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Category Archives: Indiana Harbor

The Indiana Harbor arrived in Duluth while I was photographing the Sunrise.

Every winter I try to drive around and photograph the ships that are spending winter layup in Duluth. This year there are seven ships that will be spending the winter in Duluth. They will remain in port until about the third week in March when the tugs will start freeing them from the winter ice. Most of them will undergo some maintenance work. This year the Herbert C. Jackson will spend six months in Fraser Shipyards where it will be repowered with state-of-the-art diesel engines.

Edwin H. Gott At Port Terminal

Edwin H. Gott At Port Terminal

 

Philip R. Clarke At Port Terminal

Philip R. Clarke At Port Terminal

 

Paul-R.-Tregurtha-At-Midwest-Energy

Paul R. Tregurtha At Midwest Energy

 

Indiana-Harbor-At-Embridge Docks

Indiana Harbor At Embridge Docks

 

-Herbert-C-Jackson-At-Fraser-Shipyards

Herbert C Jackson At Fraser Shipyards

 

American-Century-At-Port-Terminal

American Century At Port Terminal

When I walked down to Canal Park to photograph the sunrise I found that it was not a normal sunrise. The sun was just an orange glow in the east. It turned out that smoke from U.S. and Canadian wildfires was hanging over the lake creating a different sunrise.

Duluth Ship Canal

Duluth Ship Canal

North Breakwater Light

North Breakwater Light

North Breakwater Light

North Breakwater Light

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

On Sunday morning my wife and I were heading out for a walk along the Duluth waterfront when I check the Marine Traffic on my phone and noticed that the Heritage Marine Tug the Nels J was out breaking ice. We decided to forgo the walk and drive out to Rice’s Point to watch the tug work.

Helen H

Helen H

When we arrived the tug was working at the Calumet Fuel Dock which is a secure area where we couldn’t photograph. I assumed that a ship was going to move from winter layup to refuel before the start of the shipping season and the Nels J was breaking up ice around the dock. I was having problems following the Nels J with my Marine Tracker and discovered the app hadn’t been updated in some time so I updated it. When It came back on I noticed the Nels J was heading to Rice’s Point. I grabbed my camera but was a little late to get any good photos. Just about then my wife noticed another Heritage Marine tug, the Helen H sail out from Howard’s Pocket where the Frasier Shipyards are located. We watched as the Helen H moved back into Howard’s Pocket.

We jumped in the car and drove down to Conner’s Point which offers a good view of the ships in winter layup at Frasier Shipyards. Sure enough the Helen H had already broken ice to free the John G. Munson from the ice. As was getting up steam to move out of winter layup. This was a far cry from last year when we watched most of the day while the Helen H and Nels J tried to free the Munson from the heavy ice.

John G. Munson and Helen H

John G. Munson and Helen H

Duluth has a good collection of Boat Nerds that show up whenever there are boats moving. Many of the folks that were watching the Munson leave were also on hand to watch the Indiana Harbor arrive to end the shipping season at Wisconsin Point.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

We watched as the John G. Munson slowly backed out of Howard’s Pocket and under the Blatnick Bridge. It was followed by the Helen H in case it ran into trouble. He Nels J was waiting at out in the Saint Louis River in case it was needed to help turn the Munson.

Helen H and John G. Munson

Helen H and John G. Munson

The Munson then sailed under the Blatnick Bridge past Rice’s Point before turning and then backing into the Calumet Fuel Dock where it spent several hours refueling. The Nels J was on hand in case it needed help docking.

John G. Munson and American Integrity-

John G. Munson and American Integrity-

 

 

When the Lake Superior shipping season ended the third week of January some of the ships that ply the great lakes head for Duluth/Superior for winter layup. This season a smaller number of ships than normal are in winter layup. Five ships in all can be seen this winter. A sixth ship, the Edwin H. Gott , was scheduled to layup but it could not make it through the Soo Locks before they closed.

