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Michigan's Soo Locks opens, first freighter claims bragging rights

Mar 26, 2018 09:27AM ● By Editor

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District

By Tanda Gmiter - [email protected]

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI - It was a bit of a challenge getting up the icy St. Marys River, but the American Century pushed through to be first in line for the midnight opening of Michigan's Soo Locks.

The freighter's passage into Lake Superior early today marked the beginning of the 2018 commercial navigation season on the Upper Great Lakes, and drew hundreds of "boatnerd" fans out to the city's park to watch the fanfare.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from the Detroit District shared pictures of the festivities as ships vied to see which one would arrive first at the locks, then line up to wait their turn through.

The American Century, built in 1981, is 989 feet long. She was built in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. and is owned by the American Steamship Company. By breakfast time today, she was already making 12.7 knots and was passing a point north of Grand Marais, headed for the western edge of Lake Superior.

It was her captain's first time as the inaugural ship through the locks, the Army Corps said. He was treated to an on-board visit by local officials who read an official proclamation and handed out small gifts for the crew.

The locks opening has a holiday atmosphere in that area of the Upper Peninsula.

Photo this link to see a photo gallery of the preparations for the American Century to pass through the Soo Locks.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here