Archives for December 2007

CSL Niagara passes South Pier Light

The Canadian flagged CSL Niagara, seen above entering the Duluth ship canal on January 9th, 2005, is expected to arrive late this evening, perhaps just before midnight. Last year, when the boat was here in late December, it was elaborately decorated for Christmas. It may light up the harbor just in time for the New Year! Even if there are no Christmas lights on the boat, it is bright red. This is the 5th trip the boat has made to the Twin Ports this season. That’s about average over the last 5 years.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-31-2007

St. Clair heading to Murphy

At 11:30 on Saturday morning, the St. Clair came into port using the Duluth entry to get fuel before loading taconite at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior. To avoid the ice filled Superior channel, it went back out to the lake using the Duluth entry after fueling at the Murphy Fuel dock and followed Park Point down to the Superior entry. It was a much easier trip, with very little ice and the BN dock is right inside the Superior entry. Photo taken on December 29,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-30-2007

American Century ice is nice

It almost looks like the port of Duluth Superior is holding a year end sale on coal and taconite. The sale goes all the way up to Two Harbors, at least for the taconite. Buyers of those two products know they will not be able to get more from here between the middle of January and the middle of March. The other end of the Seaway (Duluth is the western most tip of the St. Lawrence Seaway System) is closing up for the winter. Yesterday, the Saint-Lambert Lock at Montreal, the entrance to the St. Lawrence Seaway, closed after the Birchglen moved through it on the way to Baltimore. Back here, the American Century arrived in port last night for coal and should be departing sometime this morning. Above, it is seen departing Duluth on December 7th, loaded down with ice. Today, with warmer weather and quieter winds, it does not carry so much ice along for the ride. Photo taken on December 07,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-29-2007

Algosteel arriving Duluth ship canal

The Algosteel is expected today for the 4th visit the boat has made to the Twin Ports this season, more than it has made at least since 1996. Above, it is arriving in Duluth in March, 2006, the only trip it made to the Twin Ports last season. It usually loads coal when it is up here, as it is today. On one of the trips this year, however, it brought in a cargo of salt and then left with taconite. Other boats are here today for both taconite and coal, but Two Harbors is the place to see boat traffic. They are expecting to load 4 boats with taconite today, although that should roll over into Saturday.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-28-2007

Waves no match for Paul R. Tregurtha

The Paul R. Tregurtha came into port a little after 3 pm on Wednesday. There was no ice in the ship channel but a 11 mph wind with gusts up to 19 mph created some surf and blowing snow as the boat when under the Lift Bridge (above). The Tregurtha was in a line to load coal at Midwest Energy. It was set to follow the Mesabi Miner which was set to follow the Herbert C. Jackson. It got its place by waiting out Christmas Day at anchor off the Duluth piers. Photo taken on December 26,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-27-2007

Canadian Enterprise Christmas

Christmas Day was a time of waiting for shipping traffic in the Twin Ports. But that is not all bad. In fact, it is pretty good since Christmas Day on a laker means a very nice dinner. That is the Canadian Enterprise above, just to the right of the North Pier light, barely visible in the Christmas morning mist. The overcast did not stop the crew on the boat from enjoying a dinner of turkey and prime rib. Further out in the lake, on the Algolake, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and chicken Cordon Bleu were the main attraction. Abundant appetizers and desserts surrounded the plate on both boats. At 11 last night, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was set to start loading coal at Midwest Energy, there is a waiting line after that. Photo taken on December 25, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-26-2007

Kaye E. Barker and bothersome ice

It has been a slow couple days for shipping activity in the Twin Ports. Most everything stopped when high winds and ice created less than ideal conditions in the harbor. Often the hardest part of the job coming in to load cargo in conditions like that is getting close enough to the dock. As a boat moves close to the dock, any ice between the boat and the dock can get stuck between the two leaving the boat too far away. Above, the Kaye E. Barker got only this close to the Murphy Oil Dock on December 20th. In this case, that was sufficient. High winds can make that job even harder. And, the coal dock in Superior has the Christmas holiday off, their only day of rest since the season opened in March. Wind, ice and Christmas provide two boats to watch at anchor and one waiting inside. They return to work at 11 pm tonight. Photo taken on December 20,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-25-2007

