M/V Paul R. Tregurtha-The Largest Vessel to Sail Great Lakes

Unanimously known as the ‘Great Lakes’ Queen’ across the global maritime community, the M/V Paul R. Tregurtha is an unparalleled and peerless bulk carrier vessel. Commissioned over three decades ago, the biggest bulk carrier still sets a perfect epitome of absolute operational class, constructional excellence and above all, a unique value addition to the maritime operations carried on the Great lakes.

Originally built to be used as both a bulk cargo carrier and as a passenger ship, the biggest Great Lakes ship bears the constructional hallmark of the American Shipbuilding Company which built the vessel according to specifications charted by her owner, the Interlake Steamship Company.

Credits: WIMHARTER/YouTube
Credits: WIMHARTER/YouTube


Unlike other ships which are constructed and outfitted at one particular shipbuilding yard, the construction of the largest bulk carrier was distinct in that, that the vessel’s prow was built at the Shipbuilding Company’s Toledo shipbuilding yard while its aft was built at their Lorain yard. The two separate portions of the vessel were then soldered to form one single vessel unit at the shipbuilding company’s Lorain yard.

M/V Paul RTregurtha: Features and Key Points

  • The vessel was put into operation in the year 1981 and was under the operational chartering of the Republic Steel corporation
  • The largest vessel on Great Lakes was originally christened as William J. De Lancey, the chairperson of the Republic Steel corporation
  • Post the expiration of the clientele contract of the Interlake Steamship Company with the Republic Steel corporation, in the year 1990, the vessel was re-christened as the M/V Paul R. Tregurtha after the vice chairperson of the Interlake Conglomerate
 With a total construction cost over US$ half-a-billion, the biggest bulk carrier revolutionized many facets of the bulk cargo carrying ships built during that era. Equipped with many a modern amenities, the vessel was primarily designed to not just provide thorough operational viability but to also cater to the needs of the elite voyagers, utilizing the vessel for transportation through the Great lakes. But the biggest testimony to the bulk carrier’s operational commitment and excellence perhaps lies in the fact that, its titular distinction of being the ‘Great Lakes’ Queen’ lies thoroughly unrivaled
Credits: US Army/YouTube
Credits: US Army/YouTube

M/V Paul RTregurtha: Technical Specifications

  • The operational route of the vessel is between the Lake Superior and to the necessary ore discharging factory units located in the province of Lorain and Indiana
  • The vessel measures almost 309 metres lengthwise with a beam of 32 meters and a draught of almost 18 meters
  • The largest bulk carrier boasts of cargo carrying capacities of around 68,000 tonnes of chert (iron ore) and over 64,000 tonnes of char (coal)
  • Five cargo decks account for the vessel’s cargo storage capacity while the its automated offloading facilitation enables for a faster offloading of its cargo
  • Two four-stroke combustion diesel engines account for the biggest Great Lakes ship power, helping the vessel attain navigational speeds over 15 knots
 The Tregurtha is the chief operating vessel for the Interlake Steamship conglomerate and has, in its over 30-years of operational servicing, constantly created and broken its own cargo hauling records. In the month of August 2012, the bulk carrier ship suffered a minor setback as it grounded in the River St. Mary. Though the bulk carrier did sustain noticeable impairments to its torso, successful towing operations ensured that the impairments to both the vessel and to the affected marine zone were limited. Following the incident, the largest bulk carrier vessel is expected to undergo thorough refurbishing, post which, its regular services are expected to restart.

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