More Updates

As many know, there are quite a few fleet changes occurring around the Lakes as the 2019 season progresses. Two of Algoma Central’s original, Canadian-built vessels are currently headed for the Turkish scrapyard that will ultimately recycle their hulls. The former Algowood‘s scrap tow has now passed through the Strait of Gibraltar en route to Aliaga, and her fleetmate Capt. Henry Jackman also departed Montreal under tow about a week ago, headed for the same destination. Both vessels had relatively short careers, having been launched six months apart in 1980/81, however they proved to be excellent workhorses for Algoma.


The above photo shows Capt. Henry Jackman, her name shortened to Enry for the scrap tow, departing Montreal for the final time. As with her sister Algowood, her hull is in poor condition since Algoma basically stopped caring for it over the last few years (courtesy of Rene Beauchamp, Facebook).


A third scrap tow this season that has yet to occur will involve the unique and historic Cedarglen of Canada Steamship Lines. After wintering at Toledo, the vessel never entered service when the 2019 season began, instead sailing under her own power one final time for the journey to Montreal, where she is now tied up and awaiting her Atlantic crossing.


Launched in Germany in 1959, Cedarglen is the last remaining vessel of the original three sisters of her design. One of those two, Windoc, is known for its 2001 collision with the Welland Canal bridge #11 that sheared off the pilothouse, started a blaze, and caused the drifting hull to run aground. She was never repaired, and was eventually scrapped, along with sister #3, Algontario. These two shots show Cedarglen on her final downbound trip from Toledo to Montreal on May 16, 2019 (both photos above courtesy of Jeff Cameron, Facebook).


Lower Lakes Towing will also see some significant fleet changes this season. Although nothing official has been released, the inactive Manistee is another upcoming candidate for the scrapyard. The vessel hasn’t operated since January of 2016, and has spent the last few years tied up in Toledo, as seen above at the Hocking Valley Dock. Rumor states that she will be towed to the Marine Recycling Corp. yard in Port Colborne as soon as there is room for her (currently, that yard is working on Algoway, Algorail, English River, and Paul H. Townsend), and that could happen as soon as this year. Some reports also indicate that she is being gutted where she is, likely to salvage some still-useful parts from her (photo above courtesy of Fred Miller II, Facebook).


A lesser-known LLT vessel, C.T.C. No. 1, is also slated to be scrapped this season. Built in 1942 as the Frank Purnell for Interlake Steamship, she served various owners as an ore carrier before her career as a sailing vessel ended and she was converted into a cement storage and transfer barge at Bay Shipbuilding in 1982. Once the conversion was complete, the “barge” was towed to South Chicago, IL, where she served in her new capacity until 2009 when she was sold to LLT (photo above courtesy of Mike Nicholls,


Since the sale, the vessel has not been used once, and has simply sat rusting away at her berth. Reports indicate that she will finally be scrapped this summer, however it is also rumored that a third Lower Lakes vessel, in addition to the two previously mentioned, will be cut up in the coming year. Only time will tell if any of these reports are true, or what the future holds for Lower Lakes and its aging fleet (photo above courtesy of Tom Kort,


The classic AAA-class American Valor is yet another rumored candidate for the scrapper’s torch. The 1952-built vessel hasn’t seen service since 2008, and since her sale to Algoma in late 2017, little activity has occurred aboard her other than the shortening of her name to Valo. Her name was never changed on the hull, only on paper, however it is yet another common practice for vessels destined for the scrapyard (photo above courtesy of Scott Taipale, Facebook).


The 767-foot vessel is too long to navigate the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway by 27 feet, which is the main reason behind her lack of service since nearly all of Algoma’s cargo contracts require vessels to pass through those waterways. This will also mean that American Valor must be scrapped on the Lakes since she can’t be towed overseas as Algoma has done with other vessels, however her final destination is still a mystery (photo above courtesy of Fred Miller II, Facebook).


Now for some happier news! One of McKeil Marine’s newest acquisitions, the former saltwater vessel Gagliarda, transited the Welland Canal upbound on May 28 as seen above. The ship, which has already been painted in McKeil colors, is carrying a load of salt from Europe that she will discharge at Monroe, Michigan, before returning to Hamilton to be reflagged Canadian and given a new name.


Gagliarda is a sister to McKeil Spirit and Evans Spirit, both of which have now operated for McKeil for a few years. All three vessels were previously owned by Setramar S.p.A. of Italy (both photos above courtesy of Jeff Cameron, Facebook).


