Friday, December 31, 2010

Erie Shipping News: End of the Year Wrap Up

It has become a tradition that on December 31 I write an end of the year wrap up and recap the port's activity, the biggest stories of the year, and look ahead at the coming year.

After a 2009 season that was one of the worst in years, Erie saw improvement in some areas in 2010, while seeing a decrease in others. Overall, 28 vessels visited the port either delivering or loading cargoes of stone, sand, salt, machinery, locomotives, or biodiesel in 2010. This is down from 29 in 2009.

Stone cargoes were down from 2009, with 16 cargoes of stone delivered to the port of Erie this year, compared to 18 in 2009. Salt cargoes stayed the same, with four loads delivered. Only three loads of sand were delivered this season, compared to four in 2009. And only one load of biodiesel was shipped out, compared to two in 2009.

Two loads of machinery were imported to the port this year; both were delivered by the FEDERAL POWER. This is double last year's amount, when only one load of machinery was delivered to the port. Two loads of machinery departed the port this year: one in July aboard the WITTE 1406 bound for Cleveland, and the recent shipment of locomotives bound for Newport, Wales. This is compared to one load last year aboard SEDNA DESGAGNES.

First-time visitors to the port of Erie this year were BELUGA ENDURANCE, FEDERAL POWER, and NORDIC STOCKHOLM.

The leading visitors to the port of Erie this year were the H. LEE WHITE and MANISTEE with four visits each, followed by the SAM LAUD and VICTORY/JAMES L. KUBER with three. FEDERAL POWER, JOHN J. BOLAND, JOSEPH H. THOMPSON, and MISSISSAGI were other repeat visitors with two visits each.

Complete listings of vessels visiting the port of Erie can be found here in PDF form:

The five biggest stories of 2010, as determined by the readers of this blog based on the number of times each post was viewed, are as follows:

5. Tall Ships Erie. Held from September 9-12, this festival brought six tall ships to Erie as a fundraiser for the Flagship Niagara League. Two ships, the PATHFINDER and PLAYFAIR, were forced to cancel.

4. The non-loading of the CLIPPER LOYALTY in November. This is noteworthy because it highlights the dredging crisis that has gripped the Great Lakes; the LOYALTY was loaded too deeply to safely exit the port if it had loaded.

3. The resurgence of Donjon Shipbuilding. Donjon's story was well-publicized in the Erie media and on this blog, where I have been following the story of the shipyard closely since the beginning.

2. The locomotive shipment. This is the first time GE has shipped locomotives from the port since 2006.

1. The floating of the tug KEN BOOTHE SR. This is perhaps the biggest story covered on this blog, and goes in part to the resurgence of Donjon. One year and one day after announcing their purchase of the assets of the defunct Erie Shipbuilding, Donjon launched its first newbuilding, and the first powered vessel ever built entirely at the facility.

Over the coming year I look forward to covering the continued successes of Donjon Shipbuilding and Erie Sand & Gravel. I wish all of my readers a happy, safe, and prosperous New Year 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The name of the new barge under construction at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair has been announced. In Donjon's Fall 2010 newsletter, accessible online here, the barge has been announced to be SEAJON ENTERPRISE, which honors the new partnership between Donjon and Seacor Marine. I had first reported that Erie Shipbuilding was in talks with Seacor on December 30, 2008, and nearly two years later it appears Seacor now has a presence in Erie.

In addition, according to the article, the yard is planning to build a mid-gate at the 800' mark of the drydock for 2011. This will allow the drydock to be flooded in two separate sections and allow construction to continue while vessels are drydocked.

The article states, I should point out, that the tug and barge will have a length overall of 913 feet. If this is true this will mean the barge will be over 800 feet long, making it much bigger than the JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT/GREAT LAKES TRADER, the ATB that it was originally to be based on.

Revised 01/18/11: Barge length, according to Donjon, will be 740'. The newsletter appears to have been a mistake.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


MANISTEE arrived in Erie at 0315 this morning and docked at the Mountfort Terminal to unload salt from Fairport Harbor. MANISTEE has yet to start unloading and will probably be leaving sometime this evening, depending on unloading time and weather.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Below is a 23-minute long video of the move of the tug KEN BOOTHE SR. on Wednesday. The new tug was moved out of drydock and to the West Slip by tug NEW YORK.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Great Lakes Towing's tug NEW YORK arrived from Ashtabula this morning and began breaking ice in Erie harbor in preparation for the move of the tug KEN BOOTHE SR from the drydock at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair.

At 0800 the tug NEW YORK moved the WITTE 1406 to the east side of the shipyard across from the J.S. St. JOHN, and then moved the WITTE 1407 to the east end of the Mountfort Terminal. The movements will allow a vessel to be docked in the West Slip this winter.

At around 0930 shipyard crews removed the drydock gate, and at 1045 hours this morning the NEW YORK began to tow the tug KEN BOOTHE SR. out of the drydock, turning the tug in the harbor and backing it in to the north end of the West Slip. The BOOTHE will remain here all winter and is scheduled to be completed sometime in mid-February.

I will have video of this move posted tomorrow, along with video of the BELUGA ENDURANCE.

NEW YORK and WITTE 1406 sit at the Old Ore Dock.

NEW YORK sits in the ice near the Mountfort Terminal.

NEW YORK turning at the West Slip. In a moment the tug will begin backing toward the WITTE 1407.

Backing toward the WITTE 1407.

Securing a line to the barge.

Pushing the barge out of the dock, bound for the Mountfort Terminal.

Stern view.

Stern view of the tow as it heads into icy Erie harbor.

NEW YORK pulls the KEN BOOTHE SR out of drydock.