Atlantic Huron arrives Duluth harbor

There was not much movement in the harbor yesterday. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. approached the Duluth piers and decided to drop anchor in the outer anchorage and wait for the storm, particularly the wind from the North, to pass. At 8:10 Sunday morning, the Mesabi Miner went out in the Lake after loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior, also the destination of the McCarthy. The Miner decided to drop anchor also. Both were there on Sunday evening. Presumably, the McCarthy came in last night and has been loading coal. It is about a 9 hour process. Two more boats will be here today to load coal; the Canadian flagged Algolake and Canadian Enterprise. The Atlantic Huron is expected here today to load taconite. Above, it is arriving on January 1st, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-24-2007

Algowood makes her way through harbor

While people in cars in the Twin Ports were slipping and sliding in the ice-drizzle-snow on Saturday morning, the Algowood slipped under the Lift Bridge and is seen above moving easily down the Duluth harbor to take a position behind the American Integrity at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The boat was more challenged by the ice in the St. Louis River. The Algowood departed the Twin Ports early Saturday evening with coal for Ontario Power Generation and was replaced by the Mesabi Miner at Midwest. The Miner was expected to depart sometime this morning. Photo taken on December 22, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-23-2007

New meaning to “go fly a kite”

Ships from Beluga Shipping in Hamburg, Germany made 11 trips to the Twin Ports in 2007. During most of those trips they carried wind turbine components so that people in Spain, and North Dakota, among other places, might have cleaner and perhaps cheaper electricity. They depended upon good old fashioned diesel power to move around the world. Last Saturday, their world might have changed. Beluga Shipping launched the Beluga SkySails. It still runs on diesel fuel, but as you can see in the graphic above, the ship has a kite flying high above and in front of it, harnessing the wind to pull the Beluga ship along and providing an estimated 10 to 20% reduction in fuel cost. This ship will make a trial run from Germany to Venezuela next year, but it will probably be some time before we see it coming under the Lift Bridge. You can see video by searching Youtube for skysails.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-22-2007

Kaye E. gets visit from Captain’s family

Captain Greg Sipper brought the Kaye E. Barker under the Lift Bridge on Thursday afternoon at 3:30. One hour later, his wife Emily and son Joel joined him in the pilot house on the boat (above) while the boat was refueled at the Murphy Oil Fuel Dock. Along with daughter Katie who joined them later, the Sipper family resides in Hermantown. Greg was born in Duluth and graduated from Denfield High in 1977. With any luck, the family got him back to Hermantown for at least a couple hours last night before he would have to return to the boat. That probably happened late last night when Captain Sipper was scheduled to take the Barker back under the bridge, this time with a cargo of coal loaded at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior while he was home in Hermantown for a quick visit. He is taking the cargo to Marquette. Photo taken on December 20,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-21-2007

Kaye E. Barker likes Duluth winters

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The Kaye E. Barker doesn’t get here very much although it spent the winter here last year. For some reason, as you can notice from the picture above, taken on January 23rd, 2004, this boat seems to favor Duluth in the winter months. Of 6 trips here in 2006, 4 of them were in November and December and of 6 trips in 2005, 4 were in December, January and March. The Kaye E. Barker started life as the Edward B. Greene, sailing for Cleveland Cliffs. It was also operated by Ford as the Benson Ford. In 1989, Ford got out of the shipping business and it was sold to the current owner, Interlake Steamship Company. The boat is named after the wife of James R. Barker, Interlake Chairman of the Board. He also has a boat named after him that visits the Twin Ports regularly. It will be here Saturday.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-20-2007

Paul R. Tregurtha brings in some ice

Two thousand footers will go under the Lift Bridge today. The Paul R. Tregurtha will depart this morning and the American Century should arrive this afternoon. This will be the 53rd trip here for the Tregurtha this season. That is a high total, mostly because the boat made many shorter trips to Taconite Harbor and a couple to Marquette, Michigan. It is seen above coming into the Duluth ship canal this past December 7th. This will be the 37th trip to the Twin Ports for the American Century this season. The first of the 13 thousand footers to be built, the Stewart J. Cort, will be in Superior, and another thousand footer, the Edwin H. Gott, will be in Two Harbors. Photo taken on December 07, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-19-2007

Sam Laud one of the “river boats”

