Munson page updates


John G. Munson whistles a happy tune leaving Duluth

The John G. Munson departed Duluth on Tuesday afternoon, September 1, 2015, after loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. It was her 13th trip to Duluth Superior this season. She made 20 trips last season. Listen to her whistle as she came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

John G. Munson departs Duluth

After spending the winter at the Fraser Shipyards, the John G. Munson loaded iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth. She is seen here departing with the first cargo of the new season, taking it down to Gary. She left at 5:29 pm on Monday, March 23rd, almost a week later than our usual first departure.

First movement of the season

Above, the John G. Munson is backing out from Howard’s Pocket and her winter berth, while the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. moves ahead of her. They are both headed for the Calumet Fuel Dock. The Munson to fuel before going to CN Duluth to load iron ore pellets for Gary  and the Nels J. to make sure the ice did not cause any problems (and it did not). Just below, the Munson eases by the winter berth of the American Integrity.

Munson last boat of the season

The John G. Munson closed the 2014 shipping season for the port of Duluth Superior when she arrived under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 9:28 on the morning of January 20, 2015. The tug Nels J. made a trip through the Duluth harbor just before she arrived. Below, the Munson is about ready to turn the corner to the Blatnik Bridge and her winter layup home at Fraser Shipyard. The Nels J. was staying close by but the Munson seemed to have an easy time moving through the ice in the harbor.

Getting ready for the Munson

The Alder returned to the Twin Ports early Friday morning (January 25, 2013) and went right to work clearing the path for the John G. Munson to take when she comes in, later today, to move to Fraser Shipyards for winter layup. Below, at 12:15 in the afternoon, the Munson finally came in (below) and officially closed the shipping season, we assume.

The Munson is almost home

johngmunson20130124_7597The John G. Munson arrived off the Duluth piers early this morning (January 24, 2013) and dropped her anchor. Her expected arrival date has changed several times over the last weeks and again over the last several days. Ice and cold weather have added some complications to a mid-January cargo run inside the Soo Locks. I hear there are two issues at the moment that make Friday a better day to come in. The Alder, our Coast Guard cutter responsible for maintaining the shipping channels within the harbor, is expected back here on Friday and with her, a heat wave is also expected; it may get up to 19 degrees! That won’t change the ice conditions much but it will make working on the deck of the Munson, and the Heritage Marine tugs that will help her, a lot easier. (The Alder has it a little easier; unlike the Sundew, the Alder has an enclosed, and warm, pilot house.)

Boland, Munson in Duluth Superior Port for winter layup

The John J. Boland and the John G. Munson in winter layup at Fraser Shipyards on Superior. The Boland arrived on January 5th, 2012; the Munson on January 16th. Both are expected out for the new season; perhaps in late March, or April.

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.

Munson last boat to arrive for Winter

The John G. Munson came into port this morning (January 19, 2011). She is the last of 10 boats that will spend the winter in the Duluth Superior port. She was assisted by the Heritage Marine tug Nels J. The tug is helping the Munson get close to the dock after which the boat will slowly move forward, kicking the ice along the dock out as the boat moves along the dock until she is alongside and tied up just south of the Murphy Fuel Terminal.

John G. Munson makes another trip to Duluth

– the John G. Munson arriving Duluth on January 12, 2011.

Three boats for winter

At the far left, the John G. Munson sits at her winter rest. On the right side, the American Integrity is docked at Berth D and on her right, the American Century sits at Berth C, all at the Port Terminal.

