Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ice build up delays closing of the Seaway

I’d just responded to Yayac that the CCGS Griffon icebreaker was in Port Colborne. And that Lake Erie was heavy with ice. (Unusual for this time of year) Though I was mistaken in reporting the Welland Canal had closed for the season-

Hey Yayac- we were at about the same temp yesterday (January 02/2018), but very windy- Today looks to be about the same, so it's a reprieve from the frigid temps, but, we're dropping back down Friday and Saturday to highs of -14 C Lows of - 16 C
For the American readers that is 7 F and -2 F
I was at Lake Erie shores yesterday- wild ride- winds were just blowing- the ice is piling up high along the lake shore-- waves were high- ice everywhere- The icebreaker Griffon was there at the mouth of the Canal as it entered Lake Erie- I figure it's breaking ice up for whatever ships remain in the Great Lakes doing their deliveries etc- but not using the Welland Canal for transport- It's closed for the season
. (fixed my typos)

An honest mistake because it usually is closed by years end.  However, due to the extreme frigid temperatures and subsequent ice build up closing has been delayed until 5 remaining ships can get through the multiple lock system employed to enable ships to ascend or descend the Niagara Escarpment. Where Ships Climb the Mountain

The CCGS Griffon makes its way down the Welland Canal Tuesday morning in Port Colborne. After helping commercial vessels on the lower St. Lawrence Seaway system, the Canadian Coast guard ship is headed into the American waters of Lake Erie to assist with icebreaking


A snap freeze and very heavy ice conditions on the lower part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system delayed its closing for the season, says St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. spokesman Andrew Bogora.

“We had planned to close on Dec. 31, but given that ships are somewhat behind their original schedules, we extended the closing by a number of days,”
said Bogora.

Capt. Adriaan Kooiman, of the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon, said no one was expecting the amount of ice on the lower portion of the seaway, which runs from Kingston up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.

“It’s very heavy for this time of year,” said Kooiman, adding ice was five centimetres thick in some areas".
“We still have five vessels waiting to clear the lower portion of the Seaway,” he said, adding the Pacific Huron will be the last to clear the lower portion of the system.

After working to clear ships from the lower portion of the seaway, the Griffon made its way to Port Colborne.

“The Griffon is scheduled to transit to Erie, Pa., and Ashtabula, Ohio, to assist vessels into and out of ports. It was working on the St. Lawrence Seaway providing service during critical ice conditions,” said Carol Launderville, Canadian Coast Guard communications adviser, in an email.

She said both the Canadian and U.S. coast guard are conducting icebreaking operations to assist commercial shipping throughout the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Seaway.

“The service ensures safe navigation, prevents the formation of ice jams and flooding, and maintains open routes for maritime commerce,” she said.

Kooiman said the Griffon would move out into Lake Erie once the wind died down, and he expected to find thin lake ice. (After yesterday’s wind- lake ice would be thinner away from the shorelines)

He also expected ice to keep forming with the cold temperatures being experienced.

Ice reports on the Great Lakes, he said, come to the vessel from sources such as Environment Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard office, U.S. coast guard and others. Ice coverage on Lake Erie is at nearly 40 per cent.
Coverage of the extreme cold temps that started Christmas day (10 days ago)- We are having a brief respite today, still below normal, but not as extreme.. But we'll be back to the extreme cold in just a couple of days- If the weather forecasts are at all accurate ?
We're feeding all the critters (stray cats, birds, squirrels etc.,) we can. And providing water too.


  1. Russia official announces plans to build space age nuclear icebreakers

    1. Funny that you mention that 'cause my husband was saying just the other day if the Arctic is so "ice free" as claimed why is Russia building these massive ice breakers- nuclear powered means they'll have an endless supply of energy- which means the icebreakers will be in near continuous service--- I look forward to reading that link
      Thank YOu

  2. You might want to consider crediting the source of all your information. Looks like you just took it from the Welland Tribune.

    1. the post is live linked to the Tribune
      all you have to do is click on the link