Thursday, December 31, 2009

Season Wrap-Up

The poor economy is to blame for making 2009 probably the most forgettable season in the history of the port of Erie. The season saw only 18 stone deliveries to the port, down from 22 in 2008, 43 in 2007 and 41 in 2006. The season saw a total of 36 commercial vessels visit the port (excluding passenger vessels and Coast Guard vessels), which is down from 46 in 2008, 63 in 2007, and 56 in 2006. These commercial visits included vessels arriving with cargo, to wait weather, or arriving for repairs.

Among other cargoes, the number of salt deliveries to the port (four) remained the same as in 2008, due to the harsh winter conditions generally expected in the Erie region. This was up from three in 2007 and two in 2006. Sand deliveries to Presque Isle for beach replenishment totaled three in 2009, up from two in 2007 and 2008, but down from four in 2006.

Biodiesel shipments from the port fell from seven in 2008 to only two this season. Likewise, miscellaneous cargoes (machinery, paper products, etc.) fell from three in 2008 to two in 2009.

The once-familiar black, silver and red bands of the stacks of American Steamship Company vessels became a rarer and rarer sight in the port of Erie in 2009, replaced by the Indian-headed grey and black funnels of Lower Lakes Towing and its affiliate Grand River Navigation, which logged 14 visits to the port in 2009. For the second year in a row Lower Lakes led the port in visits, having logged 13 visits in 2008, a total which narrowly nudged out American Steamship’s 12. American Steamship tied with K&K Integrated Shipping for second place in number of visits this year with only five.

K&K Integrated Shipping’s tug and barge VICTORY/JAMES L. KUBER was the leading visitor to the port of Erie in 2009, with five visits. The KUBER’s five visits equal the total the vessel made to the port in 2006 as the steamer RESERVE, and are the most since its conversion to a barge in 2008. The CALUMET and MANISTEE tied for second place with four. In 2008, the CALUMET led the port with four visits. In 2006 and 2007 the leading visitor was the AMERICAN COURAGE with seven visits per year.

First time visitors to the port of Erie this year included the ROBERT S. PIERSON, SEDNA DESGAGNES, HARBOUR CLOUD, and CLIPPER LOYALTY. The next expected vessel traffic to the port will be the winter layup arrivals of the PRESQUE ISLE and EDGAR B. SPEER in mid-January.

Coming tomorrow: a look back at the top stories of 2009 and a look ahead to 2010.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lakeshore Towing Finishes Dredging; Announcing Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair; Notes on Donjon Marine; Miscellaneous News and Notes

Lakeshore Towing Services completed dredging of the Old Ore Dock on Friday. Although the job was not complete ice is beginning to form in the harbor and is making it impractical to continue to dredge. However, the company was able to get quite a bit of dredging done.

The Old Ore Dock will likely have to be dredged every few years, as ships docking there stir up sediment with their propellers and that sediment is deposited along the east side of the dock, where ships dock to unload. With more sediment deposited there ships must load less cargo to dock there, and dredging is a cheaper alternative to getting more ships into the dock.

Donjon Marine has announced the formation of their new shipyard, Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair (DSR). DSR has purchased the assets of Erie Shipbuilding and is working under a new long-term lease with the Erie Western-Pennsylvania Port Authority to establish a shipbuilding and ship repair facility at the yard. No word as to yet as to what their first projects will be, or what will become of the tug CLYDE VANENKEVORT and barge ERIE TRADER that were under construction at the yard. Rumors floating around were that the tug would be finished and go to the ocean to push an oil barge, but I'm not sure if that will happen.

Longtime readers of the Erie Shipping News will recall that Donjon is the largest customer Erie Shipbuilding ever had, with their order for a dumpscow (WITTE 4003) and five deck barges (WITTE 1401, WITTE 1402, WITTE 1403, WITTE 1404, and WITTE 1405). In addition, their then-subsidiary Port Albany Ventures ordered several other deck barges. Less than a month ago Donjon sold their 1/2 interest in PAV to their partner. I'm not sure if that was related to their purchase of ESB, but sources tell me that Donjon is extremely serious about making the shipyard the best facility possible. The only disadvantage DSR will have is that the facility only has about 4,000 feet of dock space, some of which is falling apart, particularly on the east side of the property adjacent to the Old Ore Dock.

Donjon also operates a full-service marine operation that includes towing and salvage.

