Archives for July 2008

Oglebay Norton at Midwest Energy

As you can see by the schedule on this page, we are going to have a big day for ship watching. Of course, we have known for a long time that 3 tall ships will be coming under the Lift Bridge today, but they are only a third, even if they are the prettiest third, of the traffic we will see today. It is a day made for digital cameras that can take lots of pictures at no cost, assuming there are enough batteries in the bag. We will have the heaviest morning traffic in a long time, the heaviest afternoon traffic and the same at night. And as usual, there will be a line to load coal. The American Integrity may go to anchor and wait. It was set to arrive about the same time as the tall ships. The best place for a photo might be from the deck of the Integrity as it sits out in the lake watching the ships come in. The crew of about 18 will not have to fight for a place to stand as you can see in the picture above, taken of the boat in 2004 when it was called the Oglebay Norton.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-31-2008

The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. usually loads 64,000 tons of coal while in Duluth

The Walter J. McCarthy Jr., seen above turning into the Duluth harbor in May, is expected to arrive in port early this afternoon to load 64,000 tons of coal to take to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke. It was launched as the Belle River in 1977. Belle River is the name of the Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair, Michigan. The boat called the St. Clair was in port yesterday and was named for the city where the Belle River power plant is located. Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. was Chairman of the Board of Detroit Edison when he retired in 1990. That’s when the boat received its new name.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-30-2008

St. Clair often here for coal

The 3 tall ships will arrive on Thursday and it appears that a lot of the commercial traffic is waiting for the ships also. The Mesabi Miner came into port last night and should be leaving sometime today with iron ore pellets. The American Mariner will be here with limestone. After that, it might load coal here or go to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets. The St. Clair, seen above coming into port two weeks ago, will be here to load coal today and should be leaving late in the day.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-29-2008

Algosoo loads coal

Today is a lot like yesterday which was a lot like the day before. Four boats will be going under the Lift Bridge with coal, and one with iron ore pellets. The Paul R. Tregurtha sat at anchor off the Duluth piers on Sunday, waiting for the Canadian flagged Algorail to finish loading coal. The ‘Rail departed about 5 on Sunday afternoon and the Tregurtha came in. It probably finished up at the coal dock and left the port earlier this morning. It could have seen both the Canadian flagged Algosoo and the US flagged 1,000-footer James R. Barker waiting for it to finish. Both were due in early this morning and may have waited at anchor. But they would be waiting for the American Century to finish since it likely slipped into port late last night, also to load coal, probably just after the Tregurtha. One would have come in and one may still be out there waiting as the sun came up today. Above, the Algosoo is coming into port on a cold day in March, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-28-2008

Frontenac leaves with iron ore pellets

The Frontenac departed Duluth on Saturday evening with a cargo of iron ore pellets (above). The John B. Aird was expected to arrive late Saturday night to load coal. After it departs Duluth early in the morning, the people at Midwest Energy will have a couple hours rest before 3 boats arrive. As always, the first one to arrive is the first one to load coal; the others wait in line. Since we have not had much salt water traffic this season, we don’t get a lot of ships anchored in the lake so the waiting line for Midwest Energy will have to do for now.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-27-2008

Nanticoke here to pick up coal for Nova Scotia

The Nanticoke arrived late Friday afternoon (above). It followed the American Integrity loading coal at Midwest Energy. Later today, the Nanticoke will depart the Twin Ports for Sydney, Nova Scotia, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. Today, we expect 3 boats to go under the Lift Bridge, all Canadian flagged. The Nanticoke will depart and both the Frontenac and the John B. Aird will be arriving.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-26-2008

Arthur M. Anderson approaching Duluth ship canal

Above, the Arthur M. Anderson arrived in Duluth on Thursday morning to discharge limestone before loading iron ore pellets for Conneaut. It should be departing this morning. This afternoon, the Canadian flagged Nanticoke will be here to load coal for Sydney, Nova Scotia, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. The Nanticoke was strengthened for ocean service. In 1997, it carried ballast material to be used under an offshore drilling platform.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-25-2008

Arthur M. Anderson with limestone from Calcite, Michigan

The Arthur M. Anderson is due in port this morning with a cargo of limestone loaded in Calcite, Michigan. Much of the limestone that is brought up from lower lakes ports is used on the Iron Range in the production of taconite pellets. The finished pellets, with the limestone inside, come down by rail to a Lake Superior port where it is loaded into boats and taken to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes. The limestone makes a round trip there but we have to wait until the taconite is fed into steel mills, steel is produced and we buy a car up here before the taconite completes its round trip. Above, the Anderson departs Duluth this past April.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-24-2008

