Twenty years old: Duluth Shipping News

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I started my 20th year publishing the daily summer edition of the Duluth Shipping News today (Friday, May 22, 2015). Click to see a PDF. For more information about Duluth Shipping News, go here.

Dool today, Fraserborg yesterday

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The Tim S. Dool came in this afternoon (May 20, 2015) with cement to discharge at the Holcim dock in Duluth. Yesterday, the Dutch flagged Fraserborg arrived (below) to load grain. The Fraserborg is making her third trip here; she was here twice in 2011. The Dool was here many times as the Algoville; she was renamed to the Tim S. Dool in 2008 after Dool retired from his position as President and CEO of Algoma Central Corp. Since then she has made 11 trips to the Twin Ports.
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Kom took Twin Ports wheat to Tunisia

I have published the Duluth Shipping News for 20 years and until today, have never had pictures taken of cargo loaded in Duluth being discharged in a land far far away . Today, that all changes, courtesy of Captain Mariyan Yotov, who brought the Bulgarian built, owned, operated and crewed salt water vessel Kom to town on April 13, 2015.  They loaded  wheat at CHS 1 in Superior. About a month later, they were in Sfax, Tunisia discharging the wheat. Captain Yotov sent us the pictures below showing their work.
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Two on-shore cranes are scooping the wheat from the cargo holds of the Kom and depositing each load into a giant funnel which in turn pours the wheat into trucks moved in just below the funnels.  We can see two trucks being loaded simultaneously.
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Click on the map from Google Earth below to see a larger version. Tunisia is located on the northern tip of Africa; I think they also discharged some cargo in Italy. They started their trip to Duluth from Spain, at left on the map.
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Friending the Captain of the Kom

Received this email this morning (May 12, 2015): “Kenneth, Мариян Йотов has confirmed that you’re friends on Facebook.” That’s Captain Mariyan Yotov, the Captain of the Kom, the first salt water vessel to arrive in Duluth Superior this season. He linked to a long post about the visit on  www.maritime.bg, below left, a screen print of the page, and beside it, Google’s translation of the page. Many Twin Ports news sources are mentioned. (Captain Yotov’s Facebook page)
 

the translation:
On April 15, 2015, the motor ship "Kom" of Navigation Maritime Bulgare arrived at the US port of The Twin Ports Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin. This is the largest freshwater port in the world. Located in the western part of the komcaptainfacebookpagemay122015North American Great Lakes (North America’s Great Lakes) and accept ships arriving from the Atlantic Ocean and pass through the sea route "St. Lawrence "and Great Lakes (The Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway). It is united port in two US cities that belong to the Territorial two different states: Minnesota Duluth has to and Superiar – to Wisconsin. In The Twin Ports cargo is 19th among all US ports.
This news would hardly deserved so much attention if it was not this detail, the crew of "Kom" Captain Marian Yotov was greeted by local and regional port authorities with the traditional ceremony "Welcome the first" salty "(coming from the ocean) ship! "at the end of the heavy winter in this region. Welcomes the first captain of the Bulgarian ship Dave McMillan (Dave McMillan) – Chairman of the Board of The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. On the bridge of "Kom" Captain Yotov welcomes its guests with painted Easter eggs and invite them to participate in traditional Bulgarian "fight" with them.
(Photo below, right; the Captain battles Adele Yorde of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority) The event is also reflected by the three television channels in the region and is broadcast live by two other media: The Duluth Shipping News and The Duluth News Tribune. A reporter of NNCNOW.com captain Yotov said: "I love Duluth and its inhabitants. They welcome us very friendly and open arms. I am really glad to be here. " Local media also indicate that over half of the transition through the sea route "St. Lawrence "and Great Lakes ‘Kom’ was sailing in heavy ice situation and had to seek the assistance of an icebreaker. The arrival of the ship in the US Maritime port The Twin2015-0415-952 Ports without any damage to it is another proof of the professionalism of the Bulgarian crew.
The publication states that "Qom" has arrived in The Twin Ports Duluth after 25 days in Spain transition from not particularly favorable weather in the North Atlantic. It accepts the US port 12,100 tons high quality wheat in his barns to deliver client Italian port. The Duluth Shipping News notes that this is the fifth visit of the "Kom" here and that his first visit took place on May 26, 1998 – a year after it was built in Varna Shipyard. The newspaper published an aerial photograph of the city – the city where he built ".COM" and a picture of the Balkan us Kom Peak, whose name it bears ship.
When maneuvering the Bulgarian ship The Twin Ports Duluth is assisted by tugs of The Great Lakes Towing Company – a company with over 115 years of history, which is in Navigation Maritime business partnership in 1987. The information and photos are sent to the BMF by Stefanos Skortelis – from ship agency company Navitrans Shipping Agencies Inc., Canada, as the Communication states that the photographs of the ceremony and the visit of the "Kom" made by Paul Scinocca & Diane Hilden (DKH).

