Monday, March 31, 2008

Historical Arrivals: March 31

Historical arrivals for March 31:

2002- LEE A. TREGURTHA arrives in Erie to open the 2002 season with stone from Stoneport, Michigan. This is the first of two visits for the TREGURTHA to Erie in 2002; the vessel has not visited Erie since.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


CASON J. CALLAWAY and another past Erie visitor, the AMERICAN REPUBLIC, collided Friday in the Straits of Mackinaw, which connect Lakes Huron and Michigan. Reports are that the downbound CALLAWAY, loaded with iron ore for Gary, Indiana on its first trip of the season, was passing close to the REPUBLIC, stuck fast in ice, to try and break it free. The CALLAWAY apparently was pushed by the ice into the REPUBLIC, holing the REPUBLIC in its number one ballast tank, and the CALLAWAY above the water line.

Both vessels are headed for Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and Bay Shipbuilding Company for repairs.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

GE Planning on Shipping Locomotives

At Friday's meeting of the Erie Western-Pennsylvania Port Authority, chairman Ray Shreckengost announced that General Electric is planning on exporting 25 locomotives through the port of Erie in October.

I'm not sure at the moment who the customer is for these units, but I'll continue to follow this story and will have more details as they unfold.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Historical Arrivals: March 28

1997: CUYAHOGA arrives in Erie with stone from Port Colborne, docking at the Mountfort Terminal behind the laid up RICHARD REISS. Her visit is the earliest opening the port has had.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ice continues to pose problems on Lake Erie

Ice on the eastern end of Lake Erie is continuing to give commercial shipping problems, and is an ongoing headache for both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards. Overnight, two ships, the CANADIAN ENTERPRISE, bound for Conneaut, Ohio to load coal, and the CEDARGLEN, bound for Ashtabula to unload titanium slag, became stuck in ice off of Erie. Both vessels remained there throughout the night, requiring the assistance of U.S. Coast Guard cutter NEAH BAY to get underway this morning.

Yesterday, the Rt. Hon. PAUL J. MARTIN became stuck off of Long Point and required assistance from NEAH BAY all the way to Ashtabula.

Although this year's ice cover on Lake Erie is worse than normal, the conditions are nothing in comparison to Lake Superior, where the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter SAMUEL RISLEY and U.S. cutters MACKINAW, BISCAYNE BAY, and KATMAI BAY, along with private tug companies, are struggling to keep the St. Mary's River and Soo Locks open to commercial traffic, and keep ships moving through windrows of ice reported to be up to six feet thick in places.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Specialty Restaurants, owners of the LANSDOWNE, which called the Sassafras Street dock home until the Erie Western-Pennsylvania Port Authority evicted the vessel in July 2006, has reportedly been sold for scrap to a company in Buffalo, where she is now languishing.

Work on demolishing the 1884-built vessel will begin around May 1, reportedly. The two Milwaukee Road Skytop railcars on the stern of the ship, the subject of many preservation attempts by railroad enthusiasts, are in jeopardy of seeing the cutter's torch along with the LANSDOWNE.

The following is the text of an email I received earlier this evening:

Earlier this month, Specialty Restaurants sold the Lansdowne investment
to a local scrap iron company which is slated to disassemble the
structure within the coming weeks. Unfortunately, despite Specialty's
new receptiveness to part with the cars, we were unable to rally the
same support and interest that we did a couple years back. The firm
charged with disposing of the Lansdowne is open to selling the skytops
at scrap value and has affirmed the ability to remove the cars in one
piece. There are a few individuals who have shown interest and backing
to support preservation of one or both cars; however this must be
matched with a reasonable plan and support to vacate the cars from the
site prior to May 1st. Sadly, reality dictates that the resources
necessary to mobilize for such an endeavor is likely not practical at
this point.

Anyone interested in more information about the preservation efforts can email Lee Edgar.

It's unfortunate that this seems to be the fate of the LANSDOWNE, whose owners had grand plans to restore the vessel to a floating restaurant when she arrived in Erie under tow of the tug MANITOU on November 1, 1999.

