25 March 2017 - Marquette, Michigan
The LS&I's storied ore dock, towering above and out into the waters of Marquette's Upper Harbor, stood largely silent from January until this day, the 25th of March, during the wintertime shutdown.
March 25th brings the unofficial beginning of a new shipping season on the Great Lakes. Like Memorial day is to summer, on the 25th the Army Corps of Engineers opens the SOO Locks, connecting Lake Superior to the lower lakes, hailing the start of the new season, including at Marquette.
The first ship of the year is the Kaye E Barker of the Interlake Steamship Company, one of the Lake's foremost transportation companies since 1913. She was the second upbound transit at the locks in the morning, and we first catch her through the lens as she's still several miles off of port.
While this video contains no trains, as viewers of this channel may be accustomed, the ore dock operation is an interesting one and directly tied to the LS&I, whose ore jennies we can see high above on the top deck.
After the KE Barker has come in and the lines have secured her to the dock, the ship's crew begins removing the hatch covers, and the LS&I dock crew begins their first loading ritual of the season: something they'll do approximately 300 times this season.
The loading process itself is rather simple. An operator lowers one of the mammoth chutes down into the hatch covers. When ready, they open the gate to spill the entire pocket into the hold of the ship. Gravity does all of the work, a key feature of these old docks.
Once the pocket is nearly empty, another crewmember jumps one more ore jennie into the pocket to spill into the waiting freighter. This because as ship hold size increased, the dock's pockets did not.
Once fully empty, the operator closes the chute hatch and raises up the chute.
For most freighters, they'll unload every other chute, which aligns with the hatch covers on the vessel, then slide the whole ship up or back one chute, to repeat the process with the other pockets. Many will even be slid farther back, to load still more ore towards the end of the dock.
All told, the Kaye E Barker will load about 26,000 tons of ore, all of it Hematite Flux from the Tilden Mine on the other end of the LS&I, bound for the blast furnaces of the AK Steel Plant in Dearborn, MI. The Kaye E Barker is 767' long and was constructed in 1951.
Kaye E Barker at Marquette
- Interlake Steamship Companyís Kaye E Barker arriving and loading the first ore of the season at the LS&I Marquette Ore Dock
- Marquette, MI, LS&I Ore Dock / Upper Harbor, on 3-25-17 from 16:00 to 18:34 EDT
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-Primary: Sony FDR-AX53 4K Camcorder
-Edited with: Cyberlink PowerDirector 13
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