Presque Isle

Presque Isle / Presque Isle

1973-Present

Integrated Barge, Self-Unloading Bulk Carrier

Paired with Tugboat Presque Isle

Presque Isle awaiting passage at the Soo Locks, September 2, 2019. Photo by Roger LeLievre

Specs

Build Information

Bow Sections

Year Built: 1972

Builder: DeFoe Shipbuilding Company, Bay City, Michigan

Hull #447

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: July 27, 1972

Cargo Section

Year Built: 1973

Builder: Erie Marine, Erie, Pennsylvania [Litton Industries]

Hull #102

Entire Barge

Registry: See tugboat Presque Isle

IMO # See tugboat Presque Isle

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: —

Commissioned: December 16, 1973

Paired Tugboats:

Construction

The Presque Isle was constructed as a self-unloading integrated tug/barge unit for Litton Great Lakes Corporation. The tug/barge unit was intended to operate as part of Litton’s Wilson Transit Company, but Litton sold Wilson before the barge was completed. The tugboat was constructed by Halter Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana. The barge was constructed by two different shipyards on the Great Lakes. The bow portion of Presque Isle was built by DeFoe Shipbuilding in Bay City, Michigan, being towed to Erie, Pennsylvania by the tugs Laurence C. Turner and Maryland in October 1972. The cargo section and notch were being built by Litton Industries’ Erie Marine Shipyard where the 1,000-Footer Stewart J. Cort was built the year before. The bow section was welded to the cargo section in early 1973. The tug/barge Presque Isle was designed as an integrated tug/barge unit, with the tug fitting into a specially-designed notch where it would rigidly lock in, and the pair would sail as one vessel. It was designed with intentions to take advantage of the U.S. Coast Guard’s tug/barge manning requirements, but since the tug was not deemed seaworthy on its own, it had to operate with an full-size crew. The pair was built at a cost of about $35 Million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

Together, the tug/barge Presque Isle became the Great Lakes’ second 1,000-Footer.

Her self-unloading equipment consists of a dual hold belt system leading to twin aft-located rotary elevators that feed a 250′ deck-mounted boom.

Modifications

  • Forward forecastle reinforced.

General Stats

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 1,000′

Length Overall [Barge]: 974’06”

Breadth: 104’07”

Depth: 46’06”

Loaded Draft: 28’07”

Capacity: 57,500 Tons

Vessel Type: Rotary-Bucket Elevator Self-Unloader; Barge

Self-Unloading Boom Length: Aft-Mounted; 250′

Number of Cargo Holds: 5 [Hatch-Hold Arrangement: 6-5-5-5-6]

Number of Hatches: 27 [Dimensions: 71’x20′]

Primary Operations: Ore, Coal, Stone Trades


History

Lineage

Presque Isle – 1973-1975

Owner: Crocker National Bank, Los Angeles, CA, trustee, [managed by Litton Great Lakes Corp.]

Operator: Litton Great Lakes Corp., Erie, PA

Flag: United States

Home Port: Los Angeles, CA


Presque Isle – 1975-1981

Owner: Crocker National Bank, Los Angeles, CA, trustee, [managed by Litton Great Lakes Corp.]

Owner: USS Great Lakes Fleet, New York, NY [U.S. Steel Corp.]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Los Angeles, California


Presque Isle – 1981-1988

Owner: Crocker National Bank, Los Angeles, CA, trustee, [managed by Litton Great Lakes Corp.]

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Duluth, MN

Flag: United States

Home Port: Los Angeles, California


Presque Isle – 1988-1998

Owner: Crocker National Bank, Los Angeles, CA, trustee, [managed by Litton Great Lakes Corp.]

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., Duluth, MN [Blackstone Capital Partners]

Flag: United States

Home Port: Los Angeles, California


Presque Isle – 1998-2004

Owner: USX Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., Duluth, MN [Blackstone Capital Partners]

Operator: USX Great Lakes Fleet

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN


Presque Isle – 2004-Present

Owner: Great Lakes Fleet, Inc., Duluth, MN [Canadian National Railway]

Operator: Key Lakes Inc., Duluth, MN

Flag: United States

Home Port: Duluth, MN


Her Story

During the late 1960’s, Litton Industries constructed a new modern shipyard at Erie, Pennsylvania, to construct ships that took full advantage of the new Poe Lock under construction at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. After constructing the Stewart J. Cort, Litton began construction on another 1,000-Footer, but this one would turn out to be quite unique. The Presque Isle was constructed as a self-unloading integrated tug/barge unit for Litton Great Lakes Corporation. The tug/barge unit was intended to operate as part of Litton’s Wilson Transit Company, but Litton sold Wilson before the barge was completed.

