Barker and banner depart Duluth

The James R. Barker departed Duluth in the early evening of June 3, 2017, with her new banner in full view. For more on the banner see the two posts below or go here and here.

Mustang pellets on the way to Indiana

Above, on Friday evening, June 2, 2017, the Isolda was still loading grain at Riverland Ag, above lower center and the James R. Barker  had arrived, around 4 pm in the afternoon and was getting fuel at Calumet (top, right). When she completed that, she went over to CN Duluth (below) to load the first cargo of Mustang pellets to come down from the iron range on its way to ArcelorMittal’s blast furnace No. 7 in Indiana Harbor. See story below or here. To celebrate the occasion, Interlake hung a banner (below) on the Barker’s self unloader (one on each side) so every one could celebrate the big event as they make the trip from Duluth to Indiana Harbor. In the pictures below, they had not yet started to load the pellets but they soon did and she is expected to leave sometime Saturday afternoon.

Mustang pellets from the Iron Range


The James R. Barker arrived under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge about 4pm. She is here to pick up the first of many cargos of Mustang iron ore pellets created at Cliffs Natural Resources facilities on the Iron Range. The Barker will deliver the new pellets to Cliffs’ customer ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in Indiana Harbor (the largest blast furnace in North America). The iron ore is mined at UTAC’s “Thunderbird” mine in Eveleth and transported approximately 10 miles by rail to the “Fairlane” plant in Forbes where limestone and dolomite are added to the iron ore.

The pellets are created to maximize the efficiency of this particular blast furnace. Some of this processing was previously done at the blast furnace, thus saving ArcelorMittal time and money at their end. It has higher levels of limestone and dolomite than standard iron ore pellets that allow it to more easily flow through blast furnace No. 7. Cliffs started production of their new Mustang superflux pellet in mid-May. They built a storage facility, silos, a limestone crusher, conveyors and rail infrastructure to support the production of the pellets and their transfer to railcars for the short trip to the CN dock in Duluth.

The mine, located in Eveleth, was constructed in the mid-1960’s by Ford Motor Company. In honor of Ford, the pellets are called “Mustang” pellets, mined at UTAC’s “Thunderbird” mine in Eveleth and shipped to the “Fairlane” plant in Forbes, Minnesota for more processing before being loaded onto rail cars and shipped to Duluth.

Barker picture taken on July 15, 2015 as she was departing Duluth with coal. Picture just above, courtesy of Cliffs Natural Resources, shows some of the first Mustang pellets created at the new facility.

Barker last thousand footer to leave

The James R. Barker departed Duluth late this afternoon (January 12, 2017) with a cargo of iron ore pellets she loaded at the CN dock in West Duluth. That is the Great Lakes Towing tug Kentucky assisting her through the Duluth harbor. She is the last 1,000 footer to depart the Twin Ports this season. Four other 1,000-footers are already in port for winter layup: the Paul R. Tregurtha, American Spirit, Burns Harbor and the American Century

Barker runs local deliveries

The James R. Barker departed Duluth today (July 15, 2015) with 58,000 tons of coal for Marquette, Michigan that she just completed loading at Midwest Energy Resources. She was just back from taking the same amount of coal to the Minnesota Power plant at Taconite Harbor. Thousand footers do not usually spend so much time making ‘local’ deliveries within Lake Superior. This was her 20th trip to the Twin Ports this season; she was here 43 times last year. Above, how she looked approaching the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge today; below, how she sounded.

Friday night, let’s have a party

The salt water vessel Eider (the green one) came into port on June 16th to discharge a lot of pipe at the Port Terminal. Eleven days later (June 26, 2015), they are still here. Maybe they decided to test out Duluth night life and invite a few new friends over. The Great Republic (in the middle) and the James R. Barker (in back) arrived on time, but it appears the Barker had to leave early; must be another party in Superior.

3 arrivals on November 7, 2014

The Philip R. Clarke, James R. Barker and CSL Niagara came into port under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on Friday afternoon, November 7, 2014.

