Aboard a saltie in Duluth, hurrying up to go nowhere

The saltie Cornelia finally pulled into the harbor in Duluth yesterday, a scene we never tire of watching and a scene we’ve never watched without wondering if there’s a worse job in the world than working on a saltie?

We don’t know the answer to the question because we’ve never worked on a saltie nor met anyone who did — although my MPR pal, Chris Farrell was a merchant marine and has great stories of sailing the world.

But we’re just not the type that can sit on a ship going nowhere for two weeks.

In the past 13 months, the crew of the Cornelia has spent two months going nowhere, as the Duluth News Tribune reports. It sat last year for six weeks during an investigation of environmental infractions.

And it’s sat for the last two weeks just outside the harbor. Its bosses were waiting on a deal to pick up grain, a deal that apparently was reached just before she and her crew steamed into port.

  • Mike Worcester
  • John

    I can’t even imagine.

    I was stuck at home for like 7 hours straight last Friday as I waited for a repair person and carpet cleaners to arrive. Thought I was going to go nuts.

    Months aboard a ship. . . Sometimes stuck on board in the Duluth Harbor without anything to do or being allowed to leave?

    ugh. I don’t think I could do it.

    • That reminds me. Those people who work on the towboats that bring the barges up from St. Louis. When they finally get to St. Paul, they’re not allowed off the ship either (or at least they weren’t many years ago when we did a piece on the life of a towboat crew)

      • John

        why? It can’t be for some legal reason? Those folks must be American, since they are based out of St. Louis. Some company rule? Afraid they’ll see how great we have it here, and refuse to get back on the twoboat?

        • They got drunk and cost too much in damages/bail

          • John

            That is along the lines of what I expected the reason to be. I don’t like to assume the worst.

            Sailors on leave . . . money in their pocket, and stir crazy from being stuck on a boat for weeks. Doesn’t surprise me that they went a little nuts and ruined it for the people working the jobs after them.

      • Jerry

        I’ve watched them go through the locks at Hastings and it was entertaining to listen to them swear with the most amazing accents.

  • Zachary

    I guess there are worse places to be stuck than Duluth Harbor. I imagine that if you were a crew member, you would have planned for this sort of thing and brought a pile of books or board games or something with.

  • Rob

    I’ve always wondered why an ocean-going commercial ship is referred to as a saltie, rather than a salty…