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Smoke reported onboard the Algoma Guardian

2/21 - Port Colborne - 8 a.m. update: The smoke was reported to be from a small transformer that shorted out, there is no threat of fire to the vessel.

Original report: Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services responded to the Algoma Guardian at her lay-up dock in Port Colborne Wednesday night. No smoke was visible from outside the vessel but there was a report of smoke in a control room.

A ladder truck is set up and fire fighter's have dry lines set up ready to feed water if necessary. One person was reported to have suffered smoke inhalation.

Check back for updates

Brenda Benoit and Dave Johnson


Port Reports -  February 21

Milwaukee, Wis. - Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
Algoma Sault made a brief appearance at Port Milwaukee Tuesday adding 16,000 tons of deicing salt to the pile at the Bulk Transfer Dock on Jones Island. With assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard, she departed Goderich just after 10:30 on the morning of February 17. She was escorted through the Straits of Mackinac by the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking tug Neah Bay and arrived Milwaukee at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. After unloading part of her cargo, she left for Chicago six hours later

S. Chicago
Algoma Sault departed South Chicago about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning upbound for Goderich in Ballast. They were assisted out of S. Chicago by the tug Massachusetts

St. Clair River
Wednesday morning the USCG Bristol Bay was escorting the Algonova upbound from Group Detroit. They met the USCG Hollyhock in the St. Clair Cutoff Channel for the trip through the lower river. The Algonova was assisted into Imperial Oil by the Sarina based tug Pride Wednesday afternoon.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 21

EDWIN H. GOTT arrived at Two Harbors, Minnesota, (her first trip) February 21, 1979, with the loss of one of her two rudders during her transit of Lake Superior. The other rudder post was also damaged. She was holed in her bow and some of her cargo hold plating ruptured as a result of frozen ballast tanks. Even the icebreaker MACKINAW suffered damage to her port propeller shaft on the trip across frozen Lake Superior.

At Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., the keel of the new bow section for HILDA MARJANNE was laid on February 21, 1961, while at the same time the tanker hull forward of her engine room bulkhead was being cut away.

On 21 February 1929, SAPPHO (wooden propeller passenger ferry, 107 foot, 224 gross tons, built in 1883, at Wyandotte, Michigan) burned at her winter lay-up dock in Ecorse, Michigan. She had provided 46 years of service ferrying passengers across the Detroit River. She was neither repaired nor replaced since the Ambassador Bridge was nearing completion.

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


St. Clair Fire

2/20 -  Investigators remain on scene in Toledo for what will likely be a lengthy investigation. Tuesday the St. Clair was reported to be listing and required to be pumped out. It is unclear if the water was from fire fighting or another source.

We have combined pictures from the event in a special gallery: Click here to view


Port Reports -  February 20

S. Chicago
Tuesday morning the Algocanada arrived and was inbound about 11 a.m. Algoma Sault arrived Tuesday evening with a load of salt. The Sault was assisted inbound by the G Tugs Arizona and Massachusetts.

St. Clair River
Algoscotia was escorted upbound by the CCGS Samuel Risley about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Leo A. McArthur and their tank barge were then escorted downbound for Windsor.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 20

On February 20, 1959, Interlake Steamship Co.’s HERBERT C. JACKSON (Hull #302) was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan.

The Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker DES GROSEILLIERS (Hull #68) was launched February 20, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

On 20 February 1903, the straight-deck steamer G. WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller, 376 foot, 3,785 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull #608). She lasted until 1964, when she was scrapped by Lakehead Scrap Metal Co. at Fort William, Ontario. The other names she had during her career were b.) HENRY P. WERNER in 1924, c.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 1937, and d.) ALGOWAY in 1947.

1940: A fire broke out in the cargo hold of the package freighter KING at Buffalo when insulation, being installed for refrigeration purposes, ignited. Several firemen were overcome by the smoke, but damage to the ship was negligible.

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


St. Clair fire out

2/19 - Oregon, Ohio - 3 p.m. update - Monday night the fire aboard the St. Clair had stopped burning. The Oregon Ohio Fire Department reported that they were no longer on scene and the investigation continues. Tuesday the St. Clair was reported to be listing and required to be pumped out. It is unclear if the water was from fire fighting or another source.

Original Report: Monday Fire crews had been unable to enter the St. Clair to fight the fire because it is still too dangerous due to the intense heat and smoke. The fire is expected to be burning for days to come. The fire department has no idea when the fire will be extinguished. The U. S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation board as well as other agencies are on scene monitoring the fire.

Local reports


 St. Clair damage Monday - Corey Hammond

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Smoldering Sunday morning USCG Photo Closer view Sunday morning. Jake Bourdage Fire Fighting efforts Saturday Night. USCG Photo St. Clair ablaze Saturday night -  source unknown


Port Reports -  February 19

Straits of Mackinac
Algoma Sault passed Westbound Monday morning with a load of salt for Milwaukee. They were escorted by the USCG Neah Bay who docked in Cheboygan after the escort.

Algoma Innovator arrived Monday morning and was assisted to the Compass Minerals Salt Dock by the CCGS Samuel Risley. The Risley then headed downbound for icebreaking in the St. Clair River.

St. Clair River
The tanker Algoscotia was upbound under escort of the USCG Hollyhock and Bristol Bay Monday morning. Early afternoon the tanker became stuck in the ice below Russell Island. The tanker stopped in the ice and will wait for the CCGS Samuel Risley to continue the escort upbound Tuesday morning. The tug Leo A. McArthur and tank barge are anchored below Marine City waiting to pass downbound.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 19

The b.) TROY H. BROWNING, c.) THOMAS F. PATTON was towed from the James River with two other C4s, LOUIS MC HENRY HOWE, b.) TOM M. GIRDLER and MOUNT MANSFIELD, b.) CHARLES M. WHITE, to the Maryland Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, Maryland, February 1951, to be converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier according to plans designed by J.J. Henry & Co., New York, New York.

Wolf & Davidson of Milwaukee sold the JIM SHERIFFS (wooden propeller, 182 foot, 634 gross tons, built in 1883, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to Kelley Island Line on 19 February 1887.

1981: The Indian freighter JYOTI VINOD, a Seaway caller as a) JALAZAD beginning in 1969, departed Bombay with a cargo of jute, general freight and school buses. The nightmare voyage, which proved to be its last, did not reach Tema, Ghana, until December 23, 1981

1992: VIHREN, a Bulgarian built and flagged bulk carrier, was driven on the breakwall at Tuapse, USSR, in severe weather. The vessel later broke in two. The ship first came inland in 1983, headed for Thunder Bay. The two sections of the hull were refloated and each arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling in August 1992.

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


St. Clair may burn for days

2/18 - Oregon, Ohio - Noon update: Fire crews have been unable to enter the St. Clair to fight the fire because it is still too dangerous due to the intense heat and smoke. The fire is expected to be burning for days to come, the fire department has no idea when the fire will be extinguished. The U. S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation board as well as other agencies are on scene monitoring the fire.

Original Report:

On Sunday, the fire was under control but not out. Two ladder trucks remained at the scene cooling off hot spots.  “Nobody can think of a fire of this magnitude in the city of Oregon,” said interim fire chief Dennis Hartman.

Two conveyor belts on the ship caught fire, burned and melted.

“Just think of two tire piles—big tire piles—basically same kind of thing: rubber. That’s on fire under the vessel. We just can’t get to that,” Hartman said.

It was a tough fire to battle. Only one in four fire hydrants on the dock worked.  Tanker trucks from 15 area departments were dispatched to a hydrant on Bay Shore Road.  “Those tanker trucks would come out here. We had an engine out here that would fill them, bring them back,” Hartman said.

The future of the St. Clair is uncertain. Parts of her superstructure have been destroyed such as the pilots deck and the captain and crew living quarters.

Hartman says the fire could continue to burn for several days.  No cause has been determined.

WTOL and local reports


Split Rock Lighthouse's longest-serving keeper retiring

2/18 - It's the end of an era at the North Shore's most iconic tourist destination. Lee Radzak, the main custodian of the Split Rock Lighthouse for 36 years, is retiring.

It's not just a long tenure, but the longest tenure of any lighthouse keeper at the historic site. He and his wife Jane have lived on the grounds since 1982. "The couple easily holds the record for the longest residents (sic) at Split Rock Lighthouse in its nearly 110-year history," a Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) news release says.

Radzak started at Split Rock after spending six years as a MNHS archaeologist, and has overseen "some the biggest achievements in the site’s last 40 years. That includes the construction of a visitor center in 1986, the centennial celebration in 2010, and in 2011, the naming of the lighthouse as a National Historic Landmark — "a process that took several years to complete," MNHS says.

And his service has not gone unnoticed. He's received a number of civic awards for his work, including the 2014 Lake Superior Magazine Achievement Award and the American Lighthouse Council’s lifetime achievement award.

He plans to officially step down in April, the Duluth News Tribune says. It's been a nice commute, just a couple hundred-foot walk to work every day," Radzak told the paper, adding, "the flip side is that you never get away from it."

Split Rock Lighthouse is located north of Two Harbors on the Superior North Shore.


Algoma Innovator makes third Milwaukee visit with salt

2/18 - Milwaukee - For the third consecutive weekend, Algoma Innovator was at Port Milwaukee delivering salt as Compass Minerals tries to catch up on salt shipments interrupted by a three-month strike last summer at their Goderich mine. She arrived Milwaukee at 7 a.m. on Saturday. After dropping almost 25,000 tons of deicing salt at the outer harbor open dock, she departed for Goderich just after 5:30 that afternoon.

Algoma Central is still operating two boats hauling salt for Compass Minerals. Algoma Innovator, a 650-foot Equinox-class bulk carrier that entered service in 2018, is shuttling between Goderich and Milwaukee. Algoma Sault, a 740-foot Equinox-class boat that also entered service in 2018, is doing the same between Goderich and Detroit.

As of mid February ice covered almost 35 percent of Lake Michigan and 60 percent of Lake Huron. Equinox-class vessels were not designed for operation in heavy ice and have required assistance.

Recent cold temperatures and strong westerly winds have created severe ice conditions in some areas along the eastern shore of Lake Huron. Around Goderich, ice fields are reported to be from three to seven feet deep. The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley has been busy keeping the harbor entrance open for the salt boats. To do this they have relied on a Coast Guard helicopter to locate seams between shifting ice plates, which the Risley then widens to create channels for the freighters.

Through the Straits of Mackinac, ice ranges from 12 to 28 inches thick. The U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking tug Katmai Bay, which is homeported at Sault Ste. Marie, has been escorting Algoma Innovator as she navigates the narrow passage connecting Lakes Huron and Michigan.

On her most recent trip, Algoma Innovator departed Goderich February 14 at 8:30 in the morning. So the 485-mile trip by water took about 47.5 hours (time change). This means her average speed exceeded ten miles per hour – not bad for February on the Great Lakes.

Wisconsin Marine Historical Society


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 18

IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR participated in an historic special convoy with DOAN TRANSPORT, which carried caustic soda, led by C.C.G.S. GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ontario on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ontario through Lake Superior ice as much as six feet thick, and at one point it took four days to travel 60 miles. The trip was initiated to supply residents of the Canadian lakehead with 86,000 barrels of heating oil the reserves of which were becoming depleted due to severe weather that winter.

The b.) JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, was towed to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River and arrived at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin on February 18, 1957, where her self unloading equipment was installed. This was the last large vessel to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. Renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. SHARON was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

The Murphy fleet was sold on 18 February 1886. The tugs GLADIATOR, KATE WILLIAMS and BALIZE went to Captain Maytham, the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE to Mr. Grummond, the schooner GERRIT SMITH to Captain John E. Winn, and the tug ANDREW J. SMITH to Mr. Preston Brady.

1980: PANAGIS K. arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was soon placed under arrest. The ship was idle and in a collision there with NORTH WAVE on January 23, 1981. The hull was abandoned aground, vandalized and, on October 12, 1985, auctioned off for scrap. The ship first traded through the Seaway in 1960 as a) MANCHESTER FAME and returned as b) CAIRNGLEN in 1965, again as c) MANCHESTER FAME in 1967 and as d) ILKON NIKI in 1972.

1983: A fire in the bow area during winter work aboard the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RICHELIEU (ii) at Thunder Bay resulted in the death of three shipyard workers.

2010: The sailing ship CONCORDIA visited the Great Lakes in 2001 and participated in the Tall Ships Festival at Bay City, MI. It sank in the Atlantic about 300 miles off Rio de Janeiro after being caught in a severe squall. All 64 on board were rescued from life rafts after a harrowing ordeal. 2010: The tug ADANAC (Canada spelled backwards) sank at the Essar Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was refloated the next day.

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


Serious fire onboard the St. Clair

Smoldering Sunday morning USCG Photo
Fire Fighting efforts Saturday Night. USCG Photo
StClair-on-fire.jpg (39770 bytes)
St. Clair ablaze Saturday night -  source unknown

2/17 - Oregon, Ohio - Noon update - Thick black smoke is still coming from the cabin area of the St. Clair. This is almost 16 hours since the first alarm was sounded for this fire.

The Coast Guard was conducting pollution assessment of the Maumee River. Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center were notified of the fire about 9: 30 p.m. by members of Coast Guard Station Toledo. The Coast Guard responded along with fire fighters from eight local fire departments

The external fire is currently under control. Preventative measures continue on adjacent ships using water-cooling techniques.

A helicopter crew and a pollution responder, aboard a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, conducted an aerial observation of the area at first light Sunday and determined there was no pollution in the Maumee River.

9 a.m. update - Sunday morning the fire is still burning in the accommodations block of the St. Clair. Pictures from the scene show extensive heat damage through the vessel from the unloading system at deck level to the upper cabins. Fire crews are reported to be making progress but it is unknown when the fire will be extinguished.

12 a.m.  update  –  Late Saturday firefighters in Toledo were battling flames aboard the St. Clair docked at the Port of Toledo. The fire department was dispatched about 8:45 p.m. to the Torco Dock. Arriving firefighters reported seeing smoke and fire from the vessel’s stack. An aerial ladder was hoisted to attack the blaze. No one was aboard, and there was no cargo on the vessel at the time of the fire.

Nearly two hours later, residents several miles away reported they smelled burning rubber and saw gray smoke in the air. The St. Clair arrived for winter lay-up at the Torco Dock on January 14.  Repair work is performed on a vessel while they are in lay-up, it is not uncommon to have welding crews completing steel work.

Pictures posted to social media showed fire crews pumping water onto the stern and others showed the entire length of the self unloading boom on fire. The unloading conveyor belts run under the cargo hold and then loop through the accommodations block. A fire spreading through these spaces could cause catastrophic damage to a vessel covering multiple decks.

Fire fighting efforts have also been hampered by lack of water, there was only one hydrant reported in that area and the river was said to be frozen. Crews have been unable to fight the fire from aboard the vessel adding to the concern for the fire spreading through the ship. 

Fire crews have been working to keep the fire from spreading to the Great Republic, dock off the St Clair's starboard side.