Wind turbine blades again

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After several days at anchor, the salt water ship Johanna C came into port on Sunday afternoon, May 3, 2015. After going under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, the Heritage Marine tug Helen H. moved up to help her make her dock at the Port Terminal. On Monday, workers at Lake Superior Warehousing Company, at the Port Terminal, will begin discharging the wind turbine blades.
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Wind turbine blades at anchor off Duluth piers

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On April 18th, the Johanna C (above) was off just off the coast of Newfoundland and due in Montreal on the 19th on her way to Duluth. She arrived Montreal on the 21st. By the 26th, she was in the Welland Canal, at Detroit on the 27th and at the Soo Locks on the 28th. She arrived off the Duluth piers last night (April 29th) as the sun was setting and dropped her anchor.She has wind turbine blades on her deck, the first to come to Duluth in several years. She is in the anchorage waiting for the Lady Doris (below) to complete her discharge of clay at the port terminal.
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Bringing clay for local paper mills from Brazil

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The Lady Doris came into port on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 10:30 am with a cargo of Kaolin clay she loaded in Brazil.
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A local Great Lakes Towing tug met her after she came under the Lift Bridge and assisted while the ship moved up to the Port Terminal. To discharge the cargo, the ship needed to be tied up to the dock with bow pointing forward (toward downtown Duluth), so the tug helped her slowly turn around before moving to the dock to tie up .
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You can see the red crane that will be used to discharge the clay, which will take about 5 days working 24 hours a day. After discharge, the clay will be mixed with water, creating a slurry that will then go to local paper companies. She brought a similar cargo on her first trip to the Twin Ports on August 7th last year.
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Meanwhile, the Johanna C. is on her way to Duluth and should arrive on Wednesday with her main deck stacked high with wind turbine blades to be discharged at the Port Terminal after the Lady Doris is finished, in about 5 days. In the meantime, the Johanna C. will be at the outside anchorage while she waits, a scene that I am sure will attract local photographers.

The green Redhead comes in to load durum wheat

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The Redhead duck has a reddish head and spends the winter in Texas; the rest of the year in the Western United States and Canada. The Redhead ship is green and came into port on Monday afternoon, April 27th, 2015. She is a salt water ship sailing under a charter to Canadian Forest Navigation (Canfornav for short). The ships they work with are named after ducks. She is spending the night in the inner harbor, waiting to load durum wheat for Italy at CHS 1 after the Federal Mayumi finishes there.
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Just across the St. Louis River from Duluth

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The Federal Mayumi came into port Saturday evening, April 24th, 2015 and is now at CHS (above) in Superior loading wheat for Italy. This is her first trip to the Twin Ports. The American Integrity was loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources, just up the river from CHS. She departed late this morning with 66,000 tons of coal for the Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan.
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First trip for Block to Twin Ports in 2015

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The Joseph L. Block came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on Saturday afternoon, April 25, 2015. She is here to discharge a cargo of limestone before leaving for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets.
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Visiting the Kom