John G. Munson

The John G. Munson came into port on Monday afternoon (above) with cargo loaded in Ashtabula. After discharging that, it will move over to the Midwest Energy coal dock to take on a load of coal for Marquette. It was built in 1952 with a self unloader on the deck, unusual for a boat built in the 50’s. It was 666 feet long, making it the largest self unloader on the Great Lakes. Early Monday evening, the Paul R. Tregurtha came into port. At 1,013 feet and 6 inches long, it is now the largest self-unloader on the Great Lakes. The Tregurtha was built in 1981.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-28-2009

Icy Munson passes Duluth North Pier Light

The Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in port yesterday for winter layup. It is the 8th boat that has arrived for layup so far. Four more are expected; the James R. Barker and the John G. Munson should arrive today. The Munson is seen above coming in for winter layup on January 20th, 2004. The last two, the Edgar B. Speer and the Edwin H. Gott, are now expected next Tuesday. Right now, the CSL Niagara is scheduled for next Tuesday also but it will load iron ore pellets. It is my third guess for the last boat out.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-08-2009

John G. Munson at icy CN dock

The John G. Munson arrived in Duluth on Tuesday evening to load iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth (above) for Gary. It didn’t bring much ice on its bow but it was surrounded by ice at the dock. Tugs had broken up the ice, making it easier for the boat to make the dock. You can see the boat’s self unloader turned out over the water to make room for the CN dock’s shuttle shiploader conveyor system to load the Munson cargo holds with iron ore pellets. The cold weather slowed the operations somewhat but by 6 pm last night, the Munson was set to go, earlier than originally thought. Photo taken on December 31, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-01-2009

Munson shrouded in ice and fog

It is the time of year when any prediction of a boat’s arrival time needs to include the words,’weather permitting.’ On the other hand, weather isn’t always so bad as the picture above demonstrates. That was back on Christmas Eve, 2004 and the John G. Munson was coming in through the Duluth ship canal, decked out in a bright shiny coat of ice with a healthy batch of fog around it. Good coats of ice are often available to a boat when it is moving into a strong, cold wind that splashes the cold water into the air ahead of the boat and then, as the water turns to ice in the cold air, gently drops it onto the bow of the boat. Such was probably the case for the Munson as it pushed through Lake Superior last night, on the way to load iron ore pellets for Gary at the CN dock in West Duluth. It should have arrived earlier this morning, weather permitting.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-31-2008

Munson with nice Duluth sky backdrop

Lately, we have had a number of boats, particularly the Kaye E. Barker, loading coal here for quick trips to Lake Superior ports such as Taconite Harbor, Silver Bay and Marquette. Today the John G. Munson will be here to first discharge limestone at Graymont’s Superior Plant, previously called CLM (Cutler-Magner), just east of the Blatnik Bridge before going to load coal at Midwest Energy, just west of the Blatnik Bridge. The Munson will then return to the Graymont Plant to discharge the coal there where it will be used in kilns that take limestone and create a variety of lime products. Above, the Munson is seen departing the port last June 28, 2008.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-26-2008

Munson here

The John G. Munson departed Duluth on Saturday afternoon (above). It was perhaps the first warm, dry, summer Saturday with a lot of ship traffic and there were lots of people watching. Ten boats came under the Lift Bridge on Saturday, 7 going out and 3 coming in. Just before the Munson departed at 3:20, the Algolake came in and just after the Munson departed, the Herbert C. Jackson departed. The Munson has one of the best steam whistles on the Great Lakes. It starts slow and finally lets out with a loud, full throated blow. The crowd got a treat when the captain sounded his whistle a second time as he departed the ship canal.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-29-2008

Munson in ice

On Friday, the John G. Munson was waiting in the ice off the Duluth piers to move over to Two Harbors (above). There it was to load taconite as soon as the berth cleared. Sometime between then and Saturday afternoon, waiting in the ice changed to stopped in the ice. There was some hope that the Canadian flagged Quebecois, due Saturday afternoon, would come by on its way in and break up the ice near the Munson. Instead of breaking up the ice, the Quebecois got stopped in the ice also. The Quebecois is loaded with cement, which sounds like it would help break up ice but not so. They both will likely wait for Spring, or hope another boat can break up the ice. The Coast Guard had no plans as of Saturday evening to send any ice breakers here, in part because of the high winds. The Alder is down for repairs.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/1/2007

