Tuesday 10 April 2018

Medium Icebreaker PIERRE RADISSON

The upbound CCGS PIERRE RADISSON rounding Toussaint Island at 9:00 am - March 25, 2018.
I see her tall stack coming, it's coming around the bend, I ain't snapped the PIERRE RADISSON since, I don't know when, I'm.....Wait! Wait! STOP the Music and Sorry Mr. Cash because I've actually NEVER snapped the Medium Gulf/River-type Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker PIERRE RADISSON, but Lord knows I've tried. Four years ago when she was needed in the Great Lakes, the day job 🚍 got in the way and when she got the call to return to the inland seas the following year, I missed her passage too thanks to a MarineTraffic glitch πŸ‘‰πŸ‘‡πŸ‘†πŸ‘‰ which is fairly common in this area. True, I did get some great snaps of the light icebreaker CCGS MARTHA L. BLACK smashing through the ice near Upper Canada Village (http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2015/03/light-icebreaker-ccgs-martha-l-black.html), and then pushing a huge wake near Mariatown but it was the RADISSON that I wanted and so any posts that I did back then or made mention of the mighty icebreaker that was really built to work in the Arctic Ocean, I had to use someone else's pics, and though they were greats pics and thanks very much again for letting me use them Ron Beaupre and Nathan Attard, but they weren't mine. It's just not the same. You know what I mean, eh?    
The PIERRE RADISSON was built in 1978 at Burrard Dry Dock
in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
No, you probably don't and I can't say I blame you but, some of us do get it, and when I saw that first photo and comment from Joanne Crack who administers  Facebook ship-watching group, "The Prescott ⚓ Anchor" on  Saturday, March 24th at about 08:00 hours saying that CCGS PIERRE RADISSON which had earlier been reported to be entering the Seaway once it opened to assist shipping on Lake Superior, was actually breaking ice on the South Shore Channel near Cote Ste. Catherine, I thought to myself, "Hmm, I wonder if she's going to try to make her way to the Great Lakes today". At 10:41 Joanne added that she was approaching Kahnawake which meant she had cleared Cote Ste. Catherine Lock and was advancing in a westerly direction. (Oh YAAA πŸ‘πŸš’πŸ‘)
At 10:58 I posted this pic of a MarineTraffic map showing that the RADISSON was now motoring on Lake St. Louis which simply could have meant she'd be conducting ice operations in the area, so I added the comment to Joanne's post, "that I will have to keep an eye on her movement this weekend.....because she may scoot her way up the Welland Canal before the official opening too". Soon after James Chapman joined in the conversation saying  he was. "... going to be watching for her passing through the American Locks" which is where he has taken many great snaps of ships along the Wiley-Dondero Canal between Snell and Eisenhower (or Ike, for short) Locks.
Well, the only ice operations the PIERRE RADISSON had conducted on Lake St. Louis that day was to cut a clear path for her all the way for  to the Lower Beauharnois Lock at the other end of the lake as you can see in this MarineTraffic pic that I added to the post at about 12:06. A little later Helen Mott, who's taken many beautiful wildlife and ship passage photos between Prescott and Iroquois Lock where I met her for the first time last spring, joined in saying,  "Joanne, Carl, keep me posted OK. I'm twelve minutes from Iroquois...would love to see her again and get my "pic-fix" (AGAIN 😳, I haven't even seen her once yetπŸ˜” ).
While keeping my eye or actual both of them πŸ‘€ on the MarineTraffic map which by the way gets updated every 30 seconds, I saw that the destination unknown  RADISSON had actually passed through both locks was still underway on the Beauharnois Canal which runs between the Beauharnois Locks to Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and posted a comment to Brenda Benoit who administers the ship-watching group, "The πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦Summerstown Seaway Lookout πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦", to be on the look out or as Marty Milner on ADAM-12 would call it, a "BOLO" that the CCGS PIERRE RADISSON was coming her way. Soon after James Chapman gets into the conversation again and mentioned that she is passed the Algoma self unloader ALGOLAKE which was laid up for winter at Port of Valleyfied.
On into Lake St. Francis the big icebreaker continued passing Saint-Zotique and RiviΓ¨re-Beaudette which is very close to the Ontario/Quebec provincial line along the north shore of the St. Lawrence. At 3:54 I responded to Helen Mott's earlier comment mentioning that the PIERRE RADISSON was approaching Lancaster and that because of the hour I doubted that she'd motor beyond Eisenhower Lock, if that because I felt it might be too dangerous to manoeuvre at night without lighted navigation aids (like what do I know?). Regardless, Helen replied, "Thanks Carl, I'll keep watching to see if she stops at Snell or Ike. Shiver me timbers - shipping season is about to get exciting!" (Yes, you got that right Helen πŸ‘πŸ“·πŸš’πŸ“ΉπŸ‘)
Just after 5:00 Joanne at The Anchor mentioned to Helen that the RADISSON was just above Hamilton Island and was thinking she might go to Cornwall for night (quite possible because we didn't really where she was going that day). Then at about 6:20 Joanne added that she was locking at Snell and that she hoped that she anchored at Wilson Hill for the night breaks otherwise the RADISSON wouldn't be at Iroquois until late at night or early morning. (YUCK 😁) At about 7:00 our man on the American side of the Seaway, James Chapman, mentioned that he got a few photos of her below Ike (πŸ†’, I said) and about a half hour later he mentioned, "they are going to tie up to the upper wall at IKE for the night", and later said, "estimated  departure at 06h15". That was great news because now we'd all get a chance to snap her in the morning, (OH YAAA!! πŸ‘πŸ“·πŸ‘)
CCGS PIERRE RADISSON is the first of three medium/river-type icebreakers to be built and designed for Coast Guard operations in the Arctic Ocean.  

