ERIE — The remainder of the U.S. Brig Niagara’s sailing schedule has been canceled due to propeller issues requiring a lengthy repair time, according to an announcement on Monday from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Flagship Niagara League (FNL).
Since learning of the loss of the starboard propeller that led to what was hoped to be a temporary suspension of the season last week, PHMC and FNL have been working together to resolve the matter.
The commission’s decision to officially cancel the season was based on reviewing the detailed repair options and accompanying timelines provided by Capt. William Sabatini, executive director and fleet captain of the league.
After reviewing all the options, PHMC has decided to replace the Niagara’s propellers with in-kind custom-fabricated propellers, saving money on repairs in the long run and allowing the ship to operate without undue stress to the engines. The variable-pitch propellers will take a minimum of 76 days to fabricate and install at a cost of approximately $120,000.
“Canceling the remainder of the Niagara’s sailing season comes as great disappointment to PHMC, the Flagship Niagara League, our volunteers, and community supporters,” said Melissa Mann, PHMC’s director of historic sites and museums. “Our next step will be to sail the Niagara to shipyard to replace the propellers and install new generators as previously planned. While at the shipyard, a full survey of the ship’s mechanical and maintenance needs will be conducted in order to develop a long-term maintenance and preservation plan to ensure many successful future sailing seasons. I commend the Flagship Niagara League and Erie Maritime Museum staff for their hard work and dedication in developing the best path forward for the Niagara.”
The league will be contacting anyone who is registered to sail on the Niagara to issue refunds.
While the propellers are being fabricated and before the ship travels to shipyard in Cleveland for repairs, the Niagara will be open for deck tours at the Erie Maritime Museum on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.