Reports from Toledo Blade, WTOL, USCG, local reports and various Social Media reports.


Algoma Conveyor departs China for long journey home to Canada

2/17 - The Algoma Conveyor departed from the shipyard in Jiangsu, China Saturday enroute to Canada on its delivery trip and maiden voyage. The ship has a present ETA for Davao, Philippines on February 22 where it is expected to arrive and take on fuel. From there the ship will continue on its long journey crossing the Pacific Ocean and travelling through the Panama Canal before eventually ending its journey in Canada. The trip is expected to take the ship approximately two months. The Algoma Conveyor is also carrying a foreign crew and is registered in Tuvalu however, this registration will change once the vessel arrives in Canada where it will then be re-flagged and registered Canadian and also will have a Canadian crew.

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

It was supposed to have been Algoma's first self-unloading vessel. With the completion of the Algoma Conveyor the ship now joins seven other Equinox-class ships in the Algoma fleet. The Algoma Equinox built in 2013 followed by the Algoma Harvester in 2014 and the G3 Marquis ex-CWB Marquis also built in 2014. The Algoma Strongfield was also added to the fleet in 2017 followed by three self-unloading bulk carriers the Algoma Niagara in 2017. In 2018 the Algoma Innovator built in Croatia and the first 650-foot long forward mounted self-unloading vessel and the self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Sault built in China.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  February 17

Milwaukee, Wis. -
Algoma Innovator arrived with another load of salt from Goderich.

Goderich, Ont. -
Algoma Sault waited off port Saturday morning and was escorted into the Salt Dock by the CCGS Samuel Risley about 12:30 p.m.


Obituary: Dr. Alfred “Al” A. Hart

2/17 - Dr. Alfred “Al” A. Hart, 86, of Bay Village, Ohio, died Feb. 15. He was well-known around the Great Lakes not only for his work with the Great Lakes Historical Society and the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, but for the many friends he made at Boatnerd gatherings, selling collectibles on eBay and attending marine marts around the Great Lakes.

He was was born Jan. 3, 1933 in Pittsburgh, PA. During his time as a Presbyterian pastor, he served churches in Benkelman, NE, Orwell, Ohio, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Then, for 29 years, until his retirement in 1998, he served as pastor of the Avon Lake Presbyterian Church. He went on to serve as Parish Associate at John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted.

Al hosted a jazz radio program, “Sounds for Sunday,” on two Cleveland radio stations. He was listed in a 1993 issue of “Cleveland Magazine” as one of Cleveland’s 20 most interesting people. He served on the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Historical Society and the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History; as well as serving as chaplain of Cleveland Lodge 4 of the International Shipmasters' Association.

He leaves behind his wife, Jan Hart (nee: Doll) of over 40 years; children, Susan Hart: and step-children: Bonnie Hedges (Chris), Brin Odell (Erin); grandchildren: Amber, Heather (Aric), Lexie, Peyton and Taylor; and great-grandchildren: Porter and Stella. Al was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Chris Hart.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in memory of Al to John Knox Presbyterian Church, 25200 Lorain Rd, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070 and the Great Lakes Historical Society 1701 Front St, Toledo, Ohio 43605.

The family will receive friends at Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon-Belden Rd, Avon Lake from 2-4 and 6-8 pm Saturday, March 2, 2019. A memorial service will be held at John Knox Presbyterian Church Sunday, March 3, at 2pm.(440) 933-3202

Lorain Morning Journal


Captain's Dinner

2/17 - Traverse City Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Maritime Academy will present the fourth annual Captain's Dinner, a benefit for cadet groups, on March 1.

The evening at NMC’s Great Lakes Campus includes dinner in Lobdell’s Teaching Restaurant and a cadet-guided tour of the Academy and the training ship T/S State of Michigan. Dinner will be prepared by chefs from the college's Great Lakes Culinary Institute, with the menu theme taken from former and current Great Lakes ships.

Dinner seating is unreserved, and tickets are $55 each. Tickets, menu and details on reserved table sponsorships, available for groups of two to ten, are all available online at

A silent auction of local and maritime-inspired items will also be held. The cadet groups benefitting are the Propeller Club, Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineers and Women on the Water.


Video: Edward M. Cotter breaks ice in Buffalo

2/17 - Buffalo News Video of the historic fireboat Edward M. Cotter from the Buffalo Fire Department breaking up ice in the Buffalo River to prevent flooding in communities upstream.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 17

IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR participated in an historic special convoy with DOAN TRANSPORT, which carried caustic soda, led by C.C.G.S. GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ontario on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ontario through Lake Superior ice as much as six feet thick, and at one point it took four days to travel 60 miles. The trip was initiated to supply residents of the Canadian lakehead with 86,000 barrels of heating oil the reserves of which were becoming depleted due to severe weather that winter.

The b.) JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, was towed to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River and arrived at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, Wisconsin on February 18, 1957, where her self unloading equipment was installed. This was the last large vessel to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. Renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. SHARON was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

The Murphy fleet was sold on 18 February 1886. The tugs GLADIATOR, KATE WILLIAMS and BALIZE went to Captain Maytham, the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE to Mr. Grummond, the schooner GERRIT SMITH to Captain John E. Winn, and the tug ANDREW J. SMITH to Mr. Preston Brady.

1980: PANAGIS K. arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was soon placed under arrest. The ship was idle and in a collision there with NORTH WAVE on January 23, 1981. The hull was abandoned aground, vandalized and, on October 12, 1985, auctioned off for scrap. The ship first traded through the Seaway in 1960 as a) MANCHESTER FAME and returned as b) CAIRNGLEN in 1965, again as c) MANCHESTER FAME in 1967 and as d) ILKON NIKI in 1972.

1983: A fire in the bow area during winter work aboard the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RICHELIEU (ii) at Thunder Bay resulted in the death of three shipyard workers.

2010: The sailing ship CONCORDIA visited the Great Lakes in 2001 and participated in the Tall Ships Festival at Bay City, MI. It sank in the Atlantic about 300 miles off Rio de Janeiro after being caught in a severe squall. All 64 on board were rescued from life rafts after a harrowing ordeal. 2010: The tug ADANAC (Canada spelled backwards) sank at the Essar Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was refloated the next day.

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


Lake Superior State University president wants Coast Guard center in Soo

2/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard is interested in building a National Center of Expertise on the Great Lakes which will focus on combating oil spills, and Lake Superior State University is very interested in housing the facility.

LSSU President Rodney Hanley hopes to make the university’s case to U.S. Sen. Gary Peters when the senator visits Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. Hanley wants to emphasize how the Sault already houses a Coast Guard station, the city’s location on or near three of the five Great Lakes, its status as a shipping hub, its proximity to existing oil pipelines, and LSSU’s freshwater research program.

“We believe we are uniquely positioned to meet those very specific requirements,” Hanley said.

His planned conversation with Peters comes after Hanley sent a letter outlining LSSU’s interest in the project to the senator in December, shortly after federal legislation appropriating funds for the Center of Expertise was signed into law. It was part of a bill that also established a framework for ballast water regulations on the Great Lakes.

Another selling point for the university is the planned construction of a new $13.2 million Center for Freshwater Research building along the banks of the St. Marys River. Administrators have been hopeful that project would begin this summer, and Hanley said the Coast Guard facility could be affiliated with it.

The exact timetable for developing the Center of Expertise is unclear and Hanley noted that, as with many federal projects, it could move slowly. Still, he wants LSSU to be ready if the process picks up speed.

Hanley also said projects of this magnitude seldom come together without broad community support. But he noted the university has a history of forging partnerships with local organizations to turn similar ideas into reality.

Sault News


Lake ice, high water levels lead to advisory and concern for the spring

2/16 - Windsor, Ont. – With area lake levels well above the norm and ice piling up on shorelines, concerns are escalating about possible major flooding and shoreline erosion this spring, according to the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

With high winds kicking up this week, a large amount of precipitation and water levels above the norm, ERCA on Wednesday issued an advisory that lake ice may be pushed onshore with waves exacerbating already icy conditions primarily along the Lake Erie shoreline.

“The forecast for wind speed is just below the threshold for flooding, but that wind and open nature of channel areas will allow for ice floes to move on land,” said Tim Byrne, ERCA’s director of watershed management.

“What we are seeing (with water levels) is unusual for Lake Erie for this time of year. If enough broken ice accumulates it will come on shore, especially where there are lower-lying breakwalls.”

Among areas at greatest risk are the Lake Erie shoreline between the east area of Essex to Point Pelee, plus the western portion of Pelee Island. Residents in those areas with anything of value on their property should consider moving the items to another location, Byrne said.

“Especially if you are in close proximity to low-lying breakwalls, I would consider moving it,” he said. “Ice does not stop and anything in its way will get bulldozed over.”

Given the wet winter to date, Byrne also expressed concerns Wednesday for how area water levels across Essex County are shaping up to potentially cause trouble this spring.

Currently, Lake Superior is only two inches below its record high for February, while Lake Erie is seven inches below the record for February, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers in Detroit which tracks lake levels on the U.S. side.

“This is the fourth year in a row of high lake water,” Byrne said. “Historically in my 34 years, you normally see a year or two of a typical high point then it recedes, but for the past four years we continue to sit at an elevated state.

“The trend is showing the potential (this spring) for surpassing the record water levels in 1986 that were the all-time high. We are reviewing our assessments on how we are going to deal with it.”

A chief watershed hydrologist for the U.S. army corps said Wednesday there is an expectation Lake St. Clair will remain between 18 inches and two feet above its long-term average for the next six months with much the same predicted for Lake Erie.

“We are not outside the recorded range,” said Keith Kompoltowicz. “We have been here before. But we have been above the average consistently now the last several years. People should be conscious (of flooding) as things can change quickly especially with inshore winds.”

A spokesman for the Lake Superior Board of Control, however, is not as concerned as others that lakes will reach record levels this year.

The control board this month released numbers that show Lake Michigan-Huron — which includes local waterways — is currently 52 cm above average and six cm above last year’s beginning-of-February level.

“It’s similar conditions to last year, so it’s hard to say where we will end up over the next six months,” said Rob Caldwell, Canadian secretary for the control board. He pointed to Canadian six-month forecasts for Lake Erie which show the potential this year to reach the record levels of 1987 under a worst-case weather scenario.

“There is no reason to panic quite yet, but there is no reason to stop paying attention either because the water levels remain very high,” Caldwell said.

Windsor Star


Port Reports -  February 16

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off the Door Peninsula Friday night headed for Milwaukee with salt.

St. Clair River
Algoma Sault was in the St. Clair River Friday night with CCGS Samuel Risley providing escort services. She shows a Goderich destination on AIS. Tanker Algocanada was ahead of her.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H
Friday morning the Algocanada and Algoma Hansa arrived upbound. The Algocanada went to the Ojibway Anchorage and the Hansa was upbound for Sarnia under escort of the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker Iver Bright was downbound with the USCG Neah Bay for the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal in Detroit.

The Algoma Sault was anchored in the Belle Isle Anchorage after unloading salt in the Rouge River overnight. USCG Hollyhock and Bristol Bay were upbound on Lake St. Clair behind the Algoma Hansa Friday afternoon.

The Algocanada and Algoma Sault were under way passing Belle Isle about 4 p.m. Algocanada is reporting Chicago as her destination but stopped at Shell Corrunna.

Lake Erie
Algosea was anchored off Nanticoke Friday night. Algonova was eastbound, with CCGS Griffon escorting.


Great Lakes getting saltier, thanks to runoff

2/16 - Southfield, Mich. – Walking along a branch of the River Rouge in Southfield, Marie McCormick, executive director of Friends of the Rouge, points out the high volume of traffic up above. “You have really close proximity to the road, here,” she said pointing out Telegraph Road and a nearby apartment complex.

In some ways, it’s great to have a tributary that empties directly into Lake Erie — one of metro Detroit’s prime sources for drinking water — it means plants, animals and recreation. On the other hand, thanks to its proximity to the road, it means salt runoff.

“It runs off really quickly,” said McCormick. “So if you drop salt really close to these bodies of water it flows in and changes the chemistry of the water.”

That’s the catch 22 for local governments, and the Michigan Department of Transportation, when it comes to road salt. Studies show lakes, streams and even wells are getting saltier. Scientists believe that road salt is to blame, but it’s also considered the safest way to decrease crashes.

MDOT has worked to reduce the use of salt in recent winters because it costs less money, and it’s safer for the environment.

“We’re happy with our management practices we’ve incorporated,” said Mark Geib, MDOT’s Transportation Systems Management Operations Director. “It’s shown up in our numbers that our management plan works, but we’re always watching to see how we can get better.”

The current practices include a computerized system on each salt truck MDOT sends on the road, that system is calibrated based on the current weather conditions — it reduces wasteful salt usage. They also pre-wet salt to ensure it sticks, and trucks drive slower than in years past to reduce the amount of salt that bounces off the road.

“Without some of the management practices we’ve incorporated, the amounts we use would be greater.”

McCormick said last year that still meant more than 500,000 tons spread across Michigan roadways — that doesn’t include what local counties and cities used to de-ice their roads.

With some scientists warning that fresh water sources could become so salty they’d be undrinkable (less severe predictions warn that salty water could harm animals, insect and plant-life), folks like McCormick are recommending people take safer approaches to de-ice their personal property.

Rock salt, the most common de-icer used by homeowners, becomes ineffective when temperatures drop below 15 degrees. While some de-icers, such as calcium chloride and manganese chloride, work better in lower temps, they are also more expensive.



Grand Traverse Bay officially frozen for 6th time in 20 years

2/16 - The Watershed Center in Grand Traverse County says Grand Traverse Bay is officially frozen over. The bay is considered frozen when West Bay freezes up to Power Island for at least 24 hours.

The thickness of the ice varies though. This is the sixth time in 20 years the bay has frozen over. The last time the bay froze was February 11 of last year, and it stayed that way for two weeks before thawing.

9 & 10 News


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 16

EDWIN H. GOTT sailed on her maiden voyage February 16, 1979, in ballast from Milwaukee, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. This was the first maiden voyage of a laker ever in mid-winter. She was in convoy with three of her fleet mates; CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE and JOHN G. MUNSON each needing assistance from the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW to break through heavy ice 12 to 14 inches thick the length of Lake Superior. The GOTT took part in a test project, primarily by U.S. Steel, to determine the feasibility of year around navigation.

JAMES E. FERRIS was launched February 16, 1910, as the ONTARIO (Hull#71) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

On February 16, 1977, a four-hour fire caused major damage to the crews' forward quarters aboard the W.W. HOLLOWAY while at American Ship Building's South Chicago yard.

February 16, 1939 - The state ferry CHIEF WAWATAM was fast in the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. She freed herself the next day and proceeded to St. Ignace.

The little tug JAMES ANDERSON burned on Long Lake near Alpena, Michigan, on the morning of 16 February 1883. Arson was suspected.

1943: WAR OSIRIS was built at Port Arthur, Ontario, now part of Thunder Bay, in 1918. It was mined and sunk as c) LISTO near Spodsbjerg, Denmark, while enroute from Larvik, Norway, to Emden, Germany, with iron ore.

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


Leonard Gabrysiak, survivor of Cedarville sinking, passes away

2/15 - Leonard Gabrysiak, 88, a survivor of the Cedarville sinking on May 7, 1965, passed away Feb. 13 at home in Rogers City, MI. He was a strong supporter of the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City as well as Rogers City and Great Lakes shipping.

The 600-foot Cedarville, of the Bradley Transportation Co. fleet, sank after an oceangoing Norwegian freighter, the Topdalsfjord, collided with it. According to the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council, the Cedarville remains on its starboard side, nearly broken in two, in 105 feet of water.

Gabrysiak, who was the wheelsman, recalls that the captain had trouble contacting the captain of the Norwegian freighter, which was in the vicinity.

"It hadn't anchored and we hadn't anchored, either," he told the Detroit Free Press in a 2015 interview. "We altered our course numerous times to get away from it, and we happened to get hit. The Norwegian ship backed off in the fog and that's the last I saw of it."

Gabrysiak said his crew dropped the anchor, but there was a sizable hole in the ship. Crew members rushed to cover it with collision tarp, but it wouldn't hold so they decided to try and beach the ship on shore.

"Suddenly the ship shuddered a little bit and started tipping to the side," he said. "The captain shut the engine off and I went out on the port side and it started to roll. ... The boat rolled right over and I got pulled down in the suction. I was down underwater and didn't think I was going to come back up."

A German ship was in the area and rescued the crewmembers who survived.

Gabrysiak said the water's temperature was only 37 degrees and doctors marveled at the fact he survived the incident. "I don't even remember how many days I was in the hospital," he said. "I was pretty banged up."

He is survived by his son, Leonard II, of Rogers City.

Friends may visit at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 9 a.m. through time of his memorial mass at 10 a.m. with Father Arthur Duchnowicz officiating. Rogers City VFW will offer a military tribute at church following mass. Arrangements are in care of the Beck Funeral Home.


Port Reports -  February 15

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared Goderich early Thursday morning for Milwaukee Wis. They were escorted out of port by the CCGS Samuel Risley who then headed downbound.

St. Clair River
The USCG Hollyhock got underway from her dock in Port Huron Thursday and headed upbound to escort Algoma Sault downbound through the river. They carefully cut a track in the ice, hoping not to disturb an ice bridge that had formed above buoys 1 & 2. The ice bridge is an ice formation that holds ice behind it, preventing large amounts of ice from breaking loose and heading down the St. Clair River. If the ice were to break loose it could clog the river, causing flooding and an even more difficult passage downbound. Algoma Sault and Leo A. MacArthur have been waiting to transit downbound to Detroit since Monday.

USCG Neah Bay had spent the past several days stopped at Algonac. Thursday she escorted the tug Leo A. MacArthur and her tank barge downbound through the lower St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair. USCG Hollyhock escorted the Algoma Sault downbound, with the CCGS Samuel Risley escorting the Algonova behind. All vessels had an uneventful trip down the river.

Detroit - Rouge River - Raymond H
The Algoma Sault arrived at the Motor City Materials dock to unload salt on Thursday. The Lee A MacCarthur/John J Carrick arrived at the Buckeye Terminal to unload.

Lake Erie
Algoscotia was docked at Nanticoke Thursday night, while Algosea was at anchor. CCGS Griffon was assisting Algocanada and Algoma Hansa eastbound through the Pelee Passage.


Condition analysis stirs new hope for Norisle

2/15 - Owen Sound, Ont. – There is perhaps a glimmer of hope on the horizon that the S.S. Norisle will sail again. The 215-foot ship that once transported passengers between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island and has spent the last 45 years moored at Manitowaning on the island, appeared destined to be scuttled as a dive site.

But in late December an analysis by members of the group that long tried to have the vessel saved as a heritage cruise ship, found that the hull of the ship was “in relatively sound condition,” according to the mayor of the Township of Assiginack, which owns the ship.

“Over the past number of years it hasn’t deteriorated at all hardly,” Mayor John Ham said Tuesday.

“The township, we were presented with an analysis report and a potential to move forward with the project, but the council has not made a firm decision on that one yet simply because they do not have enough information.”

Ham, who was elected mayor in last fall’s municipal elections, said council will wait for a detailed report from the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society (SSNSS) “to see exactly what is intended and where this project hopes to go.”

The SS Norisle, which covered the Tobermory to Manitoulin ferry route from 1947 until the Chi-Cheemaun took over in 1974, was purchased by Assiginack for $1 not long after it was taken out of service. The Norisle served as a floating museum and tourist attraction in Manitowaning for more than 30 years.

But the condition of the ship deteriorated, until more than a decade ago attempts began to have it restored as a heritage cruise ship. Eventually the SSNSS was formed, a memorandum of understanding was signed with Assiginack supporting the project. A number of initiatives moved forward, including preparation of the ship for drydock, removal of all non-ship related items for safe storage and fundraising initiatives.

Then in 2015, the township withdrew its support for a grant application to the Ministry of Tourism.

The SSNSS would bring a lawsuit against the township in 2016 and it was announced last fall that it had been settled, with a condition of the settlement being that the township would pay the SSNSS $45,000, equal to the amount the organization paid to have asbestos removed from the ship.

The township said in a news release in the fall that negotiations were underway to have the ship removed as soon as possible and confirmed that there had been talks with the Tobermory Maritime Association (TMA) to acquire the vessel.

Ham, who owns Henley Boats in Manitowaning, said he was with the team that originally retrieved the Norisle from Owen Sound and he has always considered the ship an important part of his community. He feels the Canadian and Ontario governments should take more interest in the shipping industry’s history on the Great Lakes, much like in Europe, where such vessels are preserved for the community to enjoy.

He commended the SSNSS for their perseverance to see the ship saved, but added that the township would not have the funds to tackle a project expected to cost in the millions of dollars.

He said if he had his way, he would like to see the ship make calls at Assiginack twice a week on an excursion that could include a trip around Manitoulin, down the Bruce Peninsula, into Owen Sound and around Georgian Bay.

“I think it would be a major tourist attraction,” Ham said. “I think if you went around and took a vote of all the municipal governments surrounding Georgian Bay they would all vote very much in support of doing something like that, but I know most of them aren’t in the position to throw any money at it.”

But Ham expects no decision to be made on the future of the ship until a report on it is received and council has a look at it.

“They may wish to sell it off, they may wish to put it in the hands of another entity and there could be other very interested parties out there that are keen on doing something with it,” said Ham.

The TMA had hoped to bring the Norisle to Tobermory and scuttle it as a dive site in Little Cove near the Niagara II, which was sunk there in 1999.

On Tuesday, TMA president Mike Marcotte said he was disappointed when he learned that the plan to turn the ship into a dive site may not happen, but added it would be nice to see the Norisle sail again.

Marcotte was not convinced that the funds to do such work could be found. “I put a lot of work into it and I will be sad if we can’t get it, but time will tell,” said Marcotte. “Everything comes to an end. The boat isn’t going to live forever, so if it is a few years down the road before we can move forward and put it in the museum, as I like to call it here, then we will have to wait.”

Originally Marcotte had hoped to bring the ship to Tobermory in the fall of this year and then scuttle the ship in the spring of 2020.

The TMA has already secured a permit from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but still needs a navigation permit from Transport Canada and permission from the Owen Sound Transportation Company to use the federal dock at Tobermory, Marcotte said. He expects to have discussions with Transport Canada shortly about the use of the dock.

Marcotte said he hasn’t had contact with anyone from Assiginack since last fall’s election. Since the TMA can’t move forward until the permits are secured, he has decided not to press the issue at this time.

The TMA will continue to explore future possibilities to make new divesites, and maintains seven moorings for five different divesites outside the Fathom Five National Marine Park, Marcotte said.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Tall Ships festival announces its first ship, and it's a 200-ton, three-mast beauty

2/15 - Green Bay, Wis. – Here's a sure sign that summer's coming: The tall ship announcements have started. The Santa Maria, a replica of the Spanish ships that traveled across the Atlantic Ocean in the 15th and 16th centuries, is the first ship revealed for Nicolet Bank Tall Ships from July 26 to 28 in Green Bay.

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

Nine historic vessels and the World's Largest Rubber Duck will be part of the festival, which will also include food vendors, a maritime marketplace, a children's area and entertainment and education stages by the Port of Green Bay. There will be fireworks on July 26.

After the three-day event in Green Bay, there will be a sail through Sturgeon Bay on July 29 and a sail past Algoma on July 30.

Tickets, including general admission and for excursions, go on sale at 11 a.m. March 15 at The Tall Ships festival was last in Green Bay in 2016 and was estimated to have a $4.4 million economic impact in Brown County.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 15

In 1961, HARRY R JONES, a.) D.G. KERR arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland, where she was cut up for scrap the same year.

1990: The tug LOIS T. was swamped while docked at Hamilton and sank in a storm. The vessel was pumped out, refloated and repaired. It now serves as the Port Colborne based tug CHARLIE E.

1993: BELLE ISLE, an SD-14 cargo carrier, visited the Seaway when new in 1971. It was sailing as g) VAST OCEAN when it reported in on this day as sailing on the Sea of Japan. It was never heard from again and disappeared with all hands on a voyage from Vanimo, Russia, to Shanghai, China.

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


More than half the Great Lakes are covered in ice, experts say

2/14 - Detroit, Mich. – Ice has blanketed more than 56 percent of the five Great Lakes as of Monday, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

The lab issued a report that found ice coverage is close to 35 percent on Lake Michigan, 60 percent on Lake Huron, close to 90 percent on Lake Erie, 70 percent on Lake Superior and about 20 percent on Lake Ontario. WLUC-TV reported that the amount of ice was more than normal for this time of the winter season and frigid temperatures in January and February significantly added to the ice coverage.

"You see the shelf ice close to the shoreline, but you have to remember that there is always moving ice underneath them and you have to be careful because if you do fall in there is no way to get out," Matt Zika, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the TV station.

A Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA) showed that water temperatures on the Great Lakes were 40 degrees and below.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  February 14

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator continued to load salt on Wednesday.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was docked at Nanticoke Wednesday night. Algosea, Algoscotia and Algoma Hansa remained at anchor. There were high winds in the area on Wednesday, with one vessel reporting 56-knot winds, gusting to 103.


Poor weather strands U.S. Coast Guard cutter

2/14 - Goderich, Ont. - (Feb. 8) – An ice cutter with the United States Coast Guard was docked in Goderich harbor last week because of 75-kilometre an hour winds.

The Hollyhock, a 225-foot-long cutter, attracted the attention of the public on Friday, and some residents were permitted to board the vessel to check it out. The Hollyhock was in the Goderich area to break ice to allow safe passage for vessels carrying loads of salt. The vessel is usually used as a Great Lakes bouy tender.

“Salt ships come from Goderich to Detroit and need a safe route to achieve this,” said Ensign Kevin Wetmore.

“While conducting this the wind increased to 40 knots which left us in need of a safe place to stay until the wind decreased.”

The Hollyhock is based out of Port Huron. Crew members said they conduct missions throughout the Great Lakes.

“We conduct operations throughout the Great Lakes frequently and there is never any issues between the U.S. and the Canadians,” said Wetmore.

“There are times when we will help them with a buoy, and in turn, they will help us.”

The ship’s crew consists of eight officers and 44 enlisted members. Their time in Goderich presented an opportunity to provide public tours of the vessel.

For two days The Hollyhock allowed curious Canadians to board and visit the officers’ quarters, the mess hall, the engine control room and the operations deck.

Members of the public were invited to tour the interior of the Hollyhock while it was docked in Goderich. Among them were members of the Killbourne family. Daniel Caudle / Postmedia Network

“This ship is really big and I’ve never seen this before,” remarked Lincoln Kilbourne, who was excused from school to attend the tour. Crew members embraced the chance to spend the night in Goderich, a place many said they had never visited.

“We had the opportunity to see Canada’s prettiest town, which I don’t think anyone on board had visited before,” said Wetmore. The Hollyhock was to depart Goderich once favorable conditions returned.

Goderich Signal Star


Coast Guard icebreaking support for commercial vessels in Goderich

2/14 - Goderich, Ont. - (Feb. 8) – The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley worked in severe ice conditions on eastern Lake Huron this week to ensure a cargo ship could safely reach the port of Goderich.

Recent extreme cold temperatures combined with strong and gale force westerly winds created very heavy ice conditions. Rough estimates have the ice field from three to seven feet deep.

Icebreaking was necessary over the course of several days.

Signe Gotfredsen, commanding officer of CCGS Samuel Risley reported that with persistence and information gathered from the air, from a Canadian Coast Guard helicopter, they were able to complete this challenging icebreaking mission.

“Early Monday afternoon, with an open water lead that developed between two large shifting ice plates, we used this opportunity to widen a path that allowed for the safe passage of the cargo ship into Goderich,” added Captain Gotfredsen.

The Goderich-based tug Escort broke out the harbour and entrance channel. Coast Guard Icebreaking on the Great Lakes is delivered in close cooperation between the Canadian and United States Coast Guards and industry.

The United States Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock is now working on Lake Huron to continue ice-breaking operations.

Goderich Signal Star


Waukegan's popular 'lighthouse pier' lined up for an extreme makeover

2/14 - Waukegan – From the boat launch all the way out to the lighthouse, Waukegan Harbor’s south pier — known bureaucratically as the “government pier,” but to locals as the “lighthouse pier” — extends more than a half-mile out into Lake Michigan.

If you haven’t enjoyed that walk on a calm, sunny day almost any time of year, put it on your list. If you have, you know about the pier’s many characteristics, from the holes used to anchor fishing poles to the rocks that form works of art along the south side of the breakwall.

The view from the eastern tip, in the shadow of the lighthouse, delivers a pocket of calm beyond the noise of the city. Walking back toward the harbor, the postcard sight of the boat slips stands against the towers on the bluff and the remaining industrial silos to illustrate the history of Waukegan.

The pier is one of the great public amenities in not just Waukegan, but Lake County as a whole. But, as with most man-made structures, there comes a time when nature starts to reclaim its territory to a point where something has to be done.

That point was reached a while ago. Along with the charming features mentioned above, the eastern half of the lighthouse pier is a minefield of fractured concrete and exposed rebar. In a city wrestling to balance its books and repair aging infrastructure, the casual visitor might think this is just another post-industrial reality that will stubbornly remain as-is.

Fortunately, as the above-mentioned “government pier” title might imply, the facility is under the umbrella of the federal government — and the good news is that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to cover a renovation that will wipe away all that damaged concrete.

According to a report before the Waukegan City Council last week by Waukegan Port District General Manager Joe Seidelmann, taxpayers can thank rising lake levels for the Corps having the available funds to do the job — which will cost about $1.6 million.

The lighthouse at the end of what is formally known as the "government pier" in Waukegan Harbor sits more than a half-mile out from the Lake Michigan shore. (Dan Moran/News-Sun).