Her gross weight tonnage is 5,910 tonnes which is almost three times 
heavier than the light icebreaker and more familiar to the Great Lakes,
CCGS GRIFFON which is based at Prescott, Ontario.
I'm not 100% sure when CCGS PIERRE RADISSON actually left the upper wall at Eisenhower Lock but when my alarm went off 6:30 am, she was just underway on Lake St. Lawrence, which is a long section of the former St. Lawrence River that became a lake between Iroquois and Eisenhower Locks when the area was flooded along with many original river communities and for former canals during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway that was completed in 1959.
Propelled by two fixed-pitch propellers and a bow thruster, the RADISSON's powerful diesel-electric propulsion system can power her through 1 meter (3.3 feet) thick ice at a speed of 6 knots.
The maximum speed for the PIERRE RADISSON is 16 knots or 30 km/hr.
I had a lot choices along the river to snap the RADISSON for the first time but my grandson would be coming over by mid morning so it was time to get up and go. Just before jumping on he 401 highway, I pulled off the road and saw that 322' icebreaker was stopped in Iroquois Lock. Since I want to get home early to see my grands, Cardinal was my best vantage point to see her in action, and lots of action snaps I got as you can see from my first shot as she rounded Toussaint Island at 9:00 am until she started to disappear around the Ingredion Canada corn starch plant about 20 minutes later.
While undergoing sea trials, CCGS PIERRE RADISSON transited the Northwest Passage while en route to her home port of Quebec City. Also during the transit, the RADISSON assisted CCGS CAMSELL which had been severely damaged by ice in the western Arctic.

With a ranger of 15,000 nautical miles, PIERRE RADISSON can stay
at sea for up to 120 days.
Continuing her journey up the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario the RADISSON arrived at Toronto on Monday morning, March 26 where she would be getting a crew change, and whether her captain or crew knew it, the impressive vessel with her a big red maple 🍁 leaf proudly being displayed on her tall white funnel, continued to be the focus of attention for many more ship-watchers like me, Joanne, Helen, James and Brenda, all with cameras and iPhones raised as the CCGS PIERRE RADISSON motored by Johnstown, Prescott, Brockville, the beautiful mansions and castles that adorn the Thousand Islands, and the tall swirling wind turbines on Wolfe Island (which has a very nice ferry πŸš’, did you know? Sorry, her story is to coming soon).
PIERRE RADISSON spends her summer months escorting commercial vessels bringing up supplies to communities along Canada's Arctic coastline as well as maintaining navigation aids, supporting scientific missions and be available for possible search and rescue missions....  
...while in the winter, she along with other CCGS icebreakers like her sister DES GROSEILLIERS, and the HENRY LARSEN and TERRY FOX will perform icebreaking operations and commercial vessel escort through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Sagueney and St. Lawrence Rivers. If needed PIERRE RADISSON may be called upon entered the Great Lakes and as in the case this spring, she's clearing ice covered passages and assisting stuck vessels on Lake Superior.
With ship's complement of 11 officers and a crew of 20, the PIERRE RADISSON also has a flight deck and hanger to carry a Bell 429 helicopter which is used in the gathering and analysis of ice reconnaissance data that provide timely and accurate ice information for the shipping industry as well identify for the vessel's captain better ice routing nearby or up to 100 miles away.  
Named for the 17th century French fur trader, Pierre-Esprit Radisson who
helped to form The Hudson's Bay Company, and was known to explore the  
Lake Superior shoreline where the icebreaker RADISSON is currently working. 

