Oil spill cleanup halts ships, may take weeks
Published Wednesday, July 14, 2010 12:48PM EDT
The St. Lawrence Seaway remains closed because of the freighter that ran aground Monday night, and ships are queuing up for what could be a wait of a few weeks before they continue their journey.
At this point, the Canada Steamship Lines Richelieu is being drained of fuel, so authorities can figure out just how much oil is coating 3 km of shoreline near the Ste. Catherine locks.
Crews spent the night securing 5,000 metres of boom around the vessel, and still have a daunting task in front of them to remove up to 50,000 litres of fuel from the water.
However Quebec's civil security agency says there is absolutely no danger of fuel making it into the water supply for nearby municipalities, although water filtration plants are being constantly monitored for signs of oil.
Ships waiting to move
A dozen ships are currently waiting for permission to go through the locks, and each day spent waiting in line results in approximately $30,000 in losses.
Jack Meloche says the Seaway is a key shipping lane in Canada.
"For one ship, the maximum size for the Seaway would be 225 metres by 23 metres wide, and represents 880 trucks on the road," said Meloche.
Those ships will have to wait at least another day before the Coast Guard gives permission to transit through the Ste. Catherine locks, and it may be Friday before they're allowed to move on.