The Great Lakes have proven every bit as dangerous as the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. The storms that roar across the Lakes are fearsome beasts that have sealed the fate of many a vessel plying the “Inland Seas.” This absorbing 2006 title brings together 24 accounts of fateful voyages made by freighters, tankers and tugboats.
The voyages related in this book span almost a hundred years from 1898 to 1990. They run the gamut from explosions to groundings to on-board fires to collisions to founderings. In many cases human error was responsible but more often it was mother nature taking its pound of flesh.
The book’s most fascinating – and macabre – story tells of the December 1942 trip wherein the tug ‘Admiral’ was towing the tanker barge ‘Cleveco’ from Toledo to Cleveland. Caught in a quick-developing, blinding storm, the two vessels plodded on in near-zero visibility. At 3:30 AM on December 2, the crew on the barge were unable to spot the tug. The tow cable was still taut but, upon checking, the ‘Cleveco’ crew were horrified to see that it went straight down into the lake! The barge was still attached to the tug which had sunk with all hands! And now for the rest of the story…Rescue vessels arrived on the scene but were unable to take the ‘Cleveco’ crew off due to the storm. When the storm abated hours later, the ‘Cleveco’ had vanished, joining the ‘Admiral’ at the bottom of Lake Erie. No survivors.
Author: Wayne Louis Kadar
Paperback – 8.5 x 5.5
Number of Pages: 217
What readers say:
All the accounts in Kadar’s are well done and often spellbinding. The text is nicely illustrated with vintage photographs, maps and diagrams. It’s especially interesting to see ‘before’ and ‘after’ of some of the ships involved in these disasters and realize how powerful a Great Lakes storm can be and how brave the men are who sail the Great Lakes.