I will continue to follow this story and will update as I receive more information.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


CASON J. CALLAWAY and PRESQUE ISLE, both bound for Two Harbors, MN after spending the winter in Erie, were the first two vessels to pass through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, MI. this morning. The locks separate Lake Huron from Lake Superior, and had been closed for the winter since January 15.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I'm still having problems uploading a version of the videos for download, but here is video of the PRESQUE ISLE sailing from Erie on Saturday.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I've uploaded a video of the CASON J. CALLAWAY's departure to Youtube, but am having problems with my own file server. I will have a downloadable version of this video, along with the video of the PRESQUE ISLE, tomorrow.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


CASON J. CALLAWAY was freed by the Canadian Coast Guard cutter GRIFFON last night at midnight and is now on her way across Lake Erie for Detroit and eventually, Two Harbors, Minnesota.

A shift in wind direction overnight gave the PRESQUE ISLE's captain and crew some concern before the vessel departed early this afternoon. The wind had shifted and was blowing from the east, causing ice to jam up at the end of the channel.

As such, the PRESQUE ISLE departed the Mountfort Terminal at 1215 hours this afternoon, but unlike any of the vessel's previous visits to the port, did not choose to back through the channel and turn in Lake Erie. Instead, the captain chose, in front of around 100 onlookers, to turn in Presque Isle Bay and proceed bow-first through the channel and out into Lake Erie. The GRIFFON, meanwhile, stood by while working with USCG NEAH BAY to break tracks through the ice for ships sailing between Conneaut, Ohio, and Nanticoke, Ontario.

PRESQUE ISLE blew a master's salute to the crowds gathered on the piers to see the vessel off. They are next bound for either Duluth or Two Harbors, Minnesota to load taconite pellets for Conneaut.

I will post video of both the CALLAWAY and PRESQUE ISLE departures either tonight or tomorrow.

PRESQUE ISLE prepares to leave the Mountfort Terminal this morning.

Moving away from the Mountfort Terminal.

Another view.

PRESQUE ISLE proceeds into Presque Isle Bay.

Turning around.

Heading into the channel.

PRESQUE ISLE in her namesake bay, lined up for the channel.

Entering the channel.


Close up of the tug.

Stern view.

PRESQUE ISLE passing the lighthouse.

Another view. This photo and those below by Jim Thoreson.

Heading into the ice field.

Though the vessel slowed, the PRESQUE ISLE made good time through this ice field.

Ice was visible as far as the eye could see.

Friday, March 21, 2008

CALLAWAY Departs, Doesn't Get Far; PRESQUE ISLE to Depart Saturday

CASON J. CALLAWAY, after a three-hour delay from her original planned departure time, departed Erie at 1830 this afternoon bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load taconite. The crew of the CALLAWAY had spent most of Friday completing last minute fit-out tasks before departing the Old Ore Dock and proceeding slowly past fleetmate PRESQUE ISLE. The vessels exchanged three long and two short whistle blasts - a master's salute - as CALLAWAY picked up speed to get a run for the ice outside Erie harbor.

The CALLAWAY's captain, having been in contact throughout the day with the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker GRIFFON, intended on heading east to Long Point to find a track of open water before turning west for Southeast Shoal and the Detroit River. As of 1845, ice permitting the crew hoped to reach Long Point in 2.5 hours, Southeast Shoal at 0700 Saturday, and run up through the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers during daylight Saturday.

At around 1850, the CALLAWAY told the PRESQUE ISLE that they were making good time and encountering no problems with the ice as they reached a speed of 9 miles per hour. This changed quickly when the vessel hit a windrow of ice, and the vessel came to a halt by 1930 hours in a position of 42' 11.6 N, 80' 02.1 W, about two miles east of the Erie harbor entrance. The vessel has called the GRIFFON for help. The GRIFFON is currently en route to try and break the CALLAWAY free.

CALLAWAY'S departure drew a large crowd to the South Pier this afternoon, including a photographer from the Erie Times-News.

Meanwhile, PRESQUE ISLE is planning to depart tomorrow at noon for Two Harbors.

CALLAWAY at dock at 1645 hours. The vessel did not have to shift forward to take on ballast, as the PHILIP R. CLARKE did last March, thanks to dredging performed in December by Lakeshore Towing.