McKeil’s two other recent purchases were a step in an entirely new direction for the company. McKeil, which has previously operated only tugs and barges and just recently began operating dry bulk cargo vessels, acquired two former saltwater tankers for Great Lakes and Seaway service earlier in the year.


The 2008/09-built sister ships were originally named Topaz-T and Turquoise-T, and are typical oil and chemical product tankers not so different from those that visit the Great Lakes from saltwater regularly. Although the vessels have now operated for McKeil for at least a few months, the Topaz I (shown above unloading at Clarkson, Ontario) has now been given a new name: Hinch Spirit. McKeil has yet to announce new names for Gagliarda or Turquoise I, however those will likely be coming in the next few weeks.

Also of note is that the tug Nathan S. will bring a spud barge to Duluth in the coming weeks, and will depart with a special cargo: the self-unloading boom of the former steamer American Victory, which has resided on the dock at Fraser Shipyards since the Victory departed for scrap. The boom will be brought to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, where it will be refurbished and ultimately placed on the deck of the new River-class vessel being constructed for Interlake Steamship. The reuse of booms on various vessels is actually a rather common practice on the Lakes – for example, the LLT barge Ashtabula now uses a boom that once belonged to the Joseph H. Frantz. 

It will likely be a while before we get any official word from LLT of their future fleet plans, or when American Valor‘s or Cedarglen‘s scrap tows will take place. To say the least, it will be interesting to see how the summer plays out with all the rumored fleet changes!


Algoma Makes a Trade

On Wednesday, May 8, the former Algowood departed Montreal under tow for the final time, bound for the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey. The 740′ ship was launched in 1980 at Collingwood Shipyards, and has served Algoma for the duration of her career. She laid up for the final time at Montreal in January after completing her final season of service, and over the last few months her Canadian registry was closed and her name and logos were painted over. Gowo is under tow of the deep-sea tug Diavlos Force, and is expected to arrive in Turkey on June 10 to be cut up. Below are some photos of the tow departing Montreal, courtesy of René Beauchamp and Facebook.


At 222 feet in length, Diavlos Force is no small vessel, and looks comparatively large in front of Algowood. 


The Great Lakes tug Ocean Echo II stayed on her stern while the tow proceeded out to the Atlantic, as far as Les Escoumins.


Here’s a closeup of the 1983-built Divalos Force – notice the interesting assortment of water cannons atop her pilothouse. The tug is also classified as an offshore supply vessel, meaning in addition to traditional tug duties, she is capable of supplying and working with offshore oil rigs.


Here’s a closeup of Gowo‘s bow – the large white line painted on her bow is a waterline mark that the towing vessel uses to make sure the ship doesn’t take on water while the tow is in progress.


And with that, we say goodbye to another familiar Canadian laker for the last time. Her fleetmate Capt. Henry Jackman is still tied at Montreal, but is awaiting her own scrap tow.

There is more bad news as well – many have noticed that Canada Steamship Lines’ Cedarglen has not yet left winter layup in Toledo. There is a report stating that she will leave Toledo for Montreal later this month, however it will be her last trip, meaning that a scrap tow is also in store for the classic Canadian laker. Only time will tell if this is true, but it is most certainly a possibility as the ship is now one of CSL’s oldest.

However, on a more positive note, Algoma has placed an order for one additional Equinox class vessel. The Seawaymax gearless bulk carrier will be constructed at the Yangzijiang Shipyard in China, and will be similar to the current Algoma Equinox. The new ship is scheduled to arrive on the Lakes in 2021. Once in service, the vessel will become the ninth Equinox class vessel to operate for Algoma. The newest member of the class, Algoma Conveyor, just arrived on the Lakes last month.

Algoma Central Fleet Updates

The Algoma Central fleet has seen quite a bit of change in the last few days. The company’s newest Equinox-class vessel, Algoma Conveyor, arrived in Quebec earlier this week on her maiden voyage from China where she was constructed. For the trans-Pacific trip, she carried a crew from and was registered in Tuvalu, however now that the delivery voyage is complete she will be re-flagged Canadian and registered with Transport Canada to prepare her for Great Lakes service.

