8 ships to lay up in the Twin Ports for the winterAs this shipping season winds down, lakers are arriving to lay up for the winter.
By: Steve Kuchera, Duluth News Tribune
As this shipping season winds down, lakers are arriving to lay up for the winter.
Staying the winter will be eight lakers that sailed this year: the Edwin H. Gott, Roger Blough, American Spirit, Mesabi Miner, John J. Boland, John G. Munson, Walter J. McCarthy and American Century.
With the lakers come maintenance and repair work that can cost an average of between $800,000 and $1.5 million a vessel. The Lake Carriers’ Association reports that major U.S.-flag operators will invest more than $75 million in 56 vessels laid up this winter at ports around the Great Lakes. That averages out to more than $1.3 million a ship.
“We usually hope to see more than eight operating vessels lay up,” said James D. Sharrow, Duluth Seaway Port Authority facilities manager. “We have had as many as 13 in recent years, but with the projects this winter there may be as much work as when we had 13.”
That’s because there are five 1,000-footers laying up here, which, because of their size, typically require more work, Sharrow said.
“There are some nice-sized projects the shipyard is working on this year,” he said.
Fraser Shipyards president and chief operating officer James Korthals declined to talk about the economic impact of the work the company has this winter.
“Compared to last year we are doing similar types of work,” he said. “We have some large steel replacement jobs (bulkheads and cargo hopper bottoms) we are doing.”
“This is fairly typical for us,” he said. “Fairly typical work, fairly