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  Lake St. Clair

N. Schultheiss   

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- American Valor

by George Wharton

Built by American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH; the Great Lakes bulk carrier Armco was launched in 1953 for Oglebay Norton Co., Cleveland, OH. She was the seventh of eight "AAA" (or "Pittsburgh") class steamers built in the early 1950's. Her original dimensions were 647'00"(loa) x 70'00" x 36'00" and 20,300 tons (dwt) capacity. The Armco is powered by a Westinghouse 7,700 horsepower double reduction geared cross-compound steam turbine engine giving her a rated service speed of 15.5 miles per hour and is equipped with a bow thruster. She was lengthened 120 feet in 1974 by Fraser Shipyards, Superior, WI and was converted to a self-unloader in 1982 by Bay Shipyards, Sturgeon Bay, WI. Her 23 hatches feed into 5 holds where she is capable of carrying 25500 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 27 feet. The Armco's stern-mounted 260 foot self-unloading boom can be swung 90 degrees to port or starboard and can discharge at a rate of up to 6,000 tons per hour.

Over the winter of 1998/99, the Armco was fitted out with an automated steering system that will keep the vessel on exact course at all times. This system could potentially allow an extra trip per season due to the time saved by being slightly off course.

As part of the Oglebay Norton fleet, her cargoes could include iron ore/taconite, coal, or aggregates. Most of the 1999 navigation season has seen the Armco involved in a shuttle loading taconite pellets at Silver Bay, MN for Lake Erie ports such as Toledo, Ashtabula, and Huron, OH. Occasional upbound loads have consisted of coal from Toledo, OH for Escanaba, MI. She has also frequented ports such as Duluth and Taconite Harbor, MN; Superior, WI; Indiana Harbor, IN; and Calcite, MI.

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


Overall dimensions
Length 767'00"
Beam 70'00"
Depth 36'00"
Capacity (tons) 25,500
Steam turbine horsepower 7,000
Self-unloading boom 260'

Upbound below Mission Point. Pat Pavlat

St. Marys River, Rock Cut. Dave Marcoux

St. Marys River. Jim Hoffman

Unloading in Cleveland. Rex Cassidy

Marquette Break Wall. Lee Rowe

Turning in Marquette with the bow thruster. Lee Rowe

Loading in Marquette. Lee Rowe

Ore chute lowered at Marquette. Lee Rowe

Toledo lay-up.  Roger LeLievre

Winter lay-up Duluth. David French

Winter lay-up. Al Miller

Sterling Fuel Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Toledo tow. TZ

Entering Toledo Shiprepair Dry Dock. March '01. TZ

Newspaper clipping of launch.
Roger LeLievre collection

Early in her career as a straight decker. MHSD

Stern view as a straight decker. Gene Onchulenko

1980. Luke Collection

Icy St. Marys River. Ken Hamilton

Aerial view Lake Erie. Don Coles

Another view. Don Coles

Underway. Jim Hoffman

St. Clair River. John Meyland

Another Detroit River view.  Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Marquette Ore Dock. Lee Rowe

Detroit River.  Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Roger LeLievre

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