Action in Sturgeon Bay

This post will be my final catch-up from the summer, as I did other boatwatching besides Engineer’s Weekend. During the Fourth of July weekend, I was up in Sturgeon Bay visiting family and caught some of the ships there.

1-Anderson-7-10-15-dlThe 767-foot Great Lakes Fleet steamer Arthur M. Anderson is the main attraction at the shipyard. The Anderson docked in Sturgeon Bay for winter layup on March 4, 2015, after operating throughout most of the winter while the rest of the fleet was laid up. Great Lakes Fleet has kept her in layup throughout the season.

012I rather like this photo – it gives a perspective to how huge the Anderson is.

024Arthur‘s bow thruster tunnel, which looks small in this photo, is actually about six feet in diameter.

013Only part of the propeller was visible above the water’s surface, but this photo shows what you normally don’t get to see on the ships.

010This photo shows the Anderson from the dock side. The yellow railing on the left is the top of the drydock gate.

2-Anderson-7-10-15-dlHowever, the drydock is occupied by a very odd looking thing.

3-Barge-7-10-15-dlThat would be the yet-to-be-painted petroleum barge Mississippi. She is a sister to the barge Texas, which departed the Great Lakes earlier this month. Both barges and their tugs are owned by Moran Towing Co., and will operate on the U.S. East and Gulf coasts. Here, the bow piece of the ship is being secured in place.

4-Invincible-7-10-15-dlOn a smaller dock adjacent to the Anderson is the laid up tug Invincible. She is owned by Lower Lakes Transportation, the U.S. side of Lower Lakes Towing, and is laid up because she currently doesn’t have barge. She had been paired with the barge McKee Sons since 2000, but the barge’s owner recently ended the charter and brought the barge to Muskegon, where it remains in layup.

015Invincible was built in 1979 at Jacksonville, FL, as the R.W. Sesler. She was purchased by Lower Lakes in 2000, renamed Invincible, and then paired with McKee Sons under the newly formed charter.

5-Invincible-7-10-15-dlRumors point to the tug being paired with the barge Lewis J. Kuber, which was purchased from K&K Integrated Logistics in 2011. The Kuber is paired with the 1928-built tug Olive L. Moore, but Lower Lakes is looking to replace the tug.

6-Michigan-7-10-15-dlAlso in Sturgeon Bay during the Fourth was the Great Lakes Maritime Academy’s training ship State of Michigan, undergoing some sort of work. She departed for her home port of Traverse City, MI, the following week.

7-MoranTexas-7-10-15-dlThe next slip over holds the last two ships in Sturgeon Bay – the tug Leigh Ann Moran is in front, and the barge Texas is moored behind.

8-Texas-7-10-15-dlTexas was launched last summer, and spent the winter in Sturgeon Bay. Her tug, Mariya Moran, was built in Florida at the same time, and arrived in Sturgeon Bay the week after I took these photos. I was back in Sturgeon Bay to see the new pair depart for the Atlantic, but I wasn’t able to get any good shots.

9-Texas-7-10-15-dlTexas gives you a picture of what the new Mississippi will look like when completed. Since these photos were taken, the new barge has been painted and was float-launched in the drydock just last week.

10-Texas-7-10-15-dlHere’s a close up of her notch, where the Mariya Moran will be most of the time.

11-LeighAnn-7-10-15-dlThe tug Leigh Ann Moran, which was launched in Sturgeon Bay back in May, will be paired with the Mississippi once she is completed.

12-LeighAnn-7-10-15-dlThese two sister tug/barge combos represent Moran’s newest investment in the petroleum trade, and should remain in active service for decades to come.

That was all the boatwatching I have done over the summer. School begins tomorrow, which will somewhat lessen my chances of traveling, but I will find times to continue boatwatching. I always make a special trip to Sturgeon Bay in the winter to see the layup fleet, but I don’t know if I will get there between now and then. I will still update the blog with news stories, so check back in every once in a while.

The Week in Review: 8/28/15

Since I don’t get to go boat watching all that often, I decided to use this blog for not only sharing my photos, but also keeping readers up to date on things that occur around the Lakes. I decided to add a new feature, called “The Week in Review,” on Fridays to discuss what may have happened over the past week.

Today’s edition is a bit long – as many of you know, there were quite a few incidents that occurred this week.

