Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Ship Arrives; ATLANTIC HURON Drydocked for Emergency Work

The first vessel of the 2014 season arrived in Erie today at 0300 and docked at the Old Ore Dock. AMERICAN COURAGE, loaded with stone from Marblehead, opened Erie's 2014 shipping season with her arrival. COURAGE's arrival comes one day earlier than the first arrival of the 2013 shipping season, which was opened April 18, 2013 with the arrival of VICTORY/JAMES L. KUBER with stone from Calcite.

AMERICAN COURAGE's unload was stopped for about an hour at 0900 this morning to allow for welding work on the vessel's unloading system. After a long unload, AMERICAN COURAGE finished unloading and departed Erie for Ashtabula, where the vessel is currently loading a coal cargo, at 1400.

A surprise visitor, arriving in ballast from Cleveland at 0630 this morning, was ATLANTIC HURON, arriving for Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair. The vessel arrived off of Erie at around 0400 and waited for The Great Lakes Towing Company's tugs RHODE ISLAND and NEW YORK to arrive before entering the channel through thick ice flows pushed in by high winds over the past few days. ATLANTIC HURON anchored in Presque Isle Bay to pump ballast (the vessel needed to get to around 13'8" forward draft and around 16' aft) before proceeding stern first into the graving dock for rudder repairs.

After anchoring, ATLANTIC HURON's master decided to postpone the drydocking operation due to strong southerly wind gusts, which he reported at the time were sustained at over 20 knots and gusting as high as 30 knots. At that time RHODE ISLAND and NEW YORK proceeded to dock at the West Slip, with NEW YORK mooring outboard of RHODE ISLAND.

After a delay of a little over an hour, the tugs began turning ATLANTIC HURON at 1025 this morning and the vessel began backing into the graving dock, with RHODE ISLAND standing by the port side and NEW YORK on the starboard side to assist if needed.

This is the third ship in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet to undergo work in Erie in the past six months; FRONTENAC was drydocked for survey here last October and CSL LAURENTIEN spent the winter undergoing repairs. There is no word at this time how long ATLANTIC HURON's visit might last.

By 1120 the tugs had been released and departed for their home base in Ashtabula. This is the second time this year that these tugs have worked at Donjon; in January they assisted the KAMINISTIQUA and tug YANKEE into drydock as well as moving barge WITTE 2302 to Dobbin's Landing.

Arriving at the port of Erie yesterday were nine locomotives manufactured by GE for shipment to South America. The units are part of an order of 50 that will be shipped through Erie over the course of the season in five loads of ten locomotives. The first shipment should be departing the port soon. These are the first units to be shipped since a load of several locomotives sent to England aboard BBC COLORADO during December, 2011.

RHODE ISLAND leads ATLANTIC HURON and NEW YORK into Erie harbor at daybreak this morning.

RHODE ISLAND turns to break a large plate of ice.

Backing and ramming.

Canada Steamship Lines' ATLANTIC HURON proceeds inbound.

Another view.

Close up of the 1984-built freighter, which was rebuilt with widened side tanks at Port Weller Drydocks in 2003.

Stern view of the convoy.

ATLANTIC HURON passes the Mountfort Terminal under a waning moon.

The new GE locomotives wait for their ride.

Stern view as ATLANTIC HURON enters the harbor. This is believed to be the vessel's first career visit to Erie.

AMERICAN COURAGE unloads this morning as ATLANTIC HURON passes astern in Erie harbor.

ATLANTIC HURON lets the anchor go.

The anchor falls.

At anchor, taken from Ore Dock Road.

RHODE ISLAND leaves ATLANTIC HURON and races for the West Slip.

NEW YORK follows.

RHODE ISLAND pushes on the port bow of the ATLANTIC HURON to turn the vessel.

Backing into the dock.

A closer view. A few minutes after this photo was taken ATLANTIC HURON would be into the graving dock and the tugs would be released.

The tugs depart.

HODE ISLAND with Great Lakes Towing Fleet Captain Jeff Stabler in the window.

Stern view


Stern view.

CLN 1801.

Rear view.

COURAGE, finished unloading, begins to back away from the Old Ore Dock.

One of the large ice flows in Erie harbor.


AMERICAN COURAGE hits the large ice flows in the channel.

Close up.

Stern view.

AMERICAN COURAGE passes the lighthouse.

Clearing for Ashtabula.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


After spending much of Saturday undergoing repairs to a pump, as well as waiting for approval for said repairs from her classification society, Lloyds, KAMINISTIQUA conducted a fire and boat drill at 1900 on Saturday evening. The drill simulated a galley fire. After dark last night KAMINISTIQUA moved out of the graving dock at Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair and anchored in Presque Isle Bay before getting underway and departing at 0600 bound for Windsor, Ontario.


