Seaway authority gets first American-built tug in 61 years

Brian Gauvin photo

The following is text of a news release from the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC):

(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. announced the arrival Monday of its new tugboat, Seaway Guardian, in Massena, N.Y. The vessel has been on a three-week journey through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, and up the Atlantic seaboard from the Gulf Island Shipyards in Houma, La., where it was constructed. Seaway Guardian will be the first new American-built tugboat to join SLSDC since the Seaway opened 61 years ago.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway is important because it provides access for American raw materials, manufactured goods and agricultural products to be exported all over the world. Many thanks to the Wisconsin-based crew that sailed the new tug on its long journey from the shipyard to the Seaway. Seaway Guardian, the first new American-built, American-crewed tugboat to join the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp. in 61 years, will be a great addition to the Seaway’s fleet,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.

Construction of Seaway Guardian, which is capable of operating in difficult ice conditions, began in 2018. The keel was laid on June 26, 2018 and the vessel launched on Sept. 12, 2019. Sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico were completed in June of this year and the tug began its delivery voyage to SLSDC’s marine base in Massena on July 2.

Seaway Guardian’s primary missions will be buoy maintenance and ice management. It will also assist in firefighting and emergency operational response on the St. Lawrence Seaway. The new tug cost $24 million to construct as part of the SLSDC’s Asset Renewal Program. The tug will replace the 62-year-old vessel, Robinson Bay, which the SLSDC will maintain as backup for the foreseeable future.

Shipping on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System sustains more than 237,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in economic activity annually.

Click here to read a profile of Seaway Guardian in American Tugboat Review.

By Professional Mariner Staff