A Maltese-registered cargo ship carrying 16,000 tons of cement was in danger of breaking up on the St. Lawrence River near Quebec City after all 40 crew and passengers aboard were evacuated early last Thursday, Canadian Coast Guard officials said. The 552-ft. (178-m) ship suffered a rudder breakdown and ran aground last Tuesday on a sand bank near the eastern tip of l'Ile d'Orleans near Quebec City, the provincial capital. "The problem is fairly serious because there is a crack running from the deck to the water level," coast guard spokesman Francois Miville-Deschenes said. "There is a risk that some of the cargo will fall into the river," he said.
The 27,536 dwt bulk carrier Alcor is registered in Valletta, Malta and owned by New Wind Shipping and managed by Transorient Overseas SA, according to Lloyds Shipping directory information. It was heading toward the port of Trois-Rivieres, halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. The coast guard provided four tugboats
to try to re-float the ship at high tide late on Wednesday but their efforts failed. Miville-Deschenes said it was unclear whether the ship would be repaired or declared a wreck, he said.
Researchers were still trying to determine if the cement would contaminate the water, he said.