Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pearl Mist - evening departure, footnote on Saint Laurent

Pearl Mist sailed at 1930 hrs ADT this evening after a half day visit to Halifax at pier 23.

The Halifax-built ship is slotted in for seven visits to Halifax this year as part of its eastern seaboard and Great Lakes schedule.

It is one of two small cruise ships working in the area this year, with Halifax calls scheduled. The other is Saint Laurent which has had to cancel some of its cruises after damaging its bow in the Eisenhower Lock of the St.Lawrence Seaway. The ship is currently at the Verreault shipyard in Méchins, QC for repairs.

On June 18 , while entering the lock, the ship surged ahead when its autopilot was disengaged. It struck the concrete sill at the west end of the lock, which protects the lock gate. It severely damaged 10 feet of the bow and flooded the forepeak. About 30 passengers were taken to hospital in Massena, NY for treatment of mostly minor injuries. Only two remained in hospital.
Because of the great depth of the lock, the only way to evacuate the 274 passengers and crew was by bucket lift, using a cherry picker type truck. They were then bussed across the nearby Canadian border and taken back to Montreal to be repatriated to France. (As is usual with ships transiting the Seaway, they had not been cleared in by US Border agents, so were essentially "in bond" until they could be returned to Canada, where the cruise had begun.)

The ship was inspected, then towed out of the lock on June 21 and escorted to the shipyard by tug Océan Pierre Julien.  
It appears that the ship may be able to resume service for its July 5 sailing from Montreal for Chicago, and sailing from there July 14 back to Montreal.

The ship made its inaugural call in Halifax June 4, and called again June 12.

It is not scheduled back in Halifax until October 26.


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