Gayle and I happened to be at Kollen Park in Holland Tuesday evening. We heard a loud blast from a ship’s horn, just a little out of view from where we were (eating dinner at a picnic table). I ran (well, walked – I am in the “senior citizen” category now) to the water’s edge to see what was coming.

Turns out to be a gigantic ship. The ship was the “Manitowoc”. Tuesday morning it made the trip down from northern Lake Michigan to Holland. Now, it was leaving Holland and continuing south to northern Indiana. The word “manitowoc” means ‘dwelling of the great spirit’ and is derived from the Anishinaabe language.

This ship is 630 feet long and 68 feet wide (so nearly 10 times longer than it is wide). It’s more than twice as long as a football field! In 2021, the Manitowoc logged 84,559 miles on the Great Lakes, making 191 port calls. It carries salt, gravel, coal, grain, iron ore, aggregates and other bulk commodities. The ship has a 260-foot unloading boom, has a capacity of 19,600 tons and has an unloading rate of 5,000 tons per hour. It has diesel engines with a total of 5,600 horsepower.

The ship was built in 1973. It was originally called the Paul Thayer from 1973 – 1994, then the Earl W. Oglebay from 1994 – 2007. After that it was the Earl W. from 2007 – 2008. It’s been the Manitowoc since 2008. The vessel is a bulk carrier and has an average crew of 17.