James R. Barker ‘first out’ for season

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The cement carrier Alpena was the first cargo boat to go under the Lift Bridge in the 2009 shipping season. Coming in just after 3 on Monday afternoon, it was also the first boat from beyond the Soo Locks. A little more than an hour later, the James R. Barker made the turn from the St. Louis River and came up the Duluth harbor (above) with about 58,000 tons of coal for Marquette. It spent the winter layup at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior and was ready when they started to load coal around 8am on Monday morning. Now we wait for the last first of the season, the first vessel to make a full transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway System. That is usually a salt water ship but occasionally it will be a Canadian flagged boat that started in Montreal at the other end of the Seaway. Photo taken on March 30, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2009

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