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The Cargo Ships of the Great Lakes

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

As we progressed southward in Lake Huron and began closing in on Sarnia, Ontario the number of cargo ships passing in both directions was far more than I have ever encountered on Lake Superior. However, I saw some of the same ships at the other end of their journey. One in particular is the Paul Tregurtha.

Paul Tregurtha "Queen of the Lakes"

The Paul Tregurtha is the longest ship on the Great Lakes at 1013 feet. The ship was christened April 25, 1981, as the William J. DeLancey, in honor of the chairman of Interlake Steamship Company.

The ship was originally powered by twin V-16 cylinder, four stroke, diesel engines with each rated at 8,560 BHP. The twin propellers check in at 17 feet in diameter! It cruises the lakes at 15.5 mph while carrying 86,000 long tons of iron ore or coal. The ship's draft is 30' and the beam is 105'.

We came across the Paul Tregurtha loading coal near Sarnia, Ontario. It was being loaded on the American side of the river.

The Federal Champlain

The Federal ships look big, but they are just over half the length of the Paul Tregurtha, at 656 feet. The onboard cranes are 42' high.

The Integrity

Integrity in an interesting ship. It's a cement hauler and it's paired with its own tug. Looking at the picture below you can see the tug with the white and aqua tower. It fits into the back section of the ship. It checks in at 460 feet.

The Integrity off our portside.

The Cuyahoga

The Cuyahoga was built in 1943! It is 640 feet in length. In 2023 it will have been in service on the Great Lakes for 80 years!


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Jun 29, 2022

The laker ships looked huge from shore when we were in Duluth last year. Must look even larger from a sailboat!


Som Varma
Som Varma
Jun 27, 2022

Wow, I had no idea ships stayed in service for close to 80 years!

Unknown member
Jun 28, 2022
Replying to

I was blown away by that as well. I imagine that this is the case because of being fresh water.

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