Last Thursday, Pere Marquette Shipping’s articulated tug/barge Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 arrived with a cargo of stone for the Verplank dock in Ferrysburg. They had departed by Saturday evening.
The steamship Wilfred Sykes made its first visit of the season with a load of slag for Meekhof’s D&M on Harbor Island on Monday morning. It backed out at around 9 a.m. and headed south once clear of the piers, back to Indiana Harbor to take on another load of slag for the D&M dock. They were loading the freighter as of Tuesday afternoon and are due back into port sometime today.
The Wilfred Sykes has been the most common sight in our port in recent years. Over the past five seasons the vessel has visited 104 times. Back on Jan. 26, it was our last vessel of the 2018-19 shipping season.
It was built by 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 Sykes was converted to a self-unloader in 1975 at Fraser Shipyards Inc. in Superior, Wisconsin. Inland Steel was acquired by ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s largest international steel makers, during the steel industry consolidations of the late ‘90s. Measuring 678 feet long by 70 feet wide with a depth of 37 feet, the Sykes has a cargo capacity of 21,500 tons. Additionally, it is equipped with a 250-foot unloading boom, and driven by a 3,500-horsepower Skinner Uniflow Engine. It also has a bow thruster, which is helpful in ports like Grand Haven.
During a typical season, the Wilfred Sykes mainly stays on Lake Michigan, delivering loads of stone from Port Inland and Cedarville, Michigan, 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.
We may see the Pere Marquette 41 again later this week.