SAINT JOSEPH, Mich. - For weeks the St Joseph Harbor has been open for commercial ships but getting them into port has been no easy task. The Manistee, the third commercial ship attempting to dock sat idle Wednesday.
The Manistee could be seen on open water a few miles off Silver Beach Wednesday. It arrived in the spot at 3 a.m. and had not moved as of late Wednesday night.
According to the captain, weather conditions in the harbor are not safe for a delivery. They’re running low on fuel and have a “day-and-a-half of food” left on board.
“Shipping this late in the season is really a game of roulette,” said Pete Berghoff, owner of Dock 63. Dock 63 is waiting for a 10.5 thousand ton load of road salt from the Manistee.
Berghoff said he has never had a shipment to Dock 63 this late into winter. “Twenty four days later than I’ve ever done anything in the past,” he said.
The St Joseph Harbor closed in December when the Manitowoc, a different commercial vessel, ran aground. Federally-funded emergency dredging opened the channel back up in early January.
Boats like the Manistee have been dealing with unpredictable shipping weather that goes along with winter. “You gain one problem than lose another and time is always of the essence,” said Berghoff.
Wednesday the current in the river was too strong for a safe navigation of the channel. The wind and waves were much too strong Monday and Tuesday for a delivery.
‘’We’re running out of options there is (more) wind on the way,” said Berghoff.