laden KINGDOC (ii) was released by the tugs POINT VALIANT and IRVING BIRCH after an earlier grounding at Pugwash, NS

1983: The saltwater ship d) IAPETOS was struck by Iraqi gunners in the Khor Musa Channel about 30-40 miles from Bandar Khomeini, Iran. It was abandoned and struck again by a missile and bombs on March 29, 1984. The vessel began Seaway service as a) JAROSA in 1965 and returned as b) IVORY STAR in 1973 and c) TURICUM in 1975. It was refloated about 1984 and scrapped at Sitalpur, Bangladesh.

2001: The former HAND LOONG, a Seaway trader beginning in 1977, sank as b) UNA in the Black Sea off Sinop, Turkey, enroute from Algeria to Romania with 11,000 tons of iron ore. Seventeen sailors were rescued but one was missing and presumed lost.

2003: STELLAMARE capsized on the Hudson River at Albany, N.Y., while loading turbines. The cargo shifted and three members of the crew were lost. The ship was righted, refloated and repaired as c) NANDALINA S. It was broken up for scrap at Aliaga, Turkey, as d) DOUAA A. in 2011. This heavy-lift freighter first came through the Seaway in 1989 and returned inland from time to time.

2011: VSL CENTURION lost its stern anchor while downbound in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne. Shipping was held up until it was found. The ship first visited the Seaway as a) SAGITARRIUS in 1990 and became d) PHOENIX SUN in 2012.

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


Port Reports -  December 8

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
American Integrity departed Duluth from Midwest Energy at 11:20 on Wednesday. Volgaborg arrived from anchor at 16:37 and docked at Riverland Ag to load grain. Redhead left the CHS 1 dock and departed with grain later Wednesday evening. Yulia remained at Port Terminal unloading. In Superior, Burns Harbor departed with ore at 11:35, and Stewart J. Cort arrived at 12:40 to load.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Drawsko was among vessels loading Wednesday. Orsula and Federal Mackinac were at anchor.

Keweenaw Peninsula
H. Lee White was anchored for weather Wednesday night on the southern end of the peninsula. Frontenac was at anchor in the lee of the northern tip.

St. Marys River
With a gale warning in effect, Pineglen was at anchor in Goulais Bay Wednesday night. Edwin H. Gott was on the hook off Whitefish Point, as was Kaye E. Barker. In the lower river, Anglian Lady and her barge were at anchor in Maud Bay. Herbert C. Jackson was outbound at DeTour at 10 p.m. Wednesday on her unusual trip with ore down the Seaway.

St. Ignace, Mich.
James R. Barker was anchored for weather between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island Wednesday night.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Federal Biscay remained in port Wednesday.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Wilfred Sykes was unloading Wednesday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain was still at the elevator loading grain on Wednesday.

Port Huron, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was upbound Wednesday in the late afternoon on her return trip from Quebec City. She is headed to a Lake Superior port to load, and is scheduled to make another trip down the Seaway.

Toledo, Ohio
The saltwater vessel Rodopi had departed. Manitoulin was still in port taking on grain Wednesday evening.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Heath Wood and barge Kirby 155-01 were at wharf 16 all day Wednesday after inspection. The tow is expected to begin moving early Thursday unless weather is a problem.

Hamilton, Ont.
Federal Hudson, Federal Rhine, Hemgracht, Algoscotia, Florence Spirit, Esta Desgagnes, Federal Nakagawa and Chem Polaris were all at docks Wednesday night.


Corps of Engineers Great Lakes projects address locks, dredging

12/8 - Duluth, Minn. – A busy year of projects on the westernmost Great Lakes saw $60 million poured into 254 construction and dredging contracts, the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported in a news release early this month.

"These projects help the Corps further its mission of providing great engineering services and sustainable solutions to the Great Lakes Region," said Lt. Col. Dennis Sugrue, district engineer, in the news release.

Modernization and maintenance work on and around the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., comprised roughly a third of that dollar figure. The Soo Locks between lakes Superior and Huron comprise a vital link in the nation's manufacturing supply chain.

Among 16 sets of locks on the Great Lakes, the Soo Locks specifically are integral to the nation's steel industry as taconite iron ore mined on the Iron Range is taken by lake freighter from Duluth, Superior, Two Harbors and Silver Bay to the country's steel mills — generally located along the Great Lakes. A 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said that 50 percent of the iron ore used by the country's steel mills is shipped directly through the Poe Lock — one of two working Soo Locks and the only one capable of handling the 1,000-foot lake freighters that typically haul the tons of taconite iron ore pellets.

The Soo Locks are scheduled to close Jan. 15 for the annual offseason, ushering in roughly two months of intense work on the locks.

Dredging, as it always does, also comprised a large part of the Detroit District's budget.

In the Twin Ports, two dredging contracts worth more than $2.6 million were awarded to separate contractors from Ohio and Wisconsin. Together, the ongoing dredging will result in almost 340,000 cubic yards of dredged material being taken out of shipping channels in the bays between Duluth and Superior.

"The dredging work removes the natural siltation that occurs in the 19 miles of authorized channels and can be compared to plowing the snow from city streets," said Jim Sharrow, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's director of port planning and resiliency. "This work keeps the channels open for the waterborne movement of the raw materials so critical to the economy of Northern Minnesota and to industrial economy of North America."

Much of the dredged material that tests as clean is being reused for habitat restoration in two locations within what is an aquatic habitat restoration site in the bay visible from 21st Avenue West.

"The goal of the project is to restore the aquatic habitat within the 350-acre site by placing the dredged materials to create optimal water depth and flow conditions that will help establish diverse aquatic vegetation and healthy benthic organisms," said Nelson French, supervisor for the Lake Superior Unit of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency based in Duluth.

The process will be repeated in other environmental hot spots along the St. Louis River estuary that are outlined in a project called the St. Louis River Remedial Action Plan. French said the project "is making a significant contribution to cleaning up" the estuary and called it a creative use of dredged material. For its creativity — dredged material has rarely been used in this manner before — the restoration project was a recipient of a 2016 Minnesota State Government Innovation Award from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and The Bush Foundation.

Since the first pilot year in 2013, 510,000 cubic yards of navigational dredged materials has been placed at the site off of 21st Avenue West and work is expected to be completed in 2017, said French — with similar habitat restoration projects continuing farther up the river in the years that follow.

The president's budget for fiscal year 2017 (ending in October) includes $67.5 million for the Detroit District but has yet to be approved by the United States Congress.

Duluth News Tribune


Port authority watches over 'Detroit's $300M forgotten economy'

12/8 - Detroit, Mich. – Detroit is home to a port that's tied to some 15,000 jobs and generates nearly $300 million in state and federal taxes as part of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

And yet many are completely unaware of its existence.

To make his point about the Port of Detroit being an afterthought -- if even that -- the head of the authority watching over the $300 million economy likes to use a story of border patrol agents being unaware of its existence.

"There is a crewman who comes into the port (from Canada), and when he gives the customs agent his reason for coming, the agent says: 'There's no port here,'" said John Loftus, executive director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, about general unfamiliarity with the Port of Detroit.

"So, the agent has to call the Coast Guard just to confirm that there is a port here. There is no better way to show the challenge we face than a customs agent not knowing there is a port in Detroit. "

Read more, see photos and a video at this link


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 8

On 08 December 1917, DESMOND (wooden propeller sand-sucker, 149 foot, 456 gross tons, built in 1892, at Port Huron, Michigan) sprang a leak off Michigan City, Indiana, during gale and then capsized within sight of the lighthouse at South Chicago, Illinois. Seven lives were lost. Six others were rescued by the tugs WILLIAM A. FIELD, GARY and NORTH HARBOR.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE (Hull#65) was christened December 8, 1979, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks. Ltd.

JAMES DAVIDSON was laid up for the last time on December 8, 1969, at Toledo, Ohio.

MERLE M. McCURDY collided with U.S. Steel’s PHILIP R. CLARKE opposite Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan on Lake St. Clair, December 8, 1974.

On 8 December 1886, BELLE (2-mast wooden schooner, 61 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1866, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) burned while frozen in at anchor.

On 8 December 1854, WESTMORELAND (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 200 foot, 665 tons, built in 1853, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying supplies for Mackinac Island, including liquor and supposedly $100,000 in gold. She capsized in a storm due to the heavy seas and the weight of the thick ice on her superstructure. She sank in the Manitou Passage in Lake Michigan and dragged one of the loaded lifeboats down with her. 17 lives were lost. There were many attempts to find her and recover her cargo. Some reports indicate the wreck was found in 1874, however it was not discovered until 2010 by Ross Richardson.

1876: IRA CHAFFE was driven ashore in a severe snowstorm near the Chocolay River, Lake Superior, near Munising. All on board were saved and the ship was eventually released.

1909: Fire broke out in the hold of the CLARION off Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie. Six sailors who huddled on the stern were picked up in a daring rescue by the LEONARD C. HANNA the next day. Another 14 were lost when their lifeboat was swept away in the storm and one more perished when he went into the hold to fight the fire.

1909: W.C. RICHARDSON stranded on Waverley Shoal, 2 miles west of Buffalo. A storm had prevented entrance to Buffalo and the ship was riding out the weather on the lake. The hull had to by dynamited as a navigational hazard when salvage efforts failed. Five lives were lost.

1927: ALTADOC (i) stranded on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when the steering failed while upbound, in ballast, for Fort William. The hull could not be salvaged and it was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1927: LAMBTON stranded on Parisienne Shoal, Lake Superior, with the loss of 2 lives. The engine was removed for the FERNIE and the hull salvaged in 1928 for further work as the barge c) SALVUS.

1963: FORT ALBANY sank in the St. Lawrence off Lanorie after a collision with the PROCYON, and five members of the crew were lost. Heavy fog persisted at the time. The hull was refloated in June 1964, taken to Sorel, and scrapped.

1971: HARMATTAN was attacked with missiles and gunfire by Indian Naval units south of Karachi, Pakistan, and heavily damaged. Seven sailors were killed and the ship was abandoned. It arrived at Karachi March 2, 1972, and was scrapped. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971.

1982: The Liberian freighter GENIE came through the Seaway in 1972. It was badly damaged by an explosion and fire on this date while laid up the Seychelles Islands. The hull was taken to Karachi, Pakistan, and scrapped in 1985.

1983: AKTION, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1970, was laid up at Piraeus, Greece, as e) ELISA when fire broke out and the vessel was heavily damaged aft. The hull was towed into Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1984, and broken up for scrap.

