Friday, December 29, 2006

Lakeshore's New Barge

It appears that Lakeshore Towing has purchased a small new deck barge. Towboats FLATTOP and DON HENRY were docking the barge at Wolverine Marina, operated by Lakeshore, at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday. I'm not sure what the deal is with the barge, but it looks to be almost new, if not brand new.


Today in Erie Shipping History:

December 29, 1997: LOUIS R. DESMARAIS of the Canada Steamship Lines Fleet becomes the last Canadian vessel to winter in Erie, arriving at 1300 hours for the Metro Machine Yard. Metro Machine used to operate the facility now run by Erie Shipbuilding. This would be the second winter in a row that the DESMARAIS had wintered in Erie. The previous winter she had laid up on December 28, with her fleetmates JEAN PARISIEN (now CSL ASSINIBOINE) and MANITOULIN (now scrapped) arriving December 25 and 26, respectively. The DESMARAIS currently sails as CSL LAURENTIEN.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More Layup News

Contrary to popular belief, sources have told me that the RESERVE has three more trips down Lake Michigan and will winter in Sturgeon Bay this season. It had been widely believed that she would be wintering in Erie since her owner KK Integrated Logistics is also a partner in Erie Shipbuilding.

There's a good possibility that the CALLAWAY will be laying up in Erie; she, along with her Great Lakes Fleet fleetmates JOHN G. MUNSON and PHILIP R. CLARKE are all due for their five-year surveys this year.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Next Destinations

ADAM E. CORNELIUS departed Erie around 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve, bound for Superior to load iron ore.

MANISTEE departed Erie at 12:30 Christmas Morning bound for Wharf 12 of the Welland Canal. Wharf 12, the Port Colborne Stone Dock, is where MANISTEE will spend the winter.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

ADAM E. CORNELIUS, MANISTEE, Waterfront Layup Rumors

ADAM E. CORNELIUS arrived in Erie at around 7:00 a.m. today to unload stone from Calcite. Unlike most loads this season, the CORNELIUS unloaded the entire cargo at the Mounfort Terminal. Apparently the grade of stone that the CORNELIUS unloaded was a large, lower grade, because unloading went very slowly.

The CORNELIUS was still unloading when the MANISTEE, with stone from Bruce Mines, arrived at 3:00 p.m. Problem was that the MANISTEE, formerly Erie Sand Steamship's RICHARD REISS, was also bound for the Mounfort Terminal. So after turning in the harbor, the MANISTEE simply held off the dock, moving forward and backward slowly while waiting for the CORNELIUS to clear. The CORNELIUS departed around 5:30.

My dad and I ran into local boatwatcher Jim Michael and his son on the pier. Jim is also captain of the local dinner cruiser VICTORIAN PRINCESS. Jim mentioned that he's heard a rumor that both the integrated tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE and Steamer CASON J. CALLAWAY, which both spent last winter laid up in Erie, may be returning this winter. If this is true, this will be the third time in the past four years that the PRESQUE ISLE, the majority of which was built in Erie (only the bow of the barge and the tug were not built in Erie) has spent the winter here. I'll do some digging and see if I can find out if this is true or not.





For more photos from today, visit my Webshots album.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


The former Erie-based 1943 bulker MANISTEE, which used to be the RICHARD REISS of the now-defunct Erie Sand & Steamship Company, is due in Erie tomorrow hot on the heels of the CORNELIUS, at 10:45 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

This will be the second two-vessel day for Erie this season; the first was May 11, when the MISSISSAGI and RESERVE visited on the same day. The MISSISSAGI unloaded sand and the RESERVE unloaded stone.


ADAM E. CORNELIUS will be the last stone load of the season for Erie, arriving at 0630 on Christmas Eve with stone from Calcite.

CSL NIAGARA is due to layup after unloading in Toledo tonight. The possibility remains that she may layup in Erie.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shipping season winds down

The SAM LAUD departed Erie at 0500 on Wednesday bound for Conneaut to load coal for Alpena, Michigan. After unloading she'll make the quick trip over to Calcite for her last stone cargo of the season, arriving around 1100 Friday.

The next day the tug UNDAUNTED/PERE MARQUETTE 41 are due to load the final cargo of stone that Calcite will ship in 2006.

Cedarville's dock has been closed since the 10th of December, and with Calcite's last load looming, it's safe to say that Erie's season is almost finished, as well. We may have one more load of stone coming from the few vessels loading in Calcite between now and Saturday, and perhaps one more salt load, but other than vessels laying up at Erie Shipbuilding, the port is almost completely done for the year.

I will continue to update with information on winter layups as I receive the information.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


SAM LAUD, with stone from Calcite, is due in Erie at 2100 tonight. She'll likely be gone before daybreak.

