Morro Bay gets local help

The US Coast Guard cutter Alder brought her sister ship, Morro Bay, into port last night with damage to her rudder. They docked at the DECC and this morning (March 29, 2014), divers from a local company, J. Norick & Sons, were there to assess the damage. Actually, the rudder itself was apparently not damaged, but all but one of the bolts holding it to the ship were broken off while breaking ice. Today, they were checking the damage. Probably later today, the ship will be towed to Fraser Shipyard to complete repairs. New, 2 inch bolts are being made locally and will probably be ready for use early next week. The Katmai Bay is also here; my guess is she will tow the Morro Bay to Fraser but I am not sure of that.


  1. Brent R says:

    If I described the entrance to Whitefish Bay as difficult, that would be an understatement. In the past three hours, with both Radisson and Mackinaw breaking ice, the convoy has only moved 3/4 mile. That gives them the blistering pace of 1/4 mph. Judging by when Radisson first encountered the pressure ice, they could still have another 2 miles to go.

    I said yesterday that I thought Katmai Bay was breaking Tadoussac out of its slip. That interpretation may have been correct since, earlier today, I saw Tadoussac’s radio come online at the dock for the first time this year.

    Presumably, Presque Isle is near Two Harbors since that is where I normally lose the radio tracks. I did see that Assiniboine had left Sarnia and headed down to Sandusky. They now appear to be headed back out. There seems to be more activity over at Cleveland with both Manitowoc and Sea Eagle II on the move up the Cuyahoga River. The Baie Comaeu which was docked at Port Colborne just a few days ago is now heading south out of the Detroit River. The freighter, Algoma Discovery, which just moved through the Welland, is being escorted west by Radisson’s sister ship, Des Groseilliers. Neah Bay has left Lake Erie and appears to be working the St. Clair River.Possibly they are getting sheets of ice coming down from Huron. Bristol Bay is normally stationed in that area but I haven’t seen a radio track from her since the 21st of last month. So, perhaps she is down for maintenance.

    It has been interesting to see the tug, Manitou working in the Straits. Remember that this tug was breaking the ice at Alpena not long ago but I wasn’t aware that any private tugs helped out in the open lakes. Perhaps she is contracted to one of the shipping companies.

    You can see the growing activity. There are more radios coming online around the Great Lakes. If you glance down the rivers, you can see much heavier traffic at St. Louis and on the Ohio. There is now traffic moving up the Hudson. We aren’t there yet but shipping is rapidly gearing up for this season.

  2. Radisson began breaking ice at Whitefish Bay about 4:30pm eastern time Wednesday. By 11:30pm, they had reached the mouth of the bay. However, it took another three hours to move just three miles through the heavy, pressure ice, finally getting past it at 2:30am this morning. From there, Radisson was able to move faster and reached the convoy at 6:16am. In all that time since my first sighting of Mackinaw yesterday, the convoy had only moved about 7 miles southeast. Five hours later, the four ships are now at the mouth of Whitefish Bay, heading south. They are in the heavy, pressure ice that Radisson had to break through going up so they are moving very slowly.

    Roger Blough, Stewart Cort, Edwin Gott, and Sam Laud are all waiting east of the Mackinac Straits to go up the St. Marys. Edgar Speer left Sturgeon Bay yesterday and is heading east. American Integrity left Toledo about an hour and a half ago, heading north. I’m not sure what the intentions of Speer and Integrity are at the moment but this is now two more giants to have left port this season. Presumably, the James Barker is still in Sturgeon Bay. American Century is in Toledo. American Spirit and Walter McCarthy are still in Duluth. I also see that Presque Isle left Duluth about 9:13 eastern this morning. They are moving at only 5-6 knots so two hours later, they are only about halfway to Two Harbors.

  3. After breaking ice for 7 hours, Radisson has reached the mouth of Whitefish Bay. The Munson has also appeared on radio track about where I last saw Mackinaw. At this rate, Radisson could take 10 more hours to reach the convoy.

