First light, first boat

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The Roger Blough opened the shipping season in Duluth this morning (March 22, 2017) at 7:30. Above, at left, she starts down the Duluth harbor on her way to the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. Just to the right is the American Spirit, expected to break away from her winter layup berth on Saturday (March 25, 2017) to go over to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets. The American Century is seen at the right. She is expected to depart on Thursday (March 23, 2017) for Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets.
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Above, the Blough goes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning; below, there were many folks out to get a picture of the ‘first ship.’ The only ice to be found was a couple spots on the pavement. The harbor, ship canal and the lake (at this end, at least) were ice free.
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Below, Jason Fyten  had his Boatwatcher flag out to celebrate the occasion. Duluth News Tribune Photo Editor Bob King stands next to Jason, waiting for the Blough.
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Winter layup in Duluth

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That’s the Roger Blough at the left, the American Century foreground and the American Spirit behind her and to the right. See full layup list here.


Assiniboine makes last trip out for 2017

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After discharging salt, the CSL Assiniboine went over to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets. She departed on Monday afternoon, January 9, 2017, coming out of the St. Louis River and turning into the Duluth harbor above. She passed two American Steamship boats already in port for winter layup. That’s the American Century in the foreground and the American Spirit behind her. The tug North Carolina is seen just off the bow of the Assiniboine. She had made several passes through the track just ahead of the Assiniboine. She was also back at the CN dock earlier clearing some ice away. Below, she made it through the ice without much trouble and is seen below approaching the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, just behind the Pier B Resort.
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Self unloader self unloading in Marquette, Michigan

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Thanks to Rod Burdick for this picture he took of the American Century on August 12, 2016. She had loaded coal here at Midwest Energy and took it over to Marquette. His caption:  American Century unloading western coal from Superior, into the Upper Harbor hopper, Marquette, Michigan (August 12, 2016) – visit was first since her only other in January 2007.

Me again: Here we usually see the self unloader sitting on the deck or moved to the side while coal is dropped into the cargo holds. In the picture above, the self unloader is doing what it was built to do; discharge cargo.

3 lighthouses, 2 boats, 1 bridge, 1 omelet, 1 waffle and Holly

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Breakfast was great at Pier B this morning (Wednesday, July 13, 2016), but it was hard to concentrate on the waffles and omelet with all the boats going by. I caught the American Century coming in to load 68,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources for the St. Clair power plant of Detroit Edison. Half an hour earlier, Holly was out taking pictures of the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. leaving with the same amount of coal, also loaded at Midwest Energy. She was headed for Presque Isle, Michigan. I left my omelet sitting quietly beside her waffle and went out to get a picture of her taking a picture of her. (Please note all 3 lighthouses in the picture at the top.)
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Duluth comings and goings

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The Buffalo arrived Duluth at 11:23 on Tuesday evening, September 8, 2015. Above, she departed under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge the next morning at 11:00. Below, she is turning in the harbor toward the bridge, on her way to Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets. She will take some of the pellets to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal located at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. They will then move up the river to the Mittal steel plant to discharge the remainder.
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Despite the Maltese flag, the Pilica (above and below) is owned by the Polish Steamship Company. She was built in Poland in 1999 and usually carries a Polish crew. She is loading grain at Riverland Ag (formerly Cargill) on this her 13th visit to the Twin Ports (arriving on September 7th). Time flies when you are getting old; I remember boarding the ship on May 23rd, 2000 when she had just been built and was making her first trip to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Fifteen years ago, it was a thrill to see such a brand new ship. Today, it is fun to welcome her as a seasoned veteran of the Duluth Superior grain trade.
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Below, the American Century arrived Duluth on Tuesday evening, September 8, 2015 to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Just above, she departed the next morning  with 68,000 tons of low sulfur coal she will deliver to the St. Clair electrical generation plant of Detroit Edison.
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American Century gets help from Kentucky

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She is about to make the turn toward the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on her way out to Lake Superior with a cargo of iron ore pellets loaded at the CN in West Duluth. More on the American Century.
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Winter comes to the American Century

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The American Century departed Duluth at 10:45 on Friday morning, November 29, 2013. She loaded 64,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior and is on her way to deliver the cargo to the Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair, Michigan. She will return next Wednesday to get a similar load for St. Clair.