In other harbor news and notes, EDGAR B. SPEER and PRESQUE ISLE should be arriving in Erie sometime after the first of the year for winter layup. PRESQUE ISLE will, as usual, be going to the Mountfort Terminal where the cofferdam will be installed on the vessel to allow for replacement of the ever-problematic shaft seals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Donjon Marine, owners of Erie-built WITTE 4003 and several deck barges built here, signed a long-term lease with the Port Authority today to take over the former Erie Shipbuilding property. All of the company's employees will hopefully be back to work sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dredging Begins at Old Ore Dock

Lakeshore Towing Services began dredging work at the Old Ore Dock yesterday, marking the second time since 2007 that the slip has been dredged. The Old Ore Dock silts badly as ships use their propellers when approaching the dock, which stirs up sediment on the bottom and deposits it along the east side of the slip.

Dredging is supposed to be completed by the end of December. Weather, however, may delay that, and is expected to shut crews down for the rest of the week.

I will post photos of today's activities later today.

Photo caption.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Historical: December 6

On this date in Erie shipping history:

1985- Erie Sand's CONSUMERS POWER lays up in Erie for the last time. In May 1988 the vessel is towed overseas for scrapping.

Monday, November 30, 2009


JOSEPH H. THOMPSON/JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR. departed at 0130 this morning bound for Stoneport, Michigan. This is the duo's first visit to Erie since 2007.




Another view.

Stern view.

Passing the HARBOUR CLOUD.


Securing the vessel at the dock.

The first few tons of stone come off the boom at 1619.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


JOSEPH H. THOMPSON and tug JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR. arrived in Erie at 1530 this afternoon with stone from Cedarville, Michigan. The duo slowly passed the HARBOUR CLOUD, which was still loading at the Mountfort Terminal, and docked at the Old Ore Dock at around 1600 to unload. The pair is still unloading at this time.

HARBOUR CLOUD is currently departing the Mountfort Terminal loaded with biodiesel bound for Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Photos will follow tomorrow sometime in the morning.


JOSEPH H. THOMPSON is now due in Erie at around 1500 on Sunday. The THOMPSON will dock at the Old Ore Dock as the HARBOUR CLOUD continues to load at the Mountfort Terminal.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Barge JOSEPH H. THOMPSON and tug JOSEPH H. THOMPSON JR, with stone from Cedarville, is due in Erie at 0900 on Sunday morning.

HARBOUR CLOUD continues loading today and should be departing sometime tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

HARBOUR CLOUD Arrives in Erie

HARBOUR CLOUD arrived in Erie today at 0725 on one of the Fall's coldest days thus far. The vessel, which had spent the previous four days anchored off of Port Weller for tank cleaning and awaiting pilotage, turned in Presque Isle Bay and docked at the Mountfort Terminal to load biodiesel. This is the tenth load of biodiesel from Hero BX (formerly known as Lake Erie Biofuels) to be shipped out of the port since 2007; one load went out in 2007, seven went out in 2008, and two have gone out in 2009. This is likely the last load to go out of the port this season, as the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closing in less than a month.

Lakeshore Towing put the oil containment boom around the HARBOUR CLOUD this morning at 0930 and loading commenced shortly thereafter. Loading should take more than 24 hours to complete.

HARBOUR CLOUD inbound Erie on a windy Friday morning.

Another view.

Close up of the 2004-built HARBOUR CLOUD, on charter to the Clipper Group.

Stern view. Note that the CLOUD's stack is painted completely black. .

Turning in Presque Isle Bay.

Turning. Note how close the vessel is to the green buoy in the foreground.


Turned and heading for the Mountfort Terminal.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


HARBOUR CLOUD has just gotten underway from her anchorage off of Port Weller and is currently inbound the Welland Canal. The vessel is looking to arrive in Erie at around 0600 on Friday to load biodiesel.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

HARBOUR CLOUD Remains at Anchor

HARBOUR CLOUD remains at anchor off of Port Weller, Ontario and is now expected in Erie sometime tomorrow or Friday. I will update when I learn more.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

HARBOUR CLOUD Remains at Anchor

HARBOUR CLOUD remains at anchor off of Port Weller, Ontario cleaning its cargo tanks before proceeding to Erie to load. I have no idea at this time when the vessel will arrive in Erie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The second biodiesel tanker of the season, the Bahamian-registered HARBOUR CLOUD, departed Clarkson, Ontario at 1500 today bound for Erie to load. The HARBOUR CLOUD should be arriving in Erie sometime on Monday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

KUBER Arrives; Layup News; Lakeshore Towing to Dredge Old Ore Dock Again

VICTORY and JAMES L. KUBER arrived in Erie this afternoon at 1215 and docked at the Old Ore Dock to discharge stone from Calcite, Michigan. This is the duo's season-leading fifth visit to the port in 2009. The MANISTEE and CALUMET are tied for second place with four visits each.

Two of the 13 thousand footers on the Great Lakes, the PRESQUE ISLE and EDGAR B. SPEER, will be spending the winter in Erie this year. The SPEER will dock at the Old Ore Dock and the PRESQUE ISLE will be at the Mountfort Terminal.

