Dick Bibby

20120601_2742Dick Bibby died yesterday (Sunday, December 20, 2015) at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth. Having suffered an aortic aneurysm, he recovered well enough to call for help and, by afternoon, was in the hospital, conscious and fairly alert (with the Vikings game on TV). But the prognosis was poor, and Dick eventually slipped away early evening. He was 93. Funeral services are being planned for after Christmas. Please keep Dick’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers, particularly during this holiday season.


It was not hard for USS Freedom executive officer Commander Kris Doyle (second from left), to impress four Duluth old timers with her brand new ship on Wednesday. While winding up the tour on the deck of the ship (above), Wes Harkins, at left, retired, Fraser Shipyard, showed Doyle a picture of the USS Paducah, a ship Wes left Duluth on in 1940. To Doyle’s left, Dick Bibby, retired, M.A. Hanna Co. and World War 2 merchant marine, Commander “Gil” Porter, retired US Coast Guard and former Great Lakes pilot and at right, Davis Helberg, former Duluth Seaway Port Authority director all agreed it was a new Navy. They asked all the old questions, but the answers from Doyle were all new. As an example, she explained how the ship can do 50 mph without a rudder or propeller. Think Jet Ski at a much higher level. Photo taken on October 29,2008
Above, from the left: Robert Fuhrman, Executive Director Richard I. Bong World War II Heritage Center, Marvin Hall, Merchant Marine WWII, Floyd Miras, Deputy Director, Great Lakes Gateway, US Maritime Administration, Richard Bibby, Ken Johanson, Merchant Marine and former chief engineer, Paul R. Tregurtha, Richard Stewart, Director, Great Lakes Maritime Research
Institute.I took the picture above at the Richard I. Bong World War II Heritage Center in Superior on September 24th, 2008. The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute was hosting an exhibit honoring World War II Merchant Marine Veterans. In the ceremony, Dick was actually the middle man in a quick transaction. He was given a set of Merchant Marine medals from the Second World War and his job was to turn and present the medals to Robert Fuhrman, Executive Director at the Bong.As in everything Dick does, this was done with his usual flare. The pictures, as you will note, will forever look as if Dick was giving the medals to the museum rather than just passing them over.Boats such as the Lee A. Tregurtha were vessels in the Merchant Marine as Dick Bibby was a mariner in the Merchant Marine. When the war was over, they were back to the normal work of moving cargos of all kinds from one port to another, in these two cases, eventually on the Great Lakes. And if we were to go to war again, boats and sailors on the Great Lakes would most likely be recruited into the Merchant Marine again.The Merchant Marine is always the same group of sailors and vessels with the same task, moving commercial goods from one port to another. The difference is in leadership. In peace time, it operates as we see it every day at the Duluth ship canal. During a war, the Merchant Marine becomes an auxiliary to the Navy and is available to transport cargo, equipment and soldiers in behalf of the war effort. I read that it took 7 to 15 tons of supplies to support one soldier for one year during a war. Providing that service is the job of the Merchant Marine.
Late in 1999, Lower Lakes Towing purchased the John J. Boland, a boat that had been sitting in Fraser Shipyard for some years. In October, 2009, Captain John Wellington was hired to bring the tug Roger Stahl to Duluth to tow the newly purchased boat, to be called the Saginaw, to Sarnia. Wellington arrived on October 24, 1999. Wellington has a long history with Duluth so it was no surprise that Wes Harkins (left) and Dick Bibby (right) were down to greet Wellington (center) in the Roger Stahl pilot house. After arriving at Fraser Shipyard, Saginaw Captain Scott Bravener, also the President of Lower Lakes Towing, the company buying the boat, was down to talk with Wellington about the upcoming tow. Below, Bibby (an expert in all things related to tugs) consults with Bravener before the tow.
Untitled-1The Port of Duluth quarterly magazine, North Star Port, has several articles that feature Mr. Bibby. Read about a visit to the Bibby basement. It was a trip back in history, his and ours (on page 23).
winter200809portmagA nice article by Davis Helberg from the Port of Duluth magazine of winter 2008-09 issue (Page 14)

Holly and Doug arrive Welland: meet Julie

Holly and Doug went south and into Canada, arriving at the Welland Canal where Julie, culinary and hospitality expert supreme from many, many Canadian vessels, met them and showed them around. When she was in Duluth, Julie always fed me on the boat so I was happy to hear that Holly and Doug took Julie to lunch at the local Tim Horton’s Restaurant.

