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Saginaw makes its 2nd visit of shipping season

• Jul 25, 2018 at 5:00 AM

Grand Haven received three cargoes this past week.

Late Thursday night, July 19, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd.’s self-unloading motor vessel Saginaw arrived offshore and traveled up the Grand River to the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg, arriving there shortly after midnight. The Saginaw unloaded a cargo of trap rock from Bruce Mines, Ontario. By sunrise, it was backing out to the lake.

The next day saw the return of Port City Marine’s articulated tug/barge Bradshaw McKee/St. Marys Conquest. The pair arrived in port amid rainstorms and docked at the St. Marys Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. The Conquest was done unloading Sunday morning and the pair departed.

Late Monday night, Central Marine Logistics’ self-unloading steamship Wilfred Sykes came into port with a load of slag for the Meekhof D&M dock on Harbor Island. The Sykes unloaded under the cover of darkness and was long gone by sunrise.

I won’t go over the history of the Sykes in this article, but I will mention that the vessel traveled north to Marquette and Lake Superior last week for the first time in a very long time.

The Saginaw was visiting for the second time this season. The vessel was built in 1953 as the John J. Boland by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Inc., in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The Boland sailed for the American Steamship Co. and was named after John J. Boland, who formed Boland & Cornelius. This was an early business that would eventually turn into the American Steamship Co.

In 1999, the Boland found itself spending time at the wall as more efficient fleetmates took over the vessel’s trade routes. This resulted in the Boland’s sale to Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. LLT renamed the vessel Saginaw, after the river of the same name on the eastern side of Michigan.

Since John J. Boland was such an important figure for American Steamship, a newer vessel in the ASC fleet was renamed John J. Boland shortly after the Boland (Saginaw) left the fleet.

Speed separates the Saginaw from other vessels in the Lower Lakes fleet. Typically, a ship can travel between 11 and 13 knots, but the Saginaw usually exceeds 14. The ship’s fairly new MaK 6M43C diesel engine gets the credit for this. It was installed in 2008 and is rated at 8,160 horsepower.

The Saginaw’s dimensions are 693 feet, 3 inches long; 72 feet wide; and 36 feet deep; with a 250-foot-long unloading boom. It has a capacity of 20,200 tons and is equipped with a bow thruster.

The Pere Marquette 41 is scheduled to be in port at the Verplank dock sometime today.

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