St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

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St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:32 am

The crew of the bulk carrier PACIFIC HURON are spending a few extra days in the St. Lawrence River southwest from Wellsley Island. They departed from the Picton Terminal (Picton, Ontario) bound for Montreal with a cargo of soybeans. The 653-foot ship wandered about 1,000-feet outside the navigation channel and put the bow aground late on Wednesday, December 27. They are still there this morning, Saturday, December 30, 2017, according to AIS data from MARINETRAFFIC.COM:

pacificHuronAground.jpg
From MARINETRAFFIC.COM
pacificHuronAground.jpg (51.3 KiB) Viewed 12739 times

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby Don SSDD » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:41 am

Happy New Year, still there. Must need a tug.
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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby mdono » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:17 pm

According to a friend on the river: the [PACIFIC HURON was] re-floated on Saturday night.

It was -24-degrees today. [Fahrenheit]

They put in divers to inspect the ship bottom.

The Seaway officially closed yesterday. I am wWondering what will happen to [the PACIFIC HURON].--M

ship aground.jpg
ship aground.jpg (76.69 KiB) Viewed 12651 times

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:30 pm

Many thanks for posting that nice picture. I really appreciate you going down to the lakeshore and taking that shot. Good work.

I wonder if any cargo was off-loaded. The PACIFIC HURON does not look like it has a self-unloader boom and conveyor. She looks like a stick-ship. If the cargo was partially off-loaded, it must have been quite a bit of work to move it with her cranes. I'd guess the cargo would probably be put onto a barge or something with shallow draft that could come alongside safely near the bow.

Or perhaps the PACIFIC HURON was able to shift some ballast or fuel in her various tanks to decrease draft forward.

If the locks on the St. Lawrence between there and Montreal are shut down for the season, the PACIFIC HURON could be spending some unanticipated time in her current portion of the seaway.

Here is a link to a maritime shipping website account:

https://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/ ... ce-seaway/

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:27 pm

Here is the notice from the Seaway commission re closing of navigation:

http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/pdf ... 171121.pdf

It looks like the deadline for transiting the Lake Ontario to Montreal section was Noon on December 31, 2017.

If the cargo is going to get to Montreal, it does not sound like it will be going by ship on the seaway.

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:04 am

The vessel is owned by Freese Shipping GmbH & Co. KG, where she is known as the MS SEVEN ISLANDS. She is under time charter to Hyundai Merchant Marine of Korea and trades under the name PACIFIC HURON.

The ship was built in 2010--quite a new ship by Great Lakes standards--at the Guoyu Shipyard in China. See more about her at

http://www.freeseship.com/index.php/the ... en-islands

A few years ago she loaded grain in Duluth in November and sailed for Venezuela.

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:44 am

Surprising that she just passed buoy 217 on [starboard] and must have been aiming for buoy 216A and 216 on port but kept too far to port where it is only 9-feet deep.

The St. Lawrence is a tricky river even for shallow draft Boston Whaler boats. One minute it is 200-feet deep and the next it is 2-feet deep, within 30-feet of each other.
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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:48 am

It is not clear to me that there were any buoys to aim for. It is common for the USCG to remove aids to navigation from the water before the water freezes solid for the winter. The ship may have been navigating without the ability to use floating aids to navigation as indicators of where the navigation channel was located.

Also, the ship very likely had a pilot aboard, unless the master of the ship was qualified to navigate those waters. Typically foreign-flagged vessels are obligated to hire a pilot.

The position of the ship when aground was described by the USCG as 1,000-feet from the navigation channel.

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:50 pm

Here is a graphic I created. It shows the AIS position of PACIFIC HURON when aground (from the graphic posted earlier in the thread) combined with ENC chart data:

chartPlusAIS_PACIFICHURON.jpg
Approximate position of PACIFIC HURON when aground
chartPlusAIS_PACIFICHURON.jpg (51.58 KiB) Viewed 12542 times


The green arrow in the chart shows the preferred passage in the navigation channel.

Based on what can be seen in the graphic, it looks like the PACIFIC HURON wandered North of the channel, and her bow probably took the bottom on that patch with depth marked "20" just west of where the floating AtoN 216A (obscured in the graphic) may have been. The river current and momentum probably then swung the stern around so the boat came to a stop facing the northwest, as shown.

