Ship carrying soybeans lodged in ice in St. Lawrence Seaway

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A 200-metre-long ship carrying a load of soybeans has become lodged in ice in the St. Lawrence Seaway, blocking the way of four other vessels.

The Federal Biscay got stuck in the U.S. Snell Lock near Cornwall, Ont., Monday morning after heavy ice accumulated on the lock’s walls and the ship’s hull.

The vessel was en route to Montreal when it became lodged, according to data from the Marine Traffic website.

Effects of cold snap

Andrew Bogora, a communications manager for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said the cold weather has affected the seaway this season.

“The ice has built up quite rapidly following the intensity of the cold snap,” he said. “That weather punch has affected every mode of transportation, including the seaway.”

The ship isn’t damaged, but the blockage is holding up four other commercial ships travelling east along the St. Lawrence River, according to a news release.

Those include the Mitiq, the Beatrix, the Billesborg and the Pacific Huron.

Late shipping season

The shipping season usually lasts from the end of March until around Dec. 30, Bogora said.

But the Federal Biscay has now been stuck for four days, lengthening the season for the four remaining ships that need to get to the Atlantic Ocean.

“This particular situation is unprecedented in terms of a ship being in the lock at this point on the calendar,” he said.

“The length of time this ship has been fixed in the lock due to ice I think just reflects how severe the weather has been.”

federal biscay map stuck jan 5, 2018

The Federal Biscay got stuck in the ice in the U.S. Snell Lock near Cornwall, Ont. (marinetraffic.com)

Delay may cause extra costs

It’s unknown what kinds of extra costs the delays have caused, but Bogora said there are likely extra expenses associated with the incident.

“It’s fair to say the ships that have been waiting for their turn to transit have incurred certain costs,” he said.

Bogora referred questions about efforts to free the ship to the U.S. organization that runs the Snell Lock, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

In a statement, the corporation said crews are working to “melt the ice around the vessel using pressurized steam and additional tug boats have been brought in to assist.”

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Ship carrying soybeans lodged in ice in St. Lawrence Seaway

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