Federal Agno gets new crew in Duluth

Go back in time and join the crew flown to Duluth to replace crew members on the soon to arrive Federal Agno. They look at some of my pictures, visit the Marine Museum and answer visitor questions, then go wave to their ship as it came in; later they submit to a Coast Guard inspection.

Crew change for the Federal Agno

Trading crews in Duluth
While Duluth is an international port, we don’t have some of the usual things associated with an international port. After all, we are in Minnesota, just north of Iowa. For one, we don’t have any salt water. And most international ports don’t close down for the winter, one of the benefits of living in a salt water port.
Ocean-going vessels come into port, load or discharge cargo, and then depart. Usually, their crews come in with them and depart with them. Sometimes, we have crew-changes in Duluth. Relief sailors fly to Duluth to board their ship when she arrives, allowing other sailors to fly home for their vacation.
Recently, Captain Florencio Jampil and five crew members from the Federal Agno arrived in Duluth by plane from the Philippines. They were here to relieve current shipmates who would be getting off and returning home to the Philippines.
It turns out that everybody loves to come to Canal Park and the Marine Museum to watch the ships come in, even crew members who will be spending the next 10 to 12 months on one of them.
  That’s where I ran into the Federal Agno relief crew while they were waiting for their ship to come in. I remembered that a picture of the Federal Agno coming under the Lift Bridge was one of my most popular pictures. I asked if they wanted to see it. They said yes, so I took them over to the hallway in my building where some of my pictures are hanging and showed them the picture.
While looking at the picture, I told the Captain I was sorry I couldn’t remember the date the picture was taken. He had been studying the picture and told me it was taken in May, 2002.
He had been looking at the paint job on the ship and noted that it had to be taken after February, 2002. That’s when the ship was in the port of Shenzhen in China for an inspection and paint job. He knew what it looked like before the paint job and after.
He was on the ship then. After the service stop in Shenzhen, they headed south to Australia.
He was the first mate, and one of his tasks was to plot the ship’s future course. He was familiar with the course the ship would be taking even though he was getting off the ship in Australia. He told me some of the ship’s itinerary after they departed Australia and set sail for Duluth.
  They had several stops before Duluth. They loaded zinc blocks in Australia and discharged that cargo off in Detroit and several other Great Lakes destinations. Then they set off for Duluth and my waiting camera.
They came under the Lift Bridge at 4:25 in the afternoon of May 26th. As they went under, they picked up the assistance of the tug Kentucky, both of which then nicely sailed into my waiting viewfinder. The rest is history.
My camera got a great picture that not only hangs in a hallway in my building but also graces the wall in a local hotel.
Meanwhile, the Kentucky was working on a much greater purpose than my picture – taking the Federal Agno to the Harvest States elevator in Superior to load durum wheat for a foreign port.
I told the captain I would print some copies of the picture for the crew. While I was doing that, captain and crew went back to the Marine Museum to wait for their ship.
An hour later, I returned to the Museum with my pictures. I found the captain at the center of a large group of visitors, answering all their questions. If he had stayed around, I might have been out of a job.
Soon, the Federal Agno came into view and most of us went outside to greet the ship. I went out to take a picture of the people greeting the ship. After all, I already had a good picture of the ship.
It was fun to watch those on the ship waving to the crowd and slowing realizing their shipmates were a part of it. Soon, most of the crew on deck had found the crew on the ship canal. There was a lot of jumping and yelling and waving. It was clear, as the Captain later told me, that the people who work on this ship are a close knit group who has stayed with the ship through the years. Later I realized that crew members on board were really excited about getting off the ship and going home. They were happy to see their replacements in Duluth.
  That was the end of the good times visiting with the Federal Agno. The next morning, I went over to see how things were going, knowing, that for me, the going would not be fun. That is because they were loading bentonite, a type of clay that is either creating dust clouds when it is dry or coating everything around and on the ship with what can only be described as grease when things are damp. With bentonite loading, ships almost always line their hallways with paper and enforce a no-shoes-anywhere-else policy.
When I arrived, it was dry but threatening. Halfway up the gangway, a thunderstorm started up. Lightning was crackling around me and the grease was beginning to gather at my feet. I try never to get near bentonite unless it is dry and the wind is not blowing. This was the worst case, dry when I arrived, but wet when I climbed down and tried to find my car.
Ignoring the problems I would have when I left, I still continued up the gangway, found the captain, took off my shoes and started to ask some more questions for the Duluth Shipping News.
Before long, the Coast Guard arrived and began a thorough inspection of the ship. Along the way, they ordered a fire drill, putting us all out on the deck and in the rain. I was actually on a ship with two captains and I was visiting with the relief captain. The other or current captain, at least for the next day, had to follow the Coast Guard around and answer their questions.
It was kind of interesting to watch the fire drill. The sun even came out for part of it. Most of the activity that I saw involved launching the lifeboat.
Forty minutes later, the drill ended. We returned to the temporary captain’s quarters. He had arranged for some food to be brought up. As it was set down before me, the Coast Guard walked in. I decided it was time for me to get off the ship, and try to make it to my car. I did think for a moment of grabbing my plate of Pilipino food but decided against it. I never checked back to see if the Coast Guard took a nibble out of my lunch.
I made it out and immediately went to a car wash to get rid of the bentonite. I would have to wait until later to wash my clothes.
I wanted to catch them when they left also, assuming they would all be out on deck waving good-bye. I am dedicated, but not usually dedicated enough to wave goodbye at 11:04 pm, the time on May17th that the Federal Agno, with her new Captain and crew members, went under the Lift Bridge, their holds filled with lovely bentonite