With a new crew and ample supplies and provisions stowed on board to complete her next mission, the big ice breaker had places to be and work to done and got underway, leaving Toronto on March 29th. Her passage through the Welland Canal was completed the next day, and with both Bridge 21 and fleetmate CCGS GRIFFON tied off along West Street in Port Colborne behind her, the PIERRE RADISSON touched up her speed and didn't stop again until she was tied off for raising to Superior's lake level at Poe Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on April 1st. That's over 600 miles in less than two day, and whether her captain or crew knew it, the impressive vessel with her a big red maple 🍁leaf proudly being displayed on her tall white funnel (yup, here it comes), continued to be the focus of attention for many more ship-watchers all with cameras and iPhones raised as the CCGS PIERRE RADISSON now motored by Windsor, Detroit, Algonac, Sarnia, Port Huron and Mission Point at the Soo.
No, she wasn't fooling around then or even hours after locking through the Soo on the first of April, as she quickly began cutting a track for the upbound self unloaders JOHN J. BOLAND, AMERICAN CENTURY and MICHIPICOTEN through the ice fields on Whitefish Bay as you can see in this MarineTraffic map pic. It's what she does and will continue to do until the real spring arrives with her warm seasonal temps and the odd bouts rain instead of snow squalls like we all experiencing now. And when that day comes, ship-watchers from Pier Drive in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan thru to the walkway on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge in Montreal, will be there watching and snapping the PIERRE RADISSON's every move. Are we a tad obsessed? Well maybe but none of our local NHL hockey teams will win the Stanley Cup this year so we may as well be out snapping you, CCGS PIERRE RADISSON.  Just like I  finally did at Cardinal and...

...Brenda Benoit of the πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Summerstown Seaway Lookout πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦https://www.facebook.com/groups/summerstownseawaylookout/
did from her boat dock across from this cute little cottage on Clark Island, and....
.... James Chapman did along the Wiley-Dondero Canal ....
...and Helen Mott did at Iroquois Lock....
....And Joanne Crack of The Prescott ⚓ Anchor
did from her balcony in Prescott. 
Joanne also got her fairly new Bell 429 helicopter that had lifted off the icebreaker's flight deck near the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge. πŸ†’
Great pics πŸ‘πŸ“·πŸ‘ everyone and if anyone else would like share a pic of this impressive vessel with her a big red maple 🍁 leaf proudly being displayed on her tall white funnel during her current mission or return home, then please send them my way and I'll add them to the mix for the brave men and women of the RADISSON and other fine CCGS vessels to view when they've run out of other more interesting reading material, or sooner. And for everyone on board your impressive vessel with a big red maple 🍁leaf proudly being displayed on her tall white funnel, be sure to SMILE πŸ˜„ because you could be on a Ship-watchers Camera too πŸ“·πŸ“Ή EH!! 😳😬😜

Here's a couple of nice pics by Tyson Breckenridge who snapped the CCGS PIERRE RADISSON taking on fuel and provisions at the Essar Steel Algoma Inc's dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario this morning. See more of Tyson photos at the ship-watching group, "Fans of Great Lakes Ships"( https://www.facebook.com/groups/141291056286532/) Thanks again, Tyson πŸ‘πŸš’πŸ‘

Here's a couple interesting shots taken by Allard Teeple Sr. at Bay Mills near the mouth of the St. Mary's River on Lake Superior of CCGS PIERRE RADISSON in action. In the top pic she's assisting the upbound Canada Steamship Lines self unloader FRONTENAC on April 4th. Just days earlier, it was CCGS GRIFFON that was assisting to break her free of the iced over Midland Harbour and Georgian Bay for her to start her journey to the upper lake.. In Allard's snaps below taken on April 5th, American Steamship Company's self unloader JOHN J. BOLAND is continuing on her own towards the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, while CCGS PIERRE RADISSON motors out to Whitefish Bay to free 7 vessels stuck in the ice fields there. Thanks for sharing these Allard and, Take Care my Friend!!  πŸ‘πŸš’πŸ‘


  1. As always, GREAT Carl !! Except for this one I certainly didn't stay on my balcony!! Haha. No need to edit. It doesn't matter. Thanks again. Cheers, Jo

    1. Haha back at ya!! Had trouble with the video. Will try to add later if figure out how to do it. Glad you like the postt. Had a lot of fun putting it together. c):-D

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