The tank barge Greenstone II, the first vessel to be built by Superior’s Fraser Shipyards
in nearly 40 years, is tentatively scheduled to depart the Port of Duluth-Superior on Monday, May 24, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported today.
Fraser Shipyard floated the Greenstone II at its dry dock today (May 21), and has scheduled the Marine Tech, Duluth, tug Miss Laura to escort the vessel to Houghton, Mich. The Greenstone II is a double-hulled fuel barge that will operate between Houghton and Isle Royale National Park, replacing the single hulled barge Greenstone that was retired last year.
Fraser Shipyards, whose predecessors date back 113-years, is the only remaining major American shipyard and dry dock operation on the western end of the Great Lakes. Its last new construction was in 1966 with the launching of the car-passenger ferry Island Queen, currently in service between Bayfield and Madeline Island, Wis., and the tug Francis A. Small. Since that time the company has focused on repair, reconstruction and conversion of Great Lakes ships
Established in the 1890’s as American Steel Barge Company, the shipyard was then famous for building whaleback steamers and barges under the direction of shipbuilder Alexander McDougall. Only one of McDougall’s 42 steel-hulled, cigar-shaped vessels remains—now serving as a museum at Superior’s Barker’s Island.
From 1900 to 1926, Superior Shipbuidling Co.
operated the yard and built more than 50 large Great Lakes ore carriers. World War II brought a demand for ships, and during the war years a total of 191 ships were built at the seven shipyards then existing in Duluth-Superior. From 1926 to 1945, the Fraser yard was a repair facility of the American Shipbuilding Co. It then became known as Knudsen Brothers Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Fraser-Nelson Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. took over the plant in 1955, and the present name was adopted in 1964.
Fraser now serves as a leader in repair, reconstruction and conversion of Great Lakes ships, “but we’re continually looking for new projects such as this vessel construction,” said Vice President and General Manager Trevor White.
“We hope this new barge will launch a return for Fraser into small-vessel construction, and we’ll continue to work with various owners on upcoming projects,” said White.