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Grounded ship refloated, opening up traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway

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COLLINS LANDING — The Federal Kivalina was refloated Thursday evening, two days after it ran aground near the Thousand Islands Bridge after losing power.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi A. Read, based in Cleveland, said the ship was freed about 7:30 p.m., opening up traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Eighteen ships had been stalled as salvage crews worked to free the grounded ship.

As of Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard was reviewing a salvage plan submitted by Donjon-SMIT LLC, an Alexandria, Va., marine salvage company. Two tugboats from Montreal also were on the scene to help move the 656-foot vessel out of the way.

The Hong Kong-flagged vessel was carrying 23,000 metric tons of canola seeds that needed to be unloaded to refloat the ship.

Navigation along the Seaway was suspended after the freighter lost its steering at 1:47 p.m. Tuesday and U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed Wednesday that the vessel was grounded on its port side.

None of the freighter’s 22 crew members — who will remain on board as long as the situation does not worsen — was injured and no pollution was reported. Petty Officer Read said the housand Islands Bridge was shut down briefly for about 10 minutes following the incident Tuesday. But Robert G. Horr III, executive director of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, said “there was no chance” of Kivalina hitting the bridge because none of the piers is in the water.

Response crews from the Alexandria Bay Coast Guard Station, state police, state park police, state Department of Environmental Conservation and St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. also assisted at the scene. The Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Detachment, Massena, led the investigation.

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