Monday 1 April 2013

Self Discharging Bulk Carrier BAIE ST. PAUL (Revisited)

When the sailing vessel ANN & JANE entered the then new Welland Canal on November 27, 1829, many onlookers in tall 'Top Hats' were there to greet her. It was a big event. The celebration of presenting a 'Top Hat' to the Captain of the first arriving upbound ship and thereby welcoming the start of a new navigation season was re-enacted in St. Catharines ON in 1947 and has carried on every year since. About 10 years later, a 'Top Hat' ceremony began in Port Colborne ON for the first downbound vessel to enter the Welland Canal, and though the skipper no longer gets to keep the 'Top Hat' like the 150 years old hat that's presented in Port Colborne, he does gets to wear it during the photo op which if you Google 'Top Hat Ceremony' you'll see it has remained a pretty big event down that neck of the woods and everyone in the world gets to see how goofy you look in a Top Hat, or not.
For Port Colborne's "first downbound" of the 2013 season ceremony, the skipper of the United States Coast Guard Cutter THUNDER BAY (WTGB 108), which was returning to her home port of Rockland, Maine after a two month hard working tour of duty battling massive icefields on Lake Erie and above, received 'Top Hat' honour at Lock 8 on March 22. The 140' Bay-class THUNDER BAY is a sister to the USCGC KATMAI BAY (WTGB 101) which I snapped above at the Soo in September 2013.

Meanwhile, the skipper of the upbound 620’ self unloader CUYAHOGA, got to try on the Top Hat at the ceremony at Lock 3 in St. Catharines. The CUYAHOGA (shown here leaving Lock 8 in this snap taken by my buddy Nathan Attard of Port Colborne) is owned by Lower Lakes Towing of Port Dover just like fleetmate self unloader SAGINAW which I snapped at Port Colborne's Canal Days 2012 (

Though there does not appear to be a 'Top Hat Ceremony' at either end of the St. Lawrence section of the Seaway, a ship that did receive a lot of media hype when she became the first upbound to enter St. Lambert Lock (also on March 22), was the new CSL Trillium Class self unloader BAIE ST. PAUL which I snapped above while she was laid up for winter beneath Montreal's Jacques-Cartier Bridge up top and leaving Lock * later in the spring.
The 740' BAIE ST. PAUL was built last year in Jiangyin, China and is the first of series of new vessels being constructed specifically for use in the St. Lawrence Seaway. Also it's 15% more fuel efficient than any other CSL class of ships and will save approximately 750 tonnes of fuel per year, amounting to a yearly carbon emission reduction of 2,400 tonnes. Not much of a footprint left there. And that's no 'April Fools', really!!

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