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Seaway closing Dec. 29

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MASSENA - As the St. Lawrence Seaway prepares to close for the 2012 shipping season, officials report that traffic on the Seaway increased again last year.

“The last couple of years we have seen a slow and steady increase, which is indicative of the nation’s recovering economy,” Office of Lock Operations and Marine Services Director Lori K. Curran said.

“It’s slightly higher both with both in-land and ocean vessels,” she said, explaining in-land vessels are ships from the U.S. and Canada that stay “mostly within the Great Lakes system,” while ocean vessels are ships entering the system from overseas.

“It looks like we’re up by 18 ocean transits and 54 in-land transists,” Ms. Curran said, adding those numbers reflect of traffic up until Tuesday. “That’s good news.”

Putting those numbers in perspective, Ms. Curran said to date the seaway has played host to 1,559 in-land ship and 705 ocean vessels.

The St. Lawrence Seaway will remain open for ship traffic through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 29.

“We have winter maintenance projects, so it is important to get all the ships out by then so we can get the locks covered and whatever else we have to do,” she said. We have a lot of contractors waiting to get on-site and start their winter work.”

While the seaway’s closure date is set for Dec. 29, severe weather could impact that and force an earlier closure.

“Mariners are reminded that there is always a possibility that severe climatic conditions may occur during the closing period,”according to a statement outlining closing procedures on the seaway’s website. “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.”

On The Web:

www.greatlakes-seaway.com

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