Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) advised that the St. Lawrence Seaway has now opened for its 2014 season at St. Lambert by accepting the first vessel of the year, the MT Charlotte Theresa, destination Lake Ontario, followed by several Canadian ships.
ISS Canada’s General Manager (Eastern Canada) Jason Skorksi, said the season has and will be a challenging one due to heavy ice and pack ice still affecting sea lanes.
The seaway is currently processing upbound traffic in the Montreal/MLO section – one way traffic only. Double Pilotage is required, and initially there will be daylight navigation only.
Escorts are required for crossing the lakes, Lac St. Louis and Lake St. Francis. The icebreaker HMCCGC Martha L Black is currently working Montreal/MLO sector. Two tugs are currently employed in the South Shore Canal to keep the ice moving out. Ice breaker HMCGC Radisson is moving up to work Whitefish Bay and lead convoys when needed, and two ice breakers are currently assigned to Thunder Bay and are working on breaking out the harbor.
Welland Canal has some ice pack above locks 7 and 8, but these have caused no issues to date. Ice conditions on Lake Erie are greatly improved and convoys for transiting the lake are moving well.
Lake St. Clair remains an area of concern due to ice sheets breaking away from shore but so far no issues.