Thursday, 30 March 2017

Welland Canal. March 29, 2017.

Below Lock 1 is a dock with many purposes.
One of these purposes is buoy storage for the Canadian Coast Guard.
Above are US Coast Guard buoys from Eastern lake Ontario.
As part of a bi-national agreement the Canadian Coast Guard services them each spring and fall. 
Perhaps this year CCGS Griffon will do this work.
These concrete blocks, and the one serrated steel block on the left,
are the anchors and chains used to hold the buoys on position.
While I was photographing the buoys the Amelia Desgagnes departed Lock 1
heading for Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence Seaway.
Wharf 1 is now being used by Neptunus Yachts of Port Weller.
They gave me permission to enter their site.
They are busy refurbishing the small-boat docking / storage area to use for their yachts.
They also build their yachts in Port Weller.  Click Here for their website.
Approaching and making the turn at wharf 1.
Amelia Desgagnes was launched as the Soodoc (2) for N.M. Paterson & Sons on April 29, 1976. She was built to Ice Class 3 standards by Collingwood Shipyards of Collingwood, Ontario. She has 2, V-12, 2000 HP diesel engines driving a controllable pitch propellor with a rated speed of 14 knots.
Four hatches feed into three holds.  She can carry 7349 tons of cargo.
As part of the Paterson fleet, the Soodoc carried cargoes such as granite, fertilizer, zinc, fluorspar, urea, phosphate, salt and various grain products. She has visited such countries as Columbia, Ukraine, Algeria and many others. She has also made many trips into the Canadian Arctic as part of the annual Summer Sealift of supplies to remote communities.
In 1977 the Soodoc was converted to a crane ship.
4, 10-ton cranes that can be twinned to 20 tons were installed.
Rumour has it that Desgagnes' new-built ships will not have the stripe on the hull.
Desgagnes Transport Inc acquired the ship on June 22, 1990,
renaming her Amelia Desgagnes.
She now trades on the Great Lakes, Arctic and ocean.
 Back to the buoys.
Each of these large buoys is equipped with a bridle that connects to two lugs
on the bottom surface of the buoy body.
At the bottom of each buoy leg is a counterweight to ensure the buoy floats vertically.
The bridle chains meet at a ring that is attached to a swivel.
The swivel allows the buoy to turn in wind, current and tides.
By doing this the chain should not twist around and get tangled on itself.
The chain from the anchor attaches to the swivel.
Below shows how the bridle is attached to the buoy body lug.  The large cotter pin must be split to hold the pin in place.  The steel on the lug is about 7 cm, 1-1/2" thick.  Heavy duty.

 Pilot boat Mrs C, from Cooper Marine, leads the Lake Ontario into Port Weller harbour.
 The Lake Ontario had a US-based pilot on board for the Lake Ontario transit.
Outside of Port Weller this pilot was relieved by a Welland Canal pilot,
who would stay on board until Lock 7.
Below:  Footprints.
Soon the geese that made these, and many others, will set up nests along the canal
and attack humans whenever the geese determine there is a risk.
I got knocked down by one last year.

 Many views of Lake Ontario, the ship.
Did you know?
If you click on an image it takes you to a larger version and you can scroll through the photos there. 

 Bulbous bow and accomadation block.
Now it gets interesting.
Lake Ontario slides the wall below the lock to ensure she is lined up correctly to enter.
Below:  Work along the canal continues.  
Note the blue & white sign indicating which VHF radio channel to use for this lock.

 On the correct heading and sliding along toward the entrance.
Below:  Hydraulic ram that opens and closes one of the lock gates.

 Not a lot of room on either side.
 Slowly, very slowly.
 Below:  The sign with "27" tells the pilot how much farther the ship can go, in metres.
There is an identical sign at the other end of the lock so distances can be read easily.
Pilot is visible on the bridge wing.

Very tight fit.
Lock 1 now has vacuum pads to hold the ship in place instead of using wires / ropes.
The vacuum pads do not stop the ship as the wires used to so the entry into the lock must be slower to ensure the ship can stop at the correct place using its engine.
This ship was built in 2004 as Lake Ontario.  That same year she was renamed Federal Manitou and kept that name until 2011 when she was once again named Lake Ontario.

She flies the flag of Antigua & Barbuda and is registered in the port of St John's, A&B.
Not Newfoundland!
 Ready to leave.
 An idea of how large these things are.  This is not maximum size for the locks, either.

Crew members often serve 9 month contracts in order to make a living.
 The bridge at Lakeshore Rd, right above the Lock, with the ship going past it.
Later that same day:
 Tug Salvage Monarch with barges Radium 603 & 617 and dredge Ocean Basque 2.
Salvage Monarch was built in 1959 by P.K. Harris Ltd of Appledore, England for Pyke Salvage & Navigation of Kingston, Ontario.  In 1964 she was acquired by McAllister Towing & Salvage of Montreal, Quebec.
In 1997 she was purchased by Le Groupe Ocean of Quebec.
In 2002, the Salvage Monarch was sold to Heritage Harbour Marine of Goderich, Ontario.
For several years she was chartered to Norlake Transportation of Port Colborne, Ontario.
When the charter expired the tug went into lay-up in Toronto.
In 2011 she was acquired by Toronto Drydock Ltd and returned to service.
As you can see, the tug is a bit over on the starboard side of the barges it is pushing.
This allows the tug Captain to see ahead.
The dredge wheelhouse and crane body would normally block the view ahead.
  • Type: Single Screw Tugboat
  • Year Built: 1959
  • Builder: P.K. Harris Ltd., Appledore, England
  • Horsepower: 1,440 bhp
  • Length: 97′ 09″
  • Breadth: 29′ 00″
  • Depth: 13′ 06″
  • Port of Registry: Montreal, QC

Monday, 20 March 2017

Opening Day Welland Canal, March 20, 2017

Annual opening ceremony took place this morning at Lock 3.
Lower Lakes Towing's Robert S Pierson was the first ship upbound and received the top hat for 2017.

 Above:  Well used Port Colborne fairleads.
Below:  Two seaway flags and two company flags on the foremast.

Above:  Dressed for the occasion.
Below:  Fences & Signs.

 Below:  Vacuum pad system in Lock 3.

 Two views of the ship waiting in the lock.

 Above:  Alternate transportation on the Robert S Pierson.
 Two more views.  
I had to get the Canadian Coast Guard flag in there somewhere!

 Clear of the lock and upbound.

 Above:  Moving under the Glendale bridge.
Approaching Lock 4 East.
I don't know if the vacuum system is complete on the west side.
If not, perhaps that is why the ship went up the downbound side.