Bulk carrier Edmund Fitzgerald

Bulk carrier Edmund Fitzgerald. Her miniature in a scale of 1:1250 is in our general display on deck 9 of the museum.

On the early evening of November the 10th 1975, the ore bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in the middle of a heavy winter storm with winds of over 50 knots and waves of over 10 m in Lake Superior. Her crew of 29 sunk with her. 46 years to this day she added to the records she had set in her starring career that of being the largest shipwreck in the hazardous waters of the Great Lakes of North America.

In 1957, the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, that was making large investments in the iron industry, ordered the construction of the largest bulk carrier possible that still could cross the St. Lawrence Seaway at the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan. The ship was 222 m long, 23 m wide ship with a capacity of 26000 DWT of which 25400 were of cargo. The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was ceremoniously launched on June the 7th 1957 and started her service on September of the next year. During her 17 years of duty she carried taconite (iron ore) from the mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to ports like Detroit or Toledo. She also had a quite luxurious habitation area for passengers, none of which were aboard when she sunk. The safety record of her career was good above average and she had been regularly maintained and overhauled during her career. A career, in which she had reached an iconic status among the habitants of the areas she steamed by.

That status turned into a tragic legend on November the 10th 1975. As she was heading for Detroit followed by the laker Arthur M. Anderson, they entered a terrible storm. In the late afternoon, the Edmund Fitzgerald reported they were developing a list, taking water and and their radars were failing. Blinded by the snow, the Edmund Fitzgerald tried to follow the Arthur M. Anderson to a safe anchorage. At 7:10 pm, Arthur M. Anderson asked Edmund Fitzgerald for their status. „We are holding our own.“ was their last communication. The search and rescue action started almost immediately, but only debris was found. The Wreck was detected on November the 14th. From its study over the years a long list of theories about the main reason of her sinking have been made, but none could be confirmed.

Bulk carrier Edmund Fitzgerald. Her miniature in a scale of 1:1250 is in our general display on deck 9 of the museum.