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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Convoy Departs!

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The St Clair departed Duluth around noon on April 15, 2014 (above) to join the convoy forming off the Duluth piers to cross Lake Superior. She arrived in Duluth for winter layup on January 2, 2014. She left port yesterday at 6:15 am and I think went to anchor. She came back in at 5pm.
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The American Spirit also arrived for winter layup on January 2, 2014. When the Presque Isle returned to port with hull damage due to ice on April 3rd, at least some of her cargo of iron ore pellets was offloaded into the American Spirit. She left here on May 9th to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors and then returned here later that day. Above, she is leaving Duluth early afternoon today to join the convoy.
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A season like no other

Click on any picture to see a larger version

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katmaibay20140409-080This is what I think, but don’t bet on it. The Presque Isle left here on March 22th with a partial load of pellets and I think loaded pellets at Two Harbors and then tried to get to the other end of Lake Superior but had ice trouble and came back here for repairs, arriving on March 29th still with her pellets. Some of those pellets were off loaded into the American Spirit, which had not yet left Duluth. She offloaded pellets to make repairs easier. The American Spirit left here on April 7th with pellets loaded from the Presque Isle. She went to Two Harbors to load pellets and then came back this morning (above) with both loads of pellets. To wait, I presume.
Back on March 24th the Mackinaw, Katmai Bay and Morro Bay arrived Duluth and left here on March 26th. Two days later, on March 28th, the Alder arrived Duluth with an ice-wounded Morro Bay lashed to her side with the Katmai Bay leading them under the Lift Bridge.
convoy Several days later, the Katmai Bay departed to return to ice breaking duties while the Morro Bay stayed here for repairs to her rudder. That happened early this week and she left but did not go very far away. The Katmai Bay returned to Duluth this morning, April 9th  (above), and the Morro Bay was back at the DECC with the Katmai Bay by late this afternoon.
Meanwhile at the other end of the Lake, late this afternoon, the Canadian ice breaker Pierre Radisson left the Soo leading a convoy of boats trying to get to Duluth (Click on the the map above). The Mackinaw was going to be with the convoy but as I write this, she was still at the Soo.
t1140981646LakeSuperior143250m-ps So here is my guess. When the convoy arrives here, perhaps on Thursday or Friday, we will have 5 ice breakers here, counting the Alder. All of a sudden, we will/may have a bunch of boats here to load cargo and then go back out to the lake, I would guess with the help of some of our flotilla of ice breakers. And presumably the American Spirit came back and is waiting to be a part of that convey. Or Not!
You can find the satellite images here: http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/index.html Just click on MODIS Imagery; Great Lakes MODIS True Color; and then select the lake you want, such as Superior

Spring has sprung again, maybe

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The American Spirit departed Duluth in the early afternoon today (April 7, 2014). She is the former George A. Stinson, originally built for the National Steel Corporation in 1978. When the Presque Isle returned to port on March 29 for repairs to damage from ice on Lake Superior, her cargo was offloaded into the American Spirit the next day. She left port today with that taconite still with her. She will complete a full cargo in Two Harbors.

American Spirit first in for layup

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The American Spirit arrived Duluth around 11 am, January 2, 2014 for winter layup. She is the first of 8 boats arriving in the next couple weeks to spend the winter in the port.

American Spirit leaves winter layup

She battled a thick fog but the American Sprit had no trouble getting through the Duluth Harbor, under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and out to Lake Superior on her way to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors

American Spirit arrives Duluth for winter

It took her 50 minutes to go from the Duluth piers to her berth at the Port Terminal. Watch 17 minutes of that trip here; not overly exciting, a little slow but what do you expect from 1,000 feet of Great Lakes freighter at the end of a long season.

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The American Spirit arrived in the Duluth ship canal about 10:30 on Saturday morning, January 7, 2012, for winter layup. Below, about a half hour later, she is moving into the berth at Garfield C.
Listen to the American Spirit whistle as she came in:

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Strike is over, probably

adamecorneliusameicanspirit20110803_4756 8/5/2011 – Noon Update – from WDIO in Duluth: Members of the American Maritime Officers union are heading back to work. They had been on strike since Monday, after they and their employer American Steamship Company failed to reach a labor deal. On Friday, workers got the call that they will be returning to work either Friday or Saturday and stopped picketing. This is good news for the shipping industry, as American Steamship had laid up 13 vessels because of the strike. Seven of those vessels are in the Twin Ports. Workers told Eyewitness News that they are going to work under their old contract, while a new deal is worked out. Above, the Adam E. Cornelius and the American Spirit are 2 of 7 American Steamship boats in port.

Gott and Spirit working off the Duluth piers

American Spirit discharges iron ore pellets into Edwin H. Gott
Took this picture at 4:15 in the afternoon, July 29, 2011. The American Spirit and the Edwin H. Gott are off the Duluth piers, where this shot was taken, The American Spirit is the boat facing left; the Gott faces right. It appears that the American Spirit is discharging cargo into a Gott cargo hold.

