Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Times-News article about Erie Shipbuilding

The Erie Times-News contains an article on Erie Shipbuilding today and breaks the story I had reported on January 8 about the new scow the company is building. The article states that the same company is interested in building six $1 million deck barges, and is working on getting the financing to begin construction on an 840 foot sister tug/barge to the JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER.

Friday, January 26, 2007


After spending 23 days in drydock for work on the tug's propellers, tug JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT and barge GREAT LAKES TRADER departed Erie Shipbuilding at 10:00 a.m. Friday bound for Escanaba, Michigan. The duo will run ore down Lake Michigan to steel mills until the Escanaba ore dock closes.

The pair encountered rather thick ice on the bay due to Erie's recent cold spell, with temperatures that have dipped into the single digits of late.







Thursday, January 25, 2007

Erie Historical Arrivals: The Opening of Iron Ore Season, 1958

I came across an old Erie Times press clipping from May 21, 1958 the other day and thought the contents of the arrival list might be of interest to readers. The short article pointed out that this was the latest opening date on record for Erie's Ore Dock, with the first vessel, the WILLIAM A. REISS, arriving that day with 13,900 tons of iron ore. The article pointed out that the next day the SPARROWS POINT was due to arrive with 18,000 tons of ore.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sand money could mean good news for port of Erie; Miscellaneous News

An article in today's Erie Times-News reports that Phil English's office is working to ensure that federal money will be available to ensure that Presque Isle State Park receives its full federal funding of about $620,000 for sand replenishment from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The park has about 16,000 tons of sand stockpiled at the North Pier that was delivered on October 22 by Lower Lakes Towing's CUYAHOGA. Lower Lakes Towing uses their fleet of self unloaders to deliver the sand from Thessalon, Ontario, so the availability of federal funding should ensure that more of their ships visit Erie in 2007.

This blog is also featured in the Erie Times-News today. Thanks Kara for the article.

And thanks to Dennis at Erie Blogs for the mention of the article as well.

I suppose this is a good time to again mention that I'm interested in hearing from anyone who may have photos of vessels in Erie, anyone from Erie who may have sailed on the Great Lakes, or anyone who may have worked at any of the docks along Erie's waterfront or has relatives that may have done so. I'm interested in any historical information they can provide about Erie's commercial shipping history.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Erie Historical Arrivals: CANADOC, 1954

While searching the internet today I came across a summary of an old 1954 logbook of the long-retired Steamer CANADOC, operated by N.M. Patterson & Sons Ltd. of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

During 1954, the CANADOC made two visits to the port of Erie. The first one was on April 25, arriving in ballast from Hamilton, Ontario to load 6,847 tons of coal for Little Current, Ontario.

The second one was on June 21, when she arrived from Fort William, Ontario, with a load of 2,808 cords of pulpwood consigned to Hammermill Paper.

I suppose this is a good time to mention that I'm interested in hearing from anyone who may have photos of vessels in Erie, anyone from Erie who may have sailed on the Great Lakes, or anyone who may have worked at any of the docks along Erie's waterfront or has relatives that may have done so. I'm interested in any historical information they can provide about Erie's commercial shipping history.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Layup Fleet Arrives

Erie's winter layup fleet is now complete with the arrival of the PHILIP R. CLARKE last night. The CLARKE is now backed in at the Old Ore Dock in almost the same position that her fleetmate, CASON J. CALLAWAY, spent the winter last year. The CLARKE will go into drydock when the GREAT LAKES TRADER is removed.



Monday, January 15, 2007


PRESQUE ISLE arrived in Erie sometime before dawn on Monday, docking at the Mounfort Terminal for winter layup. At around 4:30 Monday afternoon, the PHILIP R. CLARKE, having spent the day cleaning out her holds while her crew performed some general maintenance before arriving at Erie Shipbuilding for the winter.




Sunday, January 14, 2007


PRESQUE ISLE still has not arrived at Erie. I'm not sure what the holdup is or where she's at.

PHILIP R. CLARKE is due in Conneaut around 1900 tonight, and should be in Erie at Erie Shipbuilding shortly after daybreak tomorrow.

Friday, January 12, 2007


As of 4:15 this afternoon the PRESQUE ISLE was unloading taconite pellets in Conneaut and due into Erie sometime this evening. I honestly doubt, though, that she'll get into Erie before daybreak on Saturday.

The PHILIP R. CLARKE is due in Conneaut at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and is due in Erie on Monday morning at Erie Shipbuilding.

