John J. Boland {3}

John J. Boland {3} – Saginaw


Saginaw, departing Muskegon, MI, 4/17/21. Brendan Falkowski


Build Information

Year Built: 1953

Builder: Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co., Manitowoc, WI

Hull #417

Registry: US 266270 [1953-1999] CAN 822418 [1999-Present]

IMO #5173876

Laid Down: March 15, 1952

Launch Date: May 9, 1953

Commissioned: September 25, 1953


The Saginaw was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the American Steamship Company. She was the second of three similar sister ships constructed by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in the early 1950’s. The other two ships were the John G. Munson {2}, and 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.


  • Boilers converted to oil-burning, 1971.
  • Self-Unloading boom replaced by Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 1974.
  • Repowered, Sarnia, ON, 2008.

General Stats

Length Overall: 639’03”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 623’03”

Breadth: 72′

Depth: 36′

Loaded Draft: 26’02”

Capacity: 20,200 Tons

Vessel Type: Bucket-Style Self-Unloader

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

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

Number of Hatches: 30 – at 24′ centers [Dimensions: 45’06”x8’10”]

Primary Operations: Ore, Stone, Coal Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller

Rudders: 1

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Steam Turbine

Engine Manufacturer: De Laval Steam Turbine Co., Trenton, NJ

Engine Model: Cross-Compound Steam Turbine, Double Reduction Gear

Number of Engines: 1

Rated HP: 7700 SHP


Boiler Type: Coal-Fired Water Tube Boilers

Boiler Manufacturer: —

Boiler Size: 13150 sq. ft.

Number of Boilers: 2

Repower – 2008

Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: MaK, Kien, Germany

Engine Model: 6M43C

Number of Engines: 1

Rated HP: 8,160 BHP



John J. Boland {3} – 1953-1999

Owner: American Steamship Co., Buffalo, NY

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Saginaw – 1999-Present

Owner: Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., Port Dover, ON

Operator: Lower Lakes Towing Ltd.

Flag: Canada

Home Port: Port Dover, ON

Her Story

The John J. Boland was built for American Steamship Company and was launched on May 9th 1953. The Boland is the middle of three similarly designed vessels built at the Manitowoc Shipyard, the others being the John G. Munson, which survives today, and the Detroit Edison, which was scrapped in 1986 after a career-ending accident.

The John J. Boland loaded her first cargo on September 25th, 1953 at Port Inland, Michigan. Her career has been largely focused in the aggregate and coal trades. On December 16th, 1973, her self-unloading boom collapsed while unloading at Green Bay. The boom was replaced by Bay Shipbuilding over the winter.

The Boland saw sporadic service during the late 1980’s, and had a refit in 1991. She again laid up on December 27th, 1998 at Fraser Shipyards. Her cargo routes had been taken over by her fleetmate Adam E. Cornelius, which was recently returned from a lease to Central Marine Logistics.

On October 22, 1999, Lower Lakes Towing of Port Dover, Ontario announced that they had purchased the inactive John J. Boland. She was soon towed from Fraser Shipyards in Superior to Sarnia, Ontario, where she received a refit and a change of colors to Lower Lakes gray and white. The vessel was christened Saginaw on November 20th, 1999. She then departed on her maiden voyage under her new name on December 4th to load at Meldrum Bay. With the new ownership, her trades expanded into aggregates, coal, grain, and salt. The Saginaw was the last commercial vessel to transit the Soo Locks for the 2003 season.

On December 31, 2007, the Saginaw laid up at Sarnia, Ontario for the winter. Her steam propulsion system was then removed and replaced with a new diesel engine, returning to service early in 2008.

The Saginaw continues to be an active and busy vessel, visiting ports all across the lakes.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 9, 2020


Berry, Sterling P. “Boland, John J. 2”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 9 April 2020. <>

“Details for Registered Vessel SAGINAW (O.N. 822418).” Transport Canada. 1 July, 2018. <>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 173.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.15.

“M/V Saginaw”. Rand Logistics. N.d. Accessed 9 April, 2020. <>

Wharton, George. “Saginaw”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 9 April 2020. <>