The remark that the ship was "1,000-feet" from the channel must be in reference to the bow of the ship. The ship is 623-feet long, so the stern would then be 1000-623= 377-feet from the channel. If the green arrow line I drew is the approximate location of the edge of the channel, then it looks like the stern of the PACIFIC HURON is a hundred feet or more out of the channel.

ASIDE: we transited that portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in our Boston Whaler boat several years ago without any navigation errors or groundings.

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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:59 pm

Jim you are probably right about the removal of the Aid to Navigation and your charts shows a good indication of what might have happened.
Luckily she was built with double hull and no spillage occurred in these marvelous waters and crew was safe.
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Re: How I Spent Christmas Vacation

Postby Mambo Minnow » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:15 pm

Weather in the St. Lawrence seaway problematic for us with the Navy. We just had USS Little Rock commission in Buffalo and get out of dodge to come down to Mayport, FL. We are limited on deliveries from the builder's yard in Marinette, WI by the winter weather.

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Re: St Lawrence Seaway Delays

Postby jimh » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:28 pm

There may be a happy ending for the PACIFIC HURON. The St. Lawrence Seaway is going to extend the navigation season due to the number of vessels that still have not cleared the lower St. Lawrence Seaway system. A report from the ST. CATHERINES STANDARD gives great details:

Seaway Closing Delayed Due to Ice

By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff
dajohnson@postmedia.com
Tuesday, January 2, 2018 6:34:56 EST PM


A snap freeze and very heavy ice conditions on the lower part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system delayed its closing for the season, says St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. spokesman Andrew Bogora.

“We had planned to close on Dec. 31, but given that ships are somewhat behind their original schedules, we extended the closing by a number of days,” said Bogora.

Capt. Adriaan Kooiman, of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship GRIFFON, said no one was expecting the amount of ice on the lower portion of the seaway, which runs from Kingston up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.

“It’s very heavy for this time of year,” said Kooiman, adding ice was five centimetres thick in some areas.

The St. Lawrence River does not freeze over because of its current, but that current carries ice downstream causing it to pile up in different sections.

“We helped a lot of commercials ships. The locks were freezing up,” said Kooiman from the vessel as it sat docked in the Welland Canal along West Street in Port Colborne Tuesday morning.

Ships waiting for the locks — Lock 4 on the Beauharnois Canal specifically — were at anchor and the GRIFFON, said Kooiman, had to break them out and escort them in a convoy.

Bogora said the seaway authority’s operations team is in touch daily with both the Canadian and U.S. coast guard, working very closely to ensure shipping traffic moves through the system.

He said the delay on the lower portion of the seaway also saw the Welland Canal stay open for longer than planned. The canal was to close on Boxing Day, but a number of ships transited both upbound and downbound up to New Year’s Day.

In addition to ice causing a slowdown in travel times for cargo vessels, the recent grounding of the ocean-going vessel PACIFIC HURON, near Wellesley Island, N.Y., added to challenges, said Bogora.

“We still have five vessels waiting to clear the lower portion of the Seaway,” he said, adding the PACIFIC HURON will be the last to clear the lower portion of the system.

After working to clear ships from the lower portion of the seaway, the GRIFFON made its way to Port Colborne.

“The GRIFFON is scheduled to transit to Erie, Pa., and Ashtabula, Ohio, to assist vessels into and out of ports. It was working on the St. Lawrence Seaway providing service during critical ice conditions,” said Carol Launderville, Canadian Coast Guard communications adviser, in an email.

She said both the Canadian and U.S. coast guard are conducting icebreaking operations to assist commercial shipping throughout the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Seaway.

“The service ensures safe navigation, prevents the formation of ice jams and flooding, and maintains open routes for maritime commerce,” she said.

Kooiman said the GRIFFON would move out into Lake Erie once the wind died down, and he expected to find thin lake ice.

He also expected ice to keep forming with the cold temperatures being experienced.

Ice reports on the Great Lakes, he said, come to the vessel from sources such as Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard office, U.S. coast guard and others. Ice coverage on Lake Erie is at nearly 40 per cent.

“It’s a collaborative effort. We get the best possible picture of what’s out there,” said Kooiman.

