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Join date : 2011-06-10

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PostSubject: often beating her own    often beating her own  Icon_minitimeThu Aug 04, 2011 9:48 am

Northwestern's normal practice was to purchase ships for operation by other companies.[21] In the Fitzgerald's case they signed a 25-year contract with Oglebay Norton Corporation to operate the vessel.[13] Oglebay Norton immediately designated the Fitzgerald flagship of its Columbia Transportation fleet.[17]

The Fitzgerald was a record-setting "workhorse", often beating her own milestones.[5] The vessel's record load for a single trip was 27,402 long tons (30,690 ST; 27,842 t) in 1969.[5] For 17 years the Fitzgerald carried taconite from Minnesota's Iron Range mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works in Detroit, Toledo, and other ports. She set seasonal haul records six different times.[6] Her nicknames included "Fitz", "Pride of the American Flag",[22] "Mighty Fitz", "Toledo Express",[23] "Big Fitz",[24] and the "Titanic of the Great Lakes".[25] Loading the Fitzgerald with taconite pellets took about four and a half hours while unloading took around 14 hours. A round trip between Superior, Wisconsin, and Detroit, Michigan, usually took her five days and she averaged 47 similar trips per season.[26] The vessel's usual route was between Superior, Wisconsin, and Toledo, Ohio, although her port of destination could vary.[23] By November 1975, the Fitzgerald had logged an estimated 748 round trips on the Great Lakes and covered more than a million miles, "a distance roughly equivalent to 44 trips around the world."[27]

Up until a few weeks before her loss, passengers had traveled on board as company guests. Frederick Stonehouse wrote:

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