“Last year, there was a surplus of funding because of the lake level being up, and they did not have to dredge as much sand (out of the harbor entrance),” Seidelmann said. “They were able to redo the concrete on the north pier (in 2017) near the public beach.

“This year, due to a surplus of funding due to the lake level continuing to rise, the Corps of Engineers is going to finally take care of the concrete problem on the (south) pier of that channel.”

Read more and view photos at this link:


Cuyahoga River Ambassador Program aims to keep paddlers safe

2/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – Oh CRAP, here comes a freighter! The first-ever volunteer Cuyahoga River Ambassador Program will patrol the Cuyahoga this summer in kayaks and paddleboards, to warn paddlers when freighters are coming and teach them to stay safe.

The Cleveland Metroparks, Nalu Paddle & Surf, the Foundry and Phastar Corp. are organizing the group of two dozen volunteers. They’re embracing the acronym, too, with plans for cheeky T-shirts.

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

Cleveland last summer painted NO DOCKING signs on 10 safety zones in the river. Students at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School paced the river on a boat, handing out literature with safety tips.

“Our interactions last year could have gone better if we were in a kayak,” said Drew Ferguson, founder of Phastar, the Northeast Ohio aviation non-profit that provides the aerospace and marine instruction at Davis. Phastar has applied for grants to cover volunteer training in CPR and first aid and equipment, including radios and maybe paddlecraft. They will work weekends and holiday shifts, entering the river from Whiskey Island or around Rivergate Park.

The ambassadors will solve one of the major issues discussed by the Cuyahoga River Safety Task Force – educating casual river users. “From a paddling stand point, I don’t think people are doing it intentionally,” said Bill Cochrane, owner of Nalu surf shop. “They just don’t know any better.”

Tim McKenna, director of facilities and operations for the Foundry, which teaches youth rowing and sailing, said 20 rowing coaches could also help with the program. Paddlers and boaters need to know the dangers of the river and the freighters.

“This is not Mohican,” he said, referencing the state park. “You can’t get your cooler full of beer and float around.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, email Drew Ferguson at

Read more at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 14

MESABI MINER (Hull#906) was launched on this day in 1977, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. becoming the fourth 1,000-foot bulk carrier on the Great Lakes and Interlake's second. She had been built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $45.1 million.

Ford Motor Co., looking to expand its fleet, purchased the JOSEPH S. WOOD, a.) RICHARD M. MARSHALL on February 14, 1966, for $4.3 million and renamed her c.) JOHN DYKSTRA. In 1983, she was renamed d.) BENSON FORD. Renamed e.) US.265808, in 1985, she was scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1987.

On February 14, 1973, the LEADALE’s forward cabins burned during winter lay-up at Hamilton, Ontario and were later repaired. Built in 1910, at Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#77) as a,) HARRY YATES, for the American Steamship Co. renamed b.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1934, c.) FRED A. MANSKE in 1958 and d.) LEADALE in 1962. Scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1979.

1997: The SD 14 cargo ship PATRICIA M. was a Seaway trader in 1974 and returned as c) SELATAN in 1991. It was sailing as d) NIKA II when it stranded on a breakwall near Veracruz, Mexico, while inbound, in ballast, to load sugar. The hull was refloated on March 8, towed to an anchorage and declared a total loss. It was broken up for scrap at Tuxpan, Mexico, beginning on April 27, 1997.

2000: ZAFIRO, a Seaway trader in 1984, sank as d) ZAFIR off Calabria, Italy, after a collision with the ESPRESSO CATANIA while carrying 6000 tons of cement clinker. Thirteen sailors were lost or missing.

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


Port Reports -  February 13

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator was at the salt dock on Tuesday.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was docked at Nanticoke Tuesday night. Algosea, Algoscotia and Algoma Hansa were at anchor.


Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor extends Federal Marine Terminals as stevedore

2/13 - The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor has renewed its contract with the stevedore Federal Marine Terminals through 2023.

Since 1999, Montreal-based FMT has unloaded and loaded steel, wind turbine blades, beer tanks, forest products, breakbulk cargo and heavy lift cargo including the Icarus, the world's largest liquid argon particle hunter that was shipped from Europe to the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont in 2017.

"FMT has been a vital collaborator with the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor since 1999," Port Director Ian Hirt said. "This consolidated operating agreement underscores FMT's commitment to the greater Northwest Indiana and Chicago markets."

Spun off from Fednav Limited, Federal Marine Terminals handles bulk, specialized and general cargoes along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The stevedore has 12 facilities along the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes, including at the 49-year-old deepwater port on Lake Michigan in Burns Harbor and Portage.

"FMT is solidifying our commitment to the port and our customers by investing in our fleet of equipment at Burns Harbor," said Matthew McPhail, FMT's vice president of sales and marketing. "FMT has recently ordered a new crane and we are bringing in a second crane to accompany it. FMT strives to meet the needs of all its customers, regardless of shipment size. Our ability to handle large-dimensional cargo is due to our safety-conscious staff, our modern equipment and the facilities the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor provides."

Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor decided to extend the long-term stevedore's contract after a record amount of cargo passed through Indiana's port system in 2018, the most since the state's port authority was founded in 1961. The three-port system, which also includes two ports on the Ohio River on Indiana's southern border, handled 14.8 million tons of cargo last year, 25 percent more than the previous year and 21 percent more than the previous annual record in 2015.

NW Indiana Times


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 13

POINTE NOIRE was launched February 13, 1926, as a.) SAMUEL MATHER (Hull#792) at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

February 13, 1897 - PERE MARQUETTE (later named PERE MARQUETTE 15) arrived in Ludington on her maiden voyage, with Captain Joseph "Joe" Russell in command.

1941: The first WESTCLIFFE HALL, overseas to assist in the war effort, was damaged when hit by a bomb while two miles off Whitby High Light. The ship was repaired and returned to the Great Lakes after the war. It last sailed as b) WHEATON in the Misener fleet before scrapping at Hamilton in 1965-1966.

1973: MITERA MARIA loaded street cars on deck during a Great Lakes visit to Toronto in August 1967. The ship sustained fire damage in the engineroom at Karachi, Pakistan, as d) MARBELLA and sold for scrap. The 25-year old vessel was broken up at Gadani Beach in 1974.

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


Two Great Lakes levels could hit record, forecast finds

2/12 - Detroit, MI – Great Lakes water levels will be higher than normal, and some may approach record levels, for the summer boating season, according to the latest forecast of Great Lakes water levels issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Lake Superior is already near record high levels and by May could reach a record that was set in the mid-1980s, according to a six-month forecast. Lake Erie could reach record highs in late spring as well. Lakes Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair won't break records but are expected to be above normal, the Army Corps predicts.

Higher levels can mean more erosion, less beach and less room to pass under bridges. They also could mean more clearance from underwater obstacles and help prevent the need for costly dredging of harbors.

Lake levels, dependent on precipitation and evaporation, have recovered substantially from January 2013, when Lakes Huron-Michigan set record lows.

Lake Superior is just 2 inches below its record high February level and Lake Erie is 7 inches below its record this month, according to the Corps.

The above-normal lake levels are happening despite the Great Lakes area getting below average rain in January and December.

The Detroit News


Grosse Ile Lighthouse damaged by ice piled up in Detroit River

2/12 - Grosse Ile, Mich. – Shifting ice on the Detroit River has caused damage to the foundation and a railing at the Grosse Ile Lighthouse. According to the Grosse Ile Historical Society’s Facebook page, the damaged was noticed last week when a resident saw piles of ice had come ashore.

The lighthouse was built in 1906 and has been deactivated since 1963. Tours of the lighthouse are still given, but you must be accompanied by someone from the historical society.

As a result of the damage, a committee has launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the historical society which is seeking $75,000. However, it does not appear all the money sought would be used strictly for the repairs. The campaign also lists preventative measure to stop ice from coming ashore again, a new paint job, window and door repair and more as possible uses for the funds.

See photos at this link


Port Reports -  February 12

Straits of Mackinac
The USCG Katmai Bay and Algoma Innovator resumed their trip east bound on Monday morning. Once through the Straits, the Innovator continued down Lake Huron for Goderich while the Katmai Bay stopped in Mackinaw City.

Goderich, Ont.
The CCGS Samuel Risley was waiting at Goderich Monday for the Algoma Innovator. The Risley broke out the harbor and then headed down the lake. She was downbound past Sarnia Monday night.

St. Clair River
On Monday, the tug Leo J. McArthur and tank barge John M. Carrick and the Algoma Sault started down the St. Clair River and had planned to stop in the lower river and wait for ice escort. By early afternoon the pair had passed Marine City when Sarnia Traffic informed them ice escort would not be available until Tuesday morning. McArthur/Carrick anchored below the Salt Dock in Marine City while the Sault turned and headed upbound to anchor below Recors Point in St. Clair. Both are bound for Detroit.

Lake Erie
Algocanada was unloading Monday. Algosea, Algoscotia were at anchor off Port Dover. Algoma Hansa was headed back to Sarnia.


Coast guard's $227M ships rock 'like crazy,' making crews seasick, unable to work

2/12 - Canada's $227-million fleet of mid-shore coast guard vessels are rolling "like crazy" at sea, making crews seasick and keeping some ships in port during weather conditions where they should be able to operate, CBC News has learned.

Some of these vessels are stationed at Great Lakes and Seaway ports. Canadian Coast Guard records and correspondence obtained under federal access to information legislation raise questions about the patrol vessels' seagoing capability and reveal a two-year debate — still unresolved — on how to address the problem.

At issue is the lack of stabilizer fins — blades that stick out from the hull to counteract the rolling motion of waves — on nine Hero class ships that were built by the Irving Shipyard in Halifax between 2010 and 2014.

The problem is reportedly so bad that a trip along the West Coast required one Fisheries and Oceans Canada supervisor in B.C. to place rolled up jackets under the outer edge of his bunk to keep him pinned against the wall instead of being tossed out by the amount of roll in the ship.

"It goes without saying that the crew [is] in favour of [stabilizers]," wrote supervisor Mike Crottey. "Seasickness is felt both by conservation and protection and coast guard personnel and has an impact on vessel operation."

The coast guard decided it did not need stabilizers when the ships were being built, but has been considering retrofitting them since 2017 amid criticism from commanding officers and others who serve on board.

Crottey said that in exposed water, the skipper of the CCGS M. Charles sets a weather course to "keep the ship from really rocking around," which can result in more fuel consumption and increased operating costs. "This course is based on the swell and the wind direction and is used [to] alleviate excessive ship motion and not based on the shortest distance to destination," Crottey wrote.

The vessels, which are 42 metres long and seven metres wide, are known as the Hero class since each is named after an exemplary military, RCMP, Canadian Coast Guard or DFO officer. Their primary mission is fisheries enforcement and maritime security in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ships also provide search and rescue and pollution control.

The coast guard denies there is any problem with the safety and stability of the fleet. However, in a March 2017 "configuration change request" to have stabilizers installed, coast guard project manager David Wyse described "an increased hazard of crew injuries and program failures.

"All vessel operators agree the Hero class vessels require stabilizers in all area of operation," Wyse wrote. "Program operations can suffer [due] to the fact that the vessels have extreme roll in high sea state conditions."

More than a year later, in May 2018, Wyse relayed an unidentified at-sea testimonial: "I'm rolling 15 degrees port and starboard (30 degrees total) out here today and the winds are less than 10 knots and seas are less than one metre. We need to make this platform more workable."

Read more at this link


New café to open at Great Lakes Maritime Center

2/12 - Port Huron, Mich. – When the Maritime Center at Vantage Point reopens for the season this spring, visitors will be able to get a different taste of downtown Port Huron while they watch freighters. Kate’s Downtown owner Kate Voss is opening another daytime café spot in the center in March and plans to give local foodies a new menu of options.

And the name of the second venue? The Boathouse by Kate's.

“We’re going to have pastries and some coffee and some fun nautical-themed drinks,” she said. “Some cool stuff for the kids. I’m really into plating and presentation. So, I want to make the kids’ sandwiches look like they’re sailboats with the triangle, a little mast, a strawberry sail. Maybe some goldfish crackers at the bottom of the plate. You know, something the kid’s going to get excited about.”

Vantage Point, including the Great Lakes Maritime Center, is one of the properties along the river listed for sale by Acheson Ventures. In addition, Acheson is looking to sell several acres of land along the river south of Vantage Point, the Seaway Terminal and Bean Dock and several other buildings along Military Street.

The Boathouse’s first day of business is expected to be March 11. Acheson Ventures owns the Maritime Center, which also opens that month.

Mike Delong, vice president of operations at Acheson, said the owners of the Waterfront Deli, the last establishment in the center, moved south. “There wasn’t anything wrong; we loved their service,” he said. “But for family reasons and retirement, they moved south.”

He said it was important they worked with another local business to fill the spot.

Voss is entering into a one-year lease there. And while they want the venture to succeed, Delong said businesses there are also briefed on one point, like all Acheson’s other riverfront properties in that area, the Maritime Center is technically listed for sale. “We’re not there yet. That’s why we go year by year,” Delong said. “We’re trying different things and trying to get other developers into the property. We don’t do anything long term because things could change.”

But of the Boathouse, he said, “They’ll be there all season, and hopefully after that, many more.”

Voss said she understands those circumstances, but opening another spot has been something she’s thought about for a while.

“I was looking in St. Clair when the St. Clair Inn was going to be opening. I thought that might be a good avenue, but it was all just pipe dreams, really,” she said. “It was really just me putting it out to the universe if I could do it. But this makes so much more sense because it’s so close. I can be at both locations, hopping back and forth each day, which would’ve been very hard if I were in St. Clair.”

Times Herald


ISMA announces winners of 2019 Freighter Trip Raffle

2/12 - International Shipmasters’ Association Grand Lodge President Capt. Mark Mather had announced the winners of the 2019 Grand Traverse Lodge 23 freighter trip raffle. Sandie Young of Madison Heights, MI, won the 2019 car ferry Badger round trip for 2. Ron Moss of Springsport, MI, won the round trip for 2 on the VanEnkevort ATB Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader, and Bruce Morrison of Port Huron, MI, won the Interlake Steamship Co. trip for 4.

Capt. Mark Mather


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 12

RED WING was launched February 12, 1944, as a.) BOUNDBROOK (Hull#335) at Chester, Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., a T2-SE-A1 Ocean Tanker. She was renamed b.) IMPERIAL EDMONTON in 1947. In 1959, she was brought to Port Weller Drydocks for conversion to a bulk freighter for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., renamed c.) RED WING. Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1987.

1965: MARGIT, a Danish vessel, came inland in 1964 for one trip. It suffered an explosion and fire in the engine room about 1,000 miles southwest of Honolulu on a voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Calcutta, India, and had to be abandoned. Three members of the crew were killed and the ship was burning fiercely when last seen. The drifting hull later grounded at Wotje Atoll, Marshall Islands, and was found, still burning, on March 11, 1965. The ship was a total loss.

