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Newest freighter makes Twin Ports debut

Interlake's Mark W. Barker is the first Great Lakes ship to be built by an American company since 1983.

Ship nears Duluth.
The Mark W. Barker nears Duluth at 11:17 a.m. Tuesday.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The Great Lakes' newest U.S.-flagged freighter made its first stop in the Duluth-Superior harbor Tuesday morning.

The Mark W. Barker, Interlake Steamship Co.'s 639-foot ship with a carrying capacity of 26,000 gross tons, was built by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, with steel made from iron ore mined on Minnesota's Iron Range.

It entered service in late July and was christened in Cleveland on Thursday, Sept. 1.

The ship was expected to discharge its cargo of salt at EnviroTech Hallett Dock 8 in Superior and load iron ore at the Canadian National dock in Duluth, according to Jayson Hron, spokesperson for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

It's the first Great Lakes ship to be built by an American company since 1983.


Although it's the shortest ship in Interlake's fleet, the self-unloading bulk carrier can carry traditional bulk cargoes as well as wind turbines and other possible future cargoes.

The Mark W. Barker is named after Interlake's president.

Mark W. Barker arrives in Duluth.
People line the walls on the Duluth Ship Canal to watch the Mark W. Barker gliding under the Lift Bridge for the first time ever.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
Mark W. Barker arrives in Duluth.
Three crewmembers work on the deck of the M/V Mark W. Barker on Superior Bay.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
Mark W. Barker arrives in Duluth.
The M/V Mark W. Barker moves across Lake Superior on Tuesday.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
More about the Mark W. Barker
Earlier this year, the Duluth News Tribune toured the ship while it went through its final preparations prior to entering service.
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.
The first U.S.-built lake freighter in almost 40 years nears completion at a shipyard in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin city's history with boat-building began almost 200 years ago.
Mark W. Barker will sail with a safer lifeboat, gender-specific changing rooms, and private staterooms for each crew member.

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