Iron ore ship runs aground near Cardinal; salvage plan underway

In this provided photo, The Canada Steamship Lines Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin sits in the St. Lawrence River near Cardinal, Ont. on Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 after running aground (red ship on the right). A salvage plan is underway for the ship. (@bigriverbeef/Twitter via Newswatch Group)

MASSENA – It will be a day or two before a ship, filled with iron ore destined for Quebec City, is freed after running aground in the St. Lawrence River, west of Cardinal.

The Canada Steamship Lines Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin – a 35,000 metric ton self-unloading bulk carrier – got stuck Sunday night. The ship can hold 1.4 million cubic feet of ore.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, St. Lawrence Seaway Director of Lock Operations and Marine Services, Chris Guimond, says CSL is putting a salvage plan together, which has to be approved by the seaway authority.

“Once approved, they’ll go into action and try to get her free from the bottom,” he said.

Getting the salvage plan approved is “not usually too long, a day or so, I would expect to see something soon,” Guimond said late Monday afternoon.

Guimond says the St. Lawrence Seaway, Transport Canada and the U.S. Coast Guard have all been on board to assess the situation.

The cause of the grounding is not immediately known.

“He went outside the channel and outside the channel is not guaranteed depth. Other than that, I don’t have any reasons why it happened yet,” Guimond said.

In the meantime, ship traffic is on an alternating basis through the area – an eastbound ship is allowed to go and then a westbound ship.