Click below to hear her whistle on October 20, 2011
This unusual vessel is a barge at the bow and a tug at the stern. The tug fits into a notch in the barge section. The tug was built by Halter Marine Services in New Orleans. The bow of the barge was built in 1972 in Bay City, Michigan. The body of the barge was built in Erie in 1973. All the sections were joined there. Collectively the Presque Isle measures 1,000 feet in length and is considered one of the 13 US flagged thousand footers working the Great Lakes today. She has 27 hatches on deck that open into 5 cargo compartments. The barge is fitted with a 250-foot self-unloading boom that allows her to unload her own cargo. The vessel has a maximum carrying capacity of 57,500 tons.
Picture above taken Monday, November 9, 2009.
Above, at winter layup at the Port Terminal on January 15, 2014; below, entering the Duluth harbor on August 25, 2014. She first stopped at Calumet Fuel and then went on to load iron ore pellets at the CN.
Above, the Presque Isle came into port on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 11:30 in the morning with limestone loaded in Cedarville to discharge at the Hallett #5 dock in West Duluth. She then moved next door to the CN dock to get a partial load of iron ore pellets, before leaving Duluth for Two Harbors to complete the load. It was her 8th trip to the Twin Ports that season.
Above, she is at the CN dock loading iron ore pellets on January 6. 2011; below, she is about to go under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on October 20, 2011 after loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth.
Above, she arrives Duluth with a cargo of limestone on November 9, 2009. After discharging the limestone, she loaded a partial cargo of iron ore pellets at the CN in Duluth and then went to Two Harbors CN to complete the iron ore pellet cargo.
Picture above taken July 28, 2007
The Presque Isle came into port on August 22, 2007 and was greeted by an armada of sailboats (above). That was fitting since the boat gave a Captain’s salute as she came in, 3 long and 2 short whistles (click below to hear the salute). The Lift Bridge answered the same back, in honor of Captain Bill Jeffery who died in Duluth on July 29. He was in New Orleans in 1972 when the tug Presque Isle was built and sailed the tug out into the Atlantic Ocean, up to the St. Lawrence Seaway and down to Erie, Pennsylvania. There it was joined with the barge named Presque Isle to form the new thousand-foot vessel named the Presque Isle. Then he climbed aboard the new boat and served as her captain until he retired 15 years later.
Bill was born in Duluth, got married in Duluth, and with his wife, Kathryn, raised 3 children in Duluth. It was nice to hear the vessel give a final salute to its first captain as it entered the ship canal last night and for Duluth to answer back.
Picture above taken Thursday, April 22, 2004 to load iron ore pellets at the CN Dock in West Duluth
Above and below picture taken on February 27, 2003: the Presque Isle spent the winter of 2002-03 in the ice at the Port Terminal; I had a chance to visit while they were finishing up a winter of maintenance and upgrade to the boat.
Most 1,000-footers on the Great Lakes are drained of all water, including ballast water, while they are in port for the winter. That makes the boats light and they sit high in the water. When the Presque Isle is drained of water, the tug is completely out of the water. Any independent movement will strain the mechanism (below) that holds them together. Before going to her layup dock at the Port Terminal, she went straight to the DM&IR Dock in Duluth to load the cargo she needed to safely spend the winter at the Port Terminal with both segments in the water (ice). The cargo, in this case a small load of iron ore pellets, provided buoyancy to the boat that the ballast water would normally do.
Every five years, commercial boats must undergo a 5-year Coast Guard inspection in dry dock which allows inspectors and workers to have easy access to the entire boat. When the Presque Isle’s turn comes, rather than spending her winter layup in Duluth, she goes to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where the two parts are first disconnected. The tug then leaves the barge there for her inspection and goes to one of several Canadian ports to get her inspection since she is too deep for most US dry docks. When done with the inspection, the tug returns to claim her better half and begin the new season (no picture).
Above, on June 18, 2002, she loaded iron ore pellets at the CN dock in West Duluth.
Above and below, she arrived Duluth on August 1, 2002.