Releasing the tow line.

NEW YORK backs around the KEN BOOTHE SR.

KEN BOOTHE SR. is the first powered vessel to be built entirely in Erie. Although PRESQUE ISLE and the STEWART J. CORT were assembled here, they were not completely built here.

NEW YORK swings the BOOTHE around.

Stern-on view as the NEW YORK moves the tug.

Approaching the slip.

Nearing the dock.

Close up of the NEW YORK.

Approaching the dock.

Pulling on the tug.

Close up.

This 135-foot long, 10,500 horespower tug is a sister to the JOYCE L. VANENKEVORT.

NEW YORK pushes the BOOTHE into position.

NEW YORK moves around the tug.


Backing around to stop and dock for lunch.

Lowering a gangway onto the KEN BOOTHE SR.

Video of the NEW YORK moving the WITTE 1407.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The new, elevated pilothouse was placed on the tug KEN BOOTHE SR. today in the graving dock at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair, and the tug is scheduled to be floated from the drydock and into the West Slip tomorrow morning. Sources report that part of the shipyard's crew will report for work at 0300 and begin work; the yard would like to have the tug ready to be moved by 1000 or 1100 in case of ice near the drydock gate.

At that time, the completed modules of the new barge under construction will be moved into the drydock, and the drydock door will remain open all winter.


BELUGA ENDURANCE departed Erie at 0900 this morning after spending nearly an hour turning in Presque Isle Bay. The vessel is expecting to be at Long Point at 1015 and CIP 16 (Port Colborne) at 1330. The ENDURANCE will be changing pilots at CIP 16 today and will be taking pilots all the way to Montreal with a load of canola seed and flax seed from Thunder Bay and locomotives from Erie. The BELUGA ENDURANCE will be stopping in Montreal for bunkers (fuel).

Calling in at Long Point right after the BELUGA ENDURANCE, and also downbound, was the HERMANN SCHOENING, with a cargo of corn from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and also bound for Montreal to bunker. The vessel, drafting 8.00 meters on both ends, was altering course toward the Canadian shore so that it could get cell phone coverage to call the Seaway Authority for service. The pilot reported that every member of the ship's crew was sick with food poisoning symptoms and the ship will need to be fumigated before continuing its downbound transit.

Video will follow this evening.

BELUGA ENDURANCE heads into Presque Isle Bay to turn around.



Another view.

Ice in the bay is reported at 5 to 6 inches thick.

In the channel the ice was not nearly as thick, having been broken open last night.

Close up of the BELUGA ENDURANCE.

Crew member on the BELUGA watches the vessel head outbound.

Ice on the vessel built up during its downbound transit.

Passing the Coast Guard station.

Stern view.

Next stop: Montreal.

HERMANN SCHOENING upbound in the Welland Canal bound for Milwaukee on December 12.

Stern view. Note the man on the ladder. The ladder was lowered here to check the vessel's draft markings, much to the pilot's dismay.

Entering Lock 2. On the 2010-built vessel's upbound transit, the bow thruster was not working.

Monday, December 20, 2010


The last of the GE Class 70 locomotives was loaded onto the BELUGA ENDURANCE this morning at about 1000. The crew of the ship has spent the rest of the day preparing the ship for its voyage. The BELUGA ENDURANCE has a departure prospect of sometime tomorrow.

The crane prepares to lift 70008.

Beginning to lift.

Turning the locomotive.


At deck level and beginning to swing the locomotive over the ship.

Close up of 70008.

Almost over the ship's hold.


Loading was completed on BELUGA ENDURANCE at around 1030 this morning, and the vessel is currently preparing to get underway. BELUGA ENDURANCE should depart sometime today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


BELUGA ENDURANCE, after enduring a slow transit across Lake Erie, arrived at the piers at 0720 this morning and slowly proceeded inbound to the Mountfort Terminal. At 0736 the vessel became stuck in the ice about 150 feet off of the dock.

Due to the miles of red tape that surround the U.S. Coast Guard's Operation Coal Shovel, the icebreaking operation for Lake Erie, the ENDURANCE had no assistance from Coast Guard Cutter HOLLYHOCK while arriving this morning. The pilot on the vessel had requested assistance from the HOLLYHOCK in breaking open the harbor so that the BELUGA ENDURANCE will have an easier time turning and departing tomorrow, to which the HOLLYHOCK told the pilot that they could not simply break open the harbor; the pilot needed to contact the Ice Operations Officer at Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

At 0900 the crew at the Mountfort Terminal began moving the five locomotives from the south track to the north track so that they may be loaded aboard BELUGA ENDURANCE and taken to Wales, which is the ultimate destination of the units.

The dock crew also used a backhoe to break ice around the dock for the BELUGA ENDURANCE, which took more than two hours to secure to the dock due to ice.

BELUGA ENDURANCE is expected to depart sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. HOLLYHOCK departed at around 1300 today.

I will post all of this video (there is nearly an hour worth of video of today's events) sometime tomorrow along with an update on the loading.


Another view.

Cracking the thinnest ice in the harbor.

Stern view.

Stuck fast.

Working in the ice.

By moving back and forth, the vessel's pilot was attempting to break the ice between him and the dock, with some success.

Getting closer to the dock.

All of the locomotives due to be shipped are shown in this picture.

HOLLYHOCK working at Buoy 5.

Inbound to drop off buoys.

70009 being moved to the north track.

This front-end loader moves toward the railcar to start pushing.

Pushing it onto the north track.

HOLLYHOCK at dock.

Lifting a buoy.

Ice fishermen off of Dobbin's Landing. Ice is reportedly 5 to 6 inches thick.

At 1600 this afternoon loading had yet to begin.