Coming home for the winter

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The John J. Boland was greeted by a cold but hearty group when she came in for winter layup on Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2013 (temperature was 17 degrees F with the wind at 16 mph). Just below, the American Century came in at 7:56, Friday night, January 11, 2013. By Saturday morning she was tied up at the Port Terminal (just below). Below that, the Mesabi Miner is seen at her winter resting spot at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior on Saturday. She arrived on January 8th.
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American Century departs Duluth

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The American Century arrived Duluth on Saturday afternoon, October 13, 2012. It was her 22nd trip to the Twin Ports this season. She was here 35 times last season. After loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth, she departed under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge (above) around 1 pm on Sunday.

American Century here for winter layup

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The American Century (formerly the Columbia Star) came into port for winter layup on January 10th, 2012. She is at Elevator M in Superior.  As always, she was a frequent visitor to the Twin Ports, making 35 visits last year, one less than the year before.

Listen to the American Century arrive …

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There was a good October crowd to greet the American Century as she came into port to load coal for Detroit Edison on October 7, 2011; 34,000 tons to their St.Clair station and 30,000 to their Monroe station. Captain Mark gave the crowd two whistle salutes; here is the second one; American Century arrives Duluth

Alder breaks the ice on a new season

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The US Coast Guard cutter Alder broke away from her dock and seemed to have an easy time moving around the harbor. Here she is passing by the American Century at her winter layup dock at the Port Terminal.
Note from the ship: We made it safely through the harbor finding different thicknesses anywhere from 6 inches plate ice to re-frozen brash up to about 30 inches in some spots. Alder made it all the way through the Superior Front Channel and out to Lake Superior today.

We get a big hand from …

… the American Century (formerly the Columbia Star) as she came into Duluth around noon on December 29th, 2010. The hand inside the hand belongs to John Kernohan, 2nd mate on the boat (inset). They are here to load 64,000 tons of low sulfur coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Later today, she will depart to take that cargo to Silver Bay.

Ice is nice

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On Monday, the American Century came into Duluth with a boat load of ice. The salt water ship Orsula can be seen at anchor waiting to come in to load wheat for Italy. On Tuesday she was in and loading wheat at CHS1 in Superior (just below). Ice is the news of the day as you can see in both pictures. Where there is ice, you will often find the Nels J. out breaking the ice. I was on the Orsula working with a production company from the twin cities that was up here to find out what happens in the port. We sent some of them out on the Nels J. and below, we came back to pick them up as the big tug was pulling up to her dock in Superior. Yes, it was cold!!
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Three boats for winter

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At the far left, the John G. Munson sits at her winter rest. On the right side, the American Integrity is docked at Berth D and on her right, the American Century sits at Berth C, all at the Port Terminal.

American Century ready to depart Duluth

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The American Century came under the Lift Bridge at 4:03 Sunday morning to load coal. It left under the Lift Bridge with coal at 5:15 Sunday afternoon (pictured approaching the bridge on Sunday). Three more thousand footers will be here today to load coal, starting with the Indiana Harbor expected a little after midnight. It should leave late this morning, opening the coal dock for the Paul R. Tregurtha, expected to arrive around 4 this morning and then wait at the Port Terminal for the Indiana Harbor to finish. Around noon, the James R. Barker will arrive, waiting probably until late tonight to get to the coal dock. It will take a load to Taconite Harbor and be back for more on Wednesday evening. Photo taken on July 12, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-13-2009

American Century departs via Duluth canal

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The American Century was expected early this morning and was probably loading coal as the sun came up. It is seen above departing the port in April, last year. It should finish early this afternoon. The American Integrity is also expected today, just before noon, and should depart shortly before midnight. These two boats have followed each other since they both arrived in the Twin Ports on April 24th. Departing here with coal, one came back on May 1st and the other on May 2nd. On May 8th, they both came back and on May 14, one arrived; on May 15, the other came. Today, they are both back in the Twin Ports. Both loaded 64,000 tons of coal and both are taking it to Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan. That means we will see them both back in about a week. They are both thousand footers and were both purchased from the Oglebay Norton Company by American Steamship in 2006. Aren’t you glad someone is keeping track of this for you? Photo taken on April 09, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-21-2009

