The Paul R. Tregurtha was just a spot on Lake Huron just after 6 p.m. on Friday (June 17, 2016). It was worth the wait for the vessel, which at 1,013 feet (309 meters) is the largest freighter currently working in the Great Lakes.
Operated by the Interlake Steamship Company, the Tregurtha is a self-unloading bulk carrier capable of handling coal or iron core. It began its maiden voyage on May 10, 1981 as the William J. De Lancey (in honour of an executive at Republic Steel, a customer of Interlake) but was renamed in 1990. Paul R. Tregurtha (the man) was an executive at Interlake.
The Tregurtha has experienced at least two accidents of note.
The first was on August 15, 2012, when the vessel, loaded with 62,000 tons of coal, became grounded in the outbound channel of the St. Marys River, just north of a ferry crossing near Sault Ste. Marie. Subsequently the stern pivoted and grounded on the opposite side of the channel. Two days later, two tugs with a combined 4,000 horsepower were able to move the ship.
About two years later, during the afternoon of September 20, 2014, the Tregurtha again ran aground, this time in Duluth, Minnesota.