Monday, June 30, 2008

EDWARD JOHN Loses Steering

This evening while inbound Erie after an afternoon charter fishing excursion, M/V EDWARD JOHN lost steering off of Erie. Lakeshore Towing's tug DON HENRY is en route to the scene and should be arriving there shortly to tow the EDWARD JOHN back to its berth in the East Canal Basin.

This is the second time this month that the EDWARD JOHN has suffered a mechanical breakdown; the first one turned out to be an electrical problem. It is also the third time since last September that DON HENRY has been called on to tow the vessel.

Next Two Biodiesel Tankers Expected

The next biodiesel tanker expected in port is the CLIPPER LANCER, due July 6 or July 7.

Only a couple of weeks after that, the 2006-built CLIPPER LEANDER is due on July 20 or 21 to load more biodiesel produced at Lake Erie Biofuels.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Historical Arrivals: June 29, 1928

On June 29, 1928, 80 years ago, the following vessels called on the port of Erie:

CITY OF ERIE and CITY OF DOVER both visited with passengers from Port Dover on their daily run from Erie to Port Dover.

KIOWA arrived in port with pulpwood from Duluth.

Package freighter RALPH BUDD arrived with merchandise from Chicago and cleared later in the day with the rest of her cargo consigned to Buffalo.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Swim the Bay Completed Successfully

Today's swim across Presque Isle Bay, celebrating how clean the bay's watter has become (I doubt anyone would drink it, though) was completed successfully at around 1100 hours. At that time, Lakeshore Towing's tug FLATTOP removed the buoys lining the course and returned them to Presque Isle State Park. Lakeshore Towing's tug DON HENRY and towboats TITAN and ENDURANCE had patrolled the course during the two-hour long swim, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Fish and Boat Commission to keep boaters from straying into the safety zone established for the swim.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Harbor Abuzz with Activity

Erie's harborfront, though seeing no vessels in port today, was abuzz with activity this morning and afternoon. This morning Lakeshore Towing tugs FLATTOP and DON HENRY moved barges 501 and 502 to Erie Shipbuilding, where they will load fireworks for the Boom Over the Bay celebration on July 4.

This afternoon, FLATTOP placed buoys marking the course for Saturday's swim across the bay. The swim is celebrating the improvement in the health of Presque Isle Bay over the past 20 years. The buoys were placed on the west side of the course; local boaters will anchor and line the east side of the course from the Vista 3 parking lot on Presque Isle to the Erie Yacht Club.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cruise Ship GRANDE MARINER in Port

GRANDE MARINER arrived in port today on one of four stops the vessel will be making in Erie this season. The MARINER, as usual, docked at West Dobbin's Landing. The American Canadian Cruise Line's small cruise ship will be in Erie until shortly after midnight Friday before departing for Buffalo.


Overhead view.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WILDFLOWER Departs, Next Biodiesel Tanker Set to Arrive

Tug WILDFLOWER departed Erie at 0630 this morning bound up the lake for Michigan. The little bit of history on the tug WILDFLOWER that I have been able to find lists her at 75.5 feet long, 20.1 feet wide, and 560 horsepower, built at Avondale, Louisiana in 1940.

The next biodiesel tanker is scheduled to be the CLIPPER LANCER, which is set to arrive between July 4th and 6th. The CLIPPER LANCER is a sister to the CLIPPER TOBAGO, which loaded the first cargo last December.

Also, over the past few days this blog has been spammed by an anonymous poster who continues to bash the shipment of biodiesel overseas. Therefore, I have decided to enable comment moderation for anyone who wishes to comment on this blog. I regret that it came to that, but it was the only way to end the spamming.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Former U.S. Navy tug WILDFLOWER arrived in Erie this evening at 2000 hours and docked on the West Side of Dobbin's Landing. A group of investors from Michigan have purchased the tug and are taking the vessel from Staten Island to Michigan for conversion to a live-aboard. The 76-foot long, 1940-built tug, with a draft of 8.5 feet, is too deep for Wolverine Marina, which necessitated the stop at Dobbin's Landing.

WILDFLOWER inbound Erie.

Close up.

In Presque Isle Bay.

Backing around to turn for the dock.

Approaching Dobbin's Landing.

Stern view.

Securing at dock.

With the Bicentennial Tower.

WILDFLOWER secured at dock for the night.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lakeshore Towing Offering Diving Charters

Looking for something to do this summer? Have you always wanted to see some of the Erie area's ship wrecks, such as the CHARLES FOSTER, which sank on December 9, 1900, or the PHILIP D. ARMOUR, which sank in a gale on November 13, 1921? Now you have your chance.

Lakeshore Towing Services is now offering scuba charters aboard the CANADIAN SAILOR, which they are leasing from the Port Authority. In addition to being fully licensed, Lakeshore's captains are experienced divers who have dived on these wrecks dozens of times. You can also book custom training dives. For more information, visit Lakeshore's website.

CANADIAN SAILOR is the vessel Lakeshore Towing is using to offer diving charters.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Introducing the DUTCH RUNNER

Jim Berlin, founder and CEO of Erie-based Logistics Plus, posted online today that the M/V DUTCH RUNNER has arrived safely in Montreal after crossing from Europe. The DUTCH RUNNER
will be utilized on Highway H2O, the St. Lawrence Seaway's new initiative to take trucks off the road and put that cargo on ships. It's possible that eventually the ship's voyages on the Lakes could bring it to Erie.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

PILGRIM Scrapping Update

PILGRIM is now close to becoming nothing but a memory. Scrapping has progressed quickly on the fishing tug, which is now in sections at the boatyard near Perry's Landing Marina.

PILGRIM's remains this afternoon.

Close up of the General Motors engine that once powered the vessel.

The midship section of PILGRIM.

Close up of one of the cuts in the hull.

Bow of the once-proud PILGRIM. Another piece of the commercial fishing history of the Great Lakes will soon be gone.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Waterspouts over Lake Erie

Over the past several days, along with a cold front, Erie has also seen its share of waterspouts. The water-based tornados were spotted over Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie on Thursday.

Waterspout over Lake Erie.

Another view.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


As I reported on negotiations here several months ago, Erie Shipbuilding has begun work on building a 135-foot long tug and 740-foot long barge similar to the articulalted tug-barge unit JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER. The $55 million contract is expected to take about 15 months to complete and will guarantee employment for the shipyard's 100 employees.

The vessel will be constructed in the building at the south end of the drydock, and dropped into the drydock in pieces as each section is completed.

I will follow this story over the coming months and will provide more details as they become available.

JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER at dock at Erie Shipbuilding in April.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Historical Arrivals for June 18

Historical arrivals for June 18:

1965: CANADIA arrives at the Duquesne Marine Terminal (now part of Erie Shipbuilding) to load 1,882 drums of Quaker State Oil for Europe. This is the first oil export of the season.

1981: JOHN T. HUTCHINSON arrives to load 12,500 tons of coal for Alpena at the Codan Corporation (now the Mountfort Terminal).

1991: MELISSA DESGAGNES arrives with pig iron for Codan.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Historical Arrivals for June 17

Historical arrivals in the port of Erie for June 17:

1952: American Steamship Company's STANDARD PORTLAND CEMENT arrives in ballast from Buffalo, clearing the same day with coal for Buffalo.

1982: WILLIAM R. ROESCH, which later became the DAVID Z. NORTON, DAVID Z., and currently CALUMET, arrives with stone for the Old Ore Dock.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Historical Arrivals: June 16

Historical arrivals in the port of Erie on June 16:

2006- STELLANOVA arrives to load locomotives.
1952- MARYLAND arrives with ore from Marquette for the Ore Dock.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Harbor News

After four vessels (SIDSEL KNUTSEN, MANITOWOC, MISSISSAGI, and AMERICAN REPUBLIC) in as many days, Erie's harbor traffic has quieted off with nothing due in the immediate future.

Yesterday, Lakeshore Towing tugs FLATTOP and DON HENRY completed a tow of local charter fishing vessel EDWARD JOHN from Walnut Creek back into the port of Erie. EDWARD JOHN became disabled and required a tow, which is the second time since last September Lakeshore has towed the vessel.

As I wrote previously, the U.S. Brig NIAGARA was to be used in a documentary about whaling. Those plans fell through, as apparently Steeplechase Films lost their grant
to film the documentary, resulting in the loss of the grant.

MISSISSAGI inbound on Friday night.

Stern view.

AMERICAN REPUBLIC departs the Old Ore Dock on Saturday morning bound for the Mountfort Terminal.

In Erie harbor turning for the Mountfort Terminal.

REPUBLIC straightens out to come alongside.

Alongside the Mountfort Terminal.

REPUBLIC swings the boom out.

AMERICAN REPUBLIC is ready to unload.

2008-built motor yacht BELLE ASHLEY is spending Sunday night moored at Wolverine Marina.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


MISSISSAGI arrived in Erie last night at 2100 during a terrible downpour and ended up anchoring in Presque Isle Bay for about two hours to wait wind before turning in the harbor and docking at the North Pier to unload sand from Thessalon.

The AMERICAN REPUBLIC arrived in Erie at 0300 this morning and docked at the Old Ore Dock with stone from Calcite. The REPUBLIC unloaded there until 0900 and then shifted to the Mountfort Terminal, where she unloaded for about 40 minutes before clearing outbound.

Photos to follow later this evening.

Friday, June 13, 2008


MISSISSAGI is due at 2015 tonight with sand from Thessalon. Meanwhile, AMERICAN REPUBLIC, with stone from Calcite, will be arriving at 0300 Saturday morning. The REPUBLIC should depart sometime on Saturday morning after daylight.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


MANITOWOC arrived in port this morning at 0930 on its first visit to the port. The Lower Lakes Transportation-owned vessel docked at the Mountfort Terminal to unload stone from Stoneport, and shifted to the Old Ore Dock at around 1300. Three hours later, MANITOWOC was finished unloading and departed, clearing Erie at 1645 bound for Toledo to load coal.

MISSISSAGI, with sand from Thessalon, is due in Erie at 2015 tomorrow.

MANITOWOC inbound this morning. This photo, and those below, thanks to Debra Thoreson.

Stern view.


Swinging the boom out.

MANITOWOC at the Old Ore Dock later this afternoon.

MANITOWOC outbound this afternoon. Photos below here by Jeff Thoreson.

Another view.

Stern view.


In the channel.

This 13-week-old Golden Retriever yawns after watching the MANITOWOC depart.

Underway in Lake Erie bound for Toledo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Lakeshore Towing tug FLATTOP removed the oil containment boom from around the SIDSEL KNUTSEN as the vessel completed loading of biodiesel at the Mountfort Terminal. The KNUTSEN's crew finished preparing for their overseas journey and the SIDSEL KNUTSEN, loaded with 5,000 tons of biodiesel produced at Lake Erie Biofuels and shipped down to the port via rail, departed at 1845.

The KNUTSEN is bound for Rotterdam with this load of biodiesel, the second of many that will move through the port this season.

Meanwhile, the former EARL W. OGLEBAY, which last visited the port of Erie on July 6,2006, is returning to the port tomorrow under the ownership of Lower Lakes Transportation. MANITOWOC is due at 0915 with stone from Stoneport, Michigan.

SIDSEL KNUTSEN at dock after removal of the oil-containment boom.

Warming up the engines in preparation for departure.

Backing away from the dock.

SIDSEL KNUTSEN turns away from the dock.


KNUTSEN in the channel.

Close up.

The writing on the cabin is what is typical of all chemical tankers.

Stern view.

KNUTSEN turns in the channel.


Even at a distance the KNUTSEN, at 167-meters long, appears huge.

Outbound with the Erie Pierhead light in the foreground.