Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking back at 2007, Part 2 of 3: 10 Most Noteworthy Stories of 2007

A great number of newsworthy events occured in 2007. Here are the ten most noteworthy.

1. Erie Shipbuilding launches first newbuildings: Erie Shipbuilding launched the first vessels to come out of the shipyard in 34 years late this year with the float launchings of the dump scow WITTE 4003 and deck barges PAV 101, PAV 102, PAV 103, WITTE 1401, and SUE B.

2. Biodiesel shipped from the port: The CLIPPER TOBAGO departed Erie early on the 20th of December with the first load of biodiesel to ever be shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway system. This cargo was many hours in the planning, with talented individuals from O-N Minerals, Lakeshore Towing, Logistics Plus, Erie Management Group, Lake Erie Biofuels, and CSX involved in the successful completion of this load.

3. Dredging begins on the Old Ore Dock: After years of shoaling occuring in the Old Ore Dock slip, Lakeshore Towing began dredging the slip in December. This will allow ships to load more cargo and deliver it to the Old Ore Dock in 2008 and beyond.

4. Season sees variety of ships: Unlike prior years, no one vessel made the vast majority of visits to the port of Erie in 2007. This year, 22 vessels delivered cargo to the port of Erie, and one loaded cargo.

5. Mountfort Terminal handles project cargo: The Mountfort Terminal handled one project cargo load this year, which arrived November 26 on board the DAVIKEN coming from Antwerp, Belgium.

6. Development of new cargoes for the port: 2007 saw three new commodities handled by the port of Erie. The three cargoes, railroad ballast, biodiesel, and paper products, should continue to be shipped through the port in the coming year and beyond.

7. Erie's rebirth as port for layups: Due to the combined talents of employees of Great Lakes Electrical Services, Lakeshore Towing, Erie Shipbuilding and O-N Minerals, Erie for the second straight winter hosted at least two vessels for winter layup. The PRESQUE ISLE and PHILIP R. CLARKE spent the winter of 2006-07 in the port of Erie.

8. Erie Shipbuilding drydocks JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT: Erie Shipbuilding drydocked one vessel in 2007. The JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT and barge GREAT LAKES TRADER spent three weeks in drydock for repairs in January.

9. PRESQUE ISLE, THOMPSON Stop for repairs: PRESQUE ISLE spent more than two days in mid-August in Erie for repairs to the port shaft seal. In April, the JOSEPH H. THOMPSON spent three days at Erie Shipbuilding undergoing engine repairs.

10. PILGRIM's plight: After sinking in the East Canal Basin in early February, the PILGRIM is not raised from the bottom until mid-April. The vessel does not move for the entire season and late in December is taken for scrap.

Coming Tuesday: A look forward to 2008

Happy New Year to all of my readers!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Looking back at 2007, Part 1 of 3: Season in Review

Aided by new commodities handled by the port in 2007, Erie saw 52 vessels in port, up four from 48 in 2006. The season, as in 2006, saw a great variety of vessels delivering cargo to the port.

Compared to 2006, two of the three major cargoes handled by the port (stone, salt and sand) saw an increase in the number of cargoes handled. Forty-three (43) stone cargoes were delivered to the port in 2007, compared to 41 in 2006. Three salt loads in 2007 was an increase from two in 2006. Due to the lack of federal funding provided for beach replenishment in 2007, only two cargoes of sand were delivered to the port, compared to three in 2006.

Overall, the port of Erie in 2007 handled 43 loads of stone, 3 loads of salt, 2 loads each of sand and paper products, one load of project cargo, and additionally shipped one load of biodiesel. More on that shipment tomorrow.

Calcite, Michigan once again led all Great Lakes ports in the number of cargoes shipped to Erie in 2007. Eighteen of the 43 loads of stone shipped to the port of Erie originated in Calcite, compared to 27 in 2006. Cedarville, Michigan followed with 14 cargoes of stone (7 in 2006), followed by Bruce Mines, Ontario with 7.5. Fairport, Ohio shipped three loads of salt to Erie. Thessalon, Ontario shipped two loads of sand and a half-cargo of stone. Stoneport and Port Inland, Michigan also contributed stone cargoes, with two and one shipped to the port, respectively. One load of project cargo, shipped to the port aboard the DAVIKEN, originated in Antwerp, Belgium, and two loads of paper and lumber products originated in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

For individual vessels, AMERICAN COURAGE, the 2006 leading visitor with seven visits, tied with JOHN J. BOLAND (no visits in 2006) with seven visits. Following them was the ADAM E. CORNELIUS with four (four in 2006, down from 19 in 2005), and the H. LEE WHITE and RESERVE tied with three each. Numerous other vessels visited the port at least one time in 2007.

