Lee A. Tregurtha still fighting ice

Seven boats are expected to arrive in the Twin Ports today. The Lee A. Tregurtha, arriving earlier this morning to load coal, will be the only departure, probably later this morning. The last time the Tregurtha departed Duluth, on April 1st, it got stopped in the ice sheet just off the Duluth piers. The Alder was out to help but a west wind, late in the day, blew the ice away and the boat continued on its way. The Tregurtha was built in 1942 as an ocean tanker and was used in the Atlantic to refuel allied boats in the Second World War. Battle ribbons from the war are displayed on the side of the pilot house.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-27-2009

Lots of ice, lots of boats

Thursday April 2: The Walter J. McCarthy Jr., the Edwin H. Gott and the Edward L. Ryerson were set to depart on Wednesday evening. If they did not make it, they will probably try today.  The Lee A. Tregurtha made it to Two Harbors last night, the Gott should be there some time today. Both are there to load iron ore pellets.Very cold temperatures in December suggested we could have a tough spring fighting thick ice to get the season moving. The ice never seemed to be as bad as those cold temperatures suggested. Turns out the other end of the deal, when the ice starts to break up in the spring, might cause more problems. The severe east winds on Tuesday pushed a lot of ice, much of it broken up, right to the Duluth shore line, although not into the ship canal. The Lee A. Tregurtha was the first to find out about the problem, departing Duluth around 9:15 am and getting stopped in the ice not long after that. The Alder went out to help. Around 11 am, the Alpena was approaching the bridge and pulled up, deciding to wait. The picture shows the Alpena waiting in the water. It is not very often one sees a boat at that spot and not moving. The boat should have stayed. It decided to go out around 2:30 in the afternoon and not much beyond the piers; it too was stopped in the ice. Late in the afternoon, a west wind eased the ice jam. The Lee A. Tregurtha did get to Two Harbors, the Alpena was on the way home, and there was open water in front of the Duluth piers at 7 pm last night. The Alder left for Lake Michigan and an expected trip to Duluth by the Mackinaw was canceled. However, the Biscayne Bay left for Duluth last night from Thunder Bay. It will be here later today after a stop in Two Harbors to break a little ice.
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 04-02-2009

Lee A. Tregurtha stopped in the ice off the Duluth piers; Alder out to help

20090402_4283April 1st, 2009 •
Coast Guard, US Boats
7:05 Thursday morning. The Alder is on her way to Lake Michigan to tend buoys and the Alpena is probably getting close to the Soo. Instead of the Mackinaw making her first visit to Duluth the west wind arrived and moved the ice away. The McCarthy left this morning at 6:06 and as you will note just below, the Biscayne Bay arrived Duluth at 7:05 this morning. We are back in business with our usual number of Coast Guard cutters. But we are watching the flags fly and hoping we will not see a return of a stiff east wind. The winter is not over yet.
7:15 Wednesday evening. The Mackinaw will not be coming to Duluth today and the Alder was planning on leaving later tonight for Lake Michigan to tend buoys. The Biscayne Bay is on her way to Duluth at present but will stop in Two Harbors first for a little ice breaking.
6:45 Wednesday evening. Never mind. It appears that the Lee A. Tregurtha is at Two Harbors, the Alpena is headed home; the Alder is still breaking some ice before turning into the Lake and going down to Lake Michigan for some buoy tending. I assume,
but don’ t know yet, that the Mac and the Biscayne Bay may not be coming. We go from 3 ice breakers here on Thursday to perhaps one. Oh, one more thing; as you will notice in the picture below, taken a few minutes ago, the ice seems to be leaving too. That’s a lot of open water.
4:15 Wednesday afternoon. The Alder has moved away from the Tregurtha and is operating on the edge of the ice pack, estimated by the Coast Guard to be 6 miles out from Duluth. It appears to me that the Tregurtha has moved closer to the Alpena. The picture below was taken around
4:05 pm. The Alder was visible with the naked eye but not my camera’s eye. The Coast Guard reports the ice is about 26 inches thick. If still coming, the Biscayne Bay will be coming from Thunder Bay, the Mackinaw from the Soo.
2:45 Wednesday afternoon. The Alpena tried to depart, going under the Lift Bridge. It appears to be stopped in the ice just beyond the ship canal. The Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay have been dispatched to Duluth. Biscayne to arrive around first light on Thursday morning; the Mackinaw later, perhaps early afternoon. More pictures coming.
The Alpena joins the party
The Alpena is still moving here but very slowly and now it appears she is also stopped in the ice
Above, the Lee A. Tregurtha stopped in the ice off the Duluth piers; at right the Alder is out to help; more info soon
The Alpena is waiting just behind the Lift Bridge on the harbor side for the ’situation’ just off the piers to resolve.

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.

Lee A. Tregurtha joins the layup crowd

Yesterday, I corrected the information I wrote here the day before. Today, I will correct yesterday’s information. In my defense, the nature of shipping on Lake Superior in January is not very predictable. Ice conditions and this year’s economic issues are likely impacting shipper decisions. The Canadian Enterprise will not be here for coal. As it stands now the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin will take the last load of coal out of the port on Thursday. The good news for the area is the addition of the Lee A. Tregurtha to the port’s winter layup list. It is expected today. It is seen above in February during last year’s winter layup at Fraser Shipyards. That brings their total to 5 boats for the winter and the port’s total to 12. The addition to the list of winter layups means more revenue for local companies that work on the boats in the winter. More boats mean more work. Photo taken on February 22, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 01-07-2009

Lee A. Tregurtha passes North Pier Light

The Paul R. Tregurtha came into port on Friday morning and waited at the Port Terminal for the James R. Barker to complete loading coal at Midwest Energy. The Great Lakes Trader also arrived on Friday and spent a good part of the day waiting in the St. Louis River for the Mesabi Miner to finish loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth. Then, last night around 6 pm, the James R. Barker finished at Midwest and departed. Across the river at the CN dock, the Mesabi Miner finished loading iron ore pellets and departed. The Paul R. waited at the Port Terminal while the Barker and the Miner passed him buy on the way out and with a tug assist, went into the St. Louis River to load coal at Midwest Energy. The Great Lakes Trader had already moved into the CN dock to load iron ore pellets. The Lee A. Tregurtha, seen above entering the Duluth ship canal last January, watched all this from its anchorage just beyond the Duluth piers. It will eventually replace the Trader at the CN dock. Photo taken on January 11, 2008
*submitted to the Duluth News Tribune for publication on 12-27-2008