Arthur M. Anderson

Arthur M. Anderson


Arthur M. Anderson on the St. Marys River, June 2, 2020. Photo by Roger LeLievre


Build Information

Year Built: 1952

Builder: American Shipbuilding Company, Lorain, OH

Hull #868

Registry: U.S. 264207

IMO #5025691

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: February 16, 1952

Commissioned: August 10, 1952


The Arthur M. Anderson was constructed in 1952 as a gearless bulk carrier by the American Shipbuilding Company at their Lorain, Ohio, shipyard for the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of United States Steel Corporation. She was the leading member of the AAA Class, or the “Pittsburgh” Class. The AAA Class ships were designed with refined hull streamlining and an asymmetrical stern to help improve water flow to the propeller. Adding to this, the rudder was slightly offset for more efficiency. All vessels of the class were originally 647’ long, 70’ wide, and 36’ deep with a cargo capacity of about 21,000 tons. The AAA ships were outfitted with oil fired boilers that provided steam for a large Westinghouse geared steam turbine, giving them around 7,000 HP. These engines pushed the ships along at around 16 MPH, making a round trip in just over 5 days, an improvement over the 6-7 day passages by older vessels. There were also some minor differences between the American Shipbuilding and Great Lakes Engineering Works units, those being that the Great Lakes Engineering ships had a slightly larger pilothouse but a slightly lower gross registered tonnage.

The Arthur M. Anderson was the first of eight ships built along the AAA class lines, the others being the identical Cason J. Callaway, Philip R. Clarke, Reserve and William Clay Ford, and the near-identical Edward B. Greene, Armco, and J. L. Mauthe.

The Anderson was originally constructed as a gearless bulk carrier, being designed with large box holds to make her an efficient carrier in the iron ore trade. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1982, and her self-unloading equipment consists of a single hold belt leading to an aft loop-belt system to a 262′ deck-mounted boom.


  • Modified for saltwater operations, 1962.
  • Bow thruster installed, 1966.
  • Lengthened by 120′, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, Wisconsin, 1975.
  • Converted to self-unloader, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, Wisconsin, 1982.
  • Stern thruster installed, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, Wisconsin, 1989.
  • Self-unloading boom lengthened by 12′, 1990’s.

General Stats

As Constructed

Length Overall: 647′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 629’03”

Breadth: 70′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 26’02”

Capacity: 21,000 Tons

Vessel Type: Gearless Bulk Carrier

Number of Cargo Holds: 3 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 6-7-6]

Number of Hatches: 19 [Dimensions: 46’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore Trade

Propellers: 1

Rudders: 1

After Lengthening, 1975

Length Overall: 767′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 749’03”

Breadth: 70′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 27′

Capacity: 26,525 Tons

Vessel Type: Gearless Bulk Carrier

Number of Cargo Holds: 3 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 6-12-6]

Number of Hatches: 24 [Dimensions: 46’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore Trade

Propellers: 1

Rudders: 1

After conversion to self-unloader, 1982

Length Overall: 767′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 749’03”

Breadth: 70′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 27′

Capacity: 25,300 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 262′ [Lengthened from 250′ during the mid-1990’s]

Number of Cargo Holds: 7 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 3-3-4-4-4-3-2]

Number of Hatches: 23 [Dimensions: 46’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Stone Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller

Rudders: 1

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Steam Turbine

Engine Manufacturer: Westinghouse Electric Co., Pittsburgh, PA

Engine Model: Double-Reduction Geared Steam Turbine

Number of Engines: 1

Rated HP: 7700 SHP


Boiler Type: Oil-Fired Water Tube Boilers

Boiler Manufacturer: Foster-Wheeler, Baar, Switzerland

Boiler Size: 15466 sq. ft.

Number of Boilers: 2



Arthur M. Anderson – 1952-1967

Owner: Pittsburgh Steamship Division, United States Steel Corp., New York, NY

Operator: Pittsburgh Steamship Division, United States Steel Corp.

Flag: United States

Home Port: New York, NY

Arthur M. Anderson – 1967-1981

Owner: USS Great Lakes Fleet, New York, NY [U.S. Steel Corp.]

Operator: USS Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: New York, NY

Arthur M. Anderson – 1981-1988

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Duluth, MN

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN

Arthur M. Anderson – 1988-2004

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., Duluth, MN [Blackstone Capital Partners]

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN

Arthur M. Anderson – 2004-Present

Owner: Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., Duluth, MN [Canadian National Railway]

Operator: Key Lakes Inc., Duluth, MN

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN

Her Story

In the summer of 1950, the Pittsburgh Steamship Company announced plans to construct three new ships. Two of the ships, the Philip R. Clarke and the Arthur M. Anderson, would be built by American Shipbuilding Company of Lorain, Ohio, leaving the final ship, the Cason J. Callaway, to be built by Great Lakes Engineering Works of River Rouge, Michigan. These ships were designated the AAA Class, which was a continuation of Pittsburgh Steamship’s class system for differentiating ship size. Nicknamed the “Pittsburgh” Class, eight vessels total were constructed to the lines of the AAA class plans.

The second vessel of the AAA Class, the Arthur M. Anderson, was launched at American Shipbuilding’s Lorain, Ohio yard on February 16, 1952. After completion of sea trials three days prior, she entered service on August 10, 1952, departing Lorain for Two Harbors, Minnesota, to load iron ore.

The Arthur M. Anderson reopened the West Neebish Cut, also known as the Rock Cut, on the St. Marys River on July 13, 1961, after the Cut was deepened.

