Monroe, MI – The M/V Mark W. Barker, the newest ship on the Great Lakes, visited the Port of Monroe for the first time this past week.
The ship loaded a cargo of synthetic gypsum at the turning basin dock for delivery to Port Colborne, Ontario.
While moored at the Turning basin dock, the newest ship sailing the Great Lakes shared dock space with the oldest operating vessel on the inland seas. The Great Lakes Towing Tug Georgia dates all the way back to 1897 and is still active out of Monroe providing ship assistance and ice breaking services.
The Barker was built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and entered service earlier this year. It is the first Great Lakes bulk carrier to be built on the Great Lakes in over 35 years, and is the first new vessel in Interlake’s fleet since 1981.
The Barker has a square-shaped, flat-bottomed cargo hold instead of a traditional V-shaped angled bottom found on most self-unloaders. The ship also has five large hydraulically controlled stackable MacGregor hatches that offer enhanced flexibility with project cargoes and expedite loading operations.
This combination of larger hatch openings and additional cargo hold space will allow the Barker to handle traditional bulk cargoes on the Great Lakes, as well as breakbulk cargoes like wind tower components.
“Any time a vessel of the Interlake Steamship Co. calls upon the Port, it is special. In this case, it is historic,” said Capt. Paul C. LaMarre III, Port Director, Port of Monroe. “Interlake’s continued support of our growth and cargo diversification has made them a major piece of the Port’s living Great Lakes legacy.”
The Mark W. Barker is named after Interlake’s current President and second-generation leader of the family owned and operated Interlake Steamship fleet.