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!