Heritage Marine story in Professional Mariner

20130413_8316The current issue of Professional Mariner (December-January 2016) has a wonderful article on Michael Ojard and his company Heritage Marine, located in Knife River and providing tug service in the Port of Duluth Superior. At right is my picture of his tug Nels J. working in the ice on April 13, 2013.

Sara Summers found the sun and the J.B. Ford

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The Heritage Marine tugs Nels J. (at left below) and Helen H. (above and on the right below) escorted the J. B. Ford on her last trip on October 9, 2015, going from her long time layup dock in Superior to the Azcon scrapyard in Duluth. The three vessels made the trip with the just rising sun making good shots a challenge but Sara Summers, a Park Ranger at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center (the Marine Museum at the Duluth ship canal), was up to the task, as these two shots demonstrate.
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Nancy J. is number 4

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Heritage Marine brought their 4th tug, the Nancy J., into Duluth on September 18, 2014, finishing a long trip that started in Texas. DSN ace photographer Holly took these pictures while Heritage Marine owner Mike Ojard filled in our ace reporter with all the details.
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Ryerson moves to a new home in Duluth

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The Edward L. Ryerson was moved this morning from her berth at Fraser Shipyards by two Heritage Marine tugs, the Nels J. on her stern and the Helen H. on the bow. Below, they are moving under the Blatnik Bridge and out of Howard’s Pocket. At the far right is the John J. Boland, still residing at the shipyard.
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Above and below, the Helen H. is handling the difficult job of maneuvering the boat between two bridge supports
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They pulled the Ryerson from her slip at Fraser, stern first. Here they are starting to turn her around so they can bring her into her new home bow first.
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From Google Earth, we see the short route taken. The tugs pulled the Ryerson away from her slip at Fraser Shipyards, under the Blatnik Bridge, around CHS and into the CHS slip, at the Barko Hydraulics, just across from CHS. 
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Above, we are looking from behind the CHS elevator. Below, the tugs are bringing her into the slip bow first. The CHS towers are now on the right.
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Above, the Ryerson bow is secure to the dock and the lines from the Helen H.  have been taken up. At the stern of the boat, the Nels J. is still connected and is pulling the stern of the Ryerson toward the Barko Hydraulics dock, her new home.
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Below, the Helen H. is now gently helping to move the whole boat next to the dock while the Nels J. is still pulling the Ryerson toward her new dock.
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The Nels J., no longer connected by rope to the Ryerson, moves to the side to help the Helen H. move the boat closer to her dock, where line handlers on the other side will tie her securely to the dock.
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Almost done! While the Helen H. pulls away and prepares to go home, the Nels J. is still providing a little push to the Ryerson.
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Mission accomplished; time to go home; I am exhausted
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Medemborg arrives for bentonite

Medemborg makes her 10th trip to Duluth to load bentonite
medemborgnelsj20111014_6047The Medemborg arrived Duluth on Friday afternoon, October 14, 2011. This is her 10th visit to the Twin Ports since she was built in 1997, her first visit this season. She was here twice last year. She will be loading bentonite on this trip; in past trips, she has loaded beet pulp pellets and other grains. She was assisted by the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. seen below on her way to the Medemborg just after the ship came under the Lift Bridge; at left, she has moved closer.
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I caught the Medemborg’s whistle as she came in.

Heritage Marine buys tug #3

Heritage Marine has been working with 2 tugs in the Duluth Superior port, the Nels J. and the Edward H. Mike Ojard has just purchased tug number 3. She will be called the Helen H. See notes from the trip to the Twin Ports below, thanks to crew member Paul von Goertz.
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The picture above taken on Lake Superior on the way to Duluth. They arrived Duluth on Sunday morning, August 21st, 2011 going under the Aerial Lift Bridge at 3:50 am. The new tug will be named: Helen H.
heritagemarphotoNotes from the trip to Duluth: Mike bought the tug in Galveston, TX, then he hired a pilot to run it from Galveston to New Orleans and then to Baton Rouge. He and son Pat went along. From Baton Rouge the boat was made part of a barge tow and brought up the Mississippi and then the Illinois Waterway as far as Peru, IL. There the boat’s stern was lifted by a barge to reduce it’s draft and towed to Lemont, IL. Here the boat was ballasted down to get under a railroad bridge, which it just cleared by inches. As luck would have it, a train went over the bridge as the boat went under. When inches count, we did not need a train to go over! To what degree did the bridge bend under the strain of the train? From Lemont the boat was again towed north, this time to S. Chicago where we once again took over the boat and replaced everything that was removed from the pilot house in order to clear the Lemont Bridge. We left S. Chicago about noon on Wed. and arrived in Duluth Sunday 3:50 AM. We laid over one night at Lime Island at the southern tip of the St. Mary’s so we could run the river in daylight. We also stopped for a couple of hours in Houghton to take on another 1500 gallons of fuel.
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