Philip R. Clarke to bring limestone

We are nearing the end of the line of boats arriving to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources. The James R. Barker was expected in last night. It will follow the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. which was expected to depart late last night. The American Integrity was expected in early this morning and it will follow the Barker, which is expected to depart this morning. Somewhere in there, the Canadian Olympic will arrive but it has to discharge a cargo of salt before getting to Midwest, so that should make it the end of the current line of boats, although there really isn’t any end of the line at Midwest until next January when the ice arrives. Not mentioned so far is the Philip R. Clarke, seen above on November 22, 2007. It will bring limestone in today.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-23-2008

Paul R. Tregurtha waits to load coal

The Paul R. Tregurtha may be the largest boat on the Great Lakes but it had to wait its turn loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources yesterday. It arrived off the Duluth piers on Monday morning and dropped anchor until around 6 pm when it made a turn from the anchorage (above) and came into port. But it was only getting ready to replace the American Century. It had come in at 8 in the morning and was still waiting for the Canadian Enterprise to complete loading coal. The Tregurtha and the Century are both 1,000-footers and take around 9 hours to load. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr., another 1,000-footer, was not far out in the lake on its way to the Twin Ports to get in line behind the Tregurtha.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-22-2008

Chief takes ship in for repairs on a Greek island

Spruceglen Chief Engineer Christian Pelletier was sharing some pictures on his computer screen Sunday morning that he has taken during the ship’s travels around the world. They were at the Hallett Dock in West Duluth loading taconite and were expected to depart late last night. That’s the chief at his computer on the ship. We are looking at a picture of the Chief standing beside his ship while they were in dry dock on the Greek island of Syros. While discharging cargo in Italy in February, 2007, he determined the ship’s prop was in need of repair. Since the prop is underwater, they needed a dry dock so workers could make the repair. Syros was in the neighborhood so they stopped there, not a bad place to get repairs. Once it was started, the Chief picked up his camera and took pictures of the island.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-21-2008

Spruceglen loading taconite at Hallett

The Canadian flagged Spruceglen is in port loading taconite fines at the Hallett Dock in West Duluth. Above, it is seen on August 29th last year departing the port with grain. It was built in 1983, in Scotland, as the Selkirk Settler to work double duty; the Great Lakes during the open season of April through December and the rest of the world while we are enjoying winter. The name, flag and ownership has changed several times but it is still working that same combination. Although loading taconite here, it often loads grain at Thunder Bay and occasionally here to take to ports near Montreal for shipment overseas and then comes back for iron ore. Last winter, it visited Italy among many countries and was in dry dock in Greece for some repairs. The year before that, it took a cargo of phosphate from Florida to China and then, while in China, went into dry dock for its 5 year checkup.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-20-2008

Canadian Transport for coal

Coal is still a big cargo for the port, almost all of it loaded from Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Above, the Canadian Transport came in Friday morning for coal. It probably left Friday night and was replaced by the Algosoo. The Mesabi Miner may have anchored off the Duluth piers last night before coming in to follow the Algosoo. Later today, the Algorail will arrive to take its turn after the Miner completes. It is the 7th trip here for the Canadian Transport, the 5th for the Algosoo, the 24th for the Mesabi Miner and the 6th for the Algorail.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-19-2008

Hans Lehmann starts and finishes in Spain

Spain is not usually the first country that comes to mind when we think of salt water traffic and the economy in Duluth but it might be moving up the list. The Hans Lehmann should be departing tonight with spring wheat for Spain. It loaded wind turbine parts in Spain that it brought here last week. This will be the first grain shipped out of the port in a while. This year, the salt water ships that have come to the Twin Ports have mostly loaded beet pulp pellets that are often taken to Spain where they are used as animal feed. Who would have guessed; wind turbines, animal feed and Spain. The Lehmann is the only salt water ship to arrive in the Twin Ports this month. It is the 25th salt water ship of the season; last year we had 46 arrivals by now and in 2006, we had 58. Harvest time is coming up and local officials are hoping for an improvement. Above, the Lehmann was at the Port Terminal last week.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-18-2008

The Tregurthas visit Duluth

The Lee A. Tregurtha is due in port about 7 am this morning to load iron ore pellets. The Paul R. Tregurtha was here yesterday loading coal. It is named after the Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Interlake Steamship Company, the owner of the boat. His wife Lee gave her name to the Tregurtha that will be in port today. The Paul R. Tregurtha is a very regular visitor, coming about once a week, not so much the Lee A. It was here only twice in 2006 and twice in 2007. This has been a good year for the Lee A., at least as far as the Twin Ports is concerned. It spent the winter at Fraser Shipyards in Superior (above) and this is the 7th visit here this season; yesterday was the 21st of the year for the Paul R. It was here 59 times in 2006 and 58 times in 2007. Following the stereotype, the Paul R. is the largest boat on the Great Lakes; the Lee A. is one of the prettiest despite earning battle stars, and scars, in the Second World War.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-17-2008

