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St. Lawrence Seaway oil spill contained; cleanup “progressing”


July 15, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter


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The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) is reporting that an oil spill in the St. Lawrence Seaway following the grounding of the Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) bulker Richelieu has been contained by a series of booms, although the cleanup is still “progressing.”
The Richelieu was carrying a shipment of wheat at approximately 7:30 p.m. on July 12, when it lost engine power and contacted the canal bank just above the Cote Ste. Catharine lock within the South Shore Canal.
A fuel tank was punctured resulting in a spill estimated to amount to 50 to 200 tonnes of bunker fuel.
Navigation was suspended in the South Shore Canal immediately after the spill. As of July 13, six vessels were waiting to transit the canal, SLSMC reports.
The balance of the Seaway (west of the South Shore Canal, extending to the Welland Canal) remains open to traffic.
South Shore Canal is expected to re-open to navigation on or about July 15, the SLSMC notes on its Web site.
“Given the rapid response, the spill was contained within the canal above the lock, with no oil entering the lock or moving downstream,” SLSMC reported. “No impact has been observed on municipal water intakes within the surrounding municipalities.”
The Standard Club, a mutual insurance association owned by its ship owner members, insures CSL. The specific coverage is not known.
A member of the International Group of P&I clubs, The Standard Club wrote US$205 million in premiums in 2009, and reports free reserves of $243 million.


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