Algoma Conveyor, a 740′ Seawaymax self-unloading bulk carrier, is the eighth member of the Equinox Class that began in 2013 with the delivery of Algoma Equinox and now consists of four gearless bulk carriers and four self-unloaders. The other members of the class aside from the Equinox are Algoma Harvester, G3 Marquis, Algoma Strongfield, Algoma Niagara, Algoma Innovator, and Algoma Sault. The Conveyor is a sister ship of the Niagara and Sault, both of which arrived on the lakes in late 2017/early 2018. A sister to the smaller 650′ Algoma Innovator, named Algoma Endurance, may possibly be arriving on the Lakes this year – she was constructed at the 3Maj shipyard in Croatia, where Algoma originally had quite a few contracts for new vessels. However, these contracts were cancelled last year, and it is unknown if the Endurance will still be delivered or not. Algoma also has possible contracts for up to five additional 740′ Equinox vessels to be built in China, but as of now no new orders have actually been placed, meaning the Equinox series is complete (at least for now).

Algoma’s other new purchase, the tanker Louise Knutsen, arrived in her new home port of Halifax on April 14, where she was officially registered in Canada and her new name, Algoterra, was applied to the hull. This is the second vessel that Algoma Tankers has acquired in recent months – the other vessel, formerly known as Ramira, now operates for ATL as Algonorth. The ATL fleet will have a rather diversified appearance this season – Algonorth is still painted in the colors of her former owner, which consists of a bright red hull and a white waterline stripe, while Algoterra is coated in Knutsen company orange. Knowing Algoma, painting these vessels isn’t exactly high on their list of priorities, so it could be a while before they receive the standard Algoma blue hull.

And lastly, two of Algoma’s Canadian-built lakers destined for scrap are being prepared for overseas tows. Algowood and Capt. Henry Jackman both laid up for good at the end of the 2018 season in Montreal, and their names have now been shortened to Gowo and Enry, respectively, as is typical with scrap tows. The Canadian registry of both vessels was closed on April 12, confirming that their careers have come to an end. Algoma hasn’t officially announced anything as of yet, but the vessels will presumably head for Turkey in the next few months to be broken up.

The photo above shows Algonorth sailing, likely on the St. Lawrence Seaway (courtesy of

The next few photos were taken by Mac Mackay, and show the new Algoterra in Halifax being renamed. In the photo above, the name Louise Knutsen is being painted out.

The ship was temporarily named Louise K for the delivery trip from Europe.

Here, the new name is hastily applied above the ship’s previous name, which is welded onto the hull.

And lastly, a closeup shot of her stern shows, again, her previous name and homeport welded on. I assume that when Algoma eventually drydocks her and repaints her hull, they will remove the old name, but who knows? (Previous four photos courtesy of Mac Mackay, Shipfax)



Interlake Steamship to Build New Great Lakes Self-Unloader at Sturgeon Bay

Yes, you read that right, Interlake Steamship Company has just announced their plans to construct a brand new self-unloading bulk carrier for service on the Great Lakes! The photo below is a preliminary sketch of the current plan for the design of the River-class vessel, which will be the first ship for U.S. Great Lakes service built on the Lakes since 1983. Here’s the full details of what has been released so far.


  • The ship (which has not yet been given a name) will be 639 feet long, 78 feet wide, and have a depth of 45 feet, and will have a maximum carrying capacity of approximately 28,000 tons.
  • She will be powered by two sixteen-cylinder Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) diesel engines, providing 7,800 shaft horsepower to an 18-foot controllable pitch propeller and giving her a top speed in excess of 15 miles per hour when fully loaded. She will also be equipped with a flap rudder, which quickens the ship’s response to a course change, and both bow and stern thrusters to enhance her maneuverability.
  • The ship’s unique cargo hold arrangement and hatch design will allow for maximum cubic hold space and the ability to handle difficult cargoes.
  • As with much of Interlake’s current fleet, the new vessel will be as environmentally friendly as possible, including everything from exhaust gas scrubbers to high-efficiency, low consumption shipboard systems.

The contract for the ship has been awarded to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, and the vessel is scheduled to be completed and ready for service by mid-2022. According to Interlake President Mark Barker, “when we approached a historic project of this magnitude – building our company’s first ship since 1981 – we knew it was critical to choose the right partners. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is the shipyard that has the experience and skill to execute on our long-term vision…we’ve had a long and positive relationship of partnering with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding as we have modernized and reinvested heavily in our fleet. They have skillfully handled four repowers, five exhaust gas scrubber installations, as well as regular maintenance and regulatory drydockings on our vessels.”

