Thursday, January 31, 2008

Seiche Confirmed on Tuesday on Lake Erie

A confirmed seiche condition occured during high winds on Tuesday that directly affected the water level in Erie harbor. A seiche occurs during sudden changes in lake levels because of winds; for example, a seiche could be if winds blew water from the south end of the lake to the northern end, and it remained there. In the case on Tuesday, water from the western basin of Lake Erie were blown east, toward Erie and Buffalo. At one point during the storm on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, water levels near Toledo, Ohio were five feet below chart datum. On the eastern end, near Buffalo, water levels were reported to be 10 feet above the low water mark, and some waterfront streets in the city reportedly flooded.

In Erie harbor, broken ice in the channel was actually washed over the South Pier.

The South Pier on Wednesday. Note how high the water is.

At the West Slip.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cofferdam Installation Complete

Installation of the cofferdam on the PRESQUE ISLE's starboard side is now complete. Meanwhile, replacement of the bow thruster of CASON J. CALLAWAY has been delayed until the end of February. I will update when I know more.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PRESQUE ISLE Cofferdam Installation

Below are more photos of the cofferdam being moved to be installed on the PRESQUE ISLE late on Monday morning.

Mountfort Terminal's Manitowac crane prepares to move the cofferdam.

Moving into position.

The crane moves the cofferdam into position on the starboard side..

Monday, January 28, 2008


As I write this, Lakeshore Towing's skilled divers are hard at work with officials from Great Lakes Electrical Services, Great Lakes Fleet, and O-N Minerals installing the cofferdam on the starboard side of the PRESQUE ISLE. After that, Lakeshore tugs DON HENRY and FLATTOP will shift barge 401 from Wolverine Marina to the Old Ore Dock to assist in replacement of the bow thruster of the CASON J. CALLAWAY. This will require them to break the ice on the bay, so if you're thinking of going out ice fishing on the city side of the bay, forget it.

Installation work begins at 0730 Monday.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cofferdam Installation Set

Tomorrow morning Lakeshore Towing's divers will enter the frigid waters of Presque Isle Bay and install the cofferdam on the starboard side of the PRESQUE ISLE. The cofferdam will remain there for the rest of the winter as the vessel undergoes repairs.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Historical Layup: ELTON HOYT II in Drydock

During the winter of 1994-95, the ELTON HOYT II spent part of the winter in drydock at Erie Marine Enterprises for her 5-year survey. During that time, the vessel was repainted by EME painter Eric Guerrein (now owner of Lakeshore Towing). Each vessel painted took about two weeks to complete.

ELTON HOYT II in drydock. Next to her is the 1,013 foot long PAUL R. TREGURTHA, the longest vessel on the Great Lakes, which was also painted in drydock that winter. Photo by Jim Thoreson taken from the JOHN B. AIRD.

Stern view of the HOYT as painting is nearly complete.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cofferdam Installation Delayed

The installation of the cofferdam on the PRESQUE ISLE has been put on hold until Monday morning. Lakeshore Towing's divers will be installing the cofferdam on the starboard side of the PRESQUE ISLE, and later that day crews from Lakeshore will
move barge 401 from Wolverine Marina to the Old Ore Dock. There the excavator mounted on 401 will assist in this winter's replacement of the bow thruster on the CASON J. CALLAWAY.

PRESQUE ISLE in layup Friday afternoon.

J.S. St. JOHN.


MICHIPICOTEN at the West Slip.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Historical Layups: ELTON HOYT II, 1994-95

During the winter of 1994-95, the ELTON HOYT II, of Interlake Steamship, spent the winter in Erie, first at the Sassafras Street dock, and then in drydock at Erie Marine Enterprises. This winter the vessel, now named MICHIPICOTEN and flying the Canadian flag, is spending the winter at Erie Shipbuilding.

ELTON HOYT II inbound Erie, January 14, 1995. Jim Thoreson photos

A stern view of the HOYT.

Approaching the Sassafras Street dock, then nothing but a barren dock after Erie Sand and Gravel moved from the site about 15 months earlier. Today the site houses the Bayfront Convention Center.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Bay ice is unsafe for ice fishermen this afternoon after another vessel arrived for layup last night. The MICHIPICOTEN, after unloading iron ore in Nanticoke, Ontario, sailed across the lake and arrived in Erie last night for winter layup. The steamer is the first member of the Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation fleet to ever spend a winter in Erie.

