Burns Harbor

Burns Harbor

1980-Present

Burns Harbor on Lake Huron, June 26, 2019. Photo by Isaac Pennock

Specs

Build Information

Year Built: 1980

Builder: Bay Shipbuilding Corp., Sturgeon Bay, WI

Hull #720

Registry: US 618479

IMO #7514713

Laid Down: April 16, 1979

Launch Date: October 28, 1979

Commissioned: September 28, 1980

Construction

The Burns Harbor was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for Wilmington Trust, of Wilmington, Delaware, to be managed by Bethlehem Steel’s Great Lakes Steamship Division. She was Bethlehem Steel’s third and final 1,000-Footer, being constructed under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

She was built to the plans of the Bay Shipbuilding 1,000-Footers, being the third vessel constructed. These ships were the Belle River [Walter J. McCarthy Jr., 1990;]Lewis Wilson Foy [Oglebay Norton, 1991; American Integrity, 2006;]Indiana Harbor, and Columbia Star [American Century, 2006;]. The only difference between the Burns Harbor and her sisters was that her aft deckhouse was one story taller than those of her sisters.

Her self-unloading equipment consists of a single hold belt leading to an aft loop-belt system to a 250′ deck-mounted boom.


General Stats

Length Overall: 1,000′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 990′

Breadth: 105′

Depth: 56′

Loaded Draft: 34’01”

Capacity: 80,900 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 250′

Number of Cargo Holds: 7 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 5-5-6-6-6-5-4]

Number of Hatches: 37 [Dimensions: 56’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore Trade

Propellers: 2 Controllable Pitch Propellers

Rudders: 2


Engineering Equipment

Original

Engine

Engine Type: Diesel Engines

Engine Manufacturer: General Motors Electro-Motive Division, Chicago, IL

Engine Model: 20-645-E7B

Number of Engines: 4

Rated HP: 14000 BHP


History

Lineage

Burns Harbor – 1980-2003

Owner: Wilmington Trust, Wilmington, DE

Operator: Bethlehem Steel Corp., Great Lakes Steamship Division, Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Burns Harbor – 2003-2005

Owner: Wilmington Trust, Wilmington, DE

Operator: International Steel Group, Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Burns Harbor – 2005-2020

Owner: American Steamship Co., Buffalo, NY [GATX Corp.]

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Burns Harbor – 2020-Present

Owner: American Steamship Co., Buffalo, NY [Rand Logistics]

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Her Story

The Burns Harbor was built in 1980 as a self-unloading bulk carrier for Wilmington Trust of Wilmington, Delaware, to be managed by Bethlehem Steel’s Great Lakes Steamship Division. She was Bethlehem’s third and final 1,000-Foot ship, being constructed under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. The keel for the Burns Harbor was laid in the graving dock on April 16, 1979, being floated from the drydock on October 28, 1979. While under construction, a small fire broke out in the ship’s unloading tunnel space on March 16, 1980, causing minor damage to the unloading belt. The Burns Harbor was christened on May 24, 1980, and conducted sea trials in July. During sea trials, she was able to make an impressive emergency stop in 3,160′ while loaded to a draft of 25’06”.

The Burns Harbor entered service on September 28, 1980, after delays due to low demand for iron ore. She set a Great Lakes ore record on July 26, 1985, loading 60,608 tons of taconite at Escanaba, Michigan. The record was broken on November 26, 1986, by her fleetmate Lewis Wilson Foy. On December 17, 1998, the Burns Harbor carried an unusual load of ore to the Algoma Steel Mill at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from Superior, Wisconsin.

Bethlehem Steel struggled throughout the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, declaring bankruptcy on October 15, 2001. Their assets were sold to the International Steel Group in late 2003. International Steel took over operation of the Burns Harbor and her remaining fleetmate Stewart J. Cort as well. International Steel Group was acquired by Mittal Steel in late 2004, and in early 2005, the Burns Harbor was sold to American Steamship Company of Buffalo, New York, to keep the ship Jones Act-Compliant.

In February 2020, Rand Logistics announced that they purchased American Steamship Company from their parent company GATX Corp. No immediate changes were made to the fleet, and the Burns Harbor returned to service as usual. 

The Burns Harbor has continued on her usual trade route of hauling ore from Superior, Wisconsin, to Burns Harbor, Indiana, while also loading in ports such as Duluth and Two Harbors, Minnesota.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on June 1, 2020


Gallery


Sources

Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 9-10.

Bawal, Raymond A., Jr. Superships of the Great Lakes. Inland Expressions, 2011. Pp. 65-69.

Berry, Sterling P. “Burns Harbor”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 29 May 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/b/burns-harbor>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 192.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.7.

“M/V Burns Harbor”. American Steamship Company, N.d. Accessed 29 May 2020. <http://americansteamship.com/fleet/mv-burns-harbor.php>

Wharton, George. “Burns Harbor”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 29 May 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/BurnsHarbor.htm>