On Tuesday, May 24, 2011, the Interlake Steamship Company vessel M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar will be christened at Duluth, MN. Mr. Oberstar and his wife Jean, the Sponsor of the ship, will be on hand for the christening. Due to Homeland Security regulations, only invited guests will be allowed access to the vessel for tours beginning at 9 am, followed by a press conference at 9:30 am and the christening ceremony at 10:30 am. The general public wishing to view the ceremony can get a birdseye view from the Canal Park side of the blue pedestrian bridge.
Congressman Oberstar served the US House of Representatives for nearly a half century, first as a senior Congressional aide for 11 years, and then as a representative from Minnesota for 36 years. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congressâ€™ primary expert on transportation issues. Oberstar was a featured speaker at the christening of Interlake Steamshipâ€™s M/V Mesabi Miner at Duluth in 1977.
M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, formerly M/V Charles M. Beeghly, was renamed prior to the start of the current 2011 Great Lakes shipping season. The Oberstar is 806 feet long, with a beam of 75 feet and a carrying capacity of 27,500 net tons. Built by the American Ship Building Company in Toledo, Ohio, the ship entered service in 1959 as S/S Shenango II for the Shenango Furnace Company. Acquired by Interlake in 1967, the vessel was renamed Charles M. Beeghly. Over the years, it has undergone several efficiency improvements, including a 96-foot long mid-body insertion in 1972, conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, and repowering from steam to diesel power in 2009. The Oberstar is engaged in transporting dry bulk cargos of taconite (iron ore) and coal for various customers throughout the Great Lakes region.
The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, operates a fleet of nine self-unloading bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. A family-owned business, Interlake is one of the largest US-flag fleets on the Lakes, and carries approximately 20 million tons of cargo annually, including iron ore, low-sulfur coal, limestone and grain. The Interlake Steamship Company was formed in 1913, with roots extending back to 1883.