Save the St. Lawrence River from Five marooned cargo ships
On December 28, 2017 the Pacific Huron Bulk Carrier, a623-foot vessel Loaded with soybean, ran aground along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River near Wellesley Island, 1,000 feet outside the channel.
On January 1, 2018 the Federal Biscay, a 650 foot bulk carrier became stuck in Snell Lock near Massena / Cornwall, the last lock on the St. Lawrence River.
Even though the official shipping season for the St. Lawrence Seaway officially ended on December 31, 2017, these two ships, plus three others, had yet to complete their journeys down the St. Lawrence.
Locals, water activists, fishers and indigenous are concerned over the prospects of having five large ships frozen in place for the winter and the potential ecological disaster their present’s poses.
It wasn’t until January 9 2018 that all 5 commercial vessels cleared the last lock, and with the assistance of the Canadian ice breaker Martha L Black, and the support of five tugs, made their way down to Montreal and beyond.
Throughout this two-week period of high-stakes drama, authorities responsible for the Seaway and its use by commercial ships offered the public little information.
If it wasn’t for the persistence of the Upper St. Lawrence RiverKeper and CEO of Save the River, Lee Willbanks, people would still be left wondering exactly what just happened and if There River and lives were endangered.
Joining Lawrence Gunther on Episode 172 of Blue fish Radio to tell us what he managed to learn about the ships and the potential danger the five ships posed to people and the River is Lee Willbanks, CEO of Save the River and the Upper St. Lawrence RiverKeeper.
Listen to Lee and Lawrence discuss what this incident represents and why regulators and industry need to examine the series of events to learn what they need to do differently in future.
For more on this topic visit the Watertown Daily Times editorial, Know your limits: Year-round shipping in seaway a disaster waiting to happen
Or the Channel 7 (local TV station), Group Wants Shorter Shipping Season in Wake Of Seaway Snag