Roger Blough


Presque Isle

Roger Blough was built in 1972, is 858 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

Sam Laud

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Check out this video of the Roger Blough leaving the Port of Duluth Superior to start the 2012 shipping season.

The Roger Blough is a unique boat in many ways. Most freighters on the Great Lakes have a self-unloading arm, usually about 250 feet long, sitting on their deck. When unloading cargo, the arm is swung over the side and conveyor belts carry the cargo up from the boat’s cargo holds, out the arm and onto the ground, or a waiting receptacle.
Above, the Roger Blough departs Duluth on July 23, 2014 with iron ore pellets loaded at the CN dock in West Duluth.
rogerblough2008May21_1684The Blough has a 54 foot self unloader that can be moved out from either side of the stern section of her hull. It was made specifically to unload at the ports of Gary, South Chicago and Conneaut. When steel mills were flourishing in those ports, it seemed like a good idea, but today, it is a different story. The Blough is still restricted to ports where she can operate her unique unloader.
She was laid up for several years during the steel downturn of the 80’s because of this lack of flexibility. Today, there is an increasing market for the pellets that come down here by train from the Iron Range. She has lots of work to do. Picture above taken Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Picture above taken Monday, March 24, 2008
Picture above taken Sunday, December 16, 2007
Picture above taken Thursday, May 17, 2007
Picture above taken Thursday, May 17, 2007
Picture above taken Friday, March 23, 2007
Picture above taken Friday, March 23, 2007
Picture above taken Friday, March 17, 2006: At the Port Terminal for winter layup
Picture above taken Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Picture above taken Monday, July 15, 2002: using her unique self unloader to discharge limestone
Picture above taken Saturday, April 13, 2002: departing Duluth
Picture above taken Sunday, March 24, 2002: departing Duluth
Picture above taken Saturday, March 24, 2001
Picture above taken Saturday, May 1, 1999

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

CJ Rose November 16, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I remember it being built here in Lorain, OH, My uncle was a supervisor in the the ship yard but luckily had the day off when the fire broke out. My father was a firefighter & was there that day… the ship yard here is now gone it’s condos but it’s nice to have experienced the building of these magnificent vessles. May she have many more years of service!


Dorothy July 22, 2014 at 1:54 am

What a sight to behold. With the lightening it shows up with an awesome background. She was riding pretty high in the water this am. It amazes me how with all that iron in the making of these giants that they can stay upright in the water, what a creation. We’ll another fix for me to start the day out right.


Randy April 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

We see the Blough frequently in Conneaut where we dock. It is always a pleasure seeing this freighter enter the harbor.


Gary Parson April 12, 2014 at 9:21 am

Thank you for the news on this vessel. In further reading I see the damage occurred Thursday around 2:00 PM. The damage is to the starboard side of her, hull, a hole about 2 feet long. She docked in Sault Ste. Marie at the Carbide Dock for repairs.


jeff April 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Roger Blough suffers 3′ Ice Damage in Lake Superior 4/11/2014. Second ship of the season to suffer Ice Damage.


roger October 28, 2013 at 10:10 pm

hi hour it going?


Bryan August 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm

We saw her come into port tonight. My 7 year old son is wondering if he will visit the other ports that can accommodate her because of her unique self unloader :-)


S March 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Watched this beauty navigate the Duluth Harbor tonight. Tis Spring!


gary parson February 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I love these big freighters. I have been to Duluth and really enjoyed the tour of the William A. Irvin permanently moored there. Does anyone know if these active incoming / outgoing freighters ever allow tourists quick trips / tours aboard?


David Marlette February 9, 2013 at 9:07 am

Thanks for the pics, One the most grand of the Lakers.


Donna November 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

Beautiful ship; first time I have seen her! Love the elegance and spaciousness of the stern area!


kchamlet October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm

She is so beautiful I’ve seen her once in Duluth what a glorious site.


Gary Parson February 11, 2012 at 9:07 am

I had never heard of this ship before today. While looking up EBAY auction items for Lorain, Ohio, I saw a newspaper article for sale featuring 1971 newspaper article about a fire in the ship’s stern. It is a nice looking vessel per the pictures above.


tim November 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

thats odd cuz the blough was not built until 1972??


holly jorgenson November 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm

from what i have read, she was due to be launched in 1971, but a fire in the engine room delayed that until 1972.


Suzanne November 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I really like the look of this ship. I hope she continues to sail the Great Lakes for many years to come.


B September 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Thank you for this page! Saw this boat in Two Harbors on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and had a dickens of a time wondering why the hole in her stern! Now I know!


Doug Thompson September 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

For Dee Wagner……..The Roger Blough is leaving the Duluth Canal in just a few minutes. You can see her live on several cameras on Duluth Harbor Cams. Hope you’re online to see this. Thanks to Dennis and Ken for this terrific service! The time now is 1445 on 9-22-11.


Dee Wagner September 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Is the freighter out on the big lakes? Last I heard it was in for repairs. If it is out on the big lake around Michigan, where can I find a schedule? My mother (87 years young) dearly loves this freighter. Would love to see if I could find it for her. Thanks.


a.g. wilson July 22, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Saw her in Two Harbors 7/22/11. Noted that she looked a little different in the stern. Glad she has work.


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