Archives for May 2009

Algocape greeted by sun and visitors

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The Algocape picked a nice sunny day at the end of May to make its first appearance in the Twin Ports this season. She was welcomed by perhaps the largest crowd so far this year at the Marine Museum in Canal Park. This is the Canadian flagged laker’s 69th trip to the Twin Ports since 1996. On many of those visits, it brought cement into the port but on this trip, it came in light and loaded iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Photo taken on May 30, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-31-2009

Party for Pere Marquette 41-Undaunted

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The barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived at the Hallett Dock on Thursday afternoon (above) ready to load a cargo of taconite rock, also called Mesabi hard rock by project sponsor Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at UMD. A large group of reporters, port officials, and project members were at the dock to greet the vessel when it arrived. It was a celebration heralding a potential new business venture, using taconite rock from the Iron Range as road bed aggregate, in this case, in Chicago. Dock-side celebrations have been few and far between with diminished boat traffic and increased security measures. It was good for the port to pay attention to the tug and barge and good for the region that we were watching what many hope will be a new cargo going through the Twin Ports. Several people pointed out that more jobs was the bottom line in the project. Photo taken on May 29, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-30-2009

Big day at the Hallett Dock #5

pm20090529_6181The tug Undaunted pulled her barge, the Pere Marquette 41, into the Hallett Dock #5 in West Duluth on Thursday afternoon, May 28th. Both were making their first trip on Lake Superior and they are here to pick up the first cargo of taconite rock to be taken from Duluth.
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Reporters, cameras and project members all awaited the vessel as she backed into the dock.
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It is a project developed at the UMD Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) that is finding new ways to use taconite ore from the Iron Range. This rock has a very low level of iron content in it and would not be used to make pellets but it is an ideal material to serve as aggregate in making road surfaces. This rock is going to Chicago for a test run.
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Mike McCoshen, Hallett Dock President, is interviewed about the project
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Above, Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune interviews Ron Johnson from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority
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The taconite pile about to be loaded is seen just behind an anxious audience. Behind the pile, the ship loader (blue) is slowly moving into position.
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pm20090529_6246There were two front-end loaders picking up the taconite rock and dropping it in the hopper that fed the conveyor belt up to the barge. Above, foreground, you see one of them picking up a load at the pile while the other one, top right, is about to dump the rock into the hopper.Taconite is moving up the ship loader conveyor and into the vessel’s cargo hold. The hard work begins and for the rest of us, it is time to go home.
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Hollyhock arrives to assist Alder

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We have three Coast Guard cutters in Duluth and no ice. It’s a good thing since the three ships are not in the best of shape. The Mackinaw arrived a couple weeks ago and is currently up on blocks in the Fraser Shipyards dry dock. The Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock arrived in Duluth on Wednesday (above). It was expected a little later since it has an appointment in the same dry dock after the Mackinaw gets out, probably late in June. It is here now to help the ailing Alder with some buoy tending. Both the Alder and the Hollyhock are Juniper class cutters, the Hollyhock was launched in early 2003; the Alder in 2004. The Alder will undergo repairs later this summer although the exact time and place have not been determined. Photo taken on May 27, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-28-2009

Pere Marquette and Undaunted arrive Duluth

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The Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted arrived in Duluth late this afternoon (above). They are here to load taconite rock that will be taken to Chicago to be used as a surface treatment on roads. It may also be used in the manufacture of cement. This is an entirely new use for taconite taken directly out of the ground. Usually, we receive iron ore pellets from the Iron Range that have been processed in large ball mills that take ground-up taconite and combine it with other ingredients including limestone and turn it into pellets that eventually get fed to giant blast furnaces in steel mills such as US Steel in Gary.

H. Lee White departing Twin Ports

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The H. Lee White, seen above going under the Lift Bridge last October, will be here today with a cargo of limestone loaded in Calcite, Michigan. After discharging that cargo, it will move over to Midwest Energy Resources to load 30,000 tons of coal for Marquette, leaving sometime early afternoon. It will then return to the Twin Ports on Saturday for another 30,000 tons of coal, this time to Milwaukee. The White has loaded iron ore pellets in Two Harbors for Gary several times this year. It has also made a couple trips to Silver Bay from Midwest Energy with coal. Unlike most US freighters, she has been known to move through the Welland Canal that connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The Welland was built to allow ship traffic to go around Niagara Falls. Photo taken on October 18, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-27-2009

