Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Commemorates Anniversary of Edmund Fitzgerald by Scuttling Entire Ship in Lake Superior

Original photo by Greenmars

TWO HARBORS — In honor of the 48th anniversary of the infamous sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum decided to commemorate the event in a grandiose fashion by scuttling a fully loaded bulk carrier into Lake Superior. 

The 708-foot, 11,640-ton S.S. Doc Ames was first loaded with over 15,000 gross tons of freight and explosives in Two Harbors, Minnesota. From there, the ship was towed about 25 miles from shore where it was then strategically anchored so it could be blown to smithereens by the combined effort of the 148th Fighter Wing and the 110th Attack Wing of the Minnesota and Michigan Air National Guard, respectively.

 “Overall, I think this was our best scuttling yet!” said GLSM Executive Director Bruce Lynn. “It took over nine-months to complete, cost over $25 million, and we even needed to get a new national security bill passed through congress, but I’d say it was all worth it!” 

When asked whether the artificial shipwreck would be granted an exhibit at the museum in Paradise, Michigan, Lynn stated that the thought hadn’t crossed his mind and then proceeded to rub his hands together and laugh maniacally. 

Although the ship was fully stocked, much of the cargo was not traditional for a bulk carrier of its size. 

“Yeah, we couldn’t legally buy 7,000 tons of taconite just to dump it in the lake, so we just started throwing whatever we could find into it,” said demolition expert Doug Mullen, “cars, dumpsters, I even think I saw an RV get tossed in there. Then we just packed the rest with Nitroglycerine and called it a day.”  

The total explosion was measured to be equivalent to over 1,800 tons of TNT and could even be felt over 100-miles-away in Hinckley.