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Gott will be last freighter into Duluth this season

The Edwin H. Gott emerges from fog in the Duluth ship canal on Jan. 16, 2009 to end the 2009-10 shipping season in the Twin Ports. It's slated to be the last ship into the Twin Ports for the 2016-17 season, too. (News Tribune file photo)

The freighter Edwin H. Gott was steaming past Two Harbors on Tuesday evening on its way to Duluth, where it will be the last ship into the Twin Ports for winter layup.

The Gott was the final lake freighter of the 2017-18 shipping campaign to make it through the Soo Locks late Monday prior to the closure of the locks on the St. Marys River. The Soo Locks, which connect Lake Superior with the lower Great Lakes, are now closed until March 25 for annual offseason maintenance and reconstruction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The American Century had been scheduled to come to Duluth for winter layup, too, but was not moving fast enough to reach the Soo Locks before their closure, and instead was rerouted to Toledo, Ohio, said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. There are six vessels wintering in Duluth-Superior this season — all of them being worked on by crews from Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

The Gott was set to anchor overnight on Lake Superior offshore from Duluth, Yorde said. The boat was likely to be escorted into a Clure Public Marine Terminal berth on Superior Bay by ice-breaking tugs prior to sunrise Wednesday morning.

“I’m betting the tugs will be out working early (Wednesday) morning,” Yorde said Tuesday, cautioning that the schedule was subject to change.

In addition to the Soo Locks, the St. Lawrence Seaway System is finally closed for the season, too. The last foreign-flagged saltie of the season to leave Duluth, the Beatrix, was in the Gulf of St. Lawrence adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday. The Beatrix had been held up by ice in the St. Lawrence River for several weeks. It left Duluth Dec. 19, and the original plan was to be on the ocean by Christmas on its way to the United Kingdom with a load of wheat.