No date has been announced for when construction will officially begin, but I will update readers when new information about this exciting project is released!

A Dark Double Departure

In yesterday’s post, I shot the Tim S. Dool, William A. Irvin, and Arthur M. Anderson at Fraser Shipyard in Superior. Remember when I said that today’s post would include some wave action? Read on for that!


There unfortunately wasn’t much activity in the Twin Ports while I was there, and the only two vessels in port both departed on Thursday night when it was cloudy and dark. The first of those two is seen here making the turn for the lift bridge.


It’s ASC’s 1,000-foot American Integrity, leaving port with a full load of coal from Midwest Energy.


She ended up delivering this load to Essexville, Michigan, and became the first visitor to the Saginaw River for the 2019 season.


The weather really wasn’t cooperating on Thursday night – it was very windy, rather cold, and Lake Superior wasn’t feeling it either. Some waves rolled as high as the canal walls, especially while the 105-foot wide vessel was on her way out.


This shot turned out to be one of my favorites, mainly because of the decent splash I caught. Of course, all of these almost look black and white thanks to how gray everything is, but that’s neither here nor there.


I tried a new perspective for Integrity‘s departure, since I normally shoot from much closer to the bridge. Standing at the end of the canal makes a bigger difference than you’d think, as the bridge was almost all the way down by the time the ship’s stern got to where I was.


There’s just something about watching a ship power through waves – and compared to the open lake, these were nothing!


I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the Integrity, so I was plenty happy to catch her departure even if the shots were dark.


And here’s the whole reason I came to the end of the canal – I’ve seen other photographers absolutely nail shots of vessels passing the lighthouse, and I wanted to have a crack at it. Certainly not the best, but it’s a start.


American Integrity began life in 1978 as the Lewis Wilson Foy. She was constructed at Bay Shipbuilding for Bethlehem Steel Corp., and was initially slated to be named Burns Harbor, however this was changed before she was launched.


One of Bethlehem’s other 1,000-foot vessels, which would join the fleet in 1980, was given the name Burns Harbor, a name that she still carries today. Bethlehem operated three 1,000-foot vessels, the third being Stewart J. Cort.


While Burns Harbor operated for Bethlehem until her sale to ASC, the Lewis Wilson Foy was acquired by Oglebay Norton Co. in 1990, and began service as Oglebay Norton in 1991.


She served Oglebay until 2006, when she was part of the mass sale of the Oglebay Norton fleet to American Steamship.


The Integrity‘s career has not been without incident, and one of her most notable mishaps occurred on July 6, 1982, when she struck the breakwall and grounded at Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.


Three of her tanks were flooded and she developed a list, in addition to receiving $2.5 million in damage to her hull plates, propellers, shafts, and rudders. The damage was repaired at Sturgeon Bay.


Her career has been fairly incident-free throughout her years of service for ASC thankfully, and it’s crazy to think that she turned 40 last season.


And with that, American Integrity is off into Lake Superior and on her way.


Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for the next vessel. The bridge was lowered briefly to allow for traffic to clear, but was back up again within a few minutes for departure number two.


Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort had spent the day loading at Canadian National, and were now outbound with a full load of iron ore.


The last time I saw this pair was quite a few years ago, so I was happy to catch them again.


The GLT is VanEnkevort’s original tug and barge unit, and the only one they operated until 2015.


Great Lakes Trader was constructed in two sections in Pearlington, MS, in 1999.


The two sections of the barge were then towed to New Orleans, LA, where they were joined together and outfitted for service. Overall, the barge measures 740 feet long, which is the maximum size for a vessel to pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal.


The 135-foot tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort was built by Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay in 1998, and her maiden voyage was the downbound trip through the Lakes and down the East Coast to pick up her barge.


The pair departed New Orleans on May 28, 2000 on the return trip to the Great Lakes. Things got interesting at the Seaway, however – keep in mind that the barge alone is 740′, and overall the pair is longer than that with Joyce L. in the notch.


In order to make it through each lock of the Seaway, a smaller harbor tug had to push GLT into and out of the lock, while Joyce L. would have to lock up by herself and then rejoin with her barge once both were through.


The pair finally made it through the Seaway in mid-June, and loaded her first cargo of iron ore pellets at Escanaba on June 23, 2000.


This hardworking combo has been in active service ever since, while the VanEnkevort fleet has grown around them. The company acquired Joseph H. Thompson and tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. in 2015, and then picked up the lease on Lakes Contender/tug Ken Boothe Sr. in 2017, renaming the latter pair Erie Trader and Clyde S. VanEnkevort, respectively.


