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  January 11th, 2018 | Written by

Freighter Stuck in St. Lawrence Freed From Ice

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  • Bulk carrier blocked four ships on their way down the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.
  • Freighter stuck in ice delayed winter closure of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • High-pressurized steam was used to melt the ice that had accumulated around stuck bulk carrier.

The Federal Biscay was dislodged from ice in the Snell lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway, after being stuck for five days. The bulk carrier was blocking four other ships on their way down the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, delaying the Seaway’s winter closure.

After the Federal Biscay was freed, the four freighters continued downriver on Sunday toward Montreal. Icebreaking tugs are working to keep the shipping channels clear.

High-pressurized steam was the primary method used to melt the ice that had accumulated around the Federal Biscay.

“The effort to free the vessel lasted several days and involved the hard work of many individuals under severe weather conditions,” said a press release from the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “This included dedicated SLSDC work crews, technical experts from the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC), the vessel operator (Fednav, Ltd.) and numerous contractors.”

A week before the Federal Biscay’s troubles, the Pacific Huron hit shoals and ran aground, taking crews two days to get the vessel on its way.

All this delayed the closing of the Seaway, which was supposed to take place close on New Year’s Eve. With arctic temperatures and problems with ice delaying ships, Seaway officials said shipping lanes will close for the winter once all remaining vessels exit the waterway. The plan is for the five remaining ships to convoy downriver behind icebreakers.