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Ship that ran aground on St. Lawrence near Cornwall, Ont. freed; 17 vessels affected by delays

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation says marine traffic has resumed after a ship that ran aground near Cornwall, Ont. was successfully refloated.

The NACC Argonaut, a cement carrier, was en route to Oshawa, Ont. when it ran aground between St. Regis and Cornwall islands at around 5:33 a.m. Sunday. No one was hurt, and there was no pollution to the river, but the trapped ship was impeding traffic on the Seaway. Seventeen vessels were affected by the traffic interruption Sunday and Monday.

Seaway Management Vice-President of External Relations Jean Aubry-Morin said the operation to refloat the NACC Argonaut began at daybreak Tuesday. Traffic resumed around 9 a.m.

The incident was not related to water levels, Seaway Management said, and steps were taken to protect people and the environment. 

"Between Cornwall Island and St. Regis Island, there is a sharp turn and, for reasons that are under investigation right now, she lost her heading and touched the hard bottom on the starboard side and the vessel got stuck immediately," Aubry-Morin told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa at Work with Patricia Boal.

The NACC Argonaut, a cement carrier, was en route to Oshawa, Ont. when it ran aground between St. Regis and Cornwall islands at around 5:33 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is responsible for tens of billions of dollars in economic movement every year. Aubry-Morin said that the traffic delay this week adds up.

"They all carry approximately 30,000 tonnes, so you're talking about millions of dollars movement of goods that's happening. Multiply that by 17 and it goes up fast," he said.

Two tugboats, "Ocean Intrepide" and "Ocean K. Rusby" helped in the operation to free the NACC Argonaut.

The ship will relocate to Lake St. Francis for further inspection.

"There will be probably a temporary repair because there's definitely some form of damage to the hull, minor damage, but there's still damage," Aubry-Morin said. "After inspection and things are safe and secure and no environmental potential risks are down the road, then the vessel will relocate to a port to be repaired permanently." Top Stories

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