Steam used to free bulker beset by ice in Seaway lock


(MASSENA, N.Y.) — A bulk carrier that had been trapped in ice in a St. Lawrence Seaway lock for five days was freed Saturday, the Watertown Daily Times reported.

The 650-foot Federal Biscay was transporting soybeans from Port Weller, Ontario, to Montreal when it became immobilized by heavy ice buildup on its hull and on the lock walls. After three tugboats tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the ship, high-pressurized steam was used to free it.

“The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. reports that the vessel Federal Biscay has been safely and successfully freed from the U.S. Snell Lock, where it had been immobilized in ice for the past several days. After a major effort over the past 24 hours to melt the ice around the vessel using pressurized steam, the vessel exited the lock earlier this afternoon with tug assistance,” SLSDC officials said in a news release Saturday.

Federal Biscay was tied up late Saturday along the upper approach wall to the lock. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. officials said the ship, which was built in 2015, was not damaged.

Four other ships that remained in the Seaway system when Federal Biscay became immobilized had been put in a queue until the ship could be freed. They are MITIQ and Beatrix, general cargo ships from the Netherlands; a bulk carrier, Pacific Huron; and Billesborg, a containership out of Panama.

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By Professional Mariner Staff