On August 14, 1962, the Arthur M. Anderson became the first Pittsburgh Steamer to sail down the St. Lawrence Seaway to load Labrador ore for U.S. Steel mills on the Great Lakes. Minor modifications to the vessels were made in order for them to run in saltwater, such as the installation of extra water tanks for the crew. Mates were assigned to sail on Canadian ships to become familiar with the eastern part of the Seaway system so they could apply for Coast Guard pilot licenses for the region. The Seaway runs continued until the early 1970’s.

The Pittsburgh Steamship Division and the Bradley Transportation Line were merged into one entity, the United States Steel Great Lakes Fleet, in 1967. The Anderson‘s operations remained the same.

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the Arthur M. Anderson participated in U.S. Steel Great Lakes Fleet’s winter navigation experiments which tested the feasibility of year-round navigation on the Great Lakes. This project ended in 1979 with the implementation of an annual closing and opening of the Soo Locks.

In early 1974, U.S. Steel approved plans to lengthen their AAA class vessels by 120′ feet. Contracts for lengthening all three ships, as well as the John G. Munson, were awarded to Fraser Shipyards of Superior, Wisconsin. The Arthur M. Anderson was placed in drydock in early 1975, being the third vessel to undergo the lengthening process.

On November 9, 1975, the Arthur M. Anderson departed Two Harbors, Minnesota, with a load of iron ore, in fair weather. She was sailing a course just ahead of the ill-fated steamer Edmund Fitzgerald. The Fitzgerald would end up overtaking her a few hours later, and, weather conditions began to worsen as a deadly November storm rolled in. Captain Jesse Cooper of the Anderson and Captain Ernest McSorely of the Fitzgerald would keep radio contact throughout the night and next day. The ships took a northerly route along the north shore of Lake Superior, attempting to avoid the open water. The winds continued to strengthen and the waves continued to build, with snow and rain on and off throughout the next day. Captain Cooper observed the Fitzgerald passing very close to the dangerous Six Fathom Shoal near Caribou Island on the east side of the lake at around 1520 on November 10. Soon after, McSorely on the Fitzgerald reported taking topside damage and a list. The ships were nearing Whitefish Bay. Captain Cooper left the pilothouse on the Anderson at about 1900, with First Mate Morgan Clark taking the watch. Ten minutes later, Clark radioed the Fitzgerald to notify them of another ship spotted on the radar, as the Fitzgerald‘s radar went out and they were sailing blind. The last words heard from the Fitzgerald were from Captain McSorely, when he said “We are holding our own”. A few minutes afterwards, the radar screen went black due to a snow squall, and after it cleared, the Fitzgerald disappeared from radar. Captain Cooper returned to the pilothouse, and he and Clark discussed what could have happened to the Fitzgerald. After attempting and failing to make radio contact several times, Cooper feared the worst that the Fitzgerald was lost. He notified the Coast Guard station in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, but they were unable to immediately send out any response vessels due to inclement weather. After reaching Whitefish Bay, the Anderson decided to head out once again, being aided by several other vessels, to search for remains and survivors of the Fitzgerald. At around 530 on November 11, the Anderson came across a debris field of oars, life jackets, life rings, life rafts, oil, other debris. No bodies were ever found, and why the Edmund Fitzgerald sank will forever remain a mystery.

While operating in ice on January 31, 1979, the Arthur M. Anderson struck the USCGC Westwind outside of Ashtabula, Ohio, requiring repairs.

On November 1, 1981, the Anderson entered the drydock at Fraser Shipyards for a conversion to a self-unloader. Prior to her arrival, 23 sloped cargo hold bottom sections were prefabricated with the conveyor structure and utilities in place to be installed. Once in drydock, her cargo hold bottom was removed and the new sections were lowered through her cargo hatches and welded together. Her above-deck equipment was installed just forward of the aft deckhouse with a 250’ cargo boom to deliver the cargo to the dock. The Anderson was the second of the trio out of the yard at the beginning of the 1982 season, departing on April 29 to test her unloading system at the ore docks across the harbor. After testing she finished loading and headed on her way. The estimated cost for the project was $11 Million. The conversion cut her unloading time from 17 hours using shoreside gear to 6 hours using her own equipment.

In June 1988, USS sold the majority stake of the Great Lakes Fleet to Blackstone Capital Partners. Diagonal black and gray strips were added to the ships in 1990 to signify the change in ownership. Over the winter of 1989-1990, her cargo holds were rearranged, giving her seven cargo holds to increase flexibility when carrying different cargoes. Her unloading boom was lengthened by 12′ during the mid-1990’s.

The Anderson became the largest ship to traverse Lock 8 of the Welland Canal and dock at the Canada Starch dock at Port Colborne, Ontario, on May 28, 1994. She ran aground outside of Roger City, Michigan, on April 6, 1999, requiring drydocking at Bay Shipbuilding for repairs.

The Arthur M. Anderson ran into engine problems on March 24, 2001, while in the Straits of Mackinac, and her fleetmate Edgar B. Speer arrived the next day to tow her side-by-side to Bay Shipbuilding for engine repairs. In late 2003, Canadian National Railway purchased Great Lakes Fleet from Blackstone for $380 Million. The fleet would continue to operate as U.S. flag vessels under the direct ownership of Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. Management of the ships was taken over by Key Lakes, Inc.

She spent the 2015 season in layup in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and the 2017-2018 seasons in layup in Duluth, Minnesota, due to lack of demand. It was announced in April of 2019 that she would return to service, and after a $4 Million refit at Fraser Shipyards in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, she returned to service in July. The Arthur M. Anderson continues to be an active ship in the Great Lakes Fleet Inc.’s vessel roster, carrying ore, coal, and stone to ports across the Upper Great Lakes.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on June 30, 2020


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Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.5.

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