Local freighter captain, Joseph Ruch, has been elected Grand President of the International Ship Masters Grand Lodge during the national convention that was recently held in Port Huron. Ruch is a retired Master at the Interlake Steamship Company where he captained the Honorable James L. Oberstar freighter. Captain Ruch said, As Grand President of the International Ship Master’s Association, for the ensuing year, he has been entrusted with the governance and sustainability of the historic association. He said he plans to “establish and maintain communication with regulatory bodies to help ensure the safety of navigation on and the protection of our Great Lakes.” He also said he, “will endeavor to support the education and training of Mariners young and old, through scholarship and mentoring, so that they may continue to appreciate the splendor of the Great Lakes, our home.” The Ship Masters held this year’s convention at the Blue Water Convention Center where the group celebrated 130 years of guiding lake freighters safely through the lakes with an Oktoberfest theme and entertainment from the Blue Water Kings Band. The International Ship Masters Association gives out scholarships to maritime industry cadets and also advises both American and Canadian legislative and regulatory agencies regarding maritime navigation, infrastructure, and safety issues.