Great Lakes News

01 Apr 2020

US Shipyards Forge Ahead Through COVID-19

The 56-foot icebreaking tugboat being built by Blount Boats for N.Y. Power Authority (NYPA). (Photo: Blount Boats)

As the novel coronavirus and its impacts continue to spread across America, U.S. shipbuilders, by and large, continue to build. While most yards have been deemed essential to marine transportation and/or national security and have been able to maintain operations, the situation at and around every shipyard is different, and there are several builders across the country that have had to temporarily suspend activity. In either scenario, it’s far from business as usual for America’s…

25 Mar 2020

St. Lawrence Seaway/Great Lakes Shipping Season Commences

© Daniel / Adobe Stock

The St. Lawrence Seaway’s 62nd navigation season kicked off on Tuesday with the transit of the Canadian-flagged cement carrier NACC Argonaut through Lock 8 on the Welland Canal.Then, in the early hours on Wednesday morning, first U.S.-flag commercial vessel transited the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., signaling the start of the U.S. fleet's 2020 sailing season.The Seaway’s Montreal / Lake Ontario section will open on April 1 this year, eight days after the opening of the Welland Canal.

20 Mar 2020

Staten Island Ferries: A "New York State of Mind"

The OLLIS Class: is a new class of vessels being built for Staten Island Ferries by Eastern Shipbuilding Group. Photos: Staten Island Ferries/ESG

It takes a thick skin to live in New York City, let alone to run its Staten Island Ferry service. James C. DeSimone, Deputy Commissioner, Ferry Division, New York City Department of Transportation, has been charged with running the ferry service for the last 16 years. We met with him for his insights on the challenges of keeping the iconic ferry running safely and efficiently.Jim DeSimone has led a maritime life, with his time equally split between the private and public sectors. His maritime affiliation is literally in his blood, as his father Guy J.

16 Mar 2020

Winter Work on the Great Lakes

(Photo: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding)

Along the 1,600-mile, ice gray arch of the St Lawrence Seaway, the 2020 Great Lakes commercial shipping season will lurch back to life on March 25 when the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. reopen.The ceremonial opening signals a passage with passable ice and the 114th Great Lakes season for its fleet of 45 venerable lakers. Most of these huge self-loading freight haulers are at least 50 years old, rust free, and fit; American steel sailing on a freshwater sea.To handle Great Lakes cargo…

12 Mar 2020

NOAA-Viking Public Private Partnership, a Win-win for Research

RENDERING OF NEW VIKING SHIP: This rendering shows what the new Viking expedition ships will look like, including the hangar for launching small vessels. Credit: Viking

There was important cruise news in January: Viking – a premier European ocean and river cruise company - will offer two new “destination-focused travel experiences,” starting in 2022. One set of cruises becomes Viking’s first foray in the inland North American market, in this case the Great Lakes. Another set of cruises will head to the Arctic and Antarctica. Viking is building two new vessels: the Viking Octantis and the Viking Polaris, under construction now in Norway, by Fincantieri’s VARD.In a press release Viking writes that it has created “the thinking person’s expedition.”  Indeed…

16 Mar 2020

The National Freight Strategic Plan and the Inland Waterways

© Gerard Corprew / Adobe Stock

The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was enacted in December 2015. The FAST Act required the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a National Freight Strategic Plan to address multimodal freight transportation. In the Federal Register of December 27, 2019, DOT requested information from the public, including industry trade groups, to aid development of the National Freight Strategic Plan.This article summarizes certain of the comments that were submitted by Inland Rivers, Ports and Terminals, Inc. (IRPT) in response to DOT’s request.

09 Mar 2020

Big Ship Ready Port Dredging Kicks off 2020

Photo: Weeks Marine

The end of the 2019 saw some unprecedented funding measure pass through Congress and signed into law by President Trump. The Gulf and East Coast have continued to receive significant funding to help deepen and widen navigational channels and gateways. One of the projects passed into law included the Gulf Coast Regional Demonstration Project. Some of the ports receiving funding and underway include Mobile, Baltimore, Houston, Port Everglades and Norfolk. All these projects funded by Congress draw a direct correlation to the expanded Panama Canal.