The John G. Munson was the last ship to come into port on January 20th and is in Fraser Shipyard for winter layup.John G. Munson 15-2-_2392

The Kaye E. Barker is in dry dock also at the Fraser Shipyard.

Kaye E. Barker 15-2-_2384

The Mesabi Miner came in on Monday morning, January 19, 2015 and can be found at the Midwest Energy Resources dock.

Mesabi-Miner-15-2-_2515

The American Integrity was the first of 6 vessels scheduled to arrive in Duluth/Superior for winter layup. She arrived on January 7and can be found at the Carrier Port Terminal Berth 1.

American-Integrity-15-2-_2523

The Indiana Harbor arrived January 17th entering the Superior entrance and is at the Enbridge Ogdensburg Pier. We happened to be at Wisconsin Point when the Indiana Harbor arrived.

Indiana-Harbor-Wisconsin-Point-15-1-_1831

Indiana-Harbor-15-2-_2424

Lake Superior shipping should resume in about a month.

As we were leaving Duluth I notice on my Marine Tracker that the Indiana Harbor going to come through Wisconsin Point on its way to winter Layup. It was one of the last ships to enter the harbor during the 2014-15 shipping season and the last one to come through the Wisconsin Entry.

Indiana-Harbor-Wisconsin-Point-15-1-_1782

Ironically I was at Wisconsin Point to see the first ship of the season enter the harbor through the Wisconsin Entry. That was the Coast Guard Cutter Alder shown here as it returned from its first ice breaking run. We were on our way back to Duluth from a visit to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves when we noticed the Alder was returning to Superior.

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

Coast Guard Cutter Alder

It was a really gloomy day when the Indiana Harbor came through the entry. It rained as we drove out to Wisconsin Point. Fortunately it quit while we were waiting for the Indiana Harbor to arrive. I suspect the crew was happy to be done for what turned out to be a long season fighting the ice.

Indiana-Harbor-Wisconsin-Point-15-1-_1831

As usual there were quite a few boat nerds out taking photos of the ship as it came in. I’m on a first name basis with some of them since I see them frequently when I’m out photographing around Duluth/Superior.

Indiana-Harbor-Wisconsin-Point-15-1-_1851

The great lakes shipping season will start again in late March.

One of the main activities in Duluth, Minnesota is ship watching in Canal Park. Duluth is the cargo capital of the great lakes with over 1,000 ship visits every year. Ship watching usually starts the end of March and runs through January of the next year. Peak times are in the summer months when Canal Park is loaded with tourists. Unfortunately there are not always ships entering or leaving the harbor so without good planning you may not see many ships.

CSL Laurentine

CSL Laurentine

The first place I always check when planning a trip to Duluth is the Duluth Shipping News website. This provides a ship schedule which lists ships that are expected to arrive and depart from Duluth and Superior harbors as well as the harbors along the north shore. It also provides an approximate time when the ships will arrive and depart and a hot link to additional information on the ship. Unfortunately the times given are in “ship time” which means they may or may not depart around the times given or even on the day given. Never the less you can get a good idea of expected ship activity for a given time period.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

The Shipping News also provides information on any special activities that are taking place. This includes the arrival or departure of a special ship or maybe ice breaking activities taking place in the harbor. It also provides historical information on all of the ships that enter the harbor.

Edgar B. Speer

Edgar B. Speer

As I mentioned this is always the first place I check when planning a trip. Unfortunately the times given for the ships are not always accurate so once I arrive in Duluth I then start following ships on MarineTraffic.com. This website uses AIS (Automatic Identification System) data to track ships around the world. This is the first shipping season that it has tracked ships in the Duluth Superior area.

Cason J. Callaway

Cason J. Callaway

When you initially connect to the site you will encounter a world map of shipping. All you need to do is to zoom into Lake Superior. Once you start watching shipping in the Duluth area you are ready to go. The next time you enter the site it will automatically open to the last location you were looking at.

Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay

The ships are identified by various types and colors of icons. The icons differ depending on whether or not the ship is moving. When you click on the icon a window will pop up that provides you with the flag of the ship, photo of the ship, ship type, its status, speed, destination and estimated time of arrival in UTC time.