G.L. Ostrander exits Duluth with Integrity

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On Sunday morning, the tug G.L. Ostrander arrived in Duluth pushing the barge Integrity that was loaded with a cargo of cement. On Monday afternoon, the pair departed the Twin Ports by way of a very windy Duluth ship canal (above). There was a line for the coal dock on Monday that will probably last through today. Both the Canadian Progress and Canadian Olympic were at anchor waiting on the Paul R. Tregurtha on Monday. Both likely came in, loaded coal and departed by first light today. That left the coal dock for the Indiana Harbor unless the American Mariner, expected last night with limestone, discharged that cargo and got over to the coal dock first.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-26-2009

Undaunted brings the Pere Marquette to Duluth

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Thanks to Frank Frisk for the picture above, taken on the St. Clair River.

I don’t know which is more interesting; the history of the barge Pere Marquette and tug Undaunted, or the trip they are making to Duluth on Thursday, May 28th. I refer you to the article by  Brian Ferguson  on the Boatnerd for the long and illustrious story. You will learn in the article that "… the Marquette has hauled anything practically everywhere." That pretty much covers it but the details are fascinating.
   On this trip, the everywhere is the Hallett Dock in West Duluth. The anything is taconite rock. The destination is Chicago, but not to a steel mill. This taconite will be used as a road surface. Some of the shipment will also go to a Chicago area cement and concrete manufacturer because the silica and iron ore in taconite are major ingredients in the manufacturing of Portland cement. I refer you to a press release from Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI) at the University of  Minnesota at Duluth, reprinted below.

Iron Range to ship new product to Chicago via tug/barge

DULUTH, Minn. – Taconite rock, found in overabundance on Minnesota’s Iron Range, makes an extremely durable and high-performing aggregate, according to research at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI). It has been used extensively in the northland, but this week it will be transported from Duluth to Chicago via the Great Lakes, testing its “shipability” and potential as a new, readily available aggregate product for other areas.

   Chicago’s local aggregate sources are primarily limestone-based, a softer rock than taconite. Iron Range aggregate could meet their needs for a tougher surface treatment on roads. That could mean longer lasting roads for the greater Chicago area, less road construction and less overall cost. NRRI’s research also shows that hard taconite rock has excellent friction characteristics for safer driving conditions when applied to the road surface. Some of the shipment will also go to a Chicago area cement and concrete manufacturer because the silica and iron ore in taconite are major ingredients in the manufacturing of Portland cement.
   Millions of tons of Iron Range taconite rock are available in northern Minnesota, without the need to create or expand gravel quarries in busy urban areas where aggregate is needed.
   “The logistics of moving the aggregate in a cost effective way has been the tough part,” said NRRI geologist Larry Zanko, principal investigator on the project. “But the tug and barge system offers promise for efficient transportation.”
   The vintage barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted have been in operation on the Great Lakes since 1997, but this is her first trip on Lake Superior. The barge can carry 5,000 net tons of dry bulk or 240,000 cubic feet of cargo. Depending on weather, it will take four to five days to move the 5,000 tons of aggregate rock to Chicago.
   “Not a single taconite pellet is being produced right now on the Iron Range,” said Zanko. “This highlights the importance of tapping into taconite rock as a more durable, more sustainable, and more energy efficient alternative to lesser-quality crushed stone, especially as the nation’s transportation infrastructure needs serious upgrading.”
   Many port businesses are excited about the possibilities in a new product from the Iron Range. Hallett Dock Company hopes to attract customers that can take advantage of the movement by bringing their bulk products to Duluth on the up-bound trip, according to Hallett Dock President Mike McCoshen.
   “We’re unique because we’re not product-specific like the coal docks, ore docks or grain elevators,” said McCoshen. “We’re more of a bulk commodities boutique, and can ship 500,000 tons to 5,000 tons, like this project. We hope there is potential for the long-term on this one.”
   The Duluth Seaway Port Authority anticipates that, if demand for taconite aggregate grows, it could eventually be carried on larger vessels at an even lower cost per ton.    “This shipment of taconite aggregate is a great example of how the cost and fuel efficiencies of waterborne transportation can open up new, niche markets around the Great Lakes,” noted Ron Johnson, the Port Authorities’ trade development director.
   Earlier this month, the Lake Carriers’ Association reported that Great Lakes iron ore shipments are down 70 percent from last year at this time because of the economic downturn. A new potential product from the Iron Range is a welcome bit of good news.
   “For those of us in the shipping business, this is a ray of sunshine in a cloudy sky,” said Pere Marquette Operations Manager Chuck Leonard.
   Laurentian Aggregate of Duluth worked closely with NRRI and was instrumental in facilitating this shipment. Funding for NRRI’s aggregate research is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce (Economic Development Administration), Iron Range Resources, Blandin Foundation, Minnesota Power, Minnesota Technology, Inc., and the University of Minnesota Permanent Trust Fund.
   The mission of NRRI is to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment. —end—