I may have some insight into some aspects of Erie Shipbuilding's operations soon.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quiet Harbor; fishing boat VICTORY high and dry at Erie Shipbuilding

Erie's harborfront was quiet this afternoon, the only change being that the charter fishing boat VICTORY was lifted out of the water last week at Erie Shipbuilding and placed on concrete blocks on the facility's western pier. I'm not sure what this is for; I'll do some digging and see what I can find out.

Thursday, December 7, 2006


AMERICAN MARINER arrived at Erie around 10:15 this morning with stone from Calcite. I'm sure arriving in the snowstorm that she did made work fun for her crew today. The MARINER backed into the Old Ore Dock to unload. I'm guessing that her cargo was going further up the dock than normal, or they likely would have pulled in, as most vessels do.

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If anyone who reads this works at Erie Shipbuilding, or knows someone who does, I'd appreciate it if they'd email me at

Wednesday, December 6, 2006


American Steamship Company's AMERICAN MARINER makes her first visit of 2006 to Erie on Thursday, arriving at approximately 10:30 a.m. with stone from Calcite, Michigan for Erie Sand & Gravel.

I noticed that the drydock at Erie Shipbuilding had the gate closed and it was being pumped out this afternoon. I'm not sure what for, but if I had to guess I'd say something is due in that they need to reset the blocks for. Might be the OLIVE L. MOORE/LEWIS J. KUBER duo if there was any damage from a grounding the pair experienced early this morning in the Saginaw River.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Harborfront quiet

Erie's harborfront remains quiet as of this time, with no vessels on the schedule as of now. I will update when I know of any due.

Waterfront rumors are that vessels will be starting to lay-up, at least in the American Steamship Company fleet, sometime around the 15th of December. This is a fairly early date for ships to be laying up, and I'll keep everyone posted if I find out that any of them are headed for Erie Shipbuilding for the winter.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Some Statistics

More than 3/4 through Erie's 2006 season, an analysis of the statistics of 2006 have provided an interesting contrast to 2005. The season has shown a much more diverse group of ships unloading or loading more cargoes in the port of Erie.

Unlike in 2005, when it made more than 40% of the deliveries to Erie, with 19, the ADAM E. CORNELIUS has made only three calls to the port, accounting for approximately 7% of the cargoes delivered to Erie. Counting only stone loads, the CORNELIUS made more than 50% of the deliveries in 2005, and in 2006 has accounted for only 8%.

In fact, the year's leading caller, AMERICAN COURAGE, made no visits in 2005. To date in 2006, the COURAGE's 7 stone cargoes have accounted for 18% of all stone cargoes and 17% of all total cargoes handled by the port of Erie. Six of these visits have come as AMERICAN COURAGE, with one coming as FRED R. WHITE JR. before her sale from Oglebay Norton Marine Services to the Liberty Steamship Company.

Although American Steamship Company handled more than 60% of the total cargoes shipped through Erie in 2005, the group of visitors has been much more diverse this year. Although American Steamship and subsidiary Liberty Steamship have accounted for only 14 calls. Of note is that one of there vessels, the CORNELIUS, made more calls by itself to Erie in 2005 than the entire ASC fleet has made in 2006.
Traffic is up compared to 2005. In 2005, as of today, 35 deliveries had been made to Erie, as compared with 45 this year, a 29% increase. For all of 2005, 39 cargoes were handled by the port, indicating that Erie, vessel-wise, has had a much better season in 2006.

The list of ships calling on Erie in 2005 that have not yet visited in 2006 is a very short but diverse list, including CALUMET, COURNEY BURTON (now AMERICAN FORTITUDE), CAPT. HENRY JACKMAN, and JOHN J. BOLAND. Vessels visiting in 2006 that did not in 2005 are RESERVE, WOLVERINE, DAVID Z. NORTON, EARL W. OGLEBAY, AMERICAN VALOR, ALGOMARINE, ALGOWAY, AGAWA CANYON, ALGORAIL, and JOSEPH H. THOMPSON.

And for today's THOMPSON update: After unloading stone in Fairport, the duo loaded salt at Detroit and is now bound for Duluth, Minnesota.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Short Update

Today's short update: The ADAM E. CORNELIUS departed Erie at about 9:00 p.m. last night bound for Superior, Wisonsin's Burlington Northern Santa Fe Dock #5 to load iron ore.

Monday, November 27, 2006

CORNELIUS visits; More info on tug VICTORY

ADAM E. CORNELIUS arrived in Erie at around 2:00 this afternoon with stone from Calcite. She docked at the Mounfort International Terminal to unload some of her cargo before moving to the Old Ore Dock.


More information is coming out on the tug VICTORY. According to rumors she'll push the LEWIS J. KUBER next season and then push the RESERVE when she's converted to a barge the following season. I don't know what this leaves in store for the OLIVE L. MOORE for next year, but I'm guessing in 2008 she'll be mated back up with the KUBER. Perhaps she'll spend next year undergoing modifications in Erie. We'll see.

Today's THOMPSON/THOMPSON JR update: the pair is due in Stoneport on Tuesday to load.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


American Steamship's ADAM E. CORNELIUS, with a cargo of stone from Calcite, is due in Erie at 1345 on Monday, 27 November.