Photo taken on February 22, 2008 at Fraser Shipyards

Canadian Olympic meets the dredge

Before moving next door to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to load coal yesterday, the Canadian Olympic discharged limestone at the Hallett #8 Dock (above). You can see the Olympic’s self-unloader hanging just above the pile of limestone as its conveyor system moved the limestone from the boat’s cargo holds up and onto the pile. The other thing sticking up in the air, just left of middle, is the crane from the Marine Tech dredge. They were doing maintenance work just beyond Midwest Energy in an area where the high traffic at Midwest kicks up material from the bottom of the river. It can block the channel if not periodically dredged.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-16-2008

Hans Lehmann here for first time

The German owned and Gibraltar flagged Hans Lehmann arrived in the Twin Ports on Sunday evening at 7:40. Built in 2007, it is the ship’s first trip here. Inside the ship’s holds were 22 wind turbine nacelles loaded in Spain and destined for Iowa. Stevedores at Lake Superior Warehousing Company started Monday morning and should complete the discharge today. In the picture above, one of the nacelles is being lowered onto a waiting truck by both port terminal gantry cranes on Monday afternoon. The nacelles will be taken to another location at the port terminal until they can be reloaded onto trucks and taken to Iowa.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-15-2008

The Halifax here to load iron ore pellets

The Halifax, seen above entering the Duluth ship canal in May, 2002, will be here today to load iron ore pellets. It was built in 1963 in Lauzon, Quebec as the Frankcliffe Hall and was 730 feet and two inches long. The extra two inches made it, until 1965, the longest boat on the Great Lakes, bestowing on it the title of Queen of the Lakes. The Halifax was the last steam powered vessel on the Great Lakes to hold the title.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-14-2008

Roger Blough departs for Gary

After a short wait at anchor off the Duluth piers, the Roger Blough came in late Friday night to load iron ore pellets to take to Gary. Above, it is approaching the Lift Bridge as it departed for Gary on Saturday afternoon. We have seen a lot less salt water ships this season, but we are expecting the Hans Lehmann today with wind turbine pieces. It is the first trip to the Twin Ports for the Lehman which was built in 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-13-2008

Mesabi Miner here for iron ore pellets, not coal!

The Mesabi Miner is due here today for the 21st time this season. Many of its early visits this year were to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to load coal, but lately as today, it has loaded iron ore pellets at the CN dock across the St. Louis River in West Duluth. When it is loading pellets, it is truer to his name and history since it was named in honor of the taconite miners up on the Iron Range. They are the people who dig the taconite out of the ground for processing in pelletizing plants that create iron ore pellets for shipment to Duluth by rail and then to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes on boats such as the 1,004 foot long Mesabi Miner. Above, the Miner on a trip here last November.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-12-2008

River boat comes to Duluth

The Sam Laud was expected last night with limestone. It will next go to Silver Bay to load taconite for the Cleveland Bulk Terminal at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and then Mittal Steel which is upriver. The Laud is a river boat. At 635 feet long, it is able to negotiate the turns in the river, a feat that larger boats cannot accomplish. They drop their taconite at the Bulk Terminal and river boats such as the Laud pick it up there and take it up the river to the steel plant. Why would the smaller Laud be loading taconite at Silver Bay? Mittal Steel wants a portion of the taconite they purchase at Silver Bay to be dropped only one time. Since the cargo is dropped at the steel plant, the requirement is not met by loading taconite at the bulk terminal since the taconite there has already been dropped once. So river boats such as the Laud periodically take the trip all the way up to Lake Superior to load taconite. The depth of the Cuyahoga will not allow for a fully loaded boat such as the Laud so some of the Silver Bay load is discharged at the Bulk Terminal and the rest is then taken up the river to the Mittal steel plant and dropped there for the first time.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-11-2008

L. L. Smith Jr. cruises

After visiting Bayfield, Washburn, Ashland, Grand Marais and Silver Bay starting on June 16th, the research vessel L.L. Smith Jr. will depart Duluth today around noon and go to Two Harbors to host four 3-hour environmental cruises on July 10th, 11th and 12th. The boat is owned by the University of Wisconsin Superior. They, along with Minnesota Sea Grant, sponsor the program. Go to the Sea Grant web site at: for more information. The 59-foot Smith was built in Superior in 1950 and is still powered by its original Kahlenberg 5-cylinder direct-drive engine.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-10-2008

