Soo Locks’ first ship of the 2019 is Great Lakes’ first 1,000-foot freighter

March 25, 2019 -

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI - The Great Lakes 2019 navigation season officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. today, with the first 1,000-footer to ply the inland seas snagging this year’s bragging rights as the first ship through the Soo Locks. The Stewart J. Cort arrived at the lock system just before midnight. Ship enthusiasts had been tracking her progress through the Lower Great Lakes. Fans gathered near the huge lock system in Sault Ste. Marie as the Cort pulled into the Poe Lock, which handles all the big freighters upbound for Lake Superior.
With great benefits and pay, jobs are available in Cleveland’s booming maritime industry

February 27, 2019 - News 5 Cleveland

CLEVELAND — Great pay and benefits, free meals plus room and board all without a college degree. Sounds like a dream job, right? The catch, you need to hop on a freighter ship for weeks and even months at a time and set sail on the Great Lakes. In the middle of winter, the waters of Lake Erie are harsh and unforgiving. Too dangerous to navigate for most. But come spring, once the ice thaws and the air warms up, there will be money to be had on the water. Always has been always will be.
‘Captain Jason Church’ shares shipping life on social media

February 24, 2019 - Duluth News Tribune

An apprentice pilot on the Great Lakes, Jason Church hops on numerous international cargo vessels in a given year as he transits the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway out to the Atlantic Ocean as a career. For the past several years, using the digital sobriquet "Captain Jason Church," he's been delivering insight, imagery and videos of the lakes on social media. His Twitter and Instagram timelines offer a vantage point of shipping life once mostly foreign to the public.
James R. Barker joins winter fleet in Sturgeon Bay

January 14, 2019 - Fox 11 News

STURGEON BAY (WLUK) -- One of the biggest ships on the Great Lakes is getting some seasonal maintenance. The James R. Barker is part of the Winter Fleet gathering in Sturgeon Bay, and the arrival is turning into a tourist attraction for the area as well. With an escort from the 100-foot long tug William C. Gaynor, the 1000-foot long James R. Barker is hard to miss. A small crowd gathered Monday morning in Sturgeon Bay at a place called bullhead point to take it all in.
Commercial shipping on Saginaw River in 2018 was most seen in 8 years

January 11, 2019 -

SAGINAW, MI - More commercial shipping vessels traveled into the Saginaw River in 2018, reaching the highest number seen in the past eight years. The shipping season started on March 29, 2018, with the arrival of the tugboat Spartan and its tank barge, Spartan II. The ship also was the first of the season in 2017, according to data provided by Todd Shorkey, of, who compiles the data in an annual report each year.
Great Lakes freighter crews share favorite photos, videos

January 1, 2019 -

There's no denying our Great Lakes Region is full of freighter fans. Whether it's a 1,000-footer heading into Michigan's Soo Locks or a sleek tugboat lending a hand to one of its bulkier siblings, people across our area love to watch these big boats ply our inland seas. Social media has made sharing these experiences so much more fun. And one Great Lakes fleet - the Interlake Steamship Company - has upped its game in recent years, sharing fantastic pictures, drone video and time-lapse clips from its crews and fans alike. As a year-end treat, the Ohio-based shipping company put together some of its most popular images from 2018 - a bit of a maritime calendar send-off. With Interlake's permission, we are sharing them with our readers.
9 gorgeous freighters starring in the 2019 Interlake Steamship calendar

December 27, 2018 -

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- We love to watch them, majestic freighters as long as skyscrapers, gliding through Lake Erie or through the curves of the Cuyahoga River. Interlake Steamship, based in Middleburg Heights, operates nine lakers on the Great Lakes. From April through January, they travel, delivering nearly 20 million tons of iron ore, stone and coal each year. Interlake features each of its ships on its annual calendar. Want one of your own? Interlake donated calendars to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. You can buy one at the museum for $4.95, plus shipping. To order, call 419-214-5000 extension 200, or go to the website at
Marine industry expects worker shortage. So what are the jobs like?

December 11, 2018 -

CLEVELAND, Ohio – You can hop on a freighter and see the Great Lakes, work two months straight and then have a month off. “People can walk on to our boats with a high school degree and make $60,000 to $70,000 a year,” said Interlake Steamship spokeswoman Chrissy Kadleck.

November 15, 2018 - K102.5

November weather kicked up high winds and dangerous waves on the icy waters of Lake Michigan, making for a busy day at work as the crew of the Kaye E. Barker made a coal delivery to Grand Haven. Proud mom Beth DeVos traveled to Grand Haven State Park on Sunday, November 11th to see her son at work. Lukas is a deckhand on the Kaye E. Barker, a massive 767 foot, 25,900 pound freighter- one of the biggest left on the Great Lakes. Built in 1952, the ship is still in service and was bringing coal to the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power (possibly the last before it is replaced) from Sandusky, Ohio.

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