William R. Roesch

William R. Roesch – David Z. Norton – David Z. – Calumet {4}


Calumet on the Cuyahoga River, July 14, 2013. Photo by Isaac Pennock


Build Information

Year Built: 1973

Builder: American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, OH

Hull #901

Registry: US 549231

IMO #7329314

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: June 22, 1973

Commissioned: July 7, 1973


The William R. Roesch was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for Union Commerce Bank, trustee, of Cleveland, Ohio, to be managed by Kinsman Marine Transit. She was the first of three similar sister ships, the other two being the Paul Thayer [Earl W. Oglebay, 1995; Earl W., 2006; Manitowoc, 2008;] and the Wolverine {2} [Robert S. Pierson {2}, 2008;]. They were also similar in appearance to the larger Roger M. Kyes [Adam E. Cornelius {4}, 1989; Algoma Compass, 2018;].

The William R. Roesch was constructed under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $12.4 Million. She was the first ship completed under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act.

The William R. Roesch was built to “River Class” standards, being able to navigate the Cuyahoga and other tight rivers, delivering cargo to hard-to-reach docks.

Her self-unloading equipment consists of a single hold belt leading to an aft incline-belt system to a 260′ deck-mounted boom.


  • Cargo hold rebuilt by American Shipbuilding Co., Toledo, OH, 1978.

General Stats

Length Overall: 630′

Length Between Perpendiculars: 612’01”

Breadth: 68′

Depth: 36’11”

Loaded Draft: 26′

Capacity: 19,650 Tons

Vessel Type: Incline-Belt Self-Unloader

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

Number of Cargo Holds: 5 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 2-2-5-5-3]

Number of Hatches: 17 [Dimensions: 40’x11′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Stone, Salt Trades

Propellers: 1 Controllable Pitch Propeller

Rudders: 1

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel

Engine Manufacturer: Alco, Schenectady, New York

Engine Model: 16V251E, V-16

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 5600 BHP



William R. Roesch – 1973-1976

Owner: Union Commerce Bank, Cleveland, OH [Trustee]

Operator: Kinsman Marine Transit, Cleveland, OH

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

William R. Roesch – 1976-1994

Owner: Pringle Transit Co., Division of Oglebay Norton Co., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Pringle Transit Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

David Z. Norton – 1995-2006

Owner: Oglebay Norton Co., Cleveland, OH

Operator: Oglebay Norton Co., Marine Division

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

David Z. – 2006-2008

Owner: Wisconsin Michigan Steamship Co., Cleveland, OH [Sand Products Corp.]

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

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

Calumet {4} – 2008-Present

Owner: Grand River Navigation Co., Traverse City, MI [Rand Logistics]

Operator: Grand River Navigation Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

Her Story

The William R. Roesch was constructed as a self-unloading bulk carrier for the Union Commerce Bank, trustee, of Cleveland, Ohio, to be operated by Kinsman Marine Transit. The Roesch sailed on her maiden voyage on July 7, 1973, bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load ore for Cleveland. Kinsman had recently been awarded a contract to haul ore to the Jones & Laughlin Steel mill up the Cuyahoga River.

The William R. Roesch was sold in 1976 to the Pringle Transit Company, a division of the Oglebay Norton Company of Cleveland. Pringle was created to manage the Roesch and her sister Paul Thayer. The former Kinsman ships were managed by a different union than those of Oglebay Norton. Rather than switch or integrate the unions, Oglebay Norton organized a separate entity.

The William R. Roesch underwent a major cargo hold rebuilt in early 1978 at the American Shipbuilding yard in Toledo. She ran aground at the entrance to Holland Harbor on a sand bar on December 6, 1992. She was freed shortly after.

In early 1994, Pringle Transit was dissolved and management of the Paul Thayer and William R. Roesch was transferred to Oglebay Norton. The Columbia Transportation fleet was also dissolved at this time, with their ships being transferred to Oglebay Norton as well. On March 31, 1995, the Thayer and the Roesch were renamed Earl W. Oglebay and David Z. Norton, respectively, in a joint christening ceremony at Cleveland.

Oglebay Norton filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in February 2004. The David Z. Norton and her fleetmates Earl W. Oglebay and Wolverine were sold on August 2, 2006, to Wisconsin Michigan Steamship Company, a subsidiary of the Sand Products Corporation, owned by the McKee family. The ships were operated by Grand River Navigation. Her name was shortened to David Z. in early 2007.

On February 13, 2008, Rand Logistics, parent company of Lower Lakes Towing and Grand River Navigation, announced that they had acquired the three ships from the Wisconsin Michigan Steamship Company. Ownership of the David Z. was taken over by Grand River Navigation. She was renamed Calumet {4} in honor of the Calumet River in South Chicago. The previous vessel to hold that name, Calumet {3} was sold for scrap earlier that year.

The Calumet {4} continues to be active in the ore, coal, stone, trades. She also has become on of Grand River Navigation’s primary salt carriers, typically loading at Cleveland, Detroit, and Fairport for ports around the Great Lakes.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 24, 2020


Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 32.

Berry, Sterling P. “Roesch, William R.”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 24 April 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/t/thayer-paul>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 189.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.8.

“M/V Calumet”. Rand Logistics, N.d. Accessed 24 April 2020. <https://www.randlog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Rand-Vessel-Profile-CAL-8-2019.pdf>

Price, Laura. “Calumet”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 24 April 2020. <http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/calumet3.htm>