Scheduled to launch its working life later this year, the Mark W. Barker will enter sea trials soon this spring. It’s the first Great Lakes ship to be built by an American company since 1983, which marked the end of a lengthy boom time that included the arrival of the immense 1,000-footers.
Duluth News Tribune reporter Brady Slater, photographer Steve Kuchera and digital producer Samantha Erkkila visited Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding on Lake Michigan’s Sturgeon Bay to tour the new vessel and see what makes it different from a standard bulk-cargo hauler like those built four decades ago.
1/22: Two men walk on the Mark W. Barker’s hatch covers near the end of the ship’s self-loader boom.
2/22: A distant crane lifts material to the stern of the 639-foot long M/V Mark W. Barker at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
3/22: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding program manager Amelia Ott.
4/22: Two men work on wiring in a section of the Mark W. Barker’s engine room.
5/22: Two men walk near a partially open hatch on the Mark W. Barker.
6/22: One of the staterooms on the Mark W. Barker.
7/22: Three men work near the pivot point of the Mark W. Barker’s unloading boom March 15, 2022.
8/22: Plans for the Mark W. Barker hang on a wall in program manager Amelia Ott’s office.
9/22: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding program manager Amelia Ott stands near one of the Mark W. Barker’s engines.
10/22: A worker walks by the far side of a partially open cargo hold .
11/22: The view of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding from the Door County Maritime Museum.
12/22: Among the displays at the Door County Maritime Museum is one on what is now Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.
13/22: A book on the history of Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.
14/22: The trailing edge of the Mark W. Barker’s rudder can move, giving the ship increased maneuverability.
15/22: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding program manager Amelia Ott gestures toward the ship's exhaust pipes.
16/22: Construction workers examine plans in the Mark W. Barker’s engine control room.
17/22: The Mark W. Barker’s enclosed lifeboat.
18/22: A visitor on the Mark W. Barker walks into one of two garages for front-end loaders in the ship’s holds.
19/22: A crane moves a section of the Mark W. Barker into place.
20/22: The Mark W. Barker under construction in a graving dock at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding on Aug. 20, 2021.
21/22: A worker paints draft marks at the stern of the Mark W. Barker before the ship’s propeller and rudder are installed.
22/22: A section for the Mark W. Barker’s aft engine room sits on a trailer at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in September 2020.