Archives for April 2009

Paul R. Tregurtha working Lake Superior

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The largest boat on the Great Lakes, the Paul R. Tregurtha, has been spending a little time on the local, Lake Superior shuttle. It was expected in this morning after delivering a cargo of coal to the Minnesota Power station in Taconite Harbor. It will load coal today for WE-Energies in Marquette. Then on Sunday, it returns to load coal for Detroit Edison, its usual destination. Above, it is entering the Duluth ship canal on April 13th, 2008, after delivering coal to Detroit Edison. That day, it loaded another cargo of coal for the same destination.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-30-2009

A ceremony to recognize


A ceremony to recognize the anniversary of a Coast Guard rescue attempt is scheduled for Thursday, at 2 p.m., just outside the Lake Superior Maritime Museum in Canal Park. The ceremony will honor Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Edgar A. Culbertson (left) who lost his life while trying to rescue 3 boys just off the Duluth piers during a April 30, 1967 storm ,

Click here for Coast Guard press release on event:

And for more information, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgar_Culbertson”

American Mariner here for coal

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The American Mariner came into port late afternoon on Tuesday (above). It was expected to depart very early this morning taking a cargo of coal to We-Energies in Milwaukee. This is the third trip here this season. Last season, it made 11 visits to the Twin Ports. The Paul R. Tregurtha left here on Tuesday morning with coal for Taconite Harbor. It is discharging that today and will be back on Thursday for more coal, this time for Marquette.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-29-2009

John G. Munson

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The John G. Munson came into port on Monday afternoon (above) with cargo loaded in Ashtabula. After discharging that, it will move over to the Midwest Energy coal dock to take on a load of coal for Marquette. It was built in 1952 with a self unloader on the deck, unusual for a boat built in the 50’s. It was 666 feet long, making it the largest self unloader on the Great Lakes. Early Monday evening, the Paul R. Tregurtha came into port. At 1,013 feet and 6 inches long, it is now the largest self-unloader on the Great Lakes. The Tregurtha was built in 1981.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-28-2009

Lee A. Tregurtha still fighting ice

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Seven boats are expected to arrive in the Twin Ports today. The Lee A. Tregurtha, arriving earlier this morning to load coal, will be the only departure, probably later this morning. The last time the Tregurtha departed Duluth, on April 1st, it got stopped in the ice sheet just off the Duluth piers. The Alder was out to help but a west wind, late in the day, blew the ice away and the boat continued on its way. The Tregurtha was built in 1942 as an ocean tanker and was used in the Atlantic to refuel allied boats in the Second World War. Battle ribbons from the war are displayed on the side of the pilot house.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-27-2009

Three captains, one boat

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In June, 2006, Oglebay Norton sold six boats to American Steamship. In many cases, the crews moved with their boats, but jobs were lost in the consolidation. The current economic recession has kept many boats across the Great Lakes in winter layup. That keeps many of their crews at home waiting for a call. American Victory captain Mark Adamson (above right) brought his boat, formerly the Middletown when owned by Oglebay Norton, into winter layup at Fraser Shipyards on November 11th. The boat is still there but Adamson is now second mate on the American Integrity. Lance Nelson (left) had been Captain on a number of Oglebay Norton boats, including the Wolverine and the Earl W. Oglebay. He is now second mate on the American Integrity. In the middle is Captain Pat Nelson, living proof that seniority is a good thing. He was captain of the Oglebay Norton when it was owned by the company with the same name. He moved with the boat to American Steamship and became the captain on the newly named American Integrity. He still is. He and his crew of captains came into port on Friday night. I caught up with them on the deck of the boat shortly after they docked at the Murphy Fuel Dock. It is the same boat referred to on Saturday that was perpendicularly placed in the inner anchorage on Friday evening. Boats with three captains can do that. Photo taken on April 24, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-26-2009