American Spirit gets back to work

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Boats coming from and going to layup are becoming a barometer of the economy, at least that part of it that moves cargo on the Great Lakes. So far, about as many boats are going back into layup as are finally coming out. The American Spirit came into Duluth on December 12th and went over to the Enbridge Dock in Superior for winter layup. It is expected to move over to the CN Dock in West Duluth today to load iron ore pellets for Gary. It will finally depart the port this evening. Earlier this week, the Edward L. Ryerson returned to layup. We still wait for the St. Clair, the Kaye E. Barker and the American Victory to leave their ‘winter’ berths. Photo taken on May 22, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-23-2009

American Spirit here for fuel first

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The American Spirit came in last night to load iron ore pellets at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) terminal in Superior, but arrived by way of the Duluth entry (above) to take on fuel at Murphy Oil first. This is the 6th visit to the Twin Ports for the 1,004-foot boat this season. It came here many times as the George A. Stinson, although almost always coming in the Superior entry to load at the BN. It was built in 1978.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-27-2008

American Spirit departs with pellets

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The American Spirit departed Duluth last night at 6:45 (above) with a load of iron ore pellets for Zug Island, Michigan. It will be back in port in about 5 days to load iron ore pellets again, this time for Gary, Indiana. Not long after it departed last night, it should have passed the American Integrity on the way to Duluth to load coal and not too far behind it was the Mesabi Miner, coming to the Twin Ports to load iron ore pellets.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-15-2008

American Spirit making the harbor turn

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The thousand foot long American Spirit was expected to arrive very early this morning to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Above, it is moving slowly through the Duluth harbor last October. The Paul R. Tregurtha came into port last night to load 62,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources. The Tregurtha, at 1,013.5 feet long, is the longest of the 13 thousand foot boats on the Great Lakes today. Along with the two thousand footers mentioned above, three more will be arriving today to load coal at the Midwest dock today, and the 730 foot Canadian Transport, held back by high winds for several days, should be here trying to fit into the waiting line. Two Fednav ships, the Federal Hunter and the Federal Asahi both arrived last night to load wheat.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-01-2007

American Spirit here for winter layup

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The American Spirit was expected to arrive here earlier this morning for its 31st and last trip of the season. It loaded taconite on all the previous trips this year. Today, it will go into winter lay up at the Port Terminal. It is the second of 11 boats expected to spend the winter in the port. Above, the American Spirit turns into the Duluth harbor in October, 2006.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-09-2007

American Spirit arrives Duluth-Superior

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The American Spirit arrived Sunday (above) to load taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth. It will take that cargo down to Zug Island, a man-made, heavily industrialized island in the city of River Rouge, just south of Detroit. The American Spirit used to be called the George A. Stinson. As the Stinson, it carried taconite for National Steel. When National Steel declared bankruptcy several years ago, the Stinson was renamed the American Spirit by the owner, American Steamship. National Steel had facilities at Zug Island, but sold them to US Steel when the company went bankrupt.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-16-2006

American Spirit departs Duluth ship canal

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The American Spirit should be coming into the Twin Ports this morning for the 24th time this season. On this trip, it will be loading taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth. That cargo will be delivered to an ISG steel plant in Indiana Harbor. The Arthur M. Anderson has been discharging limestone at the CN Dock that it picked up at Cedarville, Michigan. It will leave here later today and load taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth for a lower lakes port.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-21-2006

American Spirit exits Duluth ship canal

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The American Spirit is here today for the 5th time this season. The first four trips found it loading taconite at the Burlington Northern dock in Superior. Today, it is loading taconite at the CN dock in West Duluth (formerly the DM&IR). Two salt water ships will be departing today. One of them, the Pontoporos, will be taking durum wheat to Algeria. The wheat is often used there to make couscous, a dish that can include a variety of other ingredients including lamb, beef and vegetables.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-02-2006

American Spirit coming for taconite

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The American Spirit will be here today for the 22nd time this year. Like the other trips, it will load taconite, on this trip taking it to the ISG steel plant in Indiana Harbor. The American Spirit previously visited the Twin Ports many times as the George A. Stinson. Photo taken September 29, 2004.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-15-2005

American Spirit departs Duluth

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The American Spirit will be here today loading taconite for Zug Island, Michigan. Before last year, it visited here under the name George A. Stinson many times.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-19-2005

American Spirit

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The American Spirit loaded taconite at Burlington Northern on December 18th for Gary, Indiana. It came back to Superior early Christmas morning to load taconite for Zug Island, Michigan. Last year, this boat was called the George A. Stinson but it is about to complete its first full year as the American Spirit. Photo taken September 29, 2004.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-26-2004

American Spirit familiar with Twin Ports

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The American Spirit will be in the Twin Ports today loading taconite for the 24th time this season. Today, it is loading at Burlington Northern in Superior. It has also loaded at the DM&IR Dock in both Duluth and Two Harbors. Silver Bay has seen it a few times. The destinations this season have included Escanaba and Zug Island in Michigan, Gary and Indiana Harbor in Indiana and Ashtabula, Ohio.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-26-2004

American Spirit on the lake

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Last Wednesday, the American Spirit sailed to Two Harbors to load taconite (above). Today, it will be back in Superior to load taconite at Burlington Northern. This will be the 23rd trip the American Spirit has made to the Twin Ports this season. Photo taken September 29, 2004.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-05-2004

American Spirit takes taconite

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The American Spirit will be here today for the 13th time this season. It has loaded taconite on each visit, about half the time at Burlington Northern in Superior and half the time at the DM&IR Dock in Duluth.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-26-2004

First trip here as American Spirit

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The American Spirit is here today loading taconite. It is the first visit for this boat using this name. She has been here many times before as the George A. Stinson as in the above photo taken July 31, 2002.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/4/2004