G.L. Ostrander enters Duluth with Integrity

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For many years, the Alpena has been used by Lafarge North America to bring cement to the Twin Ports, averaging about 15 trips a year. It has not been back since its first trip here this season at the end of March. Shortly after that, it was placed in temporary layup. On Sunday, the tug G.L. Ostrander arrived in Duluth with the barge Integrity loaded with cement (above). It is the first cement delivery from Lafarge since that last trip by the Alpena. The tug barge combination is owned and operated by Lafarge. The Integrity was built in 1996 and was here twice that year and twice in 2006. This is its 5th trip to the Twin Ports. Tug/barge combinations are less expensive to operate than Great Lakes freighters due in part to lower manpower requirements. That may be one reason why Lafarge switched vessels in a year when the construction industry is not doing well. Photo taken on May 24, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-25-2009

Lift Your Spirits in Duluth

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Back in May, 2005, Duluth had a birthday party for the Aerial Lift Bridge. One project gathered a bunch of local artists to create unique works of art from identical sculptures of the Bridge. Christie Eliason, upper left in the collage above, took up the challenge, creating “Lift Your Spirits in Duluth.” Her mother, Linda Glisson, bought the piece and then donated it to the Marine Museum where it now sits in front of the main door. The sculpture was an immediate hit with kids and especially people with cameras. On Sunday, May 24th, four years later, Linda came down to give ‘Lift Your Sprits in Duluth’ a cleaning and some touch up painting. Christie, an aspiring children’s book author/illustrator, full time teacher and mother of 4, is always glad for some help. She has a story for each image.

Smile for the camera, Algosoo

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The Algosoo came into port on Saturday morning to load 30,000 tons of low sulfur western coal brought here by train from coal mines in Montana and Wyoming. The Canadian flagged boat departed for Ontario Power Generation on Saturday afternoon (above). The American Spirit is still expecting to load its first cargo of the season and depart sometime today. It will take iron ore pellets from the CN Dock in West Duluth to steel mills in Gary, Indiana. Photo taken on May 23, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-24-2009

Holiday weekend; the people are back, the sun is out

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…… and the Algosoo is entertaining the multitudes.

American Spirit gets back to work

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Boats coming from and going to layup are becoming a barometer of the economy, at least that part of it that moves cargo on the Great Lakes. So far, about as many boats are going back into layup as are finally coming out. The American Spirit came into Duluth on December 12th and went over to the Enbridge Dock in Superior for winter layup. It is expected to move over to the CN Dock in West Duluth today to load iron ore pellets for Gary. It will finally depart the port this evening. Earlier this week, the Edward L. Ryerson returned to layup. We still wait for the St. Clair, the Kaye E. Barker and the American Victory to leave their ‘winter’ berths. Photo taken on May 22, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-23-2009

L.L. Smith Jr. and young passengers

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The L.L. Smith Jr. entered the Duluth ship canal on Thursday afternoon (above) with a bow full of 5th graders from the Bryant Elementary School in Superior. The Smith is a research vessel owned by the University of Wisconsin that provides environmental education programs during a 3 hour cruise in the Harbor, on the St. Louis River and out on Lake Superior. This was the second trip of the year for the Smith but the first one that included Lake Superior. High winds kept them off the lake on their first trip on Tuesday. Another research vessel, the Blue Heron, is expected to return from a two day trip this afternoon. The Blue Heron is owned and operated by the Large Lakes Observatory at UMD. Photo taken on May 21, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-22-2009

American Century departs via Duluth canal

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The American Century was expected early this morning and was probably loading coal as the sun came up. It is seen above departing the port in April, last year. It should finish early this afternoon. The American Integrity is also expected today, just before noon, and should depart shortly before midnight. These two boats have followed each other since they both arrived in the Twin Ports on April 24th. Departing here with coal, one came back on May 1st and the other on May 2nd. On May 8th, they both came back and on May 14, one arrived; on May 15, the other came. Today, they are both back in the Twin Ports. Both loaded 64,000 tons of coal and both are taking it to Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan. That means we will see them both back in about a week. They are both thousand footers and were both purchased from the Oglebay Norton Company by American Steamship in 2006. Aren’t you glad someone is keeping track of this for you? Photo taken on April 09, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-21-2009