1975: E.B. BARBER was in winter quarters at Port Colborne when a fire broke out in the engine room. Local fire fighters contained and extinguished the blaze.

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


Port Reports -  February 11

Lake Michigan
Sunday the Algoma Innovator was eastbound through the Straits of Mackinac escorted by USCG Katmai Bay. That stopped for the night west of the Mackinaw Bridge.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Sault was at the salt dock on Sunday. USCG Hollyhock had been on scene performing ice escort. They were relieved by the CCGS Samuel Risley Sunday afternoon and headed back to their dock in Port Huron. Sunday night about 9 p.m. the Algoma Sault was outbound under escort of the CCGS Samuel Risley and tug Escorte.

Lake Erie
Algoscotia was leaving Nanticoke Sunday night. Algosea, Algocanada and Algoma Hansa were at anchor off Port Dover.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 11

On 11 February 1994, the tug MARY E. HANNAH and an empty fuel barge became trapped in the ice in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. The vessels were freed by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter NEAH BAY and the Canadian Coast Guard ship SAMUEL RISLEY.

NIXON BERRY was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap on in 1970, she was the former a.) MERTON E. FARR.

BEN W. CALVIN (Hull#388) was launched in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The keel was laid for ROY A. JODREY (Hull#186) on February 11, 1965, at Collingwood, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. The tanker IMPERIAL CORNWALL was retired on February 11, 1971.

Albert Edgar Goodrich, the founder of the Goodrich Steamboat Line, was born in Hamburg, New York, near Buffalo on 11 February 1826.

February 11, 1918 - Amid blasts of whistles from nearby ships and factories and the cheers of several hundreds of people, the cargo steamer Asp was launched at the Polson Iron Works. Fears that the launching could not be carried out because of the thickness of the ice proved unfounded. Gangs of men cut away the ice barrier and at 3:20 the vessel slipped easily into the water without any mishap. Curiosity was aroused when one of the ice cutters found a three-foot alligator frozen just under the surface of the ice. Whether or not it escaped from some sailor or from the local zoo is not known.

1987: UNILUCK first came through the Seaway in 1977. The vessel was sailing as b) TINA when it reported water entering the engine room and cargo holds in the Sula Sea off the Philippines. The crew said they were abandoning the ship but no trace of them or their vessel was ever found.

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


Sale sinks cruise ship visits to Duluth this year

2/10 - Duluth. MN – Duluth will need to wait at least another year to welcome its next load of cruise ship passengers. The city had been scheduled to receive two visits in 2019 from the Victory II, a member of the Victory Cruise Lines fleet. But a change of ownership resulted in a change of plans.

The American Queen Steamboat Co. recently acquired the Victory cruise line and soon after announced that it would cancel all Lake Superior cruises this year. When contacted Thursday, an American Queen public relations representative said the company would release a statement regarding the cancellation, but the company has yet to respond.

Although she was admittedly disappointed to hear the news, Kate Ferguson, director of trade and business development for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said American Queen's decision to suspend Lake Superior cruising in 2019 is understandable.

"I think with any ownership change, they had to review what was on the books and see what they were comfortable with. And they want a chance to create their own Lake Superior itinerary," she said. "So, they are continuing to look towards the future of coming to Lake Superior... But with the change of ownership happening in January of this year, they aren't prepared to do that in 2019, Ferguson said.

The now-canceled MC Victory II visit would have marked the return of cruise ship traffic to Duluth after a six-year hiatus. The most recent cruise vessels to call on the city were the Yorktown in 2013, the Columbus in 2011 and the Clelia II in 2010.

To accommodate the MC Victory II and future cruise ships, Duluth was preparing to set up a cruise ship terminal, equipped with the necessary systems for international visitors to clear U.S. Customs. Funding for the proposed facility was to have come in the form of $50,000 from the Duluth Economic Development Authority, $25,000 from the city of Duluth and $10,000 from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, according to Heather Rand, DEDA's former executive director.

Ferguson said local support for the project has not wavered, despite recent developments. "We continue to march ahead," she said.

"We can continue our preparations for the interest that we're seeing in 2020. We don't have anything confirmed yet, but there has been much stronger interest in 2020. We already knew that. The momentum was building. But this just gives us more time," she said.

The recent setback has not dimmed Ferguson's confidence that Duluth will emerge as a popular cruise ship destination. "The partners here are on Lake Superior are working closely with American Queen Steamboat Co. to help them develop an itinerary for the future that they're comfortable with. Whether that be 2020 or beyond, we are working with them," she said.

But American Queen isn't the only prospect Duluth officials are pursuing. "There are several other cruise lines that are plying the Great Lakes right now with their vessels. So, we continue to converse with those cruise lines and work with them on their potential future operations on Lake Superior, as well," Ferguson said.

"Of course it's a disappointment, but we're really still very optimistic about cruising on Lake Superior. The demand for Great Lakes cruising is nothing but strong. So, we're looking forward to the future and what it holds for Duluth," she said.

Duluth News Tribune


Cleveland-Cliffs: Possible Restart at Empire Mine

2/10 - Cleveland-Cliffs is looking at supplementing their pellet supply, as they eventually feed their new HBI plant in Toledo. And one of those ways, would be to restart the idled Empire Mine in Michigan. It was idled in 2016.

CEO Lourenco Goncalves said, "We still have a few i's to dot and a few t's to cross. But I'm very pleased to inform for the first time, that we are close to announcing the resurgence of Empire. It's great news for Michigan and for the great people of Michigan."

He said it could be an investment of $600 million dollars over the course of three years. The potential pellet capacity would be around 3.2-3.5 million tons. He also said it would take three years to get down to the ore that they need.

The other opportunity for more pellets would be the Nashwauk property, which Cliffs owns part of. Goncalves praised Governor Tim Walz for taking action to bar Essar from doing business with the state of Minnesota. "As soon as this virus is eradicated from Minnesota, we are ready to step in and take care of Nashwauk."

Cliffs plans on increasing the capacity of their new HBI facility in Toledo. Construction is underway, with the expectation to see the briquettes in mid 2020. "We have 350 people on-site now, with 900 expected this summer," Goncalves updated on the call.

DR grade pellets from Northshore Mining in Silver Bay will feed the plant. The company plans on investing $40 million dollars into that project in 2019, according to their earnings statement.

Goncalves added that the unions and USW have been great partners, through the company transformation. Also, the former U.S. Iron Ore segment is now "Mining and Pelletizing."



Port Reports -  February 10

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator departed Milwaukee after unloading salt and was headed back up the lake on Saturday evening.

Goderich, Ont.
Algoma Sault was at the salt dock on Saturday.

Lake Erie
Algosea and Algocanada were eastbound on Lake Erie Saturday evening for Nanticoke. Algoscotia was anchored off that port.


Buy a castle for $495,000 on island in St. Lawrence River

2/10 - There's a majestic estate standing on the tip of Carleton Island near Cape Vincent in the Thousand Islands. Its beauty and grandeur still shine although you can see the years of neglect eating away at the structure.

Before the famous Boldt Castle and Singer Castle were built on the islands, there was Carleton Island Villa built in 1894. Also known as Wyckoff castle, the home has not been lived-in for more than 70 years. Although set behind a barbed wire fence, its once Gilded Age glory continues to fascinate those cruising nearby on the waters.

The Villa is currently on the market for $495,000, according to listing agent Barry Kukowski of Howard Hanna. He says it will probably cost $10 to $12 million to rebuild.

The story behind this mansion starts out like an American dream, but ends tragically.

William O. Wyckoff was born on his father's farm in the town of Lansing of Tompkins County. He attended public schools and the Ithaca Academy. He studied law but quit during the Civil War. He joined 32nd N.Y. Inf., going in as a private and rising to the rank of captain. After the war, he graduated from Ames Business College in Syracuse and was later appointed as an official stenographer for the New York State Supreme Court Sixth Judicial District. He was one of the founders of the York State Stenographers Association.

Wyckoff made his fortune helping the Remington Arms Company develop a market for the typewriter.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 10

UHLMANN BROTHERS was launched February 10, 1906, as a.) LOFTUS CUDDY (Hull#341) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. The MARKHAM (Twin Screw Hopper Suction Dredge) was delivered February 10, 1960, to the Army Corps of Engineers at Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1998, The Ludington Daily News reported that a private investment group (later identified as Hydrolink) was planning to start cross-lake ferry service from Muskegon, Michigan to Milwaukee running two high-speed ferries.

On 10 February 1890, NYANZA (wooden propeller freighter, 280 foot, 1,888 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (Hull #63) in W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. In 1916, she was renamed LANDBO and she lasted until abandoned in 1920.

In 1975, a fire onboard CRISPIN OGLEBAY a.) J.H. HILLMAN JR of 1943, caused $100,000 damage to the conveyor and tunnel while she was laid up at Toledo. The forward end of CRISPIN OGLEBAY is now ALGOMA TRANSFER (C.323003).

1973: The CUNARD CAVALIER was launched at Seville, Spain. It first appeared on the lakes in 1978.

1981: A pair of former Seaway traders collided in the Mediterranean off Algiers and one sank. The FEDDY had been inland as b) SUNSEA in 1969, c) SAGA SAILOR in 1971 and as d) ELLY in 1976. It went to the bottom with the loss of 32 lives. This ship had been enroute from Boston to Volos, Italy, with a cargo of scrap steel. The second vessel, SOUNION, survived. It had been to the Great Lakes as a) SUGAR CRYSTAL in 1968 and was back as b) SOUNION in 1979. It sailed until scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, following arrival as c) MED VITORIA on April 17, 1993.

1982: TEXACO BRAVE (ii) was pushed off course by the ice and current and struck the bridge crossing the St. Lawrence at Quebec City damaging a mast and the radar. The vessel still sails as d) ALGOEAST.

1984: Scrapping of the Italian freighter b) VIOCA got underway at La Spezia, Italy. The ship made 8 trips through the Seaway as a) BAMBI from 1959 to 1964.

1984: The AEGIS FURY arrived at Shanghai, China, for scrapping as e) WELL RUNNER. The ship first came to the Great Lakes in 1972.

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


Plans for museum ship Norgoma still under wraps

2/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The deadline has gone by and the city staff has not received any word from the St. Mary’s River Marine Centre board on what it plans to do with the M.S. Norgoma.

City council gave the volunteer board until Feb. 1 to come up with a plan to move the Norgoma from the Bondar Marina this spring. Tom Vair, the city’s deputy CAO of community development and enterprise services, said the Feb. 1 council-imposed deadline has past and the city has not received any word from the Norgoma’s board. “We will have to set up a meeting with them to discuss next steps,” Vair said.

St. Mary’s River Marine Centre president Louis Muio said the board is making “progress” and city officials will be provided details shortly. “I can’t tell you what we’re going to do until I tell the city first,” he said.

The board has been busy looking for a new location to dock the ship and continue using it as a marina and as a host for events and activities. The board sought – but was refused – approval to dock the ship on Conservation Authority property adjacent to the former hospitals. A license of occupation permit the authority has with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does not permit the Norgoma to be stored on it.

The Norgoma’s board also explored options at Parks Canada and the Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and the Canadian Bushplane Museum Heritage Centre. Earlier reports also indicated Parks Canada couldn’t entertain the request.

“We have one other iron in the fire as well,” Muio said.

He admits that finding a location for the ship was much more difficult than originally anticipated. “We expected more positive responses, but we quickly learned that it was difficult for something that large,” he said. “But we haven’t given up.”

Limited funds mean the ship can’t be moved very far because of high costs, he said. The board is banking on the city’s information that the ship will float with higher water levels and dredging won’t be necessary. “If it hits bottom, it’s extremely expensive to dredge and that could be the end of it,” he said.

Muio says any dredging costs should be incurred by the city because they want the ship out of Roberta Bondar Marina. The Norgoma was raised at city council’s budget deliberations as councillors were pondering an $800,000 cost to replace the docking system at the marina. Council was told the new docks would not be rebuilt until the Norgoma was moved from its current location.

Mayor Christian Provenzano told city council the decision has already been made by the former council – that the ship would be moved this spring.

Muio said the Norgoma has attracted a strong following in recent years, partly because of its improved aesthetics and because of events and activities that have taken place on board and around the ship.

Norgoma was acquired by the city in 1975 and has been located at the Roberta Bondar Marina since 1994. The 185-foot-long vessel served as a means of transportation between Owen Sound, Ont., and Sault Ste. Marie, and a car ferry between Tobermory and South Maymouth. It’s considered one of the last surviving ships from that era.

In more recent years, the museum ship has struggled to survive on the city’s downtown waterfront. But, a new board of directors that has taken over operations has injected new life into the operation. Visitor numbers, activities and revenues have all increased but the efforts do not have the support of the majority of city council.

The Sault Star


Algoma announces resignation of CEO, and names Ruhl new CEO

2/9 - St. Catherines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation has announced that Ken Bloch Soerensen has resigned as president and CEO to spend more time with his family in Europe. Gregg A. Ruhl, the current CEO, has been named president and CEO and will assume that role immediately.

Soerensen joined Algoma in April 2015 and was charged with redefining the strategic focus of the company to include growth markets beyond North America. He led the development of the global short sea business and spearheaded the creation of the NovaAlgoma partnership. During his tenure, Algoma’s international business grew to represent nearly one half of the revenue streams in which the company participates.

Ruhl joined Algoma in November of 2015 as senior vice-president, technical and became CEO in 2017. He has over 30 years experience in the transportation industry, including 20 years in marine transportation. Prior to joining Algoma, Ruhl was managing director of CN’s marine divisions. Currently, he has commercial responsibility for Algoma’s domestic businesses, as well as oversight of its operations both domestically and globally.

Business Wire


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 9

EAGLESCLIFFE, loaded with 3,500 tons of grain, sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas on February 9, 1983, after the hull had fractured from a grounding the previous day. She began taking on water in her forward end en route to Galveston. To save her the captain ran her into shallow water where she settled on the bottom in 20 feet of water with her bridge and boat deck above water. All 16 crewmembers and one dog were rescued. She was built for the Hall Corp. of Canada in 1957 at Grangemouth, Scotland as a.) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1973.

The ALEXANDER LESLIE was launched February 9, 1901, as a.) J T HUTCHINSON (Hull # 405) at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The HOMER D. WILLIAMS suffered extensive fire damage to her side plating and forward lower cabins during her lay-up at Toledo, Ohio on February 9, 1971. The fire was started by a spark from welding that caused the tarpaulins stored in the hold to catch fire.

February 9, 1995 - The founder of Lake Michigan Carferry, Charles Conrad, died at the age of 77.

In 1899, JOHN V. MORAN (wooden propeller package freighter, 214 foot, 1,350 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull#44) was cut by the ice and developed a severe leak during a mid-winter run on Lake Michigan. The iron passenger/package freight steamer NAOMI rescued the crew from the sinking vessel. The MORAN was last seen on the afternoon of 12 February 1899, drifting with the ice about 20 miles off Muskegon, Michigan. She was a combination bulk and package freighter with hatches in her flanks as well as on her deck.

