Archives for March 2007

Munson framed by Aerial Lift Bridge

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The John G. Munson has a new paint job but it has been hard to see the boat up close. On Thursday evening, it moved over to the CN Dock to load taconite. Friday morning, the boat departed the Duluth CN Dock and went under the Lift Bridge, presumably to go to the Two Harbors CN Dock to continue loading taconite. There was a line there to get in and we had very heavy winds so the Munson turned into the ice just southwest of the South pier light to stay there until a combination of dock availability and good weather came together (above). As of Friday evening, with continued high winds and freezing rain, the Munson was still waiting in the ice. The boat, I am told by reliable sources, is not stopped in the ice, it is waiting in the ice. Photo taken on March 30, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2007

Black and white Munson

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After a winter lay up in dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, the John G. Munson was over at the Murphy Fuel Dock last evening, getting fuel before moving over to the CN Dock in West Duluth to load taconite for Conneaut. The boat will probably be gone by the time the sun comes up so we will have to wait for the next trip to see the newly painted red hull with a gray and a black bow stripe. A black and white version of the boat’s paint job is above, taken at Fraser Shipyards on March 9th. After a long lineup at Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior over the last couple days, no coal will be loaded there today. The CN dock, across the St. Louis River from Midwest, will be sending out two boats today with taconite for the lower lakes. Photo taken on March 09, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-30-2007

Many boats coming, going, waiting

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The ice flow just beyond the Duluth piers was a popular place on Wednesday morning.That’s the James R. Barker (center) departing and the Canadian Provider just passing it and headed to the Aerial Bridge to load grain at CHS in Superior. At the upper left, the Algowood was waiting to move into the coal dock at Midwest Energy (it finally came in around 7 last night). Of the two boats in the upper right, the Edgar B. Speer is at the left. It came in for a bit around noon and departed later in the day for Two Harbors. On the right, the Algosoo also is waiting for Midwest Energy. It will follow the Algowood. The Paul R. Tregurtha should have joined the line last night. Making its first trip of the season, it will follow the Algosoo loading coal at Midwest Energy. At first glance the picture above seems like a lot of boats stuck in the ice, but the ice was not a problem. Thirty mph winds from the east were causing problems, along with the waiting line to load coal. Photo taken on March 28, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-29-2007

James R. Barker pushing ice

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The James R. Barker arrived yesterday afternoon, coming under the Lift Bridge at 4:16 (above). The 1,000-footer often spends the winter in Duluth but this winter, it went to Milwaukee. The big event today is probably the departure of the John G. Munson from Fraser Shipyards. It will go under the bridge and over to Two Harbors to load taconite, probably sometime around noon. All boats that visit Duluth show obvious wear and tear on the hull, particularly the sides that often are in contact with the locks they have to pass through to get around the Great Lakes. They also tie up right next to a dock and that can take a toll. Every winter there is usually at least one boat that departs Duluth with a new coat of paint. This year that would be the Munson. If you ever dreamed of seeing a clean, scratch-free boat, today is the day to be down at the ship canal when the Munson passes through. Photo taken on March 27, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-28-2007

H. Lee White first in from beyond the Soo

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We had another first of the season event on Monday. Only a couple more firsts and we can declare the season started. This first: the H. Lee White arrived late Monday morning to load taconite at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe dock in Superior. It was the first boat to arrive here from beyond the Soo Locks. They opened at 12:01 on Sunday morning. The H. Lee White usually loads taconite at Silver Bay so we don’t see it so often. Above, Port Authority Promotion Manager Lisa Marciniak stands with H. Lee White captain Steve Hooton shortly after the boat arrived. The Port Authority regularly greets the first boat from beyond the Soo. The last first will be the first boat that arrives here after transiting the entire St. Lawrence Seaway System. That is usually a salt water ship. Three 1,000-footers will be arriving today from beyond the Soo and two of them that spent the winter here will be departing. And the Canadian Provider should be here to load the first grain of the season. Photo taken on March 26, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-27-2007

Miner takes extra long time under bridge

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The Soo Locks opened at 12:01 on Sunday morning, but due to a heavy fog, not much traffic moved. The Canadian Transport and the H. Lee White, with some help from the Mackinaw, did start for Duluth shortly after the locks opened. (The fog was mostly on the other side of the Locks, causing the most trouble for downbound vessels.) We had fog at our end of the lake too. It did not stop the Mesabi Miner from slowly moving under the Lift Bridge on Sunday with coal for Detroit (above). It did stop traffic on the bridge. The Bridge was up for 41 minutes while the 1,000 footer slowly moved through the ship canal. Photo taken on March 25, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-26-2007

