Seaway opening delayed thanks to severe winter

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St. Lawrence Seaway

CORNWALL, Ontario - The winter that won't quit has claimed another victim as the St. Lawrence Seaway is getting off to its latest start in five years.

While the Canadian Coast Guard has been plowing through terrible ice conditions on the Great Lakes, creating a shipping lane at the west end of the waterway that opened Friday, the component of the system near Cornwall won't be accessible until Monday.

After a decade of warming, the winter that just ended created some of thickest ice in years on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall.

"Icebreakers are continuing to break ice in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section," the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation has said in a radio message to vessels. "Lake St. Francis is covered with thick ice with a broken track in the navigation channel.

"Navigation will be restricted to daylight hours until further notice. Mariners are warned to exercise extreme caution in the use of winter markers as the position of the markers may have been affected by ice."

Experts predict the late opening should not result in a loss of commerce, though it has delayed the shipment of commodities overseas.

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, Algoma Central, TSX Canadian Pacific Chamber of Marine Commerce Canadian National

Geographic location: Great Lakes, United States, Thunder Bay Canada Europe Ontario St. Lawrence Seaway Montreal Middle East Latin America Lake Superior Africa Lambert, Que Lake Erie Lake Huron Wisconsin Beauharnois

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