Munson framed by Aerial Lift Bridge

The John G. Munson has a new paint job but it has been hard to see the boat up close. On Thursday evening, it moved over to the CN Dock to load taconite. Friday morning, the boat departed the Duluth CN Dock and went under the Lift Bridge, presumably to go to the Two Harbors CN Dock to continue loading taconite. There was a line there to get in and we had very heavy winds so the Munson turned into the ice just southwest of the South pier light to stay there until a combination of dock availability and good weather came together (above). As of Friday evening, with continued high winds and freezing rain, the Munson was still waiting in the ice. The boat, I am told by reliable sources, is not stopped in the ice, it is waiting in the ice. Photo taken on March 30, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-31-2007

Black and white Munson

After a winter lay up in dry dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, the John G. Munson was over at the Murphy Fuel Dock last evening, getting fuel before moving over to the CN Dock in West Duluth to load taconite for Conneaut. The boat will probably be gone by the time the sun comes up so we will have to wait for the next trip to see the newly painted red hull with a gray and a black bow stripe. A black and white version of the boat’s paint job is above, taken at Fraser Shipyards on March 9th. After a long lineup at Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior over the last couple days, no coal will be loaded there today. The CN dock, across the St. Louis River from Midwest, will be sending out two boats today with taconite for the lower lakes. Photo taken on March 09, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-30-2007

John G. Munson in the Duluth ship canal

Midwest Energy Resources is the most active dock in the Twin Ports, loading coal into boats on a regular basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Almost. Their schedule for today reads: NO ACTIVITY; STARTING 12/24 @ 1500hrs – 12/25 @ 2300hrs. That of course makes Tuesday a very busy day at Midwest. In fact, both Tuesday and Wednesday will be very active days in the Twin Ports. Four boats are arriving under the Lift Bridge on Tuesday and five boats will be stopping, or waiting, at Burlington Northern. On Wednesday, 7 boats are expected to arrive at the Duluth entry, 3 for taconite and 4 for coal. Of course, this lineup will undoubtedly change as the week goes on. Boats down on the list may get rerouted by the home office, or they may check down out in the lake rather than rushing in to wait in line. Above, the John G. Munson comes into Duluth last week.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-25-2006

Munson and American Century meet

The John G. Munson is expected here this evening with coal loaded in Ashtabula. When that job is completed, it is expected to get fuel before moving up to Two Harbors to load taconite for Conneaut. This is the 20th trip the Munson has made to the Twin Ports this season. The two thousand footers that Oglebay Norton sold to American Steamship earlier this year will both be here to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources. The Indiana Harbor, another thousand footer owned by American Steamship since it was built in 1979, should be loading coal there in between them. The American Century (formerly the Columbia Star) came in early this morning and followed the Canadian Enterprise there. It should have departed very early this morning and the Indiana Harbor likely moved in just after it departed. The American Integrity (formerly the Oglebay Norton) was expected early this morning and will wait for the Indiana Harbor to complete loading. Above, the John G. Munson was departing last March while the Columbia Star (now the American Century) was coming in.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-23-2006

Munson entering Twin Ports harbor

Thursday night, the BBC France became the 137th and last salt water ship to come under the Lift Bridge this season. Very early Saturday morning, the Federal Margaree was the last salt water ship to leave the Twin Ports this year. That was the earliest day in December for the last boat to leave since the Lake Champlain closed up the season in 2000 on the same date. The last boat in 1999 was the Lady Hamilton, leaving here on December 20th. That was the latest departure date since 1996. Two ships in 1997 also left on the 20th. Meanwhile, back in the port this year, the John G. Munson arrived Duluth just as the sun was setting Saturday afternoon (above). The US and Canadian flagged vessels will be coming and going until about January 20th.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-17-2006

Ice is nice on the John G. Munson

The John G. Munson will be here today for the 18th time this season. It is coming with a cargo of limestone loaded at Calcite, Michigan. It brings limestone on many of its trips here and often loads coal as a down bound cargo. Today, it will go to Two Harbors to load taconite after discharging the limestone in Superior. Above, it is coming in to Duluth on January 20th, 2004. Built in 1952, it was lengthened by 120 feet in 1976, an upgrade that extended its useful life on the Great Lakes. Unlike many other boats built in the 50’s, the Munson has always had a self-unloading boom on the deck.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-30-2006