First was the story of 41-year-old Jerald Glenn Rinaldi, who jumped off the deck of the 1,000-foot Interlake freighter Stewart J. Cort. Details were gradually released over the past week about what happened, and it was determined that the man was confronted aboard the ship by the captain about his drinking, and he was told to stay in his cabin until the ship reached port. As it turned out, he instead jumped from the ship at 1:15 a.m. this past Sunday, August 23. The ship’s crew immediately deployed three life rings and notified the pilothouse. The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a 45-foot response boat from Manistee, MI, and two aircrews from Muskegon and Traverse City, MI to aid the search. In addition, the tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation, Great Lakes Trader/tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort, Vikingbank, Calumet, Roger Blough, and others were in the area and assisted with the search. As of now, Rinaldi has not been found. I will update this story as details become available.

On Monday, August 24, the 728-foot laker Joseph L. Block responded to a distress call from a boater 10 miles off the shore of Port Washington, WI. When the Block arrived on scene, they found the boater in the water wearing a life jacket. The crew hoisted the man out of the water, and when a rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Sheboygan arrived, he was transported off the Block to be taken to Port Washington. The Coast Guard took his 28-foot boat in tow, but it had taken on too much water. The crew decided the release the tow, and the boat sank immediately about 8 nautical miles off the Port Washington pier heads in more than 350 feet of water.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Michipicoten, and other recreational boaters assisted in the rescue of two men from a 42-foot sailboat approximately 18 nautical miles east of Alpena, MI, on Wednesday, August 26. The Coast Guard received a call from the men, stating their vessel was taking on water and they were using a dewatering pump to keep the vessel afloat. Three Coast Guard crews were dispatched to the scene, including a Dolphin helicopter. In addition, the Canadian-flagged 689-foot motor vessel Michipicoten was nearby, and provided a lee for the sailboat due to the 6-7 foot waves and 20-25 knot winds. When the Coast Guard crews arrived, they were made aware that one of the men had a history of heart problems, and had to be medically evacuated due to chest pains he began experiencing. The crews then continued to dewater the vessel before taking it in tow back to Thunder Bay Harbor in Alpena, MI.

Engineer’s Weekend, Part II

I left off with my photos from Engineer’s Day on Friday, June 26. I stayed in the Soo for the rest of the weekend, and saw some more action.

12-BurnsHarbor-6-27-15-dlOn Saturday morning, I caught the Burns Harbor upbound below the locks.

057After locking up, she will head to Superior, WI, to load iron ore pellets – her usual run.

13-Transport-6-27-15-dlThen, I headed up to the locks, and caught the Algoma Transport being lowered in the MacArthur Lock.

059Here’s a detail shot of her bow.

14-Transport-6-27-15-dlI went to the lower pier of the locks to watch her exit – but she isn’t the only one.

061The Queen of the Lakes, Paul R. Tregurtha, was locking downbound at the same time. She let the Transport exit the approach first.

15-Transport-6-27-15-dlSo farewell to Algoma Transport, as she continues on her way downbound.

16-Tregurtha-6-27-15-dlHere’s where it got interesting: Burns Harbor is docked at the lower approach wall waiting, so the Tregurtha has to maneuver her bow away from the wall to exit the lock.

17-Tregurtha-6-27-15-dlBut she did it, and she did it well. So adieu to Paul.

064Next, I headed to the Tower of History, a viewing tower with sweeping views of the city, lower approach, and the Soo Locks. In this panoramic shot, you can see Paul R. Tregurtha heading downbound, passing the upbound St. Clair.

065I had to zoom way in to get this shot – a little blurry, but not bad. The Coast Guard Station is in the foreground – USCGC Katmai Bay is docked on the right, and the buoy tender Buckthorn is on the left.

18-StClair-6-27-15-dlAfter watching the Burns Harbor exit the Poe Lock, I headed to a spot above the locks to watch the St. Clair. But there was a chain link fence there – a photographer’s worst nightmare. I stood atop a picnic table to get this shot over the annoying fence.

19-Florida-6-27-15-dlNext, I headed back below the locks and stopped at the MCM Marine yard to see what was going on, where I found the G-tug Florida, built in 1926, on a floating drydock. Florida is unique among her fleetmates because of her Kort nozzle, which channels water for better propeller efficiency and can be rotated to steer the tug. Most of the G-tugs have the normal propeller-rudder configuration, so I found this interesting. She is on drydock undergoing a major overhaul, which will greatly lengthen her career. 14 of her fleetmates are also being overhauled around the upper lakes. For more information on the overhaul program, visit this post on the Great Lakes Group’s blog.

20-Spirit-6-27-15-dlI spent the rest of Saturday afternoon in Canada, exploring the area and the Canadian lakeshore. When I returned, I caught the American Spirit locking up.

074She heads upbound with the picturesque sunset behind her.

That was all the boatwatching I did on Saturday. I left late Sunday morning, but not before catching a few more ships.