The day after the fireworks in Duluth

Early in the morning, after the fireworks on the 4th, the harbor was full of activity. Above, the Algosteel came in for iron ore pellets at CN Duluth yesterday afternoon. At 9:20 this morning, she is passing the James R. Barker on her way out of the port. The Barker arrived an hour earlier and was waiting at the Port Terminal to load iron ore pellets at the CN. Below, the Algosteel has arrived at the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on her way out. (Just to the right of the two men watching the boat, you can see one of my plastic (and wind proof and water proof, mostly) dispensers I use to pass out the daily Duluth Shipping News. This one was picked clean by the folks watching the fireworks last night, so I had better quit doing this and get started on today’s edition.

Sunshine, almost warm and boats, finally

The Algosteel arrived under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this  morning (May 4, 2014) around 7 am and went straight over to the North American Salt dock to discharge the season’s first salt cargo. The James R. Barker departed Duluth around 10 in the morning with a cargo of coal for Marquette, Michigan.

Three toots from the Barker; we got 2 of them

The James R. Barker deserves an award for remembering those of us who are standing at the Duluth ship canal when she goes under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, or might be watching her on DSNTV. Today, Sunday, November 27, 2011, she departed around 3 in the afternoon with coal loaded at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior and destined for Presque Isle, Michigan. Listen to 2 of her 3 whistle salutes as she departed.
Listen to her whistle salute to the bridge as she departed:

Barker makes some noise

James R. Barker departing Duluth on October 8, 2011
The James R. Barker departed Duluth around noon on October 8, 2011 with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle, Michigan. She will be back on Tuesday to load more coal, this time for Detroit Edison power plants in Monroe and St. Clair, Michigan. James R. Barker’s whistle as she departs Duluth on October 8, 2011

Barker out with coal; Sundew in with some friends having a nice time in the sun


James R. Barker arrived Duluth on …

James R. Barker arrived Duluth on Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saturday morning, August 13, 2011: 8:59 am. More on Barker

Music for the Barker on a Saturday evening

Mackenzie McGovern, on guitar, and Abby Ham, violin, both of Duluth, were on the job taking care of their buskering duties at the Duluth ship canal on Saturday, July 22, 2011 when the James R. Baker decided to depart the port with 64,000 tons of coal. They gave the thousand footer, and us, a nice serenade.
Mackenzie McGovern and Abby Ham play music while James R. Barker departs Duluth

Largest port (by tonnage) on the Great Lakes!

There is a reason why I am so tired at the end of the day. I have to keep getting up from my chair to take pictures of all the ship traffic. There was quite a parade this morning. Above, the Algowood was on her way out with a load of iron ore pellets and passed the CSL Tadoussac coming in to replace her at the CN Dock in West Duluth.
A couple minutes later, the James R. Barker was departing with a load of coal from Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. She was taking that to Taconite Harbor and passed the Victoriaborg coming in to load bentonite at the Hallett Dock in Duluth. As the Victoriaborg made her turn to the St. Louis River, she passed the Canadian Enterprise, loading fuel at the Murphy Fuel Dock before taking a load of salt to the Hallett 8 Dock in Superior. After that, she will go to the BNSF dock in Superior to load taconite pellets and maybe then, I can get some rest.

Four boats to start, more coming

The blizzard with no snow was gone, leaving ice along the shore and Lake Superior calm again. The signal for action in the port. Around 9 this morning, 4 boats entered the ring (the Duluth harbor). Actually, one of them was already there and was the only one still there when the other 3 had gone their separate ways. The James R. Barker (at left) was coming back from Taconite Harbor after delivering a cargo of coal; she was here to get more coal, this time for Marquette. Before she came under the Aerial Lift Bridge, the American Integrity came away from her winter dock in Superior and entered the harbor at the  south end, did a 180 and and pulled up to Murphy Fuel for gas (her stern can be seen on the right side of the picture) In front of her and just barely seen was the John G. Munson, still staying at her winter layup position for a few more days. With all this excitement, the Roger Blough decided to leave us too. Her bow is seen in the middle of the picture as she moved out into the harbor. Below, 20 minutes later she made the turn toward the bridge.