Federal Agno loading at Hallett

About 20,000 tons of chromium ore, the last of one million tons originally stockpiled in Montana during the Second World War, was loaded into the Federal Agno yesterday at the Hallett Dock in West Duluth. The ore is now owned by a company in Sweden. For several years, 2 or 3 ships a year have been moving the pile from here to Sweden. There is only about 40,000 tons left at Hallett. However, we may see it again since much of it is likely to be used to make specialty steel, some of which is imported from Sweden into the United States. Yesterday (above), a Hallett front end loader dropped some of the fine, black material onto a conveyor belt that took it up to the ship and then into the cargo hold. The ship left for Sweden yesterday afternoon.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-25-2006

Federal Agno relief crew greets crew

The Federal Agno has been here 10 times since 1996 but did not make it here last season. This very bright red ship came into port Thursday evening and began loading grain on Friday morning. That had to stop fairly quickly because of the rain. If the rain goes away, it may be able to depart sometime late today. This ship was built as the Federal Asahi (1) in 1985 but has been the Federal Agno since 1989. It is 599 feet long. The ship, like many ships operated by FedNav in Montreal, is named for a river, in this case, a river in the Philippines. On the most recent trips here, the ship has operated with officers and crew from the Philippines also. On a trip here in May, 2004, a relief captain and 3 crew members had flown to Duluth from the Philippines to report for duty. Here they are greeting their mates on the ship as it went through the Duluth ship canal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-22-2006

Federal Agno flagged Filipino

The Federal Agno came into port on Sunday morning and slowly moved through the fog and up the St. Louis River to load bentonite. It should complete loading and depart Duluth today. Above, the ship arrived in Duluth on May 26, 2002 to load durum wheat.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-07-2004

Federal Agno crew waiting and waving

Captain Florencio Jampil, along with 5 fresh crewmembers, flew into Duluth from the Philippines to relive some of their shipmates aboard the Federal Agno. Here they are waving to crewmembers aboard the ship as it came into port yesterday. They joined the ship an hour later.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-16-2004

Federal Agno under the Aerial Lift Bridge

The Federal Agno should arrive late Saturday evening to load bentonite. This ship was built as the Federal Asahi (1) in 1985, but was renamed in 1989. It was not here last year, but made two trips here in 2002, and two trips also in 2000. Photo taken May 26, 2002.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-15-2004