The U.S. Coast Guard has approved new anchorages at Cape Vincent and Tibbitts Point, effective as of July 30, 2018. This will allow Seaway pilots that anchor to await a relief at Cape Vincent and Tibbitts Point to leave the vessel and be relieved of that duty. The request for designated anchorages in the Cape Vincent area was brought to light during the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation’s bi-annual Customer Survey of Owners and Agents in 2016. The goal of these surveys is to gain input from Seaway customers about issues that have arisen for them, discuss solutions, and provide resolution where possible. The SLSDC took the lead on this issue as the area in question was in the U.S. waters of the system.
Seaway pilots must anchor at designated anchorages in order to be relieved of duty. Once the vessel anchors in a designated anchorage, the pilot may be relieved of duty and transported from the vessel while it awaits a new relief pilot. Because Cape Vincent is a pilot exchange point for Lake pilots and River pilots, it requires two different anchorages, one on the Lake for down-bound vessels, and one in the river for up-bound vessels. Vessels were anchoring in these areas already, however, they were never officially designated as Seaway anchorages. Thus, pilots were not allowed to leave the vessel and customers were being charged an overtime rate for those hours the vessel was at anchor.
SLSDC solicited input from both U.S. and Canadian local pilot associations, who concurred that the new anchorages would be a helpful solution. This change will be a significant benefit to Seaway customers. Furthermore, it will benefit pilots as well by allowing them to leave the vessel and more quickly return into the rotation for another assignment.