American Century as her former self

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The American Century and the American Integrity will both be in port today. It is the 3rd weekend in a row that both have been here together. The first two times the Century arrived first. With both loading coal, the Integrity had to wait each time. Things will change today. The Integrity is expected just before noon, the Century just after noon. But this time, the Century will be loading taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth, just across the St. Louis River from Midwest Energy where the Integrity will be loading coal. The photo above shows the American Century departing Duluth in 2004 when it was called the Columbia Star.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-08-2009

American Century in her new black coat

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The American Century came into port Friday afternoon to load coal at Midwest Energy. This is only the 2nd visit the Century has made to the Twin Ports this season. Like the first visit, last weekend, it will take the coal to Detroit Edison. Until last week, this boat had an iron ore red color when visiting, but over the winter, it was painted black and white, the colors of the new owner, American Steamship. They purchased the boat from Oglebay Norton in 2006. Photo taken on May 01, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-02-2009

American Integrity and American Century cross paths

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Perpendicular is not usually associated with two boats close together but on Friday evening, the American Integrity (left) and the American Century (right) both were planning to get fuel at the Murphy Fuel Dock in Duluth and load coal at Midwest Energy. The American Century arrived first so it was first to the fuel dock and then first (of these two boats) to load coal. It is along side the fuel dock in the photo; the American Integrity is the perpendicular boat, actually in the inner anchorage waiting for the Century to move to Midwest. That happened around 6 p.m. Friday. The crew on the Integrity may have gone into town Friday night since it will be around 3 a.m. before they will move over to get their coal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-25-2009

American Century at Port Terminal

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The BBC Maine will be here later this week for the third time this season, each time bringing wind turbine parts. Even when no ships are bringing wind turbines into port, trucks have been rolling them out from the Port Authority for some time. Above, on Monday morning, a Gamesa nacelle, brought here from Spain, is about to leave for the Farmers City Wind Project near Tarkio, Missouri while behind the trailer, the American Century is getting some minor repairs. Photo taken on November 10, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-11-2008

American Century former Columbia Star

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It has been over two years since Oglebay Norton sold six vessels to American Steamship Company in Buffalo. They were the: Oglebay Norton, Columbia Star, Armco, Middletown, Courtney Burton and Fred R. White Jr. They still make regular visits. In the same order, the American Integrity was here last Wednesday, the American Century is expected today, the American Valor will be in Two Harbors today, the American Victory came in Sunday morning, the American Fortitude was here in late September and American Courage will be in Silver Bay tomorrow. Above, the Columbia Star (now the American Century) heads for the Lift Bridge on October 21st, 2001.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-13-2008

American Century due here to load pellets

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The American Century is due here this evening to load iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth. The Century usually loads coal at Midwest Energy Resources, across the St. Louis River from the CN dock. It will take the cargo of pellets to Conneaut. On the previous trip to the Twin Ports, it also loaded iron ore pellets, but at the Burlington Northern Dock in Superior. Those pellets were taken to Zug Island, Michigan, near Detroit. Above, the American Century is seen departing Duluth with coal on December 7th, last year.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-22-2008

American Century & American Integrity

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The American Integrity came into port on Wednesday morning to load 62,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The thousand footer was expected to depart very early this morning. Later today, her fleet mate, the American Century, equally as long, is due in port to load an equal amount of coal. Both boats are taking their cargo to their usual destination: the Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan. Above, the American Century departed Duluth last Saturday with the same cargo for the same destination. Today the boat returns from that trip.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-10-2008

