Friday, October 31, 2014

Seaway Strike Looms

On Wednesday morning of this week, the St Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), which is the Canadian side of Seaway operations, released the following announcement relating to a potential union strike.

Cornwall, Ontario (October 29, 2014) - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) was served with a 72-hour notice to strike by UNIFOR on October 28, 2014.  The union intends to begin strike action as of 12:15 PM on Friday, October 31, 2014. UNIFOR represents the Seaway’s 460 unionized employees.

The SLSMC is currently in the process of implementing a modernization program which incorporates Hands Free Mooring and Remote Lock Operation. This program is essential to ensuring that the Seaway can operate on a basis that is both safe and sustainable. Contrary to union allegations, the SLSMC is confident that it will continue to process ships through its locks in a safe and secure manner.

Despite UNIFOR’s strike notice, the SLSMC remains committed to obtaining a fair settlement, and will continue to bargain in good faith with the assistance of a federally appointed mediator.
As a result of UNIFOR’s strike notification, SLSMC has started implementing its detailed plans for an orderly and safe shutdown of the system within the 72-hour notice period. Should the unionized workers proceed with strike action, as scheduled, the St. Lawrence Seaway will be closed to all traffic.

As of early this morning, Friday, word broke that the union and SLSMC have come to an arrangement that would shift the start of a strike until Monday evening.

Seaway traffic has been heavy throughout the week, as it typically is this time of year.

With a Seaway shutdown on the Canadian side, the US Locks would serve very little purpose during a strike since ships aren't able to reach Lake Ontario without having to pass through Iroquois Lock. However, ship traffic would be allowed to continue from points west, such as Hamilton and Toronto, to points east, like Bath, Picton, Johnstown, and Ogdensburg.

A Seaway shutdown due to a strike was last threatened in 2011.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for all of the latest - http://www.twitter.com/theshipwatcher

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Another Cruise Ship Passing Through the Islands

The former C. Columbus, now known as Hamburg, is upbound on the Seaway headed for Toronto.

The ship's last visit to the Seaway came in 2011 - http://www.theshipwatcher.com/2011/09/cruise-ship-c-columbus-headed-for-great.html

The ship should reach the 1000 Islands this evening. It has a downbound stop in Kingston in about 10 days.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Aird Grounded off Morrisburg

Current location of the grounded ship.
John B Aird passes Sunken Rock Light in Alexandria Bay.

UPDATE (6:30 a.m. September 16) - Aird was refloated before midnight and moved down river to Wilson Hill.

UPDATE (8:00 p.m. September 14) - An ocean tug arrived on the scene today just before 12:30 p.m. Dive crews visited the scene multiple times throughout the day.

Tug Wilf Seymour is also en route to the scene as of 6 p.m. Salvage will likely take place on Monday. If cargo needs to be removed, another tug will respond.

UPDATE (10:15 p.m.) - Ocean tug has stopped at Valleyfield. Remains unknown if the plan is to proceed to the grounded John B Aird.

UPDATE (4:45 p.m.) - An Ocean Group tug is upbound on the Seaway at Cote Ste Catherine. We are awaiting word on whether or not it is headed to assist Aird.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m.) - As of 4:15 crews are on the scene of the John B Aird grounding assessing the situation. No booms deployed and no known pollution or injuries reported.

Seaway traffic continues to move in the area with no delays.

The ship, which was headed downbound, sits to the north side of the channel. The somewhat narrow stretch of water is known to have fluctuating levels this time of year, at times being near maximum draft levels.

UPDATE (2:00 p.m.) - Divers have arrived in Morrisburg to inspect the ship. Photos posted to our Facebook page (St. Lawrence River Ship Watchers) show a crew from All-Sea Great Lakes, out of St. Catharines, preparing to suit up and board a pleasure craft. All-Sea is widely known for their underwater work, including welding and ship repairs.

Boatnerd.com reporting the ship is carrying slag and was en route to Sept-Iles, Quebec.

UPDATE (10:15 a.m.) - A source has confirmed that John B Aird, a 730-foot freighter, is in fact grounded.

The ship is in a fairly narrow section of the Seaway west of Massena. Seaway traffic is currently not effected.

ORIGINAL REPORT (10:10 a.m.) - We are keeping an eye on John B Aird this morning. The ship is anchored off Morrisburg, Ontario, across from Coles Creek. A typical anchorage location would be Wilson Hill.

The ship is shown as going to anchor just before 2 a.m.

There are currently no issues or delays at the two US locks in Massena that could be factoring into this situation.

More to come.

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Research Vessel Anchored in Lake Ontario Off Chaumont


One of the newest vessels, Sikuliaq, to be built in the Great Lakes is currently anchored on Lake Ontario this morning.

The ship, built as a research vessel and registered in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is operated by the University of Alaska.

It will likely travel the river at some point in the near future.

More can be found here.

Cruise Ship Pearl Mist to be in the Region

UPDATE (10:45 a.m.) - Ship arrived at Eisenhower Lock. ETA for Clayton closer to 6 p.m.

ORIGINAL REPORT - Follow our Twitter feed today to learn the whereabouts of Pearl Mist.

As of 6:30a the ship was anchored east of Massena. She was expected to dock in Clayton at 8am that then changed to 2pm and now is likely even later, if at all.

We will keep you posted.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fritz Finally Disappears from Wilson Hill



It had been just shy of a month since the saltie Fritz went to anchor off Wilson Hill, west of Massena, due to mechanical problems.