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


Unusual Seaway trips continue; Herbert C. Jackson heads for Quebec

12/7 - Herbert C. Jackson was loading Monday night at BNSF in Superior. AIS lists her destination as Quebec. Other American-flagged vessels have made unusual trips to Quebec City with ore this season, including those of the American Steamship Co. and Joseph L. Block.


More tugs for Port City Marine Service

12/7 - Marcon International shipbrokers report that Port City Marine Services of Muskegon, Mich., have purchased two more tugs from McAllister Towing and Transportation of New York.

On December 4, the Katie G. McAllister (a. Hull 671, b. Libby Black) departed New York towing the Colleen McAllister (a. Hull 685, b. Ellena Hicks). Both tugs are products of the Gulfport Shipbuilding Co of Port Arthur, Texas, in 1966 and 1967 respectively, and are powered by 12 cylinder EMDs totaling 4300 bhp.

The tugs were built for Gulf Coast Transit of Tampa, which later became TECO Transit, and were sold to McAllister in 2003. The tugs are equipped with elevated pilothouses and are to be fitted with with Bludworth coupler systems. A sister tug Prentiss Brown (a. Betty Culbreath, b.Michaela McAllister) was acquired by Port City in 2009. The tugs expect to clear the Seaway before it closes for the season.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  December 7

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Buffalo departed Duluth from Midwest Energy at 05:53 on Tuesday. Her fleetmate American Integrity arrived during the evening, also for Midwest Energy. Volgaborg arrived off Duluth and dropped anchor Tuesday evening to wait to load grain at Riverland. Yulia and Redhead were also still in port. Redhead was expected to depart from CHS 1 late Tuesday night. On the south side of the harbor, Herbert C. Jackson departed from Burlington Northern at 05:31 with iron ore pellets, and Burns Harbor arrived at 11:58 to load.

St. Marys River
The MacArthur and Poe locks were shut down Tuesday morning to recover sheet piling out of the river near the end of the West Center Pier. The 100 feet of sheet piling fell in as the wall was being constructed.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
Tug Prentiss Brown and cement barge St. Marys Challenger anchored in Suttons Bay on Tuesday afternoon. A gale watch was posted for northern Lake Michigan to take effect Tuesday night.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain was still at the elevator loading grain on Tuesday. John B. Aird was at the salt dock.

Toledo, Ohio
The saltwater vessel Rodopi was loading grain on Tuesday. Manitoulin was also in port taking on grain.

Oswego, N.Y.
The saltwater ship Qamutik is expected to arrive sometime Wednesday morning.


Ballast water discharge bill removed from finalized NDAA

12/7 - A bill that would have eliminated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels was struck from the finalized 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

A Congressional Research Service report conducted last year stated that the goal of the legislation is to set a single ballast water management standard overseen by the Coast Guard.

However, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway advocacy groups, including Save the River, denounced the legislation, fearing that removal of EPA control over ballast water discharges could cause a wider spread of invasive species. U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik (R-New York) said the Coast Guard was not “equipped” to handle the new discharge standards.

Dubbed the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act,” the nondefense-related bill directs the U.S. Coast Guard to establish new standards for ship discharge of ballast water, which is water carried in vessel ballast tanks to improve stability and discharged at port when cargo is loaded or unloaded.

Under VIDA, ballast water discharges would be exempt from Clean Water Act permits that are renewed every five years, which allows for re-evaluation, water level monitoring and improvements to treatment technology. Additionally, vessels operating in the Great Lakes or other “geographically limited areas,” according to the bill, would be exempt from ballast water treatment requirements.

Ms. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, had been working to remove the bill from the NDAA since May. In the NDAA’s initial development, the bill was added without a roll-call vote. While Ms. Stefanik had put forth an amendment to strike the bill from the NDAA, it was ultimately ruled out of order by the Rules Committee, allowing VIDA to remain until the finalized bill.

Stefanik said the ballast water issue was one she fought for vigorously in the conference committee. “It shows how important it is to have a seat at the table for these issues,” she said. “The St. Lawrence River has an unique role in the health of the Great Lakes.”

With the legislation struck from the NDAA, Save the River Executive Director D. Lee Willbanks said he was happy Stefanik helped see it done. “It was a great local issue, but it was a big, important national issue,” he said. “It shows a nice environmental sensitivity on her part that we appreciate.”

Watertown Daily Times


Updates -  December 7

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 7

On 07 December 1893, the hull of the burned steamer MASCOTTE (steel ferry, 103 foot, 137 gross tons, built in 1885, at Wyandotte, Michigan) was towed from New Baltimore to Detroit by the tug LORMAN for repairs. She was rebuilt and put back in service. She went through nine owners in a career that finally ended with another fire in Chicago in 1934.

In 1990, the ENERCHEM LAKER was sold to Environment Protection Services, Inc., Panama and departed Montreal on December 7, 1990, for off-lakes service with the new name d) RECOVERY VIII. Built for Hall Corp. of Canada as a.) ROCKCLIFFE HALL, converted to a tanker renamed b.) ISLAND TRANSPORT in 1985, and c.) ENERCHEM LAKER in 1986. Renamed e.) MORGAN TRADER in 1993, and currently serves as a bunkering tanker in Suez, Egypt as f.) ANNA II, renamed in 1997.

The LEADALE, a.) JOHN A. KLING sank in the Welland Canal on December 7, 1982, and was declared a constructive total loss.

The GEORGE R. FINK, under tow, arrived at Gandia, Spain prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

W. W. HOLLOWAY was laid up December 7, 1981, for the last time in Toledo’s Frog Pond.

On December 7, 1932, the MARQUIS ROEN caught fire at Meacher's dock at Bay City, and before the fire was brought under control, the cabins and after end were destroyed.

Captain John Roen of the Roen Steamship Co. died on December 7, 1970.

On December 7, 1906, the R. L. IRELAND stranded on Gull Island in the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior. PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR. (Hull#398) was launched December 7, 1912, for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

The steel side-wheel passenger steamer EASTERN STATES (Hull#144) was launched on December 7, 1901, by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company for the Detroit and Buffalo Steamship Company.

The railcar ferry ANN ARBOR NO 2 (Hull#56), was launched on December 7, 1892 at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Ship Building Co. Sold in 1914 and cut down to a barge, renamed b.) WHALE in 1916, abandoned in 1927.

In 1906, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 arrived Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

On 7 December 1894, KEWEENAW (steel steamer, 291 foot, 2511 gross tons, built in 1891, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was seen groping toward the coast of the State of Washington in a severe gale. With distress signals flying, she put back to sea and foundered. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #73) for saltwater service. Built in two pieces, she was towed down the St. Lawrence and reassembled at Montreal.

On 7 December 1866, M. BALLARD (2-mast wooden schooner, 116 foot, 288 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was lost with all hands in a storm on Lake Ontario.

The wooden propeller bulk freighter MORLEY was launched at Marine City on 7 December 1878. She was on the stocks for two years and was built for the Morley Brothers and Hill. She was a double decker with side arches between decks with iron straps. She also had iron trusses running through the center. Her boiler was on the main deck and she had the engine from the tug WM PRINGLE. She had three spars, a centerboard, and could carry 45,000 bushels of grain.

1909: MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO. 2 disappeared with all hands in the overnight hours of December 7-8 while crossing Lake Erie from Conneaut to Port Stanley with 30 loaded railway cars. The hull has never been located.

1912: The whaleback BARGE 134 was operating on the East Coast as b) BANGOR when it stranded and broke up near Hampton Roads, Va. The hull was salvaged by blasting and dredging in 1975.

1917: SIMCOE, of the Canadian Department of Marine & Fisheries, left the Great Lakes earlier in the fall for new work on the Bay of Fundy. It sent out an S.O.S. that it was sinking in heavy seas and the ship was never seen again. The only trace was a lifering that came ashore at Sable Island. There were 44 on board.

1927: KAMLOOPS, inbound for the Canadian Lakehead, disappeared with all hands overnight December 6-7. The hull was finally found by divers off 12 O'Clock Point, Isle Royale, in 1977.

1927: AGAWA stranded on Advance Reef, Georgian Bay along the south shore of Manitoulin Island. It spent the winter aground and was not released until Nay 16, 1928. The hull had been declared a total loss but was rebuilt at Collingwood as the ROBERT P. DURHAM and then later sailed as c) HERON BAY (i).

1927: The first MARTIAN went aground off Hare Island, Lake Superior and was not released until December 14.

1929: ULVA sank in the ice at Port Colborne but was raised, refitted and returned to service in 1930. The British built freighter operated between Maritime Canada and the Great Lakes until about 1939. It was torpedoed and sunk by U-60 northwest of Ireland on September 3, 1940.

1941: The tanker MAKAWELI was reported to be anchored at Pearl Harbor during the infamous Japanese attack and damaged. The ship was built at Ashtabula as COWEE in 1919 and returned to the Great Lakes for Lakeland Tankers in 1946.

1967: FIR HILL, a Seaway trader in 1961, went aground off Yasuoka, Japan, as d) UNIVERSAL CRUSADER. It was lightered and released but sold for scrap and broken up at Hirao, Japan, in 1968. 1969: The bulk carrier PETITE HERMINE and TEXACO CHIEF (ii) collided in fog near Prescott and both ships had slight damage. The former became c) CANADIAN HUNTER while the latter last operated on the lakes as c) ALGONOVA (i).

1976: The Liberian flag bulk carrier UNIMAR grounded leaving Thunder Bay with a cargo of grain and was not released until December 15.

1976: HARRY L. ALLEN of the Kinsman fleet went aground in Lake St. Clair, near St. Clair, Mich., and was held fast in the ice before being freed by tugs.

1982: LEADALE (ii) finished unloading salt at Thorold and backed into a concrete dolphin while departing the dock. A hole was punched in the hull and the ship sank while trying to get back to the dock. LEADALE was refloated December 19, towed to Port Colborne and scrapped by Marine Salvage in 1983. 1983: UNISOL had been docked at Chandler, Que., to load newsprint but left to ride out an approaching storm after being pounded against the dock. The ship ran aground while outbound and the crew was saved by a Canadian Forces helicopter. The vessel, noted as the first Peruvian flag freighter to transit the Seaway earlier that year, broke up in the storm.

1983: The Norwegian freighter WOODVILLE began visiting the Great Lakes in 1962. It ran aground near Palau Mungging, Malaysia, enroute from Bangkok, Thailand, to Malacca, Malaysia, as d) PETER RICH and was abandoned as a total loss.

1989: CAPITAINE TORRES, enroute from the Great Lakes, got caught in a vicious storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence on December 7-8 after the cargo shifted. All 23 on board were lost when the ship went down.

