|from Interlake Steamship Facebook:
As some of you might be aware, our M/V James R. Barker returned to the Twin Ports this afternoon. It was out of an abundance of caution that we brought the vessel back to Superior, Wisconsin. We are executing some additional checks on automation and inspections on a bearing which was showing an abnormal temperature. We will share more information as it becomes available.
Usually the boat that spends the winter at Midwest Energy is the first vessel to leave the port to start the new shipping season. And usually, since she was already at Midwest Energy, she loaded coal and carried it to a Lake Superior port and was often back again to load more coal for a Lake Superior port.
This year, the James R. Barker left her winter berth at Midwest Energy and crossed the St. Louis River to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock. She then left Duluth around noon today (March 23, 2018) but soon turned around and came back, making her the first arrival of the season. I don’t think it was a happy arrival. I assume she returned for some maintenance, a not surprising event since today was the first time the vessel has moved under power in 2 months. Her short trip also went through a lot of ice; it was loose, but ice can still damage a boat.
In the picture above, with help from the tug Kentucky, she is moving into the St. Louis River. I am not sure of her destination. The red vessel in the middle is the tug Huron, a tug new to the Twin Ports, larger than the other Great Lakes Towing tugs here, but also having maintenance issues with her engine. You can see a better view of their dock in this picture I took last week from the Alder. The Huron is on the right. Behind her is the Kentucky, the Arkansas, and the North Carolina. The newly named Husky Energy Duluth Marine Terminal is just around the corner from the Huron (you can see one of her white cylindrical fuel tanks just in front of the Huron.
The stern of the Edwin H. Gott is seen at the lower right of the picture. The white objects lining the lower right are wind turbine hubs, brought here by salt water vessels last season and waiting to be shipped to wind farm.