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Fog horns sound as ships arrive

Sam Hankinson/Ships Log • May 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Foggy conditions on Lake Michigan this past week made for some great photo opportunities of freighters as they arrived at our port.

Last Wednesday afternoon, Central Marine Logistics’ self-unloading steamship Wilfred Sykes could be heard sounding its foghorn as it approached the Grand Haven piers. The ship emerged out of the fog and traveled up the Grand River to Meekoff’s D&M dock on Harbor Island. Once there, the Sykes unloaded slag.

While the Sykes was finishing up, Pere Marquette Shipping’s articulated tug/barge Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 arrived with a load of stone for the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg.

The Sykes was gone before midnight. The PM41 unloaded through the night and backed out to Lake Michigan mid-morning Thursday.

Shortly before noon Saturday, Port City’s articulated tug/barge Bradshaw McKee/St. Marys Conquest came in amid a thick fog and headed up to the St. Marys Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. They spent the day in port and had departed the next morning. It was the pair’s first visit so far this season.

The Sykes returned to port Sunday afternoon with another load of slag for the D&M dock. It unloaded and was backing out shortly after sunset.

The St. Mary’s Conquest is managed by Port City Marine Services of Muskegon, while the tug is owned and operated by Port City Tug Inc., also of Muskegon. The Conquest was built in 1937 by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, as the tanker Red Crown. The Red Crown was 465 feet long, with a beam of 55 feet and a depth of 25.5 feet. It was renamed the Amoco Indiana in 1962, and ceased operations for Amoco Oil Co. in 1982.

Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, converted it to a cement-carrying barge in 1987. It now measures 437.5 feet long, 55 feet wide and 28 feet deep, with a capacity of 8,500 tons.

The tug Bradshaw McKee is the former Hannah Marine tug Susan W. Hannah, which originally pushed the St. Mary’s Conquest. It was built in 1971, rebuilt in 1994 and refitted for its present duty in 2010. It measures 121 feet, 6 inches by 34 feet, 6 inches by 18 feet, 2 inches, and is diesel powered.

In its 41 years, the tug has had five names. It was built as the Lady Elda by Toche Enterprises Inc. at Ocean Springs, Mississippi; named the Kings Challenger shortly thereafter; became the ITM No. 1 and then Kings Challenger again; and finally the Susan W. Hannah in 1986.

The Cuyahoga is expected at the D&M dock early Wednesday morning. We may also see a vessel at the power plant to finish out the month of May.

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