Weekend arrival likely for first saltie of 2019 shipping season

 

Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com

 

The first saltie of the Twin Ports’ 2019 shipping season, the Maria G, is expected to arrive in the Port of Duluth-Superior this weekend.

Preliminary plans call for the vessel to anchor off the Duluth Ship Canal late Saturday and then proceed beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge sometime Sunday or early Monday. That’s when her official arrival time will be recorded.

Maria G will then dock at Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage on Rice’s Point to load grain. The 655-foot ship, which flies the flag of Malta, is operated by a 22-member crew under the command of Captain Ievgen Medvedenko. The owner is Sweden-based Brochart KB. The Seaway agent is Colley Motorships. The local vessel agent is Guthrie-Hubner. Ceres Terminals will provide the stevedoring with tug assists from The Great Lakes Towing Company.

The ship discharged steel in Oshawa, Ontario, prior to the current journey, which has her traveling through the Soo Locks. Beginning Monday morning, Maria G will load approximately 21,000 metric tons of spring wheat. Fully loaded, she will then depart Duluth for Italy. Please note, all vessel arrival and departure times are estimates, weather-dependent and may change without notice.

Spectators can line the Duluth Ship Canal to greet the ship as she sails into the harbor. A First Ship ceremony is planned for Monday afternoon at the Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage grain elevator for community leaders and maritime representatives to welcome the captain and crew. Due to homeland security regulations, the ceremony is an invitation-only event. As part of the ceremony, the winner of the annual First Ship contest, co-sponsored by Visit Duluth and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, will be announced from more than 2,000 entries.

The arrival of the first saltie each season is a reminder that the Port of Duluth-Superior is truly Mid-America’s gateway to the world. Situated 2,342 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, this Port anchors the westernmost edge of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Duluth-Superior is the Great Lakes’ No. 1 port by total shipping tonnage and one of the nation’s top 20. It links the heartland of North America to overseas markets, enabling farmers and shippers of other commodities and cargoes to serve and compete in the global marketplace.

 

Historical Note: The latest arrival of the Port’s first saltie was May 7, 2014 (Diana). The earliest was March 30, 2013 (Federal Hunter)