He said the GRIFFON will move west down Lake Erie at some point to help commercial vessels still carrying cargo.

“Our traditional operating area is the Detroit River and western basin of Lake Erie,” he said.

While the GRIFFON is on Lake Erie, the CCGS SAMUEL RISLEY is icebreaking on southern Georgian Bay, in Midland Harbour, and will then proceed to the St. Clair River.

Launderville said the Coast Guard reminds people that all ice on or near the shipping routes and icebreaking operations should be considered unsafe.

“Ship tracks may not freeze over immediately and newly-fallen snow may obscure tracks.”

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:20 am

As of this moment, it appears there are five saltwater vessels still attempting to exit the St. Lawrence Seaway:

    --FEDERAL BISCAY, at entrance to Snell Lock
    --MITIQ, waiting just above Snell Lock
    --BEATRIX, waiting above Eisenhower Lock
    --BILLEBORG, waiting several miles above Eisenhower Lock
    --PACIFIC HURON, tied to seawall below Iroquis Lock

Here is a diagram showing the locks and their water level drops:
CanalLocks.jpg
St. Lawrence Seaway Locks, created based on a detail on an old chart
CanalLocks.jpg (15.32 KiB) Viewed 12456 times


The reason none of the vessels are moving down the seaway: the FEDERAL BISCAY is stuck in ice at the entrance to the SNELL Lock. This AIS position report shows her situation:
federalBiscaySnellLock.jpg
FEDERAL BISCAY and three tugs at Snell Lock
federalBiscaySnellLock.jpg (39.74 KiB) Viewed 12459 times


As shown, there are three tugs on scene, trying to dislodge the FEDERAL BISCAY from the ice at the lock entrance.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:10 pm

Thanks for the great detailed info Jim it is always nice to read about the commercial traffic on the Great Lakes
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:13 pm

DUTCH--you must be snowed-in like me. Here is a bit more on the TUGs trying to free the FEDERAL BISCAY:


Let's check that horsepower total:
4200
3290
1800
-------
9.290-HP

I also looked at the weather forecasts. On Monday there is a brief period of much warmer weather coming to that area. The high temps may hit 32-degrees for a few hours. Perhaps that will be the relief needed to break out from all the ice.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:02 pm

Yes we are snowed in and got another 10-inches here last night on the west coast of Michigan, east coast of Lake Michigan. Don't we love Michigan winters? --NOT

With close to 10,000 HP I hope they can break free of that ice. The disadvantage of the clean-sweet-no-shark water is that it freezes, unlike that salty stuff.

Happy New Year
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:04 pm

There is speculation that the FEDERAL BISCAY may have damage to her propeller. This situation is getting worse instead of better.

Compare at: https://twitter.com/theshipwatcher/status/949395006628007936

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:27 pm

SOMETHING HAPPENED--I just checked on MARINETRAFFIC.COM to see the position of the FEDERAL BISCAY: she is no longer shown as being stuck at the entrance to the Snell Lock. I don't know when she was broken free, but as of approximately 5:30 p.m. her AIS transponder shows her as having moved back, off the lock entrance by several hundred feet. I have to think that she has been freed from the ice that was trapping her in the lock.

The next day will be critical; can they safely transit the Snell Lock? And can the four other "salties" behind her make it through?

Re the other four vessels:

--MITIQ is still waiting above the Snell Lock
--BEATRIX has moved to the Eisenhower Lock and looks like she may be trying to transit the lock
--BILLESBORG is still at anchor several miles above the Eisenhower Lock
--PACIFIC HURON is still at the seawall below Iroquois Lock

The tug OCEAN A. SIMARD remains just above the Snell Lock.

The tugs ROBINSON BAY and LEONARD M look like they are underway, perhaps heading toward BILLESBORG and PACIFIC HURON to help them proceed further downstream.

Keep an eye on MARINETRAFFIC.COM for the latest position reports tonight and tomorrow.

But something has definitely changed at the Snell Lock.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:12 pm

From what I can gather, the plan is to let the four other ships go through the Snell Lock BEFORE the FEDERAL BISCAY tries it again. The normal maximum ship beam in ice conditions is 23.2-meters according to THE SEAWAY HANDBOOK. The beam of the FEDERAL BISCAY is 23.78-meters. That makes her a very tight fit into the locks.