US-Coast-Guard-cutter-Mackinaw-

US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw

You can also click on a link that shows the vessel’s track. This link shows where the ship has been over a given period of time. When you are finished looking at the track just right click and the track will disappear. Usually what I’m interested in is where the ship is going and how long it will take it to arrive. To do this click on the distance too.. link. A waypoint balloon will appear on the map. Click on the destination and a second balloon will appear. For example if you were tracking the American Spirit and wanted to know how long before it arrived in Duluth click on the distance too… link and then click a second time on Duluth. When the second balloon appears it will tell you approximately how long will take the ship to arrive in Duluth at its current speed. A right click will clear the map.

Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin

Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin

If you really get into things you can add ships to your fleet and track you fleet. You can also get notification of vessel arrival and departures etc.

Arthur M. Anderson

Arthur M. Anderson

In addition to the web base site Marine Traffic also has an app for phones that allows you to track the status of ships. It provides much of the same information that the web site does. It is very useful if you are out and about and want to track ships.

Tug/barge Spartan and Spartan II

Tug/barge Spartan and Spartan II

Up until this year the only site that tracked marine traffic in the Duluth/Superior area was AIS/Marine Information from Thunder Bay. I still use this site occasionally. Sometimes I know a ship is in a particular location and the Marine Traffic website is not picking it up and it shows up on the Thunder Bay site. The Thunder Bay site does not provide as much information particularly it does not display the destination and the ETA. I end up using the Duluth Shipping News to see where the ship is headed and then follow its progress on the Thunder Bay site.

Mesabi Miner

Mesabi Miner

Following the ships will be even more interesting this year because the tall ships will be coming to Duluth the end of July. All of the tall ships have tracking devices on them so you will be able to follow them as they arrive, sail and depart from Duluth. This photo of the Niagara was taken a few years ago when it visited Duluth.

U.S. Brig Niagara

U.S. Brig Niagara

Even with the AIS tracking available things don’t always go according to plan. When shipping season opened this year I was tracking the Mesabi Miner as it steamed toward Duluth. It was supposed to be the first ship to arrive for the season. There were a number of photographers in Canal Park to observe the arrival. As the ship neared the canal entrance it moved off to the south. Word spread that it was heading for the Superior entrance and they all jumped in their cars and took off. A little while later I heard it drop anchor. It turned out that another ship was already docked where it was going to dock so it had to anchor until that ship departed. In retrospect I could have probably figured this out if I had looked a little more closely at the ships that were already in the harbor and check the Duluth Shipping News to see which dock the Mesabi Miner was going to use.

Mesabi Miner

Mesabi Miner

A little later in the season I observed the Federal Kamano which arrived around the end of April and anchored out in the harbor. Apparently there were some problems with its papers and it wasn’t until a month later entered port to pick up grain. I happened to be in Duluth when it arrived and again when it was going to depart. I normally check the Marine Traffic site the first thing in the morning to see if any ships are arriving or departing. Fortunately I live close enough to Canal Park so I can just walk down to the ship canal if I see activity. On this day I noticed that the Kamano had departed from the dock and was heading out to Lake Superior. There was a lot of fog that morning and when I arrived at the ship canal the tracker indicated the ship was steaming down the harbor toward the ship canal. It never showed up. the next time I looked at the tracker the ship was anchored out in the harbor. Apparently the fog was too thick for it to leave the harbor.

Federal Kumano

Federal Kumano

Late in the spring I was tracking a ship as it came under the Blatnik Bridge heading for the ship canal. I grabbed my camera gear and headed down to Canal Park. The ship never came out. I noticed a ship at the fueling docks but could see the name. I later checked the Duluth Shipping News which noted the ship intended to leave the docks and then stop for fuel before leaving Duluth. If I had checked the Duluth Shipping News I would have know that. A couple of hours later the ship finally went out of the harbor.