A fourth unit will join the fleet next year, as Bay Shipbuilding is currently constructing a 740′ barge similar to GLT that will be named Michigan Trader. Pushing the new barge will be Laura L. VanEnkevort, a former saltwater tug that the company acquired and is currently preparing for Great Lakes service.


So with that little history lesson over, Great Lakes Trader follows American Integrity into Lake Superior, and I say goodbye to her.

That will conclude my Duluth trip – short, but sweet. I do wish I could have seen more ships in the time I was there, but the season is still starting up and the port isn’t near it’s normal level of activity yet. I’ve got a very exciting post dropping tomorrow though, so check back for that one!



Timmy, William, and Arthur

Late last week, I made a sporadic trip up to Duluth for a short visit. I had hoped to be lucky enough to maybe catch Tim S. Dool emerging from drydock, or see the Anderson going in, however unfortunately I had no such luck. To make it worse, the sun didn’t make an appearance once during my visit, making all my shots dark and dreary. The plus side: some cool wave action! However, that will come in tomorrow’s post.


Today, we’ll start at Fraser Shipyards. There was a lot more snow and ice the last time I was here, much of which has thankfully melted off since.


On my last visit, Tim S. Dool‘s bow was covered under painting tarps, however now she is showing off her fresh coat of Algoma blue.


William A. Irvin is also still at the shipyard, and, to my knowledge, is still awaiting drydocking before she returns to her home slip (she may have been drydocked in the fall, but I’m not entirely sure).


Here’s another bow shot of the classic laker and more modern Canadian ore carrier.


And for no particular reason at all, here’s the two ships with some lovely shrubbery in the foreground.


Astern of the Irvin was Fraser’s newest arrival: Arthur M. Anderson was towed across the harbor last week from Canadian National dock #6, where she has been laid up for two years.


Once the Dool finally emerges from drydock, the Anderson will go in for a major refit to prepare her for an eventual return to service. We’ll get back to her in a little bit.


Here’s a dark stern shot of the Irvin – as crazy as it seems, the historic ore carrier isn’t that much older than the Anderson. William A. Irvin entered service for U.S. Steel in 1938, and the AAA-class Anderson followed only 14 years later. What’s interesting is that the Irvin was retired from active service in 1978, while Arthur continues to operate with no sign of an end to her career anytime soon. With a carrying capacity of only 13,900 tons, the Irvin was retired at a rather young age due to the addition of much larger vessels to the U.S. Steel fleet that rendered smaller vessels like her much less efficient.


Here’s another very dark shot, but this one includes Tim S. Dool.


Although hard to see with the lighting, Tim‘s paint job is now complete, and she looks good in fresh Algoma blue.


It’s a little easier to see the difference here – she certainly doesn’t look her age anymore! Of course, we’re very familiar with the usual Algoma practice of not painting their vessels until it’s extremely overdue, and the Dool has been no exception.


This shot was from my February trip – notice that Algoma has decided to get rid of the white paint on her upper hull, and has opted for an all-blue look. This seems to be their new paint scheme, as they did John D. LeitchAlgoma Compass, and Algoscotia this way as well when those vessels were drydocked recently.


Before moving on to the Anderson,  I adventured to Timmy‘s bow, and got a much better view of her new appearance. I still can’t decide if I would rather have the white on her forecastle, but I certainly don’t like the other change with Algoma’s new paint scheme: they have opted to remove the bear logo from the bows of their vessels. Notice that it’s missing on the Dool‘s bow.


But enough about Algoma and their annoying habits, it’s time for Arthur M. Anderson to have her turn in the spotlight. Like I said earlier, she has been laid up in Duluth since January of 2017, and she was just moved to Fraser last week by Heritage Marine tugs to prepare her for a refit.


Now approaching her 70th birthday, it is certainly understandable that the Anderson is in need of significant work. Some of her hull problems can be traced all the way back to the November 1975 storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, which undoubtedly put severe stress on the Anderson‘s hull.


The steel within her cargo holds, as well as the beams that support her spar deck, are in poor shape, and I’ve heard rumors as extreme as stating that her stern is in such bad shape that she is in danger of breaking her back if the work doesn’t get done. Regardless of how true these rumors are, it is safe to say that the Anderson needs some extensive steel work, as well as a renewal of her certificates (USCG and LCA inspections) and some new paint.


