Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Alpena in Bay City

I can't believe it has been almost three years since I've last seen the Alpena.  It's not that she hasn't been out and about, it's that our paths haven't really had a chance to cross that much.  Shame really because she is a pretty beautiful ship.
 She was born in 1942 as the Leon Fraser for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Rouge River, Michigan.  Her namesake was a director at United States Steel when she was christened.  She is powered by a 4000 horsepower steam turbine which gives her a top speed of 13 knots.
 She was the first ship to go downbound through the newly constructed MacArhtur Lock in 1943.  She was also modified so that she could operate in salt water as well.  In 1962, she was converted from a coal ship to an oil powered ship.  She was also given a bow thruster.
In 1982, she was put in long term layup where she stayed until acquired by her current owners in 1989.  At that time, she was shortened to her current length of 519 feet.  In this configuration, she can carry almot 14,000 tons of cargo.  You can see that the River is starting to freeze over, so she may be the last ship to call on the River for a while.

This apparently is the first time she's called on the Essexville Cement Plant.

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