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Sykes again is week's lone visitor

By Sam Hankinson/Ships Log • Updated Nov 8, 2018 at 12:00 PM

The port of Grand Haven was significantly less active than it was a week ago, when six cargoes were received. Our port’s most frequent visitor, the Wilfred Sykes, was the lone visitor to our port this week, arriving over the weekend. The steamship delivered a load of slag to the Meekhof’s D&M dock on Harbor Island, coming into port Saturday evening and departing after dark.

The Wilfred Sykes has been sailing the Great Lakes since 1949. It was built by the American Ship Building Co. at Lorain, Ohio, for the Inland Steel Co. It has the distinction of being the first ship constructed on the Great Lakes after World War II. the Sykes has sailed its entire career under the same name, which honors a former president of Inland Steel who retired in 1949 and died in 1964.

The Wilfred Sykes mainly stays on Lake Michigan, delivering loads of stone from Port Inland and Cedarville to the bottom of Lake Michigan at docks in Burns Harbor and Indiana Harbor, Indiana. Following the discharge of these stone loads, the Sykes will occasionally shift over to a different dock in one of these two ports and load slag for Grand Haven.

These trips make up a typical season for the Sykes, with a few outliers here and there to other Lake Michigan ports. However, this season has seen the Sykes venture past its normal stomping ground several times. The vessel has taken stone loads out of Calcite and Drummond Island, and visited Marquette to load iron ore fines over the summer for the first time since 2004.

Today, the Wilfred Sykes is unloading stone along the St. Clair River. After that, the ship will continue downriver to Detroit to load fines. This is the first time in roughly 12 years that the Sykes has made a trip over to the east side of the state.

When the Sykes visited our port over the weekend, it marked the first cargo of November for our port. During the month of October, we received 10 cargoes, adding to our season total of 74. This is an 18 percent decrease compared to last season, when we had 90 cargoes received through October. Our five-year average for October is 73.

Keep an eye out for the Kaye E. Barker at the Board of Light & Power plant this weekend with the final load of coal for the season.

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