2015-0415-1039hollyThe Kom arrived on April 13, 2015, the first salt water ship of the season. It was her 5th trip to the Twin Ports; she first visited us on May 26, 1998, just a year after she was built in Varna, Bulgaria. She is owned by Navigation Maritime Bulgare in Varna. Captain Mariyan Yotov lives in Varna and all of the crew live in Bulgaria, some in Varna also.
(Click on any image to see a larger version)
My associate, Holly Jorgenson, joined me. She 2015-0415-959took this picture as we started our visit going carefully up the gangway. After that, it was only 5 more levels until we reached the pilot house. While we were up in the pilot house, the stevedores at CHS 1 were on the deck loading wheat into the cargo holds.There are two important people on any ship; the captain and the cook. Here Holly chats with the cook; it almost looks like she is praying for food.
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Holly found Captain Yotov’s Facebook page so you too can share some of his travels around the world. Everybody, and everything has a face book page. I was looking around the web for Kom Peak and found their Facebook page. They just sent me an email titled, Kom Peak confirmed your Facebook friend request. Now I am friends with a mountain!Several years ago, I created a web page for the Kom, and I included a Google Earth map to make sure we all knew where Bulgaria was. Captain Yotov likes maps too so he took us down a floor to give us a short tour around his world. First, he showed us home: Varna, his port city on the Black Sea.
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Then to Spain, and the port of LaCoruna, at the northwest tip of Spain, where they began their trip to Duluth.
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2015-0415-999When they depart the Twin Ports, they will be taking their cargo of wheat to a port in Italy where it will be used to make pasta. Then all officers and crew will be taking the short flight home to Varna; to be replaced by another all Bulgarian crew. I emphasize this since we don’t see this much anymore; Greek owned, operated and crewed ships (with a great Greek cook I might add) were here often and Polish ships the same. For a while the Dutch ships with all Dutch crews were here from the Netherlands. In fact, the captains on some of the Dutch ships have also been part owners of the ship they were on. That was nice; it was almost like visiting the country. Today, costs are cut and many companies have left the shipping business; crews are now often found from other countries with lower pay scales. So we welcome the Kom, a small part of Bulgaria, to Duluth Superior, still holding their country’s maritime heritage and helping us with ours.
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The Captain is often asked, as he was here, where the name Kom came from. It is named for Kom Peak in the Balkan Mountains in western Bulgaria, not far from the Serbian border. Above we see the view from the top of Kom Peak. The peak is 6,614 feet high and is a popular site for hikers. The country has many interesting neighbors; Romania to the north; Serbia and Macedonia to the west; Greece to the south and Turkey to the southeast. And of course, a long coastal connection to the beautiful Black Sea. Above, the view from the top of Kom’s Peak. Below, the city of Varna.
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2015-0415-1010On the way to sunny, almost warm Duluth, the Kom was caught up in the big ice jam at Whitefish Point in the eastern part of Lake Superior, just this side of the Soo Locks. Captain Yotov took us out to show us the bow of his ship which made countless surges into the ice; the white lines are the marks the ice left on her bow to show us they were there.
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Below, the Kom comes in for more grain on November 27, 2014.
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Kom comes to Duluth

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The Kom came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge early this afternoon (April 13, 2015). She is the first salt water ship to arrive for the season, beginning her voyage in LaCoruna, Spain. She will load 12,100 tons of durum wheat for Italy where it will be milled into flour for pasta. This is her 4th visit to the Twin Ports; she was here 3 other times in November of 2008, 2010 and 2014. On each trip, as today, she will load grain at the CHS 1 grain terminal in Superior.
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She had help from 2 Great Lakes Towing tugs, the Minnesota on her stern and the Arkansas on the bow.
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Callaway under the Bridge

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The Cason J. Callaway departed Duluth on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, April 11, 2015, at 2:45 with iron ore pellets loaded at the CN dock in West Duluth.

Gott and Cort arrive under Lift Bridge

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The Edwin H. Gott arrived Duluth (above) on Friday morning, April 10, 2015 to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. She was originally scheduled to spend winter layup in Duluth but spent layup in Milwaukee instead. Although owned and operated by Great Lakes Fleet, headquartered in Duluth, she was only here 3 times last year. She spends most of her season loading iron ore pellets in Two Harbors and taking them to Gary.2015-0403-716 Earlier this  week, the Stewart J. Cort came under the Lift Bridge (left) to get fuel at the  Calumet fuel dock at the Port Terminal before going to the BNSF Dock in Superior to load iron ore pellets. That has been her destination for many many years, and since the BNSF is just inside the Superior entry, we seldom see here coming under the Lift Bridge.