Barker starts off the new season

The James R. Barker departed Duluth on Thursday afternoon, March 17, 2011, with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle, Michigan. As you can see below, she wasted no time making her right turn to Michigan. The video follows the Barker as she appeared in the harbor after going under the Blatnik Bridge and around the John G. Munson, docked at the Port Terminal on winter layup (the Barker was docked at the Midwest Energy Resources dock in Superior, where she loaded her cargo of coal). The video then shows her passing both the Roger Blough and the American Century on her way to the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. After blowing her whistle, she moved under the bridge and out into Lake Superior. Spring has sprung! (although note the large amount of ice blown up against the shore just to the left of the North Pier Light.)

Your turn

Around 7:30 this morning (December 26, 2010), the James R. Barker (left) departed Duluth with 58,000 tons of coal for Minnesota Power at Taconite Harbor. The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. (right) had spent a good part of Christmas Day waiting at the Murphy Fuel Terminal for the  Barker to finish. With the  Barker on her way out, you see the McCarthy moving away from the dock as she began the short trip to the Midwest Energy Coal Dock in Superior. Below, notice the black dots on the ice beyond the Barker. Those are fishing shacks. I myself do not like to be in a shack on the ice when I can see open water out the door. But then, I wasn’t born in Minnesota.
Mesabi Miner passes the Walter J. McCarthy as she departs Duluth

The James R. Barker arrives in Bentleyville


Soft news from the James R. Barker; turning the electricity on and packing to go home

The James R. Barker came into port for winter layup on Tuesday afternoon (next entry down). Wednesday morning, it was time to ready the boat for her winter stay at Midwest Energy. That will last until around March 15th. One of the first jobs was connecting the boat to shore power (above). A large electrical cable is being lowered onto the dock to be dragged to the Shore Power box (lower left of collage).
While the boat was readied for winter, the crew was getting ready to go home. The halls were filled with stuff ready to go. Crew member John Woodward is seen taking his bags from his room on the boat out to a basket on the deck. As one crane was lifting equipment onto the deck from the dock to be used in one of the many maintenance projects planned for the winter, crew member bags were lowered to shore in the basket. One good reason for the basket is the ladder you see in the picture. It is not fun, if even possible, and certainly not very safe, to carry anything down the ladder that requires one of your hands. Hands are for holding onto the ladder; everything else goes over the side in a basket.

Getting ready for a long winter rest

The James R. Barker came into port on Tuesday afternoon after her last trip of the season. Boatwatchers aren’t the only ones who like to take pictures. Captain Tim Dayton took this picture of the ice fog surrounding his boat as he was crossing Lake Superior.
Later he arrived in Duluth and tied up at the Murphy Fuel Dock. That’s some deckhands taking the quick trip to the dock so they can tie the boat up and start loading some fuel for winter layup. Three of them made the trip to the dock and the boat was tied up.
Very quickly, workers from Murphy Fuel were on board getting ready to pump. Meanwhile, Adele Yorde, Public Relations Manager, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, made her way to the pilot house to take a look at some of Dayton’s pictures.
Later, Dayton downloaded the pics so you might see some of them in an upcoming issue of the Port Authority magazine.

The end is near ………

At 11:00 this morning (January 9, 2010) the Great Lakes tug North Carolina moved away from her moorings and headed down the harbor to await the arrival of the James R. Barker. The Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is up, awaiting the big 1,000 footer’s arrival. (more coming)
The Barker was here to pick up 58,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources to take to Marquette, Michigan. She is expected back here on Tuesday to go into winter layup at Midwest Energy.
With the Barker slowly making her way to the Murphy Fuel Dock (at right), the North Carolina doubled back to take a pass along the dock while the John G. Munson patiently watched the Saturday morning activity.

The James R. Barker came in for coal …

… for Detroit Edison late Saturday afternoon, January 2, 2010. She will load about 58,000 tons of low sulfur coal and should depart the Twin Ports sometime Sunday morning. The James R. Barker is expected back here on Thursday to load another cargo of coal for Detroit Edison.