Local charter fishing boat VICTORY is at the West Slip of Erie Shipbuilding for some type of light repairs. I'm unsure at this time what those repairs are; if I find out I'll post them.

VICTORY at Erie Shipbuilding

Thanks to Dennis at Erie Blogs for the two mentions of this blog.

And for today's JOSEPH H. THOMPSON/THOMPSON JR. update: the pair is arriving in Fairport Harbor, Ohio as I write this with a cargo of stone from Stoneport. After unloading she returns to Stoneport on Tuesday for another cargo.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Construction on Erie Shipbuilding rail siding to begin soon

Soon construction will begin on a $700,000 rail siding from the CSX Siding along the Bayfront Highway into Erie Shipbuilding. The at-grade crossing will allow Erie Shipbuilding to receive rail shipments of steel that they'll be needing for the new articulated tug/barge unit the company will begin building in early 2007 for their sister company, VanEnkevort Tug & Barge. Both VETB and ESB are owned by Dirk VanEnkevort.

The siding will cut approximately 240 truck trips per year from the Bayfront Parkway, and will allow the shipyard to reduce congestion on the Bayfront, as the rail crossings will take place at night and during weekends, and other off-peak traffic times. The CSX siding connects to the CSX Bayfront Trackage, which runs along the Bayfront Connector and connects to the CSX and NS railroad tracks that run east/west through Erie.

In today's JOSEPH H. THOMPSON/THOMPSON JR. update, the pair arrived in Stoneport at around 0300 this morning.

Erie Shipbuilding's website is now up and running. In addition to company information it includes some awesome photo galleries of their projects, especially the THOMPSON JR. So far, this is a list of the yard's projects, in chronillogical order:

-The BUCKEYE conversion into the barge LEWIS J. KUBER
-The THOMPSON JR. repowering
-The THOMPSON barge's five year survey
-The local sand dredge J.S.St. JOHN's five year survey

The St. John concluded her season on November 13 and is now in lay-up at the Old Ore Dock. She'll be back out in April.

Friday, November 24, 2006


AMERICAN COURAGE arrived in Erie at around 0930 today in a very dense fog, heading for the Mounfort Terminal. The vessel unloaded there for about four hours before shifting to the Old Ore Dock to finish her unload before departing around 1630.




In the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON/THOMPSON JR. update, the duo is on its way to Stoneport, due there early on Saturday 25 November to load stone.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Vessels Due

AMERICAN COURAGE, with stone from Calcite, is due in Erie at 0945 on Friday, 24 November 2006. This will be the COURAGE's 7th visit to Erie this year. Six of them have come as the COURAGE, with one coming as the FRED R. WHITE JR. And five of those visits have come since the 23rd of September.

Monday, November 20, 2006

THOMPSON/JR. leaves, then returns; Tug VICTORY to Lakes, Erie Shipbuilding Update

At 0200 on the 11th of November the tug JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR., pushing the barge JOSEPH H. THOMPSON, departed Erie after spending all season undergoing an engine and propulsion system replacement. The THOMPSON had previously been powered by four used GE locomotive engines, and is now powered by two MAK 6 M 32 C heavy-oil engines.

After departing, the THOMPSON/THOMPSON JR. arrived in Marblehead, Ohio at around 10:00 a.m. that day to load stone for Marine City, Michigan. On Monday the duo arrived at Stoneport, Michigan to load a cargo of stone, and departed for Erie, where they arrived to unload at around 10:00 a.m. on the 15th. After that, it was to Detroit Harrison Marine to load salt for Duluth, arriving Duluth late on the 19th, and then the quick trip over to Superior Burlington Northern Dock 5 to load taconite pellets for Lorain, and then returning to Stoneport to load stone. I will continue to follow her short season closely and hopefully can provide for my readers an entire logbook of her season.

Arriving in Escanaba on the 19th was the former Penn Maritime tug VICTORY, now owned by Reserve Holdings LLC. What I am told is that after undergoing some modification work she'll probably be used to push the RESERVE. So much for K&K/VanEnkevort's plan to build new tugs to push three of the steamers they plan on converting to barges, I guess. They had planned on building four tugs and one new barge at Erie Shipbuilding, and using an existing tug (OLIVE L. MOORE) to push only one of the barges, the KUBER. I guess they must have sat down and decided it was cheaper to buy and modify existing tugs than to build new ones. I understand how that goes. I just wish they'd modify the tugs here in Erie; they added the raised pilothouse to the MOORE in Escanaba and they're modifying the VICTORY there too.

I've heard from Erie Shipbuilding employees that they expect a yard overflowing with work this winter, especially after the shutdown of Port Weller Drydocks. No one yet can tell me what ships exactly they're expecting, but I'm about 99% certain the RESERVE is due for her five year survey and possible barge conversion. I'll keep you posted.