After spending the night in Erie at Dobbin's Landing, USCGC NEAH BAY departed Erie this morning at 0900 to prepare a track for CSL LAURENTIEN.
CSL LAURENTIEN's crew spent the morning going through safety meetings and a fire and boat drill. The vessel finally backed away from the West Slip at Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair at 1300 and departed for Conneaut, Ohio, where the ship will load taconite pellets for Quebec City, where they will be shipped overseas. It is entirely possible that LAURENTIEN will be the first downbound transit of the Welland Canal, which opens March 28.
Ice conditions were reported by NEAH BAY to be a "smorgasbord" with open water giving way to high windrows within mere feet. LAURENTIEN got as far as Beach 9 before getting stuck in the ice this afternoon around 1400. After several hours of breaking work by the NEAH BAY, the vessel has pushed a few miles further; the crew spent some time searching for the track made by EDWIN H. GOTT's departure on Sunday but winds over the past few days have filled the track with windrowed ice.
To maintain proper crew rest, NEAH BAY's crew only operates in ice for twelve hours per day and will be stopping for the night at 1930 hours; icebreaking operations will resume after daylight on Thursday.
NEAH BAY outbound Erie at 0900.
Stern view of NEAH BAY.
Into the ice.
Work being done by Chivers Construction on the west wall of the West Slip.
LAURENTIEN ballasted to 13' forward and 23' aft.
Backing away from the dock shortly after 1300.
Turning to head outbound.
Coming around the Mountfort Terminal.
LAURENTIEN in line for the channel.
Passing the lighthouse.
LAURENTIEN heads into the ice field.
CSL LAURENTIEN beset in the ice as NEAH BAY makes a pass.
Another view of the beset LAURENTIEN.