Winter Updates, Part I

As the 2018 shipping season draws to a close on the Great Lakes, Sturgeon Bay is seeing an increase in activity at Bay Shipbuilding. Burns Harbor, which had arrived earlier in December and spent a few weeks in drydock receiving her five-year survey and a new coat of paint, departed on December 21 to resume service for the remainder of the season. American Courage and the cement barge Commander, which I photographed back in November at the shipyard, were both placed in drydock a few days after Burns Harbor‘s departure. The Courage reportedly needs a great deal of steel work in order to re-enter service next season, and the fact that American Steamship is willing to proceed with the work is a positive sign that other laid-up vessels may be re-activated in the coming years.

The first official member of Sturgeon Bay’s winter layup fleet has not yet arrived, however it will likely be the John G. Munson. Although she wasn’t scheduled to arrive until late January, she has dropped anchor in the bay of Green Bay with a posted destination of Sturgeon Bay. Reports indicate that she may have suffered hull damage recently, and Great Lakes Fleet has opted to lay her up early to prevent further problems from occurring. The Munson is probably waiting for weather conditions to calm before she arrives, as Sturgeon Bay isn’t exactly the easiest port to navigate into or out of.

Lastly, further reports indicate that two Algoma Central vessels, Capt. Henry Jackman and Algowood, are on their final trips before being scrapped. Both ships are currently carrying their final loads before heading to Montreal for layup, where they will likely remain until being towed overseas to be broken up in 2019. They will bring the total of hulls scrapped by Algoma Central alone this season to eight, quite an astonishing number. Over the course of 2018, Algoma sent Algoma Olympic, Algolake, Algosteel, American Victory, Algoway, and Algorail to overseas scrapyards.

Burns Harbor arrives in Sturgeon Bay, plus Bay Shipbuilding’s Winter Schedule

American Steamship’s 1,000 foot Burns Harbor arrived in Sturgeon Bay on Sunday morning, and was quickly placed in drydock. The ship, which rarely visits Sturgeon Bay, will be receiving her 5-year survey as well as routine maintenance work, and hopefully a new coat of paint as well. She won’t be staying the winter though – her work will likely be complete around Christmas, at which time she’ll depart and finish out the 2018 season hauling ore before laying up in Milwaukee or Superior like she usually does.

Meanwhile, a tentative list of the ships that will lay up at Bay Shipbuilding this winter has been released:

Keep in mind that this is a preliminary schedule, and is subject to change at any time based on vessel orders and weather conditions. Of note, however, is the drydocking of American Courage after the Burns Harbor‘s work is complete. The Courage has been inactive for three seasons now, however she will return to service in 2019.