Tugboat salvage operations suspended, river current too strong

Tugboat salvage operations suspended, river current too strong

A tugboat lies partially submerged

CORNWALL, Ontario – It appears it will take even longer for a pair of tugboats to be salvaged from the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall.

The Canadian Coast Guard said Wednesday evening the operation to recover fuel oil from two sunken tugboats is temporarily suspended.

“Due to strong water currents in this section of the St. Lawrence River, the vessel owner has chosen to temporarily suspend lightering operations to ensure salvage crew safety,” the coast guard said in a statement.

Lightering is the process of removing oil or other hazardous chemicals from a compromised vessel to another vessel to prevent oil from spilling into the surrounding waters. 

“The owners of the vessels remain responsible for their vessels. Their oil recovery plan is being revised at this time,” the coast guard continued. “The situation remains stable, with no reported or observed pollution. Active sheening of oil on the water has not been detected for over a week.”

The larger Lac Manitoba tug is owned by McKiel Marine, while the smaller vessel is privately owned.

It’s unclear when salvage operations on the vessels will resume, or how officials will tackle the issue of dealing with the strong river current.


Effective immediately, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is lifting a precautionary ‘Do Not Use Water’ advisory it issued on July 7 for residents of the Township of South Glengarry whose private water system or small drinking water system draws water from the St. Lawrence River between Glen Walter and South Lancaster.

The precautionary advisory is being lifted due to the difficulties causing delays in the salvage operation of the two tugboats that capsized near the Seaway International Bridge in Cornwall on June 22.

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