Channel markers were removed from the Thousand Islands Regional Dock in Clayton last month, indicating that the 2011 shipping season was well underway and the ice had retreated.
Tug Robinson Bay steamed into Clayton, snagged the green and red markers and headed out to drop the shipping path for the big 700-foot steel monsters to navigate between.
Algoeast, a tanker from the Algoma Corporation, was the first ship of the season through the Islands on March 23. The water was rough and the wind was brisk as the ship chugged along the river. It would be the first of many ships in the first week of the season, a positive sign for those who oversee the Seaway and have high expectations.
The Seaway since 1959 has moved more than 2.5 billion metric tons from all across the world. United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “this year, we expect to add another 39 million tons.” In addition to the massive amounts of cargo, Seaway officials believe they will see a nearly 7% hike in overall shipping totals for 2011, based on continuing higher gas prices and the demand for grain and steel.
It didn’t take long into the season before the first shipping incident to occur in the Montreal to Lake Ontario portion of the Seaway.
At approximately 3:13 a.m. on Thursday, March 31, the BBC Steinhoelft veered off course and became grounded in the South Shore Canal between the St. Lambert Lock and the Jacques Cartier Bridge, not far from Montreal. Ocean tugs were brought in from Montreal to move the ship and set it back on its course. There was no damage or pollution from the incident.
One week prior to this incident, the same ship, though sailing under a different name at the time, lost its engine power near Ogdensburg while heading upbound for Toronto. The ship was forced to drop anchor in order to stop. It would later be cleared by inspectors to continue on its journey.
As many have heard, tall ship Lynx will sail into Clayton on June 14 for a 6-day stay at the Thousand Islands Regional Dock. However, Lynx won’t be the only tall ship in the region.
Get out your binoculars and cameras because Pride of Baltimore II will also travel the Seaway this summer, though no stopovers are currently planned in the area for the ship.
Lynx and Pride II are known to sail together quite often, including at some point this summer. They will meet up in Rochester in late June. Captain Jamie Trost, who will be at the helm of Lynx when it arrives, has also captained Pride II and most recently took it into drydock for spring work.
Upper Lakes Becomes Algoma
The famous red and black smokestacks and diamond-shaped logo of Upper Lakes Shipping will slowly disappear after 80 years in the industry. Algoma, which bought Upper Lakes over the offseason, will inherit the vessels and begin to transform them to ships with the well-known bear logo.
Though there is a big tiff among folks in northern New York regarding the construction of windmills in their communities, however other areas have embraced wind power and ships from across the world are delivering their equipment each week since the waterway
reopened on March 22.
Avonborg was not only the first ship to open the St Lambert Lock on March 22, but it is also an ocean-going vessel that ventured across the globe to bring windmill parts to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Since its arrival, nearly a half-dozen ships have entered the Seaway to deliver windmill parts already this season.
By Michael Folsom, www.theshipwatcher.com
Michael Folsom is a regular contributor to TI Life. He covers the “Seaway News” on his popular web site, http://www.theshipwatcher.com/, as well as a twitter site: http://twitter.com/theshipwatcher. His work has been featured in the Thousand Islands Sun, as well as on boatnerd.com and northcountrynow.com.
This coming summer Michael will be the organizer of Sailing Seaway Clayton presented by Davidson Auto Group and Lake Ontario Realty. “The display of tall ship Lynx at the Thousand Islands Regional Dock at Frink Park is geared towards enhancing the scenery of our great village of Clayton and thanks to our sponsors and community leaders we are able to host this event and show off the beauty of the park and enjoy this astonishing sailing vessel,” explained Folsom. This event promises to be popular. TI Life will continue to post news of Sailing Seaway Clayton on our Events page. Check it out often.
To see all of Michael Folsom’s articles written for TI Life. Click Here.