First Saltie Expected Friday; Earliest Ever

Posted at: 03/28/2013 1:47 PM

Photo by Eira Voth

The first ocean-going vessel of the 2013 shipping season is expected to arrive in the Port of Duluth-Superior on Friday, the earliest a saltie has ever arrived in the Twin Ports.

The Federal Hunter, flagged in Hong Kong, is expected to pull under the Aerial Lift Bridge on Friday afternoon.  The arrival would beat the previous record -- the LT Argosy's April 1, 1995 arrival -- by three days.  It's also more than a week earlier than last year's first saltie.

The Federal Hunter began her current voyage in Germany and dropped off cargo in Quebec before heading to Duluth-Superior.  She'll dock at the CHS elevator in Superior to load 15,000 metric tons of wheat, with a departure expected late Monday.  She'll then pick up another 5,000 tons of wheat in Thunder Bay before delivering the cargo to France and the United Kingdom.

The Port Authority plans to welcome The Federal Hunter and its 22-member crew with a first-ship ceremony on Monday.

A sister ship, the Cyprus-flagged Federal Elbe, is expected to arrive Saturday and will likely sit at anchor for a day or two before loading.

The 2013 shipping season began March 20 when the Mesabi Miner left the Twin Ports with coal bound for Marquette.  The Soo Locks, which allow ocean-going vessels to reach Lake Superior, opened March 25.

People interested in watching the vessels go under the bridge can call the Boatwatchers Hotline at 218-722-6489 or visit www.duluthboats.com for estimated arrival and departure times.