Archives for March 2017

John D. Leitch arrives for pellets

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The John D. Leitch arrived Duluth at noon on March 31, 2017. She will follow the Baie St. Paul loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. It is the first trip of the new season for both Canadian flagged vessels. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin will be the 3rd consecutive Canadian vessel to pick up pellets at the CN after she arrives later today. I like to see the Leitch here; she has one of the most interesting looks of any vessels that visit Duluth. I just updated the images for the Leitch that I have from past visits; you can see that on the Leitch page.

Philip R. Clarke back for fuel

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The Philip R. Clarke is back in town to get fuel; she will then depart for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets. She spent her winter layup here, leaving for Two Harbors on March 22nd. She made 21 visits to Duluth last year and 17 the year before. Last year, she usually brought limestone in before loading iron ore pellets in Duluth or Two Harbors.

Cason J. Callaway departs Duluth

With the first lakers departing Duluth from their layup here and the first lakers that wintered elsewhere arriving, it is time to wait for the first Salt water ship to arrive. Go here to see past posts of the first salty arriving Duluth

2017-0327-1342 After spending winter layup in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, the Cason J. Callaway left there on March 23 heading for the Soo Locks and the long trip across Lake Superior to Duluth, arriving here at 6:57 PM on March 26. She is seen here departing Duluth on Monday afternoon, March 27th after loading iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth. 2017-0327-1361

Lee A. Tregurtha is 4th boat to leave

2017-0323-1311 The Lee A. Tregurtha left Duluth at 4:00 this afternoon, March 23, 2017. She was the 4th laker to depart Duluth in the new season. The Paul R. Tregurtha is likely to be the first laker to arrive in the Twin Ports although she has not left yet. She is expected to depart later tonight with coal for Silver Bay, giving her time to get back for more coal and celebrate her status of 5th laker out/first laker in!!

First light, first boat

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The Roger Blough opened the shipping season in Duluth this morning (March 22, 2017) at 7:30. Above, at left, she starts down the Duluth harbor on her way to the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. Just to the right is the American Spirit, expected to break away from her winter layup berth on Saturday (March 25, 2017) to go over to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets. The American Century is seen at the right. She is expected to depart on Thursday (March 23, 2017) for Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets.
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Above, the Blough goes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning; below, there were many folks out to get a picture of the ‘first ship.’ The only ice to be found was a couple spots on the pavement. The harbor, ship canal and the lake (at this end, at least) were ice free.
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Below, Jason Fyten  had his Boatwatcher flag out to celebrate the occasion. Duluth News Tribune Photo Editor Bob King stands next to Jason, waiting for the Blough.
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Season 2017 begins tomorrow

2017 Commercial Shipping Season gets underway Wednesday in Port of Duluth-Superior, from Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

240802-1-096Duluth, Minn., USA (March 21, 2017)— The first U.S.-flag lakers are expected to depart the Port of Duluth-Superior tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22, signaling the start of the 2017 commercial shipping season at this, the farthest inland port on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

Exact times are difficult to pinpoint during start-up (i.e. ‘fit-out,’ in industry terms), but the first departure may very well take place while most folks are still asleep! The Roger Blough is expected to leave its berth at the Clure Public Marine Terminal at first light Wednesday and depart beneath Duluth’s famed Aerial 210827-113Bridge en route to the CN Docks in Two Harbors to load iron ore. After fueling late afternoon/early evening, another Great Lakes Fleet vessel, the Philip R. Clarke, will also head to Two Harbors to take on its first cargo of the season. Both vessels, with deliveries to make to steel mills on the Lower Lakes, will proceed across Lake Superior toward Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to await the opening of the Soo Locks at 12:01 a.m. on Sat., March 25. The Blough is expected to be the lead ship downbound as she was in 2016.
2007Sep16_2810PRODInterlake’s flagship, the 1013.5-ft Paul R. Tregurtha, wintered at the Superior Midwest Energy Terminal and is scheduled to load coal there Wednesday, then move to the Clure Terminal for final preparations before leaving for Silver Bay tomorrow night/early Thursday. After discharge, that vessel will return to Superior to load coal for its first inter-lake delivery to the St. Clair Power Plant in Michigan.

