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PHOTOS: First oceangoing vessel of season arrives in Duluth

The first saltie to arrive in the Twin Ports sits at anchor at Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage on Rice’s Point loading spring wheat Monday afternoon. Bob King / Forum News Service1 / 4
The Lake Ontario, a 606-foot-long ship flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, loads some 19,000 metric tons of spring wheat at Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage Monday. The ship is expected to depart for Italy late Tuesday. Bob King /Forum News Service2 / 4
Captain Costelus Morosanu of the Lake Ontario, the first saltie to arrive in the Twin Ports this season, explains how the ship's steering wheel is connected to the rudder and used much like a car steering wheel to maneuver the ship. Bob King / Forum News Service3 / 4
After receiving an Epicurean cutting board as a gift from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson, Captain Costelus Morosanu and the mayor laugh about how he'll need the board to prepare some of the other food gifts he received in the first ship ceremony Monday afternoon. The event was held outside the ship's pilot house. Bob King / Forum News Service4 / 4

DULUTH, Minn.—The first oceangoing vessel to reach Duluth this shipping season was celebrated Monday with the traditional ceremony to mark the milestone.

The Lake Ontario took on a load of wheat at Riverland Ag/Duluth Storage on Rice's Point on Monday, after officially passing beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge on Sunday evening. Dignitaries including Duluth Mayor Emily Larson gathered aboard the ship on Monday for the ceremony, presenting the crew with several gifts.

Thanks to a relatively mild winter and early spring, the Lake Ontario arrived just a few days after the record for the earliest saltie in the Twin Ports. The earliest recorded arrival of a saltie in Duluth was the Federal Hunter, which reached Duluth on March 30, 2013. The record for the latest first saltie is held by the Diana, which arrived on May 7, 2014.

The 606-foot Lake Ontario flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda; its crew of 21 is under the command of Capt. Costelus Morosanu. The ship dropped off cargo in Halifax, Nova Scotia, before entering the St. Lawrence Seaway system for the journey to Duluth, where it spent some time anchored on Lake Superior over the weekend before moving into the harbor.

The saltie is scheduled to leave the Twin Ports today in the late afternoon or early evening hours, taking its load of wheat across the Atlantic to Italy.

Forum News Service

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