Indiana Harbor

Hon. James L. Oberstar

Indiana Harbor was built in 1979, is 1000 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

Innovation/ Samuel de Champlain
20090614_7253 The Indiana Harbor was built in Sturgeon Bay in 1979 and is owned by the American Steamship Company of Buffalo. She was named for the port of Indiana Harbor, Indiana, which was the home of Inland Steel, now owned by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company, with headquarters in Luxembourg. The Indiana Harbor took her maiden voyage to Two Harbors, where she loaded iron ore pellets for, no surprise, Indiana Harbor, Indiana. She often comes to Duluth to load coal. Above, she is greeted by Duluth visitors of all ages as she went under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on June 14, 2009.
She has 31 hatches on deck that open into 7 cargo holds or compartments. Above the deck is a 250-foot self-unloading boom that allows her to unload cargo without the aid of shore side equipment. She has averaged about 35 trips to the Twin Ports over the last 15 years.
Click just below to hear her whistle on August 27, 2014:
Click here for other pages featuring the Indiana Harbor
The Federal Asahi was coming into port from the anchorage on September 29, 2015 to load grain at CHS 2 in Superior. Once in the harbor, she passed the Indiana Harbor, on her way out with 68,000 tons of coal loaded at Midwest Energy Resources for the Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan.
After spending the winter at Lakehead Pipeline in Superior, the Indiana Harbor departed using the Superior entry and came around to use the Duluth entry (above and below) to come in for fuel on March 23, 2013. She departed later in the day for Two Harbors to load her first cargo of the year, iron ore pellets.
Nick Stenstrup took the picture above from the Two Harbors breakwall on July 1, 2012, as the Capt. Henry Jackman loaded iron ore pellets at the conveyor dock while the Indiana Harbor waited.
Above and below taken Friday, September 30, 2011.
The Indiana Harbor came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at twenty-one minutes after midnight on June 21, 2010. She first made a fuel stop at the Calumet Fuel dock where I joined her for the quick trip to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. That trip is usually taken backwards (my word, not necessarily an accurate nautical term). After departing the fuel dock, where they arrived head first (normal), the Captain is swinging the boat to the left to place the stern in position to lead the way to Midwest Energy (below).
Just after coming under the Blatnik Bridge, we see the Mesabi Miner still at the dock loading coal.
We will cruise down (or up) the St. Louis River (in reverse) and turn around. Moving cargo on the Great Lakes is serious business and little time is wasted. We pull up just off the stern of the Miner (below), ready to move in as soon she departs. Minutes after that, the coal begins flowing into the boat’s cargo holds.
While we waited, I took some pictures of Midwest Energy’s impressive operation. I took this first picture from a plane on September 29, 2004. The Oglebay Norton (now the American Integrity) was at the dock, where we are headed, loading coal.
You see the very large pile of coal, all brought in by unit trains from Wyoming and Montana coal mines, one of which (below) just arrived as we waited for the Miner.
At the upper right of the picture below, you see a yellow truck watering down the coal; a closer look below. Water limits coal dust and helps prevent fires that sometimes, but rarely, break out in the coal. After all, the coal is fuel.
The Miner departed (upper left) and the Captain moved the bow of the boat up against the dock and a crew member is let down (below) to tie the bow to the dock. Then the Captain will very slowly move the rest of the boat up against the dock.
Before we had docked, the loader, just one person, comes through the door so he can be the first person on the boat. Minutes later, he begins operating the coal loader with his remote control, bringing the coal down and then into the Indiana Harbor cargo holds. In the picture below that I took on December 25, 2002,  you see the coal loader, an employee of Midwest Energy, carefully watching over his machine while his hands are on the remote control strapped in front of him.


