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Wednesday | 07 May, 2014 | 11:52 am

Iron vessels moving steadily on Superior, shippers mourn Oberstar

By Corinna Petry

May 7, 2014 - U.S. and Canadian ore carriers were moving steadily Wednesday around Lake Superior, according to the Duluth Shipping News. Meanwhile, shippers are mourning the loss of former congressman James L. Oberstar, who died May 3.

The Algoma Equinox, a 740-foot long Canadian ship, was in Duluth on Wednesday to load iron ore pellets. A 844-foot-long barge, Great Lakes Trader, was loading pellets. The Walter J. McCarthy, a U.S.-flagged 1,000-footer, was expected to arrive at Duluth between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. to load iron ore pellets. 

The Canadian flagged John D. Leitch, 740 feet long, was expected to arrive late Wednesday to load iron ore at Duluth. At Superior, the 1,000-foot U.S.-flag Burns Harbor was expected to arrive early afternoon, load up on iron and depart the same night. 

The U.S.-flag St. Clair, 770 feet long, was expected to arrive at the Port of Two Harbors between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. to load iron ore. At the port of Silver Bay, the 1,000-foot U.S. laker Indiana Harbor was expected to arrive around noon to discharge coal and start loading taconite by 8 p.m.

On May 8, a U.S. laker, the 635-foot Sam Laud, is expected to discharge limestone in Duluth and load taconite in Silver Bay. The Hon. James L. Oberstar, 806 feet long, was to arrive at the Port of Superior to load iron. Arthur M. Anderson, is scheduled to load iron ore pellets at Two Harbors.

U.S.-flag vessels working the Great Lakes will lower their flags to half mast Thursday in honor of Rep. Oberstar (D-Minn.), who represented the state’s iron ore mining and shipping industries in the U.S. House from 1974 to 2011. 

“Great Lakes shipping has lost its greatest friend and staunchest supporter,” said James H.I. Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, Rocky Ridge, Ohio.  “He was at the forefront of every effort to make waterborne commerce on the Lakes and Seaway safer and more efficient.”

Particularly as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007-2011, Oberstar “worked tirelessly to develop a funding plan that recognized the Soo Locks’ key role in our nation’s economic well-being,” Weakley stated.

“As this past ice season has illustrated, our inability to move much cargo out of Lake Superior in March and April has threatened steel production and power generation throughout the Great Lakes basin,” he added.

Oberstar was the son of an iron miner who belonged to the United Steelworkers of America.

This Friday, a Canadian vessel, the 730-foot CSL Tadoussac, will load iron ore at Duluth while the U.S.-flagged Roger Blough, 858 feet long, will load the same cargo at Two Harbors. Over the weekend, three more ships will be loading iron at Superior, Two Harbors and Silver Bay.

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