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Mississagi arrives with thick fog

Samuel Hankinson/Ships Log • Jun 27, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Two American vessels and two Canadian ships called on Grand Haven since my last article.

The Wilfred Sykes arrived off the pier heads early Wednesday morning, June 20. The Kaye E. Barker arrived a few hours after the Sykes and traveled up the river to the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg. The Sykes was inbound at about noon to Meekoff’s D&M dock.

The Sykes waited for the Barker to go in first because the Barker had to go farther upriver.

Also, the D&M dock’s location is right where ships have to make a turn. Two ships passing at that location would have been difficult.

Both vessels departed within an hour of each other Wednesday afternoon.

The next day, Lower Lakes Towing’s self-unloading motor vessel Saginaw arrived with a load of trap rock from Bruce Mines, Ontario. The Saginaw came in under the cover of darkness and departed in the early afternoon.

The last vessel to call on our port this past week was a fleetmate of the Saginaw, the Mississagi, which came in Saturday evening, June 23. The Mississagi arrived at the same time as a thick fog, and traveled upriver to the D&M dock to discharge a split cargo of stone. It brought product from Thessalon and Meldrum Bay, Ontario.

Before dawn, the Mississagi departed, backing out to Lake Michigan.

The Saginaw was our third Canadian visitor of the season. It wasn’t here last year, but the year before it made three trips to Grand Haven.

The Saginaw was built as the John J. Boland in 1953 by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Inc. in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for the American Steamship Co. Its namesake formed Boland & Cornelius, which was an early business that would eventually turn into ASC. In 1999, the Boland was one of the smallest vessels in the ASC fleet. After spending time idled in Superior, Wisconsin, the Boland was sold to Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. and was renamed Saginaw, after the river of the same name in Michigan.

The name John J. Boland carries on today on a newer vessel of the American Steamship fleet.

The Saginaw is 693 feet, 3 inches long; 72 feet wide; and 36 feet deep; with a 250-foot-long unloading boom. In 2008, it was repowered with a MaK 6M43C diesel engine rated at 8,160 horsepower, providing the vessel with a service speed of 16.1 knots. It has a capacity of 20,200 tons and is equipped with a bow thruster.

The Herbert C. Jackson should be either in port or departed by the time this is published. The vessel was expected at Verplank’s today.

In news unrelated to our port, Engineers Day in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, is coming up. The area between the two locks in operation will be open to the public for a brief time on Friday, June 29. I will be headed up for the weekend to hopefully see many ships and to meet up with other boatwatchers.

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