Ottawa

TSB investigating grounding of chemical tanker near Morrisburg

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is investigating how a chemical tanker ran aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Morrisburg, Ont., last week.

Investigative team boarded ship Friday morning in Port Weller, Ont., near St. Catharines

A chemical tanker ship called the CHEM NORMA ran aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Morrisburg, Ont., last week. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is now investigating. (Stu Mills/CBC)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is investigating how a chemical tanker ran aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Morrisburg, Ont., last week.

The incident happened at about 4:10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 29.

An inspector of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, which oversees the channel, boarded the ship that day and found that no water entered the ship and no pollution was observed, said Andrew Bogora, a spokesperson for the corporation, last week.

Chemical tankers are designed to transport chemicals in bulk, and this one, named the CHEM NORMA, is double-hulled.

The ship remained stuck until Sunday, June 3, when it was pulled from the edge of the channel under the supervision of federal and provincial authorities, including Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation said no pollution was seen in the water when the ship was pulled free, and that the ship will be further inspected to ensure that it's ready to go back into use.

In an emailed statement Friday morning, the TSB said it deployed an investigative team to Port Weller, Ont., near St. Catharines — where the ship has since been moved — to find out what happened.

Potential steering problem

Last week, Bogora said there was a problem with the steering.

"From my understanding it was a steering issue, and that is what brought the vessel to rest against the side of the channel," he said.

While the ship was stuck in the channel, other ships were able to continue navigating nearby but at reduced speeds in that part of the seaway, Bogora said.

About nine to 12 ships navigate that part of the seaway each day, and over the course of a 286-day season a handful of ships nose into the channel, Bogora said.

With files from Giacomo Panico and the Canadian Press