Coming around the PRESQUE ISLE.

Turning into the channel.

Passing her fleetmate PRESQUE ISLE.


Another view.

CALLAWAY picks up speed on its way out.

Churning water as the 1953-built steamer picks up speed.

Heading for the lake.

Into open water as ice looms ahead, underway for the new season.

Janet Campbell of the Erie Times-News photographs the outbound CALLAWAY.

CASON J. CALLAWAY Ready to Fit Out

Steamer CASON J. CALLAWAY is set to depart Erie this afternoon or evening bound for Sandusky, Ohio's NS Coal Dock to load coal. CALLAWAY will likely be loading coal for either Green Bay, Wisconsin, or Detroit.

I will update this later today when I know more about the vessel's departure.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CALLAWAY Departure Set

CASON J. CALLAWAY should be departing Erie sometime tomorrow afternoon bound for Toledo, Ohio to load coal.

The crew of the PRESQUE ISLE is now back and the PRESQUE ISLE should depart within the next few days.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another former Erie visitor, DAVIKEN, sold

Another recent Erie visitor has changed hands this week, as the DAVIKEN was sold from Viken Shipping to Algoma Central Marine. Along with fleetmates GOVIKEN and SANDVIKEN, the DAVIKEN was sold for a cost of $38 million to Algoma, one of the largest Canadian Lake fleets.

Algoma assumed the vessels' long-term charter to Fednav with the purchase, but announced that upon completion of the charter, the possibility exists that the vessels will be reflagged Canadian and join the Algoma fleet on the Great Lakes. It's possible that if that happens, they may eventually visit Erie.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Warm Weather Melting Ice

Warm temperatures on Tuesday made quick work of the ice remaining on the eastern end of the bay. As of early afternoon the ice is melting quickly and open water is now once again visible on Presque Isle Bay. The ice should pose no problem when the CASON J. CALLAWAY leaves winter layup later this week.

The melting ice has made it easier for vessels shuttling coal across Lake Erie, as well. Over the weekend the CANADIAN TRANSPORT, CANADIAN ENTERPRISE, and Rt. HON. PAUL J. MARTIN were becoming stuck frequently in ice on Lake Erie.

Monday, March 17, 2008

MICHIPICOTEN May Not Sail As Expected

MICHIPICOTEN may be wintering in Erie for a longer than expected undergoing repairs at Erie Shipbuilding. The vessel, which had been scheduled to load at the CSX Coal Dock in Toledo on Saturday, has been taken off the dock's schedule and replaced with fleetmate CUYAHOGA.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another American Fits Out

Another vessel, a frequent Erie visitor, fit out for the season on Sunday afternoon. The AMERICAN COURAGE departed her winter berth on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon and headed downriver to Whiskey Island's Cleveland Bulk Terminal dock. There it will load iron ore pellets for the Mittal Steel mill at the head of the river. The vessel will run this short iron ore shuttle until the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan open for the season on March 25.

AMERICAN COURAGE downbound at Center Street in the Cuyahoga River.

Turning, with the Cleveland skyline in the background.

Stern view as the COURAGE snakes downriver.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

CALLAWAY Fitout Work Continues

Fit out work continues on the CASON J. CALLAWAY today, as crews are hard at work. Erie Sand & Gravel continues to work on the vessel and this afternoon steam was up on the CALLWAY, which is expected to depart on Friday.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ships Beginning to Run

Winter layup is almost over and it won't be long before the four vessels spending the winter under repair in Erie will be leaving.

On the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, CANADIAN TRANSPORT, CANADIAN ENTERPRISE, Rt. HON. PAUL J. MARTIN, and several chemical tankers are running. The ENTERPRISE, TRANSPORT, and MARTIN are all running coal from the nearby ports of Conneaut and Ashtabula to Nanticoke, Ontario. On the American side, the cement carrier ALPENA and a few tug-barge combinations hauling cement or petroleum products are in operation, with the 1000-footer MESABI MINER due to begin hauling coal from Superior, WI to Marquette, MI this weekend before the Soo Locks open on March 25.