1964: The Collingwood built tug PUGWASH (Hull 85 - 1930) was torn from its moorings at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The vessel drifted out to sea and sank.

2009: The SONATA suffered engine failure in the Gulf of Finland and had to be towed to Talinn, Estonia, for repairs. It was arrested there, sold at auction and broken up for scrap locally. The ship had been a Great Lakes visitor first as c) RENTALA in 1988 and was back as d) MARY W. in 1990 and f) LANGESUND in 2000.

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


Army engineers release projected water levels in Great Lakes

2/8 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the forecasted water levels for all the Great Lakes. According to the Army Corps, all the lakes are above their long-term average for December and January.

The forecast shows lakes Superior and Erie have a small chance of reaching or breaking their record highs in the spring or early summer.

View charts at this link:



Port Reports -  February 8

Goderich – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator left Goderich for Milwaukee with salt on Thursday. Algoma Sault took her place at the salt dock Thursday evening. USCG Hollyhock was working in Goderich harbor to clear ice.

Lake St. Clair
USCG Morro Bay was assisting the tug Leo A. McArthur and her tank barge on Thursday night. They are headed for Windsor.

Detroit River
Thursday morning the tanker Iver Bright cleared Detroit upbound for Sarnia. They were followed by the Algoma Sault who cleared the Rouge River with assistance from the tug Illinois. The Sault fueled at Sterling before heading upbound. CCGS Samuel Risley was stopped in Windsor.


Buy tickets now for rare tour of White Shoal Light

2/8 - The White Shoal Light will be open to the public for the first time in its 109-year history beginning July 22. Proceeds from tours go directly toward restoration. Purchase tickets now at White Shoal Light is located 20 miles due West of the Mackinac Bridge.

White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 8

While in lay-up on February 8, 1984, a fire broke out in WILLIAM G. MATHER's after accommodations killing a vagrant from Salt Lake City, Utah, who started the fire that caused considerable damage to the galley.

On 8 February 1902, ETRURIA (steel propeller freighter, 414 foot, 4,653 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull#604). She was built for the Hawgood Transit Company of Cleveland but only lasted three years. She sank in 1905, after colliding with the steamer AMASA STONE in the fog off Presque Isle Light in Lake Huron.

1983: EAGLESCLIFFE sank in shallow water at Galveston, Texas, while carrying a cargo of cattle freed for Tampico, Mexico. The ship developed hull cracks and subsequently broke in two during an August 1983 hurricane. The canal sized bulk carrier operated on the Great Lakes as a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL (ii) from 1956 through 1971 and went south in 1974.

1990: LE SAULE NO. 1 received a hole in the bow after striking the Yamachiche Beacon in the Lake St. Peter area of the St. Lawrence and went to Sorel for lay-up. The damage was later repaired at Les Mechins.

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


American Spirit’s horn creates ruckus in Superior

2/7 - Superior, Wis. – If you heard a loud noise coming from Superior's East End on Tuesday night, you weren’t alone. “The air horn on the American Spirit, docked behind McDonalds on E. 2nd St. at 21st Ave. E., is malfunctioning,” the Superior Police Department reported on Facebook. “We are working on finding a speedy resolution to the issue.” Police announced around 9 p.m. that the horn had been shut off. Witnesses said the sound could be heard for miles.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  February 7

Lake Huron
Algoma Innovator was still loading salt at Goderich on Wednesday.

St. Clair River – Marc Dease
Frontenac arrived at the elevator Feb. 4.

Detroit-River Rouge – Raymond H
Iver Bright arrived at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal Wednesday afternoon to unload. Algoma Sault arrived later, calling on the Motor City Materials dock to unload salt.


Transport Canada announces intent to merge Hamilton, Oshawa port authorities

2/7 - Hamilton, Ont. – Transport Canada has announced plans to merge the Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities. Both carry similar commodities, including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo like fertilizers, asphalt and grain, according to the release.

The federal government's intention to merge the Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities makes sense for "economic reasons," according to Canada's transport minister. Marc Garneau said the amalgamation, which would see one new entity formed, would allow for synergy between the two ports — both of which are primarily focused on cargo.

The Hamilton and Oshawa port authorities carry similar commodities, including steel, project cargo and bulk cargo like fertilizers, asphalt and grain, according to a government news release.

If the amalgamation happens, the newly formed port authority would have a single board of directors and be responsible for all assets and liabilities, despite the lands being physically separate, Garneau said.

While PortsToronto — formerly the Toronto Port Authority — is geographically sandwiched between the ports of Hamilton and Oshawa, it is smaller and responsible for managing the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in addition to the harbour.

The federal government created the Hamilton Port Authority, which is the largest port in Ontario, in 2001 to replace the 89-year-old Hamilton Harbour Commission. In 2012, Oshawa's Harbour Commission became a port authority. The Oshawa Harbour Commission, which had been in place since 1960, was the last harbour commission in the country.

The move toward amalgamation comes after Garneau announced a review of Canada's port authorities in March 2018 — 20 years after they were first established.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who served as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority board in the early 2000s, said the possibility of a merger was raised then as the government looked to create efficiencies.

Hamilton Spectator


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 7

HURON (Hull#132) was launched February 7, 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for Wyandotte Transportation Co. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1973.

In 1973, ENDERS M. VOORHEES closed the Soo Locks downbound.

In 1974, ROGER BLOUGH closed the Poe Lock after locking down bound for Gary, Indiana.

1965: The Liberty ship GRAMMATIKI visited the Seaway for one trip in 1960. The vessel began leaking in heavy weather on the Pacific enroute from Tacoma, Washington, to Keelung, Taiwan, with a cargo of scrap. The vessel, also slated to be scrapped, was abandoned by the crew the next day and slowly sank.

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


Five-year record broken at Port of Green Bay

2/6 - Green Bay, WI – The Port and Resource Recovery Department has announced a new record for the Port of Green Bay. More than 2,000,000 tons were moved this year. The port closed on January 28 after a shipment of petroleum products was imported.

"We're very pleased to see the high totals for the 2018 season," said Dean Haen, Port Director. "Two million tons is typically our goal for a shipping season, and this year's strong economy in Northeast Wisconsin made that achievable."

The season began March 26, 2018, five days later than 2017 and 2016. Foreign imports allowed the increase of petroleum products by 528 percent.

Haen also said, "Growth in petroleum product movements continues to be exceptional year after year." He went on to say, "Much of the growth can be attributed to the closure of petroleum pipeline serving Northeast Wisconsin."



Moran Iron Works to build tour boat for Pictured Rocks Kayaking

2/6 - Onaway, Mi – Moran Iron Works, Inc. (MIW) has signed a contract with Pictured Rocks Kayaking to build a specialized passenger tour vessel. Together, and in conjunction with DLBA (a division of Gibbs & Cox, Inc.), they are creating a special purpose tour boat that is first of its kind in the Great Lakes region.

The 64’ by 19’ vessel will be constructed out of aluminum at Moran Iron Works’ headquarters in Onaway. The purpose of this particular unnamed vessel is to escort 72 passengers and 36 kayaks around Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for guided kayak tours. This vessel will feature a custom-designed kayak launch system that is tailored to meet the specific needs of offshore kayak launching.

“Fabrication officially began with the laying of the deck plate on December 6, 2018,” said Lee Fayssoux, project manager at MIW. “This is a very exciting project for us. It is a real privilege to have an ‘Inspired by Michigan’ vessel in our shop. This vessel will not only be capable of carrying passengers, but will also be capable of deploying and retrieving guests in kayaks. It’s a revolutionary way of experiencing the beauty that Northern Michigan, particularly Pictured Rocks, has to offer. This vision was recognized by our customer, and acted on with development from MIW and our partner architect DLBA. We are ecstatic that they chose MIW for this build, and ecstatic that this vessel will serve tourists who visit the waters of Pictured Rocks.”

The main engines will be twin Cummins QSK19, rated at 800HP each, driving propellers through Twin Disc reduction gears. Twin Seakeeper HD gyro stabilizers will be fitted for passenger comfort and safety. The hull form will be a double chine, variable deadrise monohull for improved seakeeping and efficiency. The vessel’s hull form, structure, machinery, and electrical systems will be designed by DLBA (a division of Gibbs & Cox, Inc.) to meet USCG Subchapter T requirements.

With nearly two months into the project, MIW and PRK are on their way to achieving the goal of launch and delivery in late 2019.


Port Reports -  February 6

Lake Huron
Algocanada departed Cheboygan and was downbound for Sarnia on Tuesday. Algoma Innovator was loading salt at Goderich. Algoma Sault departed with a load of salt for Detroit.

St. Clair River
CCGS Samuel Risley was leading the tanker Algosea into the lower end of the river Tuesday night headed for Sarnia.

Lake Erie
CCGS Griffon was leading the tanker Algoscotia through the Pelee Passage Tuesday night with a Nanticoke destination.


Welland Canal’s shipbuilding past to be unearthed

2/6 - Hidden under several metres of soil along the Twelve Mile Creek lies a significant part of the history of St. Catharines. A Brock University history professor hopes to bring it back from the depths.

Kimberly Monk will lead a team whose mandate is to re-engage local historical environments – specifically the Shickluna Shipyard. Monk said the project will look at different ways not only managing local historical sites but also interpreting them.

"It's been a long time coming for me," said Monk, whose connection to the [project goes back to 1997 when she was working on her master's thesis on shipbuilding along the Welland Canal.

The project is focused on the maritime landscape of the Shickluna Shipyard, which was operated from 1828 by a previous shipbuilder and then Shickluna who took possession in 1838. It remained a shipbuilding yard until 1891, when it was leased to a box and basket making manufacturer. After 1901 the site was abandoned.

Monk called it as a nationally significant archeological site. "It was the most important Canadian shipbuilding centre during the 19th century."

While some groundwork was done in 2017, Monk said archeological investigations will begin in earnest this spring, with geophysical investigations in May followed by archeological coring.

The Standard


Cruise ship not coming to Thunder Bay this summer

2/6 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – No cruise ships will be sailing into Thunder Bay’s harbour this year and while the city will lose a significant economic benefit, the future may still be bright for this niche tourism market.

“Long term the prognosis is really good for growth in the industry,” said Thunder Bay manager of tourism, Paul Pepe. “Right now we just have to take this as a bit of a speed bump.”

Victory Cruise Lines was scheduled to have a turnaround stop in Thunder Bay during the 2019 season, making it the first cruise ship to come to the city since 2012. However, a recent change in ownership has left those plans in dry dock.

According to Pepe, American Queen Steamboat Company acquired the company just two weeks ago following a deal that has been negotiated for more than a year. “The new owners have made a decision just to dial things back a little bit on their Lake Superior itineraries, go back to the drawing board, and reconfigure them,” Pepe said.

The 202-passenger vessel, Victory II, was originally scheduled to stop in Thunder Bay in the summer of 2018 but delays in retrofitting the ship pushed that date back to 2019.

With this latest delay, Pepe said the city is still in talks with the new owners and he anticipates they will once again have Thunder Bay on their itineraries in 2020 because they appear to be committed to Lake Superior.

Pepe added that the city is also speaking with other cruise line companies about bringing ships to Thunder Bay to explore what he calls an exotic gem right in our own back yard. “There are a number of new builds that started entering service in 2018, 2019, we have new ships that are being built right into 2021,” Pepe said. “There is interest in the Great Lakes and there is interest in Superior, it just takes time to build it out and we just have to be patient.”

Because Victory’s stop in Thunder Bay was scheduled to be a turnaround, meaning it would have been where one voyage ended and another began, Pepe estimates that it would have brought between $120,000 and $150,000 into the city.

“It had a different kind of economic impact, a much bigger economic impact on the city,” Pepe said. “So we are disappointed to lose that.”

“That is a bit of a chunk of money for us. But at the end of the day cruising is still a very small part of our overall tourism economy. We believe in the Great Lakes product, but it’s also a niche. It’s going to take time to build.”

The city did not make any capital investments this year specifically for the cruise ship coming to Pool 6. “It just gives us some breathing room to develop future opportunities,” Pepe said.



Casualties/Demolitions from World Ship Society

2/6 - Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway connection reported as a casualty or sold for demolition taken from February 2019 issue of Marine News - Journal of the World Ship Society.

SOMAYA (8116960; Tanzania) (Castor-12, Arklow Day--3, Diane Green-00, Sarine 2-96, Fastnes-93 - (1st trip into the Seaway 1987), Fjellnes-86 - (1st trip into the Seaway 1982) - 8,351 / 1982 general cargo ship. By Best Leaders International SA (Mallah Ship Management Co Ltd), Panama to Sa Traders, Pakistan and arrived Gadani Beach 4.05.2018 - commenced demolition 10.05.2018

GEN. OGLETHORPE (8971683, United States of America) (John G. Amato-86, Ojibwa WTM-97-80) - last trip down Seaway 8.04.1979, - 147 / 1943 - USCG tug (latterly stationed at Buffalo, N.Y.) Sold 1980 by U.S.Coast Guard to Crescent Towing & Salvage, U.S.A. and renamed John G. Amato - 1986 - renamed Gen. Oglethorpe - 2017 resold to State of South Carolina for use in the formation of the Comanche Reef off Charleston, S.C. - scuttled 5.16.2018

Report compiled by Barry Andersen, René Beauchamp and Ron Beaupre


Update: Bob-Lo boat Ste. Claire

2/6 - The following appeared on the Facebook page for the former Bob-Lo boat Ste. Claire, which burned last summer while undergoing restoration at a Detroit dock.

“Right now is all about protecting the ship through the winter season. After 2 years of waiting, we were finally able to dredge the river where we are. This allowed us to move the boat much closer to the shore (approximately 28 feet from shore). We also moved her forward about 80 feet, allowing boaters easier access to the marina entrance. With the ship secured to shore, we placed 3 large piling clusters at the bow of the ship to block ice and protect her hull. The ship being closer to the shore will be a huge help to the crews this spring when we plan to aggressively start the restoration process again.

As many may have seen, the ship has a fresh coat of paint! We want you to know that this is a white primer designed to preserve any remaining good steel. It also makes the ship’s presentation much better for the public in the meantime. She will, however, receive a final paint job later in the process.”


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 6

On 06 February 1952, the LIMESTONE (steel propeller tug, 87 foot 10 inches) was launched at Bay City, Michigan, by the Defoe Shipyard (Hull #423) for the Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. Later she was sold to U.S. Steel and in 1983, to Gaelic Tug Company who renamed her b.) WICKLOW. She is currently owned by the Great Lakes Towing Company and is named c.) NORTH CAROLINA.

LORNA P, a.) CACOUNA was damaged by fire at Sorel, Quebec, which was ignited by a welder's torch on February 6, 1974.

ALVA C. DINKEY (Hull #365) was launched February 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

HALLFAX (Hull#526) was launched February 6, 1962, at Port Glasgow, Scotland by William Hamilton & Co. Ltd.

