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News stories tagged with "seaway"

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The crew of Coast Guard Cutter <em>Neah Bay</em>, homeported in Cleveland, works to keep the <em>CSL Laurentien</em> moving during an escort in eastern Lake Erie March 27, 2014. Photo: courtesy USCG
The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, homeported in Cleveland, works to keep the CSL Laurentien moving during an escort in eastern Lake Erie March 27, 2014. Photo: courtesy USCG

Relentless winter's ice delays St. Lawrence River shipping

Three U.S. Coast Guard cutter vessels are to help with annual ice-breaking operations in Thunder Bay's harbour on Lake Superior--the far end of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Canadian Coast Guard crews and their icebreakers are leading the effort after the harsh winter produced what are being called "unusually heavy and persistent" ice conditions.

The annual opening of the Seaway is one of the signs of spring in the North Country. But as with pretty much everything this year, winter is still having its way with the calendar.

The Seaway is holding its opening ceremony to welcome commercial ship traffic between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean this morning near Buffalo. But it's had to delay the opening of the St. Lawrence River part of the Seaway for three days until Monday due to ice.

David Sommerstein joined Martha Foley to discuss the annual debate over the Seaway's opening date.  Go to full article
The Robinson Bay breaks Seaway ice back in 2001. NCPR file photo: Lisa Lazenby
The Robinson Bay breaks Seaway ice back in 2001. NCPR file photo: Lisa Lazenby

Seaway ice breakers coming, season opens March 31

In a press release yesterday, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Authority announced ice-breaking will soon be underway in advance of the opening of the shipping season March 31.

Lori Curran, spokesperson for the agency, says it's hard to be specific about exactly when ice-breaking will progress upstream to the Eisenhower and Snell Locks near Massena. She said they're now waiting for a Canadian ice-breaker to clear the channel from the first lock in Montreal. She said it's expected to start moving upstream over the next couple of days.

Ice fishermen, snowmobilers, ATV riders are asked to stay away areas where ice has been cleared to avoid numerous open water leads and unstable ice cover caused by the clearing.  Go to full article
Bulk carrier Orsula aground off Tibbetts Point. Photo: USCGS
Bulk carrier Orsula aground off Tibbetts Point. Photo: USCGS

Why did the freighter Orsula run aground?

Update, Tuesday 10:50: As of 8 this morning, shipwatcher.com reported the Orsula and other ships still moving through the Seaway, and that the season would be extended.

***

The bulk freighter Orsula had been expected to clear the St. Lawrence Seaway before the Seaway closed. The freighter carrying 20,000 tons of wheat from Duluth, Minn., to Europe, is headed out to sea after running aground on Christmas Day off Tibbets Point near Cape Vincent. The vessel was freed Sunday night around six o'clock.  Go to full article

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A Seaway freighter passes under the bridge near Massena in December 2012.  Photo: David Sommerstein.
A Seaway freighter passes under the bridge near Massena in December 2012. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Seaway tonnage down 11%

The St. Lawrence Seaway is still trying to dig itself out of a recession slump. After posting a 4% tonnage increase last year, shipping between Great Lakes and foreign ports is down 11% so far this year.

Seaway officials were hoping to build on last year's gains. But a weak global steel market is dragging down demand for iron ore from the Midwest. And Canadian grain is increasingly going by train to the West Coast on its way to Asia.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton, at Seaway Administration in Massena Tuesday. Photo: David Sommerstein.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton, at Seaway Administration in Massena Tuesday. Photo: David Sommerstein.

New Seaway chief seeks economic, green balance

Shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway generates billions of dollars for the Great Lakes economy in the U.S. and Canada. But it also opened the door to damage from invasive species and forever changed the shape and ecology of the St. Lawrence River itself.

The new U.S. chief of the St. Lawrence Seaway is making her first visit to Massena this week. Betty Sutton is touring the Seaway's two locks on the St. Lawrence River, the vessel traffic control room, and meeting with many of the Seaway's 135 employees in Massena.

Betty Sutton's very first appointment in Massena was a sit-down with David Sommerstein.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story (and the audio version) refer to the Seaway Administration position as a seven year term.

That is no longer the case, as Nancy Alcalde, SLSDC spokeswoman, points out. In 2002, The Appointment and Efficiency Streamlining Act of 2011, P.L. 112-166, made this position an appointment "at the pleasure of the President". It is also no longer subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.  Go to full article
Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx swears in U.S. Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton Tuesday. Photo: St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx swears in U.S. Seaway Administrator Betty Sutton Tuesday. Photo: St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

St. Lawrence Seaway has a new chief

The new Administrator for the U.S. side of the St. Lawrence Seaway was officially sworn in at a ceremony in Washington yesterday. Betty Sutton becomes the tenth person to hold the post and the second woman.  Go to full article
Former Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton. Photo via <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Sutton">Wikipedia</a>
Former Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton. Photo via Wikipedia

Sutton appointed to top Seaway post

President Obama has nominated a former Ohio Congresswoman to be the next U.S. head of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Betty Sutton represented a district that included Akron and a slice of Lake Erie from 2007 to 2012. The White House announced the appointment in a press release Wednesday.

Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrooks has been filling in as interim head since Terry Johnson was fired from the post last year, reportedly for political reasons. Johnson was a college friend of President George W. Bush, who appointed him.

The Seaway Administrator post carries a seven year term, designed to ride out the political shifts of changing presidential administrations.  Go to full article
Brian Wood at the helm. Photo: David Sommerstein
Brian Wood at the helm. Photo: David Sommerstein

A peek inside Seaway master control

Several hundred giant freighters slip through the St. Lawrence Seaway every year. They're guided by vessel traffic controllers from a squat building on top of the Eisenhower Lock in Massena.

The master control room looks straight out of Star Trek. Half a dozen big flat screens show computerized displays of real-time traffic along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.  Go to full article

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