Edward L. Ryerson in 2007
|Namesake:||Edward Larned Ryerson|
|Owner:||Central Marine Logistics of Griffith, Indiana|
|Port of registry:||Indiana Harbor, Indiana, United States|
|Builder:||Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin|
|Laid down:||April 20, 1959|
|Launched:||January 21, 1960|
|Maiden voyage:||August 4, 1960|
|In service:||June 20, 1960|
|Out of service:||2009|
|Status:||Laid up in Superior, Wisconsin. Currently located at Coordinates:|
|Displacement:||34,135 long tons|
|Beam:||75 ft (23 m)|
|Draft:||26.6 ft (8.1 m) (typical)|
|Depth:||39 ft (12 m) (moulded)|
|Propulsion:||Single five bladed fixed pitch 20 ft (6.1 m) propeller|
|Speed:||19 mph (31 km/h)|
|Capacity:||27,500 tons of cargo|
SS Edward L. Ryerson is a steel-hulled American Great Lakes freighter built in 1960. Throughout her career on the Great Lakes, she has been laid up multiple times. Ever since 2009, she has been in long term layup at the Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin. Currently, she is one of only two American owned straight deck lake freighters, the other one being 1958-built freighter John Sherwin.
In 1959 the Inland Steel Company of Chicago contracted H.C. Downer & Associates Incorporated of Cleveland to design Edward L. Ryerson. The construction of Edward L. Ryerson began on April 20, 1959 in Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin when keel was laid. She was launched on January 21, 1960. She was named after the chairman of the board at Inland Steel between 1940 and 1953. Edward L. Ryerson was the third of the 13 so-called "730-class" of lake freighters, all of which shared the unofficial title of "Queen of the Lakes" due to their record breaking length, until being surpassed by Frankcliffe Hall in 1962. She was not only the last steam-powered freighter built on the lakes, but also the last one that was not a self unloader. Edward L. Ryerson became well known for her elegant lines, and is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing lakers ever built. Due to her high top speed of 19 mph (31 km/h), she received the nickname of "Fast Eddie".
Edward L. Ryerson was built almost exclusively to transport iron ore. After completing her sea trials on August 3, 1960, she travelled to Escanaba, Michigan where she loaded over 23,000 tons of iron ore, embarking on her maiden voyage for Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 4. Edward L. Ryerson set a cargo haulage record that stood for three years on August 28, 1962 after loading 25,018 tons of iron ore in Superior, Wisconsin. She quickly became one of the most popular boats on the lakes, to the point that there were rumors that she would regularly be directed through the MacArthur Lock for the benefit of boat watchers.
Due to a downturn in the steel industry, Edward L. Ryerson was laid up in Indiana Harbor for the 1986 and the 1987 shipping seasons, returning to service in 1988. She was laid up for a second time in January 1994 in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, remaining inactive throughout 1994, 1995 and 1996, reentering service in April 1997. In 1998, Inland Steel was acquired by Ispat International N.V. Also in 1998, Edward L. Ryerson was renamed Str. Edward L. Ryerson. She was sold to the Indiana Harbor Steamship Company which was managed by Central Marine Logistics of Griffith, Indiana; she entered long term layup at the Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay in December of that same year, returning to the lakes in 2006. In 2009, she entered long term layup in Superior, remaining stationary as of 2021.
Design and construction
In 1959, the Inland Steel Company of Chicago contracted H.C. Downer & Associates Incorporated of Cleveland to design a ship which would be constructed by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This new vessel was the maximum length allowed for passage through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which was completed in the same year as the ship. Edward L. Ryerson was one of the first lakers built to the maximum St. Lawrence Seaway length. Her hull has an overall length of 730 feet (222.5 m) (a length between perpendiculars of 712 feet (217.0 m) and a 702 foot (214.0 m) keel), she has a 75 foot (23 m) beam and a draft of 26.6 feet (8.1 m). The moulded depth (roughly speaking, the vertical height of the hull) is 39 ft (12 m). The first keel plate was laid on April 20 that same year.
Edward L. Ryerson was the third of the thirteen so-called "730-class" of lake freighters. In total there were five American "730-class" freighters, of which Edward L. Ryerson was the first. With a deadweight capacity of 26,055 long tons (29,182 short tons; 26,473 t), and a 730-foot (220 m) hull, Edward L. Ryerson was one of the longest ships on the Great Lakes at the time of her construction, earning her the unofficial title of Queen of the Lakes, which she shared with the other ships in her class until December 7, 1959, when the 730.2-foot (222.6 m) Frankcliffe Hall was launched. She has a gross tonnage of 12,170 tons, and a net tonnage of 7,637 tons. Edward L. Ryerson's four unique vertical-sided cargo holds were loaded through 18 watertight hatches, each 20 by 54 feet (6.1 by 16.5 m). The hatches were positioned 24 feet (7.3 m) apart. Edward L. Ryerson' was the first vessel on the Great Lakes to be equipped with aluminium hatch covers.