Oglebay Norton sold six boats

20090425_5160In June, 2006, Oglebay Norton sold six boats to American Steamship. In many cases, the crews moved with their boats, but jobs were lost in the consolidation. The current economic recession has kept many boats across the Great Lakes in winter layup. That keeps many of their crews at home waiting for a call. American Victory captain Mark Adamson (above right) brought his boat, formerly the Middletown when owned by Oglebay Norton, into winter layup at Fraser Shipyards on November 11th. The boat is still there but Adamson is now second mate on the American Integrity. Lance Nelson (left) had been Captain on a number of Oglebay Norton boats, including the Wolverine and the Earl L. Oglebay. He is now second mate on the American Integrity. In the middle is Captain Pat Nelson, living proof that seniority is a good thing. He was captain of the Oglebay Norton when it was owned by the company with the same name. He moved with the boat to American Steamship and became the captain on the newly named American Integrity. He still is. He and his crew of captains came into port on Friday night. I caught up with them on the deck of the boat shortly after they docked at the Murphy Fuel Dock. It is the same boat referred to on Saturday that was perpendicularly placed in the inner anchorage on Friday evening. Boats with three captains can do that.

American Integrity and American Century cross paths

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Perpendicular is not usually associated with two boats close together but on Friday evening, the American Integrity (left) and the American Century (right) both were planning to get fuel at the Murphy Fuel Dock in Duluth and load coal at Midwest Energy. The American Century arrived first so it was first to the fuel dock and then first (of these two boats) to load coal. It is along side the fuel dock in the photo; the American Integrity is the perpendicular boat, actually in the inner anchorage waiting for the Century to move to Midwest. That happened around 6 p.m. Friday. The crew on the Integrity may have gone into town Friday night since it will be around 3 a.m. before they will move over to get their coal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-25-2009

Why settle for one picture

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Why settle for one picture when two are better. The American Integrity came into port on her first trip of the season on Saturday afternoon, April 25th, 2009. Obviously something on board was important to them as they strained through the rain to spot something, perhaps someone.

Canadian Olympic here to load coal

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After a short time waiting at anchor off the Duluth piers, the Canadian Olympic came in to load coal on Thursday afternoon (above). Like the Capt. Henry Jackman and the John B. Aird before it, the Olympic loaded coal for Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke. All three boats are Canadian flagged. It will be a good couple days for Midwest Energy. After the Canadian Olympic departed, probably late last night, the Indiana Harbor was set to move in next, and the Canadian Transport, American Integrity and the American Century, the last two thousand footers, should all be loading coal at Midwest Energy. The American Century, at the end of the line, may be at anchor while it waits for the dock to open up.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-24-2009

John B. Aird here with salt

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The John B. Aird came into port early Wednesday morning with a cargo of salt loaded in Goderich, Ontario and discharged at the Cutler-Magner salt dock in Duluth (above) using the boat’s self-unloader. In the photo, it is extended to the right of the boat while the conveyor on the self-unloader moves the salt out of the cargo holds and onto a pile on the ground. When the Aird completed that discharge, it moved over to Midwest Energy Resources to load coal. They departed the port on Wednesday evening at 6:30 to deliver the coal to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-23-2009

Persenk here for wheat to take to Algeria

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The Maltese flagged Persenk loaded a cargo of sugar in Mexico and brought it up to the St. Lawrence Seaway, stopping at Hamilton, Ontario to discharge the sugar before sailing to the Twin Ports. After sitting at anchor for a couple days, it came in on Tuesday afternoon (above) to load durum wheat for Algeria. The ship was built in 1998 and is owned and operated by Navigation Maritime Bulgare located in Varna, Bulgaria, a port on the Black Sea. The crew is also from Bulgaria. They should depart for Algeria this evening or possibly Thursday.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-22-2009

Ryerson departs with iron ore pellets

Above, the Edward L. Ryerson departed Duluth late morning with iron ore pellets.
Below, earlier in the morning, the James R. Barker eased under the Lift Bridge on her way to Marquette, Michigan with a cargo of coal for WE-Energies. She has about 58,000 tons with her.

