Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Nadro Marine's 1,500 horsepower tug VIGILANT I arrived in Erie at 0900 this morning, and docked alongside the barge WITTE 1407 on the east side of Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair. VIGILANT I was here to take the barge out of port.

After clearing customs, the tug and barge cleared at 1325 for Valleyfield, Quebec. The VIGILANT I pushed WITTE 1407 out of port as a light barge and should be arriving at the Welland Canal at 2025 this evening.

WITTE 1407 is being taken to Valleyfield to load a special cargo - the antenna for the new World Trade Center under construction in New York City. After loading, the barge will be taken to Albany, New York, where it will be picked up next week by Donjon's big tug ATLANTIC SALVOR and taken to New York City.

Meanwhile, at Donjon's yard, work continues on new dumpscow WITTE 4004. The barge was floated today for testing, and will be reset on the blocks tomorrow or Thursday for a few more days. Reportedly, tug VIGILANT I will return next week to tow WITTE 4004 out of Erie.

After that, FARRELL 256 will return to drydock for more work, involving the removal of the barge's house for interior steel work.

Erie is expecting five ships for winter layup, with two of them being the thousand-footers EDWIN H. GOTT and PRESQUE ISLE. The other three are reportedly to layup at Donjon.

Of note, the only other time VIGILANT I was in Erie was April 18, 2003, when it towed the J.S. St. JOHN to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

VIGILANT I inbound Erie this morning.

Stern view.

VIGILANT I entered the West Slip before being informed by a Donjon employee working on FARRELL 256 that the barge they were here for was, in fact, moored on the other side of the shipyard.

Turning in the slip.

Turned and departing the West Slip.

Mooring alongside WITTE 1407 a few minutes later.

A crew member on the VIGILANT I puts the red starboard light on the barge. These portable lights are required by navigation regulations, but not often permanently mounted to deck barges due to a lack of power. Therefore, these portable, battery powered units are carried on tugs and installed when needed.

Clearing U.S. Customs.

VIGILANT I tests its towline by pulling on the east side of the slip.

Backing the barge out of the slip.

Approaching the channel in an east wind, which is pushing water into the rake of the barge and causing a large bow wave.


Passing the Coast Guard station.

Outbound. This is likely the last time the WITTE 1407 will be in Erie, as it is expected to enter service for Donjon Marine on the east coast after delivery of its cargo.

St. JOHN inbound a few minutes after the VIGILANT I and WITTE 1407 depart.

Passing the Erie Pierhead lighthouse.

Stern view, bound for the Old Ore Dock.

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