Watch: US’ First Great Lakes Bulk Carrier In 40 Years Embarks On Maiden Voyage

The newest freighter that’s plying the Great Lakes embarked on her maiden voyage today; it set sail from Wisconsin to Upper Peninsula in Michigan to load stone that is going to be used for preparing ready-mix concrete.

The 639-foot Mark W. Barker built for the Interlake Steamship Company, departed from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, at 10:36 a.m. Central Time on 27 July, for a 110-mile voyage north toward Port Inland in Michigan, where the vessel is going to load stone and deliver it to Muskegon.

Mark W. Barker, the president of Interlake and also the ship’s namesake, said that it is a monumental day for the firm and the US flag fleet as the much-awaited freighter sets sail on the first voyage in what is a long life of wonderful service on the Great Lakes.

The Barker is the first US-flagged Great Lakes cargo vessel to be constructed in 1983 in this region. It is reportedly the first built for Ohio-based Interlake in about 40 years.

The construction began in August 2019. The bulk carrier was constructed at the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.

The ship underwent seaworthiness trials this month. The vessel was launched on 28 October last year. The keel was, however, laid on 23 June 2020. It is the 10th ship of the Interlake fleet.

The Mark W. Barker is a river-class vessel that’s comparatively shorter than the modern “1,000-footers.” It is closer length-wise to some of the “classic lakers” built when World War II was raging, which continue to carry cargo around the Great Lakes.

A self-unloading bulk carrier, the vessel will be used for transporting raw materials like salt, stone, and iron ore to support manufacturing activities around the Great Lakes region.

Barker said that the vessel was made using steel that was manufactured in Indiana, from the iron ore that was delivered by a ship from Minnesota, reinforcing their commitment to shipping and delivering cargoes to customers in the region.

References: mLIVE, Amolivia

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