Edward L. Ryerson here for 2nd trip

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The salt water vessel Persenk arrived and dropped anchor off the Duluth piers on Monday. The Maltese flagged ship was expected to come into port last night to load grain at CHS in Superior. This is only the third trip this ship has made to the Twin Ports since 1996. It was here once in 2003 and again in 2006. Earlier in the day, the Edward L. Ryerson came under the Lift Bridge (above) to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. This is the second trip here for the Ryerson, a boat many think is the prettiest boat on the Great Lakes. If not the prettiest, it is certainly unique.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-21-2009

Adam E. Cornelius to take wheat to Buffalo

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The Adam E. Cornelius departed its winter layup berth in Toledo on April 15th and loaded a cargo of limestone for the Twin Ports, coming under the Lift Bridge on Sunday afternoon (above). When it completes discharging that cargo, it will load wheat to take to Buffalo. This is the first trip here this season for the Cornelius. It made 16 trips last season and 21 the year before. On some of the trips last season, it arrived here in ballast (empty), other times, it brought limestone. The Cornelius loaded wheat for Buffalo on most trips last season. Several times, it loaded iron ore pellets while here.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-20-2009

American Mariner, twice

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When a boat comes under the Lift Bridge twice in one day, it usually comes in first and departs later in the day. The American Mariner will first depart the port this morning and then return this evening. It arrived last night (above) to load coal for Silver Bay Power and should leave this morning to deliver that cargo before returning later today to load coal for Presque Isle, Mich. In each case, it will load about 28,000 tons.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-19-2009

Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

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When the day is done, three boats will be taking a cargo of coal loaded today at Midwest Energy Resources to the cities of Belladune, New Brunswick, Silver Bay and St. Clair Michigan. On April 13th, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. also departed the port with coal (above) for a Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan, very fitting since the boat was named for the former Chairman of the Board of Detroit Edison. It was built in 1977 as the Belle River and became the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. in 1990 when Mr. McCarthy retired from Detroit Edison.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-18-2009

Indiana Harbor departs winter layup

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This year, the Indiana Harbor came in for winter layup on December 27th. Last year it was in on January 9th. Yesterday, it departed Duluth (above) from its winter layup berth at the Port Terminal. That was later than most of the thousand footers and reflects the slow year that is expected loading both coal and iron ore pellets here. Some late repairs were needed on the boat causing the delay in the last several days. We still have four boats yet to leave for the season; the American Spirit (a thousand footer), St. Clair, Kaye E. Barker and American Victory. In most cases, a thousand footer is more efficient than the smaller boats. Shipping companies do not like to keep those boats in port.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-17-2009

Fire department to the rescue

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The Sabrina, the third saltwater ship of the season, came into port to load grain on Monday. While waiting at the Port Terminal for their dock to clear, a crew member working in a cargo hold fell and broke his ankle. The call went out to the Duluth Fire Department. Fire equipment operator Steve Gibson wheeled Tower No. 1 to the Port Terminal. (He is seen above in Tower No. 1 while at the fire station Wednesday.) The tower platform (upper left of picture) carried on the truck is usually raised and used by firefighters to fight a fire but it can also be used to pick up people when there is no other way to move a person out of danger. In this case, the crew had moved the injured man to the deck and the tower on the fire truck was used to pick him up and lower him to the ground where Gold Cross took him to the hospital. Only a month ago, fire fighters had toured the Edwin H. Gott so they would know what situations they might encounter on a boat.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-16-2009

Duluth Fire Department visits Mackinaw


The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Friday morning, coming in the Superior entry and moving down to moorings at the DECC. On Friday afternoon, members of the Duluth Fire Department visited the ship. The two groups share many duties. Like all ships, the Mackinaw is its own fire department when under way. Both groups are trained to handle a variety of emergencies. And, when they are in Duluth, the Duluth fire department is the ship’s fire department. The fire fighters were down to check on the ship and its fire fighting capability in case of an incident. Another thing they have in common; the fire fighters would love to take a ride on the Mackinaw and the crew on the Mac would love to get a trip on a fire truck. Crew members of the ship were offered a tour of the fire house. In the picture above, Electricians Mate First Class Robert Bytlewood, back to the camera, is talking to fire department members, Capt. Perry Ludwig, Lisa Consie and Ed Schumacher. Bytlewood was explaining his duties in the ECC, Engineering Control Center.

Federal Welland an hour behind the Medemborg

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The Medemborg crossed the finish line around 10:30 Sunday morning; the Federal Welland arrived an hour later. Below, the Medemborg enters the Duluth ship canal; above, the Federal Welland does the same.