Coming Monday: A look back at the most noteworthy harborfront happenings of 2007.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

DAVID Z. in port

DAVID Z. arrived in port with stone from Calcite at 1030 this morning, docking at the Mountfort Terminal and unloading for a short time before shifting to the Old Ore Dock to unload. The DAVID Z. departed at 1915 Wednesday evening.

Dredging work, after a break for the Christmas holiday, continues at the Old Ore Dock.

DAVID Z. inbound.

Passing Erie Pierhead Light.


Passing Lakeshore Towing's FLATTOP and DON HENRY.

Close up.

Stern view.

Backing down as the vessel approaches the dock.

Approaching the dock.


Manouvering into the dock.

FLATTOP is on the stern as DON HENRY moves barge 501 from the South Pier.

Turning to head back to the Old Ore Dock.


DON HENRY pulls on 501.

Barge 501 and tug FLATTOP.

Stern view.

DAVID Z. shifts docks at 1345 hours.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY return with the empty 501 shortly after the DAVID Z. docks.

Moving the barge to dock.

DAVID Z. unloads as dredging begins again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


DAVID Z., with stone from Meldrum Bay, Ontario, is scheduled to arrive in Erie at 0715 hours tomorrow and will dock at the Mountfort Terminal.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Lakeshore Towing pulls two barges from shipyard; PILGRIM bound for the cutter's torch

This morning at 1000 hours Lakeshore Towing crews, with tug FLATTOP and towboat DON HENRY, took a break from dredging the Old Ore Dock and proceeded into the drydock at Erie Shipbuilding. By 1030 the duo emerged with FLATTOP pulling and DON HENRY on the stern of the fourth of six deck barges built by the shipyard, the WITTE 1401. The barge is owned by Donjon Marine.

Lakeshore Towing crews pulled the barge to the far southern end of the West Slip, mooring it at alongside the pier with help from Erie Shipbuilding crews, then departed for the drydock. At 1130 hours FLATTOP and DON HENRY pulled deck barge SUE B. out of the drydock, mooring it alongside the WITTE 1401. The SUE B. was christened in September, however, it became the fifth of the six deck barges to emerge from the shipyard.

The final deck barge is the WITTE 1402, which will likely be completed soon.

At 0930 hours today, fishing tug BIG TONY took PILGRIM, the former fishing tug that sank under the weight of snow and ice last February, in tow from the East Canal Basin bound for Perry's Landing Marina. The PILGRIM reportedly will be lifted from the water and scrapped. A sad ending to yet another link to Erie's commercial fishing past.

Lakeshore Towing's new barge 401 took its first load of dredged material from the dredging site at the Old Ore Dock this afternoon.

Click here to view a short video clip of the first tow.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY pull WITTE 1401 from drydock.

Turning the barge and lining up for the West Slip.

Close up.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY pull the barge into the West Slip.


WITTE 1401. Lakeshore Towing owner Eric Guerrein is standing on the bow directing the tow.

WITTE 1401.

DON HENRY on the stern.

Bringing the barge to a stop.

FLATTOP waits while the crew on the barge releases the tow line.

FLATTOP comes around to push the barge alongside the pier.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY push the barge alongside the pier.

Securing the barge.

FLATTOP departs for the drydock to tow SUE B.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY pull SUE B. from drydock.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY pulling on the barge.

Aligning the barge for the West Slip.

Into the West Slip.


Another view.

Bringing the barge alongside WITTE 1401.

FLATTOP comes around to push again.


Rafting the barges together.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY push the barge alongside the pier.

BIG TONY takes PILGRIM under tow.

PILGRIM at Perry's Landing Marina.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

TOBAGO Update; Dredging Continues; Erie Shipbuilding filling the drydock

CLIPPER TOBAGO is clear of the Welland Canal and eastbound across Lake Ontario at this time.

Lakeshore Towing continues dredging; their new barge 401 should be working on the project by tomorrow.

Erie Shipbuilding is working on flooding the drydock at this time; I believe a new deck barge will be emerging from the drydock tomorrow.

Work is beginning on cleaning up the equipment on the Mountfort Terminal used in the biofuel loading process. Several railcars remain on the dock, probably awaiting pickup from CSX.

Lakeshore's barges 502 and 401 at the Old Ore Dock Thursday.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY push barge 501 into Erie harbor this afternoon.


Stern view.