Here are the dimensions of the remaining ships in meters:

MITIQ: beam=18.9; length=137
BEATRIX: = beam = 17.2; length = 154.5
BILLESBORG: beam = 21; length = 138.5
PACIFIC HURON: = beam = 23.6; length = 190 (That looks like another tight fit in the lock with ice conditions.)
FEDERAL BISCAY: beam = 23.78; length = 200 (The tightest fit in the locks of the five.)

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:15 am

Sunday morning 8 a.m. finds some vessel movement:

FEDERAL BISCAY is still at the seawall just above Snell Lock, as is the tug OCEAN A. SIMARD. There is no damage to FEDERAL BISCAY from her ordeal being stuck in the lock for several days.

Tug ROBINSON BAY is at the dock in Massena, across the canal pool.

MITIQ is underway behind OCEAN TUNDRA, a new tug on the scene that must have locked up from below through the Snell Lock. The two are making slow headway towards the Snell Lock. It looks like they will be transiting the lock in the next hour.

OCEAN TUNDRA may be the most powerful harbor tug in all of Canada. She was just built in 2013 and has 8,160-HP total horsepower, provided by twin 4,080-hp Caterpillar MaK M25C 9-cylinder diesel engines. The OCEAN TUNDRA was designed specifically for working in extreme cold and ice conditions. She was featured in an article in Professional Mariner magazine.

BEATRIX and BILLESBORG have transited the Eisenhower Lock and are at anchor above the Snell Lock in the intermediate pool.

The tug LEONARD M is in position above the Eisenhower Lock, probably waiting to assist the next vessel coming into the lock.

PACIFIC HURON is still just below the Iroquois Lock, and the tug EVANS MCKEIL is above the lock.

Once below the Snell Lock the ships have 70-miles and four more locks before they reach sea level and the open water of the St. Lawrence.

The buoy tender and ice breaker CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK is working on ice breaking at the next flight of four locks.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:47 am

Sunday 10:45 a.m. update:

MITIQ and OCEAN TUNDRA have transited the Snell Lock and are awaiting the rest of the ships below the lock. Now we have some progress. One report suggests that MITIQ, BEATRIX, and BILLESBORG will eventually proceed together in a convoy to the next flight of locks, with OCEAN TUNDRA assisting.

OCEAN A. SIMARD is underway in the intermediate pool to reach BEATRIX and BILLESBORG, break them out of the ice, and accompany them to the lock. Here is her AIS track for the past 90-minutes:

trackOCEANASIMARDSunday1126amSmall.jpg
AIS track of OCEAN A. SIMARD
trackOCEANASIMARDSunday1126amSmall.jpg (18.26 KiB) Viewed 12311 times

ROBINSON BAY is underway and appears to be planing to transit the Eisenhower Lock, probably to assist PACIFIC HURON, which is still at the seawall below Iroquois Lock, about 22-miles distance on the seaway from Eisenhower Lock.

Apparently the two larger ships, FEDERAL BISCAY and PACIFIC HURON will have to wait a bit to proceed further.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:12 am

I am curious about the salinity of the water in the St. Lawrence River. Apparently the water is entirely fresh water until much farther downsteam. According to one study, freshwater and saltwater don't meet until east of Quebec City, a very long distance from the Snell Lock.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:43 pm

Following the events of the past few days has brought me a lot of new information about the St. Lawrence Seaway system, its locks, and its canals. For example, the intermediate pool between the Eisenhower and Snell Locks is called the Wiley Dondero Canal. That name comes from the two congressmen who sponsored legislation to create the U.S. Seaway Authority. One was George A. Dondero, a Republican from Michigan. He was a congressman for the 17th and later 18th district, which is where I live. A local high school is named after him. Prior to this ice jam, I had no idea he was influential in creating the St. Lawrence Seaway. The other congressman who sponsored the bill was Alexander Wiley, a Republican from Wisconsin.

--

Update: at 4 p.m.:

BEATRIX has cleared the Snell Lock.

BILLESBORG is not underway, remaining about a mile above the Snell Lock in the Wiley Dondero Canal.

