M-211

M-211 – Virginia – C-11 – Kellstone I – Cleveland Rocks – Commander

1957-Present

Articulated Barge, Self-Unloading Cement Carrier; Paired with Tugboat Caroline McKee

Commander / Caroline McKee, arriving at Grand Haven, MI, 11/30/2021. Sam Hankinson

Specs

Build Information

Year Built: 1957

Builder: Todd Shipyards Corp., Houston, TX

Hull #180

Registry: US 274492

IMO #–

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: 1957

Commissioned: July 1957

Paired Tugboats:

Construction

Commander was originally constructed in 1957 as the B-Hull barge M-211. She was rebuilt in 1959 as a pipe-laying barge and 1992 as a self-unloading bulk carrier barge, and again in 2018 as a self-unloading cement carrier.

Her current unloading equipment consists of a belt conveyor and airslide system feeding a forward bucket elevator or Fuller-Kenyon pump system.

Modifications

  • Widened by 11′, and converted to a pipe-laying barge, Avondale Marine Ways, Avondale, LA, 1959.
  • Lengthened and converted to a self-unloader, Toledo Shipyard, Toledo, OH, 1992.
  • Bow thruster installed, Toledo Shipyard, Toledo, OH, 1992.
  • Barge notch lengthened and modified for Bludworth type ATB coupler, Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair, Erie, PA, 2011.
  • Bow reconstructed, lengthened, and converted into a self-unloading cement carrier, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 2017-2019.

General Stats

As Constructed

Length Overall [Barge]: 300′

Breadth: 60′

Depth: 18’06”

Loaded Draft: —

Capacity: —

Vessel Type: B-Hull Barge Barge

Number of Cargo Holds: —

Primary Operations: —

After conversion to a pipe-laying barge, 1959.

Length Overall [Barge]: 300′

Breadth: 71′

Depth: 18’06”

Loaded Draft: —

Capacity: —

Vessel Type: Pipe-Laying Vessel; Barge

Number of Cargo Holds: —

Primary Operations: Laying Pipe

After conversion to a self-unloader, 1992.

Length Overall [Barge]: 350′

Breadth: 71′

Depth: 27′

Loaded Draft: 19’04”

Capacity: 10,200 Tons

Vessel Type: Bucket Elevator Self-Unloader; Barge

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted, starboard side; 166’6”

Number of Cargo Holds: 28

Number of Hatches: —

Primary Operations: Stone Trade

After lengthening and reconstruction of tugboat notch, 2012.

Length Overall [Barge]: 390′

Breadth: 71′

Depth: 27′

Loaded Draft: 19’04”

Capacity: 10,200 Tons

Vessel Type: Bucket Elevator Self-Unloader; Barge

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted, starboard side; 166’6”

Number of Cargo Holds: 28

Number of Hatches: —

Primary Operations: Stone Trade

After conversion to a self-unloading cement carrier, 2018.

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 567′

Length Overall [Barge]: 495′

Breadth: 71′

Depth: 27′

Loaded Draft: 20′

Capacity: 13,453 Tons

Vessel Type: Self-Unloading Cement Carrier; Barge

Number of Cargo Holds: —

Number of Hatches: —

Primary Operations: Cement Trade


History

Lineage

M-211 – 1957-1981

Owner: Brown & Root, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA

Operator: Brown & Root

Flag: United States

Home Port: —


Virginia – 1981-1988

Owner: Canonie Transportation, Muskegon, MI

Operator: Canonie Transportation

Flag: United States

Home Port: —


C-11 – 1988-1992

Owner: Port of Port Royal, South Carolina

Operator: Port of Port Royal, South Carolina

Flag: United States

Home Port: Port Royal, SC


Kellstone I – 1992-2004

Owner: Kellstone Inc., Sandusky, Ohio [Kelleys Island Lime & Stone]

Operator: Inland Bulk Transfer, Inc., Sandusky, Ohio [Kelleys Island Lime & Stone]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, Ohio


Cleveland Rocks – 2004-2011

Owner: Laken Shipping, Cleveland, OH

Operator: Laken Shipping

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH


Cleveland Rocks – 2011-2018

Owner: Michigan Ohio Barge LLC, Muskegon, MI [Sand Products Corp.]

Operator: Port City Marine Services, Muskegon, MI [Sand Products Corp.]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH


Commander – 2019-Present

Owner: Port City Marine Services, Muskegon, MI [Sand Products Corp.]