Above and below, 2 American Steamship 1,000-footers (the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. on the left and the Indiana Harbor on the right, sit side by side at the Port Terminal for winter layup in January, 2009. The Indiana Harbor arrived in port for winter layup, early, on December 27, 2008. The year before she arrived on January 9th. With the sun out, I went down on January 16, and took the picture below.
Above, she is going back to work, later than usual, on April 16, 2009. Both the early arrival and late departure reflected an economy slowing down; coal and iron ore pellets shipments were expected to be down for the year ahead. Some later repairs postponed the departure by a couple days more.
She came in for more coal on June 14, 2009. After waiting for the Canadian Transport to complete her load, she moved in to the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock and loaded about 64,000 tons of low sulfur coal for Detroit Edison power plants (Detroit Edison owns Midwest Energy).
On July 19th, she was greeted by a large crowd as she moved into the Duluth ship canal.
There are many views of the vessel traffic from the hillside in Duluth. In the picture below, the Indiana Harbor, at top right, is docked at the Port Terminal on June 2, 2009. Click on image to see her a little larger. She sits just above the observation level at the Radisson Hotel in the picture. She is waiting to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior.
Above, the Indiana Harbor sits at her winter layup position on January 14, 2008. Below, a couple months later, starting her new season, the Indiana Harbor arrives for more coal on March 31, 2008.
Turning the corner in the Duluth harbor after arriving under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, she is here for more coal. Below, she passes by her many friends as she arrives Duluth for coal.
Above, she arrives for more coal on November 11, 2008, below, she is at the Midwest Energy dock loading coal 3 weeks later.
Above, she comes in for winter layup on January 9, 2007. She opened her season 2 months later when she departed the port on April 3, 2007
Picture above and below,  she comes in for coal on Saturday, October 14, 2006
Above, she departs Duluth with another cargo of coal on Saturday, July 2, 2005, she arrives on October 7 to load coal.
Picture above taken Friday, April 23, 2004 as she arrives under the Lift Bridge to load iron ore pellets at CN Duluth dock
Above, the Indiana Harbor tried 9 times, on April 3, 2013, to get through the ship canal (above) but could not. Go here to find a lot more information and pictures about this unforgettable spring.
Above she departs the port on December 4th with coal; below, she is seen at the Midwest Energy Coal dock on the 19th of December
Above the Sundew was out on March 13, 2002 checking  ice conditions and the Indiana Harbor at her winter layup at the Hallett Dock in West Duluth. Below with the season well under way, she arrives under the Lift Bridge on May 7, 2002. Below that she is departing the port on June 25, 2002
Above, she arrives Duluth on August 26; a month later, below, she is departing.
Above and below, she is departing Duluth in the early evening of September 26.
Below, she arrives Duluth on December 10th with ice on her bow, meaning she probably faced wind from the west as she crossed Superior. She is passing the Great Lakes Towing tugs, quiet now but soon to be active breaking up ice and helping boats navigate the icy waters in the port.
Picture above taken Thursday, December 6, 2001: arriving Duluth
On June 11, the Indiana Harbor departs Duluth (above) and below, she arrives on July 1, 2000
It was cold and icy on the last day of the year in 2000. Above, she is at the CN Duluth dock in West Duluth loading iron ore pellets. The tug North Carolina was called to break up some ice and create a little space for the vessel to get away from the dock.
Below, she finally made it and is about to go under the Lift Bridge to celebrate the New Year on Lake Superior.
Below she departs Duluth on July 7, 1999
Above, she arrived Duluth in June, 1998; below, looking down her deck while she is docked at the Port Terminal in January, 1997
Indiana Harbor trips to the Twin Ports
1996 12
1997 21
1998 15
1999 33
2000 44
2001 40
2002 42
2003 39
2004 39
2005 39
2006 40
2007 42
2008 40
2009 29
2010 35
2011 20
2012 31
2013 33
2014 28
2015 20


  1. Barry Stone says:

    She is being called on for the end of 2016. Was another ship damaged? There must be a spike in demand to get her ready this late in the season. Good to see her being utilized!

    • Possibly since the Mesabi Miner is done for the season. She is in Sturgeon Bay WI for exhaust scrubbers, just like James Barker and Lee Tregurtha had installed last winter. Definitely good to see Indiana Harbor on the water again!

  2. Why is the Indiana Harbor still at the Duluth port? Shipping season has started and she hasn’t moved since 11/3/15.

  3. Dan Allen says:

    Why the early winter layup on November 3, 2015? Is some work needed on the Indiana Harbor to get ready for 2016?

  4. Indiana Molitor says:

    My name is Indiana, after this gorgeous ship. It is my senior year here in Duluth and I would love to ask my boyfriend to prom by hanging a sign over the edge of the ship possibly. Being spitting distance of this ship would be an honor. it’s been such a big part of my life and always will be.
    my parents tied my brother and I together by making his middle name after the Walter j McCarthy jr. if you could give me contact information to move farther that would be great. I understand this is asking a lot but you never know until you try.

    • Indiana
      It is great to hear from u again. What is your time line; dates u might be available. And could u stop by my office sometime; i might be able to help with a contact but i need to talk with u first.

  5. Holding off Eagle Harbor in the Keweenaw tonight…Duluth must be iced up.

  6. Brady Fenner says:

    Is greatlakes shipping in a decline

  7. Jan Brown says:

    Thanks for the explanation for all the “waiting” boats.

  8. Jan Brown says:

    Why are so many of the boats listed as waiting? Did they go through with the strike??

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