Tug Billmaier bringing in the tow

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A Corp of Engineers tow came back to its home port (above) after a summer of working breakwaters in the Great Lakes. They left in June for Two Harbors and then went down to Burns Harbor. On the way back, they did more breakwater work at Marquette before returning to Two Harbors and then home yesterday. Breakwaters are created and maintained with very large pieces of stone and concrete. The Corps maintains piles of stone all over the Great Lakes that the tow can load on to their two barges rather than carrying the material long distances. From right to left, the tug Billmaier is pulling the entire tow, as the combination of vessels is called. Behind the tug is the derrick barge H. J. Schwartz and behind the Schwartz are two more barges, often carrying the stone they use. Attached to the side of the derrick barge is the Hammond Bay, a work tug that is used for a variety of tasks. After the tow entered the harbor on Monday, the Hammond Bay was detached and went to the back to help the Billmaier turn the entire lineup into the Corps of Engineers vessel yard. Photo taken on September 23, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-24-2008