  4. Brent R says:

    Alder left Duluth about 8pm eastern time Tuesday and arrived at Thunder Bay about 9am this morning. She has been working with Katmai Bay to clear the ice for freighters. Mostly Alder made passes by the Bay entrance and one pass following Mackinaw’s track inside the harbor and back. Katmai has also made a pass out and back along Mackinaw’s track, but other work has been more interesting. For example, I see that Katmai broke all the way into the slip just north of where the Canadian Coast Guard cutter, Cape Chaillon, is in dry-dock. This would suggest to me that she was breaking out a freighter in that slip. I don’t see a radio track but, if I had to guess, I would say that is where the freighter, Tadoussac, is located since its last position was close to there. Katmai is now up at the top of Lakehead Harbor and this seems to be where the freighter, Capt Henry Jackman, is located. If Katmai is breaking out freighters then this suggests that the ice is still too much for Point Valour, the largest private ice-breaking tug in the area.

    Mackinaw moved back north and her radio track disappeared. I also have not yet seen the tracks for the Munson or Callaway. Pierre Radisson arrived at the Soo Locks at 1pm eastern time but because of the 2 hour delay (required by Homeland Security) it is only now showing up on the webcam. It will be on the cam for the next two hours (until 5pm eastern) since it is just now leaving the lock. Radisson will indeed move out into Whitefish and begin breaking ice. Hopefully Radisson which is nearly twice the size of Mackinaw can make better time.

    At this moment, Radisson is just getting to the lower end of Whitefish Bay. I am eager to see how well she can break ice.

  5. Brent R says:

    Mackinaw just appeared on the radio track about 20 miles east of Caribou Island which puts them about 30 miles from the mouth of Whitefish Bay. I see that Pierre Radisson is heading up the St. Marys right now, but I don’t know if they intend to break ice west of the Soo.

  6. Katmai Bay was out of Duluth at 9am eastern time Sunday. They steamed up the coast and then spent time breaking out Silver Bay and going back over Taconite Harbor. At 8pm, they were again heading up the coast. Almost twelve hours later, about 7:30am on Monday, Katmai Bay steamed back into Thunder Bay. Over the course of the day, they widened the track made by Mackinaw, especially inside the Harbor. At 9pm, they tied up at the dock, getting some rest after 36 hours of hard work. This was the first ship able to use the dock in Lakehead Harbor in three months.

    Also, on Monday, the lake giant, Burns Harbor, left Milwaukee and headed up to Escanaba. H Lee White was the first freighter to leave Toledo (assisted by ice-breaking from Hollyhock) and the Sam Laud has left Cleveland. This now only leaves six of the thirteen giants still in port: American Spirit, American Century, American Integrity, Walter J McCarthy, Edgar B Speer, and James R Barker. I did see the radios online for Century and Integrity at Toledo for the first time this season. This might have been related to the departure of H Lee White.

    There is still no sign of the convoy led by Mackinaw across the northern coast of Lake Superior. However, there is a different news. The 6,000 ton icebreaker, Pierre Radisson, has left the eastern end of Lake Erie and steamed all the way up to Sarnia at the top of the St. Clair River. Meanwhile, her sister icebreaker, Des Groseilliers, has crossed Lake Ontario and passed through the Welland Canal into Lake Erie, occupying the spot vacated by Radisson. There is no doubt that another breaker is needed as Samuel Risley spent days trying to cross Erie and had to be helped by Radisson several times.

    Bristol Bay, Mobile Bay, and Biscayne Bay are all working the Soo Locks and St Marys River right now. I am not aware if Pierre Radisson plans to takeover the duty in the Mackinac Straits or if Radisson is going to head up to Whitefish and begin breaking heavy ice. One would logically think that a 6,000 ton icebreaker would be needed more on Lake Superior than in the Straits.

    The Welland Canal is seemingly not being bothered much by the ice. In addition to the passage of Des Groseilliers earlier, the freighters, Sea Eagle II and Algoma Discovery, are heading upriver through the Welland locks right now.

  7. Fantastic pics Ken.

  8. After at least 5 hours of breaking ice, Mackinaw, has cut a track to the middle entrance of Lakehead Harbor at Thunder Bay. She is leaving now, apparently to go collect Callaway and Munson out in the ice and continue on to the Soo Locks. I would imagine that additional ice-breaking will be needed. Presumably, both Alder and Katmai Bay would be available.

    • I guess I meant to say that Mackinaw had 9 hours of breaking ice, from 8am this morning until now, 5pm.

  9. We can bet that the diver wishes he had a hot water suit- It had to be a chilling experience.

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