Alder in and out

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2017-0126-1076I took the picture above and to the right this morning, January 26, 2017. I was curious why the Alder was going out since the season has been over since the Lee A. Tregurtha came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on January 16. I do not remember the Alder ever moving after the end of the season, much less 10 days after. Shortly after I took the picture, she turned around and returned to her dock at Coast Guard Station Duluth. We are having a very mild winter. That is open water on the bottom of the picture, even if it looks gray. I think she made that short trip to reposition herself at the dock for her first trip out in the ice in early March to break up the ice in preparation for the new season. By then, it might be a very cold winter. Since she breaks ice, she is the first ship to move in the new season, often around March 8, and that means she needs to break her own ice that has formed since January around the vessel before she can help other vessels.
2008Jan21_4130PRODJanuary, 2008 was a very cold winter. I took the picture of the Mesabi Miner (right) arriving Duluth on January 21, 2008. She was the last traffic for that season. I went back to the South Pier Inn to warm up when the night nurse there told me there was a ship outside the window that was not moving. I politely suggested that he was wrong since I  just took a picture of her going under the Lift Bridge. I looked anyway. Sure enough, she was sitting in the ice, not moving (below). This was big news; Duluth was about to wake up and see a 1,000 footer stopped in the ice just behind the DECC.
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The Alder was planning to leave her dock about this time so she would be out to open up the channel for the Miner and wait to make sure she had no problems. This was a problem! I had been invited to go out with the Alder but had decided to stay warm in my office. I immediately drove down to Coast Guard Duluth and boarded the Alder just as they were ready to leave the dock. They were monitoring the Miner’s problem. Captain Marty Lightner was ready to get his tug Kentucky away from her dock to help the Miner get to her winter layup dock at Midwest Energy. He reported trouble getting away because of ice. The Alder fired up her engines and found she could not break out of the ice that had formed around her hull. Here were 3 boats stuck in the ice, and two of them were ice breakers that were supposed to help the other boats. After a few minutes trying to get away, the Alder decided to fire up her buoy crane so she could move it back and forth from one side of the boat to the other.
2008Jan21_4145In the top right portion of the picture below, you can see the crane has been moved over the ice on one side of the ship; it was then moved to the other side as they tried to rock the boat out of the ice. It worked. As we were moving out, Lightner reported that he was also under way and was close by the Miner, helping her to break away. That worked too. Three vessels got stuck and unstuck before they created a scene to show the populace of Duluth as they were getting up for work.
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We have it pretty good this year (so far).

Labor Day in Duluth – people, boats and good weather

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The Mesabi Miner arrived in the Duluth ship canal around 4 this afternoon (Labor Day, September 7, 2015) and the Vikingbank arrived shortly after her. The Cason J. Callaway and the Presque Isle came in this morning. Still to come today: the Lee A. Tregurtha will be arriving and the Pilica is due in from the anchorage. Later, the Nordana Emilie and the Cason J. Callaway are expected to depart.

Mesabi Miner goes back to work

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After a couple days getting some early season maintenance done at the Port Terminal, the Mesabi Miner pulled away on Sunday afternoon, March 29, 20125 from her berth there (above). After turning around, she made her way over to Midwest Energy where she would load 58,000 tons of coal for Minnesota Power’s plant at Taconite Harbor.
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Mesabi Miner back in Duluth

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After the Mesabi Miner lost the race to be the first to depart the port, she settled for 2nd place, taking coal to Taconite Harbor. She turned around and headed back to Duluth, arriving at 8:51 (above) this morning (March 26, 2015) and easily winning the first to arrive trophy. But all was not so good; she will undergo a couple days of maintenance at the Port Terminal (below) before returning to Midwest Energy for more coal. She sits in loose ice here, but that is better than the John G. Munson. She is having lots of trouble with ice just this side of the Soo Locks. Both the Mackinaw and the Alder are working to clear a path through the ice for her to continue down bound to Gary and for the Edwin H. Gott and the Roger Blough to continue up bound.
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The good old days

While we wait for the Alder to open up the season, probably on Monday, March 9, here is a video I created during the beginning of the 2007 season.

Mesabi Miner in for winter

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The Mesabi Miner came in on Monday morning, January 19, 2015 after discharging her last cargo of coal at Presque Isle in Marquette. After stopping for fuel, she began to move over to Midwest Energy Resources to spend the winter. She had a tug assist from a Great Lakes Towing tug, seen here (just barely) moving around her stern at left.

