Speer makes rare visit to Duluth

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The Edgar B. Speer arrived through the Duluth ship canal this morning (October 10, 2016) at 11:20. She is currently at the Port Terminal taking a short delay. This is only the 3rd time this season we have seen her in Duluth, and she will likely leave here to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors. She has been a regular visitor in Two Harbors all season, going there for iron ore pellets about 5 times a month. She takes most, if not all, of the Two Harbors pellets to steel mills in Gary, Indiana. This year she did load iron ore pellets at the BNSF Superior on June 14th and at CN Duluth on August 22nd.

New updates to Speer ship page

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2 red and white; a US and Canadian flag

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The Edgar B. Speer arrived today for her first trip to the Twin Ports this season, coming under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 8:16 this morning (June 25, 2014). She will be loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth after she takes on fuel at the Calumet Fuel Dock at the Port Terminal. She made 9 trips here last year.The Canadian flagged Thunder Bay (below) came under the bridge this morning at 4:39; she is here for the 3rd time this season; she was here 6 times last season. Below, she is waiting at the inner anchorage for the Indiana Harbor to complete loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources (note her anchor chain off her bow).
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The Block and the Speer go out and in

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With an office right next to the Lift Bridge, I have it pretty easy when it comes to being close by when I want to take a picture of a boat. It became even easier when I moved to an apartment overlooking the harbor. But today, I got up from the breakfast table and turned around to see the Edgar B. Speer pulling away from her temporary berth at the Port Terminal and waiting for me to get my camera before she turned toward the bridge, which would have taken the morning sun shining on the Speer’s east facing side away. With that done, I got in my car and drove to work, just in time to see the Joseph L. Block arriving to discharge limestone.
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Active at the Port Terminal

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On Friday, June 22, 2012, the HHL Amazon (left) was discharging wind turbine nacelles and the Edgar B. Speer was in for some repairs. Over by the gantry cranes (unseen at right), the Alamosborg was discharging wind turbine parts. Work at the Port Terminal was halted for one day by the flood; 3 feet of water over much of the warehouse made sure of that. Elsewhere in the port. the water put Midwest Energy Resources in Superior out of commission, perhaps until July. Boats such at the Paul R. Tregurtha and the James R. Barker have been redirected to the CN Dock in West Duluth, just across the St. Louis River from Midwest, to load iron ore pellets instead of coal.

Speer arrives for layup last winter

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The Edgar B. Speer was expected last night after discharging a cargo of iron ore pellets in Gary. It will load another cargo of pellets today to take to Gary. This is its 9th trip to the Twin Ports this season. It came in for winter layup on January 16th this year (pictured) and departed with iron ore pellets on April 5th, also for Gary. It was built in 1980 in two sections, one built in Toledo and one in Lorain. When assembled, the Speer measured 1,004 feet long. Photo taken on January 16, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-11-2009

Edgar B. Speer gets a very special Father’s Day greeting

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Sunday was Father’s Day, often not so happy for families where Father is on a boat somewhere on the Great Lakes. But Edgar B. Speer captain Daniel Rentschler and third mate Thomas Lanthier were lucky. Rentschler brought the Speer into the Duluth ship canal early Sunday afternoon and was greeted by a lineup of happy kids holding banners wishing both fathers a happy day. From the left is Sarah Rentschler, the wife and mother, followed by their 2 children Gretchen and Ethan. Gretchen is under the sign with her hands over her ears. She knows what is coming; her father is about to blow the boat’s whistle. Going down the line, Tom and Chandra’s 4 children: Curtis, Paige, Kassidy and Dylan (the last two mostly hidden behind their banners). Chandra is not seen in the picture; she was taking a picture. Sarah and Chandra then took all the children over to the boat where they wished father a Happy Fathers Day with hugs instead of banners. Photo taken on June 21,2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-22-2009

Edgar B. Speer arrives early

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The first and second full-seaway-transit salt-water ships arrived on Sunday morning. The third and fourth will be here today; the Federal Schelde going to Burlington Northern to load iron ore pellets and the Sabrina coming to load grain at CHS. Last night the Edgar B. Speer, originally expected today, arrived in port (above) and crossed paths in the Duluth harbor with the Paul R. Tregurtha on its way out with coal for Marquette. The Speer will be undergoing some repairs before loading iron ore pellets for Gary. As you can see from the schedule, today will be a busy day, probably the busiest day of the young season so far.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-13-2009

Edgar B. Speer starts the new season

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When the Mackinaw departs the port at 8 am this morning, we will have no Coast Guard ice breakers in port. (The Biscayne Bay left on Sunday morning.) One hopes that is a sure sign of spring. The weather forecast suggests we will have warmer temperatures and winds from the west for a few days, both strong indications that we will not need an ice breaker for a while, hopefully a long while. The Edgar B. Speer came in for winter layup on January 16, 2009 at 8:38 in the morning, just 33 minutes before the last boat of the season, the Edwin H. Gott, arrived. After loading iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth, the Speer started its new season on Sunday morning (above), departing under the Lift Bridge for Gary.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-06-2009

