This Great Lakes self unloading bulk carrier was built in two sections as hull #717 by Bay Shipbuilding and Dry Dock co., Sturgeon Bay, WI. The keel for the 660’ bow section was laid on October 6, 1976 and was launched April 28, 1977. The completed “super carrier” was launched June 6, 1978 as the Lewis Wilson Foy for her new owners Bethlehem Steel Corp., Great Lakes Steamship Division, Cleveland, OH. Of note, the vessel was originally slated to be named Burns Harbor but was changed before/during construction.
The vessel is powered by 4 GM Electro-Motive Division 20-645-E7 V-20 cylinder two stroke cycle, single acting 3,600 b.h.p diesel engines burning marine diesel oil. The power is fed through Falk single reduction gears to 2 controllable pitch propellers giving the vessel a service speed of 18.4 m.p.h. She is equipped with both bow and stern thrusters. The vessel’s 37 hatches feed into 7 holds where she is capable of carrying 78,850 tons at her mid summer draft of 34’00”. Her self unloading system feeds a stern mounted 250’ discharge boom that can be swung 92 degrees to port or starboard and unload at a rate of up to 8,930 tons (10,000 net tons) per hour.
The Lewis Wilson Foy departed Sturgeon Bay June 8, 1978 on her maiden voyage in ballast to Superior, WI where 57,952 tons of iron ore pellets were loaded on board destined for Burns Harbor, IN. The taconite pellet trade from Lake Superior ports to Bethlehem Steel’s lower Lake Michigan facilities were the focus of the vessel’s activities in her early years. The vessel sustained some hull damage after hitting an underwater obstruction in June, 1979. On September 15, 1981; the Lewis Wilson Foy was in collision with Algoma’s E. B. Barber receiving three holes in her side. Then, on July 6, 1982; the vessel struck the breakwall and grounded at Taconite Harbor, MN. The bulk carrier had three flooded tanks and was listing; sustaining $2.5 million in damages to her propellers, shafts, rudders, and hull plates. She arrived at Sturgeon Bay on July 12, 1982 for repairs. The Lewis Wilson Foy loaded a record 69,701 tons of ore at Escanaba, MI for Inland Steel at Indiana Harbor. This record was followed up with a Great Lakes record of 72,351 tons of ore loaded at Escanaba on November 26, 1986 also bound for Indiana Harbor. This record was possible partially due to the record high water levels on the Great Lakes that season.
On July 16, 1990; Bethlehem Steel entered into an agreement to sell the bulk carrier to Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Co., Cleveland, OH with the deal being finalized in December of that year. The vessel was officially renamed Oglebay Norton at a board of directors meeting on February 28, 1991 and began sailing under her new banner at the beginning of the 1991 season. The Oglebay Norton became the 2nd “super carrier” sailing in the Columbia fleet; the other vessel being the Columbia Star. The new member of the fleet was named to honor the Oglebay Norton Company. With the phasing out of the Columbia Transportation Division in 1994, the vessel came under the direct ownership of Oglebay Norton Co. with a resulting change in the paint scheme of her stacks (the 5-pointed star with the “C” replaced with a 4-pointed star with “ON”) and a new corporate logo appearing below her name on her bow.
A reflection of different cargoes now being carried, the Oglebay Norton set a limestone record in 1992 when she loaded 52,749 tons of the product. On April 26, 1998; the Oglebay Norton blew hydraulic lines while downbound in the St. Marys River system affecting the steering of the vessel. After a soft grounding and repairs, she was able to proceed with no further damage. Then, on August 24, 1999; a port steering pump failure resulted in the Oglebay Norton mooring at the St. Clair (Edison) power plant on the St. Clair River for repairs. The vessel was upbound in ballast on the St. Clair River when the incident occurred. The end of August, 2000 saw the retirement of her Master, Capt. Constantine (Gus) Markakis after sailing for Oglebay Norton for 28 years.
The Oglebay Norton is now owned by Oglebay Norton Marine Services Co., LLC; a division of Oglebay Norton Co. In January of 2002, Oglebay Norton Marine and American Steamship Co. pooled their fleet operations under the United Shipping Alliance, LLC name with both partner companies retaining ownership of their individual assets. The Oglebay Norton’s trade routes are now focused on western coal from Lake Superior ports to power plants at Monroe and St. Clair, MI; supplemented with loads of taconite pellets.
On June 6, 2006 in a joint announcement made with American Steamship Co. of
Williamsville, NY, Oglebay Norton Co. announced the sale of the Oglebay Norton
and five of her fleetmates to American Steamship Co. (ASC) for $120 million.
With the sale came a new name: American Integrity. The other vessels going
to ASC were the Armco, Columbia Star, Courtney Burton, Fred R. White Jr. and