On Friday morning, Interlake Steamship Co.’s self-unloading motor vessel Kaye E. Barker came into port with a load of stone for Verplank’s Dock in Ferrysburg. The Barker backed out in the evening, as the sun was setting.
Shortly after noon Monday, Grand River Navigation’s self-unloading motor vessel Manitowoc arrived with a load of coal for the Board of Light & Power plant on Harbor Island. The Manitowoc unloaded and departed after dark.
The Manitowoc was making its sixth visit of the season. It was built as the Paul Thayer in 1973 by the American Shipbuilding of Lorain, Ohio. Managed by Kinsman Marine Transit, it was christened in honor of the chairman of Ling-Temco-Vought, the parent company of Jones and Laughlin Steel Co. After a series of owners and managing companies, the Thayer wound up in the Oglebay Norton fleet and was re-christened as the Earl W. Oglebay in 1995.
In 2007, the Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship Co. purchased the Oglebay and shortened its name to Earl W. During this time, it was operated by Lower Lakes Transportation. 2008 saw Lower Lakes Transportation purchase the vessel and rename it the Manitowoc, after the Manitowoc River, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
It is 630 feet long; 68 feet, 2 inches wide; and 36 feet, 11 inches deep. It has a capacity of 19,500 tons, with an unloading boom 260 feet long. The Manitowoc is powered by a 5,600-horsepower Alco 16V251E diesel engine that allows the vessel to operate at a speed of 16.1 knots. Additionally, it is equipped with a bow thruster.
The Manitowoc is a river-class vessel, and makes frequent stops in Cleveland, Ohio, going up the Cuyahoga River, as well as the Calumet River in Chicago, Rouge River in Detroit and the Saginaw River.
Weather is again a factor this week and many ships around the Great Lakes are seeking shelter. The Herbert C. Jackson, currently anchored up north near Port Inland, is due in Grand Haven’s port whenever the weather subsides.