Thursday, February 26, 2009

Video: LEE A. TREGURTHA Departs Erie, March 30, 2002

The 2002 shipping season was one of the earliest openings on record for the port of Erie when Interlake Steamship Company's LEE A. TREGURTHA arrived shortly after midnight on Saturday, March 30, 2002. The vessel, loaded with stone from Stoneport, Michigan, docked at the Old Ore Dock and unloaded through the night before departing at around 0900 hours.

This was the first of two trips the TREGURTHA made to Erie that season; the vessel hasn't been back since then. This six-minute video shows the TREGURTHA unloading and passing the RICHARD REISS as it departs.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video: BUCKEYE Towed into Erie for Barge Conversion

At 0830 on Sunday, December 4, 2005, the OLIVE L. MOORE, assisted by the Ashtabula-based Great Lakes Towing tug NEW YORK, towed the BUCKEYE into Erie harbor to Erie Shipbuilding, where over the coming months the vessel would be converted into the barge LEWIS J. KUBER. Below is video of that event.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting more video from years past as I get it converted and uploaded. Next up will be a video from April 5, 2002 of the tugs IOWA and RHODE ISLAND moving the RICHARD REISS from the Mountfort Terminal to the West Slip. I hope to have that up by sometime next week.

In addition, I will be posting videos from as far back as 1993 as I get them onto the computer and edit them.

OLIVE L. MOORE tows the BUCKEYE into the channel toward Presque Isle Bay, December 4, 2005.

Another view.

Close up of the tug OLIVE L. MOORE.

Close up of BUCKEYE. In a few months, the cabins will be completely removed and the barge will be unrecognizable as the same vessel it is on this day.

Great Lakes Towing tug NEW YORK, out of Ashtabula, Ohio, assisted the tow.

Stern view of the tow.

Close up of the BUCKEYE.

A few minutes later, on this cold December morning, the tow is in the West Slip.

NEW YORK holds the BUCKEYE alongside as Erie Shipbuilding employees moor the vessel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Video: MANISTEE in Erie, May 6, 2005

While going through some old video tapes recently I found this video of the MANISTEE that I didn't even remember I had. After editing it, I've decided to post it here for the viewing pleasure of my readers.

The MANISTEE arrived off of Erie at around 1730 hours on Friday, May 6, 2005 with a cargo of salt from Fairport Harbor, Ohio bound for the Mountfort Terminal. This was the vessel's third trip into port that season, which was its first under the name MANISTEE after carrying the name RICHARD J. REISS (later shortened to RICHARD REISS) for 62 years.

MANISTEE inbound Erie on Friday, May 6, 2005.

Another view of the classic laker.

Close up.

Stern view.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ice Continues to Pose Problems on Lake Erie, Despite Recent Thaw

Despite the recent thaw, ice continues to be a problem for tankers running on Lake Erie to and from the refineries at Nanticoke, Ontario. Three of Algoma Tankers' ships, the ALGOEAST, ALGONOVA, and ALGOSAR, have been running, with the assistance of CCGS GRIFFON, from Nanticoke to Sarnia.

Last Friday, ALGONOVA became stuck in ice outside of Ashtabula, Ohio on its way to Nanticoke. After working diligently throughout the day, the GRIFFON was able to assist the ALGONOVA as far as four miles west of Long Point before suspending operations for the night. On Saturday, south winds and warm temperatures pushed ice from the south shore of the Lake to the north, leaving the ALGONOVA stuck. The GRIFFON worked all day without success before freeing the ALGONOVA Sunday morning.

ALGONOVA finally arrived in Nanticoke during the late morning on Sunday and unloaded her cargo of petroleum products before departing on Monday evening with the GRIFFON's assistance. At the same time, on the west end of Lake Erie, ALGOEAST was escorted downbound by the USCGC HOLLYHOCK to Southeast Shoal. There, the HOLLYHOCK departed for Fairport Harbor to break open the Grand River in anticipation of the coming thaw. This is necessary to prevent the river from overrunning its banks and flooding the nearby town.

ALGONOVA and GRIFFON worked through the night heading west before the GRIFFON picked up the ALGOEAST earlier this morning to escort the vessel to Nanticoke. Reportedly, ice cover is very light on the lake until vessels arrive at a position about 25 miles west of Long Point (near Conneaut) when the ice becomes extremely heavy and windrowed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Winter Work Underway on BLOUGH, PRESQUE ISLE

Every year, around the time the Soo Lucks close on January 15, the vessels that make up the U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes fleets, with a few exceptions, lay up for the winter and their crews head home to their families for a well-deserved vacation. At this time, scores of shoreside personnel go to work. Led in Erie by Great Lakes Electrical Services and Erie Sand & Gravel, and supported by various outside contractors, these firms are tasked with completing repairs and upgrades to the vessels before they begin the new season about ten weeks after laying up.

This winter, Great Lakes Electrical Services and Erie Sand & Gravel have a long list of projects worth several hundred thousand dollars to be performed on the ROGER BLOUGH and PRESQUE ISLE while they spend the winter in Erie.

On the BLOUGH, these include engine room piping and electrical repairs, overhauling a generator and installing a rewound generator, repairs to the ECPINS navigation system and other pilothouse electronics, flooring repairs in the crew quarters, and ballast valve upgrades.

On the PRESQUE ISLE, overhauls of both the starboard engine and a generator, and various other engine room work are the main tasks scheduled for the winter. In addition, repairs to the ship's unloading system and conveyors are on the agenda, as long as a great deal of ballast tank steel replacement. The steel replacement is the reason the tug and barge were separated this winter; their separation allows the normal winter ballast to be pumped from the barge to allow the work inside the ballast tanks.

Yearly work to keep the vessels in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping regulations is also scheduled for both the BLOUGH and PRESQUE ISLE.

In other harbor news, Erie Shipbuilding LLC remains closed as the company works to secure financing to continue construction on a new 135' tug and 740' self-unloading barge they are in the process of building. I have received confirmation through several sources that the new tug is scheduled to be named CLYDE VANENKEVORT, after the father of shipyard President Dirk S. VanEnkevort. Tentatively, the new barge, being constructed for VanEnkevort Tug & Barge subsidiary Erie Trader LLC, is scheduled to be named ERIE TRADER. The unit, when complete, will be utilized primarily to haul stone to and from various Great Lakes ports for LaFarge North America on a long-term contract.

ROGER BLOUGH at dock on Sunday.

Stern view.