Archives for April 2011

Brand new ship, beautiful new morning

The tug Nels J. assisted the BBC Oregon to the dock at the CHS grain terminal in Superior early this morning, April 29, 2011. Steve Sydow, the ship’s agent, was waiting for her and took this picture. The ship brought wind turbine parts from Denmark on Sunday; she is at CHS today loading grain and will likely depart early this evening.

First wind turbine shipment of season

bbcoregon20110425_2237 At the left, on Monday morning, April 25, one of the Port Terminal cranes is pulling one of the 100 power units brought here by the BBC Oregon for Siemens. Power units contain the brains of the wind turbine, calculating the many variables, like the wind, that are checked to make adjustments to the turbine, such as the pitch of the blades.
Yesterday, on a sunny Sunday Easter morning, the BBC Oregon arrived in port with a shipment of wind turbine parts loaded in Aarhus, Denmark. After discharging the parts (nacelles, power units, hubs and containerized equipment), destined to go by truck to Adair, Iowa, she will load wheat at the CHS terminal in Superior.

Go out to meet Blacky

20110419_2015The ship’s name might have been Blacky but my knuckles were white. Luckily all I had to do was keep out of the water (even when I was looking up at it) and take pictures. I had two choices, go out on the deck of the Sea Bear, take pictures and fall in the water, or sit inside and hold on. Guess which I took.
All foreign flagged vessels that come to Duluth are required to have a pilot on board while the ship is in US or Canadian waters. One of Captain Ed Montgomery’s many jobs is transferring the pilot out to or in from the anchorage in his pilot boat, Sea Bear, the mainstay of his company, Sea Service, LLC. Today (April 19, 2011), the Cyprus flagged Blacky arrived off the Duluth piers. Often, a ship will drop anchor out there and Captain Montgomery will take the Sea Bear out to pick up the pilot so he can spend some time at home rather than staying on the ship until it came in (in this case at least a couple days from now). I took the above picture from inside the cabin of the Sea Bear. That’s Captain Dann Edholm’s steady hand on the wheel. He did a great job handling the boat in very heavy seas.
The first task all foreign flagged vessels have when they arrive in port is to meet, on the ship, with a variety of local officials including the ship’s agent, a local stevedore and customs officials. That meeting is usually held while the ship is at anchor but with Lake Superior kicking up a heavy current, the Blacky came into the inner harbor for that meeting, after which the boat went back out to the anchorage to await the next trip in when she will load grain.
The pilot, in this case Captain Shawn McKenzie, got on at the Soo and brought the ship into the harbor today. Since a pilot has to be on board whenever the ship is under way, he stayed on when the ship went back out to the anchorage.
I left my warm dry office and went out to take some pictures of the Blacky and found the Sea Bear lurking about waiting for the bigger ship to pass under the bridge on the way to the anchorage. Captain Montgomery asked if I wanted to go out to the Blacky with them, and of course, I said yes, totally forgetting that the Blacky came into the harbor because of the heavy seas. I don’t get sea sick, even in very heavy seas; I just get scared.
Usually, the rope ladder (above) is used , but with heavy seas, the gangway was lowered.
And he did a good job bringing Sea Bear next to the Blacky so McKenzie could climb down and ‘jump’ into the pilot boat. His luggage came first; I even helped with that job. Then he took the ‘elevator’ down from the Blacky to the Sea Bear.
20110419_2089We returned and they dropped me off just beyond the bridge. Montgomery helped me off the boat; that’s him standing on the bow of the Sea Bear (below) as the boat drove off into the sunset and I ran inside and back to my safe warm office.

Running in the spring in Duluth ha ha ha

Federal Leda arrives, 1st salt water ship of 2011 season …


She will load about 20,000  tons of durum wheat at CHS in Superior and then depart here to add about 10,000 tons of titanium slag in Sorel, Quebec in the St. Lawrence River. She will then cross the Atlantic and deliver the wheat to Bari, Italy and the slag to Piombino, Italy. The Federal Leda began her voyage in Constantza, Romania, where she loaded 21,000 metric tons of steel bars that she discharged in Windsor and Sault St. Marie, Ontario. federaleda20110411_1959

Both pictures taken Monday morning, April 11th just after the ship came under the Lift Bridge on her way to CHS. She was assisted by two Great Lakes tugs, the Kentucky on her stern and the North Carolina on the bow.

Federal Leda: First saltwater ship of 2011

Arrived: April 11, 2011 at 7:10 am
The Cyprus-flagged Federal Leda was the first saltwater ship of the 2011 season, coming under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:10 am on April 11, 2011. With an assist from two local tugs (below), she went over to CHS in Superior to load durum wheat.
The winner of the First Ship contest missed the exact arrival time by only 49 seconds. The Federal Leda began her voyage in Constanza, Romania. On her way here, she first stopped in Windsor, Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie to discharge steel. She loaded 21,000 tons of durum wheat here to take to Italy, stopping first in Quebec to pick up a cargo of titanium slag.
Click here for more about the Federal Leda.

The Canadian Olympic knows how to make an entrance!

7:10 am on Friday, April 8, 2011

Foggy April morning in Duluth

The snow is gone, most of the ice has vanished; Duluth is the usual April shade of brown. Happily, this morning (Thursday, April 7, 2011), the fog moved in and prettied the place up a bit. Above, the Vista Star and the William A. Irvin survived the winter in good shape; unfortunately the Blue Bridge is still there, but after a slow journey from the Midwest Energy coal dock in Superior, the Mesabi Miner finally departed the port with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle . It seemed like the Aerial Bridge was the only place the fog lifted even a little bit. I could not see the Miner once she got beyond the bridge, just as I could hardly see her very well as she approached the bridge.