Saturday 14 February 2015

Classic Self Unloader HERBERT C. JACKSON

I don't know about crazy or lazy part but it definitely was hazy and it technically was still summer when Janie & Tanner and I caught view of the Interlake self unloader HERBERT C. JACKSON motoring out of the St. Clair River fog near East China, Michigan on September 20, 2013. It was our last day of our "Whirlwind Tour to the Soo & Back", and having the classy steamer pass by us was a wonderful but serene finale to a great boat watching holiday. The 690' x 75' ore carrier was named after Herbert Cooper Jackson who was a managing partner of Interlake's parent company, Pickands Mather Company and he was present during her launching in 1959 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works on Detroit's Rouge River. Then the steam turbine powered HERBERT C. JACKSON, was a straightdeck bulk carrier and the heaviest vessel to be side-launched at the shipyard. The JACKSON was built to meet seaway specifications which allowed her to transit the then newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway and return to Great Lakes steel mills with Labrador ore.
In 1975, the JACKSON she was converted into a self unloader at Defoe Shipbuilding in Bay City, Michigan and received a 250' stern-mounted discharge boom which increased her versatility when hauling coal, stone, salt, grain and especially talconite pellets from the iron ore mines along Lake Superior.

As the HERBERT C. JACKSON continued downbound past the Saint Clair Power Plant, off to her starboard side was fleetmate, PAUL R. TREGURTHA unloading coal from her raised boom into an elevated hopper. The St. Clair plant primarily burns Western coal from Montana which is loaded into 60,000 ton self unloaders like the TREGURTHA in Superior, Wisconsin. BTW, the PAUL R. TREGURTHA can carry over 68,000 tons of cargo and at 1,013.5 feet in length, she remains the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. COOL c):-o

While so many other steamers or veteran lakers have been cut for scrap or like Interlake fleetmate JOHN SHERWIN (snapped below) which has been tied off to an old coal dock near DeTour, Michigan in long-term lay-up since 2009, the HERBERT C. JACKSON has continued to give her owners value for their money due to timely conversions and upgrades over the years. As a result, you might say the JACKSON is worth her weight in "JACKSONS"**

**(Andrew Jackson, his picture is on the American twenty dollar bill. OK, got that) c):-o
Meanwhile, quite by chance I was able to snap the lonely JOHN SHERWIN nestled amongst the pines on the other side of the St. Mary's River early in our journey to the Soo. Check here to read about that eye-opening adventure or for a more detailed backgrounder, about the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" SHERWIN, take a look at this Boatnerd link You'll be glad you did. Really!, you will! c);-b   

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