A New Tanker for Algoma

Algoma Central has purchased a new vessel to add to its fleet of product tankers. The 472-foot tanker Ramira will join the Algoma Tankers fleet as Algonorth, a name that was decided upon by Algoma’s employees after a “Name the Ship Contest” was held. The tanker, which was constructed in 2008, has visited the Great Lakes as recently as 2012, and is scheduled to depart Sweden on November 12 for Canada. She was registered with Transport Canada last week, and is expected to begin service for Algoma upon her arrival in Canada.


Barges Galore

I made a quick late-season trip up to Sturgeon Bay this weekend, and although the weather wasn’t the best for photographing, I was able to get some decent shots of the activity at the shipyard.

IMG_5571In the graving dock was the barge Presque Isle, here for her 5-year survey and a paint job.

IMG_5574The steel beam seen here being lifted by the crane was lowered around the barge’s stern, however I have no idea what it could possibly be for.

IMG_5579There were two new barges tied up at the shipyard, and this one is, believe it or not, the almost entirely rebuilt Cleveland Rocks. Now called Commander, she has been at the shipyard for the last year and a half being converted into a self-unloading powdered cement carrier, and the project is finally nearing completion.

IMG_4466Just for comparison, here’s a shot I took of the 1957-built Cleveland Rocks when she first arrived at the shipyard in May of 2017.

IMG_5583Here’s another view of the newly completed barge, which underwent lengthening, the addition of an entirely new bow, as well as rebuilding the cargo hold and outfitting a self-unloading system to prepare her to haul cement. I’m not sure which tug will push Commander now that she is ready for service, however…

IMG_5595Tied up across the slip was the other new barge, Kirby 155-03. She and her tug Ronnie Murph (tied up behind the barge) have been conducting sea trials over the last few weeks, and will likely depart for the Gulf of Mexico soon.

IMG_5608The barge is the third in a series of tug/barge combinations Bay Shipbuilding has constructed for Kirby. The first ATB, Kirby 155-01/Heath Wood, was delivered in late 2016, and the second, Kirby 155-02/Paul McLearnan, was delivered last summer.

IMG_5621While her barge was being worked on in drydock, the tug Presque Isle was tied up on the other side of the shipyard.

IMG_5613Here’s a stern view of the tug, and this close-up provides a better view of her unique hull design that connects her with her barge.

IMG_5619The one usual vessel at BayShip was American Courage, which I seem to photograph every time I’m here even though she hasn’t moved in a good four years.

IMG_5627Rumor has it, though, that this will be the Courage‘s last winter laid up here, as she may see service next season.

IMG_5616This was the closest I could get to a bow shot of the tug Ronnie Murph.

IMG_5630From Bullhead Point, I was able to get stern shots of the Commander (on the right) and Ronnie Murph. The only part of the barge that isn’t made of new steel is her lower hull; her notch, upper hull, and deck are all brand new.

IMG_5632Here you can see Ronnie Murph moored just astern of her barge, as well as the Commander‘s unique self-unloading tower (just to the right of the tug’s superstructure) that is designed specifically to unload powdered cement.

IMG_5634And here’s one last shot of the new ATB.

IMG_5635The black tarps you see around Presque Isle‘s stern are protecting her hull from the elements while she is repainted in drydock.

IMG_5640Here’s one last close-up of the barge’s stern and self-unloading boom. Once her survey and work is completed, Presque Isle will continue to operate for the remainder of the shipping season.

I likely won’t be back to Sturgeon Bay until this winter, however I hope to be able to make it up to catch some of the layup fleet arriving for the winter.



Invincible Finally Leaves Sturgeon Bay, and Other Activity

Bay Shipbuilding has seen quite a bit of activity in the past few days. Last week, the tug Manitou stopped at the shipyard and left with Lower Lakes Towing’s tug Invincible in tow. Her ultimate destination was Ashtabula, Ohio, where the coupling pins that had been removed from Jane Ann IV were expected to be installed. Invincible has been laid up at Sturgeon Bay since 2014, when her contract to push the barge McKee Sons came to an end. Rumors around the Lakes indicate that Invincible will push Lower Lakes’ barge Menominee next season in place of the old tug Olive L. Moore.

Roger Blough has also been tied up at the shipyard for the last week, likely for some sort of repair work, and departed on Thursday to resume service. The 1,000 footer Presque Isle arrived on Wednesday to undergo drydocking and receive her five-year inspection. In addition, Bay Shipbuilding’s newest construction, the tank barge Kirby 155-03 and tug Ronnie Murph, has been conducting sea trials in Lake Michigan. When I was in Sturgeon Bay a few months back, I snapped the shot below of Ronnie Murph (at the time called Miss Houston – her name was changed prior to her launch) in one of the floating drydocks.


The American Courage is still in long-term layup at the shipyard, and she will very likely spend another winter there. Whether or not she will see service next season is unclear.

I’ll be making a trip to Sturgeon Bay next weekend, and I’m hoping the Presque Isle may still be there so I can get some shots of her – as of now, she hasn’t yet been placed in the drydock. Stay tuned!