Busy traffic at the Duluth piers today

20100909_4161
20100909_4214I took the picture of the traffic between the Duluth piers this afternoon (September 9, 2010. The Marine Tech dredge has been around the piers for several weeks now, clearing out the channel, particularly at the edges where silt and sand have a tendency to collect. Their tug Callie M., at the far left exchanges 2 different scows; she brings an empty one out and trades for the one just filled and takes it back to Erie Pier. She then repeats the process, again and again. Click here to listen to their whistle as they depart under the Lift Bridge on Tuesday, October 11, 2011. At right, the Canadian flagged Kaministiqua is departing Duluth between the piers with a cargo of grain. In the middle are two salt water ships at anchor waiting to come into port. The Beluga Fairy, built in 2009 and  making her first trip to the Twin Ports, is sitting just behind the Isa, a Polish ship that has been coming to Duluth on a regular basis since she was built in 1999. Unseen in the picture at top but seen at the left and also at anchor, is the Africaborg, built in 2007 and making her first trip here.

Kaministiqua arriving Twin Ports

kaministiqua2008Sep11_1872
The Kaministiqua came into port on Thursday morning, its first visit with that name. It started life as the Saskatchewan Pioneer in 1982 in Glasgow. The first ocean trip (after the initial trip from Scotland) left Duluth on November 14, 1983 for France. She visited Duluth many times after that as the Lady Hamilton. From 2006 to 2008, she was the Voyageur Pioneer. In 2008, she was sold again and now sails as the Kaministiqua. Photo taken on September 11, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-12-2008

Voyageur Pioneer leaving the dock

ladyhamilton230627-1-101
The Voyageur Pioneer should arrive around noon today to load spring wheat. This ship brings a lot of history with it, starting in Glasgow, Scotland where it was launched as the Saskatchewan Pioneer in 1982. It was built for salt water and Great Lakes work, allowing the boat to work the oceans during the two months the Great Lakes are closed. The first ocean trip (after the initial trip from Scotland) left Duluth on November 14, 1983 for France. It visited Duluth many times after that as the Lady Hamilton, but it is coming to Duluth today for the first time as the Voyageur Pioneer, a name it picked up when it was sold in 2006. Above, a tug (not seen) is pulling the Lady Hamilton away from a Port Terminal dock in 2003. Photo taken on June 27, 2003.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-15-2007

Lady Hamilton loads wheat

ladyhamiliton260826-1-022
After stops in Cleveland, Hamilton, Detroit and Burns Harbor to discharge steel coils that were loaded in Antwerp, the Lady Hamilton came into the port on Friday morning and went directly over to the CHS Terminal in Superior to load wheat for Ravenna, Italy. Captain Prabhat Ranjan wants to be in Italy on September 17th; they were hoping to depart the Twin Ports last night. Captain Prabhat lives in New Delhi and after 5 months at sea, he will be returning home after they arrive in Italy. He commands a crew of 23, one from Pakistan and the rest from India. Above, longshoreman Tom Fisher from ILA Local 1037 is guiding the spout as they top off one of the ship’s cargo holds on Saturday morning.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-27-2006

Three ships built in Scotland

In 1983, three ships were built in Govan, Scotland by Misener Transportation, a Canadian shipping company. One was the Selkirk Settler, later to be the Federal St. Louis, Federal Fraser, Fraser and in 2007, the Spruceglen. The second ship was built as the Canada Marquis, then the Federal Richelieu, Federal Mackenzie, Mackenzie, and in 2002, the Birchglen. The third, the Saskatchewan Pioneer, became the Lady Hamilton, then the Voyageur Pioneer, and in 2008, the Kaministiqua.

Misener wanted ships that could work all year round and not sit out the long, cold winters in Canada when Great Lakes shipping closes down. These would be heartier vessels made to navigate the many locks, rivers and ports within the Great Lakes, but could also venture out onto the world’s oceans where they would need to operate as salt water ships on the oceans of the world, enduring storms often fiercer than ever seen in the exciting, but still calmer waters of the Great Lakes.

At one time, Canadian companies were not allowed to buy a ship built in a country that is not a commonwealth country. Most salties that come to Duluth have been built in countries that were not part of the English Commonwealth. Many are built in Japan, China, Argentina, Holland, and Poland, meaning none of them could be purchased by Canadian companies. These three sisters were built in Govan, Scotland, in 1983, and thus were legal.

That is why they were built in Scotland; how they were named is even more interesting. Parts of Western Canada were settled by immigrants from Scotland who were brought over with the help of Lord Selkirk. He founded a settlement that eventually became Winnipeg. His followers were called Selkirk Settlers. By the time they got to western Canada, they had become Saskatchewan Pioneers. The pioneers endured many hardships, and had repeated failures trying to grow crops, particularly wheat. They needed faster-maturing wheat because of the shorter growing season. After many futile attempts, a variety of wheat was developed that worked great. That wheat was called Canada Marquis.

I was not around when these ships visited Duluth under their original names. By 1996, when I arrived, they had all been purchased by FedNav, a Canadian shipping company in Montreal.

Around 2001, Fednav was looking to part ways with these ships. To begin with, the name ‘Federal’ was removed. In 2001, the Federal Fraser became the Fraser and the Federal MacKenzie became the MacKenzie. That was the first step to getting FedNav entirely out of 2/3rd’s of the family. In 2002, FedNav sold the Fraser and Mackenzie to the Canada Steamship Company of Toronto. The Fraser became the Spruceglen and the MacKenzie became the Birchglen.