Canadian Coast Guard ship GRIFFON arrived on station with the THUNDER BAY on Wednesday night at 2030 hours, and dropped anchor in the ice near the beset laker. After completing a crew change in Port Colborne yesterday, GRIFFON's first assignment was to break out Erie harbor at daylight and allow the 2013-built laker, which had been waiting since Sunday for assistance, to dock for winter layup at Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair.
GRIFFON and THUNDER BAY got underway this morning around 0730 and were inbound through the channel, in front of a large crowd of onlookers, at around 0930 for the West Slip. After GRIFFON broke open the harbor and slip, THUNDER BAY docked on the east side of the West Slip and was secured for the season by 1130 hours.
THUNDER BAY, built in 2013 at Chengxi Shipyard in China, is one of six Trillum Class lakers built for Canada Steamship Lines since 2012. The ship, the first of the Trillium Class ships to visit Erie, is completing a long first full season on the Great Lakes, having only sailed about five months during the 2013-14 season. THUNDER BAY had been scheduled to dock at 1700 on Sunday, but the Great Lakes Towing tug NEW YORK, ordered to sail from Ashtabula, couldn't break free of the frozen harbor there, forcing the ship to wait for icebreaking assistance.
RT. HON. PAUL J. MARTIN, a fleetmate of THUNDER BAY, is expected later this week. The ship transited the St. Clair River yesterday and is currently at anchor in the Detroit River awaiting icebreaker escort across Lake Erie.
The layups of MARTIN and THUNDER BAY in Erie make Canada Steamship Lines the second most-frequent customer of Donjon in terms of vessels, behind the combined fleet of Lower Lakes Towing and Grand River Navigation. Since October 2013, FRONTENAC, CSL LAURENTIEN, ATLANTIC HURON, CSL NIAGARA, and now THUNDER BAY and PAUL J. MARTIN have undergone work at the yard.
Photos will follow tomorrow.