Three boats that can often be found on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland are up on Lake Superior this week. They are smaller boats, 634 feet long, that move a lot of taconite up the river to Mittal Steel that some of the larger boats bring down to the mouth of the river at Cleveland. Once in a while, the river boats get a chance to visit us on Lake Superior. The Sam Laud, seen above while here in November, was expected in last night to load taconite at the Burlington Northern in Superior. The American Republic will be in Silver Bay today, the Buffalo was there on Monday. At least two of them will take their taconite to Cleveland. Photo taken on November 08,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-18-2007

Alder back home

The last salt water ship left the port on Friday. On Sunday, the locally based Alder arrived back in Duluth (above) after doing buoy work on Lake Michigan, a duty they share with several other Coast Guard boats. They are home for the winter. After a couple days rest, the Alder will go out in the harbor to maintain tracks through the ice. They will respond to other situations as needed. They brought in relatively warm weather and will not likely be out in the Harbor until Friday. The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay arrived a couple weeks ago, but brought very cold weather and lots of ice with it. Photo taken on December 16, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-17-2007

Isadora strategy session

The Isadora went under the Lift Bridge on Friday night at 8:39. An hour earlier, there was a meeting in Isadora captain Zdzislaw Iwanowski’s office on the ship (above) to complete all the paper work involved with loading the ship’s cargo holds with wheat and sending it off to, in this case, Barcelona. From the left, Chuck Hilleren from Guthrie-Hubner, the ship’s agent, Chuck Ilenda, from Ceres, the stevedore for the job, and Captain Sencer Under from the National Cargo Bureau joined the Captain to tie up the salt water shipping in the port for the year. Photo taken on December 14, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-16-2007

Icy harbor

The Isadora was loading wheat for Barcelona on Friday morning when the Philip R. Clarke was coming up the harbor with a load of limestone for the Hallett Dock in West Duluth. It was slow going through the ice and the tug Anna Marie Altman was standing by to provide assistance if needed. The picture was taken from the stern of the Isadora. The Polish owned and crewed Isadora was the 158th and last salt water ship of the year to visit the port. It departed last night. Photo taken on December 15,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-15-2007

Isadora departing Twin Ports

The Isadora came into port on Thursday evening to load grain at AGP in Duluth. It is the 158th salt water vessel to come to the Twin Ports this shipping season. This is the ship’s 12th trip to the Twin Ports since it was built in 1999. It first came here in November 2000. It made 4 trips in 2000 and then visited only once in each year since although this is the second visit this season. The Isadora should be departing later today depending upon weather. Above, it is departing Duluth in June, 2003.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-14-2007

Biscayne Bay cuts a path

The Biscayne Bay‘s extended stay in Duluth was cut short when they were asked to go to Thunder Bay to break up their ice. The 140 foot Coast Guard cutter departed the port on Wednesday afternoon. Before departing, it refreshed the tracks made through the ice in the main shipping channels in the port. The tracks they opened up Wednesday meet under the Blatnik Bridge. One goes up the St. Louis River past Midwest Energy Resources and the CN dock. One goes down the Superior channel to the BN dock. And one moves up the inner harbor to the Lift Bridge. In the picture above, the ship is going down the Superior channel toward the Superior entry. You are looking back through a window on the bridge of the ship at the track the ship has just opened. The tracks often freeze over if there has not been a ship going through it for some time and/or it is very cold. The tracks through the ice in the main shipping channels can easily be seen from Skyline Drive. Photo taken on December 12, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-13-2007

H. Lee White rides into the sunset

The H. Lee White came into port late Monday afternoon (above) with a cargo of limestone loaded at Calcite, Michigan. After discharging the stone, it will go to Silver Bay to load taconite for Mittal Steel in Indiana Harbor. When it arrived on March 26th this year, it was the first boat in the new season to arrive in the Twin Ports from beyond the Soo Locks. Ice and the problems it creates for ships on the Great Lakes does not follow a schedule. The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay has been called to Thunder Bay and should be departing here after a short ice breaking session in the harbor this morning. Photo taken on December 11,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-12-2007