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Medemborg is first boat from ocean

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The Medemborg was the first vessel to arrive in the Twin Ports this season after a full transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway. It came in on Sunday morning and is seen above at the General Mills grain terminal in Duluth on Monday morning. It is expected to depart sometime today with 8,100 metric tons of beet pulp pellets for Morocco. The third and fourth salt water vessels arrive on Monday, the Sabrina, loading wheat, and the Federal Schelde, iron ore pellets. All but the Sabrina are expected to depart today.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-14-2009

Edgar B. Speer arrives early

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The first and second full-seaway-transit salt-water ships arrived on Sunday morning. The third and fourth will be here today; the Federal Schelde going to Burlington Northern to load iron ore pellets and the Sabrina coming to load grain at CHS. Last night the Edgar B. Speer, originally expected today, arrived in port (above) and crossed paths in the Duluth harbor with the Paul R. Tregurtha on its way out with coal for Marquette. The Speer will be undergoing some repairs before loading iron ore pellets for Gary. As you can see from the schedule, today will be a busy day, probably the busiest day of the young season so far.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-13-2009

Medemborg: First saltwater ship of 2009

Arrived: April 12, 2009 at 10:27 am
The Medemborg was the first saltwater vessel of 2009, coming under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 10:27 am on April 12, 2009, edging out the Federal Welland, who arrived 61 minutes later. The winner of the First Ship contest guessed 10:15 am, only 12 minutes earlier.
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The Medemborg loaded 8,100 metric tons of beet pellets for Morocco. The pellets are a by-product of sugar beet processors in Western Minnesota and the Dakotas. The beet pellets are often used as cattle feed.
Click here for more about the Medemborg.

Atlantic Erie to load coal for Nova Scotia

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As of Saturday evening, the race for first ship was down to the Federal Welland and the Medemborg. The Medemborg is a Wagenborg ship, usually smaller (441 feet) and faster than the typical salt water ship. The Federal Welland is 629 feet long. Both are expected sometime around noon, today. Last night, the Atlantic Erie arrived at 6:30 to load coal for Nova Scotia Power in Sydney, Nova Scotia. Sydney sits at the northern end of Nova Scotia, between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-12-2009

Medemborg crosses finish line, first saltie of the year.

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The Medemborg became the first vessel to arrive in the Twin Ports after a full passage of the St. Lawrence Seaway, coming under the Lift Bridge at 10:30 on Sunday morning,  April 12, 2009.

And then there were 2

Saturday afternoon: it looks like the Sabrina will not get here until Monday and the Federal Schelde will also not get to the Burlington Northern dock until Monday. That leaves the Federal Welland and the Medemborg still in the race; both now expected around noon on Sunday. Click the schedule button on the menu at the top of the page to see the latest scheduled arrivals.

Edward L. Ryerson may leave today

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Sometime this morning, 3 salt water ships will be through the Soo Locks and on their way to the Twin Ports. They will all arrive on Sunday, just about the same time in April that the first saltie has arrived for the last several years. Last year, the Gadwall started us off, arriving on April 10th, but the next, and last one of the month, the Rebecca, didn’t get here until the 29th. In 2007, the Rebecca started off the season, arriving on April 11th. It was followed by 8 more ships in April. So in a predicted slow year for shipping, the salt water traffic is starting fast. Inside tip: the Federal Welland will be first in, coming under the bridge at 9:37, Sunday morning. Today, the very red Atlantic Erie will be here this afternoon to load coal and the Edward L. Ryerson, seen above arriving by way of the Superior entry in August, 2006 and often called the prettiest boat on the Great Lakes, should be departing the Duluth entry with iron ore pellets sometime this evening.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-11-2009

Four ships on their way to the Twin Ports

federalwelland210922-206It has been and probably will be a slow year for shipping in the Twin Ports, and in most ports around the world. We have yet to see a salt water ship this season, but we are about to see 4 of them, all of course coming full steam to win the first ship of the year contest. (Actually the person who guesses what time the first one arrives wins the prize.) The winning ship gets to be greeted by an assortment of port people who will present them with all kinds of good stuff and who will, it is hoped, be ablesabrina270613-1-015 to enjoy some exotic refreshment from the ship’s galley.  The Federal Welland is seen above left, at the AGP elevator in September, 2001. The Welland is the favorite to win now (Friday evening). The Sabrina is seen at right approaching the Duluth ship canal in June, 2007. The Medemborg (below) is also expected on Sunday; she will be loading beet pulp pellets. The Federal Schelde will not be here until Monday. She will be loading iron ore pellets at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior.