2005: ZIEMIA LODZKA collided with and sank the VERTIGO in shallow water in the Great Belt off Denmark. All were saved. The former began Great Lake trading in 1992.

2010: The passenger ship CLELIA II, a Great Lakes visitor in 2009, was hit by a monstrous wave in the Antarctic Ocean smashing the pilothouse window and damaging electronic equipment. The vessel made Ushusia, Argentina, safely and only one member of the crew had a minor injury.

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


Huron Spirit' newest craft on Lake St. Clair and Great Lakes

12/6 - Port Huron, Mich. – The last time a captain and crew from the Lakes Pilots Association got a whiff of new-boat-smell was in 1979 when they stepped into the cabin of the Huron Belle upon its launch.

Captain George Haynes, fellow pilot Steve Habermehl, deckhand Eric Gallagher, all of Port Huron, and deckhand Trevor Schick, of Memphis in northern Macomb County, got plenty of nose-fulls of that intoxicating scent on their 11-day delivery of the LPA’s new 53-foot pilot boat from Somerset, Massachusetts to its home port of Port Huron. The Gladding-Hearns Shipyard launched the Huron Spirit on Nov. 9, following a nine month build-out.

By law, a U.S. or Canadian pilot must be aboard foreign-flagged freighters of more than 300 tons on their entire journeys through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes. The LPA’s 14 pilots are co-owners of the firm’s three boats, which ferry the pilots to and from moving freighters. The pilots climb and descend rope ladders hanging down the 30-foot cliff-like hulls of freighters moving at five-10 knots.

The LPA, along with its Canadian counterpart, provides pilotage service on all foreign vessels from Port Huron to Buffalo and all the ports of Lake Erie, which together comprise District 2 of three districts.

Haynes pushed the shipyard to get the $1.6-million, Chesapeake class pilot boat completed so he and the crew could get through the Erie Canal -- and its 35 locks between Albany to Lake Erie -- before it closed for the season on Nov. 20.

“We departed the shipyard at 9 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13 and bucked steady 25-30 knot westerly winds all day from Narragansett Bay across Long Island Sound,” said Haynes. They spent the night in Jersey City in full view of Manhattan’s dazzling skyline.

“It took three days to transit the Erie Canal and reach Oswego, New York,” said Haynes.

Part of the function of the delivery was to find out what needed fixing. “With a new boat, you never know what will break,” said Haynes.

So far, they’d been lucky. “Our coffee pot broke,” said Haynes. “But that wasn’t the shipyard’s fault.”

Lake Erie, with its 240 mile length and west-to-east orientation, can be hell in November. “With gales posted on Lake Erie, the Huron Spirit found shelter at a yacht club in Erie, Pennsylvania,” said Haynes.

They were socked-in for three days. In an effort to get his crew home for Thanksgiving, Haynes departed Erie early on Nov. 22 in five to seven foots seas. No big deal: The boat is designed for open water and making safe pilot exchanges in heavy weather, said Haynes.

The crew welcomed this reporter aboard the Huron Spirit in front of the Portofino Restaurant in Wyandotte at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 23 for the last day of the journey to Port Huron.

In a light but steady rain, the boat motored up the Detroit river past the Grosse Ile, Grassy Island and the freighter Saginaw, a 700 footer. The water temperature was 43.56 degrees F. The twin 600-horse power Cummins diesels allowed Haynes to cruise at 21.8 knots, comfortably under its max of 26. As the craft shot past the apocalyptic outline of Zug Island, a flock of two-dozen swans took off and zigzagged their way upstream.

At the base of the Ambassador Bridge, Haynes stopped a J. W. Westcott Co. -- the famous floating post office that delivers “mail by the pail” to passing freighters -- to show off the new boat to a handful of pilots aboard the Huron Maid.

The mansions of Grosse Pointe’s gold coast popped into view and disappeared into the heart of a Lake St. Clair devoid of boats. Navigation buoys became the only sign of humanity until Harsens Island took shape on the murky horizon. The boat barreled past the Old Club and the Idle Hour before putting in for supplies at Sans Souci.

The Huron Spirit cut between passing freighters at the St. Clair Power Plant. The Marysville shoreline looked foreign without the Edison Plant.

Haynes executed a double pirouette in front of a handful of boatnerds at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point. A group of family and friends cheered as Haynes looped the new boat into its permanent well on the Black River next to the Huron Belle, which will move to Detroit. Everybody hugged and shook hands before drifting in different directions into the sleeting twilight.

It was 4:22 p.m. and the Huron Spirit was home for Thanksgiving.

Macomb Daily


Port Reports -  December 6

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
American Century departed Duluth from Midwest Energy at 05:17 on Monday. Herbert C. Jackson arrived at 13:45, and docked at Calumet to fuel before loading in Superior. American Spirit departed with iron ore from CN at 16:22. Later in the evening, Sunda departed from Riverland Ag with wheat, and Buffalo arrived to load coal at Midwest Energy. Redhead continued loading grain at CHS 1, and Yulia remained at Port Terminal. In Superior, James R. Barker arrived at 09:00 to load at Burlington Northern. She departed late Monday evening, and Herbert C. Jackson took the dock soon after to load.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Oakglen, Federal Oshima, Brant and Algoma Harvester departed Monday afternoon. Federal Mackinac was loading. Kaministiqua was inbound in the mid-evening. Orsula was at anchor.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
On Monday, the Joyce L Vanekevort/Great Lakes Trader arrived at CN to load ore. Wilfred Sykes also arrived just before midnight, waiting for the Joyce and Trader to depart.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Federal Biscay was in port Monday night.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Mediwe was still in port on Monday.

Gary, Ind.
Roger Bough was unloading Monday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain was still at the elevator loading grain on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio
The saltwater vessel Rodopi was loading at Anderson's K elevator on Monday. Manitoulin and CSL Niagara were also in port.

Hamilton, Ont.
Hemgracht, Florence Spirit, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Hudson and Federal Columbia were at docks Monday evening. Federal Rhine, Eider and Ardita were at anchor. Algorail was due after dark.


New cruise line aims to start St. Lawrence service in 2018

12/6 - A new cruise line, Croisières M/S Jacques-Cartier Inc., has announced its intentions to start service on the St. Lawrence river in summer 2018 with the M/S Jacques Cartier. The cruise line is promising so-called “active cruises” (Croisières Actives) on its niche Quebec-flagged vessel.

Passengers will get action-packed adventures, according to a press release, including kayaking, geocaching, zodiac excursions and more. Cruises will range from five to 10 days in length, and the public can even vote on 2018 deployment online, including homeports and transit ports.

The M/S Jacques-Cartier has a service history as a tour boat for the last 40 years, and is currently being overhauled into a 66-passenger cruise ship. The vessel will have an observation room, a health and well-being zone, spa, a sauna and a launching area for the zodiacs.

“The M/S Jacques-Cartier will be an environment-friendly expedition ship,” said the company, in a prepared release.

It’s a family business, as President Michel Harvey a fourth-generation ship owner and certified captain and engineer. His wife, Maryse Camirand, holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is also a certified captain, and is also involved with the start-up operation.

Cruise Industry News


Duluth's ship canal lighthouses dubbed historic by National Register

12/6 - Duluth, Minn. – Two of Duluth’s signature lighthouses have been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the latest landmarks to join city staples such as the Aerial Lift Bridge, Armory and Union Depot in earning the distinction.

The Duluth Harbor North Pier Light and the Duluth Entry South Breakwater Outer Light — beacons that illuminate either side of Duluth Harbor’s ship canal — were added to the registry in June.

The North Pier Light, built in 1910, can shine up to 16 miles and is still used for navigation. The black and white structure is 37 feet tall and accessible on foot via the ship canal’s north pier. Few changes were made to the lighthouse in the last century outside of routine maintenance, including repainting to limit corrosion.

“[North Pier Light] evokes feelings that recall the dedication to duty characteristic of lighthouse keepers throughout the course of United States history ... and serves as a lasting reminder of the importance of maritime commerce in Great Lakes history,” according to the U.S. Coast Guard application for the National Register listing.

“It embodies and exemplifies distinctive aspects of architectural design and engineering that were characteristic of early twentieth century lighthouses built on piers and breakwaters in the Great Lakes.”

South Breakwater Outer Light, the third lighthouse to stand at the end of the pier, can cast its green light up to 17 miles. The beacon, constructed in 1901, is connected to the red-roofed fog signal building.

“It is widely recognized as a prominent landmark in St. Louis County,” according to its application.

The lighthouses, which work together to mark a range for vessels entering the canal from Lake Superior, had their beams replaced with LED lights in 2014.

In 2000, Congress established a lighthouse preservation program that allowed federal agencies, local governments and nonprofits to obtain historic lighthouses at no cost if they agree to preserve the light’s historic features and make them accessible to the public.

A spot on the National Register allows the U.S. Coast Guard to donate or sell the structures, potentially transferring the high administrative costs of maintenance to another owner.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  December 6

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 6

On 06 December 1886, C. McElroy purchased the steamer CHARLIE LIKEN for use as a ferry at St. Clair, Michigan to replace the burned CLARA.

In 1988, Canada Steamship Lines’ HON. PAUL MARTIN was renamed b.) ATLANTIC ERIE.

American Steamship Co.’s H. LEE WHITE (Hull#711) was launched December 6, 1973, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co.

CONSUMERS POWER was laid up for the last time at Erie, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1985.

On December 6, 1988, an arsonist set fire to the after end of FORT CHAMBLY while she was laid up at Ojibway Slip in Windsor, Ontario.

GOLDEN HIND was launched at Collingwood, Ontario on December 6, 1951, as the tanker a.) IMPERIAL WOODBEND (Hull#147).

N.M. Paterson & Sons LAWRENDOC (Hull#174) was launched December 6, 1961, at the Collingwood Shipyards.

On 6 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that the Port Huron Dry Dock Co. had been declared bankrupt and Mr. John Johnston had been appointed assignee of the company by the U.S. District Court.

OCONTO grounded near Charity Island in Saginaw Bay on 6 December 1885. The passengers and crew were saved. She was built at Manitowoc in 1872, by Rand & Co. and owned by Capt. Gregory W. McGregor and Rensselaer VanSycle. She was later recovered but only lasted until July 1886, when she went down in the St. Lawrence River with a valuable cargo of merchandise. Although several attempts were made to recover her, she remains on the bottom and is a frequent charter dive target to this day.

