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A new shipping season has begun

• Mar 28, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Welcome to the 2018-19 shipping season! The port of Grand Haven received its first cargoes this past week.

On March 23, Port City’s articulated tug/barge combination Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Challenger arrived with the first load of cement for the St. Marys Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. The Challenger unloaded and the pair departed the next day.

March 25 saw the arrival of Pere Marquette Shipping’s articulated tug/barge Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41. The duo loaded a cargo of slag in Burns Harbor, Indiana, and delivered the product to the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg.

Both of these tug/barges are common early visitors to our port.

I ventured up to Sault Ste. Marie this past weekend for the opening of the Soo Locks. The American Century was the first passage through the locks for the season. Despite the cold, it was an enjoyable weekend with plenty of ship traffic.

On my drive back to the Lower Peninsula, I passed a sign that informed me that I was driving on the Prentiss M. Brown Memorial Highway. Yes, the same Prentiss Brown that the tug pushing the St. Marys Challenger is named after.

Prentiss Marsh Brown is perhaps best known for his involvement in the construction of the Mackinac Bridge, as he was the first chairman of the Mackinac Bridge Authority in 1950.

With the season officially started, now is a good time for me to provide some updates on some ships that have visited in the past or may visit in the future.

Algoma Central Corp.’s Algosteel is expected to head for scrap this season. The Algorail and Algoway are expected to be retired this season, as well. These three ships made frequent calls to Grand Haven when they were in service.

American Steamship Co.’s motor vessels Adam E. Cornelius and Buffalo were purchased by Algoma Central over the winter and have been renamed Algoma Compass and Algoma Buffalo, respectively. In their ASC days, the Cornelius and Buffalo were known to call on Grand Haven. Also included in this transaction were the long-idled steamships American Valor and American Victory, but there is no definite information on the future of these vessels.

Additionally, Algoma will welcome its new river-class vessel, Algoma Innovator, to the Great Lakes later this season. Due to the size and expected trade routes of these vessels, there is the possibility that we will see them in our port in the future.

The steamship Wilfred Sykes will be back this season, but not right away. The Sykes is still currently in the process of repairs to its boiler. Expect the M/V Joseph L. Block, as it did late last season, to visit Grand Haven if the need arises until the Sykes returns to service.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Escanaba, based out of Boston, Massachusetts, is expected to visit Grand Haven during the annual Coast Guard Festival in August.

As of now, there are no vessels that I know of that are currently on schedule. But now that the season has officially started, that could change at any time. I am looking forward to another season of writing about the ships that visit our beautiful port.

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