The tugboat was constructed by Halter Marine of New Orleans, Louisiana, being launched on December 12, 1972. She departed New Orleans after completion on October 29, 1973, bound for the shipyard in Erie. The barge was constructed by two different shipyards on the Great Lakes. The bow portion of Presque Isle was built by DeFoe Shipbuilding in Bay City, Michigan, being towed to Erie, Pennsylvania by the tugs Laurence C. Turner and Maryland in October 1972. The cargo section and notch were being built by Litton Industries’ Erie Marine Shipyard where the 1,000-Footer Stewart J. Cort was built the year before. The bow section was welded to the cargo section in early 1973. The tug/barge Presque Isle was designed as an integrated tug/barge unit, with the tug fitting into a specially-designed notch where it would rigidly lock in, and the pair would sail as one vessel. It was designed with intentions to take advantage of the U.S. Coast Guard’s tug/barge manning requirements, but since the tug was not deemed seaworthy on its own, it had to operate with an full-size crew. The pair was built at a cost of about $35 Million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970.

The pair entered service on December 16, 1973, hauling one load of ore before laying up at Erie, Pennsylvania, for the winter.

In 1975, the United States Steel Corporation, experiencing shipyard delays, signed a 25-year lease on the Presque Isle with Litton Great Lakes Corporation. U. S. Steel wanted to build a few 1,000-Footers, but backlogs at shipyards forced them to wait. The agreement proved to be a win-win, as U.S. Steel needed a 1,000-Footer, and Litton wanted to find a home for theirs.

The Presque Isle fit in well with the U.S. Steel trade routes, carrying ore from their upper lakes docks to their mill in Gary. If demand was low, the Presque Isle had large enough cubic capacities to be efficient in the coal and stone trades as well. Upon entering service for U.S. Steel, she went right to work as part of their winter navigation fleet during the late 1970’s.

On April 12, 1990, the Presque Isle rammed the approach wall to the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. She was repaired at Superior, Wisconsin a few days later.

The Presque Isle became the first vessel to utilize the unloading hopper at the DM&IR ore dock at Duluth on July 25, 1995. The hopper was installed to receive shipments of limestone for use in making taconite pellets.

USX Great Lakes Fleet, Presque Isle‘s operator, acquired 100% of Litton Great Lakes Corporation stock on November 1, 1997. Full ownership of the tug/barge pair was taken over by USX Great Lakes Fleet in 1998.

Blackstone Capital Partners, majority stockholders of USX Great Lakes Fleet, sold the fleet in 2004, being renamed Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. after ownership was transferred to the Canadian National Railway. The fleet’s ships remained under U.S. ownership. The Presque Isle finally received her black and grey diagonal stripes on her bow in the early 2010’s.

The Presque Isle continues to serve the iron ore, coal, and stone trades on the Great Lakes for Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. of Duluth, Minnesota.


Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 27, 2020



Sources

Ahoy & Farewell II. Marine Historical Society of Detroit, 1996. Pp. 31-32.

Bawal, Raymond A., Jr. Superships of the Great Lakes. Inland Expressions, 2011. Pp. 17-21.

Berry, Sterling P. “Presque Isle 2”. Great Lakes Vessel History: Vessel Histories of Sterling P. Berry. N.d. Accessed 27 April 2020. <https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/histories-by-name/p/presque-isle-2>

Devendorf, John F. Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, 1869-1985. John F. Devendorf, 1996. Pp. 188.

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 4.15.

Miller, Al. Tin Stackers: The History of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company. Wayne State University Press, 1999. Pp. 233-234, 254, 258, 302.

Pennock, Isaac. “Presque Isle”. Great Lakes Tugs & Workboats. N.d. Accessed 27 April 2020. <https://gltugs.wordpress.com/presque-isle/>

Thompson, Mark L. Queen of the Lakes. Wayne State University Press, 1994. Pp. 193.