Laid-up in the Twin PortsFewer ships than usual will be wintering in the Twin Ports. But a local shipyard says they’ll still be busy over the next three months.
By: Laura Podgornik, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Fewer ships than usual will be wintering in the Twin Ports. But a local shipyard says they’ll still be busy over the next three months.
The Soo Locks close on Jan. 15 and Duluth Seaway Port Authority Facilities Manager Jim Sharrow says they expect the last of 11 vessels to dock in the Duluth-Superior Harbor around Jan. 22.
The latest addition to the Frasier Shipyards in Superior is the H. Lee White. It will need the most repairs.
“All the ships that are going to be laid up in the harbor are U.S. flagged American-owned ships that we call ‘Lakers’. The H. Lee White is going on their dry docks so she’s having a scheduled sight and survey dry docking which happens every five or six years.”
Sharrow says a dry docking is like a complete physical that people get at their doctor’s office.
“You can sail it into the berth. They close a big gate and they pump the water out of the berth. And the ship settles down onto a hundred or more different blocks that keep it up off the bottom so you can climb around and work on the bottom and paint it, replace steel if necessary and inspect everything from the outside. And then you do a detailed inspection where you literally crawl through all sections structurally.”
Due to a tight economy, the American Victory, the Edward L. Ryerson and the Adam E. Cornelius have been docked at Frasier Shipyards since last winter. And they’ll stay there for another winter. Sharrow says they’re docking fewer ships than last year.
“This is toward the low end of what I think of as normal, except for the fact that we have these several ships that didn’t sail at all. There were twelve ships last year total.”
Sharrow says an average vessel brings in around $800,000 dollars worth of work to the area. Frasier Shipyards President Jim Korthals says they will have a typical year with around 100 employees completing repairs.