1906: MONARCH, carrying a cargo of bagged flour, struck Blake Point, Isle Royale and broke in two. The stern sank in deep water and the survivors huddled on shore. They were spotted the next day by the passing steamer EDMONTON who had help sent out from Port Arthur. Only one life was lost.

1906: R.L. IRELAND went aground off the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, while loaded with coal. Some of the crew rowed a lifeboat to Bayfield for help. The vessel was salvaged and last sailed as c) ONTADOC (i)in 1970.

1909: BADGER STATE caught fire at Marine City, drifted downstream and stranded off Fawn Island. The hull burned to the waterline. 1910: DUNELM went aground on Isle Royale while downbound with grain for Montreal. It was salvaged on December 21 and taken to Port Arthur for repairs.

1917: TUSCARORA, recently cut in two, towed through the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals, and rejoined at Montreal, sank with the loss of all hands off Cape Breton Island on the delivery voyage to the East Coast.

1924: MIDLAND PRINCE was swept onto a reef while under tow in the outer harbor at Port Colborne and sank the tugs JOSEPH H. and HOME RULE in the process. The laker was released the next day but the tugs were a total loss.

1961: The listing freighter MARIANGELA B. was abandoned on the Mediterranean south of Formentera, Spain, after the cargo of zinc shifted in a storm. The vessel was towed to Cartagena, Spain, on December 8 but soon sold to Italian shipbreakers for dismantling at La Spezia in 1962. The vessel had been built at Sturgeon Bay as LABAN HOWES in 1943.

1977: The passenger ship ROYAL CLIPPER caught fire in the engine room at Montreal. After five hours, the ship rolled on its side and sank. It was salvaged in 1982, towed to Port Maitland, and scrapped during 1984-1986.

1992: WILLIAM R. ROESCH was inbound at Holland, Mich., with a cargo of slag when it went aground. The ship was stuck for two hours.

2001: NANCY MELISSA visited the Great Lakes in 1980. It began taking water as e) EMRE BAY in the Ionian Sea and the crew abandoned the ship. The grain laden vessel was taken in tow to safety but was later sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as f) RESBE on April 9, 2003.

2002: SAGINAW sustained rudder damage while backing away at Thorold and had to go to Hamilton for repairs.

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


Thalassa Desgagnes retired, for sale

12/5 - Reports from Montreal indicate the asphalt / bitumen tanker Thalassa Desgagnes has been retired by Groupe Desgagnes and is being offered for sale. The price is $1.4 million (US). She was built in 1976 in Norway.

On July 3, 2015, Groupe Desgagnes announced they would be replacing the Thalassa Desgagnes with a new vessel, powered by less polluting, natural gas fired engines. Damia Desgagnes, was launched this past June.


Fuel crunch means icebreaking in Green Bay all winter

12/5 - Green Bay, Wis. – A broken gasoline pipeline could cut into on-ice recreational options in the bay of Green Bay this winter.

U.S. Venture Inc. has asked the U.S. Coast Guard to keep a 75- to 125-foot-wide navigable channel open from Lake Michigan to the Port of Green Bay through the end of January to ensure that the Kimberly-based company can continue to deliver gasoline and other petroleum products to the region.

The continued closure of the West Shore Pipe Line, which supplied gasoline to northeastern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan from Milwaukee, means U.S. Venture needs a channel to ensure ship access to its Green Bay terminal.

“We have a pipeline that’s closed and there’s a need to get petroleum products into Northeast Wisconsin,” Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Director Dean Haen said. “U.S. Venture is interested in bringing in that product and it’s cheaper to do so by water than truck.”

U.S. Venture officials were not available for comment.

Normally, Haen and the port staff would be wrapping up the 2016 season about now. Instead, Haen is preparing for an extended season and prepping a public outreach campaign to warn people about the change in conditions this season.

“That’s probably the biggest challenge — educating the public. The bay, in recent memory, hasn’t really been open in the winter, so snowmobilers and ice fishermen use the bay,” he said. “There may be snowmobilers who cross the bay, so we need to educate them that there will be a loose swath of ice.”

Brown County Snowmobile Alliance President Mike Tilleman said the 10 clubs that form the alliance likely will discuss the issue with club leaders when they meet later this month.

Tilleman said he expects Coast Guard operations will impact only a handful of snowmobilers in the area.

“Not many people go across the bay because there’s still some unsafe spots,” Tilleman said. “A lot of people will ride to Door County on the edges of the bay. As far as the impact, it won’t affect a majority of snowmobilers, but it will affect some.”

Haen said he plans to contact bars, restaurants, fishing guides, bait shops, snowmobile clubs, tavern leagues and other venues to let them know about the change and to pass the information along to others.

In addition to Green Bay, the U.S. Coast Guard will keep channels open to Sturgeon Bay, Marinette and Escanaba, Mich.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Alexander Henry may be on its way home to Thunder Bay

12/5 - Kingston, Ont. – The decommissioned icebreaker Alexander Henry, for three decades a fixture on Kingston’s waterfront, may be going home next summer. City councillors on Tuesday will be asked to consider contributing $50,000 as part of the cost to tow the ship to Thunder Bay - where it was built in 1959.

The Henry would be part of a proposed new museum in that city.

“It was built at the Port Arthur shipyards. Every spring it was the ship that broke the ice and opened the shipping season in Thunder Bay,” said Charlie Brown, chairman of the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society. “It’s had a good home in Kingston. It would be a shame to see it sunk or scrapped.”

The ship is currently tied up at a salvage company dock near Picton awaiting its fate – either being cut up for scrap or sunk as an artificial dive reef. It had spent 30 years in the historic drydock beside the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston as a tourism attraction, used for guided tours and as a bed and breakfast.

The marine museum property was sold by the federal government to developer Jay Patry earlier this year and he gave the museum its eviction notice for the end of August. Shortly afterward, the Henry was towed from Kingston to Picton.

Meantime, Brown and his group in Thunder Bay had been looking to establish a transportation museum. When they heard about the Alexander Henry’s precarious situation they decided to pull together government funding and conduct a local fundraising campaign to raise the estimated $250,000 to have the ship hauled to Thunder Bay where it will once again serve as a B&B.

Kingston city staff is pitching the Thunder Bay alternative, at $50,000, as the best and least expensive option for the ship. It would cost $422,000 plus additional expenses to prepare it as an artificial reef. Or $326,000 to have it disposed of – the city and the museum each paying $163,000.

Brown said the museum society’s goal is to build a museum that will highlight Thunder Bay’s history as a transportation hub.

“What we said to the Kingston marine museum was could we be a third option,” said Brown. “We see it as an opportunity to not only use the icebreaker as the [Kingston] museum has done but we see it as a revenue source.” Brown recalled that there had been a local effort in 1984 to keep the Henry in Thunder Bay but Kingston won out.

Many residents still hold fond memories of its spring appearances on Lake Superior.

The motion before Kingston city council is seen as the initial step toward making the Thunder Bay museum project possible. “From Kingston city council’s point we have to be made the third option for the ship. If it goes well Tuesday that’s the first obstacle,” said Brown.

He hopes to appear before Thunder Bay council in the next few weeks to request city funding as well as docking space. “Things are starting to fall into place quite well,” said Brown.

No one from the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was available for comment on Friday. In the same report and motion this Tuesday, councillors will be asked to approve $40,700 to help the museum pay off property taxes it owes from 2016.

The museum remained at its Ontario Street location after it was purchased by Patry from the federal government in January. At that point, the building lost its tax-exempt status. Staff is recommending the city cover the payment.



Port Reports -  December 5

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
A recap of the last few vessels to load for the 2016 season includes Wilfred Sykes, which arrived November 30 in the morning. They were followed the same day by the Frontenac. The last ship to load at Cedarville for the 2016 shipping season was the Philip R. Clarke on December 1 in the late afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Denny Dushane
The Interlake Steamship Co.’s 1,000-footer Mesabi Miner arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for winter lay-up on Sunday morning. It is believed the ship will be receiving new gas exhaust scrubbers similar to what her sistership James R. Barker received last winter and also to what the Hon. James L. Oberstar received during the winter lay-up of 2014-15. Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Bayship Sunday for unknown reasons.

Muskegon, Mich.
The tug Katie G. McAllister, towing the tug Colleen McAllister, departed Staten Island, N.Y., Sunday morning headed for their new homeport of Muskegon. They have been purchased by Port City Marine Service.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Mediwe was in port on Sunday.

S. Chicago, Ill.
The Kirby tug Health Wood and her tank barge departed sometime Sunday and by mid-evening were abeam of Milwaukee, headed up the lake. No destination was shown on AIS.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
A recap of vessels loading at Stoneport the past few days includes the barge Ashtabula / tug Defiance, which loaded Wednesday, November 30, followed by the Joseph H. Thompson. Kaye E. Barker arrived Friday in the early morning. They were still loading on Saturday and were expected to leave around 6 p.m. The barge Pathfinder / tug Dorothy Ann were expected Friday in the early morning to load. On Sunday, Great Republic was loading, and was expected to depart around 10 a.m. Also due Sunday was the Joseph H. Thompson in the early afternoon, followed by the Cason J. Callaway in the evening. Two vessels are due Monday, with Manitowoc arriving in the early morning, followed by Kaye E. Barker later in the morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The last two vessels for the 2016 shipping season loaded on Saturday. Manitowoc arrived early in the morning to load at both South and North docks and departed in the late afternoon. The last vessel to load was expected to be the H. Lee White, was due Saturday in the early afternoon for the North Dock.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain arrived Saturday to load grain and was still in port Sunday. Algoway arrived to load salt.

Saginaw River – Gordy Garris
Manitowoc arrived for the second time in as many days on Sunday with a split load for the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City and the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. Manitowoc finished unloading in Saginaw, turned around in the Sixth Street basin and was back outbound for the lake around 7 p.m. Sunday night. The H. Lee White was also inbound on Sunday, arriving to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City at 6:30 p.m. H. Lee White is expected to be back outbound for the lake early Monday morning.

Toledo, Ohio
The saltwater vessel Rodopi was loading at Anderson's K elevator on Sunday. Ashtabula/Defiance were also in port

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Calusa Coast - Delaware arrived Sunday at 11 a.m. for the Noco pier in Tonawanda.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement on Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont.
Shoveler, Hemgracht, Garganey, Federal Nakagawa and Federal Columbia were at docks Sunday evening. Federal Hudson, Federal Rhine and Ardita were at anchor.


Laid off for 18 months, Iron Range mine workers prepare for uncertain future

12/5 - Longtime mineworkers on the Iron Range often say they're used to the ups and downs, the booms and the busts of the notoriously cyclical mining industry. "I've been laid off seven times from Keetac in 17 years," said Tony Drazenovich, 47, of Grand Rapids. "That's a lot of layoffs."

But most of those layoffs from the taconite iron ore mining and processing facility in Keewatin were short, he said. And that's what he anticipated for this one, too, when he was laid off in May of last year.

"Everybody at that time was thinking it was just going to be a little blip," Drazenovich said.

But the layoff has dragged on, month after month, for about 200 workers at Keetac. Another 400 workers on the Range also still are out of work because of closures at smaller iron ore facilities, part of a wave of shutdowns that hit the Iron Range over the past two years during a major downturn in the global steel industry.

"I've heard stories of members just dropping off their house keys at the bank, and basically jumping in their cars and heading out," said Cliff Tobey, president of Steelworkers Local 2660 in Keewatin. "Some of them I think may come back if things turn around, but I think some of them have made the decision that they're out of here."

Dozens of laid-off mine workers, including Drazenovich, have made a different decision. They've gone back to school, through a federal program known as TAA, or trade adjustment assistance, which pays to retrain workers who lost their jobs because of global trade.

Many are enrolled at Hibbing Community College in the Industrial Systems Technology program. It teaches welding, electrical and other skills to prepare students for work in a wide variety of manufacturing plants.

"When we graduate we'll have another set of skills," said David Meyer, who also was laid off from Keewatin Taconite. "Dedicated employees that want to get a paycheck for their work. "

For many of these workers, it's been 20 years or longer since they've been in school. Meyer helps tutor many of them. Some, he said, need basic help operating computers.

"It's been a struggle, I won't lie," said Kevin Maxie, 51, who lost his job at Mining Resources near Chisholm. "I do a lot of homework, I spend a lot of time looking at books, keep up with it as best you can."

Maxie is taking physics for the first time. He sometimes studies with his high-school-aged daughter.

"I've had to actually ask her help for algebra, because she's right about at the same point I'm at," he said. She'll say " 'really, Dad? That's easy.' I'm like, 'not for me it's not.' "

Maxie has stuck it out, and plans to graduate in May. Like most of the other students, he hopes to return to a good paying mining jobs.

But Meyer said most are thinking of a Plan B. "They want this training so that if the mine doesn't open up, they can go relocate. Because it really worries them about how non-dependable the feeling is in the industry."

U.S. Steel has given no indication of when, or even if it plans to reopen Keetac. The company initially idled the plant because of low steel prices and a high level of steel imports, including foreign steel that was later proven to be illegally dumped in the U.S.

In a statement the company said those factors continue to have an impact.

"If I was a Keetac worker, I'd be making plans for a long shutdown," said College of St. Scholastica economist Tony Barrett. "The pattern of these cycles is the steel industry generally does not come back to where it was at the beginning of the downturn."

Despite several trade rulings that slapped new tariffs on imported steel, Barrett said, demand just hasn't rebounded enough for U.S. Steel to reopen KeeTac.

U.S. Steel also has slashed its steel production to cut costs, said industry analyst Andrew Lane with Morningstar in Chicago. The company has shut down a huge steel mill in Granite City, Ill., outside St. Louis. That means the company needs fewer iron ore pellets from Minnesota.

"For management to reopen some of its steelmaking capacity and mining capacity," said Lane, "they'd have to buy into the notion that higher steel demand is here to stay, for an extended period of time."

Some believe a Trump administration will help, if it follows through on campaign promises to impose additional tariffs on imported steel and boost infrastructure spending. U.S. Steel's stock price has jumped more than 50 percent since the election.

Minnesota Public Radio News


Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway Connections Reported as a Casualty or Demolition

12/5 - The following information taken from December 2016 Marine News - journal of the World Ship Society

Casualties: none to report

Federal Kasser (8321929; Belize) ex Federal Polaris-14 (1st trip into the Seaway 1985); 17,185/1985 bulk carrier. By Old Stone Shipping Ltd. (Old Stone Ship Management Ltd.) Belize to Indian shipbreakers and arrived at Alang 28/06/16 - commenced demolition 03/07/2016

Mallia (8307662; Sierra Leone) ex Cleanthes-14, Olympic Miracle-11 (1st trip into the Seaway 1986); 17,879/1984 bulk carrier. By Sung Shipping Ltd. (T Fleet Management Ltd.) Marshall Islands, to International Steel Corp. India and arrived Alang 23/06/2016 - commenced demolition 26/06/2016

Vanguard (8616136; Sierra Leone) ex Aristoklis K-16, Alara-95, Lex Nogal-94, Penalara-89 (1st trip into the Seaway 1986); 6,483/1985 general cargo. By Bruiser Shipping Co. (Ruad Marine Services Srl) Liberia to Ship Trade Corp. India and arrived Alang 19/07/2016 - commenced demolition 29/07/2016

Compiled by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 5

In 1927, ALTADOC crashed on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when her steering gear parted during a Lake Superior storm. The machinery and pilothouse of the wreck were recovered in 1928. The pilothouse was eventually refurbished in 1942 and opened as the Worlds Smallest Hotel in Copper Harbor, Michigan. The owners resided in the captains’ quarters, a gift shop was set up in the chart room, a guest lounge was set up in the wheelhouse, and there were two rooms for guests.

On 05 December 1897, the GEORGE W. MORLEY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 193 foot, 1045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was sailing light from Milwaukee to Chicago when a fire started near her propeller shaft. It blazed up too quickly for the engineer to put it out and before he could get the fire pump started, the flames drove on deck. The firemen were kept at their posts as the vessel was steered to shore. She sank 100 yards off Greenwood Avenue, Evanston, Illinois. Luckily no lives were lost. The vessel’s engine was recovered in October 1898.

Tanker SATURN (Hull#218) was launched in 1973, for Cleveland Tankers at Jennings, Louisiana, by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

SIR JAMES DUNN (Hull#109) was launched in 1951, for Canada Steamship Lines at Port Arthur, Ontario, by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

The keel was laid for the E.G. GRACE on December 5, 1942. This was the last of the six ships built by AmShip in the L6-S-A1 class for the United States Maritime Commission and was traded to the Interlake Steamship Company in exchange for older tonnage. She would later become the first of the "Maritime Class" vessels to go for scrap in 1984.

On 5 December 1874, the steam barge MILAN was scheduled to be hauled ashore at Port Huron to replace her "Mississippi wheel" with a propeller.

The wooden 100-foot schooner BRILLIANT was close to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on 5 December 1857, where she was scheduled to pick up a load of lumber when she went on a reef close to shore and sank. No lives were lost.

1909: HENRY STEINBRENNER (i) sank in a snowstorm on Mud Lake following a collision with the HARRY A. BERWIND. The superstructure remained above water and the ship was later refloated and repaired.

1927: The wooden steamer ADVANCE went aground off Manitoulin Island and two sailors were lost. The ship was salvaged but tied up at Cornwall later in the month and never operated again.

1935: The lumber carrier SWIFT caught fire at Sturgeon Bay and was a total loss. The remains were scrapped in 1936.

1935: The 65-year old wooden tug LUCKNOW burned outside the harbor at Midland and the ship was beached as a total loss.

1952: The wooden tug GARGANTUA departed Collingwood under tow and sought shelter from a storm early the next day behind Cabot Head. The ship was scuttled to avoid the rocky shore with the main part of the hull above water. The intent was to refloat the vessel in 1953 but it was abandoned instead.

1964: FAYETTE BROWN, enroute to Bilbao, Spain, for scrap, broke loose of the tug BARENTSZ ZEE in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and drifted aground on the south shore of Anticosti Island. Salvage efforts were not successful and the remains of the hull, now broken into many pieces, are still there.

1971: VENUS CHALLENGER was sunk by a missile in the India-Pakistan war while 26 miles south of Karachi. The ship broke in two and sank in 8 minutes. All 33 on board were lost. The vessel was completely darkened and going at 16 knots when hit. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971 and as b) PLEIAS in 1968.

1976: TATIANA L. and RALPH MISENER sustained minor damage from a collision in the St. Lawrence. The former was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as c) LUCKY LADY in 2009, while the latter arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) DON in September 2012.

1987: The CASON foundered off Punta Rostro, Spain, enroute from Hamburg to Shanghai, due to heavy weather. There were 8 survivors but another 23 sailors perished. There were explosions and fires in deck containers and the hull broke in two during a salvage effort in May 1988. The ship had come through the Seaway as b) WOLFGANG RUSS in 1978 and FINN LEONHARDT in 1979.

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


Port Reports -  December 4

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departed Duluth from CN at 06:44 on Saturday. There was no traffic again until late Saturday, when Hon. James L. Oberstar and Philip R. Clarke arrived during the evening. The Oberstar brought coal to discharge at C. Reiss, while the Clarke headed to Hallett #5 to discharge stone. Federal Katsura departed shortly afterward with grain from CHS 1. Saturday night, Sunda was loading at Riverland, Yulia was discharging clay at Port Terminal, and Redhead was at anchor offshore.

Two Harbors, Minn.
Indiana Harbor was loading Saturday evening.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Blacky departed in the afternoon. Oakglen was headed in in the evening. Federal Mackinac and Federal Ems were at anchor. Federal Oshima was loading.

Port Inland, Mich.
Mississagi was loading stone Saturday evening.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Burns Harbor, Anglian Lady and barge, and Federal Biscay were at docks Saturday evening. Stewart J. Cort was headed in.

S. Chicago, Ill.
The Kirby tug Health Wood and her tank barge were still in port on Saturday.

Goderich, Ont.
Federal Champlain arrived Saturday to load grain.

Toledo, Ohio
The saltwater vessel Rodopi was loading at Anderson's K elevator on Saturday. Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in the afternoon. Baie St. Paul, Ashtabula/Defiance were also in port. CSL Laurentien departed in the evening.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway came in Saturday at 04:58 and departed at 12:50; she was at dock # 3.

Hamilton, Ont.
Shoveler, Hemgracht, Garganey and Federal Columbia were at docks Saturday evening. Federal Hudson and Ardita were at anchor


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 4

In 1947, EMORY L. FORD, Captain William J. Lane, departed the Great Northern Elevator in Superior, Wisconsin, with the most valuable cargo of grain shipped on the Great Lakes. The shipment, valued at more than $3 million, consisted of 337,049 bushes of flax valued at $7 a bushel and 140,000 bushels of wheat.

On 04 December 1891, the side-wheel wooden passenger steamer JEANIE, owned by John Craig & Sons, caught fire at the Craig & Sons shipyard in Toledo, Ohio, and burned to the water's edge. She was valued at $25,000 and insured for $10,000.

