Grain carrier refloated after grounding in St. Lawrence Seaway

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The following is the text of two news releases from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(CLEVELAND) (Dec. 30) — The Coast Guard oversaw the successful refloating of the motor vessel Orsula, which was completed Sunday.

The Orsula, a 656-foot Marshall Islands flagged ship, ran aground in the vicinity of Tibbetts Point in the St. Lawrence Seaway, Christmas Day.

At about 5:50 p.m., response personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena, N.Y., reported the successful refloating of the vessel to prevention branch personnel at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y. The vessel is currently making way toward Montreal and is being escorted by the tug Salvor.

A dive survey was conducted to inspect the entire hull of the vessel to ensure it is safe for the vessel to continue its transit. The vessel’s class society and personnel from the U.S. and Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Corporations cleared the vessel to transit to Montreal.

McKeil Marine was hired by the ship’s company to conduct salvage operations that included the lightering of the vessel to a barge, which commenced at about  6 p.m., Saturday, and was completed at about 6:30 a.m., Sunday.

The Coast Guard worked with the ship’s company and the salvage company to ensure the vessel was safely refloated.

"Our job is to make sure the ship's crew follows its own vessel response plan, which includes contacting their contracted responders, and we also make sure proper procedures are followed to safely refloat their vessel," said Lt. Andrew Sweeney, chief Inspections Division for Sector Buffalo. "We also gather information concerning the marine casualty investigation."

A contracted oil spill removal organization was on scene throughout the  operations for refloating the vessel as a precaution.

No pollution, flooding or injury associated with the grounding was reported.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

(CAPE VINCENT, N.Y.) (Dec. 28) — The Coast Guard is overseeing operations to refloat a grounded 656-foot motor vessel in the St. Lawrence Seaway, Saturday.

No flooding, pollution or injuries occurred as a result of the grounding.

The motor vessel Orsula, carrying more than 20,000 metric tons of wheat, ran aground near Tibbetts Point, N.Y., at the entrance of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The Orsula sailed from Duluth, Minn., and was planning to exit the St. Lawrence Seaway before it closes for the winter on Monday.

A dive survey has been completed, confirming that most of the hull of the vessel is resting aground, and revealed significant damage to the propeller.

McKeil Marine has been hired by the ship’s company to conduct salvage operations.  These operations will include lightering to a barge and a controlled re-float of the vessel.

The Coast Guard is working with the ship’s company and the salvage company to ensure the vessel is safely refloated. At this point there are no risks to commerce or traffic in the area.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff