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News stories tagged with "seaway"

U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.
U.S. Seaway Administrator Terry Johnson (left) poses with other industry leaders as the first freighter of the season enters the St. Lambert lock.

Seaway burnishes "green" profile

Last week, the first freighter of the year rumbled up the St. Lawrence River. That marked the 53rd season of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a man-made channel linking the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

The Seaway's billion dollars of commerce is mostly an economic conversation between Canada's southern coast, America's Midwest, and the far-flung ports of the world.

But it's caused vast environmental damage in the North Country and across the Great Lakes, largely via invasive species.

David Sommerstein went to the Seaway's opening ceremony last week in Montreal. He sends this report on the Seaway's delicate balance between the economy and the environment.  Go to full article
The Avonberg carries wind turbine blades through St. Lambert lock in Montreal
The Avonberg carries wind turbine blades through St. Lambert lock in Montreal

Seaway projects cargo increase

St. Lawrence Seaway officials are forecasting a cargo increase over last year. The first freighter of the 2011 shipping season rumbled through the locks in Montreal on Tuesday. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
The <em>Hermann Schoening</em> [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]
The Hermann Schoening [Photo from Erie Shipping News blog]

Aboard a cold Seaway ship with a sick crew

Twenty-two Chinese seamen are resting up in Montreal after a harrowing Christmas journey through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew aboard the German-owned Hermann Schoening became violently ill after phosphine gas leaked into the living and working spaces. The gas is used regularly as a fumigant to kill pests in the cargo hold. The freighter is carrying 19,000 tons of midwestern corn bound for Algeria.

The crew was treated at a hospital in Ontario. But the ship then continued on with windows open to air out the gas.

Don Metzger piloted the freighter from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River to Massena. He's been a Seaway pilot for more than 30 years. He told David Sommerstein he's never seen anything like this happen before. Metzger says the crew was sick and cold, and unprepared for winter weather.
Carolyn Osbourne of the Mariners House of Montreal says the crew spent yesterday recovering after being sickened by phosphine gas. She says they received a second hospital checkup, as well as warm coats, gloves, and Christmas gifts while in port. The ship was scheduled to resume its travels this morning.

An official with Transport Canada says the incident is under investigation. The shipowners could be fined if violations of the Canada Shipping Act are found. But the gas leak is so far being considered an anomaly.  Go to full article
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.
Photo by Janet Sullins/Save the River.

Save The River prods Seaway for transparency

Save the River, based in the Thousand Islands, wants the St. Lawrence Seaway to make public how it decides when to open the waterway every spring. The environmental group has filed a legal petition with the federal government. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Great Lakes states push for federal action against Asian carp

The invasive Asian carp and its potentially devastating impact on the Great Lakes were the focus of a Congressional hearing in Washington yesterday.

The agressive fish has already infested the Mississippi River basin, and traces of its genetic material have been found in Lake Michigan for the first time.

Illinois temporarily closed navigational locks near Chicago to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes. Representatives of the states surrounding the lakes are pressing the federal government to do more, faster. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Jeff Alexander: invasive species "a slow-motion wildfire"

Invasive species - from zebra mussels and round gobies to the bloody red shrimp discovered three years ago - are one of the top threats to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. They've done billions of dollars in damage to the region's economy and environment. Most entered the Great Lakes through the ballast water of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Jeff Alexander has reported on invasive species for 25 years. He's also written a book about how most of those critters got here - hidden in the ballast of foreign ships on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The book is called Pandora's Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway. Alexander is the keynote speaker at the Save the River Winter Weekend, Saturday, February 6 at the Clayton Opera House. Alexander told David Sommerstein he first training his reporting in invasive species in 1989, when zebra mussels shut down the municipal water system in Munroe, Michigan.  Go to full article

River advocates stay vigilant against Seaway expansion

Yesterday, we heard St. Lawrence Seaway Chief Terry Johnson say that expanding the locks and channels of the St. Lawrence Seaway is "off the table". He also said this in person this week to the St. Lawrence River's biggest environmental advocate, Save The River. It was Johnson's first visit to the group's Clayton offices since being appointed three years ago. Jennifer Caddick is Save the River's executive director. She told David Sommerstein the Seaway chief made a new distinction in their hour and a half meeting on Monday.  Go to full article
U.S. Seaway Administrator, Terry Johnson, with a picture of the St. Lawrence River in the background.
U.S. Seaway Administrator, Terry Johnson, with a picture of the St. Lawrence River in the background.

Seaway Chief: No expansion, no winter navigation

The head of the St. Lawrence Seaway is doing a blitz through the North Country. U.S. Administrator Terry Johnson met with local media. And yesterday he visited the offices of Save The River in Clayton for the first time since being appointed three years ago. The environmental group has often been at odds with the agency that runs the shipping lanes that link the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. Johnson says he was disturbed by questions over Seaway expansion during the 23rd Congressional race. He says he wants to set the record straight: digging deeper channels in the St. Lawrence River is off the table. "It's a non-issue," Johnson says. "It's just not gonna happen." Yesterday, Johnson spoke with David Sommerstein at Seaway headquarters in Massena. Later this week, we'll hear their conversation about the economics of the Seaway and why traffic has dropped off over the years. Today, Johnson talks about invasive species, shipping during springtime icy conditions, and the history of mistrust many North Country residents have toward the Seaway.  Go to full article

How the invaders got here: "Pandora's Locks"

The Seaway's 50th anniversary has inspired a number of new books about the waterway. One blames the federal government, not the shipping industry, for the invasion of foreign species into the Great Lakes that has cost the region billions of dollars. The Environment Report's Lester Graham talks with author Jeff Alexander about his new book, Pandora's Locks.  Go to full article

Seaway at 50: Seaway chief looks forward

U.S. and Canadian dignitaries will officially open the St. Lawrence Seaway's 50th anniversary celebration this afternoon in Massena. The Obama Administration is sending department of transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Seaway administrator Terry Johnson will also be on hand to speak. Johnson took over the U.S. agency that runs the Seaway two and a half years ago. He spoke with David Sommerstein about the waterway's legacy and future.  Go to full article

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