Wednesday, September 26, 2007


After 34 years without building any ships, shipbuilding returned triumphantly to Erie at noon today with the christening of the 245-foot long dump scow WITTE 4003 and the 166-foot long deck barge SUE B. A christening ceremony began at noon today featuring speakers from Erie Shipbuilding, the Erie Western-Pennsylvania Port Authority and Donjon Marine, owner of the new barges. The WITTE 4003 and SUE B. were sponsored by Kathryn Raimy and Sue Bornt, respectively.

Erie Shipbuilding CEO Ned Smith and Chairman Allan Stevens both thanked Donjon for coming to the company in January and having faith in them as they started to build their reputation. Donjon President Paul Witte noted that like Erie Shipbuilding, his company had been a startup in 1964, when his father founded the company with a 300-horsepower tug, a 90'x30' barge and a small crane. "His office was a station wagon. Fortunately he had seven children so labor was cheap" Witte told the audience.

Lunch, New Orleans-style, was served in the south end of Erie Shipbuilding's fabrication shop when the ceremony concluded.

The drydock, in the process of being flooded on Wednesday, will be flooded completely after some tests are run on the barges, and then the barges will emerge from drydock. Tugs from Donjon Marine are expected during the first part of October to take the two barges to their new home in New Jersey. The remaining deck barges are currently under construction.

Erie Shipbuilding CEO Ned Smith makes his opening remarks, and introduces Ray Shreckengost, Chairman of the Port Authority.

Mr. Shreckengost addresses the crowd.

Mr. Smith introduces ESB Chairman Allan Stevens, the next speaker.

Mr. Stevens addresses the crowd.

Donjon President Paul Witte addresses the crowd.

Mr. Smith watches as Mr. Witte's remarks continue.

Monsignor Tom Snyderwine blesses the WITTE 4003 and SUE B.

Erie Shipbuilding CEO Ned Smith introduces Kathryn Raimy, sponsor of the WITTE 4003. In a moment she would release a line to allow the champagne bottle to break against the hull of the WITTE 4003. A bad omen to superstitious mariners, the bottle didn't break.

The champagne bottle for the SUE B. hangs suspended above the drydock.

Sue Bornt, sponsor and namesake of deck barge SUE B, approaches the platform to release the champagne bottle.

This one broke.

The unbroken champagne bottle hangs suspended against the WITTE 4003.

Erie Shipbuilding's General Manager and Ms. Raimy aboard the WITTE 4003 in a second attempt to break the champagne bottle.

It broke this time.

An elated Ms. Raimy turns to the crowd.

Freshly painted bow of the WITTE 4003.

Erie Shipbuilding Hull 101.

Work on flooding the drydock began when first shift arrived at the yard on Wednesday morning.

Water rushes into the drydock.

Another view of the WITTE 4003.

A close up view of the control room on the barge.

Deck barge SUE B.

Lunch was served, New Orleans-style, after the christening in the Fabrication Shop.


Stern view of the WITTE 4003.

WITTE 4003 and the SUE B.

The second deck barge is well on its way to completion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


The tug W.N. TWOLAN and McALLISTER 132 finally arrived back in Thunder Bay, Ontario on Tuesday. They will be reloading for Erie.

Charter fishing boat EDWARD JOHN suffers breakdown; returned to dock by Lakeshore Towing

While attempting to return to port this afternoon after the morning fishing expedition, charter fishing boat EDWARD JOHN suffered a mechanical breakdown, necessitating a tow from Lakeshore Towing's towboat DON HENRY. The tow passed through the channel at 1545 hours this afternoon and proceeded into the harbor, where DON HENRY turned EDWARD JOHN, taking her "on the hip," or alongside into the East Canal Basin, securing the EDWARD JOHN alongside the dock by 1615.

Lakeshore Towing is a multipurpose marine services company that performs a great deal of work around Erie harbor. In addition to tows such as this they do diving, marine contracting, salvage work, and run Wolverine Marina and the Presque Isle Fuel Dock. The company also is used by Erie Shipbuilding to move vessels around the yard. More information can be found on their website.

DON HENRY moves EDWARD JOHN into the East Canal Basin and toward dock.

Close up of DON HENRY.

Backing toward the dock.

DON HENRY on the hip.

Workers from Lakeshore Towing and the crew of the EDWARD JOHN work to secure the vessel as DON HENRY backs away.

Another job well done, DON HENRY departs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


12 News is reporting tonight that Erie Shipbuilding Hull 101 was completed today. WITTE 4003 will be launched next Wednesday and tugged through the St. Lawrence Seaway to its new home in Hillside, New Jersey. Owner of the scow is Donjon Marine, who already have two similar scows named WITTE 4001 and WITTE 4002. Donjon owns eight tugs, four dredges, two dump scows, 12 hopper scows, three deck barges (in addition to six on order at Erie Shipbuilding) and several other vessels. For more information on the story, click here.


Carrying 16,000 tons of long-awaited sand for beach replenishment from Thessalon, Ontario, the CUYAHOGA arrived in port at 1100 today, turned in the bay and proceeded through the channel to dock at the North Pier to unload. By 1625 this afternoon the sand was unloaded and CUYAHOGA was outbound for Toledo to load corn.

The pretty, 1943-built CUYAHOGA made its first visit to Erie since October 22, 2006, when she also unloaded sand at the North Pier.

Equipment to move the sand arrived as the CUYAHOGA did.

CUYAHOGA inbound.

Passing the lighthouse.

Close up.

CUYAHOGA is a near-sister to the MANISTEE and MISSISSAGI.

"Don't give up the ship" has been the owner's motto since the company inception in 1995.

Boaters take pictures of the CUYAHOGA.

Crew members on deck.

Stern view.

Into the bay.

Turning in Erie harbor.

Another view.

Passing the Mountfort Terminal bound for the North Pier.

Another view.

BIG TONY attempts to go between the North Pier and the CUYAHOGA.

Approaching the pier.

Raising the boom.

Coming alongside.

Turning to land a crewman on the pier.

Moving the boom out.

At dock.

Starting to unload.