Edgar B. Speer needed help departing

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It took a community effort on Monday afternoon to get the Edgar B. Speer out of the harbor and into Lake Superior with a cargo of iron ore pellets for Gary (above). Earlier, the Coast Guard cutter Alder established tracks in the shipping channels for the Speer, the Kaye E. Barker and the Roger Blough. The tug Edward H. was also breaking ice for both the Speer and the Bough. The Alder left for Thunder Bay last night to break ice in their harbor but should be back sometime today, where it appears it will be needed. Photo taken on December 22, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-23-2008

Edgar B. Speer departs Duluth canal

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Three boats, the Edward L. Ryerson, the American Spirit and the American Victory are already in port for winter lay up. The Spirit is at the Lakehead Pipeline dock in Superior; the Ryerson and the Victory are at Fraser Shipyards, also in Superior. The Edgar B. Speer is arriving today after discharging a cargo of iron ore pellets in Gary. It will load more iron ore pellets here and then return to Gary for discharge. It is seen above departing Duluth for Gary this past August. Photo taken on August 25, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-20-2008

Faithful fans of Edgar B. Speer

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Three thousand footers will be in port today to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Two smaller boats will also try to get a spot in the lineup. It is likely we will see at least one and maybe more boats at anchor off the Duluth piers. The Edgar B. Speer will be here for the 10th time this season, loading iron ore pellets for Gary, Indiana. Above, the Speer is seen coming into port in January, 2005, cold and icy but still attracting some hearty boatwatchers.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-03-2008

Edgar B. Speer in Duluth harbor

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The Edgar B. Speer, seen above moving down the Duluth harbor in October, 2004, was only here once last season but is expected today for the 7th time this year. Still it has spent most of the season loading iron ore pellets in Two Harbors. Gary will be the destination for today’s pellets, as it has been for most of the Speer’s loads out of the CN dock in Two Harbors.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-24-2008

Edgar B. Speer fights ice to get here

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Two 1,000-footers are expected in port today to load coal for Detroit Edison power plants in St. Clair, Michigan. The American Integrity was expected early this morning and should be loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. It will likely depart this afternoon, leaving the dock open for the arrival of the American Century tonight. The Edgar B. Speer, seen above departing Duluth on April 6th, 2004, is expected here today after battling thick ice on its way to the Soo. Upon arrival, it will load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth for Conneaut.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-04-2008

Many boats coming, going, waiting

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The ice flow just beyond the Duluth piers was a popular place on Wednesday morning.That’s the James R. Barker (center) departing and the Canadian Provider just passing it and headed to the Aerial Bridge to load grain at CHS in Superior. At the upper left, the Algowood was waiting to move into the coal dock at Midwest Energy (it finally came in around 7 last night). Of the two boats in the upper right, the Edgar B. Speer is at the left. It came in for a bit around noon and departed later in the day for Two Harbors. On the right, the Algosoo also is waiting for Midwest Energy. It will follow the Algowood. The Paul R. Tregurtha should have joined the line last night. Making its first trip of the season, it will follow the Algosoo loading coal at Midwest Energy. At first glance the picture above seems like a lot of boats stuck in the ice, but the ice was not a problem. Thirty mph winds from the east were causing problems, along with the waiting line to load coal. Photo taken on March 28, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-29-2007

Edgar B. Speer arrives in icy cold

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After some very busy days loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior, no coal will be loaded until Tuesday. After that, they will average about one boat a day until the Mesabi Miner arrives on January 16th. After discharging a cargo of taconite at Gary, the Edgar B. Speer will arrive in Duluth today to take a partial load of taconite at the CN dock in West Duluth. It will then go to Two Harbors to complete the load and depart for Gary. This is only the 3rd trip here for the Speer this season.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-07-2007

Speer brings ice, gets welcome

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Three boats, the Philip R. Clarke, the Edgar Speer, and the Roger Blough are expected in port today for winter lay-up. All three are owned by our home town shipping company, Great Lakes Fleet. The James R. Barker is due back here today from Taconite Harbor to get one more load of coal at Midwest Energy Resources, this time taking it to Marquette, Michigan. It will then return here to spend the winter. Above, the Speer coming in for lay-up last January.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-14-2006

Speer encased in ice

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Five boats will be here today. The Quebecois is discharging cement, the American Mariner will depart with coal, the McCarthy will arrive to load coal, the Columbia Star will come here to load taconite and the Federal Leda should be at anchor waiting to load flax for Northern Europe. The Edgar B. Speer (above, coming in last winter) will be in Two Harbors to load taconite for Gary, Indiana.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-25-2005

Speer will load taconite for Conneaut

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The Edgar B. Speer will be here today to load taconite for Conneaut, Ohio at the Burlington Northern Dock in Superior. It will likely come in the Duluth entry to get fuel at the Port Terminal before moving down the Superior channel to the BN Dock. Typically, taconite discharged at Conneaut is transferred to railroad cars for distribution to steel plants in Pennsylvania.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2005