Saturday, April 12, 2014


KAMINISTIQUA will be departing Erie for Windsor, Ontario at daylight on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


According to USCG 9th District Local Notices to Mariners #14, 2014, published today, repairs to Erie's South Pier will begin Friday and continue through April 25. Tug KATHY LYNN and a barge from Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan will be in Erie to conduct repairs on a section of pier that began buckling last year.

KATHY LYNN departing Erie on June 21, 2009.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ice Update

CSL LAURENTIEN, with escort from NEAH BAY, arrived in Conneaut last Friday to load taconite pellets for U.S. Steel in Nanticoke. The vessel departed today, and with escort from Canadian medium icebreaker DES GROSSEILLIERS, brought onto the lakes from the St. Lawrence River to assist with Icebreaking, is currently arriving in Nanticoke. DES GROSSEILLIERS will then assist ALGOEAST westbound out of Nanticoke.

Yesterday morning a convoy of four vessels, three of them icebound in the Welland Canal since last Friday awaiting a slight thaw before proceeding, got underway with assistance from DES GROSSEILLIERS. ALGOMA ENTERPRISE, ALGOMA EQUINOX, SEA EAGLE II/ST. MARYS CEMENT II, and BAIE COMEAU were westbound off of Erie at 1800 and arrived in the Detroit River around midday today.

Ice continues to be a problem in Lake Superior, where, a week after the opening of the Soo Locks, the only vessel to lock through thus far has been the PIERRE RADISSON, a Canadian icebreaker also brought in from the St. Lawrence River to assist. Several vessels, including EDWIN H. GOTT, which left Erie March 23, remain below Detour awaiting assistance to head upbound. USCGC MACKINAW, assisting CASON J. CALLAWAY and JOHN G. MUNSON, which left Two Harbors, Minnesota on March 26, will probably reach the Soo within the next couple of days and be the first commercial passages when they lock downbound.

It has been many years since ice this bad has been seen on the Great Lakes.

CSL LAURENTIEN beset outside of Conneaut harbor on Friday.

Entering the piers.

NEAH BAY heads up the lake. She was tasked with flood relief in Ashtabula and Fairport Harbor that day.

LAURENTIEN approaches the P&C Slip.


DES GROSEILLIERS leading ALGOMA ENTERPRISE westbound off of Erie late this afternoon.



The sun sets over the convoy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Icebreaking Operations Resume

Icebreaking operations resumed at 0730 this morning. At this time NEAH BAY and CSL LAURENTIEN are about six miles northwest of Presque Isle at this time. The duo has requested CCGS GRIFFON, eastbound off of Ashtabula for Port Colborne, pass within a few miles of them and break open a track that the duo can follow to Conneaut.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


After spending the night in Erie at Dobbin's Landing, USCGC NEAH BAY departed Erie this morning at 0900 to prepare a track for CSL LAURENTIEN.

CSL LAURENTIEN's crew spent the morning going through safety meetings and a fire and boat drill. The vessel finally backed away from the West Slip at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair at 1300 and departed for Conneaut, Ohio, where the ship will load taconite pellets for Quebec City, where they will be shipped overseas. It is entirely possible that LAURENTIEN will be the first downbound transit of the Welland Canal, which opens March 28.

Ice conditions were reported by NEAH BAY to be a "smorgasbord" with open water giving way to high windrows within mere feet. LAURENTIEN got as far as Beach 9 before getting stuck in the ice this afternoon around 1400. After several hours of breaking work by the NEAH BAY, the vessel has pushed a few miles further; the crew spent some time searching for the track made by EDWIN H. GOTT's departure on Sunday but winds over the past few days have filled the track with windrowed ice.

To maintain proper crew rest, NEAH BAY's crew only operates in ice for twelve hours per day and will be stopping for the night at 1930 hours; icebreaking operations will resume after daylight on Thursday.

NEAH BAY outbound Erie at 0900.

Another view.

Stern view of NEAH BAY.

Into the ice.

Work being done by Chivers Construction on the west wall of the West Slip.

LAURENTIEN ballasted to 13' forward and 23' aft.

Backing away from the dock shortly after 1300.

Turning to head outbound.

Coming around the Mountfort Terminal.

LAURENTIEN in line for the channel.

Close up.

Stern view.

Passing the lighthouse.


LAURENTIEN heads into the ice field.

CSL LAURENTIEN beset in the ice as NEAH BAY makes a pass.

Another view of the beset LAURENTIEN.