3 boats off the Duluth piers

Becca Nelson, foreground, was giving some kayaking tips to Victoria Pfingsten while the Baltic Carrier was sitting at anchor off the Duluth piers. This on October 1, 2011; notice no ice or snow, or falling leaves for that matter, but Becca’s woolen cap is proof enough that it was a bit cold out there.

Mike and Marnie from Thunder Bay

Mike Wolowich and his daughter Marnie came down from Thunder Bay to watch the ships come under the Lift Bridge, a trip he has made for many years; Marnie has many  memories  of great family trips to Duluth to see the ships but those trips don’t go back nearly so far as Mike’s. We took pictures of each other while we took pictures of the Adam E. Cornelius coming in. Click pic for large version.

Oglebay Norton sold six boats

20090425_5160In June, 2006, Oglebay Norton sold six boats to American Steamship. In many cases, the crews moved with their boats, but jobs were lost in the consolidation. The current economic recession has kept many boats across the Great Lakes in winter layup. That keeps many of their crews at home waiting for a call. American Victory captain Mark Adamson (above right) brought his boat, formerly the Middletown when owned by Oglebay Norton, into winter layup at Fraser Shipyards on November 11th. The boat is still there but Adamson is now second mate on the American Integrity. Lance Nelson (left) had been Captain on a number of Oglebay Norton boats, including the Wolverine and the Earl L. Oglebay. He is now second mate on the American Integrity. In the middle is Captain Pat Nelson, living proof that seniority is a good thing. He was captain of the Oglebay Norton when it was owned by the company with the same name. He moved with the boat to American Steamship and became the captain on the newly named American Integrity. He still is. He and his crew of captains came into port on Friday night. I caught up with them on the deck of the boat shortly after they docked at the Murphy Fuel Dock. It is the same boat referred to on Saturday that was perpendicularly placed in the inner anchorage on Friday evening. Boats with three captains can do that.

Beluga Constitution students

The Beluga Group, located in Bremen, Germany, owns and operates the Beluga Constitution, a ship in town to discharge wind turbine parts and then also load them. The ship has a school on board. Six students, called cadets while they are on the ship, live in four two person cabins on the ‘X’ deck, which also has a fully equipped classroom. They are students at the Maritime Campus at Elsfleth, part of a public private partnership between Beluga Group, Lower Saxony and the city of Elsfleth. Above, they were in the classroom on Sunday learning about the use of the anchor. All from Germany, they are front row, from the left: Benjamin Zerhusen (21), Bremen, Henryk Tinius (24), Berlin, Marlene Eberl (21), Hannover and Jennifer Witt (20), Geesthacht. Back row, from left: standing, Marius Thomas (30), Bad Bertrich, training officer (the teacher). Seated, Johannes Brydda (21), Stralsund and Ole Piehl (23), Brunsbüttel. Other members of the crew live in Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia and Russia. Captain Andrzej Kocmiel, the cadets and several other crew members went up to Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock on Saturday.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-23-2007

Chase car and dog assist with Umiavut discharging

umiavut 270615-1-087
The Dutch flagged Umiavut has been discharging parts for 32 wind turbines that will next go to a wind farm in Iowa. But first, each piece was discharged from the ship to trailer trucks that carried the pieces to another part of the Port Terminal where they will soon be put back on trucks and taken south. The pieces are big and very heavy and they need a big, specially built trailer truck to move them. And big very heavy trailer trucks need a chase car behind them to alert traffic coming up on them and to give the driver another set of eyes at the end of the very long trailer. That’s Stacy Wudtke in the driver’s seat of the chase car for one of the many half-mile trips they made on Friday from one end of the Port Authority terminal to the other. Her dog Tyler takes up the back seat, and Gus Johnson is to her left. Both work for Badger Transport Inc. in Clintonville, Wisconsin. Stacy lives in Montana. Photo taken on June 15, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-16-2007

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. hosts favorite son

In 1986, a Polish sailor named Derek Czepczynski walked off the Ziemia Opolska while it was in Duluth loading grain. He sought out immigration officials to seek asylum and was allowed to stay. Two years later he sent for his wife Maria and son Art, making Duluth their new home. After working as a cook on Polish ships for 18 years, in 1990, he moved over to the US flagged Kinsman Independent where his menus changed a little. He has continued to work on US flagged ships and has worked on the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. for the last 4 years. Happily, the McCarthy stops in Duluth about once a week, allowing them to spend some time together. Art just came back from several tours of duty in Iraq and is now attending UMD as a sophomore. On Sunday, he was visiting his father in the galley of the McCarthy (above), and even got to sample some of his father’s food for lunch. Photo taken on May 13, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-14-2007

H. Lee White first in from beyond the Soo

We had another first of the season event on Monday. Only a couple more firsts and we can declare the season started. This first: the H. Lee White arrived late Monday morning to load taconite at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe dock in Superior. It was the first boat to arrive here from beyond the Soo Locks. They opened at 12:01 on Sunday morning. The H. Lee White usually loads taconite at Silver Bay so we don’t see it so often. Above, Port Authority Promotion Manager Lisa Marciniak stands with H. Lee White captain Steve Hooton shortly after the boat arrived. The Port Authority regularly greets the first boat from beyond the Soo. The last first will be the first boat that arrives here after transiting the entire St. Lawrence Seaway System. That is usually a salt water ship. Three 1,000-footers will be arriving today from beyond the Soo and two of them that spent the winter here will be departing. And the Canadian Provider should be here to load the first grain of the season. Photo taken on March 26, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-27-2007

Anders and Donna from Algolake

Algolake Captain Anders Rasmussen and his wife Donna say good-bye to Duluth late yesterday afternoon as they head off to Thunder Bay to discharge the 30,000 tons of coal they loaded at Midwest Energy Resources earlier in the day. That will be used by Ontario Power Generation. After discharging that coal, they will take on more coal (a different grade) in Thunder Bay for the Great Lakes Steel dock in Detroit. They then turn around and come back to the Twin Ports for more coal, taking it to Ontario Power Generation, this time in Nanticoke. Officers on Great Lakes boats often have family members on board with them for at least one trip each season.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-20-2006

Alder gets attention

There was a waiting line at the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock last night. That means we started the day with departures from there. The American Mariner may have already departed and the Algolake should complete later this morning. That should give the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. a clear shot at going right in to take on its load of coal when it arrives this afternoon. The Alder came back to town yesterday after 19 days of buoy tending on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Above, the Alder is moving through the harbor as a photographer follows. Shortly after this, the ship turned toward its dock to tie up for a holiday break. It will then be ready to break some ice, if there is any.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-19-2006

Captain says hi from American Integrity

American Integrity Captain Patrick Nelson waves to the crowd as his boat goes under the Lift Bridge last August. At the top of his 1,000 footer, and just under the Lift Bridge, it is just as hard to see him in the picture above as it is when you are at the ship canal waving. Today will be the 35th time his boat has been here this season. On all those trips, the boat loaded coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. It has usually taken a few cargos of taconite down to the lower lakes, but so far not this year. Today, he will take 62,000 tons of coal to Detroit Edison at St. Clair, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-01-2006

Federal Agno relief crew greets crew

The Federal Agno has been here 10 times since 1996 but did not make it here last season. This very bright red ship came into port Thursday evening and began loading grain on Friday morning. That had to stop fairly quickly because of the rain. If the rain goes away, it may be able to depart sometime late today. This ship was built as the Federal Asahi (1) in 1985 but has been the Federal Agno since 1989. It is 599 feet long. The ship, like many ships operated by FedNav in Montreal, is named for a river, in this case, a river in the Philippines. On the most recent trips here, the ship has operated with officers and crew from the Philippines also. On a trip here in May, 2004, a relief captain and 3 crew members had flown to Duluth from the Philippines to report for duty. Here they are greeting their mates on the ship as it went through the Duluth ship canal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-22-2006

Coast Guard to the rescue

On Saturday morning, the Coast Guard got a call from a sailboat that had just entered the ship canal from the lake and had lost power in very choppy water. The Coast Guard’s 25 foot response boat was on security patrol in the harbor and answered the call. At 10:52, they were under the bridge and approaching the sailboat. Crew members threw two lines to the sailboat and set up a side tow. At 10:53, they were securing the lines (above). At 10:55, they were away from the piers. Four local reservists, on weekend duty, were on the Coast Guard boat at the time. Above left, is MK3 John Williams and on the right is MKC Jeffery Menze.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-10-2006

Fun in front of Orsula

The Orsula is a grain boat with a flag and a crew from Croatia, but on Monday afternoon, it provided a fitting background for a last day of summer plunges into Lake Superior. Like the rest of us, the Orsula goes back to work today. It is set to come in early this morning to load flax, wheat and soy beans for the port of Ghent in Belgium. Built in China in 1996 as the Federal Calumet, it was renamed to Orsula in 1998. Photo taken on September 03, 2006.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-05-2006

Ryerson captain makes popular decision

Before yesterday, the Edward L. Ryerson had not come through the Duluth piers since May 17th, 1998. It was on its way to the Burlington Northern Taconite Facility in Superior when Captain Eric Treece realized he would have to wait for the CSL Tadoussac to clear the berth. He diverted to the Duluth entry, much to the delight of 100’s of boat watchers at the ship canal. Seven months after that visit to the Twin Ports in 1998, the Ryerson was laid up at what many thought would be its final resting place. It is back on the lakes this year, meaning taconite shipments are up. Many consider the Ryerson to be the prettiest boat on the Great Lakes and the boat has been welcomed in every port it has entered. Yesterday, visitors in Duluth, with the best view of shipping traffic anywhere on the Great Lakes, gave a loud round of applause as the elegant boat passed by.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-04-2006

Capt. Leslaw Konarzewski of Ziemia Gnieznienska

Captain Leslaw Konarzewski (above) brought the Ziemia Gnieznienska into port on May 28, 2003. That ship should be at anchor off the Duluth piers by now, waiting for a berth to load durum wheat for Morocco. Captain Konarzewski is probably not aboard on this trip, but the picture above shows him sitting in the ship’s office during that trip in 2003. When I asked the Captain during that visit what the meaning of the ship’s name was, he pointed to the wall hanging behind him. He told me it was the city of Gnieznienska, the first capital of Poland. He added that Ziemia means around a city. We hope the captain and crew make it into port this trip. The Captain told me he had the same ship at anchor off the Duluth piers in 1999. While at anchor, the ship’s orders were changed. He lifted his anchor and left, without ever getting into port.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-21-2006

Paul R. Tregurtha and Paul R. Tregurtha

More thousand footers today and Paul R. Tregurtha. And I mean Paul R. Tregurtha, the namesake for the boat by the same name. He was waving to the crowd (above, at the far right, with 2 unidentified passengers on the left) at the ship canal on Tuesday afternoon as his boat came in to load coal. The boat and the man should have left earlier this morning. The three major shipping companies will all have at least one thousand footer here. American Steamship has both of their new ones: the American Century and the American Integrity. As mentioned before, Interlake has their Paul R. Tregurtha here. And the home town shipping company, Great Lakes Fleet (CN) has the Edwin H. Gott here, although it may only be picking up some fuel before loading taconite at Two Harbors.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-16-2006

