MASSENA, N.Y. (WWTI) — The 2021 navigation season is coming to an end for the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence Seaway.

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation have announced closing dates for both the Montreal-Lake Ontario section, Welland Canal and Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canal.

According to the Corporation, the clearance date will be December 20, 21 at 11:59 p.m. The closing period will begin on December 1 and continue until the last ship has completed its transit.

All vessels must be then clear of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section by noon on December 31, 2021. Additionally, the operational surcharges have been waived for December 21, 22, 23 and 24.

If permitted, any transit throughout the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section of the Seaway after December 24 will be required to have a prior written agreement. Arrangements for this transit are to be made at the St. Lambert office.

Vessels must also be required to report their status during the closing period. Beginning on December 1, each upbound ship entering the Seaway at CIP 2 or departing upbound in the Montreal- Lake Ontario Section must declare the furthermost destination.

Beginning on December 17, each downbound ship entering Traffic Control Sector 4 at mid-Lake Ontario must declare the furthermost St. Lawrence River destination and all intermediate destinations.

A ‘wintering ship’ wishing to return downbound through the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section will be permitted to travel downbound if grant privileges by the Manager and the Corporation. A ‘wintering ship’ wishing to return downbound through this section must give notification of such intent to the Manager or Corporation at least 72 hours prior to arriving at Cape Vincent.

The Welland Canal will end its navigation season at noon on January 7 This is part of a season pilot program led by the corporations. Any transits throughout the Canal after December 26 will also be subject to prior written agreement. Arrangements can be made at the St. Catherines office.

The Sault Ste. Marie Locks in the United States is scheduled to close on January 15, 2021. Further information on this closing will be provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There will also be a number of ports east of the Seaway on the St. Lawrence River that will remain open to navigation during the winter months.

Mariners are also reminded that unanticipated conditions during the closing period could result in closing date changes for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section or the Welland Canal.