The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is investigating a collision involving one of its icebreakers and a bulk carrier on the St. Lawrence River.
The bow of the 620-foot Singapore-flagged Federal Crimson struck the stern of the icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson on Jan. 22 at about 1045 near Quebec City, according to CCG spokeswoman Emilie Proteau-Beaulieu. No one was injured but both vessels were damaged.
The incident happened while the 322-foot CCGS Pierre Radisson escorted the inbound Federal Crimson toward Becancour, Quebec, a community roughly halfway between Quebec City and Montreal. The icebreaker sailed ahead of the commercial ship and broke a path through the icy river.
Additional details on the icebreaking operation were not available, including the standard safe distance between ships during an ice escort. It’s not clear if mechanical problems occurred on either vessel.
“An internal investigation is underway in accordance with the Canadian Coast Guard’s Fleet Safety Manual,” Proteau-Beaulieu said in an email. “The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has visited both the Federal Crimson and CCGS Pierre Radisson to understand the exact cause.”
The CCG repositioned several icebreakers along the St. Lawrence Seaway to minimize disruption to shipping activity, she said. CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent performed icebreaking work while CCGS Pierre Radisson was out of service.
Federal Crimson was underway with two pilots from the Laurentian Pilotage Authority at the time of the collision. The group has responsibility for the section of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Les Escoumins, roughly 150 miles northeast of Quebec City.
“Navigation on the St. Lawrence River during the winter represents a great challenge,” said Capt. Alain Richard, executive director of marine safety and efficiency with the Laurentian pilots. He said the group was unable to discuss the incident during the ongoing TSB investigation.
The 44-year-old CCGS Pierre Radisson sustained damage to its aft hull and flight deck from the impact with Federal Crimson. Proteau-Beaulieu said the flight deck will be repaired during maintenance already scheduled for this spring. The hull puncture at the stern has been repaired and the ship returned to service in early February.
“Full repairs will be completed during a planned maintenance period. The cost of these repairs is not known at this time,” according to Proteau-Beaulieu.
The extent of damage to Federal Crimson was not available. The ship is owned by MSL PTE Ltd. and chartered by the Canadian ship manager Fednav, based in Montreal. Fednav declined to comment on the incident.