Beginning on December 2, Lakeshore Towing will be dredging the Old Ore Dock again. Dredging was just completed two years ago but the dock is silting in already, necessitating the dredging.

VICTORY/KUBER inbound. Note that the unloading boom is raised slightly to facilitate the removal of the hatch covers underneath it.

Close up.

Stern view. The boom is now returned to the cradle on deck.

Another view.

Turning for the Old Ore Dock.


Friday, November 20, 2009

MANISTEE Pays First Visit to Old Ore Dock Since RICHARD REISS Days; VICTORY/KUBER Due

MANISTEE arrived in Erie at 1645 and docked at the Old Ore Dock to unload stone from Calcite. After a short unload, the vessel departed at 2120. This is the MANISTEE's first visit to the port of Erie with stone, and its first visit to the Old Ore Dock since it's days as the RICHARD REISS with Erie Sand Steamship.

VICTORY/JAMES L. KUBER, with stone from Calcite, are expected in Erie at 1030 Saturday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MANISTEE Due; Another Load of Biodiesel to be Shipped

MANISTEE, with stone from Cedarville, is due in Erie at 1300 on Friday.

Another load of biodiesel is scheduled to be shipped from Hero BX (formerly Lake Erie Biofuels) through the port of Erie on November 24. The tanker HARBOUR CLOUD is due in Erie on the 24th and will be departing the following day. The HARBOUR CLOUD is currently on its way to Clarkson, Ontario to unload before sailing for Erie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Erie Shipbuilding News

Today's Erie Times News is reporting that the Erie County Redevelopment Authority sued Erie Shipbuilding for almost $100,000 worth of an unpaid loan and interest.

The same article, meanwhile, reports that the Erie Western-Pennsylvania Port Authority is negotiating a lease for the shipyard with a new consortium of companies that includes Erie Shipbuilding, New York-based SMH Capital (an investment firm) and New Jersey's Donjon Marine, a former customer of Erie Shipbuilding's whose orders include the WITTE 4003 and several deck barges. The company negotiating the lease is known as Newco, which is not the name it will operate under; Newco is also the name under which Erie Shipbuilding first negotiated its lease with the Port Authority in October 2005.

Time will tell what the future holds for Erie Shipbuilding, however, one thing is certain: anything that brings more jobs and work to the facility will be better than what is occuring at the yard now - virtually nothing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BOLAND Arrives

JOHN J. BOLAND arrived in Erie on its second visit of the year today, docking at the Mountfort Terminal at 1915 with stone from Calcite. The BOLAND will unload throughout the night and depart in the early morning hours.

Today, November 10, of note, marks the 34th anniversary of the sinking of the EDMUND FITZGERALD in Lake Superior.

Monday, November 9, 2009


JOHN J. BOLAND, with stone from Calcite, is expected in Erie at 1830 Tuesday evening.

Friday, October 30, 2009


In an unexpected twist to a story the Erie Shipping News has followed since the ROGER BLOUGH laid up in Erie on January 18, the BLOUGH sailed from Conneaut on Thursday at 1630 bound for Calcite, Michigan. The BLOUGH is expected to load stone there for Duluth.

The BLOUGH departed the P&C Coal Dock at 1630 and backed all the way out into Lake Erie before turning to head up the lake.

The BLOUGH's departure so late in the year is an unexpected good sign in a season that has seen many vessels stay in layup all season, or only sail partial seasons. The BLOUGH had spent the year laid up at the P&C Dock since being towed into Conneaut by the tugs MANITOU and PATRICIA HOEY on April 30.

BLOUGH tests its unloading boom at 1450 hours on Thursday. The BLOUGH's cargo holds were being cleaned of iron ore that had not been properly cleaned before layup in Erie last winter. Beneath the stern of the BLOUGH, note all the leaves in the water. They've floated down from the tree-lined Conneaut Creek.

ROGER BLOUGH backing from the Coal Dock.

Bow view

Passing the Ore Dock where the BLOUGH has unloaded many cargoes over the years.

Outbound the P&C Dock Complex.

Backing through the harbor.

Turned and headed up Lake Erie.

Sterb view.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


VICTORY and JAMES L. KUBER arrived in Erie at around 0400 on Wednesday, unloaded stone from Cedarville at the Old Ore Dock and departed at 1230 hours bound for Calcite, Michigan for another load of stone.

Both the STORM and PRAIRIELAND departed Erie early on Wednesday morning. PRAIRIELAND has returned to Dunkirk to resume her duties shuttling scows for the dredging operation there.

KUBER and VICTORY shifting at the Old Ore Dock at 0830.

Backing away from the dock shortly after noon on Wednesday.

Turning in Erie harbor.

Outbound past Buoy 9 with a flyover from a military jet and a flock of geese.


Another view.

Stern view.

