Saturday 24 January 2015

Self Unloader ROGER BLOUGH

"There's a big laker called the ROGER BLOUGH
With a last name that actually rhymes with COW
Though she was built strong and tough,
To haul iron ore and other stuff, 
Her wide curvy stern makes her look like SOW."
A limerick of the ROGER BLOUGH. YES!! c):-) Well maybe not a great limerick, like the one about a man from Nantucket, whose daughter ran off with his money-laden bucket to Pawtucket, or something like that, but at least all the rhymes kind of work, and according to one of the clerks at the Poe Lock information centre, the BLOUGH is known to move very slow like a lazy over-grown pig when transiting the 1200' lock (not his exact words, BTW) 
Though not a 1000 footer per se, the 858'x105' BLOUGH appeared fully loaded and since she had only two and half feet to spare on either side of the lock wall, you can appreciate the "all ahead slow" directive because having the BLOUGH -  "PLOUGH" into a fender or gate is not something any skipper wants on a resume, eh. c):-o

All kidding and innuendos aside, the ROGER BLOUGH has been a unique ship since construction on this classic straighdecker began in 1968 at the American Shipbuilding Company yards in Lorain, Ohio for the USS Great Lakes fleet of Duluth, Minnesota. Built as two sections, the ROGER BLOUGH was christened in June 1972 and named after the retired Chairman of the Board of the United States Steel Corporation.
Though she gives the appearance of a gearless bulk carrier, the BLOUGH is actually a self unloader. Instead of the typical long boom rising high above her decks, the BLOUGH is equipped with a specially designed shuttle type transverse self unloading boom that you can see located below decks behind the engine room at her "sow-looking" curvy stern. SOOEY!! c):-o Meanwhile, when discharging her load of talconite pellets from the iron ranges along Lake Superior, the boom is extended 54 feet on either side of the BLOUGH into compatible hoppers at the US Steel docks in Gary, Indiana, South Chicago, Illinois and Conneaut, Ohio. The ROGER BLOUGH is capable of carrying almost 44 thousand tons of iron ore pellets, and when fully operational, her transverse boom can unload at a rate of 10,000 tons an hour. What a racket that must make, eh? c)8-() Note to Self: Hold off "Power Nap" until this big baby gets underway or when she lays up for winter which she just did this week at Erie, Pennsylvania.
However, though not as much a hassle as when "Polar Vortex" created Lake Superior ice put a hole in her hull at the beginning of this year's delayed shipping season, her journey home was also extremely slow going until US and Canadian icebreakers came to the rescue and helped the BLOUGH plough through the ice-jammed St. Clair River and then underway to her well deserved end of season rest. Ahhh c);-b

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