Saturday, October 23, 2010

Great Lakes freighter Presque Isle E.M. Ford

Great Lakes freighter Presque Isle E.M. FordAfter fifty-seven years as an iron ore carrier on the Great Lakes, the Cleveland-Cliffs freighter Presque Isle was due for retirement in 1955. It gained a reprieve, however, and was rebuilt as a specialized self-unloading, bulk cement carrier. It survives today in its third century of service, despite two serous accidents, and has reached the age of 108.
Renamed E.M. Ford, the ship returned to work on April 19, 1956, only to lose steering on the trial run and collide with the self-unloader A.M. Byers in the St. Clair River near Algonac, Michigan. Both ships received significant damage and the A.M. Byers sank in shallow water.

E.M. Ford was repaired and began hauling bulk cement from the Huron dock at Alpena, Michigan, to company storage silos around the Great Lakes. Between 1958 and 1977, the ship carried 898 cargoes and all were powdered cement. Most came aboard at Alpena and these were mainly taken to Green Bay, Saginaw, Milwaukee, Waukegan, Muskegon, St. Joseph, Detroit, Buffalo, Toledo and Cleveland. On twenty-three occasions E.M. Ford passed through the Welland Canal for the Lake Ontario port of Oswego, New York. The ship is shown in Lock Three on June 23, 1979.
by Skip Gillham, Vineland, Ontario, Canada

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service.

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