Three ships calling Port of Milwaukee home during winter season

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Just one ship was scheduled to spend the winter at the Port of Milwaukee, but with a frigid start to the season along the Great Lakes, two other vessels will also be making it their home.

Workers at Midwest Maritime began the process of tying up the Indiana Harbor on Friday, January 17th. The crew will now have three times the work they initially expected.

"We're here because of the fact we had so much ice, we inherited two more ships. Milwaukee is a user-friendly spot to get into. We don't have to transit a lot of rivers and lakes and whatnot," said Tom Balistreri, owner of Midwest Maritime.

Balistreri says having two additional ships for the winter will bring the city extra money.

"A lot of different suppliers, vendors, repair facilities, machine shops -- they all flourish when these guys come in," Balistreri explained.

The rough winter weather conditions are making it harder on workers who say as large as they are, strong gusts of wind will move the ships if they aren't properly secured.

"We'll secure the anchor chains to the beach and everything so if we do get any weather, this boat ain't gonna leave," said Tim Koss.

After the ships are tied down, workers will being maintenance. Everything must be completed by March 24th, when the Soo Locks open on the Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes shipping season gets into full swing.