Shipping Held Up By Freeze at Soo
Sault Ste. Marie (AP) -- A sudden temperature drop froze up slush ice in the Soo locks approaches today, forcing low powered freighters to wait for more powerful vessels to push through.
The overnight low of 20 degrees tied a record cold mark for the date and tightened up the mass of ice cakes being blown down the St. Marys River on the Lake Superior side of the locks.
In the 24 hours up to midnight 47 freighters were locked through, 25 upbound and 22 moving down. Low powered boats held up after they ran into trouble trying to crunch through the ice.
It was expected to warm up some today but the Coast Guard said favorable east winds were needed to ease the ice jam. Winds continued northerly today.vMeanwhile the Coast Guard cutters TUPELO and WHITE LUPINE worked as water-born traffic cops to direct a steady stream of lake traffic past a sunken freighter in the St. Clair River off Algonac.
The A.M. BYERS sank Thursday night after a collision with the E.M. FORD. Two tugs, a lighter, the sand-sucker ALGONAC and several barges are still unloading the BYERS of her limestone cargo.
Coast Guardsmen said it will be several days before enough of the cargo can be taken out to sufficiently lighten the BYERS so that it can be raised and towed out of the freight channel. the BYERS was carrying 9,500 tons of limestone.
Meanwhile the FORD has been towed to drydock in River Rouge for repairs.
With the sunken freighter blocking shipping channels in the South Channel off Harsens Island, coast guardsmen are directing upbound freighters around the bow and the boats around the stern.