Federal Mattawa crew to walk on solid ground

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The Federal Mattawa has been at anchor off the Duluth piers since May 19th. She finally came into port to load grain on Tuesday evening, June 10, 2014. For more information about her long wait, go here.
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Federal Mattawa, why so long!

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The Federal Mattawa has been at anchor off the Duluth piers since May 19th. With all other salt water vessels at the start of the season, she was delayed by ice and a pilot shortage when the season first began. She arrived in Montreal at the beginning of the St. Lawrence Seaway system on April 21. She made it to Hamilton to discharge some cargo on April 26. She left there on May 7, likely delayed there by ice. She arrived in Thunder Bay anchorage on May 8 and finally arrived to the Duluth anchorage on May 19. Several ships have joined her from time to time. They left and she stayed. Above, the Vancouverborg, is in front, then the Apollon, and the Federal Mattawa. Below still with the Apollon and below, she shines bright, alone in the sun and ice.
Why the delay? In part, this is still catching up from the delays caused by ice in the seaway. She is waiting for grain to arrive in port by train, and rail cars are in short supply. This is her 3rd trip to the Twin Ports. On her first trip, in August, 2007, she loaded bentonite and the second trip, in May, 2008, she loaded grain, as she will this trip whenever the grain arrives.
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Have some ice with your salt water ships

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We didn’t have a lot of ship traffic today (Memorial Day, May 26, 2014) but we had 2 salt water vessels sitting in the ice field just beyond the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. In back, the Federal Mattawa has been at anchor for over a week. In front, the Apollon had been at anchor for sometime. Then last Friday evening, she came in from the anchorage to load durum wheat for Ravenna, Italy, a port on the north eastern coast of Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. They finished that and went back to the anchorage to wait for a pilot be become available, probably early this evening. We send a lot of wheat to Italy, and not surprisingly, it will eventually be used for pasta. The next time you are eating pasta in Italy, it might have come from Minnesota. The Apollon was built in 1996 as the Spring Laker. This is her 3rd trip to the Twin Ports. Last November, she was here to load bentonite. Her home port is in Athens, Greece where the ship’s officers live. The crew is from the Philippines.

Happy Memorial Day from Duluth

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Top, the Federal Mattawa waits in the ice to load grain. Likewise, just below her (in the picture) is the Greek owned Apollon (the officers are  Greek; the crew is from the Philippines). The Vancouverborg, below them, is getting the hell out, with a cargo of beet pulp pellets for Greenore, Ireland, a deep water port on the Irish Sea. The port is privately owned, the town has a population of 898 people (in 2002) and it is famous for whiskey with the same name. There must be animals somewhere since beet pulp pellets are normally used for animal feed,  and are not known to be an ingredient in whiskey. Click any picture to see the ice better or the Google Earth map which locates Greenore.
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Federal Mattawa loading grain at AGP

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The Federal Mattawa came into port on Saturday morning at 7:22. It went to AGP in Duluth to load grain (above). Meanwhile, one slip over, the BBC Zarate was finishing a discharge of wind turbine parts from Denmark. It will wait for the Federal Mattawa to complete, probably later today and will then move over to AGP to load grain for a return cargo.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-04-2008