American Century ice is nice

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It almost looks like the port of Duluth Superior is holding a year end sale on coal and taconite. The sale goes all the way up to Two Harbors, at least for the taconite. Buyers of those two products know they will not be able to get more from here between the middle of January and the middle of March. The other end of the Seaway (Duluth is the western most tip of the St. Lawrence Seaway System) is closing up for the winter. Yesterday, the Saint-Lambert Lock at Montreal, the entrance to the St. Lawrence Seaway, closed after the Birchglen moved through it on the way to Baltimore. Back here, the American Century arrived in port last night for coal and should be departing sometime this morning. Above, it is seen departing Duluth on December 7th, loaded down with ice. Today, with warmer weather and quieter winds, it does not carry so much ice along for the ride. Photo taken on December 07,2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-29-2007

American Century departing Twin Ports

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Yesterday was probably not the most productive day the port has had. High winds, repairs to docks and to boats slowed things down a bit. The Alpena was to have departed today but is undergoing repairs and may not depart until Thursday after discharging the usual cargo of cement. Repairs have been made at the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock and the lineup to load coal there is over. The American Century was due here last night and should be about finished loading coal as the sun comes up today. It will take the coal to Silver Bay this morning, leaving the coal dock open for the Paul R. Tregurtha to move right in, assuming it arrived earlier this morning. Above, the American Century is seen departing Duluth last July. Photo taken on July 20, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-14-2007

American Century takes coal

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The American Century, formerly the Columbia Star, departed Duluth on Friday evening (above) for a quick trip to Silver Bay to discharge coal for North Shore Mining. As it departed, it went past the Canadian Enterprise, at anchor off the Duluth piers waiting for the James R. Barker which had replaced the American Century. When the James R. Barker departed, probably earlier this morning, the Canadian Enterprise was in from the anchorage and over at Midwest Energy loading coal. After it departs sometime this morning, the American Century will be back from its trip to Silver Bay, ready to take on another load of coal, this time for its usual destination, a Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair, Michigan. Photo taken on July 20, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-21-2007

American Century departing Duluth

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The James R. Barker will be loading coal today for Taconite Harbor, just up the North Shore. When they complete discharging that cargo there, they will return to the Twin Ports on Tuesday to load another cargo of coal for another Lake Superior port, this time Marquette on the south shore. Above, the American Century departed Duluth on Saturday afternoon with a cargo of coal for Detroit Edison. Photo taken on July 14, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-15-2007

American Century no longer Columbia Star

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The American Century was scheduled to arrive last night so it should be departing today with coal for the St. Clair power plant of Detroit Edison, it’s usual stop. Then the Canadian flagged Algolake and the U.S. flagged Walter J. McCarthy Jr. will be here to take two loads of coal to Ontario Power Generation at Nanticoke. After that, two thousand-footers (all 13 are US flagged) will take two more loads to Detroit Edison, and so the season progresses. To most of us, it seems pretty exciting but the routine of making trips back and forth is beginning to set in for those who work on the boats. The picture above was taken in October, 2001 when the American Century was owned by the Oglegbay Norton Company and was called the Columbia Star. The boat was sold to American Steamship in Buffalo last spring.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-04-2007

American Century says see you later, Duluth

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Three thousand footers will be here today loading coal. The Paul R. Tregurtha, at 1,013 feet 6 inches long, is the longest of the 13 thousand footers on the lakes. It came in last night at 6:30 and should depart sometime this morning. The American Integrity and American Century should also be arriving to load coal, although the Century may not get here until early Wednesday morning. The Tregurtha and the Integrity will be loading about 62,000 tons for Detroit Edison. The American Century will be going to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke with another 62,000 tons. Above, the American Century entertained visitors to the Duluth ship canal on July 4th this past summer.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-05-2006

American Century runs to Silver Bay

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The American Century, formerly the Columbia Star, is expected back from a quick trip to Silver Bay to deliver some coal to Minnesota Power. Today, it is loading coal for Consumers Energy’s Cobb power plant at Muskegon, Michigan. It will follow the Algosoo at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior and should complete loading coal there early in the morning. That coal will go to Ontario Power Generation in Nanticoke. Above, the American Century departed Duluth Sunday afternoon for Silver Bay.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-09-2006