Algoma Central Marine's ALGOSOO was the last ship built on the Lakes with the traditional fore and aft cabins; her maiden voyage took place today in 1974.

IMPERIAL QUEBEC entered service on December 4, 1957. Renamed b.) SIBYL W. in 1987, and c.) PANAMA TRADER in 1992. Scrapped in Mexico in 1997.

LIGHTSHIP 103 completed her sea trials December 4, 1920.

At 0210 hours on December 4, 1989, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE ran aground in 12 feet of water at a point one-quarter nautical mile off Keweenaw Point. After a struggle to save the ship, the 53 persons aboard abandoned ship at 0830 hours and boarded the Indian salty MANGAL DESAI, which was standing by.

On 4 December 1873, a gale struck Saginaw Bay while the CITY OF DETROIT of 1866 was carrying 8,000 bushels of wheat, package freight and 26 crew and passengers. She was also towing the barge GUIDING STAR. The barge was cut loose in the heavy seas at 3:30 a.m. and about 7 a.m. the CITY OF DETROIT sank. Captain Morris Barrett of the GUIDING STAR saw three of the CITY OF DETROIT's crew in one lifeboat and only one in another lifeboat. The CITY OF DETROIT went down stern first and the passengers and crew were seen grouped together on and about the pilothouse. Capt. Barrett and his crew of seven then abandoned GUIDING STAR. They arrived at Port Elgin, Ontario on 6 December in their yawl with their feet frozen. The barge was later found and towed in by the tug PRINDEVILLE.

On 4 December 1838, THAMES (wooden passenger/package-freight side-wheeler, 80 foot, 160 tons, built in 1833, at Chatham, Ontario) was burned at her dock in Windsor, Ontario by Canadian "patriots" during a raid on Windsor involving more than 500 armed men.

EMERALD ISLE completed her maiden voyage from Beaver Island to Charlevoix on December 4, 1997. Her first cargo included a few cars and 400 passengers. EMERALD ISLE replaced BEAVER ISLANDER as the main ferry on the 32-mile run.

1920: The first RENVOYLE went to saltwater for war service in 1915. It foundered in shallow water on this date in the Bay of Biscay in 1920. Salvage attempts failed. The hull was broken up by the elements and part was scrapped on site.

1951: CAPTAIN C.D. SECORD was disabled and under tow of the SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY when it broke loose in a storm off Isle Royale. The ship was retrieved by U.S.C.G. WOODRUSH and taken to safety and eventually to Port Arthur for repairs.

1966: NAKWA RIVER sustained extensive fire damage at Montreal. The flames broke out while outbound from the Great Lakes.

1986: AMERICAN REPUBLIC was blown on the breakwall at Lorain, Ohio, and received a five-foot gash on the side about 15 feet above the waterline.

1990: IONIA caught fire in the engine room about 90 miles south of Puerto Rico while enroute from Tampa to Chittagong, Bangladesh. The damage was not repaired and the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, as f) ONIA in 1991 and scrapped. The vessel began Seaway service in 1971 as the British flag freighter ZINNIA, returned as b) TIMUR SWIFT in 1983 and as d) ZENOVIA in 1985.

1992: ZEUSPLEIN caught fire in the bridge at Campana, Argentina, and became a total loss. The vessel was sold to shipbreakers in India and arrived for scrapping on June 1, 1993. It had first traveled the Seaway as a) ZEUS in 1972 and had been rebuilt as a container ship in 1983.

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



Port of Indiana marks 200th vessel in 2016

12/3 - The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor joined in the celebration of the state's 200th anniversary Tuesday by honoring the arrival of the shipping season's 200th vessel.

Port director Rick Heimann and Perry Hammock, executive director of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, presented the captain of the ship, the Federal Oshima, with a commemorative Port of Indiana steel stein to mark the milestone.

"In 1816, Indiana's founding fathers saw the potential for a Great Lakes port and extended the boundary line for 10 miles north, giving Indiana 45 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline," Heimann said. "This foresight has given the world direct access to the Midwest by way of the Atlantic Ocean, St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes."

"From steel and grain to wind turbines and coal, shipping is an important part of Indiana's history and her future," said Hammock.

The steins are a tribute to Northwest Indiana's heritage as a major steel-producing region and the Port of Indiana as one of the top steel ports in the country. The port is home to 31 companies, 15 of which are steel-related.

They are only given out in special occasions, according to Ports of Indiana spokesman Rich Allen.

Allen said the public and private docks at the port typically receive more than 200 vessels a year, including ocean-going vessels, lakers and barges.

He said the Federal Oshima has been at the port several times in the past, but this was its first visit this year. The ship is owned and operated by Fednav Limited.

The Federal Oshima picked up steel cargo at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium and stopped in Milwaukee before making its stop in Burns Harbor, Allen said.

He said dock workers would unload more than 12,600 tons of steel before Capt. Pankaj Sah and his 22-member crew from India moved on to Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada, to load potash before returning to Europe.

Chicago Tribune


Port Reports -  December 3

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived Duluth at 03:44 Friday and headed to CN to load iron ore pellets. Federal Katsura came in at 12:30 to load grain at CHS 1. Edgar B. Speer departed from Port Terminal during the evening and anchored off Duluth, with a posted destination of Two Harbors. Yulia continued discharging at Port Terminal. Labrador was expected to depart from Riverland Ag late Friday, and Sunda was tentatively expected to arrive from anchor to load.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Indiana Harbor unloaded coal at the Upper Harbor on Friday. The visit was her first since the early 1990s.

St. Marys River
Oakglen was upbound at the locks Friday evening on a rare trip to the upper lakes. She was headed to Thunder Bay for grain, as was the Federal Mackinac, which was ahead of her. Mississagi was upbound for Essar in the evening. Cason J. Callaway, Stewart J. Cort, Ojibway and Algoma Equinox were downbound during the late afternoon and evening.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
On Friday, the Joyce L. Vankevort/Great Lakes Trader arrived at CN took load ore.

Toledo, Ohio
Algoma Transport departed with grain in the morning Friday. The saltwater vessel Rodopi arrived to load at Anderson's K elevator.


Help wanted: Lakes Pilots Association seeking new pilots

12/3 - Lakes Pilots Association, based in Port Huron, Mich., is seeking applications from those interested in employment as a U.S. registered pilot on foreign vessels in District 2 of the Great Lakes. Lakes pilots provide pilotage service in all the waters and ports from Port Huron, Mich., to Buffalo, N.Y., excluding the Welland Canal. Applicants must hold a U.S. master, mate or pilot license with at least 24 months licensed service or comparable experience on vessels or integrated tugs and tows, of 4,000 gross tons, or over, operating on the Great Lakes or oceans. Those applicants qualifying with ocean service must have obtained at least six months of licensed service or comparable experience on the Great Lakes. A complete list of requirements may be found in CFR Title 46, Shipping, Part 401, Subpart B. Anyone interested must first apply to the Director of Great Lakes Pilotage in Washington, D.C. to determine eligibility. Please contact Lakes Pilots for more information at (810) 941-5152

Applications and Information can be obtained on the web at:

Lakes Pilots Association
P.O. Box 610902
Port Huron, MI 48061
(810) 941-5152

Director of Great Lakes Pilotage
US Coast Guard
2100 2nd St SW
Washington, D.C. 20593-7580
(202) 372-1537


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 3

In 1918, the forward end of the former Pittsburgh steamer MANOLA sank during a gale on Lake Ontario. The after end received a new forward end and sailed for several years as the MAPLEDAWN.

On 03 December 1881, the DE PERE (wooden propeller, 736 tons, built in 1875, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was caught in a severe southwest gale and blizzard on Lake Michigan. She was driven ashore near Two Rivers, Wisconsin. All efforts to free her failed, so she was left to winter where she lay. In April 1882, she was pulled free by the Goodrich tug ARCTIC and towed to Manitowoc for repairs. Little damage was found and she was back in service quickly.

On 03 December 1891, the OGEMAW (wooden propeller freighter, 167 foot, 624 gross tons, built in 1881, at St. Clair, Michigan) sprang a leak on Big Bay de Noc and sank. Her decks and cabins were blown off as she sank in 11 fathoms of water, 1 1/2 miles northwest of Burnt Bluff. Her crew was rescued by her consorts MAXWELL and TILDEN. Although the vessel was removed from enrollment as a total loss, she was later raised, rebuilt, and re-documented in 1894. However, 03 December was a fateful date for this steamer because on that date in 1922, she burned 1-1/2 miles below Grand Point, near Harsens Island, on the St. Clair River Ð this time to a total and final loss.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.'s CANADIAN AMBASSADOR (Hull#70) was launched December 3, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

ROBERT W. STEWART, b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN in 1962) was launched in 1927, at Lorain, Ohio (Hull # 802), by the American Ship Building Co.

In 1909, LE GRAND S. DEGRAFF collided with the steamer HARVARD while down bound in the Detroit River in fog.

IRVING S. OLDS was laid up for the final time on December 3, 1981, at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, Minnesota, due to market conditions and her inability to compete with the 60,000-ton carrying capacity of the self-unloading thousand-foot bulk freighters.

On 3 December 1872, the officers and crew of the schooner E. KANTER arrived home in Detroit, Michigan. They reported that their vessel was driven ashore near Leland, Michigan in Lake Michigan on 26 November and was broken up by the waves.

On 3 December 1850, HENRY CLAY (2-mast wooden brig, 87 foot, 163 tons, built in 1842, at Huron, Ohio) was driven ashore at Point Nipigon in the Straits of Mackinac. She suffered little damage, but she was high and dry and unsalvageable. Her crew and passengers were picked up by the passing steamer TROY.

Back during the rough days of November on the lakes, the crews of the Imperial Oil tankers would wet the tablecloths in the mess rooms to keep plates, glasses and silverware from sliding off the tables.

1909: BARGE 101, a whaleback built on the Great Lakes in 1888, sank off Seal Island, Maine enroute from Boston to Halifax with coal tar. The crew of seven was lost.

1942: Yesterday and today the tug ADMIRAL and petroleum barge CLEVECO were lost with all hands off Euclid Beach, Ohio. A total of 32 sailors perished.

1954: The tug ROUILLE sank off Cape Smoky, NS with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel was built in 1929 as Hull 83 at the Collingwood Shipyard and had been on the lakes earlier in the year.

1959: THEODORUS A., seized earlier on Lake St. Clair due to debts, went aground twice while under tow to be unloaded. The vessel was released and spent the winter on the lakes. The crew was sent home.

