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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Press Release - New Seaway Tugboat Arrives in Massena, New York

Monday, July 20, 2020

SLSDC 04-20

Monday, July 20, 2020


New Seaway Tugboat Arrives in Massena, New York

Secretary Chao’s remarks can viewed HERE.

Secretary Chao’s remarks can be viewed HERE.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) announced the arrival today of its new tugboat, the SEAWAY GUARDIAN, in Massena, New York. 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, Louisiana, where it was constructed. The 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.  The SEAWAY GUARDIAN, the first new American-built, American-crewed tugboat to join the Saint Lawrence Seaway Corporation in 61 years, will be a great addition to the Seaway’s fleet,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

Construction of the 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 September 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.

The 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 back-up 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. The St. Lawrence Seaway stands to see continued growth, following the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a comprehensive, 21st century agreement with two of the United States’ most critical trade partners. The USMCA not only keeps most tariffs between the three countries at zero, it does more than any prior agreement to eliminate non-tariff barriers and unfair subsidies that work against America’s farmers, workers, and employers.