George A. Stinson

George A. Stinson – American Spirit

1978-Present

American Spirit at Port Huron, Michigan, November 16, 2013. Photo by Isaac Pennock

Specs

Build Information

Year Built: 1978

Builder: American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH

Hull #907

Registry: US 595539

IMO #7423392

Laid Down: October 1976

Launch Date: July 15, 1978

Commissioned: October 14, 1978

Construction

The George A. Stinson was built as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the National Steel Corporation, to be managed by Hanna Mining Company. She was the seventh 1,000-Footer built and was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $60 Million. The Stinson‘s hull was constructed at American Shipbuilding’s Lorain and Toledo, Ohio yards

The George A. Stinson was the second of four similar sister ships constructed by American Shipbuilding, the others being the James R. BarkerMesabi Miner, and the William J. DeLancey [Paul R. Tregurtha, 1990;].

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

Modifications

  • Self-Unloading Boom replaced, Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, September 1983.
  • Diesel Exhaust Scrubbers installed, Toledo, OH, 2015.

General Stats

Length Overall: 1,004′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 990’06”

Breadth: 105′

Depth: 50′

Loaded Draft: 28’11”

Capacity: 62,400 Tons

Vessel Type: Loop-Belt Self-Unloader

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 260′

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

Number of Hatches: 36 [Dimensions: 65’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore Trade

Propellers: 2 Controllable Pitch Propellers

Rudders: 2


Engineering Equipment

Original

Engine

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: Pielstick, Beloit, WI

Engine Model: 16PC2-2V-400

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 16,000 BHP


History

Lineage

George A. Stinson – 1978-1986

Owner: National Steel Corp., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Hanna Mining Co., Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


George A. Stinson – 1986-1989

Owner: Skar-Ore Corp., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Hanna Mining Co., Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


George A. Stinson – 1989-1992

Owner: Stinson, Inc., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Hanna Mining Co., Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


George A. Stinson – 1992-1996

Owner: Stinson, Inc., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


George A. Stinson – 1996-2003

Owner: Stinson, Inc., Cleveland, OH

Operator: American Steamship Co., Buffalo, NY

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


George A. Stinson – 2003

Owner: Stinson, Inc., Cleveland, OH [Chartered to Great Lakes Transportation, Duluth, MN]

Operator: American Steamship Co., Buffalo, NY

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


American Spirit – 2004-2020

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

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


American Spirit – 2004-2020

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

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE


Her Story

The George A. Stinson was built as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the National Steel Corporation. She was their only 1,000-Footer, as well as their only self-unloader. Her keel was laid in October of 1976, with her bow and stern sections being constructed at American Shipbuilding’s Lorain yard and her midbody at their Toledo yard, similar to the construction process of her near sister Mesabi Miner. The Stinson‘s hull components were put together in drydock at American Shipbuilding Lorain and launched on July 15, 1978.

On August 15, 1978, Great Lakes Towing tugs towed the incomplete Stinson to Detroit, where final fit-out was completed. This move was made in anticipation of a strike at the American Shipbuilding shipyard. She was christened on August 21, 1978, and entered service on October 14, bound for Superior, Wisconsin, to load ore.

The George A. Stinson struck the wall at the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, on January 23, 1979, only three months into service. On April 17, 1983, her self-unloading boom collapsed while unloading at Detroit. She operated for a period of time during the 1983 season as a straight-decker, with her boom being replaced by Bay Shipbuilding of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on September 20, 1983.

In 1986, ownership of the Stinson was transferred to Skar-Ore Corporation, and again in 1989 to Stinson, Inc. Throughout these ownership changes, she remained under management of Hanna Mining. In 1992, this also changed, as management was transferred to the Interlake Steamship Company of Cleveland, Ohio, as Hanna Mining Co. was transitioning out of the ship management business. Then, in 1997, management was taken over by American Steamship Company of Buffalo, New York. The George A. Stinson continued her typical routes of supplying iron ore to the National Steel Mill in Detroit.

In May 2003, the George A. Stinson laid up at Superior, Wisconsin, after National Steel was acquired by United States Steel. Thus, the large ship did not have a cargo contract to fulfill. She returned to service in November 2003, being chartered to Great Lakes Transportation of Duluth, Minnesota. While in winter layup in early 2004, it was announced that the Stinson was acquired by American Steamship Company. The George A. Stinson was soon renamed American Spirit.

On September 4, 2014, the American Spirit grounded in the Round Island Passage near Mackinac Island during bad weather. She was lightered into her fleetmate Sam Laud and released without damage.

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 American Spirit returned to service as usual. 

The American Spirit continues to be an active member of the American Steamship fleet, hauling ore from Lake Superior to ports across the lower lakes. It is to be noted, though that she laid up temporarily on May 24, 2020 due to an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She returned to service in October 2020.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on May 26, 2020



Sources

Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 36-37.

Bawal, Raymond A., Jr. Superships of the Great Lakes. Inland Expressions, 2011. Pp. 43-47.

Berry, Sterling P. “Stinson, George A.”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 26 May 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/s/stinson-george-a>

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. 4.5.

“M/V American Spirit”. American Steamship Company, N.d. Accessed 26 May 2020. <http://americansteamship.com/fleet/mv-american-spirit.php>

Thompson, Mark L. Queen of the Lakes. Wayne State University Press, 1994. Pp. 199.

Wharton, George. “American Spirit”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 26 May 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/AmericanSpirit.htm>