John G. Munson


 James R. Barker

John G. Munson was built in 1952, is 768 feet long and flies the flag of USA

John J. Boland

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The John G. Munson was built in 1952 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was johngmunson20090427_5199lengthened by 102 feet in 1976, an upgrade that extended her useful life on the Great Lakes. Unlike many boats built in the 50’s, the Munson had a self-unloading boom from the beginning. She has 22 hatches on her deck that open into 7 cargo holds and provide a cargo capacity of 25,900 tons. She had one of the best steam whistles on the Great Lakes but it has been replaced by a air whistle that is still quite loud.

She is powered by a 7,700-hp steam turbine and is eqjohnmunson2008Jun28_4844uipped with both bow and stern thrusters that allow her to maneuver in tight situations, particularly close to docks. In many ways, these engines replace the work done by a tugboat in previous years. Her stern thruster was originally the bow thruster from the Enders. M. Voorhees, and was installed in 1986.

She was named after the president of Michigan Limestone who became an officer for United States Steel Corporation in 1939. He retired in 1951 and died the next year. A new boat, launched that year, took his name while the older version became the Irvin L. Clymer .

Today the Munson often brings limestone when she comes to the Twin Ports but she carries a wide variety of cargos including iron ore pellets and coal. During the 2012-13 season, she came to Duluth-Superior 21 times.


Picture above taken Wednesday, December 31, 2008: The Munson loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth on the last day of the year, 2008. Her self unloader is swung out over the water (ice) to provide room for the gravity chutes to fill her cargo holds with taconite

Picture above taken Friday, March 30, 2007
Picture above taken Friday, March 9, 2007
Picture above taken Saturday, December 16, 2006
Picture above taken Sunday, March 26, 2006: Passing the Columbia Star on her way out of Duluth
Picture above taken Sunday, September 4, 2005
Picture above taken Sunday, September 4, 2005
Picture above taken Friday, December 24, 2004
Picture above taken Friday, December 24, 2004
Picture above taken Sunday, August 24, 2003
Picture above taken Tuesday, April 23, 2002
Picture above taken Sunday, March 24, 2002: departs Duluth
Picture above taken Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Picture above taken Tuesday, August 28, 2001

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

PaulG March 24, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Munson on the lake headed to Gary. 2015 is under way!


William Mueller March 22, 2015 at 4:35 am

Nothing like a nice AAA lakeboat. :)The best kind.


Richard Neuwirth January 21, 2015 at 8:56 pm

The article states she had a steam whistle converted to air. For what purpose? An entirely new whistle or just fed by air now? Why not stick with steam?


Jeffrey Mehlhorn May 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm

Why was the Munson laid up for all of 2013?


jdwold March 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

It would be interesting to see what they do to bring A ship like the Munson back to life after being off for more than a year, ships stores, dry and fresh goods freezers and such.(the chef in me wondering) Fuel and lube load. Generally everything the crew has been doing for the last week or so to get the ship livable. What the Officers have been planning for routing with the ice breakers, and planning timing with the other ships that will convoy out.
And as always Ken thank you for the wonderful job you do keeping us informed.


jdwold March 20, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Looks like the Munson starts the parade out early this year.


Tristin (loves ships) April 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Sadly, along with John J. Boland and others, starting the 2013 season she is not needed. Hopefully later in the season she will run.


randy March 12, 2013 at 11:16 am

Does the crew stay on the ship when the start of the ship season.Or do they work for so many weeks and have off for so long.And a new crew comes on.


David Marlette February 9, 2013 at 8:57 am

Has to be one of the best looking laker, iced or sunning.


Jwold January 14, 2013 at 4:02 pm

For a 62 year old still the nicest lines on the lakes


Don from Down South December 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

To me, one of the coolest ships on the lakes.


Tristin (loves ships) October 16, 2011 at 10:09 am

pretty ship


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