September 26, 2007
Erie Shipbuilding launches barges
The Erie Times News reports that Erie Shipbuilding will today launch its first newbuilding since 1973.
At noon officials will christen and launch the Witte 4003, a 244-foot-long steel dump scow, and the Sue B, a 165-foot-long steel-deck barge.
Dirk VanEnkevort, president of Erie Shipbuilding, says the yard is also building five other 165-foot-long steel-deck barges that should be completed by December, while CEO Ned Smith says negotiations are in the works for several other new construction projects.
The Erie Times News quotes VanEnkevort as saying employment could reach 200 by spring 2008.
Donjon Marine Co is buying the $5 million Witte 4003 and is in a joint venture with a New York state company to buy the Sue B and the five steel-deck barges under construction for a total $5.7 million, VanEnkevort said.
Tugboats will tow the completed newbuildings to the East Coast via the St. Lawrence Seaway, probably in a week or two.
Erie Shipbuilding's 1,250-foot-long dry dock is the largest on the Great Lakes.
Erie Shipbuilding leases the facility from the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority.