Sara Summers found the sun and the J.B. Ford

The Heritage Marine tugs Nels J. (at left below) and Helen H. (above and on the right below) escorted the J. B. Ford on her last trip on October 9, 2015, going from her long time layup dock in Superior to the Azcon scrapyard in Duluth. The three vessels made the trip with the just rising sun making good shots a challenge but Sara Summers, a Park Ranger at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center (the Marine Museum at the Duluth ship canal), was up to the task, as these two shots demonstrate.

Four tugs in a row on a summer day in Duluth

In the old days, I took pictures of the front end of boats. But I am slowing down in my old age and are now happy to get the back ends. So here are the back ends of a flotilla of all the tugs from Heritage Marine, out to get their picture taken (from the front, mostly). In the background, at right, notice the very red, or orange, HHL Amur discharging wind turbines pieces at the Port Terminal. Above, left to right, the Nels J., Helen H. Nancy J. and the Edward H.
Above, left to right, the Helen H., Nels J., Nancy J. and Edward H.  Below, the Nancy J., Nels J. and the Helen H.

First movement of the season

Above, the John G. Munson is backing out from Howard’s Pocket and her winter berth, while the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. moves ahead of her. They are both headed for the Calumet Fuel Dock. The Munson to fuel before going to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets for Gary  and the Nels J. to make sure the ice did not cause any problems (and it did not). Just below, the Munson eases by the winter berth of the American Integrity.

Clear and cold

The Whitefish Bay arrived Duluth at noon on Monday, January 5, 2015 to get fuel at Calumet before moving over to the Burlington Northern to load iron ore pellets. The North Carolina was waiting at the bridge for the Whitefish Bay to arrived before she went out into the lake.

Tug Nickelena brings Ro-Ro barge to Duluth

Ro-Ro being Roll on Roll off, as in Roll that pressure vessel onto the barge,  take it to Duluth and Roll it Off. Here the Nickelena is moving the barge up to the back of the slip at the Port Terminal, where the cargo will come off the barge.
Below is a video of the Ro-Ro arrival this morning that I took off my webcam page 

Arkansas gets to work quickly

The tug Arkansas arrived here on October 17th, 2014.  Two days later, Carole Lent got a nice shot of her helping the Orla move through the Duluth harbor on the 19th. The Orla picked up a cargo of wheat at CHS in Superior.

Tug Missouri leaves town with 2 tugs in tow

The Great Lakes Towing tug Missouri brought the tugs Indiana and Arkansas into port yesterday to replace the tugs North Dakota and Kentucky. Today (October 18, 2014), she departed with the Kentucky and the North Dakota, two tugs that take with them a lot of harbor history guiding salt water ships as well as thousand footers around the port and  breaking ice in the harbor for all who needed a clear path.

New tugs for old tugs

We started the day (Friday, October 17, 2014) with 4 Great Lakes Towing tugs, the Minnesota, Kentucky, North Carolina and North Dakota tied up at  their dock in Duluth. By noon, the tugs Indiana and Arkansas  had joined the lineup replacing the Kentucky and North Dakota. Above, the Indiana (2nd from left) and Arkansas (third from left) had joined the lineup.
That’s the Kentucky still tied up on the left; she will be leaving and the North Carolina is at the head of the line here. She will be staying along with the Minnesota. Below, the tug Missouri pulled the Arkansas and Indiana under the Lift Bridge this morning.
Above, the Missouri (left) is still pulling the Arkansas and the Indiana while the North Dakota and Minnesota are behind them.
Below, they break up while they get the new tugs tied up at the dock, one at a time. The Minnesota is bringing the Indiana in first.

New tugs for the port.

The Kentucky and the North Dakota will be replaced by the Arkansas and Indiana. They should be here between 10 am and 2 pm Friday (October 17, 2014).

Nancy J. is number 4

Heritage Marine brought their 4th tug, the Nancy J., into Duluth on September 18, 2014, finishing a long trip that started in Texas. DSN ace photographer Holly took these pictures while Heritage Marine owner Mike Ojard filled in our ace reporter with all the details.

Three boats at the end of the day

The Heloise came in from the anchorage at 6:30 in the evening of July 30, 2014. Right behind her, fishing boats were going home for the day while the tug Kentucky gave an assist to the Heloise as she made her way over to CHS 1 to load grain.

Defiance pushes an Ashtabula full of coke breeze into Duluth

The tug Defiance pushed the barge Ashtabula into the Duluth harbor on Friday, July 18, 2014. She is bringing in coke breeze to discharge at Hallett #8 in Superior. When that is done, she will cross the St. Louis River and load iron nuggets at the Hallett #5 dock in Duluth.

Another try for the Presque Isle

First, the Heritage Marine tug Helen H. broke up the ice to clear a path for the Presque Isle to make another attempt to start her season, going to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets. They then circled around to the stern of the large tug barge to make sure there were no problems. Helen H. then returned to her dock in Superior. The Presque Isle was the first large boat to depart the port since the Mesabi Miner left for Taconite Harbor on March 27th.

Take a ride on the Nels J.

Callaway home for the winter

Two Heritage Marine tugs helped the Cason J. Callaway tie up at the Port Terminal for the winter this morning (January 15, 2014). Here the Helen H. is clearing ice along the dock. I took the picture from the Nels J., also assisting the Callaway. Earlier (below), Heritage Tug owner Mike Ojard (in the boat, works with Bob Hom, on shore, as they were getting the tug off their dock in Superior.
Below, Captain Mike Ojard runs the Helen H. along the edge of the dock, clearing ice so the Callaway can tie up close to the dock.
The goal is to get the Callaway as close to the dock as possible. Above, the Helen H. does her part while we (the Nels J.) do the same at the bow of the Callaway.