FEDERAL BISCAY is not underway, remaining just above the Snell Lock along the wall.

PACIFIC HURON is underway at speed, making 10-knots, heading for the Eisenhower Lock. Tugs ROBINSON BAY and LEONARD M are accompanying her astern.

Will the PACIFIC HURON be able to transit the Eisenhower Lock today? I'll be watching her progress via AIS the rest of the evening. Sunset at that location occurs about 4:45 p.m., so daylight is starting to fade.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:58 pm

Update at 7 p.m. Sunday

As of 7 p.m. vessel movement seems to have stopped. A summary of the day's ship movements:

PACIFIC HURON moved the most; she left the seawall dock below the Iroquois Lock and moved at quite a rapid pace to anchor off the Eisenhower Lock. Her two escorts, the tugs LEONARD M and ROBINSON BAY are now at the seawall. This trio should be locking down through the Eisenhower Lock early tomorrow (Monday).
EisenhowerLockSunday7pm.jpg
AIS positions plotted on aerial photo chart; PACIFIC HURON, LEONARD M, and ROBINSON BAY (L to R)
EisenhowerLockSunday7pm.jpg (36.8 KiB) Viewed 12257 times


The MITIQ moved this morning and transited the Snell Lock. She has been along the seawall below the lock ever since. The BEATRIX also transited the Snell Lock today. She is also along the seawall below the lock. BILLESBORG transited both the Eisenhower and Snell Locks; she, too, is now along the seawall below the Snell Lock. With the three vessels on the wall is the very powerful tug OCEAN TUNDRA.

FEDERAL BISCAY remains where she started: above the Snell Lock. The tug OCEAN A. SIMARD seems to be tied to her amidships. I wonder if she is applying some pull to keep the FEDERAL BISCAY off the seawall so she won't become iced-in overnight.

FedaralBiscayBillesborgBeatrixMitiq@SnellLockSunday7pm.jpg
AIS positions plotted on aerial photo chart.
FedaralBiscayBillesborgBeatrixMitiq@SnellLockSunday7pm.jpg (72.37 KiB) Viewed 12256 times


In total, there were four lock transits today: three at the Snell Lock and one at Eisenhower Lock.

Tomorrow we should see PACIFIC HURON transit the Eisenhower Lock. At that point both PACIFIC HURON and FEDERAL BISCAY will be just above the Snell Lock. It will be interesting to see which one tries first to enter the lock. Will the slightly smaller PACIFIC HURON go ahead of the larger FEDERAL BISCAY? What time of day will this occur?

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:55 am

Monday 8 a.m. update:

PACIFIC HURON transited the Eisenhower Lock early this morning, about 5:30 a.m., and she is now approaching the Snell Lock.

The smaller local tugs LEONARD M and EVANS MCKEIL have left the party. They are heading west and back to their home ports.

The CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK has arrived to break ice for the convoy.

The large tug OCEAN TUNDRA is east of the lock breaking ice; tug OCEAN A. SIMARD remains at the lock to assist PACIFIC HURON and FEDERAL BISCAY.

FEDERAL BISCAY, BILLESBORG, BEATRIX, and MITIQ have not moved yet.

The Snell Lock (Lock No. 5) is at mile 72; the next lock will be Lock No. 4, Upper Beauharnois Lock, at mile 28. The five ships will have to transit 44-miles of the St. Lawrence River in very icy conditions.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:17 am

Update at 10:15 a.m.

BEATRIX has departed the dock at Snell Lock and is proceeding downstream behind OCEAN TUNDRA.

BILLESBORG has just gotten underway and will be following about a mile behind.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:55 am

Noon position report:

The three smaller ships, BEATRIX, BILLESBORG, and MITIQ (in that order) are following CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK and OCEAN TUNDRA (in that order) downstream. The lead ship is over 15-miles from the Snell Lock and near South Lancaster, Ontario.

Back at Snell Lock there is no sign of movement. FEDERAL BISCAY and PACIFIC HURON are not underway.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:48 am

Tuesday 8:45 a.m. update:

All five of the vessels that were stuck at the Snell Lock (No. 5) have now escaped the ice there.

Very early this morning FEDERAL BISCAY transited the Snell Lock, and is now at the seawall below the lock. The FEDERAL BISCAY was the largest (and widest) of the five ships.

