DAILY GREAT LAKES and
SEAWAY SHIPPING NEWS
Severe ice conditions off Port Colborne keep ships in Welland Canal
3/27 - Port Colborne , ON – As two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers work to clear severe ice off of Port Colborne, at least a dozen vessels are being held up in the Welland Canal and just offshore. The delay is proving costly for ship owners, said Gregg Ruhl, president and chief executive officer of St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corp.
"We have seven ships in the canal waiting to go that direction," Ruhl said Tuesday.
The direction he's referring to is upbound — vessels headed from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. "It's very costly … we have seven ships and for every day we lose, we lose a round-trip voyage."
Algoma and competitor Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) are constantly moving through the canal with cargoes to and from ports across the Great Lakes. Right now, it's only Canadian vessels being held up. Ocean-going vessels have yet to make their way to the canal.
Ruhl said in addition to the financial cost to Algoma, the delay creates a reduction in capacity for the 2019 season. "We're booked full every day and we can't make that back up," he said.
An email from the Canadian Coast Guard said its icebreakers CCGS Griffon and CCGS Pierre Radisson are encountering ice ridges between 2.5 and three metres high off of Port Colborne. The Griffon had been working to clear offshore of the city when the canal opened last Friday and had been joined by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay.
Canada and the U.S. share icebreaking duties on the Great Lakes, with vessels working wherever needed on either side of the border.
The Coast Guard said to break the ice in the shipping lanes and mouth of the Welland Canal, the icebreakers move forward, stop, back up and then power forward.
The federal agency said the icebreakers will continue to break tracks until conditions are safe to perform escorts through the ice and that the Griffon will stay in the area until conditions improve and the ice can be safely handled by one icebreaker.
"The Coast Guard continues to maintain regular communication with industry and local stakeholders in order to prioritize work," it said in the email.
Ruhl was betting the Algoma vessels on the Welland Canal would start moving through the ice Wednesday.
Read more and view a photo gallery at this link: https://www.wellandtribune.ca/news-story/9241352-severe-ice-conditions-off-port-colborne-keep-ships-in-welland-canal/http://www.boatnerd.com/