July 2, 2021 | Circular No. 11293

Dear Member,

Amendments for the mitigation measures for the transit of Post-Panamax vessels transiting between Quebec City and Montreal came into effect on July 1, 2021. These new modifications affect Notice to Mariners 27A, “Guidelines for the Transit of Wide Beam Vessels and Long Vessels in the Québec-Montréal Segment“, including chart VN-301, “Directives on meeting and overtaking wide beam vessels and long vessels in the St. Lawrence waterway”.  While considerable restrictions remain on these vessels, these amendments reflect positive progress and are expected to improve transit efficiency for these vessels.

Due to the physical characteristic of the St. Lawrence River, Post-Panamax vessel transits were first permitted in 2013, and were burdened by heavy restrictions.  A working group under the Standing Committee on Navigational Safety was formed to review these restrictions which are primarily related to vessel meetings, overtaking, anchoring and navigation in ice.  The Federation submitted comments as part of the consultation process which factored into the Working Group’s recommendations.

Some of the key changes:

  • Meeting/overtaking restrictions have been eased in some areas as outlined on the revised chart VN-301. For example, Contrecoeur sector is no longer an area under study, it is now possible for two wide beam vessels to meet. Some other areas that were identified as high risk became medium risk and some medium risk areas were identified as safe
  • The directive related to anchorages has been better defined – wide beam and long vessels can anchor for a maximum of 24 hours and it is possible for a long vessel to extend the duration as needed. The permitted anchorages are Saint-Nicolas and Pointe-aux-Ormes in summer in addition to Trois-Rivières and Lanoraie at all times.
  • The directives concerning the under keel clearance (UKC) have been clarified, for upbound wide-beam vessels where the UKC calculation can be done at 7 knots between Quebec and Batiscan and from Batiscan to Montreal the calculation must be done at 10 knots.  If the vessel cannot meet the UKC standards corresponding to 10 knots and it has been evaluated and judged to be of good maneuverability, the calculation can be made exceptionally at 7 knots.
  • The minimum transits to assess a vessel’s maneuverability have been amended:
    • Four (4) round-trip transits for wide beam vessels
    • Two (2)round-trip transits for long vessels
    • One (1) round-trip transit for long sister ship vessels on regular trade.
  • During hours of darkness, in favourable tide conditions, passage is allowed for upbound wide beam vessels until Grondines.

The revised Notice to Mariners Notice 27A and the Coast Guard’s MARINFO page, contains more detailed information.

Please direct any quesitons to the undersigned.


Chad Allen

Director Marine Operations