On February 6, 1904, the PERE MARQUETTE 19 went aground on Fox Point, Wisconsin approaching Milwaukee in fog. Engulfed in ice and fog, she quickly filled with water.

On 06 February 1885, Capt. William Bridges of Bay City and A. C. Mc Lean of East Saginaw purchased the steamer D.W. POWERS (wooden propeller freighter, 140 foot, 303 gross tons, built in 1871, at Marine City, Michigan) for the lumber trade. This vessel had an interesting rebuild history. In 1895, she was rebuilt as a schooner-barge in Detroit, then in 1898, she was again rebuilt as a propeller driven steamer. She lasted until 1910, when she was abandoned.

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


Thunder Bay off Victory Cruise Lines itinerary

2/5 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Admitting he’s disappointed, the city’s tourism manager has confirmed there will be no cruise ship visit to the city this year. Paul Pepe says it’s because of the sale of Victory Cruise Lines to another company that has decided to strike us off their list for this year.

He tell us he is going to try to convince the new company to have a ship stop in Thunder Bay next year and beyond. At the same time, the city tourism manager says he is talking with other cruise lines that are looking at Lake Superior for future stops as well.



Port Reports -  February 5

Lake Huron
Algocanada was discharging petroleum products at Cheboygan on Monday. Algnova was headed back down the lake after unloading in the Canadian Soo. Algoma Innovator was headed for Goderich and Frontenac arrived at Sarnia Monday, possibly for winter layup.

Samuel Risley opened a track for the Algoma Sault on Monday. The Sault arrived in port and was loading salt. Algoma Innovator is the next vessel due.


New saltwater vessel visitors to the system in 2018

2/5 - As the St. Lawrence Seaway's 2018 shipping season ended with the closing of the Seaway on December 30, a look back saw that there were a total of 39 new saltwater visitors at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. that made westbound transits into the Great Lakes/Seaway for the first time. That is down a total of 3 new visitors from 2017, when there were 42 newcomers.

The 39 vessels are: Adfines, Star, Amarant, Anet, Arsland, Atlantik Miracle, BBC Georgia, BBC Luanda, BBC Polonia, BBC Utah, Calypso, Cape Dawson, Carolus Magnus, Celsius Mumbai, Emanuele S, Erin Schulte, Falstria Swan, Federal Dart, Federal Dee, Federal Delta, Federal Nagara, Gardno, Holandia, Isabelle G, IT Intrepid, Iver Bright, Johanna G, Kitikmeot W, Lolland, Maple Lea, Mississippi Star, Momentum Scan, MTM Antwerp, NACC Alicudi, Onego Rio, Rike, Senja, Sichem Marseille, Sten Fjord and Tasing Swan.

Three of those vessels had name changes during the season. BBC Luanda was renamed CLI Pride and registered in Antigua and Barbuda on or about August 22. The tanker Kitikmeot W was reflagged to Canada on or about July 3, and the tanker Sten Fjord was later renamed Kivalliq W and was also registered Canadian on or about June 14. Kitikmeot W made two inland voyages in November under Canadian registry, while the Kivalliq W also made a return trip and inland voyage under Canadian registry in mid-December.

Denny Dushane


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 5

ASHLAND, in a critically leaking condition, barely made Mamonel, Colombia, on February 5, 1988, where she was scrapped.

February 5, 1870 - Captain William H. Le Fleur of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet, known as "the Bear" was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On February 5, 1976, the carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III was inaugurated into service between Kingston and Wolfe Island Ontario. Later that night, two blocks over, a Kingston resident noticed the captain turning off the running lights of the 'ol WOLFE ISLANDER as she joined her already winterized sister, the UPPER CANADA.

1972: CHRISTIANE SCHULTE, a West German Seaway trader, went aground at Khidhes Island, Cyprus, while on fire and was abandoned by the crew. The ship was traveling from Lattakia, Syria, to Mersin, Turkey, as b) CITTA DI ALESSANDRIA and was a total loss.

1977: The Israeli freighter TAMAR, a Seaway caller in 1959 and 1961, was gutted by a fire in the Aegean Sea south of Thira Island as c) ATHENA. The vessel, enroute from Mersin, Turkey, to Albania, was towed into Piraeus, Greece, on February 12, 1977. It was a total loss and scrapping began at Eleusis in January 1978.

1982: The Canadian tanker JAMES TRANSPORT spent 10 hours aground in the St. Lawrence near Batiscan, Quebec.

1996: A shipboard fire caused extensive damage to the Jean Parisien docked at the stone docks in Port Colborne. No one was injured in the blaze, which took two hours to extinguish and was the second one on board a ship in two days.

Data from: Gerry Ouderkirk, Max Hanley, Brian Johnson, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Icebreaker Samuel Risley has a busy weekend, including break out of Goderich

2/4 - Saturday the CCGS Samuel Risley completed the downbound escort of the tanker Iver Bright to Detroit and turned upbound for Goderich. Once into Lake Huron the Algoma Sault followed the Risley North.

Risley arrived shortly after midnight and spent about two hours breaking a relief track about two miles off shore, The relief track eases the pressure on the ice closer to shore and gives the ice somewhere to go as they move in to break ice closer to shore.

Sunday morning the Goderich-based tug Escort began breaking out the harbor and entrance channel. The Risley then focused on breaking into the port. By 10 a.m., she had come within a quarter mile of the breakwalls. This is the area of the heaviest ice, as the wind has piled the chunks on top of each other. It is not uncommon to have ice piled up to the bottom of the channel after days of heavy wind. South West winds in the area have not helped to lessen the pressure on the ice field.

Risley moved father off shore and began breaking more relief tracks to ease pressure on the ice field piled against the piers. By 6 p.m., the Risley had successfully broken through the field and reached the  harbor. Sunday night both vessels were stop off port.


Port Reports -  February 4

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
Algonova arrived in Sault, Ont., on Sunday morning. The USCGC Mackinaw assisted her through the ice in the lower St. Marys River below Neebish Island.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator departed Milwaukee and was headed north Sunday afternoon.

Erie, Pa. – Jeff Benson
On Sunday, crews from Don Jon were removing the hydraulic ram and cables from the unloading boom of the Oberstar. Work continued on the Michipicoten in the dry dock, and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder had crews working on the holds.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 4

The two sections of the a.) WILLIAM J. DE LANCEY, b.) PAUL R. TREGURTHA) were joined at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. and float-launched on February 4, 1981, (Hull #909).

In 1977, ROGER BLOUGH arrived at the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain, Ohio for winter lay up and a 5-year hull inspection. She had departed South Chicago after unloading on Jan 25th and the trip took 10 days due to weather and heavy ice.

February 4, 1904 - Captain Russell of the PERE MARQUETTE 17 reported that Lake Michigan was frozen all the way to Manitowoc.

In 1870, The Port Huron Weekly Times reported that “a Montreal company has purchased all the standing timber on Walpole Island Indian Reservation [on the St. Clair River…] A large force of men are employed in hewing, cutting and delivering the same on the banks of the river in readiness for shipment… The proceeds of the sale of timber on Walpole Island will probably amount to $18,000 to $20,000, to be distributed among the Indians of the island to improve their farms.

1964: OCEAN REGINA, which would become a Seaway visitor in 1971, ran aground in the Makassar Strait, Indonesia, while enroute from Geraldton, Australia, to China. The ship was refloated February 11.

1965: The Liberty ship IRINI STEFANOU visited the Great Lakes in 1959 and 1960. It struck a reef, 1 mile west of the San Benita Islands, Baja Peninsula and had to be beached. The vessel was enroute from Vancouver, British Columbia, to London, England, with timber. While abandoned, the hull was refloated on February 25 and taken to Los Angeles for examination. They discovered a serious distortion of the hull and it was broken up at Terminal Island.

1970: ARROW, a Liberian tanker quite familiar with Great Lakes trading, stranded in Chedebucto Bay, while inbound from Venezuela to Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. The ship broke in two as a total loss on February 8 spilling millions of gallons of oil. This resulted in a major environmental problem and clean up took two years and $3.8 million.

1976: A fire aboard the freighter KERKIS broke out in #3 hold off the northern coast of Sicily. The vessel was brought into Milazzo, Italy, the next day and when the hold was opened on February 12, the blaze flared up again. The hull was beached as a total loss. It had begun Seaway trading as a) BYSANZ in 1959 and was back as b) ALSATIA beginning in 1967.

1984: The former MANCHESTER RENOWN was idle at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as c) EDESSA. The ship was being reactivated when a fire broke out and destroyed the upper works. The vessel was sold to Taiwan shipbreakers and arrived at Kaohsiung on April 6, 1984. It had begun Seaway trading as a new ship, in 1964.

1992: PATRICIA was wrecked at Crotone, Italy, and abandoned. The hull was visible years later, partially submerged. The ship began Seaway service as a) RUMBA in 1971 and was back as b) JANJA in 1975, c) JANJE in 1979 and e) FIGARO in 1988.

1999: The former BAUNTON caught fire in #1 hold 350 miles west of Dakar, Senegal, as c) MERSINIA and was abandoned by the crew. The ship, enroute from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, with cocoa beans in bulk, was a total loss and was delivered to Spanish shipbreakers at Santander for dismantling on January 21, 2000. It first came through the Seaway in 1981 when it was a year old.

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


Lake Erie freezes over; ice covers half of the Great Lakes

2/3 - Following the polar vortex in the Midwest this week, Lake Erie has frozen over and nearly half of Michigan's Great Lakes are covered in ice. More than 90 percent of Lake Erie is covered in ice, prime conditions for fishing on the shoreline. Meanwhile, about 48 percent of the Great Lakes are ice covered, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Even though it's the southernmost of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie tends to freeze over the earliest because it is shallow and has less heat capacity than the other lakes, NOAA Researcher Brent Lofgren said.

"It's not all that rare. Lake Erie freezes often," Lofgren said. "There aren't really any negative effects of it. Actually, it will prevent further lake effect snow for that season."

Most of the lakes have between 2-6 inches of ice covering with parts of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with anywhere between 12-28 inches of ice. Weather temperatures are expected to rise through the weekend starting Saturday with a high of 37. Sunday and Monday will be in the high 40s.

"The warm weather isn't going to have all that big of an effect on Lake Erie. But for other lakes like Lake Michigan, you'll see a lot of open water again soon because of transport and it's likely to melt quickly," Lofgren said.

"Do not go ice fishing far from shore on Lake Erie, because that ice can shift," he said. "Check with local authorities on the safety of fishing on nearshore ice."

Visit  for more information

The Detroit News


Port Reports -  February 3

St. Marys River – Joy Fett
With the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Katmai Bay in the lead and the Avenger IV following up the rear, the tug Anglian Lady / Ironmaster barge finally arrived at the Purvis Marine home dock in Soo, Ont., Saturday afternoon struggling for several days with ice. Katmai Bay tied up at the USCG dock in Soo, Mich., for the night. Cutter Mackinaw was in the lower river above Lime Island Saturday night. Tanker Algonova is expected in Soo, Ont., Sunday.

Lake Michigan
Canada Steamship's Frontenac was assisted out of South Chicago Saturday morning by the G-tugs Massachusetts and Arizona. Frontenac had been unloading road salt. Algoma Innovator was still at Milwaukee Saturday.

Lake Huron
Samuel Risley and Algoma Sault were underway north of Port Huron Saturday night and will make another attempt to enter Goderich on Sunday.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H.
The Michigan/Great Lakes, with the assistance of the tug Patricia Hoey, docked at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal to load/unload Saturday afternoon. The tanker Iver Bright was inbound on the Rouge River, calling on the Buckeye Terminal to unload.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 3

In 1960, The Ludington Daily News reported that the S.S. AVALON, formerly the S.S. VIRGINIA, had been sold to Everett J. Stotts of Artesia, California.

On 03 February 1899, the steamer GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller freighter, 182 foot, 977 gross tons, built in 1895, at Marine City, Michigan) burned while laid up near Montreal, Quebec. She had just been taken from the Great Lakes by her new owners, the Manhattan Transportation Company, for the Atlantic coastal coal trade, The loss was valued at $50,000 and was fully covered by insurance. The vessel was repaired and lasted until 1906 when she was lost near Cape Henry, Virginia.

1939: LUTZEN came ashore in dense fog at Nauset Beach, Chatham, Mass., off Cape Cod. The vessel rolled over on its side with its cargo of frozen fish and fruit. The small ship had been built at Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) in 1918.

1970: The tanker GEZINA BROVIG sank 300 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. An explosion in the main engine on January 31 blew a piston through the side of the ship and it gradually sank. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader beginning in 1965.

1993: The former Spanish freighter MARTA, a Seaway trader in 1981, was sailing as b) PROSPERITY when it began leaking in a storm. The ship subsequently broke in two and sank with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel went down 120 miles west of Sri Lanka while enroute from Jordan to Madras, India.

1996: An engine room fire aboard the C.S.L. self-unloader JEAN PARISIEN at Port Colborne resulted in about $250,000 in damage.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.


Three strikes for Algoma Sault at the port of Goderich

2/2 - The Canadian laker Algoma Sault has been trying to enter Goderich since Tuesday alternating between waiting off port and anchored in Lower Lake Huron while the port is broken out.

The extreme cold temperatures over the last few days, combined with strong and gale force westerly winds, have created very heavy ice conditions outside of Goderich piers. The ice that has developed extends approximately 1 nautical mile wide west of the piers and is called pack ice. It is dense, refrozen brash and pancake ice that has frozen under pressure. Rough estimates have the ice field from 3-7 feet deep.

Algoma Sault arrived off port Tuesday afternoon, but after failed attempts to make it through the ice they headed downbound to anchor above Port Huron and wait for assistance, arriving in the anchorage Wednesday morning.

Thursday morning they departed the anchorage and headed back to Goderich. The Goderich-based tug Ocean Golf was attempting to break out the port. The tug was not able to open a track for the Algoma Sault, so the Sault returned to the anchorage above Port Huron that night.

Thursday night the CCGS Samuel Risley headed upbound to attempt ice breaking into the port. About 11 p.m. they were making 1.5 knots while 20 miles west of the port.

Algoma Sault departed the Port Huron Anchorage about 4 a.m. Friday upbound to wait off Goderich, the third time for the vessel making the trip to the port.

Samuel Risley spent the night fighting through the ice making it about a mile off the port before stopping in the ice. They tried multiple routes adjusting course north and south of the port but found the same heavy ice field on each course. About 8 a.m. the icebreaker set a course downbound for Sarnia to assist the tanker Algonova and the Algoma Sault followed.

Friday afternoon Algoma Sault took up her position in the anchorage while Samuel Risley proceeded downbound to break ice off the Imperial Oil Dock in Sarina for the arrival of the Algonova. The tug Pride assisted in breaking out the Imperial Oil dock. The Risley headed upbound to the Sarnia Government Dock for a well-deserved over night rest.

The Canadian Coast Guard reported Friday that there was no emergency and they are working closely with the shipping company requesting icebreaker assistance and the U.S. Coast Guard to plan icebreaking activity near the community of Goderich and it's vicinity.