PACIFIC HURON, having been the last in the line of five ships, transited the Snell Lock and she is now underway several miles below the lock, following CCGC MARTHA L. BLACK and tug OCEAN TUNDRA down the seaway.

OCEAN A. SIMARD is working below the Snell Lock to break ice.

MITIQ has transited both Beauharnois Locks (Nos. 4 and 3), and is along the seawall there.

BEATRIX and BILLESBORG are now in Montreal and have transited Lock No. 2 at Côte Ste. Catherine. They are just above Lock No.1 St. Lambert.

10:45 a.m. Update:

The CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK and tugs OCEAN TUNDRA and OCEAN A. SIMARD are now escorting FEDERAL BISCAY. The four ships are underway at about 7-MPH and are several miles below the Snell Lock.

PACIFIC HURON is underway unaccompanied and approaching the Beauharnois Canal.

BEATRIX has cleared Lock No. 1 and is underway in the South River Canal in Montreal. She has exited the Seaway.

BILLESBORG is still above Lock No. 1.

MITIQ is still below Lock No. 3.

4 p.m. Update

PACIFIC HURON and FEDERAL BISCAY (in that order) are now in the Beauharnois Canal and approaching the two locks there (No. 4 and No. 3). The CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK and tugs OCEAN A. SIMARD and OCEAN TUNDRA are also with them.

BEATRIX has moved to a berth at the Port of Montreal.

BILLESBORG has also left the Seaway and is continuing down the St. Lawrence on her own.

MITIQ is about to enter St. Lambert Lock No. 1 and should clear the Seaway soon.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Mambo Minnow » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:10 pm

Well, add a U.S. Navy warship to the list. USS LITTLE ROCK (LCS-9) is presently trapped at Montreal, due to ice and lack of available tugs and ice breakers to escort her out to open water. The ship recently was delivered to the Navy at the builder's yard in Marinette, Wisconsin, and had a commissioning ceremony in downtown Buffalo, New York. It departed Buffalo enroute to its eventual homeport of Mayport, Florida, but has not made it past Montreal due to the severe icing in the St. Lawrence seaway.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:01 am

More than two weeks have elapsed since PACIFIC HURON went aground near Clayton, New York, the event that started this thread. Here is the update on the five vessels we have been following; this morning finds two ships still in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

BILLESBORG is in the Port of Trois-Rivieres, about 85-miles downstream of Montreal, at a berth and presumably loading or unloading cargo

BEATRIX and MITIQ are both in the Port of Montreal, at berths and presumably loading or unloading cargo.

These three have left the St. Lawrence Seaway and are now in the St. Lawrence river with no locks between them and the sea.

FEDERAL BISCAY and PACIFIC HURON are still in the St. Lawrence Seaway system, and both are in the Canal de la Rive Sud (South Shore Canal), approaching Lock No. 2 Côte Ste. Catherine. The CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK is with them.

FederalBiscayUnderwayInIce.jpg
FEDERAL BISCAY underway in icy St. Lawrence Seaway. Photo credit David Boily, La Presse
FederalBiscayUnderwayInIce.jpg (40.17 KiB) Viewed 12087 times

The FEDERAL BISCAY was very recently built (in 2015), and her hull breadth was made to just--literally just--fit into the locks of the seaway system. The hull is 23.76-meters; the lock width is 80-feet or 24.38-meters. For the FEDERAL BISCAY, that leaves a clearance of 0.624-meters or about two feet--one foot per side. In the frigid weather, ice has been accumulating on the lock walls, reducing the available width.

To fit the FEDERAL BISCAY into a lock requires that the lock walls must be completely free of ice. The crews of the St. Lawrence Seaway locks have to work around the clock to prevent any ice build up on the remaining two locks that the FEDERAL BISCAY needs to transit. They've been using steam, scrapers, and bubblers to remove or discourage ice building up on the lock structure.

steamPressureJetsClearIceFromLockWalls.jpg
Workers at St. Lawrence Seaway locks use steam jets to clear ice from lock walls. Photo credit: Olivier Pontbriand, La Presse
steamPressureJetsClearIceFromLockWalls.jpg (50.08 KiB) Viewed 12088 times


The USS LITTLE ROCK is at a berth in the Port of Montreal, not far from MITIQ. We will have to include her in the watch. Perhaps her hull is not designed for operating in heavy ice. I suspect she may be built for speed, not for ice breaking.