Good-byes all around

Launched earlier this year, the Canadian flagged Baie Comeau made 7 trips to the Twin Ports this season, discharging grain on one trip and loading coal 3 times. She departed today (January 9,  2014) with her 3rd cargo of iron ore pellets. Two Heritage Marine tugs, the Helen H. above, and the Nels J. below cleared a path through the ice on her departure.

American Century gets help from Kentucky

She is about to make the turn toward the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on her way out to Lake Superior with a cargo of iron ore pellets loaded at the CN in West Duluth. More on the American Century.

Icy cold in Duluth

December 9, 2013: winter in Duluth began early and hard. Ice and cold have brought the tugs out early to keep traffic moving. This morning, the Arthur M. Anderson received help from the Nels J., below, getting close to the Calumet Fuel Dock at the Port Terminal in Duluth.

The tug Nels J. approaches the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

… on Saturday morning, December 7, 2013.

Raba arrives with assist from North Dakota

The Polish owned and Liberian flagged Raba arrived here on Sunday afternoon, October 6, 2013. On this, her first trip to Duluth Superior, she will be loading grain at CHS in Superior.

Ryerson moves to a new home in Duluth

The Edward L. Ryerson was moved this morning from her berth at Fraser Shipyards by two Heritage Marine tugs, the Nels J. on her stern and the Helen H. on the bow. Below, they are moving under the Blatnik Bridge and out of Howard’s Pocket. At the far right is the John J. Boland, still residing at the shipyard.
Above and below, the Helen H. is handling the difficult job of maneuvering the boat between two bridge supports
They pulled the Ryerson from her slip at Fraser, stern first. Here they are starting to turn her around so they can bring her into her new home bow first.
From Google Earth, we see the short route taken. The tugs pulled the Ryerson away from her slip at Fraser Shipyards, under the Blatnik Bridge, around CHS and into the CHS slip, at the Barko Hydraulics, just across from CHS. 
Above, we are looking from behind the CHS elevator. Below, the tugs are bringing her into the slip bow first. The CHS towers are now on the right.
Above, the Ryerson bow is secure to the dock and the lines from the Helen H.  have been taken up. At the stern of the boat, the Nels J. is still connected and is pulling the stern of the Ryerson toward the Barko Hydraulics dock, her new home.
Below, the Helen H. is now gently helping to move the whole boat next to the dock while the Nels J. is still pulling the Ryerson toward her new dock.
The Nels J., no longer connected by rope to the Ryerson, moves to the side to help the Helen H. move the boat closer to her dock, where line handlers on the other side will tie her securely to the dock.
Almost done! While the Helen H. pulls away and prepares to go home, the Nels J. is still providing a little push to the Ryerson.
Mission accomplished; time to go home; I am exhausted

Watch tug Wilfred M. Cohen in Duluth

Edwin H. Gott, last to come in for the winter

Nice for the boats; winter arrived here within minutes of the Heritage Marine tug Nels J making sure the last boat to come in, the Edwin H. Gott, was secure against the dock at the Port Terminal on Wednesday morning, January 18, 2012. The temperature plunged, down to -31 at my home, and a big snow storm, the largest we have had yet, at least ¾ of an inch, maybe even 1/8 more. The Alder was close by but was not needed, so she went back to her dock, probably not moving from there until March 7th or so.

Medemborg arrives for bentonite

Medemborg makes her 10th trip to Duluth to load bentonite
medemborgnelsj20111014_6047The Medemborg arrived Duluth on Friday afternoon, October 14, 2011. This is her 10th visit to the Twin Ports since she was built in 1997, her first visit this season. She was here twice last year. She will be loading bentonite on this trip; in past trips, she has loaded beet pulp pellets and other grains. She was assisted by the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. seen below on her way to the Medemborg just after the ship came under the Lift Bridge; at left, she has moved closer.
I caught the Medemborg’s whistle as she came in.

Heritage Marine buys tug #3

Heritage Marine has been working with 2 tugs in the Duluth Superior port, the Nels J. and the Edward H. Mike Ojard has just purchased tug number 3. She will be called the Helen H. See notes from the trip to the Twin Ports below, thanks to crew member Paul von Goertz.


The picture above taken on Lake Superior on the way to Duluth. They arrived Duluth on Sunday morning, August 21st, 2011 going under the Aerial Lift Bridge at 3:50 am. The new tug will be named: Helen H.

heritagemarphotoNotes from the trip to Duluth:

Mike bought the tug in Galveston, TX, then he hired a pilot to run it from Galveston to New Orleans and then to Baton Rouge. He and son Pat went along.

From Baton Rouge the boat was made part of a barge tow and brought up the Mississippi and then the Illinois Waterway as far as Peru, IL. There the boat’s stern was lifted by a barge to reduce it’s draft and towed to Lemont, IL. Here the boat was ballasted down to get under a railroad bridge, which it just cleared by inches. As luck

would have it, a train went over the bridge as the boat went under.

When inches count, we did not need a train to go over! To what degree did the bridge bend under the strain of the train?

From Lemont the boat was again towed north, this time to S. Chicago where we once again took over the boat and replaced everything that was removed from the pilot house in order to clear the Lemont Bridge.

We left S. Chicago about noon on Wed. and arrived in Duluth Sunday 3:50 AM. We laid over one night at Lime Island at the southern tip of the St. Mary’s so we could run the river in daylight. We also stopped for a couple of hours in Houghton to take on another 1500 gallons of fuel.

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