Temperatures are forecast to increase over the next several days as well as light winds which will help with icebreaking.


Port Reports -  February 2

St. Marys River
On Friday the USCG cutter Mackinaw was working to get the Purvis Marine tug Anglian Lady and barge Ironmaster, beset in heavy ice, moving again. AIS late Friday showed them just north of Sailors’ Encampment on the east side of Neebish Island.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Algoma Innovator remained in port Friday, frozen in. The tug John Marshall was working Friday night to clear a path so she can leave.

S. Chicago
Frontenac was unloading salt at Chicago Friday night.


Port of Montreal considers taking on more debt to fund $500-million expansion

2/2 - Montreal, Que. – The Montreal Port Authority will need about $500 million for a proposed expansion of container facilities by the middle of the next decade, said vice-president Ryan Dermody. A potential debt issue would help pay for a first phase of infrastructure work.

“We absolutely have the capability to borrow, so debt could be an option,” Dermody, who has been overseeing the project since his appointment last year, said in a telephone interview. “We will look at everything that’s required to make this project work. Nothing is off the table.”

Montreal, Canada’s biggest port by volume after Vancouver, is coming off five consecutive years of rising volumes. After tonnage climbed 9 per cent last year to 1.6 million containers, the federally owned facility expects to reach full capacity within five years if the proposed expansion doesn’t proceed.

Montreal serves as a gateway between North America and Europe for imports of wine and electronic devices and exports of commodities such as lumber. Its main competitor for shipments to the U.S. Midwest is the port of New York and New Jersey.

Key carriers with service to and from Montreal include MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., Hamburg-based Hapag Lloyd AG and Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S.

Having picked up a sixth shipper last year, Montreal is planning to add a seventh in April. The new terminal would initially add about 500,000 20-foot equivalent units annually to Montreal’s current capacity of 2.1 million containers.

“We don’t have a choice but to grow with the customers,” Dermody said. “We have had record years, and we need to unlock additional capacity. Based on the growth figures in our financial model, we have to have that built around 2023 or 2024. It’s an absolutely strategic objective for us.”

To help with the project, the port authority has hired London-based Arup Group as its engineering firm. Bank of Montreal will help the port assess financial options.

Montreal’s new container terminal would be built in the town of Contrecoeur, about 40 kilometres northeast of the city on a 468-hectare site.

Port officials are working on securing federal environmental approval for the project, possibly by the end of 2020, Dermody said, and construction would begin once that was obtained.

Montreal Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 2

SAMUEL MATHER, a.) PILOT KNOB (Hull #522) had her keel laid February 2, 1942, at Ashtabula, Ohio, by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

February 2, 1939 - CHIEF WAWATAM went to the shipyard to have a new forward shaft and propeller placed.

1913: The wooden passenger and freight carrier MANITOU sustained fire damage at Owen Sound and sank at the dock. The vessel was refloated, repaired and operated to the end of the 1939 season.

1972: IRISH SPRUCE first appeared in the Seaway in 1960. The ship was enroute from Callao, Peru, to New Orleans with zinc and copper concentrates as well as coffee, when it ran aground on Quinta Suero Bank (14,25 N / 81.00 W) off the coast of Nicaragua. The ship had its back broken and became a total loss.

1981: EDOUARD SIMARD and JAMES TRANSPORT collided in the St. Lawrence River east of Port Neuf, Quebec. Both received bow damage.

1981: ARTHUR SIMARD received extensive bottom damage after going aground in the St. Lawrence. It was enroute from Montreal to Sept-Iles, but returned to Trois Rivieres to unload and then to Montreal for repairs.

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


Ships trapped or stalled as polar temperatures freeze St. Lawrence River

2/1 - Montreal, Que. – Shipping traffic remained stalled Thursday morning on the St. Lawrence River between Sorel-Tracy and Trois-Rivières, even as a pair of Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers continued their efforts to force open a channel. Navigation on the waterway has been stalled since Wednesday.

The icebreakers Des Groseilliers and Pierre-Radisson will remain at work until further notice after a storm in the region on Tuesday led to a rapid freeze on the river, creating a series of ice jams.

Merchant ships on either side of the blockages remain stalled, with ships anchored in Montreal headed downriver forced to wait for an opening while other vessels are trapped in Trois-Rivières. Some ships arriving at the mouth of the St. Lawrence have been obliged to anchor at Escoumins, about 30 kilometres northeast of the Saguenay River.

Last week, traffic was interrupted for several days on the St. Lawrence because of an ice jam that formed on Lac Saint-Pierre. That incident drew the ire of the maritime industry and its clients, who complained about the lack of icebreakers.

Montreal Gazette


Port of Duluth-Superior posts strong finish to 2018 shipping season

2/1 - Duluth, Minn. – The Port of Duluth-Superior finished the 2018 shipping season on a strong note, handling 35.9 million short tons of cargo.

“Shipments of Minnesota iron ore accounted for the lion’s share of tonnage moved through the Port of Duluth-Superior—21.5 million short tons, to be exact,” said Deb DeLuca, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “Iron ore cargoes were up nine percent year-over-year, outpacing the five-year average by 30-plus percent.”

Thanks to favorable ice conditions earlier this month, the last 1,000-footer left Duluth-Superior with pellets just two days before the Soo Locks closed on Jan. 15.

International shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway, in and out of the Great Lakes, had its best year in more than a decade—posting a seven percent increase over the previous season and the most since 2007. Grain exports alone posted a 20 percent year-over-year increase, virtually mirroring increased grain traffic through the Port of Duluth-Superior in 2018.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Shipping season wraps up at Grand Haven

2/1 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Grand Haven has received its final delivery of the 2018-19 shipping season. Amid snow flurries and plenty of ice, the steamship Wilfred Sykes arrived Saturday morning Jan. 26 with a load of slag for Meekhof’s D&M on Harbor Island.

Ashton Marine’s tug Candace Elise came down from Muskegon and broke the ice in the Grand River before the Sykes arrived, remaining in port while the freighter unloaded. Shortly after dark, the Sykes was ready to leave, and both vessels departed.

There were a couple of more loads of slag scheduled for the Sykes, but with sub-zero temperatures and gales expected in the coming days, the next port of call for the vessel was Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for a well-deserved winter layup.

The departure of the Sykes marked the end of a shipping season that had begun March 23, 2018. Over the course of the season, the port of Grand Haven saw the arrival of 15 different vessels that delivered a total of 92 cargoes to four different docks.

This season’s total is a 9 percent decrease from last season, when the port finished with 101 cargoes. However, it is above the five-year average of 85. The decrease in shipments can be attributed to the harsh winter weather that affected both the start and end of the season.

The 15 different vessels that made trips to Grand Haven this season consisted of the American-flagged vessels Ashtabula/Defiance, Calumet, Herbert C. Jackson, Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr., Joseph L. Block, Kaye E. Barker, Menominee/Olive L. Moore, Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted, St. Marys Challenger/Prentiss Brown, St. Marys Conquest/Bradshaw McKee and Wilfred Sykes. Additionally, the Canadian-flagged vessels Algoma Buffalo, Cuyahoga, Mississagi and Saginaw visited.

Noticeably absent this season were the vessels Manitowoc, Manitoulin, Michipicoten and Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann.

Looking forward, there will be a few changes next season in the port of Grand Haven.

The port should see the arrival of a new face, as Port City Marine’s new barge Commander entered the cement trade recently and will likely make trips to the St. Marys Cement terminal in 2019.

On a sadder note, Algoma Central Corp. is retiring a number of vessels that have made trips to Grand Haven during their careers. The Algoway (last visit was 2016) Algorail (last visit was 2015) and Algosteel (last visit was 2017) were all sent for scrap this season. Additionally, the Algowood and Capt. Henry Jackman (both last visited in 2016) are expected to head for scrapping this year.

If the barge Menominee calls on Grand Haven next season, it will be with a different tug, as its old tug Olive L. Moore is being retired. The tug Invincible, which has previously been in port with the barge McKee Sons, will be paired with the Menominee next season.

The end of the 2018-19 shipping season concludes my third season at the helm of the Tribune’s Ships Log. This season was incredibly busy for me and I would like to thank a number of people who helped me.

Sam Hankinson, Grand Haven Tribune McKeil Marine adds tug to fleet McKeil Marine has added another tug to its fleet. Lois M arrived in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia Septmber 17 and was registered in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, September 23. It was built in 1991 by Matsuura Tekko Zosen of Japan for an Australian operation of Cleveland-Cliffs. Named Lambert it served Port Lambert, in Western Australia, a large iron shipment area.

Lois M is built to a similar design to Beverly M1 and Sharon M 1 acquired last year by McKeil. Powered by Niigata main engines of 4800 bhp, it rates 60 tonnes bollard pull, delivered through two Rexpeller azimuthing stern drives.

McKeil has a great deal of work in Newfoundland, and after fitting out at Mulagrave, the tug is expected to go to work in the island province.

A sister tug named Pannawonica I has also been acquired by McKeil, and it is currently working in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  February 1

St. Marys River
USCG cutters Mackinaw and Katmai Bay were working to get Purvis Marine tug Anglian Lady (with barge Ironmaster), beset in heavy ice in Lake Munuscong south of Neebish Island, moving again on Thursday. They are headed to the Purvis dock in Sault, Ont. Mackinaw spent the night anchored off Nine Mile Point.

Lake Michigan
Frontenac was anchored off Chicago Thursday night.

Lake Huron
Thursday, USCG Mackinaw and USCG Katmai Bay departed for the St Marys River to assist Anglian Lady and Ironmaster. Sarnia Anchorage: Algoma Sault departed the anchorage about 5 a.m. Thursday and made the trip to Goderich. When she arrived the vessel waited off shore while the tug Ocean Golf was breaking ice leading into port and the harbor. The Sault waited off shore until about 10 a.m. when they headed back down the lake and returned to anchor above Port Huron. CCGS Samuel Risley passed the downbound Algoma Sault as they headed upbound to Goderich. Late Thursday night Risley was about 20 miles west of Goderich.

The Iver Bright departed Mistersky Fuel and joined the CCGS Griffon for the upbound trip across Lake St. Clair. The escort was handed over to the USCG Morro Bay and the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker had an uneventful trip up the St. Clair River.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Sault, which was anchored above Sarnia Thursday night, is scheduled to be the next vessel at Goderich.

Sarnia, Ont. – Marc Dease
Early Thursday morning the tug Pride departed the Government dock and broke ice around the Imperial Oil Dock on the St. Clair River. This allowed the Algocanada to depart the Lake Huron anchorage and make the short trip downbound to the dock. Algoma Niagara, under the command of Captain Clarence Vautier, hove anchor and proceeded downbound from Lake Huron Thursday, turning at the Black River and heading up to her winter quarters at the Government Dock in Sarnia. The tug Pride had been working to break ice for the Niagara’s arrival.

The Iver Bright departed Mistersky Fuel and joined the CCGS Griffon for the upbound trip across Lake St. Clair. The escort was handed over to the USCG Morro Bay and the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker had an uneventful trip up the St. Clair River.

Amherstburg, Lower Detroit River – D Cozens
The CCGC Griffon departed the Amherstburg Coast Guard Base at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon heading downbound to Lake Erie. When she left the dock she backed down the river approximately 1/2 mile before making a U-turn and heading to Lake Erie. This was done to avoid disrupting the path the Boblo Island ferry has created from the mainland to the island. This path is about 200 feet up river from where the Griffon was docked. With the heavy ice conditions in the river, the ferry crossing takes about 20 minutes, instead of the normal five minutes in open water. The DME tug Madison R was in town Tuesday afternoon assisting the Boblo ferry. Once reaching Lake Erie, the Griffon made another U-turn & headed up the Livingston Channel bound for Windsor.


Coast Guard helps rescue seven fishermen from ice near Sturgeon Bay

2/1 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A Coast Guard crew helped rescue seven fishermen stranded on the ice near Sturgeon Bay Tuesday.

The Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay says the seven anglers were in an ice shanty about a mile northeast of Snake Island. They were unable to make it back to shore because their UTV wouldn't run in the subzero temperatures and drifting snow.

"The weather on scene was reported as 4 below zero with a wind chill factor of minus 30 degrees and large snow drifts," the Coast Guard says.

The Coast Guard and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources helped get the anglers on airboats and transported them to shore. No one was hurt. The Coast Guard warns people against going out on the ice during this deep freeze due to the risks to personal safety and safety of the first responders.



Today in Great Lakes History -  February 1

On 01 February 1871, the SKYLARK (wooden propeller steamer, 90 tons, built in 1857) was purchased by the Goodrich Transportation Company from Thomas L. Parker for $6,000.

On February 1, 1990, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was officially decommissioned.

The steamer R. J. GORDON was sold to M. K. Muir of Detroit on 1 February 1883.

In 1904, ANN ARBOR NO. 1 found the rest of the ferry fleet stuck in the ice outside Manitowoc. She made several attempts to break them loose, she became stuck there herself with the others for 29 days.

In 1917, ANN ARBOR NO 6 (later ARTHUR K. ATKINSON) arrived Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

On 1 February 1886, Captain Henry Hackett died in Amherstburg, Ontario, at the age of 65. He and his brother, J. H. Hackett, organized the Northwestern Transportation Company in 1869.

In 1972, ENDERS M. VOORHEES locked through the Poe Lock downbound, closing the Soo Locks for the season.

1966: The Liberty ship IOANNIS DASKALELIS came through the Seaway for one trip in 1962. It was abandoned in heavy weather as d) ROCKPORT on the Pacific and taken in tow. The vessel slowly sank about 600 miles from Midway Island on February 5. ROCKPORT was enroute from Vancouver to Japan and three dramatic photos of the ship sliding beneath the surface appeared in a number of newspapers.

1969: The third LUKSEFJELL to visit the Great Lakes was anchored at Constanza, Romania, as b) AKROTIRI when there was an explosion in the engine room. A roaring fire spread throughout the midships accommodation area and the blaze claimed the lives of 21 of the 25 crewmembers on board. The hull was sold to Romanian shipbreakers and broken up in 1970.

1974: AMETHYST ran aground off River Douro, on the northeast coast of Portugal, while inbound for Leixos with maize from New Orleans. The vessel had been anchored waiting to enter the river when heavy weather swept the area. The vessel dragged anchor, stranded and, on February 6, broke in two as a total loss. It first came through the Seaway in 1971.

1981: The former ANDERS ROGENAES and MEDICINE HAT came inland in 1964. It ran aground as h) YANMAR at Guayaquil, Ecuador, while outbound for Port Limon, Costa Rica. An onboard crankcase explosion followed on February 23. The vessel was a total loss and sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas. Work began on dismantling the ship at that location on June 12, 1981.

1988: L'ORME NO. 1, the former LEON SIMARD, struck a pipe while docking at St. Romauld, Quebec, in fog. A fire and explosion followed that damaged the ship and wharf. Repairs were made and the ship was last noted sailing as d) GENESIS ADVENTURER under the flag of Nigeria.

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

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