We have had a break from the extreme cold weather up here. Yesterday the air temperature got up to about 36-degrees-F, and our snow cover began to get mushy and slushy. It was warm enough for me to go outdoor and repair the Ethernet cable a squirrel had chewed up that was knocking half of my house off the network.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:17 am

Interesting to see if they get the USS Little Rock out onto the open St. Lawrence river and out to the Atlantic where she hopefully can avoid a low pressure system like the one that the Norwegian Cruise Line ship got slammed with last week.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:11 pm

According to a statement from a Navy media contact, the USS LITTLE ROCK was also making some repairs to her steering system while in Montreal. Perhaps there was some damage from the ice she encountered. A lack of available tugs as ice-breaking escorts was cited as causing added delays in departing Montreal. She has been in Montreal since Christmas.

Perhaps when the CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK finishes her work in clearing the last two ships from the Seaway, she will escort the USS LITTLE ROCK back to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:09 pm

The saga of the five ships stuck in the St. Lawrence Seaway has come to an end today; PACIFIC HURON and FEDERAL BISCAY have both left the Seaway and are now in Montreal, apparently looking for a berth.

Ship movement began around noon today. At 7 p.m. both ships were clear of the Seaway. It has been an interesting two weeks following these ships and their travail in getting out of the ice conditions in the upper St. Lawrence River.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:57 pm

Jim
Thank you for staying on top of this. I really liked following it (without doing the work)
Maybe the USS Little Rock will get to her home port soon too.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:40 pm

Hi Dutch--glad to hear of your interest in this thread.

The people who really deserve some recognition are the folks that work for the Seaway authority. They managed to keep the locks working and extend the shipping season an extra 12-days in the face of very cold and very icy conditions. And also recognition to the crews of all the ships involved--the freighters, the tugs, the ice breakers--that worked long and hard to prevent these five ships from spending the winter in New York or Quebec. And to the pilots that spent 12 days instead of 12-hours aboard these foreign-flagged ships, navigating them through the Seaway.

It all starts over again in a few months. I think the St. Lawrence Seaway opens for shipping in late March or early April.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:08 pm

Yes Jim I second that as it is hard to work on an icy boat and using steam to keep ice down at the locks, impressive that these ships get all that for a maximum of $3,250/vessel for commercial ships (that is the max the Authority charges some of the smaller ships were probably less) and I don't know how they handle "government" ships.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Mambo Minnow » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:42 pm

Dutchman--I can tell you that the Navy ships don't get a government discount on charter and hire, especially unscheduled weather event like this one.

The Captain was asking Canadian Coast Guard to get them out on Christmas and New Year's Eve as well as Boxing Day, but the Canadians were busy and not in any particular urgency to help their neighbors to the South.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Tue Jan 16, 2018 8:32 pm

The Canadian Coast Guard is not really an adjunct of their military services. It is a civil service operation.

The USS LITTLE ROCK seems to be still at a pier in Montreal, and hasn't moved in more than a week.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:32 am

Wow that is daft.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Mambo Minnow » Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:45 pm

Latest news on Little Rock is that Navy may have temporarily given up on transit. She may be "wintering over"; crew will not be happy stuck in winter while sunny Mayport, FL awaits arrival to their eventual homeport!

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:17 am

Mambo Minnow wrote:Latest news on Little Rock is that Navy may have temporarily given up on transit. She may be "wintering over"; crew will not be happy stuck in winter while sunny Mayport, FL awaits arrival to their eventual homeport!


MAMBO--many thanks for contributing this excellent information to the thread.

If I had to spend the winter stuck at a pier in a Canadian port, you could do a lot worse than be stuck in Montreal.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Mambo Minnow » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:44 pm

Jim, my pleasure, I have 3 pictures of the ship dockside in Montreal, but I don't know how to post them here.

I took my family on a winter vacation in Quebec in 2011; they loved it. When I was growing up in New England the logical foreign language to learn was "Francais" because we encounted "Les Habitants" on the beaches in summer and slopes in winter.