Getting grain and iron ore pellets on a Sunday evening in Duluth

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After a week at anchor off the Duluth piers, the Raba came in on Sunday evening, June 29, 2014 and with the assistance of 2 Great Lakes Towing tugs, went over to the CHS dock in Superior to load grain. Earlier, the Mesabi Miner arrived and is here taking on fuel at the Calumet Fuel dock at the Port Terminal. Shortly after the Raba passed by her, she moved away from the fuel dock and went over to the CN in West Duluth to load iron ore pellets.
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Mesabi Miner In

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Storm outside, not so bad inside

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Outside the harbor, with winds gusting as high as “unable to open my car door, almost,” Duluth waits for the snow to come; within the hour as this picture was taken at 10am on April 11, 2013. The Mesabi Miner came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge this morning at 2:23. She arrived at the Fuel Dock as the Paul R. Tregurtha finished and departed for Midwest Energy where she is now loading coal. The Mesabi Miner will load iron ore pellets at the CN in Duluth, just across the St. Louis River from Midwest Energy. The winds, gusting at high as 47 mph, may delay arrivals and departures today.
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Indiana Harbor comes in for fuel

Listen to her whistle as she comes in:
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After spending the winter at Lakehead Pipeline in Superior, the Indiana Harbor departed using the Superior entry and came around to use the Duluth entry to come in for fuel (March 23, 2013, Saturday around 1 pm. She will depart later today for Two Harbors to load her first cargo of the year, iron ore pellets. She is the first big boat to enter the Twin Ports this season, but I don’t think we can call her the first arrival of the season since she spent the winter here. Below, the Mesabi Miner is at anchor waiting on the Roger Blough to finish at the CN dock in Duluth before she comes in to become the first arrival of the season. She also spent the winter here, but she took a cargo of coal to Marquette a couple days ago and is coming back here to load iron ore pellets.
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Mesabi Miner first to depart

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The Mesabi Miner departed Duluth this morning (March 20, 2013) at 9:30 am, on her way to Marquette to discharge a cargo of coal. She will return here Saturday to load iron ore pellets. She was the first departure of the season for Duluth Superior, she will be the first arrival in Marquette and she will become the first arrival here when she returns on Saturday.

Coming home for the winter

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The John J. Boland was greeted by a cold but hearty group when she came in for winter layup on Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2013 (temperature was 17 degrees F with the wind at 16 mph). Just below, the American Century came in at 7:56, Friday night, January 11, 2013. By Saturday morning she was tied up at the Port Terminal (just below). Below that, the Mesabi Miner is seen at her winter resting spot at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior on Saturday. She arrived on January 8th.
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Mesabi Miner first in for winter layup

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20120316_0486The Mesabi Miner came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge last night (January 8, 2013) at 11:51. She is the first boat to arrive for winter layup. Before taking her place at the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock for the winter, she stopped off at the Holcim Dock in Duluth for some minor repairs. (Above and below; note the red crane in picture above.)  She also stopped at Holcim for minor repairs last March (picture at right) before becoming the first departure of the new season.
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Mesabi Miner comes back for more coal

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The Mesabi Miner came in this morning (March 19, 2012) at 9:15 in the morning, a little earlier than expected, probably making up for the delays she had departing. In each case she was the first of the year, to depart and arrive. Later today, she will be the 2nd boat to depart this season when she takes coal to Taconite Harbor.
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Mesabi Miner leaving? Later today, probably

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After loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources on Thursday, the Mesabi Miner moved over to the Holcim Cement Dock (formerly St. Lawrence Cement) for maintenance work on the self unloading boom. She is expected to depart later today (March 16, 3012) for Marquette, Michigan. The picture above was taken this morning at 7:11; below 18 minutes earlier.
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Mesabi Miner had ice in 2008

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Mesabi Miner at Midwest Energy for layup

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There are 11 Great Lakes freighters in Duluth Superior this winter. Three have been here for extended layup, 8 came in January and are expected to depart sometime in March or April for the upcoming season. The first to leave will most likely be the Mesabi Miner, seen here at winter layup at Midwest Energy Resources on February 13th. Typically, the boat at Midwest Energy will load coal for a Lake Superior port, perhaps twice before the Soo Locks open, usually on March 25, when the full Great Lakes shipping season begins. Typically, the Mesabi Miner will leave around March 15; check here for updates.

Mesabi Miner here for the winter

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The Edwin H. Gott will be the last boat to come in for winter layup. This morning (January 17, 2012), the Mesabi Miner (above) arrived here after delivering her last cargo of the season in Taconite Harbor. She will spend the winter at the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior. That will make it real convenient to start the 2012 season in only two more months. She will likely load more coal for a port within Lake Superior, before the Soo Locks open (usually around March 25th). The Miner may get two  coal deliveries done by then. See video below.

The Cason J. Callaway passes by the Mesabi Miner in the Duluth harbor

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At 7:15 this morning (November 25, 2011), the Cason J. Callaway (at left)  came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge with limestone as the Mesabi Miner was departing with coal for Detroit Edison.