The James R. Barker came into port for coal ….

on Saturday morning, November 21, 2009. The John J. Boland, loaded with limestone, was behind her but turned off to wait at the anchorage. Go here, James R. Barker for more info, including video.

James R. Barker and the Rose Garden in Duluth

The James R. Barker added to a pleasant summer evening in Duluth as she came into port just after 8 pm on Monday, July 27, 2009.

Barker & Bridge, a familiar sight

The James R. Barker arrived under the Lift Bridge on Monday evening (pictured) to load coal to take to Taconite Harbor. It left with 58,000 tons of coal late Tuesday morning and arrived in Taconite Harbor late Tuesday afternoon. It will return here early Thursday to load another 58,000 tons of coal, this time taking it to Marquette. Then on Sunday, it will be back after servicing the needs of two Lake Superior ports to load coal for Detroit Edison power plants in St. Clair, Michigan. Photo taken on July 13, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-15-2009

In line at anchor

Thursday morning on June 4, 2009: there are two boats in the harbor waiting to load coal (American Century and the Canadian Progress) and outside the Duluth piers, the Algosoo (left) and the James R. Barker (right) also wait to load coal.

James R. comes in from anchor

Scott Briggs brought the James R. Barker in on Saturday afternoon (above) after sitting at anchor off Park Point waiting to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources. That explains the angle of the boat as he was turning into the channel from the anchorage as opposed to coming straight in from the lake. His position in the picture appears to be and was to the left side of the North Pier Light because he was accounting for a stiff 35 knot wind from the North West. He is usually in the pilot house of the Mesabi Miner but the poor economy put the Miner in layup for the time being. Officers and crew on Great Lakes boats have been moved around since so many are in layup. After a month’s vacation, Briggs will return as captain of the Herbert C. Jackson, a steam powered boat only 690 feet long. The Jackson will be a change from the two thousand-foot long diesel powered boats he has been operating. Photo taken on May 16, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-17-2009

Ryerson departs with iron ore pellets

Above, the Edward L. Ryerson departed Duluth late morning with iron ore pellets.
Below, earlier in the morning, the James R. Barker eased under the Lift Bridge on her way to Marquette, Michigan with a cargo of coal for WE-Energies. She has about 58,000 tons with her.

James R. Barker arriving for coal

This week, we have had about one thousand foot laker a day. On Tuesday, the Paul R. Tregurtha left with coal and the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. loaded coal and left late that night. Wednesday, the James R. Barker arrived mid afternoon (above) and was expected to depart the port early this morning, leaving the coal dock at Midwest Energy Resources ready for the arrival of the Mesabi Miner a couple hours later. When the Mesabi Miner departs this afternoon, it will be the last thousand footer loading coal until Sunday, when we start over again with both the Tregurtha and the McCarthy returning for more.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-09-2009

James R. Barker ‘first out’ for season

The cement carrier Alpena was the first cargo boat to go under the Lift Bridge in the 2009 shipping season. Coming in just after 3 on Monday afternoon, it was also the first boat from beyond the Soo Locks. A little more than an hour later, the James R. Barker made the turn from the St. Louis River and came up the Duluth harbor (above) with about 58,000 tons of coal for Marquette. It spent the winter layup at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior and was ready when they started to load coal around 8am on Monday morning. Now we wait for the last first of the season, the first vessel to make a full transit of the St. Lawrence Seaway System. That is usually a salt water ship but occasionally it will be a Canadian flagged boat that started in Montreal at the other end of the Seaway. Photo taken on March 30, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2009

Season to begin with the Alder on March 10th and the James R. Barker on the 18th.

The Alder announced their initial plans for the new season. See just below, dated March 5, 2009

The U.S. Coast Guard will be commencing icebreaking operations in and around Duluth/Superior Harbor on 10 March 2009. Areas of operation include Superior Entry, Superior Front Channel in vicinity of Barker’s Island, St. Louis Bay between Richard Bong Memorial Bridge and John A. Blatnik Bridge, and approaches to Duluth and Superior Harbor Entries.