21-Mariner-6-28-15-dlThe first ship of the day Sunday was Algoma Mariner, upbound below the locks. This was my first meeting with her, as she only recently began coming to the upper lakes. She and a few Algoma fleetmates had been running ore on the eastern St. Lawrence, until they were replaced earlier this season by Algoma Integrity.

22-Buffalo-6-28-15-dlJust before I left Sault Ste. Marie, I stopped at the locks one last time. I just missed the Buffalo locking through, but got this stern shot as she headed downbound.

090My final ship of the weekend, Algoma Harvester, made up for missing bow shots of the Buffalo.

23-Harvester-6-28-15-dlShe is a new ship herself, having arrived on the Lakes from her builders in China last summer. She is the second ship in Algoma’s Equinox Class, which will eventually consist of eight vessels. The shipyard in China where they are being built, Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries, is experiencing some financial troubles, and are behind on their construction.

24-Harvester-6-28-15-dlBut Algoma Harvester must continue on her way, so adieu to her.

That was all from Engineer’s Weekend. But, I still have some catching up to do, as I have done other boatwatching this summer. I’ll have another post within the next week!

Engineer’s Weekend, Part I

Since I just created this blog, I’m going to first play a little catch-up from this summer. This past June was my first time ever going to the Engineer’s Weekend at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.


The locks opened for the day at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 26th. The first ship of the day was the Roger Blough. She was being raised in the lock as tourists streamed in through the gates.

026The Blough was built in 1971, and in this shot you can clearly see her hull plating.

2-Oberstar-6-26-15-dlThe next ship of the day was the Hon. James L. Oberstar, downbound in the Poe Lock. By this time, the space between the MacArthur and Poe Locks was packed with spectators.3-Oberstar-6-26-15-dlThe Oberstar stopped right in front of the crowds, offering some great photo angles.

033Next into the lock was the upbound Lee A. Tregurtha. She is bound for Marquette, MI, to load ore.

4-Tregurtha-6-26-15-dlShe is raised quickly, and begins exiting the lock chamber.

5-Jackson-6-26-15-dlLater in the afternoon, Herbert C. Jackson passed upbound through the MacArthur Lock, completing the Interlake trio for the day. She is bound for Marquette to load ore.

040That was all the traffic that passed through during the time the locks were open. But, at 6 p.m., I boarded the Soo Locks Tour Boat Le Voyageur for the Boatnerd cruise. We traveled upbound from the dock, entering the MacArthur Lock a few minutes later. However, once we were raised, the ship arrestor at the upper end of the lock did not lift. This meant we had to be lowered again, and back out of the lock. Of course, as soon as we were out, the arrestor was fixed. But we headed downbound instead, as there were boats coming.

041CSL Assiniboine is upbound light for Duluth and a load of iron ore.

042Unfortunately, these stern views are quite backlit. But she continues on her way towards the locks.


Le Voyageur followed her upbound, and she pulled up to the lower approach wall to wait for the Edgar B. Speer,  being lowered in the Poe Lock.

8-Volga-6-26-15-dlThen we headed back downbound to catch the HHL Volga, a new visitor to the Great Lakes this year. This is my first time catching her, so I’m glad I have some good photos of her. She is upbound with a load of wind turbine parts destined for Duluth.

9-Volga-6-26-15-dlHere’s a wide shot of her as the tour boat passes.

050And here’s her backlit stern view as she continues upbound.

043Next, we headed back upbound along the Canadian shoreline. This is the main dock for the Purvis Marine fleet, as well as the dock where the laid up Yankcanuck remains. She has not seen service since 2007, partly due to her small size. She is also owned by Purvis, but I don’t know what their plans are for her.

10-Passing-6-26-15-dlOnce we arrived back at the locks was when we saw some action. Edgar B. Speer is exiting the Poe Lock downbound, HHL Volga heads in for the MacArthur Lock, and CSL Assiniboine waits for the Speer.

11-Speer-6-26-15-dlThe late evening sunlight created a kind of cool effect on the Speer‘s hull as she exits the lock approach.

And that was all for Day 1 of Engineer’s Weekend. Friday may have been the only day that the locks were open, but I stayed in the Soo for the weekend, so I will have at least one more post tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Welcome to Freighter Freak!

Hi! My name is Daniel Lindner. (Read more about me here.) I created this blog as a way to share my passion for the ships of the Great Lakes through photography. I live in central Wisconsin, so I don’t get to go boatwatching that often. I travel quite a bit though, to ports such as Duluth, MN, and Sturgeon Bay, WI. I am currently working on finishing the site, but I expect to post on here every once in a while, so check back often. Thanks for visiting!