Federal Matane is big and blue

When the Federal Matane, seen above arriving in port earlier this year, departs the port tonight with a cargo of grain, it will leave the port empty of active cargo vessels probably for the first time this year. The American Century should be here now to load coal and will likely be departing before the Federal Matane does. There are people in the shipping business here who do not want the world to know that we close up shop in January for at least 2 months lest they might think twice about sending a ship here. I never like to admit that there will be no boats in port to watch or track. It would be bad for business. But never fear, Thursday will see 6 boats arriving in port to load cargo and 5 more will arrive on Friday. Snow and ice will follow shortly after that. Photo taken on May 12, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-07-2007

Federal Matane leads plethora of boats

The tenders at the Lift Bridge must have been tired on Saturday afternoon, but visitors to the Duluth ship canal were happy to see all the traffic. The operators had to lift the bridge 5 times within a couple hours. Above, the Federal Matane led off the traffic, going under the Lift Bridge at 3:15. Fifty minutes later, the Algolake came under the bridge, and soon after that the John G. Munson departed. It was followed by the Paul R. Tregurtha. It departed at 5:30 and as it was turning south after clearing the South Pier light, the James R. Barker arrived to load taconite. (The Tregurtha went south since it was taking coal to Marquette, on the south shore of Lake Superior.) The Virginiaborg was originally set to depart shortly after the Barker arrived, but it was delayed an hour or so, giving visitors time to eat dinner before they had to return to the ship canal to watch another boat. I might point out that yesterday’s schedule, printed here, included all these boats, in only slightly different order.  Photo taken on May 12, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-13-2007

Spar Opal will take grain

The Spar Opal is a Norwegian ship here loading grain. The ship started life in 1984 as the Lake Shidaka. It has also been called the Consensus Atlantic and the Federal Matane. In 1991, it became the Spar Opal. You can still see the imprinting on the hull of the ship’s first name from 1984. Or at least you could when the picture above was taken in 1999 while it was at anchor off the Duluth piers. This is only its 7th visit here since 1996.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-28-2005

Federal Matane first visit here

The Federal Matane came in from the anchorage Thursday morning at 6:14 to begin loading wheat for Italy. The Federal Manitou, a nearly identical sister ship, was here just a few days ago. Both ships are new, each making their first appearance in the Twin Ports.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-02-2005