CLAYTON – Two weeks into the shipping season, large ice floes continue to thwart traffic along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
As two ocean-bound cargo vessels anchored near Clayton, Canadian Coast Guard ice cutters were navigating eastern Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence to disperse the ice clogging the shipping channel.
A couple of days ago, we had an urgent call about huge pans of ice on the move near the entrance of the river, said Andy Maillet with the Canadian Coast Guard, which has deployed the ice cutter Griffon twice so far this season.
Mr. Maillet, superintendent of operations of the Canadian Coast Guards Central and Arctic Region, said the region has seen more ice this winter than it has seen in decades.
Vessels these days are built to withstand collisions with ice chunks. However, bigger, heavier piles of ice can push ships off-track, increasing the risk of accidents, Mr. Maillet said.
The ships were waiting for the pilots to board. The Griffon was keeping the ice loose around that area. They are now underway, Nancy T. Alcalde, spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said Tuesday afternoon.
The Griffon and its crew should be heading to Lake Saint Francis Wednesday morning, but the Coast Guard will continue to be on the watch for dense piles of ice in the eastern Lake-upper St. Lawrence region, Mr. Maillet said.
With the warmer weather, ice along the shore is softening up and there is a possibility that the wind will push additional chunks of ice into the waterway, he said.
U.S. Coast Guard officials said the ice thickness in the region ranged from 6 to 28 inches Tuesday.