One finally out, four expected Friday

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The Whitefish Bay ice pack, assaulted by many Canadian and US Coast Guard vessels, and undoubtedly helped by warmer temperatures, broke up, and freed the vessels stopped in the ice for many days. Unfortunately, the downbound vessels have a long waiting line to get through the Soo Locks. Meanwhile the American Integrity finally departed Duluth this afternoon (April 9, 2015), the first departure from the Twin Ports in 4 days.

Whitefish Bay ice stops shipping on Lake Superior

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Check out this slideshow from Reuters

Kaye E. Barker departs Duluth

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listenwhistlebarblue-2The Kaye E. Barker began her season this morning, April 2, 2015, going under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 9:50 am. Above, she is just made the turn toward the bridge after fueling at the Calumet fuel dock at the Port Terminal. She spent winter layup at Fraser Shipyards.  Listen as she salutes the bridge while going out to the lake.

Gott goes to Two Harbors

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After battling the ice in Whitefish Bay, at the other end of Lake Superior,  and with the considerable help of the Alder and the Mackinaw, the Edwin H. Gott, finally arrived back in the bright blue waters off the port of Duluth, coming under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on Monday morning, March 30, 2015. After getting some maintenance at the listenwhistlebarblue-2Port Terminal, she departed for Two Harbors to pick up a cargo of iron ore pellets on Tuesday afternoon, March 31 (above and below). Listen as she salutes the bridge while going out to the lake.
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Mesabi Miner goes back to work

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After a couple days getting some early season maintenance done at the Port Terminal, the Mesabi Miner pulled away on Sunday afternoon, March 29, 20125 from her berth there (above). After turning around, she made her way over to Midwest Energy where she would load 58,000 tons of coal for Minnesota Power’s plant at Taconite Harbor.
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Mesabi Miner back in Duluth

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After the Mesabi Miner lost the race to be the first to depart the port, she settled for 2nd place, taking coal to Taconite Harbor. She turned around and headed back to Duluth, arriving at 8:51 (above) this morning (March 26, 2015) and easily winning the first to arrive trophy. But all was not so good; she will undergo a couple days of maintenance at the Port Terminal (below) before returning to Midwest Energy for more coal. She sits in loose ice here, but that is better than the John G. Munson. She is having lots of trouble with ice just this side of the Soo Locks. Both the Mackinaw and the Alder are working to clear a path through the ice for her to continue down bound to Gary and for the Edwin H. Gott and the Roger Blough to continue up bound.
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John G. Munson departs Duluth

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After spending the winter at the Fraser Shipyards, the John G. Munson loaded iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth. She is seen here departing with the first cargo of the new season, taking it down to Gary. She left at 5:29 pm on Monday, March 23rd, almost a week later than our usual first departure.
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First movement of the season

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Above, the John G. Munson is backing out from Howard’s Pocket and her winter berth, while the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. moves ahead of her. They are both headed for the Calumet Fuel Dock. The Munson to fuel before going to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets for Gary  and the Nels J. to make sure the ice did not cause any problems (and it did not). Just below, the Munson eases by the winter berth of the American Integrity.
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Getting ready for this Spring, and next Spring

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The above picture was taken on St. Patrick’s Day showing that, with the help of Mother Nature and her warm weather, and a bit of an assist from the Alder, the port is ready for ship traffic to begin. But …
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… work began earlier this week (above, on March 21st, 2015) on the new Pier B waterfront hotel project which will be located beside the silos formerly used by Lafarge Cement when they discharged cement from the Alpena and the J.A.W. Iglehart. The project will include a new, 140-room hotel with a waterfront restaurant, boardwalk and boat ramp. There is significant site preparation including the removal of the side buildings next to the silos, above. The silos will stay but their use has not yet been determined. As at one other well-known site, there will be a bridge that will allow pedestrians to cross over a slip to the facility. Developers promise that this pedestrian bridge will work, perhaps because it will by a sliding bridge and not a lift bridge. And I doubt they will paint it blue.

