What’s In Port: The “Stewart J. Cort”


Tom Wenstadt, contributor

The merchant vessel (MV) Stewart J. Cort arrived at the Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding yard on Jan. 18. The vessel pivoted at the mouth of Sturgeon Bay, then backed into the yard for six miles up the Sturgeon Bay channel. It then backed into the slip adjacent to the graving dock.                                                                                                                                                                          

The Stewart J. Cort was built partially by Ingalls Shipbuilding in  Pascagoula, Mississippi, then completed at Erie Marine in Erie, Pennsylvania for the Bethlehem Steel Co. After a number of ownership changes, the Stewart J. Cort now operates for the Interlake Steamship Co. 

Leaving on her maiden voyage on May 1, 1972, she was the first 1,000-footer on the Great Lakes. She’s 105 feet at the beam (width), 49 feet deep, and has a carrying capacity of 58,000 tons, with four, EMD V20 3600 diesel engines turning two propellers and a bow thruster.

The ship has a unique self-unloading arrangement. Instead of a typical deck-mounted swing boom, it has a short transverse shuttle boom at the stern of the vessel.

Look for a forward pilot house and an aft deck house with an iron ore red hull with white upper works. It unloads with retractable conveyer booms at the stern.

This column, courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum, gives details of the boats in winter layup in 2024 at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. 

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