03 Mar 2020

Sub M Progress – an Update

Credit: Paul C. Lamarre III

Subchapter M, the United States regulatory code dealing with towing vessels and requirements for towing vessel safety, has officially been in place since July 20, 2016, when the U.S. Coast Guard finalized Sub M rulemaking.Since the rules were finalized there have been a couple of important hammer dates. In spring and summer 2018 the first certificates of inspection (COI) were issued. COIs are central within the Sub M program. A vessel needs a COI to legally operate. (All vessels were required to comply with Sub M by July 20, 2018.

02 Mar 2020

US Offering $225 Mln for Ports Infrastructure

©  Felix Mizioznikov / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to apply for $225 million in discretionary grant funding through the Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).“America’s ports are a critical part of the Nation’s multimodal transportation network and this Notice of Funding Opportunity provides guidance on how to apply for these grants,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.The Port Infrastructure Development Program supports U.S.

02 Mar 2020

Great Lakes Awarded $71.6 Mln in Dredging Work

(Photo: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation)

Dredging services provider Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation announced it has been awarded several dredging contracts worth a combined $71.6 million.The awarded work includes:Caminada Headland Back Barrier Marsh Creation Project (Coastal Protection, Louisiana, $30.1 million)The Caminada Headland Back Barrier Marsh Creation Project entails dredging suitable marsh fill material from designated offshore borrow areas to create an eight mile long stretch of marsh. This project will help reinforce Louisiana’s barrier islands and prevent coastal erosion.

25 Feb 2020

Marine News' 2020 ATB Report

(Photo: Vane Bros.)

There’s a barge full of reasons why many operators turn to ATBs.A  mainstay of the U.S. coastwise dirty and refined products trades, articulated tug barges (ATB) have increasingly filled a void left as the fleet of Jones Act tankers (with crew complement requirements exceeding that of tugs) has aged out. With the cargo capacity of the larger ATBs – some with barges exceeding 300,000 barrels capacity – rivalling that of workhorse tankers that had served oil consuming regions, the concept certainly makes sense from a supply and distribution perspective.With 50…

12 Feb 2020

Rand Logistics to Buy American Steamship Company

© Daniel Novak / MarineTraffic.com

New Jersey-based Rand Logistics announced it has entered into a stock purchase agreement to acquire rival Great Lakes shipping company American Steamship Company (ASC) from Chicago-based GATX Corporation for $260 million.Headquartered in upstate New York, ASC operates the Lakes' largest U.S.-flagged fleet, annually transporting more than 27 million tons of dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, coal and limestone on vessels ranging in size from 634 feet to over 1,000 feet. ASC reported segment profit of $46.1 million for 2019 (including a one-time gain of $10.5 million)…

30 Jan 2020

Navibulgar Orders Four Bulkers

Image: Navigation Maritime Bulgare

Bulgarian shipping company Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar) ordered a new series of four 31800 ton bulk carriers in the Chinese Shipyard Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co.The century-old, largest ship-owning company in the country said in a press note that the deliveries are scheduled for 2021 and 2022.DNV- GL classification society is supervising the design and the construction process of the new lake fitted bulk carries. Navigation Maritime Bulgare possesses already other eight lakes fitted bulk carriers with DWT about 30…

23 Jan 2020

More than $97 Mln in Maintenance Planned for US-flag Lakers

© Irwin Seidman / Adobe Stock

U.S.-flag lakers idled for the winter season will undergo more than $97 million in maintenance and modernization work at multiple Great Lakes shipyards before returning to service in March. The $97 million figure is an increase from $70 million in 2019, according to the Lake Carriers' Association (LCA).After working around the clock for 10 months hauling cargo over more than 70,000 miles per vessel, the ships and their crews are given a brief rest to recoup before the Soo Locks reopen and the next season starts in March…

03 Jan 2020

For Fireboats, The Heat is On

(Credit: Metal Shark)

These days, cost-conscious municipalities across the fruited plain, from sea to shining sea, are ordering new waterborne assets to cover their many local responsibilities. When they do, they want ‘more bang for their buck,’ combining multiple missions – and the equipment that makes it all possible – onto one hull. That’s a tall order on the typically compact patrol boat style hulls that tend to be big on performance, but short on space for equipment that can demand a significant physical footprint.

31 Dec 2019

GLDD Details $83M in Awarded Work

Image: Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation

North America's dredging company Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (GLDD) announced the receipt of several major dredging awards totaling $ 83 million.David Simonelli, President of Dredging said: “Great Lakes is pleased to announce these important deepening, coastal protection and maintenance dredging awards. These projects will enhance our year-end backlog and position us well for 2020. Working on these projects allows Great Lakes to help strengthen the U.S. economy, infrastructure and further support the protection of our U.S.

