Last Wednesday, Central Marine Logistics’ self-unloading steamship Wilfred Sykes paid a visit to the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg. The Sykes unloaded a cargo of slag and departed at dusk.
The next day, Grand River Navigation’s articulated tug/barge Olive L. Moore/Menominee delivered a load of stone to the Verplank dock. The pair arrived under the cover of darkness, spent several hours unloading and left at around daybreak.
Over the weekend, adverse weather caused a lot of vessels on Lake Michigan to take shelter along the Michigan coast. The Sam Laud anchored south of Grand Haven and the Wilfred Sykes anchored north. There were several other freighters that passed closer than usual to shore in order to shield themselves from the weather.
Pere Marquette Shipping’s articulated tug/barge Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 brought in a cargo of aggregate lime to Verplank’s on Saturday and departed Sunday morning.
On Monday morning, the Canadian-flagged Saginaw returned to port with a load of trap rock for Verplank’s.
The Olive L. Moore/Menominee were visiting for the first time this season. This pair mainly trades on Lake Huron, with their bread-and-butter runs involving the Saginaw River. The duo has been the most frequent visitor on the Saginaw River for a number of years, delivering various cargoes to docks in Bay City, Essexville and Saginaw. Because most of their trade routes are on the east side of the state, it is fairly rare to see them on Lake Michigan.
The Menominee was built in 1952 as the steamship Sparrows Point for the Bethlehem Steel Corp. The vessel was converted into a self-unloader during the 1979-80 winter, and in 1990 was sold to the Oglebay Norton company. The sale was due to larger vessels entering the Bethlehem fleet, making ships like the Sparrows Point excess tonnage.
The vessel sailed for Oglebay Norton under the name Buckeye (for those wondering, Oglebay Norton also had a boat named Wolverine). The Buckeye sailed for a number of years under Oglebay Norton; but again, due to its smaller size, it was often laid up whenever there was a lack of cargoes since O.N. had larger carriers to satisfy demand.
In 2005, the Buckeye was sold to an affiliate of K&K Warehousing to be converted to a barge. K&K Warehousing later became KK Integrated Shipping.
The ship was towed to Erie, Pennsylvania, where the barge conversion would take place. Interestingly enough, the Buckeye was towed to Erie by the Olive L. Moore. The barge was ready to re-enter service in 2006 under the name Lewis J. Kuber. The namesake was the father of the owner of KK Integrated Shipping.
In 2011, Rand Logistics, the parent company of Grand River Navigation, acquired the Moore/Kuber from KK. In 2017, the Kuber was renamed Menominee, paying homage to the Michigan town where KK Integrated Shipping was based.
The tug Olive L. Moore is one of the oldest operating vessels on the Great Lakes. It was built in 1928 as the John F. Cushing and carried that name until 1966 when it was renamed James E. Skelly. It was renamed Olive L. Moore later that year. During its career, it has operated for a number of companies, breaking ice, providing ship assists in harbors, towing barges and now, finally, pushing a barge.
The barge measures 616 feet, 10 inches long by 70 feet wide, with a depth of 37 feet. The tug is 125 feet long by 39 feet wide. It is 13 feet, 9 inches deep and powered by two Alco 16V251 diesel engines.
I intended to share statistics through the month of August last week, but there was no vessel traffic, so I did not write an article. Keep in mind that these numbers are just through the month of August and do not reflect the deliveries we got in the past week. So far on the season, the port has received 55 cargoes, which is 10 less than the year before. Thirteen different vessels have visited; 10 of them American-flagged carriers and three Canadian. Our most frequent visitor thus far is the Wilfred Sykes, with 12 trips in; followed by the Kaye E. Barker and Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41, each with nine.
The Wilfred Sykes was en route to Grand Haven with another load of slag for the D&M dock as of Tuesday afternoon. I’ll be able to confirm that delivery in next week’s column.