Archives for January 2008

Miner here (with help) for winter layup

The Mesabi Miner came under the Lift Bridge on Monday morning at 6:15. Just after clearing the Bridge, the 1,000-footer ground to a halt in the ice behind the DECC. The tug Kentucky had trouble breaking away from the ice at the tug berth but was soon on the scene opening a crack in the ice in front of the Mesabi Miner. After a half hour in the ice, the Miner broke free, and with the Kentucky leading the way, moved over to the Murphy Fuel Dock. Meanwhile, the Alder also had trouble getting away from its dock, but after a half hour, it was away in time to clear a track for the Mesabi Miner to move from the Fuel Dock to its winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The Kentucky stayed close by the Miner (above) until it was safely and securely tied up at the dock, thus ending the 2007-08 shipping season in the Twin Ports. The three boats will likely meet again in 2 months when the new season will open and the ice will likely be a lot thicker. Hopefully, the temperature will be a bit higher. Photo taken on January 21, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-22-2008

Kentucky provides tug assist

In the summer, the Great Lakes tugs can often be seen helping vessels make their way around the harbor and up to a berth. Above, the tug Kentucky is pulling the Canadian flagged Algoisle from a berth at CHS in Superior in November, 2004 so it can move down the Duluth harbor and out the Duluth entry to Lake Superior. In the winter, the same tugs can be found backing and ramming ice in the harbor to break open or clear a track for a US or Canadian laker trying to move through the ice. Today, or last night, the Kentucky will break, or broke, ice in front of the Mesabi Miner as it returned from Marquette after the last delivery of cargo from or to the port. The state of the ice is an unknown since there has been no traffic within the port since the Mesabi Miner left on Friday and more important, the temperatures have plummeted. Almost for sure, the Mesabi Miner will come in, or has come in, the Duluth entry and will or has made it to its winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. It was due here around 2 am this morning, but could easily have been delayed by weather. It may try to make it as far as it can in the ice and then wait there for morning, when additional tugs and or the Alder can provide more assistance. The Miner will not have to drop an anchor while it waits since being surrounded by ice performs the same service of keeping the vessel from moving. Photo taken on November 09, 2004
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-21-2008

Mesabi Miner out of the ice

To January 1st, we had 1,186 visits by commercial boats this season, an increase of 38 boats over last year’s 1,148 visits. Up to this morning, 56 boats arrived in January. The Mesabi Miner left port on Friday morning with 58,000 tons of coal to take to Marquette, Michigan. It is expected back here late this evening or Monday morning. It will be the 57th and last boat of the 2007-08 shipping season. Since the boat left, we have had a lot of very cold weather. The Coast Guard cutter Alder will be out today making sure the Mesabi Miner will have a clear track to the berth at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior, the source of the coal it took to Marquette, and the lay up berth for the boat until mid March, when it will likely take another load of coal to Marquette. That would make it the first boat out in the new season, as it was for this season when it left Duluth on March 16th, 2007, above. In the picture, the boat has just reached the end of the ice shield, about 5 miles out, and is entering the clear water of Lake Superior. The picture was taken from the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay. The cutter had cleared the track ahead of the boat and was watching as it passed by.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-20-2008

Fraser Shipyards, winter layup 1964-65

When the Mesabi Miner comes through the Superior entry late Sunday or early Monday morning, it will be the last of 12 boats that will spend the winter lay up here. It, like 4 of the other boats, is over 1,000 feet long. Back in the winter of 1964-65, boats were a lot smaller and there were many more of them. The picture above, taken of Fraser Shipyards that winter, shows 14 boats in winter lay up. The boats are: Edmund Fitzgerald (the top boat of the 4 at lower left), Thomas W. Lamont, A. T. Lawson, Charles M. Schwab, Viking (car ferry), Clarence B. Randall, International, Reserve, William H. Donner, Thomas E. Millsop, A. E. Nettleton, Irving S. Olds, D. M. Clemson, Enders M. Voorhees. The picture and names are courtesy of Wesley Harkins.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-19-2008

Mesabi Miner will end season soon

With the arrival of the John G. Munson and Edwin H. Gott early Thursday morning, we now have 11 of the 12 boats in port that will spend the winter here. The last boat to arrive for winter is the Mesabi Miner. It came under the Lift Bridge on Thursday around noon (above) but was expected to depart late last night with 58,000 tons of coal for Marquette, Michigan. With its return, probably on Sunday, the 2007-08 shipping season will probably be over. Probably, because there have been boats in the past that arrived later. The port is not officially closed although as a practical matter, it would be hard to do much business amidst the ice that will quickly thicken with the lack of traffic in the harbor. Photo taken on January 17, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-18-2008

Edwin H. Gott making turn in harbor

Duluth sent and will receive the last two boats to go through the Soo Locks in each direction this year before they closed for the winter. The Michipicoten departed here with taconite at 1:40 Monday afternoon. It arrived at the Soo Locks and went through at 11:10 Tuesday night. In the other direction, the Edwin H. Gott, seen above entering the Duluth harbor in September last year, cleared the locks Tuesday evening and was expected here very early this morning. Earlier in the week, the John G. Munson loaded iron ore in Marquette for Algoma Steel on this side of the locks. It was expected to depart there for Duluth and winter lay up early Wednesday morning. Photo taken on September 10, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-17-2008