Two more Interlake Steamship Co. freighters that wintered in the Twin Ports – the Lee A. Tregurtha and the Herbert C. Jackson – are expected to depart late Wednesday, as well. The Lee A. is in position to leave Fraser Shipyards first, sometime midday. Both vessels will stop to fuel at the Calumet dock in Duluth before heading out to Two Harbors and Silver Bay, respectively, to load iron ore.

The Burns Harbor is due to move from its layup berth to the BNSF Railway Dock to load iron ore Wednesday before departing via the Superior Entry. American Century is set to leave Thursday to load in Silver Bay while fleet mate, the American Spirit, is expected to move to the CN Duluth Dock to load iron ore over the weekend before getting underway.

NOTE: All vessel departure/arrival times are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

With the Soo Locks opening Saturday and virtually ice-free conditions across the Lakes, Port of Duluth-Superior could see its first arrival from the Soo on Sunday, most likely the Stewart J. Cort, the James R. Barker or the Cason J. Callaway, but that’s still too close to call. For updates, www.duluthboats.com. Watch real-time transits at www.marinetraffic.com or http://ais.boatnerd.com or on mobile devices with Marine Traffic or Ship Finder apps.

Rapid deterioration of ice

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On March 13, the US Coast Guard sent out the following information (see below) regarding the Coast Guard cutter Alder (above) and her upcoming ice breaking activity. It contains the following description of the current situation: “temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice.” I took these 3 pictures today (March 15, 2017). The Alder is sitting at the Coast Guard station on Park Point. Below is the Duluth harbor. In the last couple of weeks, it has seen high winds coming from both the east and west. There are 3 outlets for the water and ice to move. In or out of the Duluth ship canal, below; in or out of the Superior Entry, just below, in the upper left and the St. Louis River, the mouth of it seen at the top right. The ice has been moving in and out and around but certainly not increasing in over all size. Daylight like today, much longer than the days in December, insures the ice is in a loosing battle with Mother Nature. That is mostly because the ice missed its usual opportunity to dig in so it would be hard to kick out; the cold temperatures of January and February. They were not there, leaving the ice without is armor. We are still 16 days before April 1, the date the Indiana Harbor tried to depart using the Duluth ship canal on that day in 2003. She tried 9 times to break thru the ice but finally had to give up the fight and wait, presumably for Coast Guard support. But several days later, they quit trying; there was only one thing left to do; wait for Mother Nature to do her work. Which of course she did. But until she did, no traffic departed or arrived using the Duluth ship canal for 20 days, when the Walter J. McCarthy finally made it out on April 21st. Read all about it here.
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View of Duluth harbor, half filled with ice

At the moment, the Paul R. Tregurtha will be the first scheduled traffic to move this season when she departs her winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources on March 22. Check our schedule at DuluthBoats.com

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Looking through the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to Lake Superior

March 13, 2017: United States Coast Guard: U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ALDER will commence spring break out operations in the Duluth-Superior area Thursday March 16, 2017. These operations will continue periodically over the next few days and weeks to prepare regional waterways for the start of the Great Lakes commercial navigation season.
Initially, ice breaking operations will occur inside the Duluth and Superior Harbors. The ice breaking work will expand in the following days to prepare Two Harbors, MN, Taconite Harbor, MN, Silver Bay, MN, and Thunder Bay, Ontario for commercial ship movements.
Unlike some previous winters, this year was unseasonably warm. Regional ice cover is not as expansive nor did it reach traditional thicknesses. The forecast for the next seven to ten days calls for temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice. All snowmobile, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators, ice fishermen, and other recreational users of the ice should recognize the instability of the ice, plan their activities carefully, and use caution near the ice, especially in proximity to charted navigation areas.