The Silent Shipyard

First of all, I’m sorry for the lack of activity on this blog in the past few weeks! As you know, during the winter season there isn’t really much to do – except visit Sturgeon Bay and check out the layup fleet, which I did the last weekend in February. However, I wasn’t able to post the photos right away as I soon left on vacation! So here are my pictures from Sturgeon Bay.


I headed over to Bullheads Point, across from the shipyard, to get my photos. This is a wide view of the layup fleet. From left to right: James R. Barker, American Spirit, Alpena, tug Invincible, tug Michigan, Arthur M. Anderson, American Courage, Lee A. Tregurtha, John G. Munson, and Mesabi Miner. The Wilfred Sykes was in the drydock getting a fresh coat of paint, and behind Mesabi Miner but not visible are Joseph L. Block and Cason J. Callaway. I was unfortunately unable to get photos of either of those three ships due to a lack of time!


Here’s a closer view of James R. Barker, American Spirit, Alpena, and the two tugs. The barge Great Lakes, which is paired with the tug Michigan, was somewhere else in the shipyard.


And here’s another view of what could be called the “Footers Row.” Compared to previous years, there isn’t a very big Footers Row this year with only two thousand foot ships there. But notice the size comparison: American Spirit is 1,004 feet long, and Alpena is 519 feet long!


I then hiked out onto the ice (it was anywhere between 6-12 inches thick) to get a closer view. I rather like this shot, because the only part of the Barker visible behind American Spirit is her cabins just to the left of American Spirit‘s. This shot also really shows the size difference between Alpena and her much larger rivals!


This shot shows Alpena on the left, and the tug Invincible on the right. The 99-foot long tug is currently in long-term layup awaiting a barge to be mated with, now that her former barge McKee Sons was laid up in Muskegon, MI.


And here’s the closest photo I got of Alpena. As many will remember, the steamer experienced a fire near her engine while in drydock for her 5-year survey back in November. After the exterior damage was repaired, the ship was given a brand new coat of paint and looks as good as new. I don’t know if repairs to the interior of the ship have been completed yet.


Now moving to the right side of the shipyard, we have the rest of the fleet. Tug Michigan is on the far left, and then Arthur M. Anderson and American Courage sit side by side. Both Lee A. Tregurtha and John G. Munson (only her pilothouse is visible above Mesabi Miner) had their stacks removed at the time. Lee A. Tregurtha is having exhaust gas scrubbers installed, while John G. Munson is being repowered with a brand new, environmentally friendly diesel engine. Mesabi Miner clearly takes up most of the frame, as she is moored perpendicular to the other vessels.


Here’s a close up of Mesabi Miner. Just to the right of the large concrete buoy above the Miner‘s deck, you can see the very top of Joseph L. Block‘s pilothouse.


This is the closest shot I could get of the main group of ships. You can see a good portion of Lee A. Tregurtha‘s hull, but I wasn’t able to get any more of John G. Munson.


My final shot is a nice close-up view of Arthur M. Anderson and American Courage moored together. Note that below the waterline on the Courage, her black paint that was applied in 2011 has worn off and shows the off-white undercoat.

That was all for this trip. A bit short, yes, but I am planning another trip up to Duluth, MN, this weekend to get some photos of the layup fleet there before they all depart for the lower lakes. The Soo Locks open for the 2016 shipping season on March 25, which is only two weeks away, so stay tuned for more!




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