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Category Archives: Superior Harbor

There are a number of Great Lakes Ships in Superior for winter layup. The shipping season usually ends in mid January and resumes again around the third week in March. As you can see most of the ships are being worked on while they are in port for winter layup.

Burns Harbor

Burns Harbor At Lakehead Pipeline

Lee A. Tregurtha

Lee A. Tregurtha At Fraser Shipyards

Herbert C Jackson

Herbert C JacksonAt Fraser Shipyards

Paul R Tregurtha

Paul R Tregurtha At Midwest Energy

 

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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 I mentioned in my previous blog we drove over to Bayfield, Wisconsin to watch the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Races. When we left the race it was raining but by the time we reached Superior, Wisconsin the sun was peeking out.

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

We stopped at the Kwik Trip in Superior to get gas I noticed the light was shining on one of the abandon Iron ore docks. There were folks fishing out along the dock so I figured it was a good chance to walk out and get some photos. I had been wanting to photograph the docs but didn’t have a way to get close to them until the ice formed.

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

Apparently the docks are in the process of being removed. There was a crane working alongside the docks.

GN-BN Allouez Ore Docks

GN-BN Allouez Ore Docks

One of the fishermen I talked to said they were going to make a marina out of the area. There were a number of boats stored on shore and under the docks. At one point I noticed a car driving along inside the docks so they must be massive.

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

Northern Pacific Ore Dock-No. 1

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.

Several of my photos can be found in the 2014 Wisconsin’s Great Lakes calendar published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The first photo shows dragon boat racers at the Superior Dragon Boat Festival. The Fairlawn Mansion is in the background. It was the family home of mining and lumber baron Martin Pattison. More photos from the Dragon Boat Festival can be found on my website

.Lake-Superior-Dragon-Boat-Festival-13-8-_8407

 

 

The second photo shows the Heritage Marine Tugg Nels J clearing the way for the Baie Cameau to leave Duluth/Superior Harbor in late January. The Port of Superior is in the background.

Nels J

Nels J

 

 

 

 

This spring has been one of the most exciting in decades for following the opening of the shipping season on Lake Superior. The Soo Locks opened on April 25th but have yet to see a cargo ship going though the Locks. A number of Coast Guard Cutters have gone through as they attempt to open the ice on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

Normally intra-lake shipping starts before the locks open. This year was no exception. The first two ships to leave Duluth were the Presque Isle and the Cason J. Callaway. They sailed to Two Harbors to load Taconite. We watched the Callaway as it entered Two Harbors.Cason-J.-Callaway-Two-Harbors-14-3-_1907

A few days later we watched as the tugs in Superior Harbor attempted to break the John G. Munson out of the ice to get the season going. It was an all day Task.Nels-J,-Helen-H-and-John-G.-Munson-14-3-_2043

Early on the morning of March 26th the U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Morro Bay, Katmai Bay and Mackinaw left Duluth to lead a convoy of ships to the Soo Locks.

The convoy picked up the Cason J. Callaway just outside of Two Harbors and it picked up the Presque Isle near Grand Portage. The John G. Munson was still loading in Two Harbors when the convoy went by. The Munson caught up to the slow moving convey several days later outside of Thunder Bay.

In the last few days the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw has been joined by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Pierre Radisson to help break a path to the Soo Locks. As of this writing the convoy is off of Whitefish Point. Unfortunately they are encountering ice that is six feet thick with pressure ridges over twelve feet thick.

This spring I’ve watched the convey of ships mentioned above as they have attempted to reach the Soo Locks. They Left of March 26th and finally reached the locks on April 3rd. I’ve documented some of their problems in an earlier blog.

I have also been following a group of ships that are currently anchored in the Straits of Mackinac waiting to transit the Soo Locks for Lake Superior. They are waiting for the downbound convey to come through the Locks from Lake Superior. The Edwin H. Gott, Stewart J. Cort, Roger Blough have been waiting for about a week and they were joined a few days ago by the Sam Laud.

Unfortunately it is impossible to follow the ships, in person once, they are out on the lake. But, thanks to the internet, it is possible to follow their progress online as they move around the Great Lakes. In an earlier blog I described how I follow the ships so I can be on hand to photograph them as they exit or enter a port near me I’ve been using some of the same tools to watch as the ships attempt to transit the ice covered Great Lakes.

The first place I check is on MarineTraffic.com. This typically gives me the locations of the ships on the Great Lakes. This spring I’ve noticed that does not always show all of the ships. I’m not sure why but part of it may be dead areas in AIS (Automatic Identification System) coverage. Since the ships are taking a northerly route to and from the Soo Locks to Duluth they go up the North Shore of Minnesota to Thunder Bay then along the north shore of the Lake near the Canadian border. There seems to be a lack of AIS coverage near Michipicoten Island. I have also been checking the AIS/Marine Information from Thunder Bay. Sometimes this site is following a ship I can’t find on Marine Traffic. Recently I discovered BoatNerds and have been using the vessel passage link on BoatNerds as another source to see where the boats are located. BoatNerds also has a companion Facebook page.

One thing I’ve learned this spring when following ships on Marine Traffic is that you need to zoom in on the ship icons to show the ships in great detail. For example when you look at Lake Superior as a whole you may see an icon for a single ship. If you zoom in you may find that the one ship is a convey of ships. This problem occurs because the ships are very close together. This spring most ships, including the ice breakers, have part of a convoy.

In addition to following the ships in the AIS sites I also check several other sites for information on shipping. BoatNerds is a great place to follow what is happening with Lake Superior shipping. Just click on the news channel link. The news is updated daily and includes photos. I always check the Duluth Shipping News website. They have been covering the spring shipping problems with photos of activities in the Duluth Harbor.

This is definitely a fun activity while waiting for spring.