Previous names:
Marquette: 1942-1942
Neshanic: 1942-1947
Gulfoil: 1947-1961
Pioneer Challenger: 1961-1962
Middletown: 1962-2006
American Victory: 2006-

The American Victory has been in long term layup since November of 2008, in Superior, WI
Click here for other pages featuring the American Victory

2008Aug26_0931PRODThe American Victory, formerly the Middletown, is one of the oldest and most historic boats on the Great Lakes. She was built as the Marquette in 1942 at Sparrows Point, Maryland. Later that same year, she became the Neshanic. During the Second World War the ship saw duty on both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean as a tanker. She is credited with shooting down an enemy aircraft and was also hit by a Japanese bomber while refueling a destroyer in the Pacific.
In 1947, she was renamed the Gulfoil when she was purchased by the Gulf Oil Company. In 1958, she was in a collision with another tanker and lost many of her crew members. Although heavily damaged, she was repaired, and converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier called the Pioneer Challenger. In 1962, her name was changed to the hometown of the Armco Steel Company, Middletown, Ohio. In 2006, she was sold by Oglebay Norton to American Steamship and became the American Victory. Picture above taken Tuesday, August 26, 2008 arriving Duluth when she was the American Victory.
For pictures and information about her when she was the American Victory, go here.
Picture above taken Saturday, November 5, 2005
Picture above taken Saturday, October 8, 2005
Above, she departs Duluth on April  23, 2004. Below, I visited the boat on October 30, 2004 while she was discharging a cargo of limestone
Middletown captain Ted Olm was checking his charts in the pilot house while the Middletown was discharging a cargo of limestone. She loaded a cargo of iron ore pellets before departing the Port.
Then, he gave me a tour of his boat, which is a walk back in history. My guess is the two pictures below show equipment that might have been original; but they were not in use any more.
The original engine has been long gone; below are pictures from my visit; hard to tell now what is still in use.
I took the picture of the picture of the boat as it was during World War 2, below, a picture that shows all the gun placements on the boat.
middletownthanksgivingmenuI visited the Middletown on November 24, 2004, the day before Thanksgiving, a bad choice; had I waited a day, I could have celebrated with them. Click the menu here to see what I missed. Below, steward John (Waldo) Wagner prepares the turkeys. He was nice enough to share their dinner that night with me, delicious salmon/crab croquettes.
Picture below taken Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Above and below, going under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, from the bridge, on June 19, 2003
Picture above taken July 24, 2001 while she was under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge as she departed the port; picture below taken Tuesday, November 20, 2001: entering the Duluth ship canal

Three ships built in Scotland

In 1983, three ships were built in Govan, Scotland by Misener Transportation, a Canadian shipping company. One was the Selkirk Settler, later to be the Federal St. Louis, Federal Fraser, Fraser and in 2007, the Spruceglen. The second ship was built as the Canada Marquis, then the Federal Richelieu, Federal Mackenzie, Mackenzie, and in 2002, the Birchglen. The third, the Saskatchewan Pioneer, became the Lady Hamilton, then the Voyageur Pioneer, and in 2008, the Kaministiqua.

Misener wanted ships that could work all year round and not sit out the long, cold winters in Canada when Great Lakes shipping closes down. These would be heartier vessels made to navigate the many locks, rivers and ports within the Great Lakes, but could also venture out onto the world’s oceans where they would need to operate as salt water ships on the oceans of the world, enduring storms often fiercer than ever seen in the exciting, but still calmer waters of the Great Lakes.

At one time, Canadian companies were not allowed to buy a ship built in a country that is not a commonwealth country. Most salties that come to Duluth have been built in countries that were not part of the English Commonwealth. Many are built in Japan, China, Argentina, Holland, and Poland, meaning none of them could be purchased by Canadian companies. These three sisters were built in Govan, Scotland, in 1983, and thus were legal.

That is why they were built in Scotland; how they were named is even more interesting. Parts of Western Canada were settled by immigrants from Scotland who were brought over with the help of Lord Selkirk. He founded a settlement that eventually became Winnipeg. His followers were called Selkirk Settlers. By the time they got to western Canada, they had become Saskatchewan Pioneers. The pioneers endured many hardships, and had repeated failures trying to grow crops, particularly wheat. They needed faster-maturing wheat because of the shorter growing season. After many futile attempts, a variety of wheat was developed that worked great. That wheat was called Canada Marquis.

I was not around when these ships visited Duluth under their original names. By 1996, when I arrived, they had all been purchased by FedNav, a Canadian shipping company in Montreal.

Around 2001, Fednav was looking to part ways with these ships. To begin with, the name ‘Federal’ was removed. In 2001, the Federal Fraser became the Fraser and the Federal MacKenzie became the MacKenzie. That was the first step to getting FedNav entirely out of 2/3rd’s of the family. In 2002, FedNav sold the Fraser and Mackenzie to the Canada Steamship Company of Toronto. The Fraser became the Spruceglen and the MacKenzie became the Birchglen.

Kaolin clay

Once or twice a year, a salt water vessel (Lady Doris, Yulia, Cornelia and Trudy) brings kaolin clay here to discharge at the Port Terminal. After discharge, the clay is mixed with water, creating a slurry that will then go to local paper companies.  This has become a new local industry at Lake Superior Warehousing, at the Port Authority. Below is some information from the Port Authority’s Summer, 2013 issue of their quarterly, North Star Port.
Kaolin is a hydrated aluminum silicate crystalline mineral used as a bulking agent or filler in a variety of industries including ceramics, paper, paint, plastics, rubber, sealant, adhesive and chemicals manufacturing. This particular clay adds gloss/shininess in papermaking and is being mined, refined and shipped by IMERYS.
The world’s largest producer of quality kaolin, IMERYS has deposits and production plants in the UK, U.S., Australia and Brazil. The product arrives in bulk as a powder, which is conveyed indoors to a building at the Port Terminal for further processing into a slurry for final delivery by tanker truck to customers in the region.You can buy a one pound jar of Kaolin Clay powder for only $5.99 on Amazon!