MICHIPICOTEN broke through ice a couple of inches thick and slowly made her way through the channel and Presque Isle Bay to the West Slip. This morning the crew was hard at work, pumping ballast off and performing other tasks necessary before they can leave the vessel for the winter. Over the coming winter crews from Erie Shipbuilding will be performing work on the MICHIPICOTEN.

The MICHIPICOTEN's arrival is the vessel's second visit to the port under that name, with the first having been last June. The vessel has wintered in Erie before, however. During the winter of 1994/95, as Interlake Steamship's ELTON HOYT II, the vessel spent part of the winter at the Sassafras Street Dock (now the site of the Bayfront Convention Center) before going into drydock during March. Thanks probably to the weak American dollar, the Nanticoke, Ontario-registered MICHIPICOTEN is also the first Canadian vessel to spend the winter in Erie since the LOUIS R. DESMARAIS spent the winter of 1997/98 at Metro Machine.

Meanwhile, within Erie Shipbuilding, work continues on the KAREN ANDRIE and A-397. East of there, crews from Great Lakes Electrical Services, Erie Shipbuilding and O-N Minerals are hard at work on the Steamer CASON J. CALLAWAY and tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE. Lakeshore Towing's skilled professionals are tentatively scheduled to join them on Saturday, when they sink the cofferdam under the starboard side of the PRESQUE ISLE, exposing the vessel's starboard propeller and rudder for work. Cranes at the Mountfort Terminal will drop Lakeshore's barge 502 into the water to serve as the dive platform for that work.

Lakeshore's barge 401 will also be busy later this winter. Lakeshore Towing in December purchased a CAT excavator and mounted it on 401, and will be using that to replace the bow thruster on the CALLAWAY.

MICHIPICOTEN secured for the winter at the West Slip.

CALLAWAY at the Old Ore Dock.

The view from the parking lot at Erie Shipbuilding, with the J.S. St. JOHN. Note the change in the weather in the five minutes since the photo above this one was taken.

Bow view of the CALLAWAY.

PRESQUE ISLE at the Mountfort Terminal.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Historical Arrivals: January 22

January 22, 2000: USCGC NEAH BAY arrives in Erie to break ice prior to the arrival the next morning of the JAMES R. BARKER. The BARKER and MESABI MINER both spend the winter of 1999/2000 in Erie.

NEAH BAY breaks ice in the West Slip, January 22, 2000.

Turning to head back into Presque Isle Bay.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter Fleet Iced in

Erie's winter fleet, due to the recent cold spell, is now iced in. The CASON J. CALLAWAY and PRESQUE ISLE are both now undergoing work with a coating of ice around them.

CALLAWAY iced in at the Old Ore Dock.

With the J.S. St. JOHN.

PRESQUE ISLE at the Mountfort Terminal.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Layups Past: CASON J. CALLAWAY Arrives in 2006

The CASON J. CALLAWAY is shown in the photos below while arriving in Erie on January 16, 2006 for winter layup.

CASON J. CALLAWAY passes the Erie Pierhead Light inbound at 0758 hours, January 16, 2006.

A closer view of the CALLAWAY.

Stern view.

Passing around the PRESQUE ISLE.

BUCKEYE is shown while being converted to a barge as the CALLAWAY prepares to back into the Old Ore Dock.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Storm Video

I've added a video from yesterday that shows the PRESQUE ISLE inbound, the CALLAWAY anchored in the bay, and also waves from Beach 6 of Presque Isle State Park. It's a shaky video because if I'd brought my tripod out in the winds, it would have been knocked right over.

Click here to watch. (10.5 MB)

Friday, January 18, 2008


PRESQUE ISLE, after reporting that they were dragging their anchors and had touched bottom in the stormy waters of Lake Erie on Thursday night, arrived in Erie at 0730 Friday morning to dock at the Mountfort Terminal. The bow of the barge was covered in ice as the vessel docked, due to the spray from Lake Erie.

CASON J. CALLAWAY arrived at 0600 Friday morning and anchored off the Old Ore Dock to await winds. The vessel got underway at about 1800 this evening and by 1845 was secured for the winter at the dock.

CALLAWAY rides at anchor in Presque Isle Bay on Friday morning.

Bow view.

The sun comes out on the CALLAWAY.

With the PRESQUE ISLE in the background.

At anchor, awaiting wind.

Bow view.

The CALLAWAY remains anchored at 1500 hours.

Bow view.

