John G. Munson {2}

John G. Munson {2}

1952-Present

John G. Munson downbound at the St. Clair River on June 26, 2019. Photo by Isaac Pennock

Specs

Build Information

Year Built: 1952

Builder: Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, Manitowoc, WI

Hull #415

Registry: US 264136

IMO #5173760

Laid Down: March 7, 1951

Launch Date: November 28, 1951

Commissioned: August 21, 1952

Construction

In the summer of 1950, around the same time the contracts for Pittsburgh Steamship Division’s AAA class ships were announced, Irvin L. Clymer, President of Bradley Transportation Line, announced a contract awarded to Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. to construct a 666′ long self-unloading bulk carrier. She would be somewhat similar to the AAA class ships in size, power, and capacity, and in later years, was loosely grouped as an AAA class vessel. She featured a forward located self-unloading boom, and would become the flagship of the Bradley fleet upon entering service.

She was the first of three near sister ships constructed by Manitowoc Shipbuilding in the early 1950’s. The other two being the John J. Boland {3} [Saginaw, 1999] and the Detroit Edison {2} [Scrapped, 1986].

Her self-unloading equipment consists of a dual hold belt leading to a forward bucket elevator system to a 250′ deck-mounted boom.

Modifications

  • Bow thruster installed, 1966.
  • Telescoping hatches replaced with single-piece hatch covers
  • Lengthened 102′, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, WI, 1976.
  • Boilers converted to heavy fuel oil-burning, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, WI, 1976.
  • Boilers automated, Fraser Shipyards, Superior, WI, 1976.
  • Stern thruster installed, 1986.
  • Repowered with new diesel engine, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 2016.

General Stats

As Constructed

Length Overall: 666’03”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 650′

Breadth: 72′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 27’04”

Capacity: 20,900 Tons

Vessel Type: Bucket-Elevator Self-Unloader

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

Number of Cargo Holds: 6

Number of Hatches: 18 – at 24′ centers [Dimensions: 45’09”x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Stone, Coal Trades

Propellers: 1

Rudders: 1

After Lengthening, 1976

Length Overall: 768’03”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 751′

Breadth: 72′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 27’04”

Capacity: 25,550 Tons

Vessel Type: Bucket-Elevator Self-Unloader

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

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

Number of Hatches: 22 [Dimensions: 45’09”x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Stone, Coal Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller

Rudders: 1


Engineering Equipment

Original

Engine

Engine Type: Steam Turbine

Engine Manufacturer: General Electric Co., Boston, MA

Engine Model: Cross-Compound Double Reduction-Geared

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 7700 SHP


Boiler

Boiler Type: Coal-Fired Water Tube

Boiler Manufacturer: Foster-Wheeler, Baar, Switzerland

Boiler Size: 13150 sq. ft.

Number of Boilers: 2


Repower – 2016

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: MaK, Kiel, Germany

Engine Model: 6M46C

Number of Engines: 1

Rated HP: 7,000 BHP


History

Lineage

John G. Munson {2} – 1952-1967

Owner: Bradley Transportation Line, Michigan Limestone Division, United States Steel Corp., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Bradley Transportation Line

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN


John G. Munson {2} – 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


John G. Munson {2} – 1981-1988

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Duluth, MN

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN


John G. Munson {2} – 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


John G. Munson {2} – 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, around the same time the contracts for Pittsburgh Steamship Division’s AAA class ships were announced, Irvin L. Clymer, President of Bradley Transportation Line, announced a contract awarded to Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. to construct a 666′ long self-unloading bulk carrier. She would be somewhat similar to the AAA class ships in size, power, and capacity, and in later years, was loosely grouped as an AAA class vessel. She featured a forward located self-unloading boom, and would become the flagship of the Bradley fleet upon entering service. The keel for the new ship was laid on March 7, 1951, with the mostly-completed hull being christened John G. Munson and launched at Manitowoc on November 28, 1951. Over the winter, her upper superstructures and unloading system were installed, and she entered service on August 21, 1952. She quickly settled into the Bradley stone trade, loading in Calcite, and later Port Dolomite near Cedarville, MI, for delivery to ports across the Great Lakes.

John G. Munson set several limestone cargo records when she came out, with one set in 1953 for 21,101 tons, which was not broken until 1966. The Bradley Transportation Line and the Pittsburgh Steamship Division were merged into one entity, the United States Steel Great Lakes Fleet, in 1967. 

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the John G. Munson 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.

At the end of the 1975 season, the Munson was sent to Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, where she was placed in drydock, cut in half aft of amidship, and her stern section was floated out. Workers then prepared the new 102′ long hull section for insertion. The new hull section was lined up with the bow in the drydock, then the stern was floated back in. The hull was welded back together with the new 102′ section in the middle. The Munson also had her boilers automated and converted to oil-burning while in drydock.

During the winter of 1983, the John G. Munson suffered a fire in her machine shop while laid up at Milwaukee. She also struck the Lorain, Ohio breakwater in 1974.

A majority stake in USS Great Lakes Fleet was sold to Blackstone Capital Partners in 1988. The Munson was repainted in the new fleet standard colors in 1990, showing off a nice coat of red with a black and grey diagonal stripe on each side of the bow. 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. The Munson struck the Shell fuel dock at Corunna, Ontario on November 6, 2006, damaging about 200′ of the dock face.

John G. Munson sat out for the 2016 season at Sturgeon Bay, WI. She was repowered with a new MaK diesel engine by Bay Shipbuilding over the season. The Munson returned to service for the 2017 season. She remains active in the ore, coal, and stone trades.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 2, 2020



Sources

Bawal, Raymond A., Jr. Twilight of the Great Lakes Steamer. Inland Expressions, 2009. Pp. 53-56.

Berry, Sterling P. “Munson, John G. 2”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 2 April 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/m/munson-john-g-2>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 168.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.14.

Miller, Al. Tin Stackers: The History of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. Wayne State University Press, 1999. Pp. 165, 224-225, 298-299.

Wharton, George. “John G. Munson (2)”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online, N.d. Accessed 2 April 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/JohnGMunson2.htm>