Historical: Erie Layup, 1966-67

I figured with the shipping season winding down, I'd present some historical tidbits about Erie that I've found while researching lately. Presented below is a layup listing from the 1966-67 winter, 40 years ago.

E.A.S. Clarke*
Harry Croft*
Henry G. Dalton
Harry L. Glucksman***
C.H. McCullough Jr.
North American*
Colonel James Pickands
Powell Stackhouse**
Leonard C. Hanna**
Joseph S. Scobell

*- Long term
**- Sold for scrapping and will leave in spring of 1967
***- Undergoing reconstruction
Source: Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Thursday, January 11, 2007


PRESQUE ISLE is due in Conneaut at 0530 Friday morning and is due in Erie sometime Saturday morning for layup at the Mounfort Terminal.

After a three day loading of taconite chips in Two Harbors, Minnesota, the PHILIP R. CLARKE finally got underway at 4:30 this afternoon bound for Conneaut. She's expected there sometime on Sunday morning before laying up at Erie Shipbuilding.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


PRESQUE ISLE is now due in Conneaut on Friday at 0600, and Saturday in Erie at 0200. Hopefully she'll be delayed a couple of hours, or wait until daylight to enter. PHILIP R. CLARKE is due out of Two Harbors (she's taking a long load because she's loading taconite chips, which are generally a hard cargo to handle) sometime early Thursday morning and should arrive in Conneaut early Sunday morning, which may put her here during daylight Sunday, or if not, probably around daybreak on Monday.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Integrated tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE arrives Conneaut, Ohio on Friday, January 12 at 8:00 a.m. After unloading they will clean up while underway in Lake Erie before arriving at Erie at 7:00 a.m. Saturday to layup at the Mountfort Terminal.

Monday, January 8, 2007


A higher source at Erie Shipbuilding tells me that the JAMES R. BARKER won't be laying up here; however, the PHILIP R. CLARKE is due in Erie at the end of the week for its five year survey.

Additionally, the JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT and her barge are here for minor steel work, and so that the tug can have its propellers pulled for repair. The props were damaged in an early season mishap in the Saginaw River, which is the result of shoaling along with low water levels.

Construction at the yard will be beginning very soon on a 244-foot hopper scow barge for a New Jersey-based company. The work is expected to be completed by the middle of summer and the contract apparently includes an option for a second scow.

Governor Ed Rendell today announced that, as part of $1.5 million grant package to the Erie region, Erie Shipbuilding is being awarded $702,250 to train workers and purchase equipment as part of its $6.4 million expansion program that will modernize its shipyard, including a first-of-its-kind robotic welding system.

More Layup News and Rumors

The tug/barge unit JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER was moved into drydock at 0700 on the 3rd for unspecified repairs.

CASON J. CALLAWAY, which had been rumored to be wintering in Erie this year, is now headed for Fraser Shipyard in Superior, Wisconsin for the winter.

However, 1973 Erie-built integrated tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE is, as of this writing, loading taconite pellets in Two Harbors, Minnesota for the port of Conneaut, Ohio, right across the state line. After that she's supposed to be heading for Erie's Mounfort Terminal, probably sometime Friday morning, for layup. This will be the third winter in the past four years that the vessel has spent in Erie.

Due for its five year survey this year, and rumored, according to an Erie Shipbuilding employee, to be spending the winter here, is another of the thirteen thousand footers in operation on the Great Lakes, Interlake Steamship's JAMES R. BARKER. The BARKER has wintered here several times in the past, notably the winters of 1991, 1992, 1999, and 2000. She's due in Duluth on Friday to load 53,000 tons of taconite pellets for Nanticoke, Ontario, right across Lake Erie from Erie. For her survey she will need to be drydocked, and only two shipyards on the Great Lakes--Erie Shipbuilding and Bay Shipbuilding (Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) can accomodate 1000 foot vessels.

PRESQUE ISLE is shown while arriving Erie for winter layup on January 10, 2006.

JAMES R. BARKER is shown while arriving Erie for winter layup on January 8, 1994. Jim Thoreson photo.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


VanEnkevort Tug & Barge's tug/barge duo JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER unloaded stone from Stoneport, Michigan in Fairport Harbor, Ohio today. After unloading the pair sailed for Erie Shipbuilding, arriving in Erie at 8:00 p.m. today and tying up at the West Slip for winter layup.

In the morning the VANENKEVORT will back the barge out of the West Slip and move it into the Erie Shipbuilding drydock for repairs.

JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER arriving at Fairport, Ohio, 9 October 2006.