Apr 24-15

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2015: April: Apr 24-15
Old water plant    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh
KOM    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh
The bow    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh
The stern    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh
Here comes the tug    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh
Ready to pilot them through    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brenda Leigh

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 08:40 am:

Over the past week, Brenda Leigh was reading up on an interesting ocean going freighter named the KOM, which had arrived in Duluth, the first saltie of the shipping season and was headed back her way to go through the Soo Locks. She kept tracking its progress and had it timed pretty well to snap some photos while it was passing by.

This unique looking 465' bulk carrier was built in 1997 and flies the flag of Malta. The Duluth Port Authority reports that the KOM started off from Spain, arriving in Duluth to load 12,100 metric tons of durum wheat and is now on its way to Italy where the wheat will be used to make flour for pasta. Sure seems like a long way to go for hauling grain and Brenda pointed out that it took the KOM almost a week to sail across Lake Superior from Duluth to the Soo Locks, so I can't imagine how long it will take to cross the ocean over to Italy.

The green tug (I do not have its name) is what they call a pilot boat. They bring "River Captains" out to navigate the freighters through the Locks and the river system. Brenda said that the Captains of the boats are not allowed to sail it through themselves, as there are different skills for different bodies of water. I found that information quite interesting, as I had not known this before. It kind of surprises me that the Captain of a vessel that sails across the ocean wouldn't have the skills necessary to sail through the rivers that connect Lake Superior with Lake Huron. That made me think of the saying, "whatever floats your boat" and I guess that's all part of life as a sailor on the Great Lakes.

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 08:57 am:

These are great shots ~ thanks for the info, Brenda and Mary.

By Alex "UP-Goldwinger" (Alex) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 09:03 am:

What a behemoth!

By Douglas Johnson (Pixelpaddler) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 09:16 am:

Great photos! Mary, it isn't so much a matter of skill as of knowledge of local details. If you were going to send someone from Detroit out on the old mining roads in the Keweenaw, you might recommend they work with a guide who knows the territory, right? Same thing with details such as currents, shallow areas, wind effects related to the terrain, and more. I'd want a knowledgeable local guide anytime.

Mary says: That makes perfect sense, Douglas. I mentioned all this to my son who is in the Navy, just last night and he informed me that it's the same thing on the Navy ships. When they went through the Panama Canal, a Pilot Captain was brought on board, because they KNOW the area, whereas the Captain of a boat just passing through would not. Thanks for explaining that for the rest of us!! :-)

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 09:39 am:

A great place to find out more about these "Marine Pilots" can be found on the page below:

Great Lakes Marine Pilotage

These guys are very skilled in what they do; not to mention, the pilots make a lot more money than a regular ship captain because of the specialised nature of their work.

By Mel, MN (Mehollop) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:17 am:

As the first saltie of the year to arrive in Duluth, there's a nice writeup on the captain/crew here:

Wish there was a photo showing the difference in scale between this ocean vessel and one of the lakers - at 465', Kom is less than half the length of most of our ore boats. The presence of the cranes on deck makes her look much larger. Since the lakers are equipped with self-unloading booms, they appear sleeker.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 10:30 am:

Ask Mel, and you shall receive....
Although it's not the KOM, it does give a size comparison between a Laker and a Salty.


By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 11:02 am:

Seeing tug boats always reminds me of one of my favorite childhood book I had, Scuffy the Tug Boat.

By Sondra (Satinoh) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 12:57 pm:

Very interesting info today - thanks!

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:31 pm:

Very good comparison, Capt., considering the Paul R. Tregurtha is the longest freighter now plying the Lakes, at 1,013-1/2 ft.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 05:54 pm:

It was the only good photo I could find, Shirley. I knew any comparison to the Tregurtha would be a little skewed but I guess beggars can't be too picky.....

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Friday, April 24, 2015 - 06:11 pm:

No, really, I tnink that's a good photo comparison, Capt., certainly shows the extreme in both cases.
I'm betting the captain of the salty really felt like a small fish in a big pond.;)

By Shirley Waggoner (Shirlohio) on Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 10:25 am:

I 'tnink'? :-/

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 05:53 pm:

All of this was very interesting. And thanks for
the comparison, Capt. It's amazing to see the
difference in size. I know when we're in Duluth,
and one of them comes into the harbor, it's quite
the sight to behold. Love these ships!

By Daveofmohawk (Daveofmohawk) on Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 06:05 pm:

Typical time for a lake freighter to go from the Sault to Duluth is about 24 to 26 hrs., salties are usually a little faster; if they took a week there must have been a delay. The tug may have been called to assist because of ice conditions, I doubt if it was a pilot boat.

By Brenda Leigh (Brownmoose) on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 11:37 pm:

Daveofmohawk, It was a pilot boat bringing two river
boat captains to the Kom. I spoke with a lock
official prior to taking the photos and they
confirmed that fact.

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