Over the course of the ship's stay at Wilson Hill, multiple ships had come and gone by and locals began to question the ship's status. From time to time the ship would be seen blowing thick black smoke from its stack. It was an eyesore to most due to its rusted hull.

This morning, the ship moved from its short-term home and began to head upbound with a tug on its trail. It was clear of the Brockville Narrows around 8:30 a.m. and approaching Crossover Island by 9 a.m.

The ship is reportedly headed for Oshawa.

Monday, June 9, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Tall Ship Liana's Ransom to Dock in Clayton


Tall ship Liana's Ransom, an 85-foot "pirate ship" is expected to dock in Clayton on Monday evening and remain for a few days as they prepare for their busy summer schedule, which officially kicks off this coming weekend in Cape Vincent.

Liana's Ransom's masts stand 75-feet tall from the waterline. The ship calls Halifax its homeport and has spent time in the Virgin Islands.

While in Clayton, the crew will tend to the ship to ensure its readiness for a long summer in the lakes before it returns to the river in August. The ship will not be available for deck tours or sailing while in Clayton. If you miss it at Frink Park during the week, be sure to visit it in Cape Vincent over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ocean Tugs Riverbound to Assist with Removal of Grounded Freighter


Ocean Group tug Ocean Ross Gaudreault is headed for the American Narrows as of 4:45 p.m. to assist the grounded Federal Kivalina.

The tug departed the Port of Montreal just before 5 p.m. to enter the Seaway. It will make its way upbound throughout the night and likely arrive on the scene some time in the late morning hours on Thursday.

A second tug, Ocean Georgie Bain was to depart Montreal around 6:45 p.m.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ship Out of the Channel West of TI Bridge

Ship spins in the channel after a mechanical failure. Photo courtesy of Dave Berger
UPDATE (May 28 1:30 p.m.) - We have learned that as many as two tugboats will be dispatched to the scene to assist with removing the ship. We will provide more details soon.



We have been on the scene. Follow the developing story on our Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/theshipwatcher

Aerial view via ABay.com - http://www.abay.com/alexandriabaynynews3087.htm

ORIGINAL REPORT - Federal Kivalina was downbound on Tuesday afternoon approaching the Thousand Islands Bridge just before 2 p.m. when it encountered a mechanical issue and reportedly lost its steering. The crew of the ship acted quickly and deployed the bow anchors near marker 209, just west of the bridge, which then caused for the ship to spin into the current and come to a rest facing upbound. The ship's stern anchor was also deployed.

No pollution was reported and damage was unknown shortly after the incident. Vehicle traffic on the bridge was not affected, however shipping traffic in the region has been halted until further notice.

The ship is showing a slight list to the starboard side. USCG has been on the scene throughout the afternoon and inspectors were en route.

Abaco Marine of Clayton was dispatched to provide tugboat assistance and was awaiting clearance to approach the vessel.

Stay tuned for more.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ship Pulls U-Turn After Incident Near Clayton

Section of the river where BBC Europe reportedly had an unknown incident on Saturday evening.
Course map: #1 - ship approaching Clayton between 8-10 knots; #2 - ship begins to slow quickly in front of Clayton; #3 - ship slows to 3.2 knots and proceeds downriver; #4 - ship turns near Mason Point

UPDATE (8:00 p.m. Sunday) - A reliable source has told us that BBC Europe lost it's steering on Saturday evening after entering the Seaway. It was then instructed to report to the nearest anchorage.

As mentioned in an earlier update, we made an uneducated assumption, based on a little bit of information we had learned. The course of the ship and it's change in speed played into those initial thoughts.

We want it to be known that nowhere did we claim it as fact.

UPDATE (6:30 a.m.) - Ship was cleared to continue on its journey and pulled anchor around 5 a.m.

UPDATE (11:00 p.m.) - This is an unconfirmed assumption, but according to the track of the ship as shown above, something occurred prior to Mason Point and most likely near the village of Clayton. There are rocks/shoals west of Clayton that could have been clipped before reaching Bartlett Point.

UPDATE (10:15 p.m.) - US Coast Guard has confirmed to The Ship Watcher that USCG and Seaway inspectors are en route to the ship later this evening.

Since the ship moved from the incident site, its believed that there is no threat of pollution.

ORIGINAL REPORT - BBC Europe, a 390-foot ship built in 2003, was one of many ships traveling through the region on Saturday, which started with a delay on the river due to heavy fog.

Just after 6 p.m., BBC Europe cleared Cape Vincent headed downbound. A little after 7 p.m. the ship passed our viewing location, just east of Linda Island, and was moving at a good rate of speed. The ship was expected to next clear Crossover Island around 9 p.m. It is believed to be destined for Quebec.

However, around 8:30 p.m. it was noticed that the ship had returned upbound and stopped off Quebec Head. Its anchor was deployed and the superstructure was lit. Engines could be heard being stopped.

Initial reports are that the ship had some sort of incident near Mason Point, east of Clayton. In addition, a Seaway inspection is believed to be in order. All indications lean toward the ship touching bottom/rocks.

There are no reports, as of 9:30 p.m., of pollution or injuries relating to this incident. Ship traffic is not an immediate issue as just one upbound ship will likely pass BBC Europe in the next two hours and 2 ships are upbound, but currently on Lake Ontario and will pass overnight.

Stay with us on Twitter at (http://www.twitter/theshipwatcher) for the latest updates.

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