Archives for March 2011

The Snowless blizzard

Take a look at our latest variation in weather in Duluth; always something different.

Post blizzard beauty

Four boats to start, more coming

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The blizzard with no snow was gone, leaving ice along the shore and Lake Superior calm again. The signal for action in the port. Around 9 this morning, 4 boats entered the ring (the Duluth harbor). Actually, one of them was already there and was the only one still there when the other 3 had gone their separate ways. The James R. Barker (at left) was coming back from Taconite Harbor after delivering a cargo of coal; she was here to get more coal, this time for Marquette. Before she came under the Aerial Lift Bridge, the American Integrity came away from her winter dock in Superior and entered the harbor at the  south end, did a 180 and and pulled up to Murphy Fuel for gas (her stern can be seen on the right side of the picture) In front of her and just barely seen was the John G. Munson, still staying at her winter layup position for a few more days. With all this excitement, the Roger Blough decided to leave us too. Her bow is seen in the middle of the picture as she moved out into the harbor. Below, 20 minutes later she made the turn toward the bridge.
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Barker starts off the new season

The James R. Barker departed Duluth on Thursday afternoon, March 17, 2011, with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle, Michigan. As you can see below, she wasted no time making her right turn to Michigan. The video follows the Barker as she appeared in the harbor after going under the Blatnik Bridge and around the John G. Munson, docked at the Port Terminal on winter layup (the Barker was docked at the Midwest Energy Resources dock in Superior, where she loaded her cargo of coal). The video then shows her passing both the Roger Blough and the American Century on her way to the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. After blowing her whistle, she moved under the bridge and out into Lake Superior. Spring has sprung! (although note the large amount of ice blown up against the shore just to the left of the North Pier Light.)
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Watch the CG cutter Alder break the ice in Duluth

Interlake renames Beeghly to MV Hon. James L. Oberstar

(from Interlake Steamship Company, March 7, 2010)
The Interlake Steamship Company is pleased to announce the renaming of the M/V Charles M. Beeghly in recognition of the Honorable James L. Oberstar, retired United States Congressman from the State of Minnesota. The Vessel will sail from layup this March as the M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, and will be rechristened later this spring. Details of the rechristening will be released as arrangements are finalized. Congressman Oberstar is a distinguished Minnesota legislator and legislative leader who dedicated nearly half a century to service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Oberstar’s tenure on Capitol Hill stretched over 36 years as a Member of Congress and 11 years as a senior Congressional aide. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congress’ primary expert on transportation issues. Congressman Oberstar was a featured speaker at the christening of Interlake’s M/V Mesabi Miner in Duluth in 1977.
Congressman Oberstar’s exposure to the iron ore industry and Great Lakes shipping started at an early age, as his father was an ore miner. As a legislator, Congressman Oberstar was well known as a tireless champion of maritime issues, particular those on the Great Lakes. He represented Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, a region that depends upon Great Lakes shipping to move iron ore pellets to market, often through the westernmost Great Lakes port of Duluth, Minnesota.
Congressman Oberstar fought for adequate Great Lakes’ icebreaking resources to keep iron ore moving to the nation’s steel mills during the winter months, an effort that culminated in the 2006 launching of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter MACKINAW.
He also worked to legislate funding for a critically needed second lock capable of handling the Great Lake’s largest 1,000’ long vessels at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the construction of which is now underway. Among his many other accomplishments, Congressman Oberstar was a vocal advocate for adequate and fair funding for dredging across the Great Lakes basin, a critical component to the efficient movement of maritime commerce across the Great Lakes.
The M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar (formerly the M/V Charles M. Beeghly) is 806’ long with a beam of 75’, and has a carrying capacity of 27,500 net tons. The Vessel was built in 1958 at the American Shipbuilding Company in Toledo, Ohio, and christened the Str. Shenago II in 1959. The Vessel has undergone numerous efficiency improvements, including a mid-body insert that increased its length by 96’ in 1972, conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, and repowering from a steam powered vessel to a diesel powered vessel in 2009.
“Interlake is honored to be able to recognize Congressman Oberstar’s service and dedication to our Country by naming a vessel after him,” stated Mark Barker, Interlake’s President. “Few legislators have made more contributions to Great Lakes shipping and the United States maritime industry.”
Click here to see many more pictures from Beeghly to Oberstar
The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, operates a fleet of nine self-unloading bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. Interlake, a family owned business, is one of the largest U.S-flag fleets operating on the Great Lakes, and carries approximately 20 million tons of bulk cargo throughout the Great Lakes annually. Those cargoes include iron ore, low-sulfur coal, grain and limestone. Interlake was founded in 1913, with roots that can be traced back to 1883.

Alder breaks the ice on a new season

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The US Coast Guard cutter Alder broke away from her dock and seemed to have an easy time moving around the harbor. Here she is passing by the American Century at her winter layup dock at the Port Terminal.
Note from the ship: We made it safely through the harbor finding different thicknesses anywhere from 6 inches plate ice to re-frozen brash up to about 30 inches in some spots. Alder made it all the way through the Superior Front Channel and out to Lake Superior today.

Alder is ready, the bridge almost

It is Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Alder has been at her moorings since mid-January but is due to go back to work in the harbor on Monday morning.
The tent is off the south tower
of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and the scaffolding is coming down.  Beneath the steel, there is a brand new paint job to match the one on the north tower.