On the other side of the silos rests the Sundew (below) and happily, she will stay. Sundew owner Jeff Foster is also a member of the development group.

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Ironically, this week also brought news of the pending merger of Lafarge Cement (still with a Superior facility that the Alpena continues to visit) and Holcim, operators of the cement dock in Duluth, formerly owned by St Lawrence Cement.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage slipping away

from Petoskeynews.com (Petoskey is a town on the north east shore of Lake Michigan)

Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015 1:19 pm

Mark Johnson (989) 732-1111mjohnson@gaylordheraldtimes.com

NORTHERN MICHIGAN — It appears spring is finally here and with the end to another brutal winter comes the end of another year of extensive Great Lakes ice coverage.

According to George Leshkevich, physical scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, total Great Lakes ice coverage peaked Feb. 28 at approximately 88.7 percent combined among the five lakes.

Though some of the lakes — Erie, Huron and Superior — approached almost complete ice cover, the total of 88.7 percent fell short of the ice coverage mark set last year on March 6, and approximately 6 percent short of the record set in 1979 at 94.7 percent.

“The way things are going now, we are looking at an earlier breakup and an earlier ice-off date (compared to 2014),” Leshkevich said. “Last year was extreme.”

According to statistics compiled by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, out of all of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie reached the highest ice coverage percent at 98.09 percent on Feb. 18.

Lake Ontario also experienced its peak ice coverage Feb. 18, when 82.6 percent of the lake was covered in ice.

Coming in at No. 2 for highest total ice coverage was Lake Huron, recording an ice coverage of 96.28 percent on March 6.

Lakes Superior and Michigan both reached their maximum ice coverage Feb. 28, with Lake Michigan recording 72.8 percent ice coverage and Lake Superior 95.5 percent.

Since reaching those numbers, warmer temperatures and larger amounts of sunlight among other factors have began to break up the large quantities of ice.

“It is going down now,” Leshkevich said in regard to the melting ice. “Even if we get another cold snap, it would have to be really cold for really long to turn things around.”

Leshkevich said the ice coverage patterns this year are about normal, as the lower Great Lakes — Erie and Ontario — typically reach maximum ice coverage between the middle and end of February, while the upper Great Lakes — Michigan, Superior and Huron — usually reach peak ice coverage sometime during the first half of March.

Unless there is another cold spell, the ice cover should continue to melt as spring approaches, unlike 2014 when Leshkevich said some amount of ice cover remained on Lake Superior until June 6.

But with the unpredictable Michigan weather patterns, Leshkevich said anything is possible.

“Things could still turn around,” he said. “Cold weather could prolong (the ice cover).”

Follow @Mark_JohnsonGHT on Twitter.

3 Chiefs

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Dave Campbell, Chief operator on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, LCDR Anthony J. Maffia, Commanding officer Coast Guard cutter Alder and Vanta E. Coda II, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority are just outside the bridge on the Alder enjoying the almost warm weather this morning (March 12, 2015).

listenwhistlebarblue-2Listen as we salute the bridge while going out to the lake. You will first hear a warning they gave us just before blowing the whistle; I think it says, “Ears on deck,”  meaning hold your ears.
The Alder was the first vessel to go under the Lift Bridge this season.  That gave a chance for Campbell to go under the bridge.  He has gone up with the bridge thousands of times; this was only his 3rd time to go under the bridge.
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Below, we are just about to leave the ice and go for a short trip on the open water of Lake Superior, about 5 miles out.
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The temperature was pretty warm for March 12, but inside the pilot  house, where the smart people stay, it was nice and warm.
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We returned using the track we had opened up on the way out; notice the wind was already moving it around; we left a straight track behind us.
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Some of the bridge operators had to say hello to the boss as he passed under them.
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Great Lakes Towing Company tugs North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Minnesota are already in open water. Behind them, the American Integrity spent the winter at the Port Authority dock at Holcim Cement.
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The Mesabi Miner has been at Midwest Energy Resources for the winter. With no cargo, she is high in the water (ice) but will soon be loading coal and will likely be the first commercial boat to depart the port within the next week.
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