Friday, May 1, 2009

Where Have All the Boats Gone?

As I read the discussion groups on, I found that many ships are still in lay-up because of the downturn in the economy. An article in the Duluth News Tribute today verified that.

The Tribute is reporting that the Edgar B. Speer was the 4th 1,000 footer taken out of service this spring. The Speer needs repairs on her bow thrusters but the other three footers were not brought out because of weak demand.

The slow down in the demand for taconite also causes a slow down in the demand for lime. The downturn in construction has caused a slowdown in concrete and stone shipments as well.

"The 1,004-foot Mesabi Miner recently tied up in Sturgeon Bay because of weak demand for service, said Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Co., the ship’s owner. It’s the same story for the 1,000-foot Stewart J. Cort berthed in Milwaukee, waiting for the market to improve.

The American Spirit, a 1,004-foot-long member of the American Steamship Co., remains parked at the Lakehead Pipeline dock, awaiting its first voyage of the season.

Half of the Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet is out of service. In addition to the Speer, the 767-foot Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson, plus the 858-foot Roger Blough all are inactive, waiting for demand to improve."

I will miss several those favorite sights and hope that shipping picks up before I get there in a few short weeks.


Cathy Clementz said...

I had heard on one of the news stations about a month ago that there were jobs out there to be had and one place that really needed employees WAS the shipping industry. But men didn't want to make the commitment to be away from family for months at a time. I had a hard time believing that the shipping industry would need workers because of NOTHING BEING GROWN OR MFGD TO SHIP. Who knows??!!

Sault Boat Watcher said...

CC, I know there is a college in Traverse City that trains for the shipping industry. They must be hard hit too.

It seems like every segment of our society is hit someway or another.

Even the boatnerds are going to suffer this summer.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed that the Soo Lock webcams aren't online.

Sault Boat Watcher said...

According to the boatnerd discussion group, the people at the Locks are aware of the problem and the webcams at the Soo will be working again soon. I miss them too.