Edward L. Ryerson is equipped with two 9,900 shp (7,400 kW) General Electric cross-compound steam turbine, which were powered by two 465 psi oil-burning Combustion Engineering boilers. She is capable of carrying 139,128 U.S. gal (526,660 L; 115,848 imp gal) fuel oil. Propelled by a single five-bladed fixed pitch 20 ft (6.1 m) propeller (at the time the largest on the lakes), she had a top speed of 19 mph (31 km/h). In 1969 the ship's maneuverability was improved by the installation of a diesel-powered bow thruster.
Edward L. Ryerson's owners spared no expense in making her as aesthetically attractive and luxurious as possible, with more than $8 million (equivalent to $54.8 million in 2019) reported to have been spent on her accommodations alone. She was capable of accommodating up to 37 crewmen and eight guests. She is considered by enthusiasts to be one of the most aesthetically pleasing freighters ever built. In her basic design and construction Edward L. Ryerson was considered to be a larger version of Inland Steel's 1949 freighter Wilfred Sykes. She would be not only the last steam-powered American freighter built on the lakes, but also the last one built without a self-unloading boom. She was the last American freighter built on the lakes until Stewart J. Cort in 1972; she would end up being the last lake freighter constructed in Manitowoc.
Name and Launch
Edward L. Ryerson was named after the chairman of the board at Inland Steel, Edward Larned Ryerson. Ryerson was the president of the steel service centre Joseph T. Ryerson & Son until 1935, when the company merged with Inland Steel. From 1940 until his retirement in 1953, Ryerson remained the chairman of the board of his original company and Inland Steel. The christening and launch ceremony of Edward L. Ryerson took place on January 21, 1960. Sponsored by Mrs. Edward L. Ryerson, she was launched sideways into the ice-filled Manitowoc River on wooden rollers. On July 28, 1960, Edward L. Ryerson was set to leave the shipyard through the Manitowoc River. However, there were several areas of the river that Edward L. Ryerson was not able to transit due to her size. Dredging needed to be done in several areas, and at one point, part of the shoreline needed to be dug away. The work lasted for four hours. An article published in the The Herald Times Reporter described moving Edward L. Ryerson "like building a cruiser in the basement and then engineering it through a door too small for its shortest dimension." Edward L. Ryerson began her sea trials on August 1, finishing them on August 3.
Edward L. Ryerson was designed almost exclusively with the iron ore trade in mind. After completing her sea trials, Edward L. Ryerson departed Manitowoc in ballast shortly after midnight on August 4, for Escanaba, Michigan. Upon arriving in Escanaba, she loaded 22,846 long tons (25,588 short tons; 23,213 t) of iron ore bound for Indiana Harbor, Indiana, where she arrived on August 6. Edward L. Ryerson set cargo haulage records twice during the early 1960s. Both times, she loaded iron ore in Superior, Wisconsin and headed for Indiana Harbor, Indiana. She set the first record in 1961, when she loaded 23,009 long tons (25,770 short tons; 23,378 t) of ore. She set her second record on August 28, 1962, when she loaded 24,623 long tons (27,578 short tons; 25,018 t) tons of ore at the Great Northern Railway's Allouez ore docks. Her second record would be broken in 1965. Due to her high top speed of 19 mph (31 km/h), she received the nickname of "Fast Eddie". Edward L. Ryerson quickly became a favourite among boat watchers on the lakes, to the point that there were rumors that she would regularly be directed through the MacArthur Lock for the benefit of enthusiasts. On board, a stainless steel map of the Great Lakes, with a magnetic representation of Edward L. Ryerson had been installed, in order to keep the guests informed about her location. In 1976, Joseph L. Block superseded Edward L. Ryerson as Inland Steel's largest vessel.
Due to a downturn in the steel industry, Edward L. Ryerson was laid up in Indiana Harbor from the end of 1985 to the beginning of 1988, when she returned to service. In August 1989, she loaded a cargo of mill scale in Detroit, Michigan. On July 18, 1992, Edward L. Ryerson loaded the first ever cargo of iron ore pellets ever to leave Escanaba. She once again entered layup on January 24, 1994 in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, remaining inactive until 1996, returning to service on April 5, 1997. On November 13, 1997, she was placed into the dry dock at Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay, for her five year inspection. In 1998, Inland Steel was acquired by Ispat International N.V. Also in 1998, Edward L. Ryerson was renamed Str. Edward L. Ryerson. She was sold to the Indiana Harbor Steamship Company which was managed by Central Marine Logistics of Griffith, Indiana, entering long term layup at the Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay on December 12 of that same year. Throughout the 1998 shipping season, Edward L. Ryerson carried 1,476,310 long tons (1,653,467 short tons; 1,500,000 t) of iron ore from Escanaba over the course of 55 visits. Edward L. Ryerson was moved to Sturgeon Bay's east dock on December 7, 2000 and back to Bay Shipbuilding on August 17, 2004. Edward L. Ryerson re-entered service on June 3, 2006, departing Sturgeon Bay for Escanaba on July 22, 2006, where she loaded 25,227 long tons (28,254 short tons; 25,632 t) of iron ore bound for Indiana Harbor. She entered layup in 2009 at the Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin. In 2013, she was moved to the Tower Slip, near Barko Hydraulics due to soil testing at the Fraser Shipyards. She was moved into the Cumming Slip in 2019 due to soil testing at the slip.
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