Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saginaw River Update - April 30th

With all of the recent heavy rain, the Saginaw River is 2 feet above flood stage, cresting at 19.45 feet Wednesday morning . The current outflow reading from the NOAA water monitoring station in Saginaw shows the flow at just over 35,500 cfs as of 9pm Thursday evening. Because of these conditions, both the Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber and now the Herbert C. Jackson are both at anchor in the Saginaw Bay, waiting for more favorable conditions to make the trip into the river.

Photos from Cass Avenue around 2:30pm Wednesday

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saginaw River Update - April 29th

The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber remained at anchor again throughout Wednesday and into the late night. It is still uncertain as to why they have remained out in the bay.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Saginaw River Update - April 28th

The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge Lewis J. Kuber are currently anchored in the Saginaw Bay as of 2:45pm Tuesday afternoon. The pair have been there since early morning and have not moved toward the Saginaw River. Winds at Light #1 are currently out of the NE at 20 knots, gusting to 23. The current water level in the river is 18.6 inches above datum.

More information to come later.

11:00PM Update:

The Moore & Kuber are still anchored out in the Saginaw Bay and their position has not changed from this morning.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Saginaw River Passages - April 24th & 25th

I apologize for the delay in getting this posted, but I had an extremely busy weekend and this is the first chance I had to get anything posted.

Early Friday morning the Robert S. Pierson called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. She was outbound later in the morning. Later, the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber were inbound with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt Stone dock before continuing upriver to finish their unload at the Saginaw Wirt dock.

Agawa Canyon outbound at Cass Avenue

The Agawa Canyon, which had arrived earlier in the week, finally attempted to depart the river after being delayed by strong river currents. Saturday afternoon, with the tug Gregory J. Busch standing by, the Canyon was finally able to turn on her own and head outbound for the lake. Her problems were not over however. During her outbound passage, high winds gusting over 30 knots made transit through Bay City's drawbridges dangerous. This caused the Agawa Canyon to stop at the old Bay Aggregates dock in downtown Bay City to wait for winds to subside. She was finally able to get underway again around 6pm on Saturday.

The Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber were not immune from the weather either as the pair needed assistance from the Gregory J. Busch to make the turn around at the Sixth Street. The pair also was delayed by the wind and tied up briefly back at the Saginaw Wirt dock before finally getting underway and headed outbound Saturday evening.

Tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber turning in the Sixth Street Basin

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Saginaw River Passages - April 22nd & 23rd

Last season's most frequent visitor, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J Kuber, called on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning. The pair unloaded at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and then departed for the lake later in the evening.

The Agawa Canyon traveled upriver on Wednesday going to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload salt. She departed the dock for the Sixth Street turning basin Thursday morning, but as of this report, is still at the turning basin and has not departed. It is not known weather a mechanical problem or some other condition has prevented their departure. More information on the Agawa Canyon when it becomes available.

The tug Zeus and tank barge Robert F. Deegan deaprted the Dow Chemical dock on Wednesday and headed outbound for the lake after unloading overnight.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saginaw River Passages - April 21

Tuesday evening saw the arrival of a unfamiliar visitor in the Dann Marine Towing tug, Zeus. The Zeus arrived with the tank barge Robert F. Deegan and traveled upriver for the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload. The pair was expected to be outbound during the day Wednesday.

Last season, on June 22nd, another Dann Towing tug, Ivory Coast, arrived to pick up the barge Robert F. Deegan from the Hannah Marine tug, Donald C. Hannah, and continued to make a few more trips into the Saginaw River with the barge. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that the Zeus has been on the Saginaw River.

upbound at the Front Range

Passing Consumers Energy

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saginaw River Passages - April 20th

The Manitowoc was back on the Saginaw River for the second time in as many days, traveling upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. She finished unloading, turned in the Sixth Street basin and was outbound through Bay City early in the afternoon on Monday.

The 47' 49422 from USCG Station Saginaw River was also out on this rainy Monday, placing summer buoys in the upper river.

Manitowoc outbound at the Lafayette Bridge

Saturday, April 18, 2009

First Passage of 2009!

The 2009 shipping season opened on the Saginaw River early Saturday morning with the arrival of the Manitowoc. This is twenty one days later than the start of the 2008 season, but there were only six vessel passages by this point as compared to last year, so it really hasn't been much slower. The Manitowoc was upbound through Bay City around 7am headed upriver to unload at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. It is possible that she may have lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock earlier in the morning. Manitowoc was outbound for the lake Saturday afternoon.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock arrived on Friday to work aids to navigation out in the Saginaw Bay. She tied up overnight at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City, worked aids again on Saturday and was outbound towards the lake just ahead of the Manitowoc on Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Buckets and Belts

In the mail today, I received a package that I have been waiting for for some time. It was my copy of a new book.

The book is titled "Buckets and Belts, Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloader and was written by William Lafferty and Valerie van Heest.

While I have not yet had a chance to read the entire book yet, what I have read has been excellent! This book is very well put together and very well written. There are numerous historical photographs spread throughout the 304 pages which illustrate the information contained in the book perfectly. This book in my opinion is a must read for anyone with an interest in the boats of the Great Lakes, history buffs, and any "Boatnerd" in general. Valerie and Bill are two of the best out there at what they do and you will not be dissappointed.

This book and a number of other fantastic books and videos can be found here, at this address:

I would also like to publicly thank both Valerie van Heest and William Lafferty for placing my photo of the Mississagi on the cover and for including a number of my other photos in the book. It has been an honor and a privilege to have been included in a project of this magnitude and stature. Thank you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

M/V Jupiter Explosion

Here is a little story and some photos to look at as we wait for the shipping season to begin on the Saginaw River. At this time in 2008, we had only had two vessel passages to date, so we are not too far behind, but we are still waiting.....

I had been a career firefighter for only about four months. I was sitting at my station, having a cup of coffee at the end of my 24 hour duty shift when a call came in for a "boat" fire. as soon as we pulled out of our station, we knew it was more than a boat fire. Arriving at the scene at Total Petroleum, we saw the tanker "Jupiter" ablaze, with flame shooting into the air. I began to wonder what I was getting myself into with my new career a firefighter.

Over the next days and weeks, I would have the chance to set up various unmanned water streams, take draft readings on the Jupiter, help to assemble and deploy oil booms, sit on the old D&M Railroad Bridge manning a line as the US Coast Guard Cutter Bramble along with a crew from Boots & Coots began to finally extinguish the fire, and stand by as crews from Marine Pollution Control pumped the remaining fuel from the vessel after the fire was extinguished.

As most of us know, an investigation showed that the fire and subsequent explosion was caused by the suction caused by the passing freighter, Buffalo and from rotted pilings at the Total dock. The offloading hose parted from the dock as the Jupiter was pulled away and the fire began.

These photos are from my collection and were taken from the dock at Total and from a USCG Helo during a flight with one of our firefighters to overview the scene: