Pathfinder in Cleveland

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According to AIS, the Pathfinder (see post below) made it to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal last night (February 28, 2017) (top, left). If things go the way I at least think they will, after loading iron ore pellets there, she will move over to the Cuyahoga River and slowly move up to the ArcelorMittal steel mill, lower right. That curly thing between the two is the Cuyahoga River shipping channel, her route to the steel plant, about a 6 mile trip. That shows why the 1,000 footers drop their pellets at the Terminal and let the smaller vessels navigate the river. Click the above for a larger look. Go here for some spectacular pictures of the area.



Great Lakes Shipping, 2017, begins

I pay a lot of attention to the start of our (Duluth) shipping season, but a note from the Lake Carriers’s Association today reminds me that there are in fact, 4 other Great Lakes that have shipping seasons. And those south of us can get a head start since we are often encased in ice until mid-March or later.
20091021_3763PRODThe Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder was set to depart her layup berth in Erie, Pennsylvania today and head over to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal to load iron ore pellets to carry up the Cuyahoga River to the ArcelorMittal steel mill. A lot of those iron ore pellets are brought down from Silver Bay and Duluth Superior.
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Their note indicated that the Paul R. Tregurtha will depart Duluth on March 22, 2017, with coal for Silver Bay.



Early Spring??

View of Duluth harbor, the Duluth Aerial Llft Bridge and Lake Superior.
After a fake Spring, it is February 24, 2017 and it is cold again but Duluth stayed just north of a big snow storm going east. The lake is still blue, and below, the Duluth harbor ice has moved back, toward Superior. But it will come back, I think; we shall see.
Duluth harbor ice
Above, February 24, 2017; below, pictures taken February 18, 2017
View from Skyline Drive of Lake Superior and the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
We have had a warm winter, no day warmer than today (February 18, 2017) when it was 50 degrees. Today, it looks like we won’t have too much trouble starting the new season about a month from now, but don’t bet on it. The ice you see in the Duluth harbor, below, will likely be blown around a lot in the next month. A wind from the west can take some of it under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and out into Lake Superior. The next day, an East wind could bring it back in. I will post some more pictures as it moves around. It appears to fill the Superior channel, top right, now.
Ice cover in the Duluth Minnesota harbor


Algocen, J. W. Shelley together


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Someone asked about the Algocen/J. W. Shelley today so I decided to update her ship page and design a collage with a little of her history. Click above for a larger version.




Tug Cleveland being built in Cleveland

nprmarketplacegreatlakestoving-tugclevelandJoeStarckpresgltmarketplace.The February 10th, 2017 edition of NRP’s Marketplace (click above to listen) carried a nice story about the Great Lakes Towing Company building a new tug, the Cleveland (model at left), during the Great Lakes winter break. Below, workers are building the new tug in Great Lakes Towing’s own shipyard in Cleveland. At the right, GLT’s president Joe Starck talking to the Marketplace reporter about their new tug. Pictures from Markeplace web page.
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Winter layup in Duluth

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That’s the Roger Blough at the left, the American Century foreground and the American Spirit behind her and to the right. See full layup list here.


Alder in and out

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2017-0126-1076I took the picture above and to the right this morning, January 26, 2017. I was curious why the Alder was going out since the season was over since the Lee A. Tregurtha came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on January 16. I do not remember the Alder ever moving after the end of the season, much less 10 days after. Shortly after I took the picture, she turned around and returned to her dock at Coast Guard Station Duluth. We are having a very mild winter. That is open water on the bottom of the picture, even if it looks gray. I think she made that short trip to reposition herself at the dock for her first trip out in the ice in early March. She will break up the ice in preparation for the new season. By then, it might be a very cold winter. Since she breaks ice, she is the first ship to move in the new season, often around March 8. That means she needs to break her own ice that has formed since January around the vessel before she can help other vessels.
2008Jan21_4130PRODJanuary, 2008 was a very cold winter. I took the picture of the Mesabi Miner (right) arriving Duluth on January 21, 2008. She was the last traffic for that season. I went back to the South Pier Inn to warm up when the night nurse there told me there was a ship outside the window that was not moving. I politely suggested that he was wrong since I  just took a picture of her going under the Lift Bridge. I looked anyway. Sure enough, she was sitting in the ice, not moving (below). This was big news; Duluth was about to wake up and see a 1,000 footer stopped in the ice just behind the DECC.
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The Alder was planning to leave her dock about this time so she would be out to open up the channel for the Miner and wait to make sure she had no problems. This was a problem! I had been invited to go out with the Alder but had decided to stay warm in my office. I immediately drove down to Coast Guard Duluth and boarded the Alder just as they were ready to leave the dock. They were monitoring the Miner’s problem. Captain Marty Lightner was ready to get his tug Kentucky away from her dock to help the Miner get to her winter layup dock at Midwest Energy. He reported trouble getting away because of ice. The Alder fired up her engines and found she could not break out of the ice that had formed around her hull. Three boats were stuck in the ice. Two of them were ice breakers that were supposed to help the other boats. After a few minutes trying to get away, the Alder decided to fire up her buoy crane so she could move it back and forth from one side of the boat to the other.
2008Jan21_4145In the top right portion of the picture below, you can see the crane was moved over the ice on one side of the ship. It was then moved to the other side as they tried to rock the boat out of the ice. It worked. As we moved out, Lightner reported he was also under way and was close by the Miner, helping her to break away. That worked too. Three vessels got stuck and unstuck before they created a scene to show the populace of Duluth as they were getting up for work.
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We have it pretty good this year (so far).