Hon. James L. Oberstar comes to town

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On May 24, 2011, the Interlake Steamship Company renamed the M/V Charles M. Beeghly the Hon. James L. Oberstar, the recently retired United States Congressman from the State of Minnesota.

Oberstar back for 1st trip after her Duluth Christening

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Hon. James L. Oberstar is launched …

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… by Jean Oberstar, wife of the congressman. Behind her is James R. Barker, Chairman of the board for Interlake and behind him, Congressman Oberstar.
 

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Duluth mayor Don Ness sits behind the Oberstars. Before running for mayor, Ness worked for Congressman Oberstar.
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Duluth Seaway Port Authority Public Relations impresario Adele Yorde chats with the Congressman. Not so many years ago, Yorde worked in the congressman’s election campaign writing copy.
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I have taken 100’s of pictures of the Kaye E. Barker and today, I had the chance to meet and take the picture of the boat’s namesake, Kaye E. Barker (above). Likewise for James R. Barker, Kaye’s husband and Chairman of the Board of Interlake Steamship (below).
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The Hon. James L. Oberstar makes his …

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presence felt again in Duluth. The ‘boat’ was pulled to the dock behind the DECC for her re-christening on Tuesday, May 23, 2011

The Hon. James L. Oberstar arrives in the Twin Ports for her Christening…

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… and also, by the way, to load some iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth after the festivities on Tuesday, May 24, 2011. She arrived through the Superior entry at 7:09 on Sunday morning, May 22, 2011. She is seen above waiting at a Port Terminal dock for the celebration.

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As the Charles M. Beeghly, the boat was in the Twin Ports 152 times since 1996. Many consider her to be one of the prettiest boats on the Great Lakes. She was very popular with visitors to the Duluth ship canal, as you can see in the picture below that I took on August 30, 2008. (Click here for more information and pictures)

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Interlake renames Beeghly to MV Hon. James L. Oberstar

(from Interlake Steamship Company, March 7, 2010)
The Interlake Steamship Company is pleased to announce the renaming of the M/V Charles M. Beeghly in recognition of the Honorable James L. Oberstar, retired United States Congressman from the State of Minnesota. The Vessel will sail from layup this March as the M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, and will be rechristened later this spring. Details of the rechristening will be released as arrangements are finalized. Congressman Oberstar is a distinguished Minnesota legislator and legislative leader who dedicated nearly half a century to service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Oberstar’s tenure on Capitol Hill stretched over 36 years as a Member of Congress and 11 years as a senior Congressional aide. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congress’ primary expert on transportation issues. Congressman Oberstar was a featured speaker at the christening of Interlake’s M/V Mesabi Miner in Duluth in 1977.
Congressman Oberstar’s exposure to the iron ore industry and Great Lakes shipping started at an early age, as his father was an ore miner. As a legislator, Congressman Oberstar was well known as a tireless champion of maritime issues, particular those on the Great Lakes. He represented Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, a region that depends upon Great Lakes shipping to move iron ore pellets to market, often through the westernmost Great Lakes port of Duluth, Minnesota.
Congressman Oberstar fought for adequate Great Lakes’ icebreaking resources to keep iron ore moving to the nation’s steel mills during the winter months, an effort that culminated in the 2006 launching of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter MACKINAW.
He also worked to legislate funding for a critically needed second lock capable of handling the Great Lake’s largest 1,000’ long vessels at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the construction of which is now underway. Among his many other accomplishments, Congressman Oberstar was a vocal advocate for adequate and fair funding for dredging across the Great Lakes basin, a critical component to the efficient movement of maritime commerce across the Great Lakes.
The M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar (formerly the M/V Charles M. Beeghly) is 806’ long with a beam of 75’, and has a carrying capacity of 27,500 net tons. The Vessel was built in 1958 at the American Shipbuilding Company in Toledo, Ohio, and christened the Str. Shenago II in 1959. The Vessel has undergone numerous efficiency improvements, including a mid-body insert that increased its length by 96’ in 1972, conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, and repowering from a steam powered vessel to a diesel powered vessel in 2009.
“Interlake is honored to be able to recognize Congressman Oberstar’s service and dedication to our Country by naming a vessel after him,” stated Mark Barker, Interlake’s President. “Few legislators have made more contributions to Great Lakes shipping and the United States maritime industry.”
Click here to see many more pictures from Beeghly to Oberstar
The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, operates a fleet of nine self-unloading bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. Interlake, a family owned business, is one of the largest U.S-flag fleets operating on the Great Lakes, and carries approximately 20 million tons of bulk cargo throughout the Great Lakes annually. Those cargoes include iron ore, low-sulfur coal, grain and limestone. Interlake was founded in 1913, with roots that can be traced back to 1883.