1963: LIONEL and MANCHESTER MERCHANT collided at the entrance to the Seaway. The former caught fire and was beached at Ronde Island with heavy damage. It was rebuilt at Drammen, Norway, in 1964, returned inland as b) SKAGATIND in 1965 and was scrapped following another fire as e) ALECOS in 1982.

1967: TORONTO CITY, a Seaway trader from 1959 through 1962, went aground near the Elbe I Light enroute from Rostock, Germany, to Rotterdam, Holland, as d) EMMANUEL M. The crew was rescued and the ship was refloated July 7, 1970, sold for scrap, and broken up at Hamburg, Germany.

1985: An engine room fire broke out aboard the SKRADIN at Augusta, Italy, and the ship was a total loss. It had been a Seaway trader as b) BALTIC WASA beginning in 1971 and first returned under the current name in 1976. The damaged vessel was quickly sold for scrap and arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, December 28, 1985, for dismantling.

1987: The former Straits of Mackinac passenger and auto ferry VACATIONLAND sank off Oregon while under tow for scrapping in the Far East.

1993: HOPE I was seriously damaged when it hit bottom east of Quebec City. The ship had traded inland as a) NOSIRA MADELEINE beginning in 1983 and had returned as b) HOPE I earlier in 1993. It was repaired at Lauzon and continued Great Lakes service through 2002. The bulk carrier was back as c) HOPE in 2004.

1995: The former Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RIMOUSKI, renamed b) CANADIAN HARVEST, broke in two 114 miles NE of Sable Island while under tow for scrapping in India. The stern sank first. The bow was released two days later and was also lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ron LaDue, Russ Plumb, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports -  December 2

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
On the first day of December, Vlieborg arrived Duluth at 00:03 to load beet pulp pellets at Peavey. She was followed into port by Arthur M. Anderson, which arrived at 00:21 with limestone for C. Reiss. Her sister Cason J. Callaway then departed from CN at 02:24. The saltie Yulia passed under the lift bridge at 10:50 with clay to discharge at Port Terminal. Algoma Enterprise then departed from Hallett #5 with coke at 12:38. Also in port was Labrador, which continued loading at Riverland, Edgar B. Speer was at Port Terminal, and Sunda remained at anchor. Vlieborg was expected to depart from Peavey late Thursday night. In Superior, Stewart J. Cort departed from BN at 06:11, and Algorail arrived at 08:41 to load.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Ojibway departed downbound in the afternoon Thursday, while Algoma Equinox left at mid-evening. Federal Elbe and Baie Comeau were loading. Federal Ems was at anchor.

St. Marys River
Fog early Thursday delayed some traffic. After it lifted, Iryda picked up the hook and departed downbound from the Nine Mine anchorage. Other downbound traffic included Presque Isle, Burns Harbor, Algoma Discovery and Lee A. Tregurtha. Upbounders included John B. Aird (to Essar) and Redhead.

Cedarville, Mich.
Philip R. Clarke was loading Thursday evening.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Federal Biscay was still in port on Thursday. Hanse Gate departed and headed north Hanse Gate departed, and was eastbound in the Straits at dusk.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Thunder Bay was in port Thursday evening.

S. Chicago, Ill.
The saltie Redhead remained in port on Wednesday afternoon. The tug Heath Wood and her tank barge were upriver, presumably loading.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday was a busy day, with four vessels calling at Lafarge. Overnight the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived to load cement. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 tied up at Lafarge as well and unloaded product throughout the day. The Alpena took on another load of cement and mid-day was outbound by late afternoon. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came into port Wednesday evening.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey & Gordy Garris
There were a total of seven commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River during November. This represents nine fewer passages as compared to November 2015, and eight fewer then the five-year average of 15. For the total vessel passages for the year to date, there have been a total of 103. This is 25 less than in 2015 and 16 fewer than the five-year average of 119.

After two weeks without any traffic on the Saginaw River, Thursday saw the arrival of three vessels. The steamer Alpena arrived first in the early morning to unload cement at the Lafarge Terminal in Essexville. Inbound a few hours after the Alpena were the tug Dorothy Ann and the barge Pathfinder. The pair moored directly in front of the Alpena to unload at the Lafarge stone dock. Once finished unloading there, Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder backed downriver and made the turn length-wise across the river to pull into the Bay Aggregates slip to complete unloading. Expert maneuvering by the captain allowed for the turn against the wind, as the pair made the narrow turn around past the Alpena without any problem. Once finished unloading at the Bay Aggregate dock, they were back outbound for the lake Thursday evening. Passing the outbound Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder in the Saginaw Bay was the Manitowoc. Manitowoc passed through Downtown Bay City around 10 p.m. Thursday on her way upriver to unload in Saginaw. Both Manitowoc and Alpena are expected to be back outbound for the lake on Friday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The bulk carrier Cape (ex Heloise) departed from Redpath early Thursday morning. As Heloise the ship made news when it collided with the tug Ocean Georgie Bain in the Port of Montreal back August 2013. Just over a week ago the Cape's sister ship Sunda (ex Emilie) delivered a cargo of sugar from Paranagua, Brazil. As recently as last year, both bulkers traded into the Great Lakes under their old names as part of the Hong Kong-based Parakou Shipping group. The new owners purchased the two five-year-old handy-size bulk carriers at bargain prices. Clarkson Ship Brokers reports that the price of a good used bulk carrier has dropped by 50 percent and ship owners are upgrading their fleets by scrapping older vessels and buying relatively new used ships. The website of ship broker NautiSNP shows some incredible prices: The 13 year old Puffin has a price tag of $ 3.5 million and the 20-year-old, ice-strengthened Federal Saguenay can be bought for only $2.4 million.

Joseph L. Block continued her unusual trip to Quebec City Thursday. The U.S.-flag laker passed through the Eisenhower lock in the early evening.


Ian Hamilton named new president and CEO of Hamilton Port Authority

12/2 - Hamilton, Ont. – Ian Hamilton will assume the role of President and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority effective Jan. 1, 2017. He has served as the port’s Vice President of Business Development and Real Estate since 2008.

Hamilton has more than 25 years of experience in international transportation and logistics in Europe and North America, and has held progressively senior positions in the liner shipping industry, including Transatlantic Trade Director (Europe) for CP Ships and Business Development Manager for Hapag-Lloyd. He holds an MBA from Aston University (UK) and a BSc in business administration and economics from the College of Charleston, South Carolina.

Since 2008, he has been responsible for managing the port’s $500M real estate portfolio. In recent years, the Port of Hamilton has attracted more than $300M in investment.

Port of Hamilton


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 2

On this day in 1942, the tug ADMIRAL and tanker-barge CLEVCO encountered a late season blizzard on Lake Erie. The ADMIRAL sank approximately 10 miles off Avon Point, Ohio, with a loss of 11. The CLEVCO sank 30 hours later off Euclid Beach with a loss of 19.

On 02 December 1857, the NAPOLEON (wooden propeller, 92 foot, 181 tons, built in 1845, at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, as a schooner) went to the assistance of the schooner DREADNAUGHT. In the rescue attempt, the NAPOLEON bent her rudder and disabled her engine. Helpless, she went on a reef off Saugeen, Ontario, and was pounded to pieces. Her engine, boiler and gear were salvaged in the autumn of 1858, and sold at Detroit, Michigan.

Hall Corporation of Canada’s OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull # 667) was launched December 2, 1968, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

GEORGE R. FINK, b) ERNEST T. WEIR under tow passed Gibraltar on December 2, 1973, and arrived at Gandia, Spain, prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull # 810) was launched in1937, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co.

NIPIGON BAY last ran in 1982, and was laid up at Montreal on December 2nd.

December 2, 1975, the brand new carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III sailed into Kingston from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The new 55-car ferry would replace the older ferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA.

On 2 December 1874, the steam barge GERMANIA was launched at King's yard in Marine City, Michigan. The Port Huron Times of 4 December 1874 reported that she "is probably the cheapest boat ever built in Marine City, wages and material, iron, etc. being very low." This was due to the nation just recovering from the "Panic of 1873." The vessel's dimensions were 144 feet overall x 56 feet 2 inches x 11 feet 9 inches.

On 2 December 1832, the wooden schooner CAROLINE was carrying dry goods worth more than $30,000 from Oswego to Ogdensburg, New York, in a violent storm. She capsized and sank off Ducks Island on Lake Ontario with the loss of one life. Five survived in the yawl and made it to the island in 6 hours. After much suffering from the cold and snow, they were rescued by the schooner HURON.

Duluth - December 2, 1950 - In the early part of this week there were as many as 41 Great Lakes vessels lined up in the Duluth-Superior harbor awaiting their turn to take on their cargoes of iron ore. Freezing temperatures prevailed at the head of the lakes and ore steaming operations permitted loading only of about 10 boats per day.

1964: The anchors of AGIOS NICOLAOS II dragged in a storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the ship drifted aground at Sea-Cow Head, near Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The ship was released and towed to Halifax but not repaired. It had first come through the Seaway as a) ALKAID in 1961 and made one trip inland as b) AGIOS NICOLAOS II in 1964. Following a sale for scrap, the ship arrived at Bilbao, Spain, under tow of the tug PRAIA DE ADRAGA, on April 2, 1965.

1967: The tanker LUBROLAKE and tug IRVING BEECH were blown aground on Cape Breton Island, near New Waterford, NS at a site called the No. 12 Stone Dump. Both ships were abandoned and broken up to the waterline there at a later date.

1976: PEARL ASIA went aground off Port Weller while waiting clearance to head upbound to Thorold with a cargo of bauxite. After being lightered to MAPLEHEATH, the vessel was pulled free. It had begun Seaway trading as a) CRYSTAL CROWN in 1960 and first returned as b) PEARL ASIA in 1971.

1977: KEFALONIA SKY arrived at New Orleans with engine trouble that was later deemed beyond economic repair. The vessel was sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas, in 1978. It had first visited the Seaway as NIEUWE TONGE in 1960 and returned as b) AMSTELDIEP in 1963.

2006: The tug SENECA broke loose of the SUSAN B. HOEY on Lake Superior and was blown aground 21 miles east of Grand Marais, Mich. It was refloated on Dec. 23 and taken to Sault Ste. Marie for assessment.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Dave Wobser, Brian Johnson, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Indiana Harbor departs Duluth on first trip of the season

12/1 - American Steamship Co.’s 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor, which has been laid up at Lakehead Pipeline in Superior this season, departed her layup dock on Tuesday and fueled at Calumet before shifting to Midwest Energy to load 68,000 tons of coal for the Presque Isle power plant. After loading throughout the late morning and afternoon Wednesday, she departed Duluth on Wednesday evening. This is her first trip since arriving at Superior for the winter of 2015-16 on November 3, 2015.