As I've written, both CASON J. CALLAWAY and MICHIPICOTEN should leave late next week. The PRESQUE ISLE should leave a few days later.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Tentatively, the MICHIPICOTEN and CASON J. CALLAWAY should both sail from Erie on March 21. Both vessels are due in Toledo at the CSX Coal Dock the morning of March 22 to load coal.

The CALLAWAY will load coal for Detroit; the MICHIPICOTEN will load for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Layup Update

The drydock at Erie Shipbuilding is now pumped dry, allowing work to continue on the KAREN ANDRIE and MICHIPICOTEN. Work on the Andrie's barge A-397 continues in the West Slip; this morning crews were welding on the stern of the barge.

Fit out continues on the CASON J. CALLAWAY, and work is continuing on the PRESQUE ISLE, with the crew expected back within the next few days.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Tug MANITOU departed Erie around 1800 Monday, after shifting the barge A-397 to the West Slip, replacing the drydock gate, and securing the WITTE 1403 to the dock at the West Slip. Click here for three short video clips from yesterday's action.

A-397 at the West Slip this afternoon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A-397, WITTE 1403 Emerge from Drydock, MICHIPICOTEN moves in

Tug MANITOU got underway from Erie Shipbuilding at around 0700 today and began breaking ice in Presque Isle Bay, preparing for the day's events. The tug broke ice until around 0930 before shifting the drydock gate away from the drydock. An hour later, the tug moved the barge A-397 out of the drydock at Erie Shipbuilding, leaving the barge across the face of the Old Ore Dock and the east side of Erie Shipbuilding.

At around 1100 the tug brought the next deck barge built by Erie Shipbuilding, the WITTE 1403, out of drydock and attempted to bring the barge stern first into the West Slip. About halfway up the length of the MICHIPICOTEN, the barge got stuck in ice, forcing MANITOU to back the WITTE 1403 into Presque Isle Bay and turn the barge around. By noon the barge was secured in front of the MICHIPICOTEN, hanging off the dock due to ice between the barge and the dock.

After a break for lunch, the MANITOU secured to MICHIPICOTEN at around 1250 this afternoon and moved the vessel into Erie harbor. The tug slowly turned the ship in Erie harbor, stopping several times due to ice, and moved the ship into drydock by around 1415 this afternoon. MICHIPICOTEN will now undergo repairs in the drydock.

Tug KAREN ANDRIE remains in drydock with the MICHIPICOTEN.

MANITOU breaking ice this morning.

Side view.

Another view. Note the stern line from the MICHIPICOTEN, disconnected and hanging from the stern.

MANITOU comes around to back into the West Slip.


Honorary Captain of the MANITOU keeps an eye on the icebreaking operation.

MANITOU pushes the WITTE 1403 stern first into the West Slip.


Backing out of the jam.

MANITOU comes around and takes up position on the stern of the barge.

Bringing the new barge in bow-first.

Passing the waiting MICHIPICOTEN.

Tight quarters for docking.

Close up of the 2008-built WITTE 1403.

MANITOU backs past the MICHIPICOTEN and will shortly dock at Erie Shipbuilding while the yard is on its lunch break.

A-397 up against the Old Ore Dock. To give an idea of the angle it's at, the bow of the CASON J. CALLAWAY is just off to the left of the photo.

MICHIPICOTEN waits for the tow to begin.

MANITOU takes a line from the ship.

Ready to begin moving the dead ship.

MANITOU starts to slide the MICHIPICOTEN out of the slip.

Backing out.

Another view of two classics. The tug MANITOU was built in 1942; the MICHIPICOTEN a decade later.

Into Erie Harbor.

MANITOU turns on the power to move the ship through the ice.

In Erie Harbor.

MANITOU is done backing the ship out and will begin working the ship into a turn.


MANITOU backs away to reposition.

Pushing on the MICHIPICOTEN amidships.

Turning and stuck in ice.

MANITOU comes around the ship, breaking another path through the ice.

Pushing on the bow of the MICHIPICOTEN.

Another view after the tug has repositioned itself.

Around and ready to start turning.

The 2,200 horsepower tug pushes the MICHIPICOTEN.

Another view.

The MICHIPICOTEN is backed slowly towards drydock.

Backing in to drydock.