Tuesday 9 February 2021

Former Self Unloader ATLANTIC ERIE

And then there was one final piece to be placed to complete my latest Jigsaw Planet puzzle on Saturday morning, a major portion of the CSL Group's corporate flag emblem that's painted on the bow of all of their Canada Steamship Lines Great Lakes bulk carriers like their former self unloader ATLANTIC ERIE  which was being raised at Lock 7 in Thorold, the last of seven Welland Canal flight locks on May 24, 2013. The actual flag can be seen flapping in the wind from the ERIE's forward mast as she was be raised and then getting underway in these photos taken at a small observation area that use to be the vehicle approach for a jack-knife or bascule bridge that has since been removed. It's not a bad vantage point at all to see the activities in the lock with actual fence sections wide enough to let a camera lens poke through.  👍📷👍

Along the east approach wall, fleetmate 739' 10" CSL NIAGARA waits for ATLANTIC ERIE to pass before continuing her downbound passage and entrance into Lock 7.

Photo by Jeff Cameron - Sept 23, 1988. See more at https://www.shiphotos.com
Originally launched as the HON. PAUL MARTIN in 1984, this versatile 736' 7" Great Lakes and ocean-class self-unloading bulk carrier was known to carry grain from Thunder Bay to terminals on the Lower St. Lawrence, and then gypsum from Nova Scotia,  to ports in the southern US, the Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico. In 1988 her name was changed to ATLANTIC ERIE to reflect the vessel's ocean and Great Lakes services. Soon after she was flagged Bahamas and transported various cargoes to Spain, Germany, Holland and more. In 1989 she was re-flagged Canadian with Halifax as her home port and primarily operated on the Great Lakes and Canada's east coast carrying grain, coal, iron ore, aggregates and road salt. She even unloaded magnetite ore to ballast an Hibernia Oil Platform off the Grand Banks.

I first photographed the ATLANTIC ERIE on July 7th, 2012 as she manoeuvred her way past a variety of markers and buoys near Mariatown while heading upbound towards the Seaway's, Iroquois Lock.
Since the HON. PAUL MARTIN was built to the new Seaway-max length, she was the longest vessel ever built at the then Georgian Bay located shipyard. 

On September 26, 2014 we were returning home from our 40th Wedding Anniversary road trip and "Old Stomping Ground Tour to Windsor" when we caught the downbound ATLANTIC ERIE again being walked through Iroquois Lock. Also got some nice pics of her as the sun was beginning to set at the lock and further down river on Dr. Steven's Drive. 

While I was trying to get a few in-your-face pics along the high-banked shoreline there,  my better half Janice, caught the ATLANTIC ERIE and CSL NIAGARA meeting again in what looked like a very close encounter of any kind. That's me barely visible above the sumac bushes to the right.
Like the old Double-mint Gum jingle, "they were like two, two, two boats in one" 😀....

...and then they were on their way heading in different directions.

The ATLANTIC ERIE's self unloading boom was decked out with Christmas lights when I caught her for the last time on Boxing Day 2014. The rendezvous was especially meaningful as it turned out to be her last downbound passage out of the Great Lakes because less than a month later  on January 15, 2015, she sustained significant damage after grounding on a sand bar off Iles-de-la-Madelaine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. She made it back up to Montreal on January 19th but never left the port again under her own power. Renamed SPIRIT OF SHPONGLE,  the former hardworking lady of the high and inland seas, left Montreal under tow on November 4, 2016 for Aliaga, Turkey where she has since been dismantled. Gone but not forgotten 😔


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