27 Dec 2019

Fincantieri Marinette to Build Saudi Warships

USS Detroit (LCS 7) (U.S. Navy Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin-Michael Rote)

A Lockheed Martin-led team has secured a multibillion dollar order from the U.S. Navy to build four Multi-Mission Surface Combatants ships for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of the U.S.’s Foreign Military Sales program.Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM), who has been working with Lockheed Martin, naval architect Gibbs & Cox and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, said it will build the ships at its Marinette yard in Wisconsin.

23 Dec 2019

Chantier Davie Pre-qualified under Canada's NSS

© Denis Comeau / Adobe Stock

The Government of Canada announced East Coast shipbuilder Chantier Davie has pre-qualified to become the third strategic partner under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), a long-term, multibillion-dollar program to renew the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy fleets.Back in May, Canada’s Government announced its intention to add a third Canadian shipyard as a partner under the NSS, and on August 2, it launched the competitive process to select the new yard to build six program icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard.According to the Government of Canada…

13 Dec 2019

Blount Boats Joins Green Marine

Marcia Blount (Photo: Blount Boats)

Blount Boats, Inc. becomes the eighth shipyard company to join Green Marine.“We’re already committed to delivering vessels that exceed our clients’ expectations and now wish to go beyond compliance in our work in terms of the environment as well,” says Marcia Blount, the company’s president. “The Green Marine framework is tailor made for the marine industry and scalable to our size of operations. It will provide guidance towards greater sustainability for our shipbuilding activities.”Green Marine further expands its shipyard and U.S. East Coast membership by welcoming Blount Boats, Inc.

12 Dec 2019

Icebreaking Kicks Off on the Great Lakes

File photo: The US Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug, escorts a motor vessel  through Lake Michigan near Lansing Shoal, in 2014. The cutter was operating as part of Operation Taconite, which is the icebreaking operation for the northern Great Lakes. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Daniel R. Michelson)

It's that time of year.The US Coast Guard announced it has commenced icebreaking operations in response to expanded ice growth in the commercial ports of western Lake Superior.Operation Taconite, launched by Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie on Wednesday, is one of two icebreaking operations that support the Great Lakes. It encompasses Lake Superior, St. Marys River, Straits of Mackinac, Georgian Bay, Green Bay, northern Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan.The authority for Coast Guard domestic icebreaking was created in 1936, by Executive Order 7521 signed by President Franklin D.

27 Nov 2019

DOMESTIC DREDGING: U.S. Ports Require a Diverse Fleet

Image: CREDIT Cashman Dredging

The reasons for that are many and these realities cater to regulatory, commercial and regional needs.The U.S. dredging market is complex and relies on the diverse fleet of private dredging companies to get the job done. In addition to design and technical capabilities, environmental restrictions and regulations often dictate whether a trailing suction hopper dredge, cutter suction dredge, or mechanical dredge can respond to the coastal protection, wetland restoration, port deepening, and channel maintenance needs of the Nation.

01 Nov 2019

Polymer Pioneer Receives Engineering's Highest Accolade

George A. (Sandy) Thomson (Photo: Thordon Bearings)

On October 31st, 2019, George A. (Sandy) Thomson, the founder of Thordon Bearings and a pioneer in the development of advanced polymer materials, was presented with the 2019 Elmer A. Sperry Award in recognition of “leading the innovation in water-lubricated propeller shaft bearings” in marine transportation through the use of polymeric compounds.The award was presented to Mr. Thomson at the SNAME Maritime Convention, in Tacoma, USA, by the Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), Mr.

02 Dec 2019

REGULATORY REVIEW: Subchapter M

Image Credit: (Captain) Pat Folan

One Year In: Industry SME (Captain) Pat Folan weighs in from the front lines.It has been an interesting year for towing industry. As the new Subchapter M towboat rule rolled out, it didn’t take long to discover that the regulation wasn’t perfect. As stakeholders look ahead to what comes next, it is also helpful to take a look back at what went right, what didn’t, and more importantly – why.The U.S. Coast GuardThe US Coast Guard does not have the manpower to add more than 5,000 vessels to its workload.

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