Ship loses power near lock

Divers are scheduled to survey the vessel Federal EMS Friday morning. The vessel lost engine power on Thursday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation officials say a dive survey of the vessel Federal EMS will take place Friday morning.

The vessel lost engine power on the St. Lawrence Seaway west of the Eisenhower Lock on Thursday morning, resulting in the tug Robinson Bay being called upon to help move it.

The ship and its escort are moored at a cell west of the lock, all according to veteran ship watcher Michael J. Folsom. Federal EMS will stay at the mooring cell until the inspection is complete.

The United States Coast Guard responded to the scene on Thursday as part of a unified command with the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and Department of Environmental Conservation.

Coast Guard officials said in a news release that Federal EMS, a 656-foot vessel, reported they touched bottom due to an engine failure while transiting downbound the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.

The vessel had been anchored and was holding position until the vessel’s engine was repaired Thursday evening. There were no reports of injuries, flooding or pollution.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Initial reports of the stopped ship were that it had run aground. The MarineTraffic app listed Federal EMS as stopped on Thursday afternoon prior to its tug escort arriving.

“Federal EMS is in fact aground west of Eisenhower Lock after losing engine power and drifting out of the narrow channel where it hit bottom,” veteran ship watcher Michael Folsom had tweeted Thursday morning.

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation officials said the ship was not aground, but was anchored next to the channel approaching the Eisenhower Lock.

“Earlier this morning (Thursday), the vessel, Federal EMS, experienced a loss of main propulsion and is currently anchored next to the channel approaching Eisenhower Lock with navigation temporarily suspended,” they said in an email statement.

Mr. Folsom said engine trouble occurred as the ship was making its approach to the Eisenhower Lock early Thursday morning. Other traffic on the Seaway west of the lock was stopped earlier in the morning because of thick fog.

Federal EMS is a bulk carrier built in 2002 and flagged out of Marshall Islands, which are a chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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