It is pretty rare when I see a ship that I've never seen before. This is one of those cases but in this case I use the term ship lightly.
The Defiance and Ashtabula has been operating on the Great Lakes since October of 2012 after they were acquired by their current owners. Their first cargo on the lakes was a load of sand from Bervort, Michigan to Sarnia, Ontario where they were christened with their current names.
The pair was originally built as an ocean going tug/barge. The barge was built by Bay Shipbuilding of Wisconsin in 1982. The tug was built by Marinette Shipbuilding Company in Marinette, Wisconsin. The barge was named the Erol Y. Beker and the tug was named after his wife April.
The tug is rated at 7200 horsepower. The barge can carry a little over 25,000 tons of cargo.
While they served on the ocean, they operated from Tampa Bay to the Lower Mississippi River. In 1985, Beker Industries went out of business and the combo was taken over by Gulfcoast Transit Company. In 1987, the tug was renamed Beverly Anderson and the barge was named Mary Turner.
The pair had a few accidents in their service.
In 2011, it was announced they would be bought by their current owners.
After a while, I headed down to Belle Isle to catch some other ships. I caught the combo there.