The Great Lakes Group


M/V FEDERAL RIDEAU Refloated by The Great Lakes Towing Company After Freighter Grounded in Lake St. Clair

The 656-foot freighter, M/V FEDERAL RIDEAU, was refloated by The Great Lakes Towing Company early Tuesday morning, July 29th, after the vessel went aground in Lake St. Clair early Sunday morning, July 27th. The vessel was carrying 22,672 tons of wheat from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec. The Towing Company’s tugs SUPERIOR, NEBRASKA and MISSISSIPPI responded to the grounding at the request of its long-term customer, Fednav, which has been a Full Service Lakes-Wide Towing Contract customer of the Towing Company for many years.

Joseph Heaney, Tug Captain in Detroit and Toledo, was the first to respond on Sunday morning. “We were working against the environment and the clock,” says Heaney who has worked for the Company for over 24 years. Heaney further explained that the efforts of all crews of the Company’s tugs contributed to the successful refloating of FEDERAL RIDEAU. “When we got to the scene, we noticed that the boat was fighting the current, the wind was picking up, and there was a structure just 6-feet away from the vessel that we had to stay clear of. It was a tough situation.” The Company is committed to providing great customer satisfaction. Heaney explains, “Customer satisfaction is our primary driver, we’ll do whatever it takes. When one of our tugs arrive at the scene, our customers can be confident that they will receive a job well-done because they can count on 116 years of experience from The Company. I’m proud to say I’ve been here in Detroit and Toledo for over 24 of those great years.”

Joseph Heaney, Tug Captain in Detroit and Toledo

The Great Lakes Towing Company’s Full Service Lakes-Wide Towing Contract, offers lakes-wide comprehensive towing service with readily available “round-the-clock” tugs and crews. In addition to harbor services, The Company provides emergency assistance to vessels that are wrecked, disabled, or in distress on the Great Lakes. No claim for salvage under the maritime laws is made by the Towing Company for emergency services provided under the Company’s Contract.

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About the Full-Service Lakes-Wide Towing Contract

The Great Lakes Towing Company has the expertise needed to make towing on the Great Lakes efficient, economical and problem-free. No other towing company can match our comprehensive service and years of experience. Now in our second century in the towing business, we operate tugboats specifically designed for Great Lakes harbor towing on all five of the U.S. Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. We provide service in over 40 ports in all 8 U.S. Great Lakes’ states (Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.) The Company has, over the years, routinely undertaken major fleet improvements to rebuild and re-engine its tugs, demonstrating its commitment to the Great Lakes region, its home since 1899.

We realize that you have a choice of towing companies within the Great Lakes, however, there are substantial differences in the services offered, and the additional benefits and operational savings that can be realized when using the services of The Great Lakes Towing Company

The Great Lakes Towing Company’s fleet of tugboats is U.S. registered and meets the highest industry and government standards. The Company is a member of THE AMERICAN WATERWAYS OPERATORS RESPONSIBLE CARRIER PROGRAM, which is an independently audited code of practice to ensure safe and efficient tugboat operations — the highest standards of towing safety in the United States. These high safety standards also contribute to our outstanding performance record and an almost “delay-free” service. This represents a savings to a vessel operator’s bottom line cost of towing.

The Full-Service Lakes-Wide Towing Contract covers vessel harbor assistance, including icebreaking and ancillary services such as rescue and assistance to disabled, grounded or damaged vessels and barges. We also offer towing of every type of floating structure from port to port anywhere on the Lakes, barge towing within harbors, and through-cargo barge movements whose origin or destination may be other than a Great Lakes port, such as a movement of heavy-lift cargo from a Great Lakes port, down the Mississippi River system, to a Gulf port, as well as oil and hazardous material spill response services.



Joseph P. Starck, Jr.
President and Director
The Great Lakes Towing Company
Tel: 216-367-8126