Algorail here on 4th trip this season

The Algorail will be here today for the 4th time this season. Before this year, the Canadian flagged laker had been here only 10 times since 1996. It will be loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources as it has on the 3 other trips this year. It will take the cargo to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke, the destination for most, if not all, of the Canadian freighters that load coal here. The Algorail is only 640 feet long, shorter by 100 feet than most of the Canadian boats that come here. While it carries less cargo, it is able to visit many smaller ports and navigate rivers that the other larger boats can’t do. Above, the Algorail is departing the port in July, 2001.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-09-2008

American Republic here to repair stern thruster

The American Republic was on its way to Silver Bay to load taconite when they had trouble with their stern thruster, an engine that gives the boat side to side maneuverability, especially helpful when navigating in tight harbor conditions and narrow rivers. The American Republic is a river boat and is often taking taconite pellets up the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. It changed course and came into Duluth on Sunday morning to get the stern thruster repaired at Fraser Shipyards. That done, it left Duluth on Monday afternoon (above) for Silver Bay.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-08-2008

Algolake departs with coal, again

This may be a good morning to be down at the Duluth piers. It would appear (but is probably not so) that the Twin Ports shipping business took the holiday weekend off. Now that the crowds have departed, the ships are coming back. The Mesabi Miner was expected in last night to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources. It will probably depart sometime this morning and should be followed at the dock by the St. Clair. Then the line for Midwest Energy will begin, with some boats probably waiting at anchor off the Duluth piers. The Algolake, seen above departing the port on May 17th with coal, will probably be ready to load coal after the St. Clair completes.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-07-2008

Canadian Transport departs with crowd watching

To the end of June, we have had 402 ship arrivals in the Twin Ports this season. That is 7 less than last year. Through June, we had only 24 salt water ships here. That is 9 less than last year. Canadian trips in June are down by 6 and the US flagged vessel count was up 8. Last June, we totaled 131 arrivals; this year, we had 136. That is a modest increase over last year, but no increase was evident for the first two days of the long weekend, and today will not change that much. So when the Canadian Transport showed up at the Lift Bridge yesterday afternoon, and it was only the second daylight trip under the bridge for the day, a huge crowd (above) was at the ship canal to wish them well as they went out into Lake Superior with a cargo of coal. Even the balcony at the Marine Museum was packed.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-06-2008

Watching a scull

On Friday, the Joe Block departed Duluth early in the morning and the Paul R. Tregurtha came in a little later in the morning. Today we will repeat the cycle, but rotate boats. The Paul R. Tregurtha is expected to depart very early Saturday morning and the Canadian Transport should be arriving about the same time this morning as the Tregurtha came in on Friday. Happily, the Transport, being smaller than the Tregurtha, takes a lot less time to load a cargo of coal so we shall probably see it departing this afternoon. The Canadian Olympic, with a delay last night, may also be departing sometime this morning. On Friday, as the Tregurtha was approaching the Duluth ship canal, a single scull crossed in front of the piers (above).
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-05-2008

Marlene Green with wind turbine base units

There is not a lot of ship traffic for the Twin Ports today and even less than usual for the Duluth entry since the Lift Bridge will be closed for the Fireworks from 9 pm tonight to 1 am Saturday. The Paul R. Tregurtha should be coming under the bridge this morning but may have to leave using the Superior entry in the evening. The last of the two wind turbine ships, the Marlene Green, was expected to complete their cargo discharge yesterday and may have already departed the port. Above, on Thursday morning, the Port Terminal gantry crane hoisted a wind turbine base unit from the cargo hold of the Marlene Green and is about to set it on a waiting truck.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-04-2008

BBC Rosario with wind turbine pieces

The BBC Rosario was expected to complete discharging its cargo of wind turbine pieces last night. It has likely departed the port and the Marlene Green should be beginning to discharge its cargo of wind turbine base units this morning. Above, the port gantry crane has just lowered a wind turbine base unit from the deck of the BBC Rosario onto the truck on Monday evening. The truck is taking the piece to a laydown area in another part of the Port Terminal. Just above the cab on the truck, you can see the BBC Rosario’s hatch cover open so the crane can pull the pieces from the ship’s cargo hold.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-02-2008

Cason J. Callaway with limestone from Calcite, Michigan

Two salt water ships are discharging wind turbine parts at the Port Terminal today. The Cason J. Callaway will be bringing in limestone loaded in Calcite, Michigan. After discharging that cargo, it will move to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets for Gary. This is the Callaway’s 5th visit to the Twin Ports this season. It usually makes about 20 trips a year. Above, it is seen departing Duluth in July, 2005.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-01-2008