Friday, October 21, 2011

The Philip R. Clarke

So I decided to head down to Detroit to do some boatwatching tonight.  Sadly, with the days getting shorter I didn't have much time and the light was almost fairly inadquate when I got there.  I had to bump up the film speed a bit in order to get enough shutter speed so the pictures are a little on the grainy side.  I didn't see any ships in motion but I did see three ships and a barge docked.
The first of the night was the Philip R. Clarke which was docked at the Steelworks.  I don't think she's ever appeared on this blog before do so I will do a detailed post about her.

The Clarke was the first of three AAA ships built for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company in 1951.  She was named after a banker who was a member of the board for US Steel.  She was originally built as non-self unloader.

Originally she was 647 feet long and could carry 20,300 tons of cargo.  She was powered by a 7000 horsepower engine and could travel at 16 mph.  At the time she was one of the most modern ships afloat on the lakes.
In 1974, she was lengthened to her current length of 767 feet.  Earlier she had bow thrusters added.  In 1981, the self-unloader was added.

She was the first ship to use the modernized Poe Lock.  She's also been the first ship down the locks for the season a number of times.  One time her anchor found a boat that had been missing for 5 years.

I kind of wish she were closer because she seems like a nice ship.

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