Operator: Port City Marine Services [Under charter to St. Marys Cement]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Milwaukee, WI


Her Story

Commander started her life quite different than how she appears today. She was originally built in 1957 by Todd Shipyards Corp. of Houston, TX, as Hull #180. She was built as the M-211 for Brown & Root of Baton Rouge, LA, as a B-Hull barge, and was 300’ long, 60’ wide, and 18’06’’ deep. She was delivered to her owners in July 1957. In 1959, she was taken to the Avondale Marine Ways shipyard in Avondale, LA, for conversion into a pipe-laying barge. She was widened by 11′ on her starboard side with a sloped section on the stern for laying pipe. A large crane and king posts were installed for handling the pipe sections. Following conversion, she was used primarily in pipe laying operations off of the coast of Venezuela and the U.S. Southeast coast.

M-211 was sold to Canonie Transportation of Muskegon, MI, in 1981, and renamed Virginia. She was used in dredging and pipe laying work off of the coast of eastern Florida and Virginia. In 1988, she was sold again to the Port of Port Royal, SC, for use as a container storage vessel, and renamed C-11.

Kellstone Inc. of Sandusky, OH, purchased the C-11 in 1992, and contracted the Toledo Shipyard in Toledo, OH, to reconstruct her as a self-unloading bulk carrier. She was lengthened by 50’ and converted into a self-unloader. This brought her up to 350’ long, 71’ wide, and 27’ deep, with a capacity of 10,200 tons. Her hold was divided into 18 individual holds, with two pneumatically-operated conveyor belts running beneath her hold to a stern-located incline transfer belt. This belt brought her cargo to another incline belt at deck level on her starboard side, feeding a 166’06’’ unloading boom. C-11 was renamed Kellstone I and paired with the tugboat Frank Palladino Jr. The pair entered service in 1993, primarily delivering stone mined at Kelleys Island in Lake Erie to docks at Cleveland, OH.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck in October 1994 when Kellstone I / Frank Palladino Jr. ran over a fishing boat near Kelleys Island. Two teenage boys, who were on the fishing boat, were killed in the incident. In 1999, Kellstone I was paired with the newly-constructed tug James Paladino. Kellstone I and James Paladino were sold to Laken Shipping of Cleveland, OH, in 2004, and were renamed Cleveland Rocks and Cleveland, respectively. Sadly, history repeated itself in September 2007, when Cleveland Rocks / Cleveland ran over another small boat near Kelleys Island, this time killing three men onboard the pleasure craft. The tug and barge were laid up in late 2009 and listed for sale.

Cleveland Rocks was purchased by Michigan-Ohio Barge LLC of Muskegon, MI, a subsidiary of Sand Products Corp., in 2011. The barge was taken to Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair at Erie, PA for minor modifications prior to entering service in 2012. While at the shipyard, her notch was lengthened by 40’ and modified to accommodate a Bludworth ATB coupler. She was paired with the tug Bradshaw McKee, and the pair departed the shipyard in May 2012. After operating in the aggregate trades for the season, Cleveland Rocks and Bradshaw McKee were laid up at the Mart Dock in Muskegon, MI on December 1, 2012. Bradshaw McKee departed layup in early 2014 to operate with the recently-converted barge St. Marys Challenger.

Cleveland Rocks was towed out of Muskegon on April 16, 2017, being pushed by her old tug Bradshaw McKee, to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. She was taken to the shipyard for conversion to a self-unloading cement carrier. The project took 21 months to complete, resulting in a complete reconstruction of the hull, designed by Bay Engineering and Port City Marine Services management. Her original bow was cut off, and a new, longer one, was constructed, lengthening the vessel to 495’ long. Her cargo holds were rebuilt, and a cement unloading system was installed. A single belt running the length of the cargo hold was installed, leading to a forward mounted bucket elevator. The bucket elevator feeds to an airslide boom on the deck. A trunk deck was constructed over her old spar deck, allowing for more cargo volume capacity. After the conversion, she is able to carry 13,453 tons of powdered cement. She was renamed Commander, and delivered to Port City Marine Services on January 23, 2019. For the time being she was paired with the tug Bradshaw McKee, and entered service almost immediately after delivery.

Commander is primarily used in the transport of powdered cement from the St. Marys Cement plant in Charlevoix, MI, to St. Marys Terminals in Ferrysburg, MI, Milwaukee, WI, and South Chicago, IL, with occasional visits to ports such as Manitowoc. Commander was paired with the tug Caroline McKee beginning at the start of the 2021 season.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on November 25, 2021



Sources

“Cleveland Rocks, Kellstone I”. Boatnerd.com Discussion Boards, 4 March 2016. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, http://newsearch.boatnerd.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=97093&p=150178&hilit=kellstone#p150178

“Cleveland Rocks Barge History”. Boatnerd.com Discussion Boards, 21 December 2020. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, http://newsearch.boatnerd.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=145810

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 7.5.

LeLievre, Roger. Know Your Ships 2017. Marine Publishing Company, 2017. Pp. 71.

“Todd Shipyards, Houston TX”. Shipbuilding History, 19 October 2020. Accessed 28 December 2020. https://shipbuildinghistory.com/shipyards/large/toddhouston.htm