American Century with Fourth crowd

Four thousand-footers will come under the Lift Bridge today and one more will enter by way of the Superior entry. The Indiana Harbor arrived last night and should have departed early this morning with a cargo of coal. Both the Paul R. Tregurtha and the American Century will appear later today for their cargo of coal. True to its name, the Mesabi Miner will be here to load taconite. The boat was named in honor of the men and women who have worked on the Mesabi Iron Range, the source for the taconite it is loading today. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was named for the former president of Detroit Edison, the owner of the Midwest Energy Coal dock in Superior. However, the McCarthy is loading taconite today at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior. Above, the American Century departed Duluth on July 4th this year.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-15-2006

Bluewing welcome party

After several days at anchor off the Duluth piers, the Chinese built Bluewing has been loading spring wheat for Colombia. The ship is expected to depart Duluth late this afternoon. It was built in 2002, and arrived in Duluth in November of that year at the end of its maiden voyage. That was cause for a party in the pilot house of the ship, catered by the ship’s galley staff, including, above, on the right, chief cook Ravlo Rudy and steward Lena Baranchykova at left. The menu included shish kabobs and stuffed mushrooms and a cake baked by chief cook Rudy. After the party, the Ukrainian crew loaded spring and durum wheat destined for Ecuador. It was back twice in 2004 and hasn’t been back until this trip.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-18-2006

L.L. Smith Jr. environmental research vessel

The L.L. Smith Jr., a research vessel owned by the University of Wisconsin, is used to provide environmental education programs around Lake Superior. During the school year, the Smith takes area school children on 3 hour cruises in and just outside the harbor. In the summer, they move out to other communities on Lake Superior where the cruises are open to the public. Today, they leave Duluth to provide 4 programs in Two Harbors on Friday and Saturday. The emphasis in these programs will be on water quality. The boat will return Saturday evening. Photo taken July 18, 2005.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-13-2006

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. meets Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.

The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. will be here today to load taconite. It is named after the former Chairman of the Board of Detroit Edison, the usual discharge point for the boat. Last summer, Mr. McCarthy (in foreground) was in town and joined the crowd at the ship canal in welcoming the McCarthy (the boat) to Duluth. Later that day, he and his wife departed Duluth for the trip to Detroit aboard the Walter J. McCarthy Jr.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-04-2006

Algonorth kitchen

The Canadian flagged Algonorth should depart the Twin Ports later today, taking the last grain cargo out of the port this season. The cold weather made the galley on the Algonorth a very popular place yesterday. Chief cook David Dunford of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (far right), is in charge, ably assisted by porter Bertha Lushman from Port Aux Bas, Newfoundland (middle) and 2nd cook Penny Kukta from Crystal Beach, Ontario (left).
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-20-2005

Commanders tour

Commander of the Port (of Duluth) Gary T. Croot (left) got a tour of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw Friday morning from the Captain of the Mackinaw, Commander Joseph McGuiness. Many Duluthians got an opportunity to visit the Mackinaw on Friday afternoon.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-22-2005

Party begins with Lithuanian song

The Lithuanian flagged and owned Kapitonas Andzejauskas was the first ocean ship to arrive last year. A Lithuanian couple, the Tribys, from Wisconsin, heard about it and came up to join the Port Authority’s first ship arrival party. They were born in Klaipeda, which is also the home port of the ship. Mrs Tribys let it be known that her husband could sing the Lithuanian national anthem. He was soon asked and he gladly agreed to open the festivities with a very robust version of the song.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-22-2005

Pomorze Zachodnie crew

Robert Dratwa, ordinary seaman, Krzysztof Lamparski, able bodied seaman, Edward Szuscicki, deck fitter, Romuald Loska, chief engineer and Waldermar Wisniewski, motorman, all members of the crew of the Pomorze Zachodnie, greeted Duluthians and visitors as the ship went under the Lift Bridge on Wednesday. They were there again last night (above) waving good bye as the ship departed.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-03-2005

McCarthy likes the Blues

The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. came under the Lift Bridge during a break in the music at the Bayfront Blues Festival. It is here to load coal for Consumers Energy’s Cobb power plant at Muskegon, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-13-2005