Media Advisory - Vessel "Saint Laurent" (Final)
Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
POC: Nancy Alcalde, email@example.com
Today, the passenger cruise ship Saint Laurent was safely refloated and exited the Eisenhower Lock chamber in Massena, New York.
At 4 p.m. this afternoon, navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway resumed and vessels are once again transiting Eisenhower Lock. During the approximately 42 hours that navigation was suspended, 15 vessels were delayed.
At approximately, 9:15pm on Thursday June 18, the Saint Laurent struck the upstream bumper at Eisenhower Lock. There were 192 passengers, 81 crew, and a pilot on board the vessel. Of those individuals on board at the time, 30 required medical attention. All passengers and crew on board were safely evacuated from the vessel.
Shortly after the vessel struck the bumper, SLSDC staff on site at Eisenhower Lock activated the agency's emergency response plan and notified all the emergency services needed to respond to the incident. This team included the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the New York State Police, the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department, the St. Regis Mohawk community, local emergency responders, medical personnel at the Massena Memorial Hospital, and many others. The quick activation of the response plan by SLSDC staff secured the passengers' safety first and subsequently allowed SLSDC and Coast Guard responders to stabilize the vessel in the lock. With all passengers safely secured, the SLSDC and its partners focused on moving the vessel safely away from Eisenhower Lock and resuming navigation as quickly as possible.
The communication and coordination among the many North Country emergency responders was exceptional and their collective efforts ensured the safety of the passengers and the ship.
No pollution was detected as a result of incident. After a preliminary review, no significant damage to Eisenhower Lock infrastructure has been identified, but SLSDC safety inspectors are continuing their review.
SLSDC Administrator Betty Sutton stated: "This is a critical transportation route and we want to do all that we can to make sure that we provide a safe, efficient, and reliable waterway. While it is unfortunate that the ship struck the lock, the collective response was quick, effective, and thorough: passenger safety was secured, the ship was stabilized, actions to remove the ship and restart navigation were implemented, and now navigation has resumed."