Daniel Lindner


Port Reports -  December 1

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
The Duluth harbor was filled with ships on Wednesday. During the morning, Cason J. Callaway arrived with limestone for Hallett #5 at 03:24, and Edgar B. Speer arrived at 10:00. As of midday Wednesday, Labrador was at Riverland loading, Edgar B. Speer was at the Port Terminal, Pilica was at Peavey taking on wheat, Indiana Harbor was at Midwest Energy, Cason J. Callaway was loading ore at CN and Algoma Enterprise was loading coke at Hallett #5. On Wednesday evening, Pilica and Indiana Harbor departed, the latter on her first trip of the season after leaving layup. Cason J. Callaway and Algoma Enterprise were also expected to depart. At 21:00 Wednesday night, Arthur M. Anderson and Vlieborg were passing Two Harbors on their way to Duluth, the former with limestone and the latter to load beet pulp pellets. In Superior, Burns Harbor finished loading at BN and departed at 04:15. Stewart J. Cort arrived at 18:00 to load.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Equinox, Algoma Discovery and Ojibway were loading grain Wednesday afternoon; Algoma Discovery departed after dark. Federal Ems was at anchor, while Baie Comeau was expected in the evening.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic on Wednesday included Cedarglen, Lee A. Tregurtha, John J. Boland, Yulia, Blacky, Edwin H. Gott, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., American Mariner and Roger Blough. Downbounders included American Spirit, Radcliffe R. Latimer, Manitowoc (from Essar), Mesabi Miner and the tug Leonard M with the barge Huron Spirit (from Essar). Scrapping has begun on Yankcanuck at the Purvis north dock, with the top part of pilothouse being cut away this week.

Cedarville, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes was loading stone on Wednesday afternoon. She departed at dusk for Port Inland. The Sykes’ out-of-the-ordinary trip to Lake Superior has been cancelled. Frontenac was up next to load.

Escanaba, Mich. – Jake H.
On Wednesday, James R Barker arrived at the CN dock to load ore

Green Bay, Wis.
Herbert C. Jackson arrived to unload Wednesday in the late afternoon.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Federal Biscay and Hanse Gate remained in port on Wednesday.

Burns Harbor, Ind.
Federal Oshima was still in port Wednesday.

S. Chicago, Ill.
The saltie Redhead remained in port on Wednesday afternoon. The tug Heath Wood and her tank barge were upriver, presumably loading.

St. Clair River
Michipicoten was downbound on Wednesday afternoon on another trip to Quebec City.

Detroit, Mich.
Philip R. Clarke and Hon. James L. Oberstar were unloading up the Rouge River on Wednesday evening. The saltie Rodopi remained in the Belle Isle anchorage. Her next port will be Toledo.

Toledo, Ohio
Algoma Olympic was at the CSX Coal Dock Wednesday afternoon, and departed around dusk. Algoma Transport was inbound and went upriver to the grain docks. G3 Marquis departed with grain Wednesday morning. The tug Olive L. Moore was at the CSX Dock undergoing repairs. Her barge Lewis J. Kuber is in temporary layup. Algowood was inbound at mid-evening.

Welland Canal
Canada Steamship Lines’ Oakglen left the Welland Canal late Wednesday afternoon. She has a destination listed as Thunder Bay. The new Federal Champlain also passed through the Canal Wednesday. AIS lists her next port as Goderich.

Hamilton, Ont.
Federal Rideau, Garganey, Drawsko, Algoscotia and Fearless were at docks on Wednesday. Federal Hudson, Shoveler, Federal Columbia and Ardita were at anchor.

Eastern Lake Ontario
Joseph L. Block passed was at anchor Wednesday night west of Cape Vincent, N.Y., on her rare trip to Quebec City.


Water temperatures in the Great Lakes mild for this time of year: NOAA

12/1 - Barrie, Ont. – We could be in for quite a bit of snow, if recent water temperatures in the Great Lakes are any indication of what’s to come. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, surface water temperatures in the lakes are the warmest they’ve seen in late November since at least 2010.

The NOAA says water temperatures are hovering at around 7 C as of Tuesday. Last year the temperatures were at about 5 C, while in 2014 they were closer to 4 C.

“The combination of warm lake waters and cold winter winds blowing across them is a perfect combination for lake effect snow,” the NOAA said in a statement on Monday.

Environment Canada has said the frontend of winter would likely be on the mild side. The numbers from the NOAA also match up with their prediction for lake effect snow. Environment Canada says there’s a chance that snow could arrive before Christmas.

Barrie CTV News


Presque Isle Lighthouse, proposed sanctuary seen as tourist draws

12/1 - Lake Erie – During the first entire summer it was open to the public, the Presque Isle Lighthouse drew tens of thousands of visitors, with 13,500 of them each paying $6 to climb to its top. A proposed national marine sanctuary also could bring crowds to the area and could add to the local economy.

"I think this is a fantastic opportunity for our region," Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper said about the possible sanctuary.

Dahlkemper spoke to the Presque Isle Advisory Committee recently, where the group heard about both the proposed Lake Erie Quadrangle National Marine Sanctuary and the lighthouse located on the state park.

The historic lighthouse was open for tours, and trips up the 78-step tower, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Executive Director Michael Sullivan said that during that time, an estimated 30,000 people went through the house.

"The people just kept coming," he told the advisory committee. Sullivan said the 13,500 who went up the tower included representatives of 48 states and 16 countries.

The lighthouse, which is run by a nonprofit group with plans to restore the structure, generated more than $80,000 in visitor revenue and a small gift shop made about $14,000 in profit, he said. This year, the lighthouse was open Thursdays through Mondays. "Next year, we're discussing being open seven days a week," Sullivan said.

A national marine sanctuary also could bring people to Erie, along with economic benefits for the region, Dahlkemper told the advisory group.

She said the Thunder Bay sanctuary in Lake Huron near Alpena, Michigan, has become a driving force in the local economy there.

Erie County submitted a sanctuary application to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the end of 2015. The proposed national marine sanctuary would include all Lake Erie waters in Pennsylvania but not Presque Isle Bay.

Dahlkemper said national marine sanctuaries are defined as "areas of the marine environment with special conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, cultural, archaeological or aesthetic qualities."

Such a designation for the Lake Erie Quadrangle wouldn't affect recreation like fishing, she said, but would protect shipwrecks and could create educational and research opportunities.

Now that the application is in, Dahlkemper said, NOAA will have to decide if it wants to move forward on sanctuary designation here. If so, that process could take two years and would involve local input.

"If at the end of the day we don't like it, we can say we don't want it," she said.


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 1

In 1940, the Columbia Transportation steamer CARROLLTON laid up in the Cuyahoga River with a storage load of 75,000 bushels of potatoes.

On 01 December 1884, the N BOUTIN (wooden propeller tug, 68 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1882, at Buffalo, New York) sank in ten feet of water near Washburn, Wisconsin. Newspaper reports stated that she was leaking badly and was run toward shore to beach her but no details are given regarding the cause of the leak. She was recovered and repaired.

On December 1, 1974, the Canadian motor vessel JENNIFER foundered on Lake Michigan in a storm. Her steel cargo apparently shifted and she foundered 24 miles southwest of Charlevoix, Michigan. The JENNIFER went to the bottom in water too deep for any salvage attempt.

FRED G. HARTWELL, the last boat built for the Franklin Steamship Co., was delivered to her owners on December 1, 1922, but her maiden voyage didn't occur until early 1923, because of unfavorable weather conditions.

The SASKATOON's ownership was transferred to the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, on December 1, 1913, when the company was formed and all six vessels of the Merchants Mutual Line were absorbed by CSL in 1914.

HUDSON TRANSPORT was put up for sale by Marine Salvage in December 1982.

On 1 December 1875, BRIDGEWATER (3-mast wooden schooner, 706 tons, built in 1866, at Buffalo, New York, as a bark) grounded on Waugoshance Point in the Straits of Mackinac. She was released fairly quickly and then was towed to Buffalo, New York, for repairs. In Buffalo, she was gutted by fire. In 1880-82, the propeller KEYSTONE was built on her hull.

In 1909, the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 sank on Lake Erie, 31 lives were lost.

December 1, 1985 - SPARTAN broke loose from her moorings at Ludington in a storm and ended up near Buttersville Island. She was pulled off on December 5, by the Canonie tugs SOUTH HAVEN and MUSKEGON with the help of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41. It took about 10 hours.

On 1 December 1875, the Port Huron Times reported: "The schooner MARY E. PEREW went ashore in the Straits of Mackinac and by the brave efforts of the people on shore, her crew was rescued from perishing in the cold. Her decks were completely covered with ice and the seas were breaking over her. The vessel has a large hole in her bottom made by a rock that came through her. She will prove a total loss." On 7 December 1875, that newspaper reported that MARY E. PEREW had been raised by a wrecker and would be repaired.

On 1 December 1882, DAVID M. FOSTER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 121 foot, 251 tons, built in 1863, at Port Burwell, Ontario as a bark) was carrying lumber from Toronto to Oswego, New York, in a storm. She was picked up by a harbor tug outside of Oswego for a tow into the harbor, but the towline broke. The FOSTER went bows-on into the breakwater. She was holed and sank. No lives were lost. Her loss was valued at $3,300.

On 01 December 1934, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA (WPG 64) (165 foot, 718 gross tons, built in 1932, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was involved in the rescue of the crew of the whaleback HENRY CORT off the piers at Muskegon, Michigan. Also that winter, she delivered food to the residents of Beaver Island, who were isolated due to the bad weather.

SULLIVAN BROTHERS (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 430 foot, 4897 gross tons, built in 1901, at Chicago, Illinois as FREDERICK B. WELLS) grounded at Vidal Shoal on Tuesday evening, 01 Dec 1953. She was loaded with grain and rested on solid rock. She was recovered.

1934: The whaleback steamer HENRY CORT hit the north pier at Muskegon, MI and was wrecked. All on board were saved but one rescuer perished when the U.S.C.G. surfboat overturned. HENRY CORT was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1961: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller ELGIN struck the Charelvoix Bridge on the Lachine Canal when the structure did not open properly due to a faulty bridge mechanism. The waterway was closed for several days but the ship was not damaged.

1961: ARIE H., a Liberian flagged Liberty ship, went aground near the Snell Lock but was refloated and, the following day, departed the Seaway as the last oceangoing ship of the season.

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

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