Lower Lakes is a viable company with both Canadian & American registered vessels. Most of the vessels are Self Unloaders with a couple of bulkers.
Most of the vessels are old American steam ships converted to motor ships (50 to 60 years old) and some modern vessels by Great Lakes standard that were excess company tonnage or bought from bankrupt companies like Olglebay Norton.
I believe the Captains, Chief's and possibly some of the Officers work a Month On Month Off cycle and the rest of the crew work 2 months on 1 month off. I know people who have been working for them for many years and seem to be happy. If you go to the Great lakes Shipping Site http://www.boatnerd.com
you can find a lot of information on the Great Lakes Companies
With respect to Diesel Duck's reply The Commodore Straits is not owned by Lower Lakes but is operated by Upper lakes Shipping and is used to push a Heavy lift Barge Marinelink Explorer
Troubleshooting 101 "Don't over think it - K.I.S.S. it"