 

Mesabi Miner leaves with coal for Detroit

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The Edward L. Ryerson was the first boat to arrive here for winter layup, coming in on November 4th. That early date was one of the first signals that the coming season would likely not be so robust. As an older boat, built in 1960, there was talk that it might not go out this year, or ever again. Happily, it was one of the first departures of the season, leaving here on April 2nd with iron ore pellets. It will be back this evening to load iron ore pellets for Hamilton, Ontario. The last of our slow parade of thousand footers this week, the Mesabi Miner, departed the port on Thursday afternoon (above) with coal for Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-10-2009

Spring is close, maybe

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With bright sun and melting snow, the Mesabi Miner departed the port today (April 9, 2009) with coal for Detroit Edison. She often spends the winter in the Twin Ports, but this layup, she was in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This was her second trip to the Twin Ports this year. The Marine Museum’s tug Bayfield is at the right foreground.

James R. Barker arriving for coal

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This week, we have had about one thousand foot laker a day. On Tuesday, the Paul R. Tregurtha left with coal and the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. loaded coal and left late that night. Wednesday, the James R. Barker arrived mid afternoon (above) and was expected to depart the port early this morning, leaving the coal dock at Midwest Energy Resources ready for the arrival of the Mesabi Miner a couple hours later. When the Mesabi Miner departs this afternoon, it will be the last thousand footer loading coal until Sunday, when we start over again with both the Tregurtha and the McCarthy returning for more.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-09-2009

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. here for coal

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The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived in port on Tuesday morning (above) to pick up its second cargo of the season at Midwest Energy Resources. It had to wait until the Paul R. Tregurtha completed loading its second cargo of coal for the season. Both boats are thousand footers, load coal at Midwest Energy and often take their cargo to Detroit Edison. Both are off to good starts this year. That was not the case last year. The Tregurtha encountered trouble with ice in Sturgeon Bay last March and arrived in Duluth with a punctured hull. The McCarthy came into port for winter layup in January, 2008 and hit the side of the dock at Hallett 8 in Superior, necessitating major repairs that kept it in port until early May. This is a much better start this season. Now if only the economy picked up, we would be back to normal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-08-2009

Paul R. Tregurtha’s first arrival of season

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The Paul R. Tregurtha was here for the first time this season on Saturday evening, loading coal for Taconite Harbor. It will be back today to load coal for Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan. Last year as this year, the Tregurtha spent the winter in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and like last year, the first stop after leaving Sturgeon Bay was the Twin Ports to load coal. Last year’s trip was much more exciting than this year’s. The Tregurtha had to plow through thick ice in Sturgeon Bay, resulting in a puncture in the port side bow. As luck would have it, a Discovery Channel video crew was on board, later producing a video of the entire trip to Duluth, puncture and all. Ice is bad, a puncture in the bow is worse. Having a video crew on board to capture all the excitement; not so nice. This year, no puncture, no video crew; just a normal start to a year that will bring the boat to the Twin Ports about 40 to 50 times. Very boring; just the way the captain, crew and company like it.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-07-2009

Edgar B. Speer starts the new season

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When the Mackinaw departs the port at 8 am this morning, we will have no Coast Guard ice breakers in port. (The Biscayne Bay left on Sunday morning.) One hopes that is a sure sign of spring. The weather forecast suggests we will have warmer temperatures and winds from the west for a few days, both strong indications that we will not need an ice breaker for a while, hopefully a long while. The Edgar B. Speer came in for winter layup on January 16, 2009 at 8:38 in the morning, just 33 minutes before the last boat of the season, the Edwin H. Gott, arrived. After loading iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth, the Speer started its new season on Sunday morning (above), departing under the Lift Bridge for Gary.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-06-2009

