The Stewart J. Cort was launched in 1972 in Erie, Pennsylvania. The bow and stern of the Cort were built in Mississippi. The two pieces were connected, making her a navigable vessel able to make the trip to Erie under its own power. There she was split back into two sections and a midsection was inserted. She was the first of 13 thousand footers to be built for Great Lakes service. At her launch she was 270 feet longer than any other laker on the Great Lakes. Her pilothouse, galley, and crew accommodations were at the bow of the boat, the only 1,000-footer on the Great Lakes built that way. A unique cargo unloading system was placed in her stern. It is a short shuttle that extends over the side of the boat, allowing her to discharge cargo very fast but limiting her only to docks that can accommodate it.
She was named in honor of an officer of Bethlehem Steel. She made 33 trips to the Twin Ports in 2010, loading taconite at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior on every visit. During the 2012-13 season, the Cort made 41 visits to load at Superior.
Picture above taken Tuesday, November 27, 2007.
The Cort arrived under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge early afternoon on May 3, 2017
Above, as she came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on April 3, 2015.
Click below to watch a video of a rare Duluth departure of the Cort, on August 25, 2013
The Stewart J. Cort came in the Duluth entry today (April 2, 2012). (images above and below)
I used to have a segment on Lisa Johnson’ Northland Morning program on KUMD in Duluth, every Thursday morning at 8:15. Halfway through the segment on July 14, 2011 (usually about 5 minutes long), as I was doing the show by phone from my office next to the Lift Bridge, I noticed the Stewart J. Cort going by my window, a happening that hardly ever happens. I went nuts and started to cry (almost) when I realized I could not go out and get a picture of this rare event. Happily, Lisa gave me permission to leave the show and get my picture, which you can see above. When I returned, I called the station and she was kind enough to let me back on and pick up where I left off. So that day’s show was in two parts. Just below, you can listen to part 1. Below that is part 2.
Picture above taken Tuesday, November 27, 2007: Since the Cort almost always loads taconite at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior, she seldom comes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
The Cort spent the winter of 2006-07 in layup at what was then the St. Lawrence Cement dock in Duluth (now the CRH US cement dock). It is much easier to get pictures since she was not a moving target. I took the picture above shortly after she arrived in port, on January 15, 2007; below on March 12, and below that I was back 2 days later to catch her unique bow.
Picture below taken Thursday, August 21, 2003 while she was docked at the BN in Superior
Picture above taken Tuesday, January 1, 2002 as she came in to port by way of the Superior entry, on her way to the dock at Burlington Northern; below, minutes later as she move to the BN Dock to load iron ore pellets.
Below, taken on Monday, July 15, 2002 as she backed away from the BN Dock to turn and depart via the Superior entry.
On March 26, 2001, Port Authority official Captain Ray Skelton presented a plaque to Captain Dennis Cotty of the Stewart J. Cort recognizing the Cort for being the first ship of the 2001 shipping season to arrive in the Twin Ports after transiting the Soo Locks at the eastern end of Lake Superior. Outside, below, the crew was getting ready to load 45,000 tons of iron ore pellets destined for Bethlehem Steel in Burns Harbor, Indiana. You see the discharge arms moved out and over the cargo holds and about to start loading iron ore pellets. She wintered in Milwaukee prior to making her trip to the Port of Duluth-Superior.