Welland Canal ship collision investigation could take more than a year, says TSB
7/30 - An investigation into the collision between two vessels on the Welland Canal earlier this month could take to 450 days to complete, says the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).
The collision involved Florence Spirit, headed down the canal toward Lake Ontario, and Alanis headed toward Lake Erie. They collided starboard to starboard around the anchor ports on both ships at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, July 11.
Crew members on both vessels — 16 on the Alanis and 14 on the Florence Spirt — were not injured in the collision, captured on video by two men walking alongside the canal.
A map provided by the TSB on its investigation page showed the incident took place south of the East Main Street tunnel, east of Welland’s Memorial Park.
Three investigators from the TSB’s Quebec City-based office interviewed crew members on both vessels and downloaded data from the black boxes on each ship. The black boxes capture navigation information, and what crew members were saying on the bridges of both ships during the incident.
The collision left the 16-year-old Florence Spirit, a 136.4-metre-long bulk carrier owned by Burlington-based McKeil Marine, damaged on the starboard, or front right side. The 138-metre-long Alanis, owned by dship Carriers, suffered bow damage, including a visible hole on the starboard side near the anchor port.
Florence Spirt was carrying a load of coal and bound for a port in Quebec at the time, while Alanis was bound for Duluth, Minn., with a load of wind turbine parts.
Tuesday afternoon, Alanis was headed down the canal with a destination of Port Weller marked on its automatic identification system (AIS). AIS is used to show the location of a vessel and its speed and course.
Florence Spirit, which docked at Wharf 10 in Welland after the collision, was shown entering the harbour at Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., which has a ship repair/building facility.
In a previous interview, Patrick Bourke, McKeil Marine’s chief financial officer and commercial lead, said the company was looking at multiple options to repair the vessel and get it back in service.
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