Mackinaw Commander Scott Smith

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Mackinaw Commander Scott Smith (above, left) hosted a well attended community visit on Saturday afternoon. It was a homecoming of sorts for Smith. From 1995 to 1997, he served as executive officer on the Sundew, then our ice breaker and now a museum easily seen from the pilot house of the Mac. Above, he is on the bridge explaining how the Mackinaw breaks up ice to Jim and Tina Rogers of Duluth. Since leaving the Sundew in 1997, he served aboard the Bramble in Port Huron, and has commanded the cutter Anacapa in Alaska and the cutter Bristol Bay in Detroit. He took command of the Mackinaw last May.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-05-2009

Fire Department visits the Mackinaw

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The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Friday morning, coming in the Superior entry and moving down to moorings at the DECC. On Friday afternoon, members of the Duluth Fire Department visited the ship. The two groups share many duties. Like all ships, the Mackinaw is its own fire department when under way. Both groups are trained to handle a variety of emergencies. And, when they are in Duluth, the Duluth fire department is the ship’s fire department. The fire fighters were down to check on the ship and its fire fighting capability in case of an incident.
Another thing they have in common; the fire fighters would love to take a ride on the Mackinaw and the crew on the Mac would love to get a trip on a fire truck. Crew members of the ship were offered a tour of the fire house. In the picture above, Electricians Mate First Class Robert Bytlewood, back to the camera, is talking to fire department members, Capt. Perry Ludwig, Lisa Consie and Ed Schumacher. Bytlewood was explaining his duties in the ECC, Engineering Control Center.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-04-2009

Moving the Mackinaw along

mackinawpodsbeforelaunch250401-124The Mackinaw is propelled through the water by two Finnish azipods at the stern of the ship. An azipod is a propeller mounted on a pod that can be rotated 360 degrees to control the movement and direction of the ship. I took the photo at the right just before the ship was launched. You can see the two azipods in the picture turned toward each other, something I don’ think would happen under normal circumstances. Both pods are independently controlled from the pilot house; each of the two handles with the red stripes in the picture below controls one of the pods. In normal conditions, the pods are computer controlled. Manual control is use in tighter situations perhaps near a dock, or another ship, or breaking ice in a river. These along with bow thrusters at the other end of the ship, give the ship exceptional maneuverability. The pods can be turned toward the ship allowing the ship to go in reverse as easily and as fast as going forward. That is sometimes used when breaking ice.

mackinawpodcontrols20090403_4393They can also “walk the ship sideways” using both pods and the thrusters. They have received some strange looks when seen from the shore moving sideways in a channel. This is often done to give them a wider berth when they are trying to clear out broken ice.

Mackinaw launch 2005

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Coast Guard dispatched their new ice breaker Mackinaw to Duluth to help with the ice off the Duluth piers and in the harbor. The west wind blew that away, and the Mackinaw was called back. The Coast Guard now says the Mackinaw will be arriving in Duluth around noon today. This is the new Mackinaw, launched in April, 2005 (above) at Marinette Marine Corporation, in Marinette, Wisconsin where it was built. It replaced the ‘old’ Mackinaw built in 1944 that was the biggest ice breaker the Coast Guard had on the Great Lakes. It was here many times over the years to help get our shipping season started. It is now a museum in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Like the old Mac in the later years, the new Mac is bright red. The new Mac is also our largest icebreaker on the Great Lakes.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-03-2009

The ‘new’ Mackinaw arrives in the Twin Ports

Friday morning: The Mackinaw, seen below in the Duluth harbor just after arriving around 11 am on Friday morning,  will be hosting public tours on Saturday afternoon from 1 to 3 pm at their berth at the back of the DECC.

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There must be an east wind on the way

The US Coast Guard ice breaker Mackinaw, the new one, will be arriving in Duluth around noon on Friday for a stay that will be conditioned on the state of the ice in the harbor and out in the Lake. Below, she is seen when she was launched on April 2, 2005. Click here for pictures of the launch

