Blacky and Trudy slowed by rain

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The Blacky arrived Duluth on May 14, 2017 to load wheat at Riverside Ag (above). She departed 5 days later, on May 19, for the port of Cadiz in Spain. The Blacky is owned by Navarone Marine Enterprises on Cyprus and is on long term charter to Canadian Forest Navigation (Canfornav), headquartered in Montreal. They operate a fleet of over 40 ocean-going vessels that they use to connect Great Lakes ports to the rest of the world. Many of their ships are named for ducks, such as Bluebill, Chestnut, Maccoa, Mottler, Ruddy, and Tufty.  Most have been to Duluth on several occasions.

Trudy arrived Duluth on May 12 to discharge kaolin clay at the Port Terminal. She also left 7 days later, on May 19 (below). Both were handling bulk cargo that is not usually moved when it is raining, as it was in Duluth this past week, delaying both ships.

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Blacky blows into town

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Blacky is back for her second visit to Duluth. When she was here in April, 2011, she loaded spring wheat for the Spanish port of Cadiz. She will be loading wheat at Riverland Ag on this trip.

Blacky to be here for wheat on Monday

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This will be her second trip to Duluth. She was here back in April, 2011 on her first trip. Click here to read about my rough ride to meet her at the anchorage on her first trip (above).

Go out to meet Blacky

20110419_2015The ship’s name might have been Blacky but my knuckles were white. Luckily all I had to do was keep out of the water (even when I was looking up at it) and take pictures. I had two choices, go out on the deck of the Sea Bear, take pictures and fall in the water, or sit inside and hold on. Guess which I took.
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All foreign flagged vessels that come to Duluth are required to have a pilot on board while the ship is in US or Canadian waters. One of Captain Ed Montgomery’s many jobs is transferring the pilot out to or in from the anchorage in his pilot boat, Sea Bear, the mainstay of his company, Sea Service, LLC. Today (April 19, 2011), the Cyprus flagged Blacky arrived off the Duluth piers. Often, a ship will drop anchor out there and Captain Montgomery will take the Sea Bear out to pick up the pilot so he can spend some time at home rather than staying on the ship until it came in (in this case at least a couple days from now). I took the above picture from inside the cabin of the Sea Bear. That’s Captain Dann Edholm’s steady hand on the wheel. He did a great job handling the boat in very heavy seas.
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The first task all foreign flagged vessels have when they arrive in port is to meet, on the ship, with a variety of local officials including the ship’s agent, a local stevedore and customs officials. That meeting is usually held while the ship is at anchor but with Lake Superior kicking up a heavy current, the Blacky came into the inner harbor for that meeting, after which the boat went back out to the anchorage to await the next trip in when she will load grain.
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The pilot, in this case Captain Shawn McKenzie, got on at the Soo and brought the ship into the harbor today. Since a pilot has to be on board whenever the ship is under way, he stayed on when the ship went back out to the anchorage.
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I left my warm dry office and went out to take some pictures of the Blacky and found the Sea Bear lurking about waiting for the bigger ship to pass under the bridge on the way to the anchorage. Captain Montgomery asked if I wanted to go out to the Blacky with them, and of course, I said yes, totally forgetting that the Blacky came into the harbor because of the heavy seas. I don’t get sea sick, even in very heavy seas; I just get scared.
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Usually, the rope ladder (above) is used , but with heavy seas, the gangway was lowered.
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And he did a good job bringing Sea Bear next to the Blacky so McKenzie could climb down and ‘jump’ into the pilot boat. His luggage came first; I even helped with that job. Then he took the ‘elevator’ down from the Blacky to the Sea Bear.
20110419_2089We returned and they dropped me off just beyond the bridge. Montgomery helped me off the boat; that’s him standing on the bow of the Sea Bear (below) as the boat drove off into the sunset and I ran inside and back to my safe warm office.
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