Biggest Honor Yet For Former Rep. Oberstar
The Interlake Steamship Company is pleased to announce the renaming of the M/V Charles M. Beeghly in recognition of the Honorable James L. Oberstar, retired United States Congressman from the State of Minnesota. The Vessel will sail from layup this March as the M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, and will be rechristened later this spring. Details of the rechristening will be released as arrangements are finalized.
Congressman Oberstar is a distinguished Minnesota legislator and legislative leader who dedicated nearly half a century to service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Oberstar’s tenure on Capitol Hill stretched over 36 years as a Member of Congress and 11 years as a senior Congressional aide. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congress’ primary expert on transportation issues. Congressman Oberstar was a featured speaker at the christening of Interlake’s M/V Mesabi Miner in Duluth in 1977.
Congressman Oberstar’s exposure to the iron ore industry and Great Lakes shipping started at an early age, as his father was an ore miner. As a legislator, Congressman Oberstar was well known as a tireless champion of maritime issues, particular those on the Great Lakes. He represented Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, a region that depends upon Great Lakes shipping to move iron ore pellets to market, often through the westernmost Great Lakes port of Duluth, Minnesota. Congressman Oberstar fought for adequate Great Lakes’ icebreaking resources to keep iron ore moving to the nation’s steel mills during the winter months, an effort that culminated in the 2006 launching of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter MACKINAW. He also worked to legislate funding for a critically needed second lock capable of handling the Great Lake’s largest 1,000’ long vessels at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, the construction of which is now underway. Among his many other accomplishments, Congressman Oberstar was a vocal advocate for adequate and fair funding for dredging across the Great Lakes basin, a critical component to the efficient movement of maritime commerce across the Great Lakes.
The M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar (formerly the M/V Charles M. Beeghly) is 806’ long with a beam of 75’, and has a carrying capacity of 27,500 net tons. The Vessel was built in 1958 at the American Shipbuilding Company in Toledo, Ohio, and christened the Str. Shenago II in 1959. The Vessel has undergone numerous efficiency improvements, including a mid-body insert that increased its length by 96’ in 1972, conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, and repowering from a steam powered vessel to a diesel powered vessel in 2009.
“Interlake is honored to be able to recognize Congressman Oberstar’s service and dedication to our Country by naming a vessel after him,” stated Mark Barker, Interlake’s President. “Few legislators have made more contributions to Great Lakes shipping and the United States maritime industry.”
The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, operates a fleet of nine self-unloading bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. Interlake, a family owned business, is one of the largest U.S-flag fleets operating on the Great Lakes, and carries approximately 20 million tons of bulk cargo throughout the Great Lakes annually. Those cargoes include iron ore, low-sulfur coal, grain and limestone. Interlake was founded in 1913, with roots that can be traced back to 1883.