American Century with Fourth crowd

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Four thousand-footers will come under the Lift Bridge today and one more will enter by way of the Superior entry. The Indiana Harbor arrived last night and should have departed early this morning with a cargo of coal. Both the Paul R. Tregurtha and the American Century will appear later today for their cargo of coal. True to its name, the Mesabi Miner will be here to load taconite. The boat was named in honor of the men and women who have worked on the Mesabi Iron Range, the source for the taconite it is loading today. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was named for the former president of Detroit Edison, the owner of the Midwest Energy Coal dock in Superior. However, the McCarthy is loading taconite today at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior. Above, the American Century departed Duluth on July 4th this year.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-15-2006

Columbia Star departs Duluth

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The Columbia Star came into port yesterday for the 25th trip of the season to the Twin Ports. It departed the port with a load of coal. It will be here tomorrow for the 26th time this season. In between was a quick trip to Silver Bay Power. Today’s trip will take the boat to St.Clair, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-11-2005

Columbia Star likes the Blues too

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The Columbia Star was right on cue Saturday afternoon, providing a nice backdrop to Ronnie Baker Brooks at the Bayfront Blues Festival. The Arthur M. Anderson is set to make an appearance at the Blues Festival late this afternoon, just after coming under the Lift Bridge with a load of limestone.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-14-2005

Columbia Star departs Duluth

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The Columbia Star made 36 trips to the Twin Ports last year. It will be here today for the 13th time this season. One of 13 thousand footers on the Great Lakes, it will load about 62,000 tons of coal for Detroit Edison power plants.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-14-2005

McCarthy and Columbia Star here today

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Two 1,000 footers will be arriving in Duluth today, both to load about 61,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. probably arrived early this morning and should depart before noon today. The Columbia Star (above, now American Century) should arrive around noon and depart before midnight tonight. That assumes both follow their pattern of last year, averaging about 12 hours in port during each visit.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/4/2005

Columbia Star visits are many

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Last August 15th, the Columbia Star departed Duluth (above) as the Lift Bridge came down behind her. That was the 16th visit the boat made to the Twin Ports. Today, it is here for the 42nd time.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-12-2004

Columbia Star in Twin Ports for coal

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The Columbia Star will be here for the 40th time this year. As today, most of those trips this year were to Midwest Energy Resources to load coal. Other trips were to the DM&IR dock in West Duluth and the Burlington Northern dock in Superior, both to load taconite.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-20-2004

Columbia Star 30th trip of season

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The Columbia Star is coming to the Twin Ports today for the 30th time this season. Most of those trips, as today, have found the boat loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. On 6 trips, it was across the St. Louis River loading taconite at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-13-2004

Columbia Star and a music star

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The Columbia Star departed Duluth while Tinsley Ellis (right) was entertaining the crowd at the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth on August 15th.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-05-2004

Columbia Star back and forth

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The Columbia Star arrived Duluth at 4:05 on Sunday morning, loaded 61,000 tons of coal and left Duluth for Silver Bay at 3:35 Sunday afternoon. It arrived in Silver Bay Sunday evening to discharge the cargo and will then return to Duluth this morning to load another 61,000 tons of coal, this time taking it to Muskegon, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-09-2004

Columbia Star departs with coal

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This is the 12th trip to the Twin Ports for the Columbia Star this year. It will load coal today, as it has on all but one of the previous 11 trips. It took one cargo of taconite out of the Twin Ports on May 19th. Photo taken June 8, 2002.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-06-2004

Columbia Star here for coal

columbiastar211021-143The Columbia Star (now the American Century) made 33 trips to the Twin Ports last year. On 32 of those trips, she loaded coal for lower lakes ports in the US and Canada. On her last trip of the season, last January, she loaded taconite. She is 1,000 feet long.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/28/2004

 

Columbia Star waiting for a dock

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The Columbia Star should be here today to load 61,000 tons of coal for Consumers Energy in Michigan. This is her first trip this year to Duluth Superior. Above, she waits in the St. Louis River in December, 2002 to take her turn at the Midwest Energy dock in Superior.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-28-2004

Columbia Star gets some help

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The day after Christmas, the tug North Carolina was out breaking ice for the Columbia Star as she slowly backed her way down the front channel and over to Midwest Energy