Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) is advising that due to the extreme cold weather which has settled over the eastern North American continent, there have been heavy delays in shipping operations since January 4, 2014.
The delays have been caused primarily by ice build-up between Lanoraie and the Three Rivers (St. Lawrence River). Three Canadian Coastguard ice breakers have been working round the clock in the area since then, but no ships have been allowed to depart Montreal outbound due to this.
There are currently five ships docked at Montreal awaiting favorable ice conditions in order to depart for sea, and Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations advise that shipping may resume for departures at 0630hrs local time on January 8, 2014.
In addition, there are currently 12 ships tied up at Three Rivers and Quebec awaiting favorable ice conditions in order to transit to Montreal. Reports confirm that one tanker had broken her moorings and drifted aground in the Sorel area, but that the vessel has now been recovered and is alongside in Sorel, awaiting inspections.
Laurentian Pilotage Authority has advised that three ships have been authorized to transit downbound and four ships have been authorized to transit upbound. All other ships will have to wait for the arrival of a stronger icebreaker for the Quebec Bridge passage. Ships who experience suction problems or any other mechanical problems due to the weather conditions, and all tankers, will be delayed below Quebec. Ships waiting between Trois Rivieres and Montreal will probably be authorized to transit tomorrow, January 8.