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Soo Locks to close at midnight, which ship will be the last one through?

Jan 15, 2020 06:16AM ● By Editor

The Presque Isle was back through the Poe Lock this week with a fresh batch of ice on her bow. Boats are making their final runs on Lake Superior before the Soo Locks close at midnight January 15.  Photo:

By Tanda Gmiter of - January 15, 2020

The shipping season on the upper Great Lakes is winding down today, with the last ships slated to go through the Soo Locks by midnight tonight.

Which ship will be the last one through the Poe Lock today? There are still a few freighters hauling cargo in that area, according to the Marine Tracker website. As the clock ticks down today, we’ll be able to see which freighter is destined to hold the “last ship” honors.

Each winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closes the lock system in the St. Marys River on Jan. 15 for 10 weeks of winter maintenance. The locks are drained, inspected and any worn parts are replaced. The locks reopen on March 25, allowing ships to once again travel between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.

As the locks prepared to close, crews and owners of many of the freighters that ply Lake Superior’s waters have been posting their winter layup notices on social media.

Following the Soo Locks’ shutdown, three nearby regional waterways will also be closed. On Thursday, Jan. 16, the U.S. Coast Guard said the West Neebish Channel and Pipe Island Channel (north and east of Pipe Island) of the St Marys River, and Grays Reef Passage in the Straits of Mackinac will close to all commercial shipping traffic.

“Per United States Code of Federal Regulation, these actions steer commercial shipping and Coast Guard ice breaking activity away from these waterways during the winter months,” the military said. “A similar announcement in the spring will precede any icebreaking plans to reopen these waterways.”

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