American Courage makes 4th trip here this season

American Courage departing Duluth with iron ore pellets The American Courage was here for the 4th time this season on June 8th, loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth for Zug Island, Michigan. As you can see in the pictures here, she has now been painted with the  colors of her new owner, American Steamship.  She was originally named after Fred R. White, a man who started work as an accountant in the vessel operations department of Columbia Transportation Company in 1935. In June, 2006, the boat was sold by Oglebay Norton to American Steamship and given her current name.
American Courage departing Duluth with iron ore pellets


  1. Capt. Ed says:

    Thank you, Ms. Jill! Your Captain friend gave you an accurate response about being scared. With all the training and experience in many different scenarios, a skipper usually is not gripped by fear, just concern to handle the situation in the safest, most prudent way. Incidentally, my folks are enjoying their retirement in Sylacauga, Alabama, and we were down visiting a year or so ago. We lived in Birmingham for awhile, prior to that, and come about February, I yearn for that warmer weather!

  2. bow and stern…rebel. midsection…yankee!

  3. Jill from Alabama says:

    Then that makes the Stewart J. Cort a Rebel!! Thanks, Holly.


  4. as we all know from reading ken’s info on individual ships, the stewart j. cort was built in mississippi, bow and stern together, then sailed to erie, pa. i found this info in a book i’ve been reading…as she sailed into the seaway,the cort was appropriately marked with a dotted line and the wry comment “cut here.” (i thought it must have been quite a sight!)

  5. Jill from Alabama says:

    Captain Ed!
    So good to hear from you! I was wondering where you had been. It’s always good to hear from someone on the front! I would imagine that the C.N.C. is the most important thing to keep under control. I asked my captain friend once if he had ever been scared while on his boat, and he replied, “Nervous, yes; scared, no.” I thought that was such an honest answer. Now that’s the kind of captain I would always feel safe with. Stay safe out there and write again soon.

  6. capt. ed…you are a funny guy! thanks for the info! my friends call me a ship geek, so i’m glad for any knowledge my little brain can assimilate! i did see the sea bear go out, but i didn’t know it was you and your other “cute guys”…thanks again for the explanation!

  7. Capt. Ed says:

    * Captain’s Nervous Condition

  8. Capt. Ed says:

    Hello Holly — Boats generally do not need tugs, though ships often do.;) Smarty Pants response aside, vessel Captains make the decision whether to use tug assistance or not — and generally, it has nothing to do with the style of ship. In the Federal Nakagawa’s case, she was going to Cenex- Harvest States elevator, berth one. To get into that dock, a vessel must make two 90 degree sharp turns, one right after the other, and in opposite directions each time. Having to squeeze a nearly 700 foot ship into that spot takes some deft manuvering and a big ship is not really equipped to do it by itself. Having a tugboat connected to your nose and tail, makes completing the 90 degree turns easier, safer and reduces the C.N.C.* Wind, sea and dock condition factor into it too, as well as the vessel’s ‘Underway Circumstance’. That is, whether it’s loaded or light, engines and thrusters working or not, etc. The Nakagawa is owned by Federal Navigation, Ltd of Canada and is one of the few companies that has a ‘Lakes Wide’ bulk use contract with the Cleveland based Great Lakes Towing Company (the red & green tugs you saw). Laker’s rarely use tugs, unless there is extraordinary wind, heavy ice or mechanical failure. Your average Salty will very often take at least one tug to make most docks, as the Master and the hired Captain / Pilot don’t like to take chances of going aground, ramming a dock or some other eventuality that they may be liable for.

    By the way, you may have seen the Pilot Boat ‘SEA BEAR’ leave the harbor at 05:45 hours, just shortly before the Nakagawa came in. That was yours truly and my trusty Deck Mate, Pete Clure bringing Captain / Pilot Don Willecke out to the ship — just three of those ‘good looking guys on the boats’ that you and Jill (I believe), were talking about. I often have to warn the new guys we hire about the harbor groupies that chase us. It’s just part of the job, we seem to be like rock stars……
    [ I wish 🙂 ]

  9. Federal Nakagawa came in from anchor this morning. she was going very slowly, and it appeared as though there were 2 tugs waiting for her just as she passed under the bridge. i always wonder why some boats need tugs?

  10. jill, i had fun with you on the ferris wheel, even though my post did not show up. it’s all better now. great pictures and information on the ships.

  11. Jill from Alabama says:

    Hi Paul!
    Isn’t the American Courage pretty? She looks a lot like the Buffalo. Wish I could be up there in person to see that clean boat with those sharp colors sailing out in that blue water! Thanks, Ken, for a great picture. Paul, I hope you have a great time in Duluth. The weather definitely looks better now! Be sure to go by Hepzibah’s candy store and get a solid chocolate freighter. It’s the best boat you ever tasted!

  12. hi, paul! i will be in duluth next week. i hope the weather holds. would not like to see snow!

  13. Hey Jill:

    I see where the Buffalo is sailing again, due in Silver Bay.
    Will be up in the Duluth area the end of this month for a day or so. Will definitely make it to the ship canal.
    I posted a comment when you and your hubby where up there for the Marathon, but it did not get posted. Glad you had a good time, even tho the weather was kind of YUKKY.


Leave a Comment