Speer arrives ice covered

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Assuming the James R. Barker got out of here last night with the last cargo loaded in the Twin Ports this season, we have no traffic expected today. Nine of the 11 boats that will spend the winter in the Twin Ports have arrived at their winter home. We are waiting for the Barker to return after delivering coal to Marquette and the John G. Munson to come home from Algoma Steel, near the Soo Locks. They may be arriving Thursday. Above, the Edgar B. Speer was greeted by more than a couple well wishers and photographers on Monday, despite the -20 temperature. Crew members on the boat yelled at us, saying we were stupid to be out there. Can you imagine that!
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-19-2005

Speer in icy harbor

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The Edgar B. Speer will be here to load taconite at the Burlington Northern Dock in Superior. It will likely come in the Duluth entry to get fuel before moving down the Superior channel to the BN Dock. Photo taken March 23, 2003.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-28-2004

Edgar B. Speer

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The Edgar B. Speer has spent a good part of the year loading taconite at several Lake Superior ports and taking that cargo to steel plants in Gary, Indiana and to railroad terminals in Conneaut, Ohio where it is then carried to steel plants in Pennsylvania. Today, it will come in the Duluth entry, get fuel and then move over to the Burlington Northern Dock in Superior to load taconite.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-18-2004

Edgar B. Speer departs Duluth

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The Edgar B. Speer was in Duluth on Tuesday. She departed Duluth (above) for Two Harbors in the afternoon. There is no traffic expected at the Duluth entry today.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/7/2004

2003, another spring to remember

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March 20, 2003: the Mackinaw (below) arrives Duluth.
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March 24, 2003: the Edgar B. Speer (below), Edwin H. Gott, and Roger Blough depart Duluth
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March 29, 2003: The Frontenac is our first arrival of the year.
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April 1, 2003: The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. (not pictured) departed Duluth, the last commercial traffic until she did it again on April 21
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April 3, 2003: The Indiana Harbor tried 9 times to get through ship canal (above) but could not. She left her mark on the ice however (below)
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April 5, 2003:
The task for the day was to help the Arthur M. Anderson and the Indiana Harbor depart using either the Duluth or Superior entry. We started the day, on the Sundew, breaking ice around the Arthur M. Anderson (below, center) in the Duluth harbor. 230405-2--004Captain Michael Gapczynski was trying to take his boat through the ice and out the Duluth entry. After making about four ice-breaking circles around the boat, word came to the Sundew from the Canadian ice breaker Samuel Risley that the ice beyond the Duluth piers would not budge. The Anderson returned to her dock.We headed straight for the Superior entry where we would join the Risley, now out beyond the ice jam and heading for the Superior piers. We would use the same plan for the day but at the Superior entry instead.
230405-2--099The Sundew made slow but steady progress through the piers. Just beyond the piers, she was stopped in the ice. I thought we were stuck in the ice, but I quickly found out the word to use was stopped. Of course, it’s a good time to get stuck, I mean stopped, in the ice. A larger ice breaker was waiting to help out just beyond the ice we were stopped in. As a 230405-2--181matter of fact, I suspect that one ice breaker enjoys coming to the aid of another ice breaker stopped in the ice.We were quickly freed and with two ice breakers now in the Superior channel, Sundew Captain Beverly Havlik (center) was happy with the condition of the ice. She decided to offer the captains of the Arthur M. 230405-2--096Anderson and the still waiting to depart Indiana Harbor a chance to take a look for themselves. She called them and they accepted her invitation to board the Sundew and go for a preview ride out to the Superior entry. We turned around and proceeded to the Port Terminal where we picked up our two new passengers.
230405-2--134It was a nice ride out to the Superior entry. Both Captains shared some really good sea stories. Every Captain on the Great Lakes I am sure has many stories to tell of bad times dealing with ice in the Great Lakes.T230405-2--146he story today was about to reach its conclusion. Both Gapczynski and Bill Millar, captain on the Indiana Harbor, decided they should go ahead. We took them back to their boats and returned to the channel to wait for them.
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The Anderson, though smaller, went first since her bow was angled. That gave her a better chance to move through the ice field. And, by now, I suspect the Indiana Harbor was not too interested in blazing new trails.
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Both boats made it out just fine, with the Sundew sitting off to the side, ready to help, but not needed this time. It was early evening, and at least for me, time to go home
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Wednesday evening, April 9, 2003. The Sundew is still breaking ice in front of the Duluth ship canal while the rest of us enjoy spring. Below, you can still see the ridge made by the Indiana Harbor during her futile attempts to escape Duluth last week.The crew of the Sundew parked in the ice and spent Wednesday night on the boat. They were back breaking ice at 6 am Thursday morning. Some of the ice boulders they are breaking off are up to 15 feet high. Like ice bergs, only 1/3 of it is above water. Sometimes a boulder (the size of a small bus) breaks away from a heavier sheet and it pops up quite quickly and dramatically, reaching its own new position of 1/3 above and 2/3rds below water level. The Sundew returned to her dock around 6:30 pm. She will be out again, Friday morning.