Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Self Unloader JOSEPH L. BLOCK

Photo by Nathan Attard 29.11.16
Photo by Nathan Attard 29.11.16
The Americans are Coming!!
The Americans are Coming!!
No it has nothing to do with the actions of many U.S. residents who on the Presidential election night, overwhelmed the Canadian immigrations website so much with requests to move to Canada that it crashed the system almost immediately. No, again, this post is not about a surge of our neighbours to the south "getting out of Dodge" but instead the use of the Welland Canal and the other Canadian and American St. Lawrence Seaway locks and channels to get U.S. iron ore from mines in Minnesota and Michigan, down the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City where it will be loaded on huge Panamax-size bulk carriers and exported to Japan and China.

Photo by Nathan Attard 29.11.16
Photo Nathan Attard 29.11.16
As mentioned in a recent article in Boatnerd.com's 'News Channels' by the Chamber of Marine Commerce, many American lakers have been transporting the ore to Conneault, Ohio, where it would be loaded then shipped down the St. Lawrence on Canadian bulk carriers. However in this case, the 728' American self unloader JOSEPH L. BLOCK will be delivering her cargo of ore pellets from Two Harbours, Minnesota, directing to the Port of Quebec herself, and in doing so, passing through waters that apparently she's never transited before. c):-D
In this series of impressive photos by "my man in Port Colborne", Nathan Attard first captured the JOSEPH L. BLOCK tied off at Wharf 16 near the old coal dock apparently banking rays in the late afternoon sun while Seaway inspectors gave her the once over, a routine activity for first-time transits of the Welland Canal, (a.k.a. "the ditch") and Seaway system below Lake Ontario. Once cleared to get underway on her unusual voyage, Nathan also snapped the BLOCK as she passed beneath Bridge 21 and while continuing to make her way towards Lock 8. Great reflections there, Nathan!! c):-o
Photo by Nathan Attard 29.11.16
Photo by Nathan Attard 29.11.16
Though currently owned by Central Marine Logistics of Griffith, Indiana, the JOSEPH L. BLOCK was built in 1976 at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon, Wisconsin for the Inland Steel Company of Chicago, Illinois and named after their former Chairman of the Board, Joseph Leopold Block. With a cargo capacity of 37,200 tons, the BLOCK was specifically built to trade iron ore from Escanaba, located along the south shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, to Inland's steel mills at the other end on Lake Michigan at Indiana Harbor (East Chicago), Indiana.
I was hoping to snap the JOSEPH L. BLOCK near Brockville this afternoon but I see she's currently anchored at the eastern end of Lake Ontario near Tibbett's Point Lighthouse. Dense fog blanketed the upper St. Lawrence River and Seaway all day today, causing all sorts of slower but cautious ship movement in both directions. Whether it's the weather that has caused her to drop anchor, or simply waiting for a seaway pilot to come aboard, JOSEPH L. BLOCK's first ever arrival at the Port of Quebec will happen when it happens. Like they say, it's better to be safe than sorry. c):-()
Once again, thanks my friend for the great pics. You da man, Nathan, You da MAN!!
Nathan with American self unloader JOHN J. BOLAND in the background - 18.09.14

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