#14 – Closing of the 2003 Navigation Season

October 6, 2003

Mariners are advised that the Seaway Corporations, with the aim of providing accurate and timely information and to take advantage of favorable climatic conditions should they occur, have agreed to the following dates and communications process for the 2003 closing period. Irrespective of operating conditions, due to winter maintenance requirements in both sections of the Seaway, navigation will not be extended beyond December 29 at 2400 hours.

Mariners are reminded that there is always a possibility that severe climatic conditions may occur during the closing period. Should this happen, there is a chance that the dates outlined below, for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section or the Welland Canal, may not be met.

Closing Dates

Montreal-Lake Ontario Section

  • Mariners are reminded that the clearance date for the 2003 navigation season is 2400 hours, December 20.
  • It is the Corporations’ intention to extend navigation to December 24th and beyond if conditions are favourable and to waive, demand and operating conditions permitting, the operational surcharges on December 21, 22, 23 and 24. For the MLO section, an announcement regarding the waiving of the applicable operational surcharges for December 21, 22, 23 and 24 will be made as early as possible.
  • Depending on vessel demand and operating conditions, the Montreal-Lake Ontario section may be kept open beyond December 24th at 24:00 hours. Announcements for the final closing date will be made as early as possible, as per the process described below.
  • Any transit of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway after 2400 hours, December 24, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement as to approval of such transit with both the Manager and the Corporation.

Welland Canal

  • Vessels will be accepted to transit the Welland Canal upbound at CIP15 and downbound at CIP16 up to 0800 hours December 24. The Welland Canal may be kept open beyond this date depending on vessel demand and operating conditions. This information will be provided by Seaway Notice, as per the process described below. Transits beyond the closing date announced on December 15th, if permitted, will be subject to Agents/Owners signing a written agreement with the SLSMC.

Operating Conditions Evaluation and Communications Process

On or about November 24th, a Seaway Notice will be issued including the detailed closing procedures and a preliminary prognosis of the possibility of extending these closing dates, based on best available information.

On or about December 8th, a Seaway Notice will be issued to confirm an initial extension period should operating conditions warrant, and prognosis for a further extension period.

On or about December 15th, a Seaway Notice will be issued to confirm the final closing dates for both the Welland Canal and the MLO section, including a further extension, should operating conditions warrant. The notice will also outline the date beyond which agents/owners will be subject to signing a written agreement with SLSMC to transit the Welland Canal.

Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canal (United States)

The official closing date for the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is 2400 hours January 15, 2003.

Ports East of Montreal

Vessel owners and operators are advised that there are a number of ports east of the Seaway (St. Lambert Lock) on the St. Lawrence River that remain open to navigation during the winter months.

Note that the Seaway Practices and Procedure (Seaway Handbook), Part X, Section 96 and 97 outline the Navigation Closing Procedures, and Sections 4 and 5 of the St. Lawrence Seaway Schedule of Tolls (Seaway Handbook) detail the post-clearance date operational surcharges.