American Fortitude still busy

If you like variety, the American Fortitude is the boat to be on. It carries a wide variety of cargos to a wide variety of ports. It will be here today discharging limestone it loaded in Port Inland, Michigan. It may then load coal for Ashland and then go to Silver Bay to load taconite or it may go directly to Silver Bay after it completes discharging the limestone. You get a measure of unpredictability on the American Fortitude as well. Formerly the Courtney Burton, the boat is only making its 9th appearance here this season. Last year, it was here 24 times. On most of those trips, it loaded wheat for General Mills in Buffalo. Above, as the Courtney Burton, it is departing Duluth in August, 2002.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-25-2007

American Fortitude a busy boat

The American Fortitude will be here today for the 8th time this season. It was here 24 times last year. It is traveling a familiar pattern, loading limestone in Michigan, in this case Port Inland, and bringing it to Superior for discharge, then going to Silver Bay to load taconite pellets for the Cleveland Bulk terminal at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. It also brings taconite from Silver Bay to Ashtabula, and occasionally to Indiana Harbor. The bulk terminal at Cleveland provides taconite for the Mittal Steel Plant up the river. Since the Fortitude is small and nimble, it sometimes becomes a riverboat and takes the taconite directly to the steel plant. Above, we see it coming into Duluth last November.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-15-2007

American Fortitude to depart

Sometimes, boats that come into port early in the day, also leave the same day, providing boat watchers with a double chance to see the boat, although they may have to be up early in the morning to do it. The Algosoo is bringing salt into port very early this morning. After discharging that cargo, it will move over to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to load coal. The only problem: two thousand footers, the American Integrity and the American Century, will be arriving to do the same thing. The Algosoo may get there first, second or third depending upon the progress it makes discharging salt. Perhaps two of the three will be in and out during the same day. Hopefully, some will be around when Inline Marathoners are coming around the DECC on their way to the finish line. A mystery barge, the Primary 1, should be here sometime to load wind mill parts for Buffalo. Above, the American Fortitude, here to load wheat, is departing Duluth last month. It may also come in and go out today.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-16-2006

American Fortitude was Courtney Burton

The fall harvest must be here since the American Fortitude is loading wheat at General Mills for Buffalo grain mills. The boat (formerly the Courtney Burton, as above in August, 2002) replaced the now scrapped Joseph H. Frantz. The Frantz replaced the now rejuvenated Kinsman Independent (as the Voyageur Independent) as the main hauler of wheat from Midwestern farms, by way of Duluth Superior, to Buffalo. The Kinsman was strictly a grain ship and it disappeared in the summer after bringing wheat to Buffalo in the spring. Sometime, usually in August, the Kinsman Independent reappeared on the horizon, signally the fall harvest. The American Fortitude has been picking up some taconite here lately but may be back in harvest mode; perhaps one of the first signs of fall.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-14-2006

American Fortitude gets new lettering

Several weeks ago, the then Courtney Burton brought limestone into port and then went over to Fraser Shipyards in Superior to get refitted as an American Steamship vessel called the American Fortitude. American Steamship had just purchased six boats from the Oglebay Norton Company and renamed them all. The American Fortitude will be here today to discharge limestone it loaded in Calcite, Michigan. It is expected to then move to the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth to load taconite for Lorain. Above, workers at Fraser Shipyards in Superior were painting over the ship’s former owners name on June 6th, making way for American Steamship’s ‘new’ boat, American Fortitude.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-17-2006

American Fortitude continued

The American Fortitude was still being worked on Wednesday morning. It still needs an ‘Amer’ added to the nameplate on the stern of the boat. Above, a crane from Fraser Shipyards in Superior is moving equipment onto the boat. Just above the base of the crane you can see the bow of the John Sherwin, the boat that sat idle in the port since 1981, but which was moved to the shipyard in April to evaluate its fitness for a return to service on the Great Lakes. The boat previously called the Middletown is due here on Saturday with a load of limestone, only she will be named the American Victory from now on.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-08-2006

American Fortitude is new name

The Oglebay Norton company has completed the sale of six of their vessels, all frequent visitors to Duluth. American Steamship purchased all six and is now in the process of refitting them. One of them, the Courtney Burton, brought limestone into port and then went over to Fraser Shipyards in Superior to get refitted as an American Steamship vessel. That includes a new name, the American Fortitude. Above, workers at Fraser were sand blasting the old name off the side of the boat, starting with the boat’s ‘former’ owner. The boat should be loading wheat here by Friday. Other name changes are rumored to be: the Armco becoming the American Valor, the Oglebay Norton becoming the American Integrity, the Columbia Star becoming the American Century and the Fred R. White, Jr. becoming the American Courage. No word yet on a new name for the Middletown. Maybe it will be spared.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-07-2006