Listen to the Mesabi Miner depart Duluth

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It was a beautiful Fall day in Duluth (October 15, 2011) when the Mesabi Miner departed the port after loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Click above to listen to her whistle.

Bringing fish in; getting coal to take out

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The Mesabi Miner made a surprise visit to the Twin Ports today (July 26, 2011), first for fuel and then over to Midwest Energy to load coal. The fishing boat Opti 1 came in at the same time, hopefully with a cargo of fish.

Big news–no fog-see boats

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The Frontenac (center) came under the Lift Bridge at 6:41 this morning (June 23, 2011) and went to the Murphy Fuel Dock to get fuel. The American Integrity (right) came under the Lift Bridge an hour and 6 minutes later. She was waiting for the Frontenac to complete before getting  fuel  herself and then going to the CN dock to load iron ore pellets. The Integrity slowed down, almost to the stop  just after moving around the turning buoy. The Mesabi Miner (left) was approaching the Lift Bridge, noticed the Integrity sitting there and called  up to determine where the two boats should be after the Miner arrived in the harbor. The Integrity gave her a choice, the Miner said, ok, how about you move over behind the Frontenac and I will pass on the left on my way to Midwest Energy Resources to load coal. And that is how the above picture came into be.

Foggy April morning in Duluth

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The snow is gone, most of the ice has vanished; Duluth is the usual April shade of brown. Happily, this morning (Thursday, April 7, 2011), the fog moved in and prettied the place up a bit. Above, the Vista Star and the William A. Irvin survived the winter in good shape; unfortunately the Blue Bridge is still there, but after a slow journey from the Midwest Energy coal dock in Superior, the Mesabi Miner finally departed the port with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle . It seemed like the Aerial Bridge was the only place the fog lifted even a little bit. I could not see the Miner once she got beyond the bridge, just as I could hardly see her very well as she approached the bridge.
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Paul R. Tregurtha meets Mesabi Miner

Mesabi Miner passes by the Island Skipper

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On Friday afternoon, November 5, 2010, the Mesabi Miner came under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge for the 37th time this season, on her way to load coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. She was coming from Taconite Harbor and at 01:42 this morning (November 6), she departed Duluth for a return trip to Taconite Harbor to deliver a cargo of coal. You can see the Greek flagged Island Skipper at anchor waiting to come in, probably on Monday, to load grain. She was last in the Twin Ports in November, 1998.

Out with the new and in with the old …

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As the sun was going down on Wednesday evening, October 5th, the 1,004 foot Mesabi Miner was departing the port with 58,000 tons of coal for Presque Isle, Michigan while the Canadian flagged Quebecois, only 730 feet long, was coming in with a cargo of cement for Holcim (formerly St. Lawrence Cement). While in the picture, the two pilot houses are passing just next to each other, the Miner pilot house is on her stern and the Quebecois pilot house is on her bow. The Quebecois is showing her age. Built in 1963, that’s where they put the pilot house then. A decade or so later, that long standing tradition was turned around and boats were built with the pilot house at the stern of the boat.
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Mesabi Miner leaves with coal for Detroit

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The Edward L. Ryerson was the first boat to arrive here for winter layup, coming in on November 4th. That early date was one of the first signals that the coming season would likely not be so robust. As an older boat, built in 1960, there was talk that it might not go out this year, or ever again. Happily, it was one of the first departures of the season, leaving here on April 2nd with iron ore pellets. It will be back this evening to load iron ore pellets for Hamilton, Ontario. The last of our slow parade of thousand footers this week, the Mesabi Miner, departed the port on Thursday afternoon (above) with coal for Detroit Edison in St. Clair, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-10-2009

Spring is close, maybe

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With bright sun and melting snow, the Mesabi Miner departed the port today (April 9, 2009) with coal for Detroit Edison. She often spends the winter in the Twin Ports, but this layup, she was in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. This was her second trip to the Twin Ports this year. The Marine Museum’s tug Bayfield is at the right foreground.

Mesabi Miner nears the Duluth ship canal

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The amount of daylight we will have today, 11 hours and 9 minutes, is about the time it takes for a thousand footer to come under the Lift Bridge, load about 64,000 tons of coal and return to the lake for the trip back down the chain of lakes. That’s about how long most trips here have been for the Mesabi Miner this season. It is due here just before sunrise and should be leaving just before the sun sets. The crew has a good chance at a daylight job in Duluth today. Above, it is approaching the Duluth ship canal on November 25, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-31-2008

Mesabi Miner arrives for coal

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The Mesabi Miner came into port on Saturday morning at 10:07 (above) to load coal for Minnesota Power at Taconite Harbor. It likely left last night but will return late today or on Monday to load iron ore pellets. As mentioned yesterday, today is still mostly a day for loading coal but two boats slipped into the schedule with other cargo. The American Victory will be here to load iron ore pellets and the Polish owned Isadora will be here to load grain. Photo taken on October 11, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-12-2008

