Saturday 30 April 2016

River Meet (2) Multipurpose Dry Cargo Carrier FRASERBORG where were we? Oh yes, as the new FedNav Laker-class bulk carrier FEDERAL CARIBOU continued upstream making her way to Picton with a load of steel, the Wagenborg multipurpose dry cargo carrier FRASERBORG  impressively sliced her way passed various red and green marker buoys in front of me at the "Battle of the Windmill" Historic Site and Ogdensburg's river's edge homesteads will motoring downbound towards Cardinal and then Iroquois Lock.

Though no stranger to the Great Lakes, this was only my first meeting with the 507' FRASERBORG which was built  at Ferus Smit Shipyards of Leer, Germany in 2011. Registered in  Delfzijl, NL, FRASERBORG can carry 14,603 tonnes of dry cargo in her two holds or in up to 475 TEU containers above or below deck.
FRASERBORG is one of 50 in Wagenborg's fleet of 180  multipurpose dry cargo carriers  that frequent Great Lakes every year carrying anything from forestry and steel products to fertilizer, grain and more recently wind turbines to U.S. and Canadian ports on their crane equipped vessels like the ATLANTICBORG which I snapped at Iroquois Lock and near Cardinal in 2012 (

Though perhaps not in actual the size of their vessels, Holland based Wagenborg Shipping has a lot in common with FedNav and their laker's like the  FEDERAL CARIBOU. They both only specialize in the movement of dry goods, their ships are well maintained and  before the company suffix "BORG" each are named after the continents, countries, cities, seas and rivers they trade in or with throughout the world like, Vancouver, Albany, Mississippi, Elbe, Volga, Erie, and Aruba, just to name a few.
The slender FRASERBORG is named after British Columbia's longest river, the 1,370 kilometre long "Fraser" that flows from Mount Robson, on the Alberta border, through the Rocky Mountain Trench to the Straits of Georgia at Vancouver. Fur trader Simon Fraser, the river's namesake led an expedition in 1808 along the river from Prince George to the mouth and not only confirmed that it was not connected to the Columbia River, but he was also partly responsible for Canada's boundary with the United States which was later established as the 49th parallel.
Later in life, Simon Fraser settled on land near present-day Cornwall, Ontario. He became an entrepreneur and served as Captain of the 1st Regiment of the Stormont Militia during the Rebellion of 1837 and the defeating of an American invasion at the "Battle of the Windmill", the location where I snapped the above photos of the ship that was ultimately named after, him. A coincidence, or WHAT? c):-o  

Laden with grain loaded in Hamilton and destined for Greenore, Ireland, I got a few more snaps of the seemingly motionless FRASERBORG as she slipped passed the Ingredion Canada corn starch plant in Cardinal but as I panned the horizon to the east, out appeared the light 641' Lower Lakes bulk carrier TECUMSEH motoring upstream at a good speed. "Oh my goodness, don't tell me, Another Meet?" YES!! c):-D To be continued...

Saturday 23 April 2016

River Meet (1): Dry Bulk Carrier FEDERAL CARIBOU

What a difference a couple of weeks makes, eh? When I was down to the St. Lawrence River late in the afternoon on April 4th to snap my first and second upbound of the new shipping season, the 656' FEDERAL CARIBOU  and  641' TECUMSEH, respectfully, along with downbound, 507' FRASERBORG, it was sunny, still above freezing and but a little chilly in the wind. It was quite the opposite during the ten days that followed which included two significant snowfalls, and a return of "Polar Vortex" bitter cold nights and daytime windchills that would make false teeth rattle. c):-() In fact you might say since Spring became official on paper at least on March 20th, the weather's been more up and down than a toilet seat in the sole bathroom of a co-ed dorm. c):-o Well worry no more because the weather gurus are now saying "During mid to late April, we're going to see a pattern reversal....a transition from winter weather to early summer weather." With at least three bouts of  beautiful +22C or 72F warm days since, it  seems the weather guys and gals may finally have it right. About time, eh!! c):-() Yes, the down side is before I know it, I'll be out cutting the grass and pulling weeds c):-( , or maybe simply snapping more "In-Your-Face" boat action like my recent river rendezvous with the CARIBOU, FRASERBORG and TECUMSEH. More of the latter would be GREAT!! c):-D

I didn't think I was going to make it to the river to snap the new FedNav Laker-class dry bulk carrier FEDERAL CARIBOU as she made her maiden voyage into the Great Lakes. The southbound 416 or "Veterean's Memorial Highway" from Ottawa was pretty busy with homebound commuters but but I did arrive in time to see this Canadian-owned beauty glide past Chimney Island and then proceed beneath the Ogdensberg-Prescott International Bridge in Johnstown, Ontario.

Pushing a constant white wake away from her ice strengthened bow and the river's channel buoys, this frisky red-hulled doe seemed to be showing off her stuff as she motored past me at Windmill Point. Built at Oshima Shipbuilding of Oshima, Japan and flying the flag of the Marshall Islands, the CARIBOU just entered service this year.