Summer daily edition of Duluth Shipping News getting ready to print at Service Printers in Duluth

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Friday, May 22nd signals the return of the daily edition of the Duluth Shipping News, being printed now (Thursday) at Service Printers. Above, the first page is at left, the back page at right. I will fill in the white space on the front side each day with schedule information, pictures and stories about the boats coming to Duluth Superior this summer. Below, the clean white paper will fly through their offset press, each sheet has 8 pages of the newsletter. They turn them over and do it again on the other side, cut it and bring it over later today (Thursday); about 116,000 copies for 110 editions this summer. It make me tired just thinking about it.
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Mackinaw enters Duluth with big waves

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The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth just after 6 pm last night. It is here for some repairs in the dry dock at Fraser Shipyard and is expected to move over there today. Kevin Wirth (left foreground), commanding officer on the Alder, was out to greet the Mackinaw when it arrived. Wind gusts up to 36 mph made the trip through the Duluth ship canal a little more interesting than usual. Mackinaw Commander Scott Smith had originally planned to dock behind the DECC but after approaching the DECC, he decided to go to the Port Terminal instead. Smith and Wirth planned to have dinner together last night. There will be much to talk about. Smith served in Duluth on the Sundew as executive officer from 1995 to 1997. The Alder has its own problems and will shortly go into dry dock for some repairs. We have high winds but no ice so the two ships have some time to recover from their wounds. Photo taken on May 19, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-20-2009

Ryerson arrives Twin Ports for layup

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On Monday, the list of boats in the harbor for layup added one and then lost another. The Edward L. Ryerson came in for layup (above) just before noon on Monday. This reflects the bad economy especially within the steel industry. The Edgar B. Speer came into port on April 27th and has been at the Hallett # 5 dock for temporary layup including bow thruster repairs. It moved over to the BN dock to load iron ore pellets on Monday evening. Photo taken on May 18, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-19-2009

Mackinaw returns to Duluth for repairs

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The US Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in Duluth on Tuesday evening, May 19th, 2009. Wind gusts up to 39 mph added to the fun. The Mac is here to go into dry dock at Fraser Shipyards for some repairs to their Azipod propulsion units.
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The twin, fixed pitch Azipods can be seen facing each other just as the ship was sliding down the rails and into the Menominee River when she was launched on April 2nd, 2005. The Azipods can be rotated 360 degrees and are used to steer the ship. They eliminate the need of a rudder.
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Canadian Transport amid many visitors

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Blue skies, birds and babies greeted the Canadian Transport when it came into port on Sunday afternoon (above). Last year, it averaged 9.6 hours in port over the 19 trips it made to the Twin Ports. It takes a little under an hour to get from the bridge to the coal dock each way, so it averaged about 7½ hours at the loading dock. It is actually a little less than that since it took on fuel on some of those trips and probably had to wait for the dock on others. The shortest time in port last year was 7.7 hours; the longest was 17.2 hours. Photo taken on May 17, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-18-2009

Ryerson arrives for layup

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The Edward L. Ryerson arrived in Duluth at 11:30 am on May 18th, 2009 (above). She will be going to Fraser Shipyards later today. They are waiting at the CN dock in West Duluth (1:32 Monday afternoon)  until the St. Clair can be moved at Fraser, allow the Ryerson to make her berth. That is expected to happen later this afternoon.

Getting greener by the day

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The Canadian Transport came into Duluth late Sunday afternoon on May 17th, 2008. She is here to load 30,000 tons of coal for Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke.