The crew is separated from their families awaiting their arrival in Florida, so I am sure they are eager to get out of there. It's expensive and you only have so much money for Molson's on liberty until the next pay day!

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:38 pm

MAMBO--you can email them to me and I will add them to your post. --jimh

The currency exchange is favorable. I think the US dollar buys CA-$1.25 these days.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Don SSDD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:53 am

Read in today's paper they expect to remain in Montreal due to ice until March. A lot of early ice caught them off guard, usually no problem getting out in December, according to the article.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby GoldenDaze » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:24 pm

From the Washington Post: "The Navy built a ‘fast, agile’ warship for $440M. It’s been stuck in ice since Christmas Eve."
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby fno » Mon Jan 22, 2018 6:43 pm

There is an informative video of the Little Rock being stranded in Montreal for the winter on MSN today.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby Dutchman » Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:23 pm

If [the USS LITTLE ROCK planned] a routine stop in Montreal and the steering was working fine, why didn't she follow the five ships that made it down the river?

Something fishy is going on with our tax dollars.

It might be less expensive docking in Montreal than running up and down the East coast in the Atlantic from Jacksonville.
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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:01 pm

The long visit to the Port of Montreal by the USS LITTLE ROCK has caught the attention of the Canadian press. Here is a recent article about the curious delay of the Navy ship at the ice-bound port:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/uss-little-rock-crew-embracing-being-stuck-in-montreal-1.4500966

I am afraid winter has also returned here in southern MIchigan, as the overnight low temperatures were down to about 12-degrees--certainly not boating weather.

I don't have any particular suspicion that "something fishy is going on with our tax dollars." It seems reasonable to me that the Navy ship was not designed for operation in heavy ice, and to expose the ship to possible damage by having it transit the St. Lawrence when the water is filled with ice would be a bit imprudent.

I can see a possible headline if they did try to force the ship out of the icy conditions: "Millions in damage caused by ice as Navy rushes to get ship out of Canada port."

It seems fairly clear the ship was not designed for operation at these temperatures and with these ice conditions. They have had to add heaters to the interior of the ship just to keep the crew warm.

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:45 am

The USS LITTLE ROCK has finally reached its home port of Mayfield, Florida. For details see

https://www.marinelink.com/news/arrives-mayport-little436330

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Re: St. Lawrence Seaway Delays--Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

Postby jimh » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:34 pm

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened for navigation for the 2018 Season on March 29, 2018 at 0800-hours, with transit restrictions in place for draft. Ships transiting the seaway were advised:

Allowable Draft
In the Montreal and Lake Ontario Section, the maximum allowable draft will be 80.0 dm (26' 3") until the South Shore Canal is ice-free or April 15th, whichever occurs first, at which time, if water levels are favorable, the maximum draft will be increased to 80.8 dm (26' 6") for all vessels.

Mariners are reminded that for ships loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26' 3"), speeds will be monitored carefully between St. Lambert Lock and St. Nicolas Island.


The TRANSPORTATION department of the U.S. federal government posted this announcement on their website (www.transportation.gov/briefing-room) on Thursday, March 29, 2018:

St. Lawrence Seaway Begins 60th Navigation Season

Washington - The U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) joined with the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) to mark the opening of the Seaway’s 60th navigation season today. The official opening ceremony of the binational waterway took place in St. Catharines, Ontario, with Canadian Transport Deputy Minister Michael Keenan attending as honored guest and SLSMC President and CEO Terence Bowles and SLSDC Associate Administrator Thomas Lavigne addressing the gathering.

“The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a key maritime corridor,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao. “We look forward to another successful year of moving commerce through this dependable and safe maritime transportation system.”

“As the 60th Seaway navigation season gets underway, we are proud to underscore the exceptional safety and reliability record of the binational waterway,” said SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig H. Middlebrook. “State-of-the-art technology is transforming Seaway operations and allowing for gains in competitiveness. Cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway was up 8 percent last year. We are optimistic that 2018 will be another strong year for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping.”

The season’s first ship to transit, the Algoma Niagara, is upbound into the Seaway System, on its way to Toledo, Ohio to pick up a load of metallurgical coal. Over 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity are supported by movement of various cargoes on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.