Based in Montreal and with a fleet of close to 100 ships operating world-wide, FedNav  currently has 35 Laker-class dry bulk carriers active on the Great Lakes throughout the shipping season and like FEDERAL CARIBOU each are immaculately maintained and a display a "Proudly Canadian" image when photographing them. While many are named after world cities, rivers ( and seas, I've started to notice a new naming theme amongst FedNav's lakers - names that focus on the Arctic, with its regions like YUKON and BAFFIN, its seas and bodies of water like BEAUFORT, BERING and HUDSON, and elements of the Inuit peoples' livelihood and survival with HUNTER and now CARIBOU, the mighty animal with herds that still roam from Alaska to Labrador offering the peoples of the North an important source of food, clothing, shelter and tools. An amazing story with ship's names. Way to Go FedNav!! c):-D

FEDERAL CARIBOU continued along  making her way to Picton located in Prince Edward County to unload steel at the bulk terminal dock there. However not before a textbook "port-to-port meet across from Prescott with the multipurpose general cargo carrier FRASERBORG. 
Since my first meet with her along the River, FEDERAL CARIBOU has continued her maiden Great Lakes voyage with a stop to discharge cargo in Windsor and is currently approaching Duluth where she will probably pick up a load grain. As for the FRASERBORG, well that's another story. To be continued....

Page Viewer's Gallery:

A few years of rubbing the Seaway lock wall is showing as FEDERAL CARIBOU is towed outbound on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio in this photo by Jim Hoffman on August 4, 2019 

Hey to see more Great Lakes and ocean-going vessel photos, be sure to check out this great website: You'll be glad you did.

Monday 4 April 2016


What a difference a week makes. I can't say how often this past winter that we've had beautiful warm days, then the usual Great White North snow and cold conditions, then followed right back with balmy temps, over and over again. It was a pleasant +5 Celsius on Easter Sunday when I got my first shot away across from the recently restored former windmill and lighthouse of the tug & barge combo SALVOR & LAMBERT SPIRIT as they approached barely visible through the shoreline sumachs and other foliage at the Battle of the Windmill Park near Prescott, Ontario. The only clouds were on the horizon and the St. Lawrence River was as flat as a pancake. It was a great day to be alive and I thought to myself, very thankful that another winter has passed us by. And now here we are a week later, a sunny -8C and -19 in the wind. I know, it could be worse like having a whack of snow show up again, which is exactly what happened yesterday in Central Ontario and Toronto. HeeHee!! c):-)) Well, I can't laugh too loud because we're supposed to get another 12 centimetres of snow too on Wednesday. YUKE!! c):-() "Weather, schmeather!!!" is all I can say and as long as you have packed some gloves and a wind breaker, who really cares what the weather is like this time of year, because "Boat Watching Season" is BACK!!. Oh YAAA!! c):-D
When launched in 1968 at Avondale Shipyards of Avondale, Louisiana for Interstate Ocean Transportation, LAMBERT SPIRIT's name was KTC 115 and she was a 10 hold tanker barge.
At some point the 393' KTC 115 was sold to K-Sea Transportation of Staten Island, New York and that name remained even after McKeil Marine of Hamilton, Ontario purchased her in 2003. 
It seems that even from the beginning KTC 115  was joined to the tug SALVOR, except perhaps when on July 27, 2004 a chain securing the starboard face wire failed when the SALVOR experienced some steering problems causing her mate to break free and run aground on the north side of American Narrows near Alexandria Bay, New York. Oh NOO!! c):-( 
The downbound 120' SALVOR and her fully loaded barge with 9,117 metric tonnes of liquified calcium chloride were heading for Montreal, Quebec and since the KTC 115 was only single-hulled, a portion of cargo was spilled into the St. Lawrence River when a starboard tank was torn open. The spill was unrecoverable and investigators judged that it posed no threat to the environment. c):-o 
Soon after the incident, KTC 115 was converted into a dry bulk carrier and her name was changed to LAMBERT SPIRIT. Meanwhile, SALVOR was fitted with a JAK® coupling system which improves the connection between the tug and her barge while improving manoeuvrability and sea-keeping. 
When launched in 1963 at Jakobson Shipyard of Oyster Bay, New York her name was ESTHER MORAN and she provided harbour and coastal towing services for Moran Towing of New York City until 2000 when she was purchased by McKeil Marine and renamed SALVOR. Like her owner, the twin-screw 5,760 horsepower SALVOR is based out of Hamilton, Ontario
With a cargo capacity of 9,800 metric tonnes, the flat deck cargo barge LAMBERT SPIRIT has removable bin wall access points for side loading and her steel deck has been customized for a variety of lashing configurations, making her completely versatile and capable of carrying any range of dry bulk commodities.   
I'm not 100% certain what LAMBERT SPIRIT was carrying as she and the powerful tug SALVOR glided by on their way to Cornwall on the gorgeous Easter Sunday morning but it sure was a perfect day to capture my first downbound of the season. I wonder what the weather's going to be like for my first upbound? More of the same would be nice. c);-b