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Lots of ice, lots of boats

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Thursday April 2: The Walter J. McCarthy Jr., the Edwin H. Gott and the Edward L. Ryerson were set to depart on Wednesday evening. If they did not make it, they will probably try today.  The Lee A. Tregurtha made it to Two Harbors last night, the Gott should be there some time today. Both are there to load iron ore pellets.Very cold temperatures in December suggested we could have a tough spring fighting thick ice to get the season moving. The ice never seemed to be as bad as those cold temperatures suggested. Turns out the other end of the deal, when the ice starts to break up in the spring, might cause more problems. The severe east winds on Tuesday pushed a lot of ice, much of it broken up, right to the Duluth shore line, although not into the ship canal. The Lee A. Tregurtha was the first to find out about the problem, departing Duluth around 9:15 am and getting stopped in the ice not long after that. The Alder went out to help. Around 11 am, the Alpena was approaching the bridge and pulled up, deciding to wait. The picture shows the Alpena waiting in the water. It is not very often one sees a boat at that spot and not moving. The boat should have stayed. It decided to go out around 2:30 in the afternoon and not much beyond the piers; it too was stopped in the ice. Late in the afternoon, a west wind eased the ice jam. The Lee A. Tregurtha did get to Two Harbors, the Alpena was on the way home, and there was open water in front of the Duluth piers at 7 pm last night. The Alder left for Lake Michigan and an expected trip to Duluth by the Mackinaw was canceled. However, the Biscayne Bay left for Duluth last night from Thunder Bay. It will be here later today after a stop in Two Harbors to break a little ice.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-02-2009

Lee A. Tregurtha stopped in the ice off the Duluth piers; Alder out to help

20090402_4283April 1st, 2009 •
Coast Guard, US Boats
7:05 Thursday morning. The Alder is on her way to Lake Michigan to tend buoys and the Alpena is probably getting close to the Soo. Instead of the Mackinaw making her first visit to Duluth the west wind arrived and moved the ice away. The McCarthy left this morning at 6:06 and as you will note just below, the Biscayne Bay arrived Duluth at 7:05 this morning. We are back in business with our usual number of Coast Guard cutters. But we are watching the flags fly and hoping we will not see a return of a stiff east wind. The winter is not over yet.
7:15 Wednesday evening. The Mackinaw will not be coming to Duluth today and the Alder was planning on leaving later tonight for Lake Michigan to tend buoys. The Biscayne Bay is on her way to Duluth at present but will stop in Two Harbors first for a little ice breaking.
6:45 Wednesday evening. Never mind. It appears that the Lee A. Tregurtha is at Two Harbors, the Alpena is headed home; the Alder is still breaking some ice before turning into the Lake and going down to Lake Michigan for some buoy tending. I assume,
but don’ t know yet, that the Mac and the Biscayne Bay may not be coming. We go from 3 ice breakers here on Thursday to perhaps one. Oh, one more thing; as you will notice in the picture below, taken a few minutes ago, the ice seems to be leaving too. That’s a lot of open water.
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4:15 Wednesday afternoon. The Alder has moved away from the Tregurtha and is operating on the edge of the ice pack, estimated by the Coast Guard to be 6 miles out from Duluth. It appears to me that the Tregurtha has moved closer to the Alpena. The picture below was taken around
4:05 pm. The Alder was visible with the naked eye but not my camera’s eye. The Coast Guard reports the ice is about 26 inches thick. If still coming, the Biscayne Bay will be coming from Thunder Bay, the Mackinaw from the Soo.
2:45 Wednesday afternoon. The Alpena tried to depart, going under the Lift Bridge. It appears to be stopped in the ice just beyond the ship canal. The Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay have been dispatched to Duluth. Biscayne to arrive around first light on Thursday morning; the Mackinaw later, perhaps early afternoon. More pictures coming.
The Alpena joins the party
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The Alpena is still moving here but very slowly and now it appears she is also stopped in the ice
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Above, the Lee A. Tregurtha stopped in the ice off the Duluth piers; at right the Alder is out to help; more info soon
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The Alpena is waiting just behind the Lift Bridge on the harbor side for the ’situation’ just off the piers to resolve.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. helped by Alder

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Monday was the day the shipping season started; Tuesday was a day when it didn’t move much further along. High winds from the east effected boat traffic as much as it did the rest of us. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was expected to move over to Midwest Energy Resources last night to load coal. That would put it under the Lift Bridge on the way to Detroit sometime this morning. Last season, it didn’t start the season until April 6th, when repairs were completed after it collided with the dock while coming in for winter layup on January 14, 2008. The McCarthy spent the winter layup this year at the Port Terminal. On Monday, the Alder was out breaking ice in the harbor when it passed behind the McCarthy at the Port Terminal (above).
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-01-2009