McCarthy taking ice and coal out

Ice is becoming an important factor in the port. Seasoned observers point out that in the last several days, impressive amounts of ice have formed even overnight. Yesterday, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was unable to pull away from the dock at Midwest Energy Resources after loading 62,000 tons of coal. A call to the Great Lakes tug office brought some assistance. Above, they are in the harbor, turning toward the bridge after getting free of the ice. The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay has been here since Friday. It is now tied up behind the DECC. Generally speaking, ice breaking help requested by ships is first provided by local entities, usually tugs. The Biscayne Bay would only get involved if the ice was too thick for the tugs to handle or if asked by a party to help out. The cutter will also be out opening tracks in the main shipping channels in the harbor. Photo taken on December 10, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-11-2007

Biscayne Bay crew does the icebreaking

LT Cary Godwin brought his Coast Guard ice breaker Biscayne Bay into port on Friday evening. About 10 tons of ice, encrusted on just about every exterior surface of the ship, came along for the ride. Most of the ice accumulated on the trip here from Isle Royale where they ran into 8 to 10 foot seas. The design of the ship, allowing them to move under an ice flow and break it up from below also makes it easier to collect spray which in 10 below weather quickly becomes ice. The crew of 17 spent most of Saturday chipping away at the ice with rubber mallets. In the picture above, you see, from top down, SN Jason Manard from Bedford, Michigan, SN Matthew Jobson from Alexandria Bay, New York, BM3 Michael Desormeaux from Augusta, Georgia and SN Timothy Fonger from Grand Rapids, Michigan shoveling the ice off the deck after they had deftly applied their mallets to the target. Presuming most of the ice is off the ship, they will be out in the harbor today to check on ice conditions. They will likely be here at least a week, making sure the shipping channels are open for our boat traffic throughout the harbor. Yesterday and today they were at the dock normally taken up by ‘our’ cutter Alder. The Alder is tending to buoys in the St. Mary’s River and on Lake Michigan while the Biscayne Bay attends to our ice. Photo taken on December 08, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-09-2007

Federal Kushiro and sea smoke

The Federal Kushiro came into port on Friday morning, just before sunrise (above) and is now loading wheat for Northern Europe at the CHS terminal in Superior. The brand new Rosaire A. Desgagnés was expected just before sunrise this morning. The Coast Guard ice breaker Biscayne Bay did arrive in Duluth last night after several days of windy weather on Lake Superior. Today will likely be a recovery day before checking out the harbor ice situation on Sunday. The Daviken spent the night at anchor off the Duluth piers and will come in to load wheat at the Peavey elevator sometime after 10 am this morning. Photo taken on December 07, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-08-2007

Paul R. makes turn to Aerial Lift Bridge

Three salt water vessels are expected in port during the first part of the day. Each will start loading grain when they arrive since they are going to 3 different grain terminals. Later in the afternoon, two thousand-footers will be arriving to load coal, although since they are both loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources, one will have to wait about 9 hours to get to the dock. The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay is still trying to get to Duluth and is still fighting the weather. On Thursday, prevailing winds directed them to Isle Royale where they anchored for the night. With good weather, they hope to arrive in Duluth late today, hugging the North Shore of Lake Superior to avoid higher winds in the middle of the lake. Finally, the Rosaire A. Desgagnés, a new ship built this year by Beluga Shipping, a German company, will be here. It left the shipyard as the Beluga Fortification in June with a Panamanian flag. In August it became the Rosaire A. Desgagnés, flying a flag from Antigua and Barbuda for a month before raising a Canadian flag to its mast. Above, the Paul R. Tregurtha, expected here to load coal, is departing Duluth last September. Photo taken on September 06, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-07-2007

Biscayne Bay is Coast Guard ice breaker

The US Coast Guard ice breaker Biscayne Bay is on the way to the Twin Ports. After making a stop at Marquette, it dropped anchor off the Keweenaw last night, hoping to depart this morning for Duluth, depending upon the weather. Above, it is seen arriving in Duluth March 14th of this year. Nothing is for sure when trying to predict the arrivals and departure of shipping traffic. The Federal Asahi finally departed last night, allowing the Beluga Energy to move into the AGP terminal to load grain. The predicted arrival of the Edward L. Ryerson will not happen for some time. It has found more work that should keep it going until January. It is still scheduled to spend the winter at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. Photo taken on March 14, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-06-2007

