Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2009.
Lakers are ships specifically designed to go through the St. Lawrence Seaway and thus navigate the Great Lakes (thus their name). The above laker, the CLS Laurentien owned by Canada Steamship Lines, has just entered the St. Lawrence Seaway through the St. Lambert Lock with downtown Montreal in the background. The ship is a self-unloading bulk carrier of 37,000 deadweight tons with a length of 730 feet and a width of 75 feet.
There are also “thousand footer” lakers (1,004 feet long, 105 feet wide, and carrying up to 60,000 tons of cargo) that can only use the Upper Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie), for which they were specifically designed. They are too large to use the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway.