In his 47-year Congressional career, former Congressman Jim Oberstar has received many honors. But few are as big – literally – as the announcement that The Interlake Steamship Company will rename and rechristen one of its massive ships the MV Hon. James L. Oberstar this spring. The vessel will sail from layup in March as the MV Hon. James L. Oberstar, and will be rechristened in a ceremony at Duluth later this spring.
The ship stretches longer than two-and-a-half football fields – 805 ft to be exact – with a beam of 75 ft and a current carrying capacity of 31,000 gross tons. Built in 1959 at the American Ship Building Company in Toledo, Ohio, and later modified at Fraser Shipyards
, Inc. in Superior, Wis., the vessel is currently known as the MV Charles M. Beeghly.
“It’s a big ship that will be renamed for one of the giants of Congress,” said Mark W. Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Company. “Jim Oberstar’s commitment to America in general and our region in particular is truly as big as the Great Lakes.” Barker said it is the first time one of the huge Great Lakes lakers has been named for a US legislator.
Oberstar’s tenure on Capitol Hill stretched over nearly a half century – 11 years as a senior Congressional aide and 36 years as a member of Congress. Most recently he served as the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congress’ primary expert on transportation issues