St. Clair arriving Twin Ports harbor

On Sunday, only 3 boats went under the Lift Bridge, Monday saw another 3 and Tuesday only 1. It is too early to say that the season is winding down but it is definitely slowed up by a combination of high winds, cold temperatures and ice. The Coast Guard announced the beginning of Operation Taconite yesterday, a somewhat early effort to keep shipping channels open on the St. Mary’s River below the Soo Locks and in Duluth. Our Coast Guard cutter Alder is in the St. Mary’s River, below the Soo Locks, removing aids to navigation buoys, a little earlier than usual. Some of the buoys have been damaged by the ice in the river, although no serious damage is reported, meaning they will be put back in the water in the Spring. The cutter Biscayne Bay has been dispatched to Duluth although they will stop in Marquette first, probably sometime later today, arriving here at the end of the week. They were here last winter several times. Even though the Alder is ‘our’ coast guard cutter, it is primarily a buoy tender and the buoys in the St. Mary’s River needed tending. The Biscayne Bay is an ice breaker, coming here to break ice. The only question left is where the ice problems in Duluth are located. They should have sent a snow plow instead. The St. Clair, seen above making the turn into the Duluth harbor in October, should be here now for coal and will likely leave later in the morning. Photo taken on October 25, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-05-2007

BBC Ontario loading wind turbine blades

Above, the 4th of 10 wind turbine blades is lowered onto a lower deck of the BBC Ontario Monday morning at the Port Terminal. Over the weekend, beet pulp pellets were loaded into the cargo holds below this deck at General Mills. After ten blades were placed here, hatch covers were lowered over it to form the weather or top deck. Twenty one blades were put on the top deck before it departed last night for Spain. Both cargos were loaded in North Dakota and both cargos will be delivered to Spain. The Edward L. Ryerson was delayed in the Detroit area but is now expected to arrive in Duluth sometime later today for winter layup, the first layup arrival of the year. Photo taken on December 03, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-04-2007

Ryerson enters Duluth ship canal

Ships coming to the Twin Ports have been loading beet pulp pellets for Spain for many years. Arriving here by train from North Dakota, the pellets are used in Europe for animal feed, This year, several ships have loaded wind turbine blades in Duluth and taken them to Spain. Until today, no ship has loaded both cargos for Spain. Over the weekend, the BBC Ontario loaded beet pulp pellets in the lower cargo areas of the ship. Last night, the ship moved from the General Mills dock in Duluth to the Port Terminal where wind turbine blades for Spain will be loaded above the beet pulp pellets. Many people think the Edward L. Ryerson is one of the prettiest boats on the Great Lakes. This winter, and probably for the first time ever, the boat will spend the winter in the Twin Ports, specifically at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. It is expected to arrive sometime today. Photo taken on November 11, 2006
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-03-2007

Canadian Transport enters the harbor

After spending a day or more waiting out the wind at Thunder Bay, the Canadian Transport decided to come over to Duluth in time for the snow storm. It arrived here on Saturday afternoon (above), coming under the Lift Bridge just as the Mesabi Miner was getting ready to depart the coal dock at Midwest Energy Resources, and the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was moving in. The Canadian Transport asked for a wake up call from the McCarthy about an hour before the McCarthy finishes loading coal. That should be about the time the sun rises, not that they will see it. Coal is loaded in any weather; grain is not. Liquid is not good for grain. Grain loading is always stopped when it rains, and usually when it snows. The Captain of the ship makes that decision since he is the one who will be delivering the cargo to the customer. Both the Federal Asahi and the Federal Hunter will be held over until Monday. With better weather, they might have departed today. Photo taken on December 01,  2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-02-2007

American Spirit making the harbor turn

The thousand foot long American Spirit was expected to arrive very early this morning to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Above, it is moving slowly through the Duluth harbor last October. The Paul R. Tregurtha came into port last night to load 62,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources. The Tregurtha, at 1,013.5 feet long, is the longest of the 13 thousand foot boats on the Great Lakes today. Along with the two thousand footers mentioned above, three more will be arriving today to load coal at the Midwest dock today, and the 730 foot Canadian Transport, held back by high winds for several days, should be here trying to fit into the waiting line. Two Fednav ships, the Federal Hunter and the Federal Asahi both arrived last night to load wheat.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-01-2007