(24.5x18.5 in.) $4500.00
As the sun nears the western horizon on this late afternoon of January 17, 2012, the tug North Carolina sweeps by the stern of Interlake Steamship Company's M/V Mesabi Miner. The Miners enormous 1004 foot length dwarfs the near miniscule, by comparison, 87 foot length of the Great Lakes Towing Co. tug as the smaller vessel breaks six to eight inches of ice for the backing Miner. The huge bulk carrier has the distinction of being the last vessel of eleven to tie up for the winter in the Duluth-Superior Harbor on this bitterly cold day. After delivering its last cargo of around 68,000 tons of low sulfur western coal to Minnesota Powers generating plant at Taconite Harbor, MN on the north shore of Lake Superior, the ship has entered Superior Bay of St. Louis River, stopped, reversed itself and will soon pass under the Blatnik Interstate High Bridge where it will then enter St. Louis Bay. The Miner will lay up for the winter there at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal (SMET) in Superior, WI. Some of the crew have not been home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, so the upcoming family gatherings will be special. Almost as soon as the vessel is secured to the SMET Dock, the deck officers and crew will head for home. For the next two weeks or so, the engine room crew will make the ship ready for winter and then they will be homebound as well.
In a short one and one half months, the engineers will report back aboard the Mesabi Miner at the beginning of March and about a week later the deck crew returns. The Miner will open the 2013 shipping season with a trip to Taconite Harbor and two to Marquette, MIs Presque Isle Generating Plant, all three trips with coal from SMET before any of the other freighters in the harbor make a move.