Refloated bulker heads for Montreal

Grounding threatened to trap bulker within the Seaway until next season Grounding threatened to trap bulker within the Seaway until next season USCG Photo

DECEMBER 31, 2013 — A Fednav-chartered bulker, the 656 ft Marshall Islands flagged Orsula, is heading for Montreal after grounding in the vicinity of Tibbets Point, NY, near the entrance to the St. Lawrence Seaway, Christmas Day. The ship is being escorted by the McKeil Marine tug Salvor.

The ship was the last "saltie" to leave Duluth before the close of the Seaway season.

The Coast Guard oversaw the successful refloating of the vessel, which was completed Sunday.

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, NY.

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 shipowner 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.

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