That all adds up to some very costly work, and when Arthur M. Anderson finished the 2016 season, economic conditions weren’t good enough to warrant the repairs to be done, hence why she was sidelined. Thankfully, conditions have improved enough for GLF to now be willing to put the ship through a refit. This will be no small project either: once drydocked, the Anderson will undergo $4 million worth of work, which is an incredibly large amount considering that she was constructed for less than double that amount (in 1952 dollars, of course).


So for now, the Anderson awaits her turn in the drydock, while last-minute work is completed on Tim S. Dool. GLF hasn’t given an estimate as to when they expect the Anderson to be back in service, but my best guess is that it won’t be until June or July, or even later.

I’m going to end this post here, as that was all the shots I got from Fraser. Tomorrow’s post will involve a bit more action, so stay tuned!


Updates Around the Lakes (And YES the Anderson is Coming Back!)

With the 2019 shipping season underway, there are quite a few updates of vessel-related activities happening around the lakes (and beyond). Below, I’ll go through some of those listed in the 2019 edition of Know Your Ships, as well as some that have occurred since the book’s release – sort of a synopsis of the KYS book. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of the new book, do so here. And you did read that title correctly, Arthur M. Anderson will be returning to service this season! Read on for more.


We’ll start this off by recapping the vessels that were retired last season, as we lost a number of classic lakers to the scrapper’s torch. Per the usual over the last few years, the majority of those vessels were former members of the Algoma Central fleet. From that fleet, the list of vessels towed overseas to the breaker’s yard in Aliaga, Turkey includes Algoma Olympic, Algolake, Algosteel, and American Victory. Algoway and Algorail were both towed to Marine Recycling Corp. in Port Colborne, Ontario. Lower Lakes Towing also sent its former grain carrier Manitoba for scrap overseas in 2018.

The cement carriers English River and Stephen B. Roman were both retired in 2018, with the former heading to the MRC yard and the latter sailing overseas to Aliaga. Their runs were taken over in 2018 by NACC Argonaut and NACC Quebec of the new company NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers, as well as McKeil Marine’s McKeil Spirit.

Stephen B. Roman is seen here departing Toronto, Ontario, on November 14, 2018, on her final trip to the Aliaga scrapyard (courtesy of Bill Bird,

In this aerial image, English River is rafted to Paul H. Townsend at the Marine Recycling Corp. yard in Port Colborne awaiting the scrapper’s torch (courtesy of Matt Miner,

Two more Algoma Central vessels, Algowood and Capt. Henry Jackman, laid up for the final time at Montreal in January, and both will be towed overseas to be cut up in 2019. In addition, Lower Lakes Towing’s tug Olive L. Moore is expected to be sent for scrap this season. The 1928-vintage tug will most likely start the season pushing her barge Menominee, however she is expected to be replaced by Invincible at some point in 2019.

New Arrivals

With all the scrapping activity come some new hulls. In 2019, Algoma Central will take delivery of Algoma Conveyor, a sister to Algoma Sault and Algoma Niagara. The Conveyor will arrive on the Lakes in April from the Chinese shipyard where she was constructed. Also possibly arriving for Algoma this year is Algoma Endurance, the second 650-foot Equinox vessel that was to follow Algoma Innovator in 2018. Algoma cancelled the contracts for the Endurance and five other vessels that were to be built at the Croatian shipyard, however there is still a possibility that the company will find a way to acquire the nearly-complete Endurance and bring her to the Lakes. Two new tankers will enter service for Algoma Tankers Ltd. this season as well. The saltwater vessels Ramira and Louise Knutsen were recently acquired by ATL from their overseas owners, and will begin Great Lakes/Seaway service in 2019 as Algonorth and Algoterra, respectively.

Two new tankers that were launched in 2018 in Turkey will begin operations this year for Groupe Desgagnés. Paul A. Desgagnés and Rossi A. Desgagnés can be powered by any of three types of fuel – heavy fuel oil, marine diesel, or liquified natural gas, and will enter service for Petro-Nav Inc., a division of Groupe Desgagnés.

Paul A. Desgagnés leaving her builder’s yard in Turkey (courtesy of Groupe Desgagnés).

The former open-topped barge Cleveland Rocks re-enters service in 2019 as an almost entirely rebuilt powdered cement carrier, after spending a year and a half at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Commander will operate for Port City Marine as part of their fleet that now consists of 3 cement barges.

