Lee A. Tregurtha

Lake Superior (tug)

Lee A. Tregurtha was built in 1942, is 826 feet long and flies a U.S. flag

Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber (Buckeye)
Previous names:
Samoset: 1942-1942
USS Chiwawa (see picture just below): 1942-1946 Chiwawa: 1946-1961
Walter A. Sterling: 1961-1985
William Clay Ford (2): 1985-1989
Lee A. Tregurtha: 1989-

Click here for other pages featuring the Lee A. Tregurtha

Listen to her whistle on April 4, 2012
USS Chiwawa at the Norfolk Navy Yard January 31, 1943 – from the BoatNerd.com collection
leeatregurtharbattleribbons2008Sep27_3147The Lee A. Tregurtha has a long past with many names. Built in 1942 as an ocean tanker and used in the Atlantic to refuel allied boats in the Second World War, she was awarded two battle stars for service in the war and was decommissioned in 1946. Her battle ribbons are displayed on the boat, on the side of the pilot house (above). (more information below)
Above, the Lee A. Tregurtha departed Duluth on September 1, 2016
Above, Holly caught the Lee A. Tregurtha departing Duluth on September 18, 2014  after loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Below, she arrives Duluth late in the morning on April 4, 2012 to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth.
Picture above taken July 23, 2008; below on Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In 1961, she was rebuilt, lengthened by 228 feet, converted into a bulk freighter on the Great Lakes and renamed the Walter A. Sterling. In 1976 she was lengthened again by 96 feet at the Fraser Shipyards in Superior. Two years later a 250-foot self-unloading boom was added on her deck.
In 1985 she was renamed the William Clay Ford (2), and in 1989 she received her present name after the wife of Paul R. Tregurtha, currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Interlake Steamship Company, the ship’s owner. She made 18 trips to Duluth during the 2012-13 season.
Picture above taken Sunday, March 23, 2008
Picture above taken Friday, February 22, 2008: At Fraser Shipyard during winter layup, 2007-08. Picture below taken Friday, January 11, 2008
Picture above taken July 3, 2001
Picture above taken Friday, January 5, 2007
Picture above taken Saturday, March 26, 2005: Loading iron ore pellets into her cargo holds at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth
Picture above taken Saturday, September 7, 2002
Picture above taken Saturday, March 26, 2005: At the DM&IR (now CN) Dock in West Duluth. Below, also at the CN Dock, on April 11, 2005
Picture above taken Tuesday, July 3, 2001


  1. Austin loves ships says:


  2. Oh dear, Ken – floaters on the lake and the Tregurtha iced on the bow! Can’t believe that another shipping season will be slowing down! I do love the “lakers” — they are majestic ships! Happy belated Thanksgiving to all lovers of the Great Lakes! We are blessed to have this site which enables us to enjoy all related activities on the lakes!

  3. Thank you very much ! My dad will be excited to know this about his old ore carrier. I will pass this onto him today. Regards Larry

  4. My dad sailed on the JC Morse in the 1950’s. It was owned by Interlake Steamship Co. I wonder if the ship still exists? Anyone have any info?

  5. She’s anchored in front of my house on an inner anchor. Wow, close up view.

  6. Tristin (loves ships) says:

    Love the old picture. 🙂

  7. Thank you crewmen!!

  8. Paul Wesley says:

    shipped from May 1979 to January 1980 aboard the ship.

  9. just saw it leave Duluth, MN today. She still looks good.

  10. Having lived in Cleveland OH for 20 yrs in the 80s & 90s, I remember benefit parties where the big prize was a cruise aboard one of the ore boats. I also remember the wives of the owners christening the boats, Mrs James Barker and Mrs Fred White, are a couple of them I recall. Happy days and a bit of history.

  11. me too suzanne!

  12. Great pictures and information. I didn’t know that the Lee A. Tregurtha was named for Paul R. Tregurtha’s wife. I thought that maybe Lee and Paul were brothers or father and son. There aren’t many ships named for women. I like the style of the older vessels – I like the look of the fore and aft cabins. I hope that these older ships remain in service for many years to come.

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