Sam Laud

Sam Laud


Sam Laud, unloading at Saginaw, MI, 6/9/2017. Logan Vasicek


Build Information

Year Built: 1975

Builder: Bay Shipbuilding Corp., Sturgeon Bay, WI

Hull #712

Registry: US 564002

IMO #7390210

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: November 19, 1974

Commissioned: April 29, 1975


The Sam Laud was constructed as the fourth of ten vessels constructed for the American Steamship Company under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $13.3 Million.

The Sam Laud was the first of four similar River class sister ships constructed by Bay Shipbuilding. The other three were the identical Buffalo, near-identical American Courage, and the American Republic [Great Republic, 2011], which has a near-identical hull.

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

General Stats

Length Overall: 634’10”

Length Between Perpendiculars: 617′

Breadth: 68′

Depth: 40′

Loaded Draft: 27’04”

Capacity: 24,300 Tons

Vessel Type: Incline-Belt Self-Unloader

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

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

Number of Hatches: 20 [Dimensions: 40’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Aggregate Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller

Rudders: 1

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: General Motors Electro-Motive Division, Chicago, IL

Engine Model: 20-645-E7

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 7000 BHP



Sam Laud – 1975-2020

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

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Sam Laud – 2020-2021

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

Operator: American Steamship Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Sam Laud – 2021-Present

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

Operator: Grand River Navigation, Traverse City, MI [Rand Logistics]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Her Story

The Sam Laud was built as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the American Steamship Company. She was the fourth of ten vessels built for American Steamship under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. The Laud was side-launched on November 19, 1974 at Sturgeon Bay, being christened Sam Laud on April 15, 1975. She departed her builder’s yard on April 29th on her maiden voyage, sailing to Escanaba, Michigan, to load ore.

Not even a month after entering service, on June 28, 1975, the Sam Laud ran hard aground on a shoal off of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, while on her way to Green Bay with coal from South Chicago. She lightered some of her cargo into her fleetmate Nicolet, proceeding to Green Bay to unload then to Sturgeon Bay for drydocking and repairs. The Laud suffered another serious grounding on July 4, 1976, when she went aground at Buffalo, New York. After unloading, she went to the American Shipbuilding yard in Lorain, Ohio for drydocking and repairs.

On October 16, 1982, the Sam Laud unloaded coal directly into the holds of an ocean ship at Sept-Isles, Quebec. This was believed to be the first time a U.S. vessel participated in an operation of this type.

Through the 1990’s and 2000’s, the Sam Laud has been relatively accident-free, only suffering from a few minor groundings here and there, often freeing herself without damage.

When the Stewart J. Cort was loaded with the wrong load of taconite in October of 2002, requiring her to unload at Indiana Harbor, the Sam Laud was called upon for help. Since the Cort was equipped with a unique shuttle-boom unloading arrangement, the facilities at Indiana Harbor were not able to accommodate her. To solve this problem, the Stewart J. Cort unloaded directly into the holds of the Sam Laud, which unloaded onto the dock.

The Sam Laud has remained an active member of the American Steamship fleet, only sitting out for part of the 2009 season due to the economic recession.

In February 2020, Rand Logistics announced that they purchased American Steamship Company from their parent company GATX Corp. She laid up temporarily in late April 2020 due to an economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. She fit out again in October.

In March 2021, Grand River Navigation bareboat chartered the Sam Laud and her ASC fleetmates American Courage, American Mariner, H. Lee White, and John J. Boland {4}for the River class trade. The Sam Laud can be often found on the Cuyahoga River ore shuttles throughout the season.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on March 31, 2021



Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 27.

Berry, Sterling P. “Laud, Sam”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 12 May 2020.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.17.

“M/V Sam Laud”. American Steamship Company, N.d. Accessed 12 May 2020.

Wharton, George. “Sam Laud”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 12 May 2020.