Miner leaves visitors wanting more ships

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Where is there a nicer boardwalk? In Duluth, you can go for a walk with a lighthouse on one side and a Great Lakes freighter on the other. Such was the case on Sunday as the Mesabi Miner departed the port with coal for Detroit Edison as many late summer visitors enjoyed a beautiful day by the ship canal (above). We have two salties in port today; the BBC Plata is discharging wind turbine parts and the Vancouverborg will leave with beet pulp pellets. A third one, the Federal Yukon, will arrive to load grain. On Tuesday, BBC Plata will depart and the Garganey will arrive for its first trip here. On Wednesday, two more first time visitors will be here; the Flinterland to load wind turbine parts and the SCL Bern to discharge them. Photo taken on August 24, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-24-2008

Mesabi Miner here for iron ore pellets, not coal!

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The Mesabi Miner is due here today for the 21st time this season. Many of its early visits this year were to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to load coal, but lately as today, it has loaded iron ore pellets at the CN dock across the St. Louis River in West Duluth. When it is loading pellets, it is truer to his name and history since it was named in honor of the taconite miners up on the Iron Range. They are the people who dig the taconite out of the ground for processing in pelletizing plants that create iron ore pellets for shipment to Duluth by rail and then to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes on boats such as the 1,004 foot long Mesabi Miner. Above, the Miner on a trip here last November.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-12-2008

Mesabi Miner here many times so far

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The Mesabi Miner came into port last night for the 20th time this season, the most trips by any vessel this year. There is a good reason for that. On top of making a visit every 4 to 6 days, it made 3 trips to ports within Lake Superior before the Soo Locks opened on March 25 and before any other traffic was moving in the new season. It spent the winter at Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior. Two ports needed coal and the Miner got a jump to the start of the season. On this trip, the Miner will be loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock just across the St. Louis River from Midwest Energy. Above, the Mesabi Miner is departing the port using the Superior entry on March 16th this year, the first trip of the three it made to open the season.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-23-2008

Mesabi Miner here for more coal

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The Mesabi Miner came into port on Friday morning to load coal for Detroit Edison at St. Clair, Michigan. In the picture above, it is just passing the Marine Tech dredge operation in the harbor. You see their crane barge pulling mostly sand off the bottom of the harbor, and dumping it into a barge. They have two barges so when the tug Callie M. is taking one barge back to the Federal Confined Disposal Facility at Erie Pier, where they were when this picture was taken, the crane is filling the other barge. They have been working 20 hour days and should be done with the portions of the shipping channel they are dredging by late September.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-17-2008

Mesabi Miner comes in from the cold

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The Mesabi Miner, after waiting for the weather to improve, came in to port on Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock (above). Today, the Twin Ports is refueling 2 Lake Superior ports with 3 boats. The Mesabi Miner will take coal to the Minnesota Power plant at Taconite Harbor. The Kaye E. Barker and the James R. Barker will both go to Marquette. The James R. Barker will replenish the supply of coal for We Energies, a power company in Presque Isle (Marquette) that serves both Wisconsin and Michigan. The Kaye E. Barker will take coal to the City of Marquette’s power plant.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-13-2008

Midwest to Mesabi Miner to Marquette

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The Mesabi Miner show continues. Above, it was loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior on Saturday before leaving the next day for Marquette. Note the ship loader in the bottom of the picture, extended over the boat’s cargo hold. The boat returned yesterday from that trip and spent the day at Midwest loading coal for Taconite Harbor. Meanwhile, the Biscayne Bay, after some ice breaking and a little R&R in Duluth, went back to work, leaving Duluth so they can break up the ice in Taconite Harbor before the Mesabi Miner gets there sometime today. It is about a 6 hour trip from here to Taconite Harbor and the Captain estimates it will take about 32 hours to discharge cargo before he will be able to return to Duluth to load more coal, this time for Marquette. Photo taken on March 15, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-20-2008

Mesabi Miner at Superior entry

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With help from the cutter Alder and tug North Carolina, the Mesabi Miner cleared the lighthouse at the Superior entry on Sunday (above). It is expected back here today to load coal for Taconite Harbor. Last January, it was the last boat to arrive in port for winter layup, coming under the Bridge on January 21st at 6:30 in the morning. Just after that, it was stopped by the ice just behind the DECC. The tug Kentucky came over and opened up a seam in the ice that freed the Miner. The Alder was close by and after several hours, with help from both boats, the Miner made it to the dock at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior where it stayed until departing on Sunday. Soon after departing, it passed the cutter Biscayne Bay out in the lake, on its way to the port to help the Alder break ice. When the Miner returns, the Alder and the tugs will be available, and perhaps the Biscayne Bay although it is set to depart the Port on Thursday morning, perhaps again passing the Miner in the lake. Photo taken on March 16, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-19-2008

