Edwin H. Gott

Edwin H. Gott


Edwin H. Gott on the St. Marys River, August 6, 2016. Photo by Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1979

Builder: Bay Shipbuilding Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, WI

Hull #718

Registry: U.S. 600648

IMO #7606061

Laid Down: November 9, 1977

Launch Date: July 19, 1978

Commissioned: February 16, 1979


The Edwin H. Gott was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for United States Steel’s Marine Division, USS Great Lakes Fleet. She was the eighth 1,000-Footer constructed and the first one built for U.S. Steel. She was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

The Edwin H. Gott was similar in design to the other Bay Shipbuilding 1,000-Footers, except she featured a different cargo hold layout and accommodations block layout. She featured a strengthened hull for operations in winter conditions. The Gott was designed specifically for the iron ore trade and was designed for the maximum tonnage of taconite pellets.

The Gott is a nearly identical sister ship to the other 1,000-Footer constructed during this time period for U.S. Steel, the Edgar B. Speer, which was completed in 1980.

She was originally equipped with a short shuttle type unloading boom mounted forward of her accommodations block that extended about 50′ to either side of the ship. With this arrangement, she was only capable of unloading at Gary, Indiana, and Conneaut, Ohio. The Gott was designed to be easily converted to be equipped with a more conventional tubular deck-mounted boom, being fitted with a new 280′ boom in 1996. Her self-unloading equipment now consists of a single hold belt leading to an aft loop-belt system to a 280′ deck-mounted boom.


  • Shuttle-boom system removed and replaced with conventional boom, Bay Shipbuilding Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 1996.
  • Repowered, Bay Shipbuilding Corporation, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 2011.
  • Lifeboat replaced, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, 2017.

General Stats

Length Overall: 1,004′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 990′

Breadth: 105′

Depth: 56′

Loaded Draft: 32’01”

Capacity: 74,100 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 280′

Number of Cargo Holds: 5 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 3-4-4-4-5]

Number of Hatches: 20 [Dimensions: 28’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore Trade

Propellers: 2 Controllable Pitch Propellers

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Enterprise [General Motors], Detroit, MI

Engine Model: DMRV-16-4

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 19,500 BHP

Repower – 2011

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: MaK, Kien, Germany

Engine Model: 8M43C

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 19,300 BHP



Edwin H. Gott – 1979-1981

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

Edwin H. Gott – 1981-1988

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Duluth, MN

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN

Edwin H. Gott – 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

Edwin H. Gott – 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 April of 1974, U.S. Steel officials signed a contract with Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to construct a 1,000′ super ship. The design staff designed a modern, safe, and efficient ore carrier for the fleet, that featured a strengthened hull for ice operations and all accommodations and engineering spaces aft. The keel for this new ship was laid on November 9, 1977, being floated from drydock on July 19, 1978. She was christened Edwin H. Gott at Sturgeon Bay on October 31, 1978, and after sea trials, went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for final fit-out and engine adjustments.

She departed Milwaukee on February 16, 1979, on her maiden voyage bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota, to load ore. On the voyage, she was in a convoy with her fleetmates Philip R. Clarke, Cason J. Callaway, and John G. Munson, as well as the USCGC Mackinaw. The convoy ran into some of the heaviest ice conditions experienced on Lake Superior during the period U.S. Steel conducted their Winter Navigation experiment. The Gott suffered heavy damage, holing her hull in several locations, frozen ballast tanks, and even lost one of her rudders. The wheelsman did not even notice the missing rudder, as the ship handled so well. The Gott spent the winter at Two Harbors, and after undergoing repairs, loaded ore and departed for Gary, Indiana on April 21, 1979.

 In 1988, majority stock in USS Great Lakes Fleet was acquired by Blackstone Capital Partners. The Gott remained on her usual trade routes, with the only change being the addition of a black and grey diagonal stripe to either side of her bow at the beginning of the 1990 season.

On April 23, 1990, the Edwin H. Gott docked in Duluth harbor after the crankshaft broke in one of her engines. Preparations were made for her to operate on one engine, and she departed on May 3, 1990. She operated the remainder of the season on one engine, requiring a tugboat escort while transiting the St. Marys River.

On April 3, 1992, the Edwin H. Gott yet again lost one of her rudders, while backing out of the Duluth Port Terminal slip, concluding winter layup. The rudder was replaced with the spare and she was on her way again on April 12.

At the end of the 1995 season, the Edwin H. Gott laid up at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to have her shuttle-type unloading boom replaced with a conventional tubular boom. The new boom was 280′ long, making it the longest unloading boom in operation on the Great Lakes and possibly the world. This made the ship much more versatile, allowing her to unload in ports such as Detroit, Michigan, and Nanticoke, Ontario.

Blackstone Capital Partners sold the fleet in 2004, being renamed Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. after ownership was transferred to the Canadian National Railway. The fleet’s ships remained under U.S. ownership.

During winter layup in early 2011, the Edwin H. Gott was repowered by Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Her old Enterprise diesels were pulled out and replaced with more efficient and environmentally-friendly MaK diesel engines.

The Edwin H. Gott continues to be an active carrier for Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., supplying U.S. Steel mills with iron ore from Lake Superior.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on May 28, 2020


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Bawal, Raymond A., Jr. Superships of the Great Lakes. Inland Expressions, 2011. Pp. 48-55.

Berry, Sterling P. “Gott, Edwin H.”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 28 May 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/g/gott-edwin-h>

Burdick, Rod. “Roger Blough”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 28 May 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/gott.htm>

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. 4.10.

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