CHCH News in Hamilton interviewed me yesterday via Facetime about my thoughts on the collision between the Alanis and Florence Spirit in the Welland Canal which occurred July 11th. The Canal, and entire lakes shipping industry got lucky that neither ship sunk. You can see the interview here.
The collision was caught by at least two individuals who were out watching ships. the two video’s of the collision are included below. both of these videos were pretty promptly posted to Social Media.
in what was likely a steering failure, the general cargo ship Alanis loaded with wind turbine parts bound for Cleveland, and the bulker Florence Spirit, Port Colburn for Grand Anse PQ collided. It looks as though the Florence Spirit crossed the channel in front of the Alanis, in the video an alarm can be heard sounding prior to the collision.
had the Florence Spirit sunk, across the canal, it could have taken weeks or months to clear the vessel. Photos of the Florence Spirit taken after the collision show it listing and down in the bow, suggesting that the hull was punctured by the Bulbous bow of the Alanis.
Despite Pilots being aboard the vessel, they can do little in the case of a machinery issue. a blockage in the canal would trap ships on both sides of the canal, and would have major trade impacts due to the quantities of bulk product that moves through the canal, including Grain and Iron Ore. Perhaps its time to consider compulsory tugs for vessels transiting the canal.
The Welland Canal is located in Ontario. The 43 km passage is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway system, connecting Lake Ontario and Lake Erie through the Niagara Peninsula. It enables ships to bypass the Niagara Falls.
Approximately 40million tonnes of cargo are carried through the Canal each year by some 3,000 vessels,of various types. These vessels are comprised of ocean-going vessels, along with Canadian and U.S. lakers.