Alder and Mesabi Miner conference

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Alder Commander Kevin Wirth (left) invited Mesabi Miner captain Scott Briggs (right) and his first mate, and relief captain, Tom McMullen (middle), to join him aboard the Alder yesterday (above) while they broke ice in the harbor. Briggs was scheduled to take his 1,000-footer off the dock at Midwest Energy today at 8 am to head for Marquette with a load of coal. He was able, while on the Alder, to provide some excellent guidance to Wirth on exactly what he needed to make a successful departure through the ice today. Briggs also brought the Mesabi Miner into port in January, the last vessel to arrive in port last season. The Alder was out helping the Miner then also. It was a short vacation. Today, they will be the first vessel moving this season. Photo taken on March 15,2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-16-2008

Mesabi Miner trying to depart

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It’s the time of year when our Coast Guard cutter Alder has no privacy. It has left a track wherever it went while breaking ice this past week. Until today, it was the only vessel in port that was moving. Eleven boats are positioned close to those tracks, getting ready to move out. Later today, the first of the 11 boats, the Mesabi Miner, should be departing Midwest Energy Resources in Superior with a load of coal for Marquette, Michigan. The Alder will be out in the harbor keeping the tracks open, available if help is needed. The cutter Biscayne Bay will be arriving in Marquette sometime today preparing that port for the arrival of the Mesabi Miner. That done, the Biscayne Bay will come to Duluth, probably on Sunday, to assist in the ice breaking. The Bay broke ice in front of the Mesabi Miner last spring as it departed Duluth under the bridge when the Miner was also the first vessel passage last season. Then, there was a 5-mile shelf of ice between the bridge and open water. The picture above was taken from the Biscayne Bay just after it cleared the 5 mile track for the Miner. It is waiting in the ice to make sure the Miner gets to open water. Shortly after the Miner cleared the ice shelf, the Biscayne Bay returned to port, using the track that it and the Miner had just cleared. That was on March 16th, 2007. Yesterday, the 14th of March, it was all open water.Photo taken on March 16, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-15-2008

Miner here (with help) for winter layup

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The Mesabi Miner came under the Lift Bridge on Monday morning at 6:15. Just after clearing the Bridge, the 1,000-footer ground to a halt in the ice behind the DECC. The tug Kentucky had trouble breaking away from the ice at the tug berth but was soon on the scene opening a crack in the ice in front of the Mesabi Miner. After a half hour in the ice, the Miner broke free, and with the Kentucky leading the way, moved over to the Murphy Fuel Dock. Meanwhile, the Alder also had trouble getting away from its dock, but after a half hour, it was away in time to clear a track for the Mesabi Miner to move from the Fuel Dock to its winter berth at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The Kentucky stayed close by the Miner (above) until it was safely and securely tied up at the dock, thus ending the 2007-08 shipping season in the Twin Ports. The three boats will likely meet again in 2 months when the new season will open and the ice will likely be a lot thicker. Hopefully, the temperature will be a bit higher. Photo taken on January 21, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-22-2008

Mesabi Miner out of the ice

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To January 1st, we had 1,186 visits by commercial boats this season, an increase of 38 boats over last year’s 1,148 visits. Up to this morning, 56 boats arrived in January. The Mesabi Miner left port on Friday morning with 58,000 tons of coal to take to Marquette, Michigan. It is expected back here late this evening or Monday morning. It will be the 57th and last boat of the 2007-08 shipping season. Since the boat left, we have had a lot of very cold weather. The Coast Guard cutter Alder will be out today making sure the Mesabi Miner will have a clear track to the berth at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior, the source of the coal it took to Marquette, and the lay up berth for the boat until mid March, when it will likely take another load of coal to Marquette. That would make it the first boat out in the new season, as it was for this season when it left Duluth on March 16th, 2007, above. In the picture, the boat has just reached the end of the ice shield, about 5 miles out, and is entering the clear water of Lake Superior. The picture was taken from the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay. The cutter had cleared the track ahead of the boat and was watching as it passed by.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-20-2008

Mesabi Miner will end season soon

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With the arrival of the John G. Munson and Edwin H. Gott early Thursday morning, we now have 11 of the 12 boats in port that will spend the winter here. The last boat to arrive for winter is the Mesabi Miner. It came under the Lift Bridge on Thursday around noon (above) but was expected to depart late last night with 58,000 tons of coal for Marquette, Michigan. With its return, probably on Sunday, the 2007-08 shipping season will probably be over. Probably, because there have been boats in the past that arrived later. The port is not officially closed although as a practical matter, it would be hard to do much business amidst the ice that will quickly thicken with the lack of traffic in the harbor. Photo taken on January 17, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-18-2008

