UPDATE [March 20] - We have some action!!! CCG Martha Black has made an appearance in the Seaway west of Montreal, moving upbound. Also, tug Laprairie is following behind.
Tug Robinson Bay has been busy in Massena the last few days as well.
At this point, not sure if Martha Black will continue through to the Islands or not.
ORIGINAL REPORT - Who will be the first???
The 2013 shipping season is just days away and activity is beginning to occur.
A number of salties are headed for Montreal this week and will likely be a part of the first ship "parade" upbound this season after the March 22 opening date. CSL's new Baie St Paul will take the top hat at St Lambert Lock in Montreal on Friday and be the lead ship of the parade.
With warmer weather, the ice has begun to vanish throughout the region, though some remains in various spots. No official word of an icebreaker has been provided at this point, but we are watching Canadian Coast Guard's Griffon, which is currently docked in Port Colborne and likely awaiting the Welland Canal opening on Wednesday. If that is the case, we expect Griffon to cross Lake Ontario and begin its trek for Prescott, Ontario prior to the river locks opening.
[UPDATE: Griffon to lock down on Wednesday and head for Bath, Ontario. CCG says no immediate need for icebreaking along the river so no vessel specifically being sent along the route.]
At this point, downbound traffic will be free to flow from Lake Ontario ports (Hamilton, Toronto), though not able to go any further than Iroquois Lock until Friday. So, we could see our first ship as early as mid-week.
Much more to come and we look forward to sharing it with you this season... Season #6!