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Grounded Cement Carrier Causes Two-Day Stoppage on St. Lawrence Seaway

The Canadian-flagged NACC Argonaut grounded Sunday morning on the St. Lawrence River near about 60 nautical miles west of the Port of Montreal. The ship was navigating a narrow section of the river, which the channel depths are commonly between 30-40 feet, before veering outside of the channel where levels quickly alter due to rock shelves and shoals. At the time of the grounding, the ship was drafting near the Seaway maximum of 26’ 6”. 

Water levels on the Seaway were not a contributing factor.

On Tuesday morning around 9:00 am. EST, 2 tugs from Ocean Group, Ocean Intrepide and Ocean K. Rusby, were on scene and freed the ship. NACC Argonaut was then moved, stern-first, downriver to emergency anchorage to be stabilized before then moving under its own power further downriver to St. Zotique Anchorage.

No injuries or pollution resulted from the incident or re-floating, and Canadian Coast Guard, as well as St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation monitored the situation throughout. A full investigation and inspection of the vessel is still pending.

NACC Argonaut was traveling to Oshawa, Ontario, a small port on the north side of Lake Ontario, and carrying a load of dry cement. 

NACC Argonaut has a deadweight of 13,977 tonnes and is operated by NovaAlgoma, a joint venture between Nova Marine Carriers SA (Nova) based in Luxembourg and Algoma Central Corporation (Algoma) from Canada.

Several commercial vessels were affected by the grounding, including cruise ship Hanseatic Inspiration that had entered the Seaway early Tuesday, but because of delays and impending backups at the locks, had to turn back to Montreal for passengers to disembark and then be bussed to Toronto in order to maintain their schedule and make outgoing flights. As many as 15 vessels were delayed anywhere from a few hours up to 2 days. 

The St. Lawrence Seaway is a binational waterway managed by Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, a U.S. federal agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation, and The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Canada, a not-for-profit corporation. The waterway serves as a critical artery connecting the Great Lakes region with the Atlantic Ocean. Each year over 200 million tonnes of cargo travel on the waterway, supporting more than $50 billion in economic activity.




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