Halifax coming through the ice sheet

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A week ago, Cary Godwin, Commanding Officer on the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay, ran his ship straight into ice that was up to 36 inches in depth. Actually he backed and rammed the ice until it broke up. That was in Thunder Bay. They are back in Duluth now, with another, much less taxing, strategy for what is left of this winter’s Duluth ice, particularly the ice sheet just beyond the Duluth piers. It has been there for several weeks. It shouldered hockey players, fishermen, skaters, a diving expedition, walkers and a few runners. It stayed in place during our blizzard with 60 mph winds coming out of the east and it outlasted some fairly warm and sunny days. It is ripe for the Biscayne Bay to do it in. They are waiting at the DECC for a west wind. If you notice such a wind in the next couple days, you might watch them when they go out there. Wave good-bye to the ice as they break it up and the west wind blows it to its eventual death out in Lake Superior. Yesterday, the Halifax came through the track (above) first cut a week ago by the Biscayne Bay. The Halifax started their trip in Thunder Bay, also with the help of the Biscayne Bay. Photo taken on March 24, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-25-2007

Callaway in layup at Fraser

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The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay was back in town after clearing out the ice in the Thunder Bay harbor. The powerful cutter has provided a good assist for several boats at each end of their early season travels. The Algosoo will be here today to load coal. It spent the winter in Thunder Bay and is taking this load to the Ontario Power Generation plant there before coming back to the Twin Ports to load coal for their power plant in Nanticoke. The Halifax will also be coming here from Thunder Bay. Hopefully, the Kaye E. Barker and the Cason J. Callaway (above) will be departing their winter berths at Fraser Shipyards, both for Two Harbors. Photo taken on March 09, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-24-2007

Halifax approaches Aerial lift Bridge

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This is not the best time of the year to be in the business of predicting boat arrivals and departures. Having said that, we expect 4 boats to go under the Lift Bridge today, including the first Canadian flagged vessel, the Halifax. The Halifax spent the winter in Thunder Bay, on Lake Superior, so it was free to travel the Lake loading cargo but will have to wait until March 25th for the Soo Locks to open to take its cargo to a lower lakes port. It will be the first boat to load taconite at the Burlington Northern Dock in Superior and it is also the first boat not named the Mesabi Miner to depart the port. The Halifax is expected early this morning to come under the Lift Bridge and load fuel at the Murphy Fuel Dock before proceeding up the Superior channel to the BN. Other boats are experiencing some delays in getting out, which is to be expected since they have been sitting in one place for two months. Loading equipment at the docks has also been idle and some delays are expected as the whole port slowly swings into action for the new season. Above, the Halifax is seen entering the ship canal in May of 2002.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-23-2007

Blough and others going back to work

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Today is the day the rest of the fleet joins the Mesabi Miner hauling cargo in and out of the Twin Ports. The Miner came back from Taconite Harbor last night, entering the harbor very slowly due to the heavy fog. With a tug assist to clear the dock in front of the Murphy Fuel Dock, the Miner took on fuel before going over to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to pick up its third load of coal this season. It should be departing sometime this morning for Marquette. The Soo Locks will not open until March 25th, so all traffic until then is within Lake Superior. Later today, the Kaye E. Barker should leave its winter berth at Fraser Shipyards in Superior to go to Two Harbors to load taconite.The Roger Blough will be moving from its winter berth at the Port Terminal (above, top) to the CN Dock in West Duluth to load taconite. The Edwin H. Gott (above, bottom) will be leaving for Two Harbors on Friday, loading taconite there for Conneaut.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-22-2007

Alder back on the job

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Around 3:30 Tuesday afternoon, the Alder moved away from the dock on Park Point for the first time this season. The delayed start was due to a hydraulic oil leak in the cutter’s controllable pitch propeller system. In its place, the cutter Biscayne Bay was here for several days breaking ice. After getting away from the dock, the Alder went under the Lift Bridge (above) and out into the ice field that is still standing just beyond the Duluth piers. About an hour later, the ship came back under the bridge and tied up at the Coast Guard dock on Park Point. Photo taken on March 20, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-21-2007