Big Ships Prepare to Leave Erie Despite Thick Lake Ice - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Big Ships Prepare to Leave Erie Despite Thick Lake Ice

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Despite thick ice all around the Great Lakes, three large ships that have been undergoing winter repairs in Erie are preparing to sail in the next two weeks.

 Two of the ships are scheduled to leave port on Saturday. The third ship is set to sail on March 28. All three ships will head to the upper Great Lakes to haul bulk cargo.

 Coast Guard ice breakers will try to clear shipping lanes but still, travel is expected to be difficult.

 John Nekoloff of DonJon Shipbuilding and Repair said, "I think it is going to be a big challenge. The ice conditions are not as bad here as up north. Up north they have upwards of 4 feet of ice."

Still, the shipping companies never considered waiting for a warm up.

 Nekoloff said, "They have to get to where they are going because they have contracts with companies to pickup cargo. They have to pickup taconite, and coal. And they are obligated to those dates."

 The Great Lakes shipping season officially starts next week with the opening of the locks at Sault St. Marie.

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