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About the SS Arthur M. Anderson

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SS Arthur M. Anderson is a laker cargo ship. She is well-known for being the last ship to communicate with the SS Edmund Fitzgerald before it sank on November 10, 1975. In the futile search for Edmund Fitzgerald survivors, the Arthur M. Anderson was also the first rescue ship on the scene. Arthur Marvin Anderson, the vessel’s namesake, was a director of U.S. Steel, a member of its finance committee, and vice chairman of J.P. Morgan & Co. at the time. The ship was launched in 1952 and is still in service today.

In 1952, the SS Arthur M. Anderson emerged from the drydock of the American Ship Building Company in Lorain, Ohio. She had a length of 647 feet (197 meters), a beam of 70 feet (21 meters), a depth of 36 feet (11 meters), and a gross tonnage of approximately 20,000 tons. SS Philip R. Clarke, SS Cason J. Callaway, SS Reserve, SS J.L. Mauthe, SS Armco, SS Edward B. Greene, and SS William Clay Ford were the other seven AAA class lake freighters. The Arthur M. Anderson, along with Philip R. Clarke and Cason J. Callaway, were built for U.S. Steel’s Pittsburgh Steamship Division.

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The sea trials of the Arthur M. Anderson began on August 7, 1952, and she loaded her first cargo at the Two Harbours dock on August 12, 1952. Throughout her career, she underwent several refits, including the addition of a new 120-foot (37 m) midsection in 1975, which added approximately 6,000 tons to her gross tonnage, bringing the total to approximately 26,000 tons. She was operating in close company with the SS Edmund Fitzgerald during the Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, and reported her loss to the United States Coast Guard. She received a self-unloading boom in 1981, which improved cargo loading and unloading. She is the only one of the three Great Lakes Fleet steamships with a softer midsection, which prevents her from carrying as much cargo.

Arthur M. Anderson became stuck and stranded in several feet of ice in Lake Erie near Conneaut Harbour, Ohio, on February 2015. After five days, Arthur M. Anderson was rescued from the ice by the Canadian Coast Guard vessel CCGS Griffon on February 21, 2015. The CCGS Samuel Risley was supposed to accompany Arthur M. Anderson to Detroit. The USCGC Bristol Bay had also become stranded while attempting to free the ship from up to ten feet (3 meters) of ice.

On January 15, 2017, at the end of the 2016 shipping season, Arthur M. Anderson was placed on long-term lay-up in Duluth, Minnesota. She was transferred to the nearby Fraser Shipyards in April 2019 for a five-month survey and refit in preparation for her return to service. On July 25, 2019, the vessel re-entered service

The Anderson still sails the Great Lakes today at about 15.1 knots (28.0 km/h; 17.4 mph) and has a carrying capacity of 25,000 tons.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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