James R. comes in from anchor

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Scott Briggs brought the James R. Barker in on Saturday afternoon (above) after sitting at anchor off Park Point waiting to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources. That explains the angle of the boat as he was turning into the channel from the anchorage as opposed to coming straight in from the lake. His position in the picture appears to be and was to the left side of the North Pier Light because he was accounting for a stiff 35 knot wind from the North West. He is usually in the pilot house of the Mesabi Miner but the poor economy put the Miner in layup for the time being. Officers and crew on Great Lakes boats have been moved around since so many are in layup. After a month’s vacation, Briggs will return as captain of the Herbert C. Jackson, a steam powered boat only 690 feet long. The Jackson will be a change from the two thousand-foot long diesel powered boats he has been operating. Photo taken on May 16, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-17-2009

Canadian Olympic sneaks in line for coal

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Coal is king again with four thousand footers here to take it away. The American Century came in yesterday to load coal for the Consumers Energy power plant in Essexville, Michigan and probably left early this morning. Shortly after that, the Paul R. Tregurtha was expected in to load coal for We-Energies in Marquette. Before the James R. Barker arrives to load coal for Detroit Edison, the 730-foot Canadian Olympic will slip in and load for Ontario Power Generation in Thunder Bay. Photo taken on October 15, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-16-2009

Blue Heron does important research

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The Blue Heron, a research vessel owned and operated by the Large Lakes Observatory at UMD, will be departing the port around 7 this morning on one of many research trips it takes into Lake Superior. This trip will concentrate on studying the biology of algae, a food source for many of the fish in the lake. Changes in the algae population is often an early indicator of problems that may later appear in the fish population. Two scientists from the U of M main campus will join a graduate student from UMD working on the science part of the trip. They will be joining the Blue Heron’s regular 5-member crew who will take them to two spots on the lake where they have previously done water sampling. This will allow them to compare current data with past trips, providing them with important trending patterns.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-15-2009

McCarthy sails under Aerial Lift Bridge

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The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. arrived last night (above) on its 7th trip of the season to the Twin Ports. It is here to load coal; on this trip, taking it to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke. It was here 28 times last season. The Cason J. Callaway has been loading limestone in Calcite, Michigan and is due here today with that cargo. It will then go to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets for Conneaut. Photo taken on May 12, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-13-2009

Callaway arrives under Aerial Lift Bridge

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If the traffic today goes as predicted (it seldom does), three boats will arrive in port and as the day goes on, those same 3 boats will depart. The James R. Barker will finish the day by arriving late tonight to load coal. The Cason J. Callaway arrived in port Tuesday morning (above) with limestone. After discharging that cargo, it was expected to depart for Two Harbors late last night. Photo taken on May 12, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-12-2009

Callaway here for only 2nd time this season

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The Cason J. Callaway came into port on Tuesday morning, May 12, 2009, with limestone loaded in Calcite, Michigan. After discharging that cargo, she will depart for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets for Conneaut.

Paul R. Tregurtha here for lots of coal

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The only traffic under the Lift Bridge on Sunday was the Paul R. Tregurtha coming (above) and going. We have another thousand footer arriving to load coal today, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., but it will not arrive until this evening. It will be the 6th trip here this season for the McCarthy. It was here 28 times last season. Like the Tregurtha, the McCarthy loads mostly coal, usually taking it to Detroit Edison. The McCarthy is named after the former Chairman of the Board of Detroit Edison. Photo taken on May 10, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-11-2009

Paul R. departs, meets Pochard arriving

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If we are only going to have one boat in the port today, it might as well be the largest boat on the Great Lakes. That boat, the Paul R. Tregurtha, will make 2 appearances under the Lift Bridge today, one coming in just before noon, and again when it departs about nine hours later on the way to deliver 35,000 tons of coal to the Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair, Michigan and 28,000 tons of coal to their Monroe, Michigan power plant. The Tregurtha is seen above departing the port (left) on July 19, 2007 while the salt water vessel Pochard, just to the right of the Tregurtha, is about to enter the ship canal. Photo taken on July 19, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-10-2009

Atlantic Erie under the Aerial Lift Bridge

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Salt water ships arriving in Duluth by definition came from the other end of the St. Lawrence Seaway system where the St. Lawrence River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Those ships continue across the Atlantic to ports in Europe and Africa. Some go south to Venezuela. Very few US flagged vessels get to the ocean. Several Canadian flagged boats have recently loaded cargo here for ports on the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Erie will be here today to load coal for Nova Scotia Power in Sydney, Nova Scotia, a port on the Atlantic Ocean. The boat is named for both an ocean and a lake, reflecting the vessel’s dual capabilities. It is seen above coming under the Lift Bridge in early April when it also loaded coal for Nova Scotia Power. Photo taken on April 11, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-09-2009

