Edgar B. Speer

Drummond Islander II

Edgar B. Speer was built in 1980, is 1004 feet long, and flies a U.S. flag

Edward L. Ryerson
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20090405_4548The Edgar B. Speer was built in two sections in 1980, one in Toledo and one in Lorain. She was launched on May 8, 1980. Her 20 hatches feed 5 holds where she can load 73,700 tons of cargo. Her unusual self-unloading system consists of a stern mounted 52-foot unloading boom that restricts her cargo to taconite pellets. The only two locations that can accept the Speer’s unloading boom are located in Gary and Conneaut. Picture above taken Sunday, April 5, 2009.
The Speer comes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on October 10, 2016
Above, the Speer in the Duluth harbor on August 14, 2014

She makes the turn to the St. Louis River on May 23, 2011.
On March 16, 2009, the Speer was still at her winter layup berth at St. Lawrence Cement, waiting for the new season to begin. She came in on January 16, 2009; she departed with iron ore pellets loaded at the CN dock on April 5th. The two below: she was back here to load more iron ore pellets, this time for Gary, Indiana.
On June 21, 2009, Captain Daniel Rentschler and 3rd mate Thomas Lanthier were greeted by their families on Fathers Day, obviously happy that father would be home for the big day. I wrote an article for the Duluth News Tribune, here.
It was a cold December 3rd, as the Speer was entering the Duluth harbor on her way to the CN dock to load iron ore pellets.
Picture above taken Monday, December 22, 2008 as the Speer approached the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge
Above at her winter layup berth at St. Lawrence Cement on January 25th; below, she arrives Duluth on April 18 to pick up more iron ore pellets at the CN dock.
The 2 above and 2 below, she greets those of us who braved the cold to see her come in as the sun was rising behind her.
On March 31st, she came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge to get fuel at the Calumet fuel dock before moving to the BN dock to load iron ore pellets.
Picture above taken on Friday, January 7, 2005 as she approached the Superior channel on her way to load iron ore pellets at the BN dock. She will follow tracks opened up the day before by the Coast Guard cutter Alder.
Above and below, she departs Duluth after receiving some minor repairs. She went to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets.
Picture above taken Monday, October 25, 2004 as she was going to the Fuel dock before moving over the BN to load iron ore pellets.
Picture above taken Sunday, March 23, 2003: first commercial boat to depart Duluth in 2003 season


  1. Taconite and Iron Ore are the same thing

    • George Gunderson says:

      Back in the day when I sailed with the Pittsburgh Fleet, taconite and iron ore were NOT the same thing. Taconite is/was a more concentrated form of ore that was heated and formed into round balls, similar to marbles, the tailings of which were at one time dumped into lake Superior. Iron ore was the actual soil as it appeared when dug out of the ground. It was red, heavy, and difficult to load when frozen.

  2. Hmm says the super can only load taconite but then it says loading iron ore?

  3. Christian B. says:

    Do any of you think the Speer would look better with or without a Self-unloading boom?

  4. Mario Sulmando says:

    She takes like 2 HOURS to get through the soo locks. Why?

  5. I thought it had one in its deck?

  6. Does anyone know why the Speer doesn’t have a self-unloading boom?

    • Mark Hunter says:

      It does. It’s gantry style. Look at some photos that show the deck just fwd of the house. It’s a belt system that rolls up and down the deck.

  7. This is 1 of 13 thousand footers here’s some Stewart j. cort,Indiana-harbor, Edgar B. Speer,Edwin h. Gott.

  8. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    She is DEFINITELY not the most common to Duluth-Superior.

  9. Back when she was built they were hauling a lot of pellets. Same reason the Roger Blough and Stewart J. Cort were built with they same type of shuttle boom system. The Edwin H. Gott had one as well but was later converted.

  10. Does anyone know why the Speer doesn’t have a self-unloading boom?

  11. Christy B says:


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