Launched March 31, 1973 for the American Steamship Co, Williamsville, NY; this Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier was built as hull # 200 by the American Ship Building Co., Toledo, OH at an approximate cost of $14 million. Christened as the Roger M. Kyes by Mrs. Roger Kyes at Toledo on July 28, 1973; the vessel’s namesake had been Chairman and CEO of American Steamship Co. from 1969 until his death in 1970. A series of “firsts” accompanied this vessel’s entering service. The Roger M. Kyes was the first new vessel to have been built at the Toledo yard since 1959 as well as the largest vessel built there. The vessel was the first new vessel added to the American Steamship fleet since 1959 and was the first vessel to enter service (though the second launched) for American Steamship Co. under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. This act provided U.S. government guaranteed financing and tax deferred benefits for fleet modernization. The vessel was also one of the first American ships built on the Great Lakes with the bridge and all accommodations aft.