American Century as her former self

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The American Century and the American Integrity will both be in port today. It is the 3rd weekend in a row that both have been here together. The first two times the Century arrived first. With both loading coal, the Integrity had to wait each time. Things will change today. The Integrity is expected just before noon, the Century just after noon. But this time, the Century will be loading taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth, just across the St. Louis River from Midwest Energy where the Integrity will be loading coal. The photo above shows the American Century departing Duluth in 2004 when it was called the Columbia Star.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-08-2009

Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arriving Duluth

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Two Canadian flagged boats will be arriving in port today, both loading coal. The Canadian Olympic will go to Nanticoke in Ontario but the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, seen above arriving in port on January 11th this year, will take its cargo of coal out of the St. Lawrence Seaway system to the ocean port of Belledune, in New Brunswick, Canada, just north of Maine. It is nice to see two Canadian boats today. Through April, we only had 15 Canadian flagged vessels in port, last year there were 37 Canadian flagged ships here before May 1st. Photo taken on January 11, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-07-2009

Sea Robin/barge Hugh in Duluth harbor

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The tug Sea Robin arrived in Duluth on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 (above). It was pushing the barge Hugh with a cargo of calcium chloride for the Hallett #8 dock in Superior. Calcium chloride is a high grade liquid (42% salt content) that needs to be diluted a bit here before it is sent to the end customer, mostly county highway departments in Minnesota. They use it to keep the dust down on road construction and maintenance projects. Photo taken on May 05, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-06-2009

Tug barge makes first Twin Ports appearance

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The tug barge combination Sea Robin and barge Hugh came under the Lift Bridge on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30. Cargo: liquid calcium chloride loaded near Ludington, Michigan.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. departing Duluth

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The tug Sea Robin is expected in port today with a cargo of calcium chloride on a barge named Hugh. This is the first visit to the Twin Ports for the Sea Robin, a tug that is more often found in San Francisco and other west coast ports. It loaded the liquid cargo at a Dow Chemical facility in Ludington, Michigan. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. probably departed the port earlier this morning with a cargo of coal for Nanticoke, Ontario. It is seen above approaching the Lift Bridge in September, 2001.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-05-2009

Duluth Fire Department trains to fight fires on ships

It’s not easy to train the fire department. Their first job is always protecting us from fires and lots of other mayhem. If you are Michael Lebsack, Commanding Officer Marine Safety Unit Duluth, you want to make sure the local fire departments, in this case Duluth’s and Superior’s, know how to fight a fire in a Great Lakes freighter. (There are 12 of them spending the winter in the Twin Ports.) He brought in Mike Romstadt, Supervisor of MARAD’s Great Lakes Fire Training Center in Swanton, Ohio. (MARAD: Maritime Administration, a part of the US Department of Transportation). It was a one day training program, one part in the classroom, by Romstadt, and one part by the Coast guard while touring two of the vessels in port for the winter.
There are 3 shifts of fire fighters, in two cities, one teacher, and 4 boats; the American Victory & St Clair at Fraser Shipyards in Superior and the Edwin H. Gott and John G. Munson in Duluth.Neither department likes to take their rigs over the bridge to the other side since that puts them further away from that mayhem I mentioned. So you have to do the training in both cities. It worked pretty good.
While one shift from the Duluth department was touring the Edwin H. Gott and John G. Munson in Duluth, Romstadt was in the class room in Superior teaching one shift of fire fighters from Superior. I arrived on the scene on Wednesday afternoon in Duluth for the Gott tour. That morning, Romstadt had been in the classroom at the Duluth fire department doing the classroom work while a shift of Superior fire fighters was at the shipyard in Superior touring the American Victory and the St. Clair with the Coast Guard. They did that same routine with another shift on Tuesday and they would take the 3rd shift of fire fighters on Thursday.
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From the deck of the Gott: I took this picture of the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. at top right, the John G. Munson at top left and a lot of wind turbines blades ready to be trucked to a variety of destinations.
I wanted to get a picture of their trucks with the Gott in the background but they kept driving around as if they were looking for a parking space. In a way they were – they wanted to make sure the rigs were pointed in the right direction if they received a fire call. That sounded like a good idea to me.

Beluga Elegance at port terminal

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The Beluga Elegance is expected today. It is seen above discharging wind turbine equipment in 2007. Today it will be loading grain. No iron ore pellets will be loaded today or tomorrow. When steel mills close, they don’t buy iron ore pellets to feed their furnaces, so we send fewer lakers downbound with pellets. We have in the past had a lot of limestone delivered here. Much of that goes up to the Iron Range and is used in the iron ore pellet process. Less taconite coming down here means less limestone is brought into port but today, two boats are bringing limestone. It is too early to call that a trend. Photo taken on August 24, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-04-2009

The Ramon de Larrinaga, represented by the tug Edward H., came into port on Sunday afternoon exactly 50 years after the original Larrinaga came in 1959.