Mesabi Miner arriving Twin Ports for coal

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The Mesabi Miner arrived in Duluth early Sunday afternoon (above). It came to load about 62,000 tons of coal for a Detroit Edison power plant in St. Clair, Michigan. We expect three boats today to load grain. One of them, the Ypermachos, has been at anchor off the Duluth piers for several days. This is the former Socrates, the ship that spent a week aground off Park Point in 1985. If you are down at the ship canal when it comes in, look closely at the hull where the current name is printed. You can see the raised letters of the name Socrates still visible. All the names that followed were only painted on the hull. The Polish owned Ziemia Cieszynska will be returning to Duluth after an earlier trip here in October. On this trip, it will load soy beans for a port in Northern Europe. The Adam E. Cornelius will be here today for the 17th time this season. Today, like many of the earlier trips, it will load wheat for General Mills in Buffalo. Photo taken on November 25, 2007
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-26-2007

Mesabi Miner arrives with waves

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There was a nice parade of ship traffic on Monday afternoon. The Mesabi Miner appeared on the horizon and in a very brief moment of sunlight, the Ziemia Lodzka could be seen behind it. The Miner came under the Lift Bridge at 2:50 and was followed by the Ziemia Lodzka at 3:20. High winds made the going a little tricky, but they brought out a few more people than usual, as you will note above as the Mesabi Miner entered the ship canal. Ten minutes later, the John G. Munson came under the bridge. You will see the Ziemia Lodzka at anchor this morning as it was only coming in to the inner anchorage to handle some routine business regarding customs and cargo loading plans. It went back out a little before 5 in the afternoon. Photo taken on October 08, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-09-2007

Mesabi Miner falls behind

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The salt water vessel Redhead will be back today for its 2nd trip here this season. It is loading grain at AGP in Duluth. The American Victory should be back today from a quick trip to Ashland to deliver coal. In the picture above, taken on Tuesday afternoon, it almost looked like a race to Midwest Energy, with the American Century, seen at the far left making the turn up the St. Louis River, the winner while the Mesabi Miner slowly pulls up to its second place resting spot at the Port Terminal. They were expected to meet again shortly after midnight when the Century would be leaving with coal while the Miner would be taking its place at Midwest Energy. Photo taken on August 14, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-15-2007

Mesabi Miner departs with coal

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Above, the Mesabi Miner departed Duluth on Sunday evening after loading coal for Marquette, Michigan. Today, we should see 6 US flagged vessels and one Canadian vessel coming under the Lift Bridge. Two of the incoming boats will discharge limestone today while three will load coal and two taconite. One of the two bringing limestone will then load coal while the other will go to Two Harbors to load taconite. Photo taken on July 29, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-30-2007

Mesabi Miner and Federal Yoshino

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Wind affected all shipping on Tuesday. Looking out from the Rose Garden late Tuesday afternoon, the Mesabi Miner, above, background, was at anchor off the Duluth piers, waiting for the wind to die down while the Federal Yoshino (foreground) had just left the Duluth piers on its way to Spain with a cargo of wheat. In the early evening, the Mesabi Miner did come in and went to the CN dock in West Duluth to load taconite. The Quebecois was also at anchor yesterday far off the Duluth piers. The two boats were together out there on April 1st of this year too. The Miner passed the Quebecois at anchor then when it was breaking its way through the ice with a load of coal. Later on that day, the Quebecois came into port, thanks in part to the Mesabi Miner’s opening up the ice track. Last night, the Quebecois also came in from the anchorage to discharge a cargo of cement, this time following the Miner in but not because of the Miner. Photo taken on July 10, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-11-2007

Mesabi Miner in dense fog

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Today is another big day for coal. The Canadian flagged John B. Aird should have arrived last night and may have already departed by the time the sun is up. About that time, the Indiana Harbor is due to arrive to take its place at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. The Mesabi Miner is expected soon after the Indiana Harbor gets in but 2nd place means about a 10-12 hour wait to get to the dock. We may wake up to see it at anchor off the Duluth piers, coming in later in the day when the Indiana Harbor completes. The Mesabi Miner spent the winter at Midwest Energy and was the first boat to depart the port for the season, leaving on March 16th to take coal to Marquette. Above, it is returning from that trip in order to load more coal, this time for Taconite Harbor. Photo taken on March 25, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-25-2007

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

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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