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This photo shows the Commander/tug Bradshaw McKee arriving at Chicago with her first payload of cement (courtesy of Christine Douglas, Facebook).

McKeil Marine has also acquired two Turkey-built tankers for service in the St. Lawrence  Seaway. New names have not yet been announced for the vessels, currently known as Topaz I and Turquoise I. 

A new hull to look out for in the future is under construction at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Michigan Trader, a 740-foot self-unloading barge, is being built for VanEnkevort Tug & Barge, and is expected to be completed by mid-2020. The barge will be pushed by Laura L. VanEnkevort, a former saltwater tug recently acquired by the company.

New Names/General Updates

Early in 2018, Algoma revealed new names for two of the vessels acquired from ASC in late 2017. Buffalo was rechristened Algoma Buffalo, and Adam E. Cornelius’ name was changed to Algoma Compass. The third vessel, American Valor, remains laid up in Toledo, and Algoma has yet to announce a new name or a possible future for the AAA-class vessel. A few rumors have speculated that she will be drydocked and have a section of her hull removed (she is 767′ in length, and the maximum length for a ship to pass through the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway is 740′), however this actually happening is unlikely.

Algoma Compass shows off her new paint while unbound on the St. Clair River (courtesy of Fred Miller II,

Lower Lakes Towing’s barge James L. Kuber enters service this season as Maumee, a name last carried by a 1929-built vessel that previously operated for U.S. Steel as the Calcite II. She was sold to Lower Lakes in 2001, and was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario, in 2011.

Maumee/tug Victory arrive at Marquette, Michigan, to load her first cargo under her new name (courtesy of Becky Barclay,

When K&K Integrated Logistics disbanded and sold their two barges (James L. Kuber and Lewis J. Kuber) to Lower Lakes in 2011, part of the contract was that the vessels would retain their names for a certain number of years, which is why they weren’t renamed right away when they began operating for Grand River Navigation. LLT rechristened the Lewis J. to Menominee in 2017, and have now finally changed James L.’s name. The dedicated tug that has been paired with Menominee, Olive L. Moore, will be sent for scrap this year, and the barge will instead be pushed by Invincible. The Moore is currently in Erie receiving some form of repair work, likely indicating that she will at least start the season pushing Menominee. Rumor is that the Invincible has not yet been prepped to push Menominee, and her connection pins must be adjusted before she can began service. The new Maumee will continue to be pushed by the tug Victory.

Algoma’s two oldest vessels re-enter service in 2019 with a silver lining: Tim S. Dool and John D. Leitch were both drydocked over the winter, and each received a 5-year survey and a fresh coat of paint, guaranteeing them at least a few more years of service.

Tim S. Dool in dry dock at Fraser, showing off her new coat of Algoma blue (courtesy of David Schauer, Facebook).


Now, some news that boatwatchers will be happy to hear! Two vessels that have spent the past few seasons at the wall will re-enter service in 2019. American Courage was drydocked over the winter for hull work, and will be back out on the Lakes in 2019 after spending three seasons tied up at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.


American Courage is seen here in drydock at Bay Shipbuilding in December 2018 preparing for her return to service.

However, the more prominent news is that Arthur M. Anderson, a long-time boatwatcher favorite, will return to service after two years in layup. The Anderson was towed from her layup dock at Canadian National in Duluth to Fraser Shipyard on Tuesday, April 2. Soon, she will be placed in drydock, and a $4 million refit will commence that includes a 5-year survey and necessary hull and cargo hold repairs the ship desperately needs that will allow her to continue sailing. If all goes according to plan, she should be back in regular service in June or July of this year.


I last saw Arthur M. Anderson tied up at Canadian National Dock #5 in Duluth back in February.

A number of vessels still remain in long-term layup, waiting for either better economic conditions or an eventual trip to the scrapyard. The classic Edward L. Ryerson is moored in Superior, and Interlake’s John Sherwin is in long-term layup at DeTour, Michigan. American Valor, Manistee, and the barge Sarah Spencer are all tied up in Toledo, with the latter two expected to be towed for scrap eventually. The barge McKee Sons is sidelined at Muskegon, Michigan. Only time will tell if any of these vessels see service again, as many are in need of repairs or are older vessels that would require modern upgrades to make them efficient and worth operating.

Manistee is seen here laid up in Toledo, Ohio, with little hope of ever operating again (courtesy of Matt Miner,