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She was the first deep-draft oceangoing vessel to arrive here after transiting the length of the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. Just below, the tug Edward H. carries the Larrinaga banner under the Lift Bridge.
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Leo Franklin (below right) was there on Sunday and he was there 50 years ago serving as deck boss, in charge of loading the English flagged ship. Melissa Ganje, Fox 21, found Leo and interviewed him while Fox 21 photograher Carrie Kohlmeier (unseen at left, behind the camera) recorded it all. Leo should make the evening news. He shared some of the adventures he had while loading the first large salt water ship to come to Duluth. In the background at left his wife Carol looks on. More about her later.
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20090503_5472Katie Nordeen, WDIO reporter, above middle and  at left, was in the neighborhood. She knows a good story when she overhears part of one, so she talked with Leo next while WDIO photographer Kyle Aune records the conversation for the news.
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Leo does not operate alone. He is a team with Carol, above left, his wife of 60 years. Melissa Ganje, Fox 21, also knows a good story when she hears a part of it. While the WDIO cameras were on Leo, Fox 21 was rolling with Carol. She knows almost as much as Leo does. She was born in England and took special delight in the ship since it was from England. You just have to stand beside them and you will learn all you want about ships, engines, cargo, union activities, Duluth and more. Between them, they have the last 50 years of shipping history in Duluth recorded in their brains and they are happy to share the information. (P.S. Their son Paul was also there. I found him very interesting but he will have to wait for another day.)
Reading left to right in the picture just above, the entire cast is at work. From the left, Carol, Melissa, Carrie, Leo, Katie and Kyle.

American Integrity gets in line for coal

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This has been and undoubtedly will continue to be a slow season, at least starting out. But that is not obvious in the Twin Ports this weekend. The American Integrity came in on Saturday morning for coal (above) but had to wait on the American Century and the John D. Leitch to complete loading their cargos of coal. The James R. Barker was expected to come in from anchor earlier this morning after the Integrity departed. The Canadian Transport will be here to load coal, as will the largest boat on the Great Lakes, the Paul R. Tregurtha. The CSL Niagara is also out on the lake on the way to Duluth to get coal today. Notably, the Quebecois will be departing after discharging the season’s first cargo of cement. Photo taken on May 02, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-03-2009

The Coast Guard and community remember a hero

The ceremony to recognize the anniversary of the Coast Guard rescue attempt by Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Edgar A. Culbertson was held on Thursday afternoon, April 30, 2009.
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Above, a combined Duluth Police Department and Coast Guard honor Guard starts the ceremony off. Below, members of the Coast Guard watch over the tribute.
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Above left, Commander M. P. Lebsack, Captain of the Port of Duluth, welcomed everybody; at right, Captain Edward Montgomery spoke for the local Shipmasters Association in Duluth.
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Above, police officers, members of LEMA, the Law Enforcement Memorial Association. Below, the Lift Bridge is raised in tribute.
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Below, from left, Captain Tom Mackay receives an award of appreciation from Commander Lebsack, a Lema bugler and Ray Culbertson, brother of Edgar A. Culbertson, offers a family’s gratitude as an appropriate conclusion to the ceremony.3smallcgpics20090430-580

American Century in her new black coat

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The American Century came into port Friday afternoon to load coal at Midwest Energy. This is only the 2nd visit the Century has made to the Twin Ports this season. Like the first visit, last weekend, it will take the coal to Detroit Edison. Until last week, this boat had an iron ore red color when visiting, but over the winter, it was painted black and white, the colors of the new owner, American Steamship. They purchased the boat from Oglebay Norton in 2006. Photo taken on May 01, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-02-2009

Algowood enters in heavy fog

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The Canadian flagged Algowood loaded salt in Goderich, Ontario and brought it to the Twin Ports on Thursday, coming under the Lift Bridge very slowly because of a thick fog (above). It discharged the salt at the Hallett #8 Dock in Superior and then moved next door to Midwest Energy Resources to load coal for Thunder Bay, likely departing earlier this morning. The Algowood did that same combination on at least one of its 13 trips here last season. Photo taken on April 30, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-01-2009