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First U.S.-built Great Lakes bulk carrier in 40 years enters service

Nearly three years after the first cut of steel for the first Great Lakes freighter in nearly 40 years, the 639-foot M/V Mark W. Barker embarked on her maiden voyage from Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Wisconsin.

 “This is a monumental day for our company and the US flag fleet as our much-anticipated freighter departs on her first voyage in what will be a long life of service on the Great Lakes,” said Mark W. Barker, President of The Interlake Steamship Company and namesake of the vessel – the company’s first new build since 1981.

“The construction of this vessel, which was made from steel manufactured in Indiana, from iron ore delivered by vessel from Minnesota, reinforces our long-term commitment to shipping and delivering essential cargoes for our customers throughout the region,” Mr. Barker added.

The M/V Mark W. Barker departed the Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin shipyard at 10:36 Eastern time on July 27 for her 110-mile journey to Port Inland, Michigan where her crew of 21 professional mariners will load stone to deliver to Muskegon, Michigan. Once delivered, that stone cargo will go into ready-mix concrete production.

(Photo from Interlake Steamship Company)