The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Attempting to approach or cross over areas of ice broken by the Coast Guard could result in dangerous or life-threatening situations. Also, operations outside the port will disrupt the ice offshore in Lake Superior making it more susceptible to drifting.

Commander Kevin Wirth expects to break out from the Alder’s winter moorings at their dock on Park Point at 8:30 on the morning of March 10th.  They will also scout the offshore ice to determine thickness and coverage. They should return the next day, probably using the Superior entry again.
They will likely return to their moorings sometime later on Tuesday, March 10th. The first commercial shipping activity for the Twin Ports is expected to be the departure of the James R. Barker on March 29th.

James R. Barker ready to rest

The James R. Barker is seen above as it moved through the Duluth harbor yesterday during its 49th and last arrival of the season. After some repairs at the Port Terminal, it will move over to Midwest Energy Resources for the winter. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was expected in port earlier this morning. It is getting the last coal cargo at Midwest Energy Resources and will leave sometime today for Thunder Bay. At 740 feet, it and its sister boat, CSL Niagara, are the two longest boats ever built for the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Niagara will be here for iron ore pellets early next week and is expected to be the last departure of the season. Photo taken on January 08, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-09-2009

James R. Barker in for one last load

The James R. Barker returned to the Twin Ports on Sunday afternoon (above) to get one more cargo of coal, this one for We-Energies in Marquette. When it returns, later in the week, it will be for good, or at least for the next two months. The Barker will spend the winter at a familiar spot, the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior where it has been loading coal for many years. While it is gone, the Canadian Enterprise is expected in to get the last shipment of coal for the year, and it will probably be the last departure of the year when it departs under the Lift Bridge. When the Barker returns, it will probably be the last arrival of the season. Photo taken on January 04, 2009
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-05-2009

James R. Barker departs under Aerial Lift Bridge

The James R. Barker departed under the Lift Bridge on Friday afternoon with 58,000 tons of coal for the We Energies power plant in Marquette, Michigan. It will return on Monday to load another 58,000 tons for Detroit Edison at St. Clair, Michigan. There has been a long tradition of Polish operated ships coming to Duluth with Polish crews, but not this year. The Irma, owned by the Polish Steamship Company, will be here today for the first time this season. It will drop anchor off the Duluth piers and come in on Monday morning around 6 am to load durum wheat for Algeria. Photo taken on December 05, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-06-2008

James R. Barker exits with iron ore pellets

The James R. Barker left the port on Friday afternoon (above) with a cargo of iron ore pellets for South Chicago. The pellets were loaded at the CN dock in West Duluth. As happens sometimes, it was originally scheduled to load coal directly across the St. Louis River at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior, but the schedule was changed. Earlier this month, the Kaye E. Barker made 4 trips from Duluth to Taconite Harbor and Marquette. The St. Clair will pick up the local run later today when it arrives to load coal for the Minnesota Power Hillside Substation at Silver Bay. It will be back again on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, each time to pick up coal for Silver Bay. Winter is on the way and Silver Bay will be ready. Photo taken on November 28, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-29-2008

James R. Barker greeted by lighthouse and visitors

The James R. Barker will be here this afternoon to load coal for the We Energies power plant at Presque Isle, Michigan. This is the 30th trip the Barker has made to the Twin Ports this season. It loads iron ore pellets about half the time and coal the other half. About half of the coal trips are to Presque Isle. Above, the Barker is seen entering the Duluth piers in September, 2005. The Barker, built in 1976, was the third thousand footer to sail on the Great Lakes.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-06-2008

Runners watch the Barker go by

Maybe a brief shower cooled off the runners but more runners than usual sitting, laying and suffering on the Maritime Museum back yard turned around and some even stood up to see the James R. Barker pass by (above). The Barker itself was a little excited, providing everybody with a double dose of whistle. It came in around 2 in the afternoon, the Herbert C. Jackson departed at 10 in the morning and was not noticed by most runners. They had other things on their mind.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-22-2008

