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.

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