The SS Arthur M. Anderson, from July 20th’s post, sailing away into the sun…
The SS Arthur M. Anderson is a cargo ship of the laker type. It is famous for being the last ship to be in contact with the SS Edmund Fitzgerald (before it sank 10 November 1975). The Anderson was also the first rescue ship on the scene in a vain search for Fitzgerald survivors (there were none).
The SS Arthur M. Anderson came out of the drydock of the American Ship Building Company of Lorain, Ohio in 1952. It had a length of 647 feet, 70 foot beam, a 36 foot depth, and a gross tonnage of roughly 20,000 tons. It was second of eight of the AAA class of lake freighters; the others being, in order, the SS Philip R. Clarke, SS Cason J. Callaway, SS Reserve, SS J.L. Mauthe, SS Armco, SS Edward B. Greene, and the SS William Clay Ford. It, along with the SS Philip R. Clarke and SS Cason J. Callaway, was built for the Pittsburgh Steamship Division of U.S. Steel. The Anderson’s sea-trials commenced on 7 August 1952, and it loaded its first cargo at the Two Harbors dock on August 12th. It received several refits in its life including a new 120 foot mid-section which added about 6,000 tons to its gross tonnage. In 1981 it received a self unloading boom which improved its cargo loading and unloading. It is unique among the three Great Lakes Fleet steamships in that it has a softer mid-section that prohibits loading as much cargo as the others; roughly 1500 tons less.
The SS Arthur M. Anderson unloading at Huron, Ohio in 2008.
Its namesake, Arthur Marvin Anderson, was director of U.S. Steel at the time.
It has been a member of the U.S. Steel fleet its entire life, and is still sailing as of 2011.