Barker goes to Fitgers

Many tourists and visitors saw nothing out of the ordinary in the picture above. Duluthians were wondering why the James R. Barker was headed over to Fitgers on Sunday morning. Happily, it didn’t make it. The 1,000-footer made a turn, circled back and shortly came into port to load coal. Earlier, as it approached the ship canal, the boat called the bridge to tell them they were going to turn away and check some concerns they had about the boat’s rudder. That done, they came in. The picture was taken from the grounds of the Marine Museum in Canal Park.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-26-2008

James R. Barker again for coal

The James R. Barker came into port on Sunday evening (above) to load coal for a Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan. The boat called the St. Clair was named after the city since it was intended to deliver coal to that power plant. It still does but it goes to many other ports with a variety of cargos. Today it was set to load iron ore pellets in Two Harbors but it arrived in Duluth at 7:30 Sunday night. It is either getting fuel or repairs or their orders have been changed. The now Canadian flagged Robert S. Pierson will load iron ore pellets in Superior. It is the former US flagged Wolverine.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-28-2008

James R. Barker gets back to work

Ice is not nice this season, although the James R. Barker was able to get back to work yesterday, leaving Duluth on Sunday afternoon (above) with coal for Detroit Edison. It came into port last week with ice damage. The Paul R. Tregurtha remains at the Port Terminal getting repairs to ice damage to the bow. There is a build up of traffic stuck in the St. Mary’s River just beyond the Soo. At the least, that has delayed the arrival here of the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, originally expected today. The Cason J. Callaway and the American Republic were involved in a collision, caused by the ice. The Callaway continued on but will need repairs; the American Republic headed to Sturgeon Bay for repairs, accompanied by the Coast Guard cutter Katmai Bay. The Biscayne Bay, here several weeks ago to break ice in the Twin Ports, is hard at work helping boats in the St. Mary’s River. Photo taken on March 30, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2008

James R. Barker arrives Twin Ports

The first thousand footers from beyond the Soo Locks will be in port today. The Paul R. Tregurtha, at 1,013 feet the longest of the 13 working the Great Lakes, was expected last night. After a stop for fuel and then some repairs, it was expected to be loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior by first light. The James R. Barker is due late this evening. Both boats spent the winter layup in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin; both are owned by Interlake Steamship in Cleveland and both will be loading about 60,000 tons of coal to take to Detroit Edison power plants in St. Clair, Michigan. Above, the Barker is seen entering the harbor on January 2nd this year. Photo taken on January 02, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-27-2008

James R. Barker here for taconite

The James R. Barker came in on Wednesday morning for taconite (above) and likely didn’t leave until very early this morning, assuming the winds have died down. High winds from the west slowed the activity in the port yesterday, and those problems are likely still working themselves out with boats at anchor waiting to come in. On Thursday morning, one boat captain in the anchorage gave up his place in line at the coal dock to another boat rather than coming in through the piers with the wind. That does not happen very often if ever. Earlier in the week, with cold temperatures, the problem was ice. The temperature went up and wind became an even bigger problem. With ice, you can call a tug, or the Coast Guard. With wind, you wait in your boat. Photo taken on January 02,2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-04-2008

James R. Barker visits Duluth often

The James R. Barker has been delayed by wind on Lake Superior but is expected in port today to load 58,000 tons of coal for the Presque Isle power plant operated by We Energies in Marquette, Michigan. It is one of 5 in their system providing electric power to Wisconsin and Michigan. This is the 28th trip to the Twin Ports for the Barker this season. Built in 1976, it was the third thousand footer to sail on the Great Lakes. Above, it is entering the Duluth ship canal in September, 2005.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-02-2007

James R. Barker enters Duluth ship canal

The folks at Burlington Northern sure know how to throw a 4th of July party. They started things off early with the Spar Garnet, there to load taconite for Algeria. While it should have departed around 3 am, the CSL Niagara and the Voyageur Pioneer, early arrivals to the party, have been waiting at anchor since yesterday. When they complete loading and depart sometime today, the Edward L. Ryerson and the Great Lakes Trader will be waiting to come in to the party. One uninvited guest will likely pass right by the party. The James R. Barker is expected to come under the Lift Bridge this morning to load coal. By the time it departs, the Lift Bridge may be down for the fireworks, leaving the Barker to move down the Superior channel right by the party at the BN and out into the lake. Above, the Barker approaches the ship canal on September 16th, 2005.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-04-2007

