Sarah Spencer

Spruceglen was built in 1983, is 730 feet long and flies the Canadian flag

Previous names:
Selkirk Settler: 1983-1991
Federal St. Louis: 1991-1991
Federal Fraser: 1991-2001
Fraser: 2001-2002
Spruceglen: 2002-

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The Spruceglen was built in 1983 in Glasgow, Scotland as the Selkirk Settler. She was built to be able to work the Great Lakes between April and December and instead of going into layup every winter, she could go out and make some money moving cargo between ocean ports.
For 6 months in 1991, she was the Federal St. Louis, named for the river that flows between Duluth and Superior. Click here for more about her history.
Above she entered the Duluth ship canal on March 31, 2012 to load coal at Midwest Energy. Below, she back for a repeat trip to Midwest Energy.
Above, the Srpuceglen was in Duluth to load coal on June 8, 2011. Below, she is in the Duluth harbor on September 11, 2011, on her way over to Midwest Energy to load coal for Quebec City.
During a visit with Spruceglen Captain Mike Despotovich (below) in July, 2008 at the Hallett Dock in West Duluth (just below) where they were loading taconite fines, I ask him about their travels over the last couple of years so he was checked his log books and told me the story.
In early January, 2005, they left Sorel with grain for Halifax and Wilmington, then went to Tampa Bay, arriving on January 14th, 2005. In Tampa Bay, they loaded phosphates and then left for China, arriving at the Panama Canal on January 20th. After sitting at anchor off the canal for a couple of days, they went through the canal on the 28th and saw no land until they arrived in China on March 4th, about 35 days later. After discharging the phosphate in China, they went into their 5-year inspection at a drydock in China.
On April 24th, they left China light for Chile, this time stopping in Hawaii for fuel and water. They arrived in Chile on May 29th, loaded salt and took it to New Haven, Connecticut, and then came into the St. Lawrence Seaway for another summer season of loading grain mostly out of Thunder Bay and sometimes Duluth, for the St. Lawrence River, often bringing iron ore back into the Seaway to Canadian steel mills. Then back to Thunder Bay (or Duluth) for grain. And so it went until the ice came in December when they went back out to the oceans of the world.
2008Jul20_6116Spruceglen Chief Engineer Christian Pelletier (below) was sharing some pictures that he took during the ship’s travels around the world. We were looking at a picture of the Chief standing beside his ship while they were in dry dock on the Greek island of Syros. While discharging cargo in Italy in February, 2007, he determined the ship’s prop was in need of repair. Since the prop is underwater, they needed a drydock so workers could make the repair. Syros was nearby, so they stopped there, not a bad place to get repairs.
Once repairs began, the Chief picked up his camera and took pictures of the island. It shows the ship in a floating dry dock with the very picturesque town of Syros in the background.
Pelletier (above) took these pictures on February 19th, 2007.
She was here in August to load grain at the Cargill elevator in Duluth, just a short distance from Bayfront Park. where the Spruceglen, when it was the Fraser, failed to make the turn toward the bridge when it was departing on August 28, 2002, and went aground just behind the stage at Bayfront Park. When Duluth woke up the next morning, there was a new attraction in Bayfront Park, with free admission. That was old history. When the Spruceglen was getting ready to leave five years later with its cargo holds filled with grain, they realized they where sitting on the bottom.
The Kentucky and the North Dakota, two of the same tugs that helped move the ship off the bottom five years earlier, handled the repeat performance in August 29, 2007 carefully moving her out into the bay.
The Spruceglen, owned by Canadian Steamship Lines (CSL) but under Charter from FedNav (the ship’s former owner, when she was a salt water ship called the Fraser) arrived in Duluth on October 24, 2004 with steel coils loaded in Antwerp. She discharged the coils at the Port Terminal.
Although operating as a salt water vessel when she came in, she carried a Canadian captain and crew. Probably, when the coils were discharged in Duluth, the charter to Fednav ended, and (CSL) took over and she was a Canadian Laker. A pilot was on the boat when she arrived but was not needed when she left.  After discharging the coils at the Port Terminal (above and below), she loaded soy beans for Quebec, just like a regular Canadian boat would.
Above, she entered the Duluth ship canal on October 26, 2003 her way in to load soy beans at Peavey.
FedNav changed her name from Federal Fraser to just Fraser in 2001 and carved out a piece of local history for herself when she failed to make the turn in the Duluth harbor to the Aerial Bridge in the foggy early evening of August 28, 2002. She went aground in front of Bayfront Park, just behind the Paulucci Pavilion. The next day, tugs pulled her off the bottom and away from shore and she was able to depart the port that evening, but not before she attracted quite a crowd.220829-156
She was the Federal Fraser between 1991 and 2001 during which time she sailed under a variety of owners, management companies and with a variety of crews
Above and below, she arrived Duluth July 13, 2000 to load grain. Bottom, she departed Duluth with her cargo on July 15, 2000

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