American Courage
IMO 7634226

Upbound in the St. Marys River, July 10, 2012.
(Roger LeLievre)


After several years constructing 1,000-foot lakers, Bay Ship Building in Sturgeon Bay, WI, received several contracts in the mid-to-late 1970s to build a series of smaller vessels meant to service smaller ports that could not accommodate larger vessels. These shorter, highly maneuverable lakers would have the capability to shuttle cargo unloaded from the oversized ships to customers up river and also be able to hold their own in the aggregate and coal trades.

The first vessel of this new River-class design was constructed in 1974 as American Steamships Co.'s Sam Laud. Among the vessels that followed was Fred R. White Jr. (U.S. 606421), built for the Columbia Transportation Division of Oglebay Norton Co. in 1979.

The White is powered by two 3,600 b.h.p. single-acting, two-stroke cycle, V-20 cylinder GM-EMD 20-645-E7 diesel engines running to a Falk reduction gear, turning a variable pitch propeller. The White's 20 hatches empty into five hold compartments in which she capable of hauling 23,800 tons of stone or ore, and 18,500 tons of coal. The cargo is unloaded via 250-foot self-unloading boom. At her maximum rate of 6,000 net tons per hour she can off load in about four hours.

The inclusion of bow and stern thrusters make all vessels of this class highly maneuverable and able to transit the tight confines of the Cuyahoga, Saginaw and Manistee rivers with little difficulty.

The White (and another River-class vessel, the Wolverine of 1976) would replace several smaller and older vessels. Included were Ashland, Thomas Wilson, Sylvania and G. A. Tomlinson.

In 2003 the combination of low lake levels, foreign steel dumping, and the loss of major ore and stone contracts left the Oglebay Norton Co stunned. The vessels of the fleet were all affected: Joseph H. Frantz was chartered to Great Lakes Associates (Kinsman), but the Buckeye and Courtney Burton would never leave lay up in Toledo, OH. The Armco laid up prematurely and the Wolverine would spent the first part of the season at the wall.

February 23, 2004, Oglebay Norton Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

On June 6, 2006 in a joint announcement made with American Steamship Co. of Williamsville, NY, Oglebay Norton Co. announced the sale of the Fred R. White Jr. and five of her fleetmates to American Steamship Co. (ASC) for $120 million. With the sale came a new name: American Courage. The other vessels going to ASC were the Armco, Columbia Star, Courtney Burton, Middletown and Oglebay Norton.

American Courage entered layup at Bay Shipbuilding Co. at the end of the season and remained there until April 2019, when she was reactivated to handle an increase in demand for tonnage.


Written by Roger LeLievre.



Ship Particulars
Length 636' 00" (193.86m)
Beam 68' 00" (20.73m)
Depth 40' 00" (12.19m)
Midsummer Draft 27' 03" (8.31m)
Unloading Boom Length 250' (76.2m)
Capacity 24,300 tons
Engine Power 7,200 bhp diesel
Previous Names
Fred R. White Jr. 1979 - 2006
American Courage 2006 - Today

 


Fred R. White Jr. 1979 - 2006
(Oglebay Norton Marine)

Passing fleet mate Reserve in Soo Harbor, June 30, 2000.
(Max Hanley)

Loading in Ashtabula, Sept. 2000.
(TZ)

Loading in Cleveland, Feb. 26, 2001.
(TZ)

Making a turn on the Cuyahoga River, March 18, 2001.
(TZ)

On the Cuyahoga River, March 31, 2001.
(TZ)

Turning in Collision Bend.
(TZ)

Close up of the bow.
(TZ)

Entering Cleveland Harbor, June 6, 2001.
(TZ)

Stern view Detroit, Aug. 2, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Downbound at Point Edward, Dec. 22, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Upbound in the Detroit River, March 31, 2002.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Unloading in Cleveland, May 5, 2002.
(Rex Cassidy)

Close up of the pilothouse.
(Rex Cassidy)

Hosing down the hold.
(Rex Cassidy)

Entering Fairport Harbor, June 21, 2002.
(Roger LeLievre)

On the St. Marys River, July 7, 2002.
(Roger LeLievre)

Inbound Cleveland, Oct. 4, 2002.
(TZ)

Entering the the Cuyahoga River.
(TZ)

Close up of the stern.
(TZ)

Stopped at Zug Island, Dec. 21, 2002.
(Mike Nicholls)

Upbound in the lower St. Marys River, Aug. 30, 2003.
(Roger LeLievre)

Downbound at Grassy Island, Aug. 4, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Downbound at Grassy Island, Sept. 12, 2004.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Getting ready to depart Marquette, Sept. 24, 2004.
(Lee Rowe)

Bow view.
(Lee Rowe)

Entering the MacArthur Lock downbond, Oct. 8, 2004.
(Rick Strevel)

Downbound St. Marys River, July 23, 2005.
(Greg Barber)

American Courage 2006 - Today
(American Steamship Co.)

Close up of the stern in Port Huron with the Lee A. Tregurtha trailing behind, Nov. 18, 2006.
(Roger LeLievre)

Coming off Lake Erie into the Amherstburg Channel, Aug. 11, 2007.
(Matt Miner)

Wider view.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Bob-Lo Island in the background.
(Matt Miner)

Coming off Lake Huron at Point Edward, Jan. 9, 2008.
(Marc Dease)

Upbound under the Blue Water Bridge, May 17, 2008.
(Wayne Brown)

Dowbound in the Detroit River, Aug. 16, 2008.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Upbound in the St. Marys River, Sept. 20, 2008.
(Roger LeLievre)

Tying for the winter in Toledo, Nov. 29, 2008.
(Bob Vincent)

Stern view.
(Bob Vincent)

American Valor in the background.
(Bob Vincent)

Turning around in the East River turning basin, June 17, 2009.
(Scott Best)

Turned and outbound Green Bay.
(Scott Best)

The name being stenciled out.
(Wendell Wilke)

Out of the Bay Shipbuilding dry dock with a fresh paint job, May 4, 2011.
(Wendell Wilke)

Loading ore in Marquette, May 2011.
(Lee Rowe)

First trip since 2009 and its first painted entirely in American Steamship Co. colors, May 18, 2011.
(Roger LeLievre)

Another view.
(Roger LeLievre)

Stern view.
(Roger LeLievre)

Close up of the stern.
(Roger LeLievre)

In Marquette Harbor, July 25, 2011.
(Rod Burdick)

Entering the St. Clair River at Buoys 1 & 2, July 30, 2011.
(Marc Dease)

Winter lay up in Toledo, Jan. 18, 2012.
(Bob Vincent)

Stern view.
(Bob Vincent)

Aft cabins.
(Bob Vincent)

Unloading in Cleveland, June 14, 2012.
(Kate White)

Upbound in the St. Marys River, July 10, 2012.
(Roger LeLievre)

Coming in through the piers in Alpena, Sept. 28, 2013.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Through the piers.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Stern view in the Thunder Bay River.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Unloading.
(Ben & Chanda McClain)

Tied up at the CSX Toledo Docks for the winter, Jan. 23, 2015.
(Bob Vincent)

Close up of the stern.
(Bob Vincent)

Tied up for the winter in Sturgeon Bay with the Wilfred Sykes and the John G. Munson, 2017.
(Roger LeLievre)

       

 


More pictures from our archives

  Click here for
Fred R. White Jr.
  Click here for
American Courage
 

 


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