The 2013 Great Lakes shipping season began March 2 with the sailing of the tug/barge unit Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Conquest, according to the Lake Carriers Association. The vessel, operated by Port City Marine Services, departed its winter lay-up berth in Milwaukee and sailed for Charlevoix, Michigan, where it loaded 9,200 tons of cement for delivery to Chicago.
Next to get underway was the tug/barge unit Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder. The vessel, one of 10 operated by The Interlake Steamship Co., loaded about 13,000 tons of iron ore at Cleveland Bulk Terminal in Cleveland on Monday for delivery to the steel mill at the end of the deep-draft section of the CuyahogaRiver.
Over the next several weeks, 52 more U.S.-flag lakers will return to service and spend 10-plus months hauling the raw materials that are the foundation of the industrial heartland, primarily iron ore, limestone and coal. During the course of the season more than 1,600 American mariners will crew these vessels.