J.S. St. JOHN waited at the Mountfort Terminal for the KUBER to pass before shifting to the Old Ore Dock to unload.

Stern view approaching the dock.

CANADIAN SAILOR at anchor off Buoys 1 and 2.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VICTORY/JAMES L. KUBER Due, PRAIRIELAND Returned to Water; STORM Waits Weather, Miscellaneous News and Notes

Tug VICTORY and barge JAMES L. KUBER, laden with stone from Cedarville, are due in Erie at around 0100 Wednesday morning. This is the duo's fourth visit of the season to the port of Erie. This is also the duo's first trip out after a temporary layup in Menominee, Michigan.

Tug PRAIRIELAND was returned to the water at Erie Shipbuilding yesterday. I'm not sure yet when the tug will return to Dunkirk, NY, as there was no activity on the tug today.

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy vessel STORM, of Kings Point, New York, stopped at Wolverine Marina today at 1300 to wait for stormy weather on Lake Erie to subside. Ironic, isn't it?

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a Waterways Management Study on Erie Harbor and is requesting feedback from users of the harbor. More information can be found on the Coast Guard's 9th District Notices to Mariners #41 of 2009, located online here as a PDF file.

STORM in slip A-22 at Wolverine Marina.

Another view.

Stern view.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work Continues on PRAIRIELAND

Work continues on replacing the propeller and shaft on the PRAIRIELAND, which was lifted out on October 1 by Erie Shipbuilding and placed on their property. The tug snapped the propeller right off the shaft during dredging operations in late September.

PRAIRIELAND has been replaced on the Dunkirk dredging job by its larger fleetmate, PIONEERLAND.

PRAIRIELAND at Erie Shipbuilding.

Another view.

PIONEERLAND moving a barge in Dunkirk harbor; the tug is shown bringing in an empty scow and taking out a loaded one on October 6. Watch at 6:15 as the towline breaks. I apologize for lack of updates to the Erie Shipping News this season and am committed to continuing to update this on a more regular basis.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Erie Shipping News Problems

The web host that contains all of the content (photos) of the Erie Shipping News has been down for several days for maintenance and this has kept me from updating this blog. I apologize for this and am working to get the problem corrected as soon as possible. I will have several days worth of updates to post as soon as the problem is resolved.

Friday, October 2, 2009


ADAM E. CORNELIUS, on its first visit of the 2009 season to Erie, is due in port with stone from Calcite tonight at around 2130, weather permitting.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


CALUMET arrived in Erie at 1945 this evening and is now docked at the Mountfort Terminal to unload stone. This is the CALUMET's season-leading fourth visit of the season and only the 12th stone vessel of the season. As a comparison, by this time in 2008 there were 17 stone cargoes delivered to the port at this point in the season.


CALUMET, with stone from Calcite, is expected to arrive in Erie at 1900 this evening.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


At around 2300 last night, tug PRAIRIELAND arrived in Erie under tow of DON HENRY and FLATTOP and was docked starboard-side to at Erie Shipbuilding in the West Slip. The round trip for tug DON HENRY took about 18 hours to complete, with 13 of those under tow fighting waves up to six feet high on the westbound voyage from Dunkirk.

It is unknown at this time how long repairs to the PRAIRIELAND are expected to take.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


PRAIRIELAND, under tow of tugs DON HENRY and FLATTOP, should be arriving in Erie sometime around 2230 this evening for Erie Shipbuilding.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lakeshore Towing scheduled to tow tug PRAIRIELAND from Dunkirk, NY to Erie

Wednesday morning Lakeshore Towing's tug DON HENRY is scheduled to depart Erie bound for Dunkirk, New York to take in tow the Geo. Gradel Company's tug PRAIRIELAND and bring it back to Erie. The PRAIRIELAND, which is working on maintenance dredging for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Dunkirk harbor, has apparently suffered bottom damage and will be towed to Erie Shipbuilding, where the 50-foot long, 40-ton tug will be lifted out and repaired.

PRAIRIELAND working in Dunkirk on September 8.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Tall ship DENIS SULLIVAN, on its way from Milwaukee to the East Coast for the winter, is due in Erie tomorrow morning and will be docking behind the Maritime Museum.

Monday, September 7, 2009

CALUMET arrived in Erie at 1530 hours on Thursday, September 3 with stone from Calcite, Michigan and docked at the Old Ore Dock to unload. After unloading, the vessel departed at 2200 bound for Toledo, Ohio to load coal for the Detroit Edison power plant in Marysville, Michigan.

J.S. ST. JOHN inbound about 20 minutes ahead of the CALUMET, bound for the Mountfort Terminal.

Stern view.

CALUMET inbound.

In the channel.

Turning for the Old Ore Dock.


Lining up for the Old Ore Dock.

Stern view.