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“irrespective of operating conditions, all vessels must be clear of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section [of the St. Lawrence Seaway]  at 12:00 hours on December 31st, [2017].” quoted from Seaway Notice No. 26–2017

Above and below, Leonard M and Ocean A. Simard struggling to extricate Federal Biscay, as seen from Robinson Bay, on January 6, in temperatures double digits below zero, Fahrenheit.

Yet, here we are as of earlier this morning in the areas east and west of the Snell Lock [between groups 3 and 4].  Green AIS symbols are ships, all down bound, and aqua are tugs, assisting in that effort.   Key follows.  Check this news update from Massena NY on boatyard.com for January 8.

1  Pacific Huron.  It had grounded farther upstream in late December.

2  Performance and Robinson Bay

3  Federal Biscay and Ocean A. Simard.  Federal Biscay precipitated this delay, when it got stuck in Snell Lock last week.  It was freed Saturday. 

4  Billeborg, Beatrix, and Mitiq

5  Ocean Tundra and Martha L. Black

This should make for interesting story to follow on AIS or on FB group St. Lawrence River Ship Watchers.

Leo Ryan’s Maritime Magazine comments on the gold-headed cane ceremony each January in Montreal honoring the first ship into port of Montreal each year.  There should be a similar “recognition” of the last ship out of the Seaway.  Name suggestions, anyone?  Definitely there should be recognition of the efforts of the tug and ice breakers crews ensuring that the last ship gets out.  For some reason, I recall a kid’s book . . . The Story About Ping.

Many thanks to Nathan Jarvis for the top two photos and assistance with information.  The photo below I’m not sure who to credit to, but it shows Robinson Bay‘s efforts to extricate Federal Biscay last week.

And as of 10:54 today…

Federal Biscay and Pacific Huron are competing to be Ping;  the others are downstream following Black and Tundra.

I’m out of my weight class here, but formulas exist for calculating mechanical advantage of compound pulley systems like this.  I’m just focusing on the task in the north country for this machine.

Grasse River (1958) is dedicated to the Saint Lawrence Seaway and based in Massena NY, along with tugs Robinson Bay (1958) and

Performance (1997).  By the way, road distance from Massena NY to the sixth boro is over 350 miles!!

Perversely or providentially, Grasse River was the last ship produced by American Shipbuilding on the Buffalo River, before the shipyard closed, a victim of the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Plans have been set in motion to replace Robinson Bay, but the 300 t. capacity Grasse River is there, on call, dedicated as a “mitre-gate lifter” in the case of damage.  It’s sort of like the tow trucks on the ready at the Lincoln Tunnel to expeditiously drag out a wreck should a mishap occur inside the tunnel.

Seeing the size of the superstructure, I erroneously first assumed Grasse River was self-propelled.

All photos by Will Van Dorp, whose previous 21 “specialized” posts can be found here.

And let me add a postscript here about the location in Buffalo where Grasse River was built.  The shipyard was where a vacant lot across the street from Tewksbury Restaurant finds itself today.  The Tewksbury reference here is to one of two “runaway” ships  that destroyed a bridge on the Buffalo in January 1959, a month when no ships were supposed to be traveling on the river.  The ships involved were MacGilvray Shiras and Michael K. Tewksbury.

In that same neighborhood, Harbor Inn once served as a community institution as well.

Buffalo’s First Ward are the focus of an entire blog, as you can see here.

 

So the difference that makes the “really” is that several folks have contributed these photos.

Starting in Toronto with Jan van der Doe, here’s M. R. Kane, which has appeared here and here previously on this blog.  In the first link, you’ll see Kane towing the hull that would become tall ship Oliver Hazard Perry.

rrt1

Next three photos came from Allan Seymour, who took them as he traversed the Cape Cod Canal recently.  This Independence is rated at 5400 hp.

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Bohemia and barge wait to pass.

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And Buckley McAllister shares escort work on the Canal with Independence.

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The rest of these photos I’ve caught recently, all of tugs I’d not previously seen.  Miss Ila came through the sixth boro Saturday,

rrt5

Miss Lizzy I saw Friday, and

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Performance I saw in Massena earlier this month, and

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Robinson Bay.  These last two are operated by DOT’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which is looking to replace these aging tugs.  Robinson Bay (103′ loa and built in Wisconsin in 1957) and Performance (50′ and Indiana, 1997) do maintenance work on the US portions of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

rrt9

 

Thanks to Jan and Allan for the first photos here.  All the others are by Will Van Dorp.

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