Mesabi Miner helps with the ice breaking

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On March 16, when the Mesabi Miner was at the same place it was yesterday morning, the Captain called the Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay to thank them for cutting a path through the ice so the Miner could continue on to Marquette with the first cargo of the new season. Sunday morning, the Captain of the CSL Assiniboine called Captain Tom McMullen on the Mesabi Miner to thank him for breaking open the path (above) so the Assiniboine (left) and the Quebecois (right) could break away from their own ice jams and continue on into the harbor. The Mesabi Miner was called upon (actually Captain McMullen volunteered) to do the ice breaking since the Alder was in for repairs and the nearest ice breaker was at the other end of Lake Superior. I do not think it was a sure thing; Captain McMullen was a hero yesterday.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/2/2007

Miner takes extra long time under bridge

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The Soo Locks opened at 12:01 on Sunday morning, but due to a heavy fog, not much traffic moved. The Canadian Transport and the H. Lee White, with some help from the Mackinaw, did start for Duluth shortly after the locks opened. (The fog was mostly on the other side of the Locks, causing the most trouble for downbound vessels.) We had fog at our end of the lake too. It did not stop the Mesabi Miner from slowly moving under the Lift Bridge on Sunday with coal for Detroit (above). It did stop traffic on the bridge. The Bridge was up for 41 minutes while the 1,000 footer slowly moved through the ship canal. Photo taken on March 25, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-26-2007

Mesabi Miner first in 2007 season

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A day or so after becoming the first boat to depart the Twin Ports in the new 2007 shipping season, the Mesabi Miner became the first boat to arrive this season when it entered the Duluth ship canal on Monday morning around 10 o’clock (above). It had discharged about 58,000 tons of coal in Marquette, Michigan and was back to load about the same amount for Minnesota Power in Taconite Harbor. With the Soo Locks not opening until March 25th, the Miner has time to come back and load one more cargo of coal for Marquette. When it returns from that trip, it will join the rest of the US and Canadian fleet in full operation in the entire Seaway System. It’s first cargo beyond the Soo will be to Detroit Edison. Photo taken on March 19, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-20-2007

Wide track, narrow track, everywhere a track track

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In the picture above, taken Sunday morning, you can see in the broken ice going out from the bridge, a wide track and a narrow one inside it. On Friday, the cutter Biscayne Bay led the Mesabi Miner out of Duluth. Being second, the Mesabi Miner’s track covered over the cutter’s narrower track. The Mesabi Miner went to Marquette, but the cutter came back to port, creating the track pattern you see above. Last night, the Biscayne Bay was scheduled to depart for Thunder Bay. They broke open the track so I would guess there was a somewhat wider track inside the Mesabi Miner’s broader track laid down on Friday. The Miner returns this morning around 8 am. Presumably before that, you could see the Biscayne Bay Sunday night track created inside the Miner track from Friday. After the Miner comes in, we should only see its very wide track with the cutter track now covered over by the Miner’s wide body. There are no narrow tracks scheduled to interfere before it departs with another cargo of coal later today, this time for Taconite Harbor. Soon, we will be able to see the boats instead of track them. Photo taken on March 18, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 03-19-2007

Mesabi Miner here for winter layup soon

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The Mesabi Miner was the last cargo vessel to depart the Twin Ports this season, leaving early afternoon on Tuesday (above) with the last coal to be loaded from the dock at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. Today the boat should be the last cargo vessel to arrive in the Twin Ports this season, coming back from the short trip to Marquette. After taking on some fuel at the Murphy Fuel dock, the Mesabi Miner will return to Midwest Energy, this time to spend the next couple months in winter lay up. If past history is a guide, the Mesabi Miner will be the first vessel to depart the Twin Ports in the new season, sometime in early March. It would also be the first one to arrive, again making the short haul to Marquette and back, available late this season and also early next season since it is on Lake Superior, this side of the Soo Locks which are now closed.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-19-2007

Mesabi Miner greeted by North Pier Light

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The Mesabi Miner was greeted by a good crowd when it entered the Duluth ship canal last month on September 14th. It has been here 4 times since then, each time, as today, loading taconite at the CN Dock in West Duluth. For the year, this will be its 25th visit to the Twin Ports. On eleven of those trips, it loaded coal at Midwest Energy across the St. Louis River from the CN Dock. The other trips found it loading taconite at CN.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 10-27-2006

Mesabi Miner greeted at Canal Park

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I am told that the tourist season is over, but the big boats still draw a crowd down at the ship canal and the smaller Vista King still has folks who want to get up close and personal to the big boats. That’s the King in between the Mesabi Miner and the people watching on shore. The crowd does seem to have a slightly higher average age and height than we have in the summer. The Mesabi Miner is here to load coal for Taconite Harbor. It will be back on Sunday to load taconite.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-15-2006