James R. Barker departs harbor ice

Two thousand footers should be here this morning. The Paul R. Tregurtha will be loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The James R. Barker will be loading taconite at the CN dock just across the St. Louis River from Midwest. The Tregurtha probably arrived shortly after midnight and waited for the Canadian Enterprise to complete loading coal for Thunder Bay. The Tregurtha may have dropped anchor off the Duluth piers or come in to take on fuel at the Murphy Fuel Dock at the Port Terminal. Either way, an hour or so before the Enterprise was set to depart, the Tregurtha probably moved up the river and stationed itself just behind the Canadian Enterprise so it could move in just as the Enterprise was departing. There is no rest for the people at Midwest Energy. Minutes after the Enterprise departed the dock, the Tregurtha was tied up. And not many minutes later, the coal was going into its cargo holds. At least if everything works today like it usually does. Above, the Barker slowly moves through the ice in March of last year as it departed Duluth.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-23-2007

The James R. Barker took coal to Marquette, Michigan on St. Pat’s Day

At the beginning of the season, the Mesabi Miner loaded 3 cargos of coal for Lake Superior ports before any other boats had moved. Last year, the James R. Barker did the same thing. Above, the Barker is departing Duluth last year for Marquette, Michigan on March 17th. Today, the Barker was expected to leave Taconite Harbor early this morning to return to the Twin Ports to load coal. This will be its 5th trip here this season. The boat split the first 4 trips evenly between coal and taconite. The Barker was launched in 1976, a year before its fleet mate the Mesabi Miner was launched. Both are 1,000 feet long and are owned and operated by Interlake Steamship in Cleveland. This year, both boats are alternating loads of coal with loads of taconite.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-22-2007

Many boats coming, going, waiting

The ice flow just beyond the Duluth piers was a popular place on Wednesday morning.That’s the James R. Barker (center) departing and the Canadian Provider just passing it and headed to the Aerial Bridge to load grain at CHS in Superior. At the upper left, the Algowood was waiting to move into the coal dock at Midwest Energy (it finally came in around 7 last night). Of the two boats in the upper right, the Edgar B. Speer is at the left. It came in for a bit around noon and departed later in the day for Two Harbors. On the right, the Algosoo also is waiting for Midwest Energy. It will follow the Algowood. The Paul R. Tregurtha should have joined the line last night. Making its first trip of the season, it will follow the Algosoo loading coal at Midwest Energy. At first glance the picture above seems like a lot of boats stuck in the ice, but the ice was not a problem. Thirty mph winds from the east were causing problems, along with the waiting line to load coal. Photo taken on March 28, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-29-2007

James R. Barker pushing ice

The James R. Barker arrived yesterday afternoon, coming under the Lift Bridge at 4:16 (above). The 1,000-footer often spends the winter in Duluth but this winter, it went to Milwaukee. The big event today is probably the departure of the John G. Munson from Fraser Shipyards. It will go under the bridge and over to Two Harbors to load taconite, probably sometime around noon. All boats that visit Duluth show obvious wear and tear on the hull, particularly the sides that often are in contact with the locks they have to pass through to get around the Great Lakes. They also tie up right next to a dock and that can take a toll. Every winter there is usually at least one boat that departs Duluth with a new coat of paint. This year that would be the Munson. If you ever dreamed of seeing a clean, scratch-free boat, today is the day to be down at the ship canal when the Munson passes through. Photo taken on March 27, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-28-2007

James R. Barker greeted by Duluth visitors

The number of people who are down at the ship canal has been dwindling as the weather gets colder. The James R. Barker will be arriving here today to load taconite and also departing later in the day. We will not have a welcome like we did last July 8 (above) when the 1,000 footer was arriving Duluth. On that trip, it was here to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Today, it will be across the St. Louis River loading taconite at the CN dock in West Duluth. It is the Barker’s 18th trip here this season.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-01-2006