James R. Barker

James R. Barker

It is also possible to listen into the Duluth Harbor Marine broadcasts. I’ve not had a lot of success with this probably because there is not that much marine traffic. A complete listing of radio channels can be found at this link. the information was provided by the Duluth Marine Museum. Probably the biggest day for marine radio traffic was April 13 of this year. Because of a big storm there were fourteen ships either in port of anchored outside the harbor. When the storm finally lifted all of the ships were jockeying for position to either leave the harbor or get into the harbor. There was a lot of marine broadcast traffic during that time and some of the captains were a little upset. There is no harbor master in Duluth so the ships had to work out who was going to go first etc. between themselves.

Every time we drive up the Minnesota North Shore we stop at Two Harbors to see if there is any ship activity. A couple of weeks ago we lucked out. It was a foggy morning and just as we pulled into the harbor parking lot we saw the Edger B. Speer backing out of the docks.

Edgar B. Speer

Edgar B. Speer

The first time I saw ships coming into Two Harbors I thought tug boats would be required to move them into and out of the harbor. I was wrong. Even the thousand foot ships are able to maneuver into and out of the docks without assistance. It does take them quite a while but they are routinely able to do it without problems.

Edgar B. Speer

Edgar B. Speer

We watched the Speer exit the harbor into the fog. The Speer kept blowing its fog horn and we could hear an answering response from out in the lake but, because of the fog, could not see another ship.

Edgar B. Speer

Edgar B. Speer

We waited a while hoping the other ship would come into the harbor before deciding to drive back to where the Edna G tugboat was docked and photographed the Army Corps of Engineers dredging the docs.

Edna G

Edna G

We decided to drive back to the harbor and see if the ship that was waiting outside the harbor was going to come in. Just as we drove past the fog cleared enough so we could see the Indiana Harbor steaming into the harbor.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

We walked down to the water’s edge and watched it maneuver into the dock area. It is a slow process for one of these large ships to work its way into the docks. A lone kayaker was out in the harbor watching the ship come in.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

 

In an earlier blog I mentioned that the ice breakers were working to clear the shipping lanes in Duluth, Minnesota. This past week the shipping season opened when the Mesabi Miner departed Duluth to deliver a load of coal to Marquette, Michigan. It was also scheduled to be the first arrival when it returned from Marquette.

On Saturday I went down to Canal Park to watch the Mesabi Miner return to Duluth. As I was nearing the harbor entrance I notice a ship leaving the harbor. It was the Biscayne Bay a Coast Guard Icebreaking Tug. It was heading out into Lake Superior to break up the ice outside the harbor.

Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay

When I arrived at the shipping Canal there was a small crowd on hand to welcome the Mesabi Miner into port including about a half dozen photographers.

Canal-Park-13-3-_3433

As I watched the Miner steam toward the harbor I thought a jet was going overhead but the sound was coming from the ice breaking as the Mesabi Miner approached the harbor.

Mesabi Miner and South-Breakwater Light

Mesabi Miner and South-Breakwater Light

As the Mesabi Miner neared the harbor entrance a murmur went through the crowd. Someone said she was going to the Superior entrance to the harbor. Everyone ran for their car to drive over to the Superior entrance. That is everyone but me, since I walked down to the harbor. I kept looking at the AIS tracking on my phone and it clearly showed that the Miner was going to enter through the Duluth entrance. It turns out it had headed toward Superior because it was going to anchor outside the harbor and it needed to clear the shipping lanes. The Rodger Blough was still at the docks so it had to wait for the Blough to exit the docks before it could enter the harbor.

Mesabi Miner

Mesabi Miner

Later in the morning the Indiana Harbor left its winter layup in Superior and exited the Superior entrance to the harbor. It made a wide circle and became the first ship to enter the Duluth Harbor because the Mesabi Miner was still waiting for a slip to free up. Since it was around noon there was a large crowd on hand to watch the Indiana Harbor enter the shipping canal.

Indiana Harbor

Indiana Harbor

After entering the harbor it was met by several tugboats that were breaking ice near the refueling station.

Tug Boats

Tug Boats