Lake Erie kept freighter Arthur Anderson from loading cargo

STURGEON BAY, WI — The freighter Arthur M. Anderson finally made port this week after an end-of-the-season Indiana to Ohio run became a nearly month-long futile slog across three iced-over Great Lakes.

The 63-year-old laker, famous for its role in the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking, entered winter lay-up in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. on Wednesday morning, March 4, with empty holds after Lake Erie ice kept the ship from loading cargo last month.

Arthur M. Anderson, Lake Erie 2015

Arthur M. Anderson, Lake Erie 2015

On Feb. 22, despite the assistance of three U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard ice cutters over the course of several days, the 767-foot Anderson was unable to enter port in Conneaut, Ohio, due to ice build-up on the southern Lake Erie shoreline.

Ship owner Great Lakes Fleet, a subsidiary of Keystone Shipping Co. of California, ordered the ship to Wisconsin, said the Coast Guard. The ship left Chicago on Feb. 5 to pick up iron ore powder in Ohio and deliver it to U.S. Steel in Gary, Ind.

“They stopped three miles from shore,” said Mark Gill, civilian director of vessel traffic services for the Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie. “The ice was too thick and the breakers couldn’t get them through it.”

“The trip was for nothing.”