CALLAWAY at anchor with the PRESQUE ISLE at the Mountfort Terminal.

PRESQUE ISLE after arriving Friday morning.

Ice on the forward mast of the barge.


PRESQUE ISLE entered Erie in the darkness at 0700 this morning, securing at the Mountfort Terminal at 0800. The CASON J. CALLAWAY continues to ride at anchor in Presque Isle Bay. The CALLAWAY may not make the dock at the Old Ore Dock anytime soon; the vessel is reporting winds between 45 and 50 miles per hour.

Lake Erie Throws Everything She has at CALLAWAY, PRESQUE ISLE

CASON J. CALLAWAY is, as I write this, slowly working her way through the channel into Presque Isle Bay. The CALLAWAY's master, however, has decided he will be anchoring in the bay rather than attempting to make the dock in winds he reports to be from 260 at 35-40 miles per hour.

The PRESQUE ISLE's master reported at 0500 that he had approximately five hours of cleaning left to do and will try to proceed inbound at 1000 this afternoon. However, that is subject to change.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Layup Update

PRESQUE ISLE and CASON J. CALLAWAY are both still scheduled to arrive in Erie at 0500 Friday morning for winter layup. However, at the discretion of each vessel's master, the ships may wait until daylight to enter. In 2006, when the CALLAWAY laid up in Erie, the vessel waited off of Erie harbor until 0800 to enter the harbor.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ANDRIE Settles into Drydock; Layup Update; Lakeshore Towing Moves Cofferdam

KAREN ANDRIE and barge A-397 are now drydocked at Erie Shipbuilding. The tug is inside the building covering the southern 150 feet of the drydock, and the barge A-397 is right behind it. Both are pulled in, which is the first time I can think of that any tenant at the shipyard has pulled a vessel into the drydock. Normally the vessels are backed in.

This morning Lakeshore Towing tugs FLATTOP and DON HENRY moved barge 502 to the Mountfort Terminal, where it was lifted out and placed on the dock. This afternoon FLATTOP and DON HENRY moved the cofferdam for the PRESQUE ISLE from Erie Shipbuilding to the Mountfort Terminal.

Both PRESQUE ISLE and CASON J. CALLAWAY are currently expected at 0500 on Friday for winter layup.

DON HENRY pushes the barge 502 up alongside the Mountfort Terminal.

Crews from O-N Minerals and Lakeshore go to work to secure the barge to the crane.

Crane begins to lift the 502 from the water.

In mid-air.

Positioning the barge over the dock.

502 is lowered onto the dock.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

WITTE 1402 Emerges from Drydock; ANDRIE and A-397 Enter; PRESQUE ISLE, CALLAWAY Update

At 0830 on a blustery, snowy morning typical of a January in Erie, Lakeshore Towing tugs FLATTOP and DON HENRY entered the flooded drydock at Erie Shipbuilding to move a new barge from the drydock. About 15 minutes later the duo slowly moved from drydock with the WITTE 1402 in tow. The last of the first six deck barges being constructed by Erie Shipbuilding was moved, unfinished, slowly into Presque Isle Bay and turned to line up for the West Slip.

A few tense moments followed as the barge was slowly moved past the KAREN ANDRIE and A-397; however the crews on FLATTOP and DON HENRY skillfully manouevered past the ANDRIE and docked the barge alongside the deck barge SUE B.

Another job successfully completed, Lakeshore Towing stood by and assisted while the KAREN ANDRIE and A-397 moved into drydock. The A-397 is in for its five-year drydocking survey and the KAREN ANDRIE is moored south of the barge in the drydock for minor repairs.

Lakeshore Towing tomorrow will be moving the cofferdam for the PRESQUE ISLE to the Mountfort Terminal. Current ETA for the PRESQUE ISLE is 0500 on Friday, with the CASON J. CALLAWAY expected for layup at 0600. Hopefully these times will get pushed back a couple of hours until daylight.

Click here to watch the 50 MB, large version of a video of the tow.
Click here for the smaller, 20 MB version.

KAREN ANDRIE at dock this morning.

FLATTOP, DON HENRY and the WITTE 1402 in Presque Isle Bay.

Turning the barge.

Approaching the West Slip.

In the West Slip.


Stern view of the tow.

Approaching the SUE B.

Alongside the Port Albany Ventures barge SUE B.

FLATTOP and DON HENRY keep WITTE 1402 in place.

ANDRIE and barge A-397 in drydock.