Miner approaching Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

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In a world where ships leave the port for places like Algeria, Italy and beyond, delivering cargo between Lake Superior ports is a local delivery, even if Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world (by area). Every so often, the power generation facility operated by Minnesota Power at Taconite Harbor is in need of coal. Today, the Mesabi Miner gets a turn. It has carried the coal to Taconite Harbor 3 other times this year. The James R. Barker has done the job 4 times and the Paul R. Tregurtha 3 times. All are 1,000 footers. The short trip up the shore usually means we will see the boat a couple days later. The Mesabi Miner will be back again on Sunday, this time loading taconite for a lower lakes port.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-14-2006

Mesabi Miner arrives to music

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The Mesabi Miner was center stage while Jason Ricci was entertaining the crowd at the Bayfront Blues Festival Saturday afternoon. The thousand footer carried limestone from Cedarville/Port Dolomite, Michigan in the cargo hold. After dischaging that cargo at the CN dock in West Duluth, it was next set to move across the St. Louis River to Midwest Energy Resources in Superior to load coal for Ashtabula.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-13-2006

Mesabi Miner preparing to depart

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The day should have started early this morning with the two salt water ships that have been at anchor off the Duluth piers coming into port, the Irma to load wheat for Morocco and the Margaretha Green to load the parts of a ball mill brought down here by truck from Hoyt Lakes and destined for India. The ball mill was available after LTV closed their mining operation in Hoyt Lakes in 2001. The Herbert C. Jackson and John G. Munson came in Sunday afternoon, both to load coal after the American Century departed. When the Munson departs, the facility at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior will take a day off from loading boats with coal to do some maintenance, necessitated by a near constant parade of boats loading coal there. The Mesabi Miner, seen above departing Duluth in August, 2002, will be here to load taconite.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 07-24-2006

Mesabi Miner

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There should be a lot of ship traffic today in the Twin Ports with a variety of ships likely to drop anchor off the Duluth piers while they wait for their berth. After discharging cargo in Oshawa and Windsor, both in Ontario, the Yick Hua will be here today for the first time since September, 2003. It will likely drop anchor off the Duluth piers very early in the morning and then come in late afternoon after the Chios Pride departs the berth at the CHS grain terminal in Superior. The Yick Hua may be joined at anchor in the morning by the Mesabi Miner, seen above departing Duluth on May 29th, 2002. It will be following the Oglebay Norton loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/28/2006

Miner approaches Duluth ship canal

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The Mesabi Miner was expected here early this morning to load about 58,000 tons of coal at Midwest Energy Resources. That cargo will go to the Minnesota Power plant in Taconite Harbor. When the boat completes discharging the coal, it will move back to Two Harbors, its third Lake Superior port in three days. After loading taconite there, it will depart Lake Superior for a lower lakes port, probably on Lake Michigan or Lake Erie.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 08-02-2005

Mesabi Miner here for coal

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The Mesabi Miner will be coming here today from Taconite Harbor to load coal at the Midwest Energy Resources coal dock in Superior. That cargo will be taken to a Detroit Edison power plant at St. Clair, Michigan.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 05-24-2005

Mesabi Miner to load taconite

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The Mesabi Miner will be here loading taconite at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth. The boat was named in honor of the men and women who have worked on the Mesabi Iron Range, the source for the taconite they are loading today.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/29/2005

Mesabi Miner will be here today

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The Mesabi Miner will be here today to load taconite. The boat was christened at the Port Terminal in Duluth in 1977. Muriel Humphrey broke a bottle of champagne over the bow and Senator Humphrey gave a speech. Thousands of red, white and blue balloons flew out of the boat’s cargo holds. This Sunday, either the Utviken or the BBC Ontario may be the first salt water ship of the season to arrive in port.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/5/2005

Mesabi Miner honors Mesabi miners

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The Mesabi Miner will be in town today, celebrating Thanksgiving by loading taconite at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth. It is the 23rd visit this year for the boat that was named in honor of the men and women who have worked on the Mesabi Iron Range, the source for the taconite they are loading today. Photo taken April 11, 2004.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 11-25-2004

Mesabi Miner named for miners

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The Mesabi Miner is making its 16 visit of the year to the Twin Ports. Four of those visits found it loading coal at Midwest Energy Resources in Superior. On the other visits, as today, it loaded taconite at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth. Launched in 1977, it was the 4th thousand footer on the Great Lakes.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 09-03-2004

Mesabi Miner here today

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The Mesabi Miner will be here today for the 8th time this year. It loaded taconite at the DM&IR Dock in West Duluth on 7 of those trips. It was across the St. Louis River loading coal at the Midwest Energy coal dock on the other trip. Photo taken March 19, 2007.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 06-10-2004

Mesabi Miner returns to Duluth

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The Mesabi Miner was christened at the Port Terminal in Duluth in 1977. Muriel Humphrey broke the bottle of champagne over her bow, and Senator Humphrey gave a speech. Then thousands of red, white and blue balloons came out of the boat’s cargo holds.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 4/24/2004