Montreal

Ice accumulation slows down maritime traffic in St. Lawrence River

This winter’s frigid temperatures are causing significant amounts of ice to accumulate in Lac Saint-Pierre, on the St. Lawrence River, thereby slowing down maritime traffic.

Icebreakers deployed to Lac Saint-Pierre, near Trois-Rivières, due to major accumulation of ice

The Canadian Coast Guard's icebreaker, the CCGS Des Groseilliers, is working on breaking the ice accumulated in Lac Saint-Pierre. (Archives (Maxime Corneau/Radio-Canada))

This winter's frigid temperatures are causing significant amounts of ice to accumulate in Lac Saint-Pierre, on the St. Lawrence River, thereby slowing down maritime traffic.

The CCGS Des Groseilliers icebreaker is working to get ships moving again through the lake, which is situated just southwest of Trois-Rivières, between Montreal and Quebec City. Another icebreaker, the CCGS Amundsen, is expected to be deployed soon from Quebec City to help with the efforts.

The departures of two ships had to be cancelled because of the significant accumulation of ice in Lac Saint-Pierre.

Alain Arsenault, president of the St. Lawrence pilots association, says this winter's abundant snowfall and very cold temperatures are to blame.

"The ice conditions are very important for the season. To have winter conditions as rigorous as we've had so early in the season, I think it's abnormal."

Others are also concerned. Nicole Trépanier, president of the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council (SODES), said people are reporting seeing the lake's water levels rapidly rising over the last few days.

"To see that so quickly, in January, we find ourselves with ice and possibly a risk of an ice jam. It is very worrying," Trépanier said.

The good news is that the ports of Trois-Rivières and Bécancour, both situated downstream from Lac Saint-Pierre, have not been affected.

Officials from both ports say they are used to dealing with harsh winter conditions and that most of their clients are ships arriving from the Atlantic Ocean to the east, therefore not passing through Lac Saint-Pierre.

Translated from a report by Radio-Canada

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