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The Orsula on Christmas Day

Editor’s Note:  Our thanks to Dennis McCarthy and Khris Hunt for sharing their photographs of The Orsula, a 656-foot Marshall Islands flagged ship, which ran aground in the vicinity of Tibbets Point in the St. Lawrence Seaway on Christmas Day.

From December 25, 2013 to December 30, 2013 the Bulk Carrier Orsula was stranded at Tibbetts Point, Cape Vincent, NY.  This video is a composite of still pictures and videos taken from shore on December 26th and 29th of the Orsula and events of its grounding.  The Coast Guard directed grounded vessels operations.  They were quick, efficient and successful in removing part of the ship's cargo and freeing her within a few days.  No pollution, flooding or injury associated with the grounding was reported .

The location of the grounding was near where lighted navigation buoy G 245 is usually located.  Just the week before the grounding, the Seaway Corporation removed all channel buoys in the Thousand Islands area and buoy G 245 was at the regional dock in Clayton in winter storage.  Bringing the channel buoys into the Clayton Regional dock for winter is an unofficial annual event for local photographers. As this usually happens before the St. Lawrence Seaway is closed for the season, one would assume that safe navigation is dependant on advanced navigation systems and not visual markers.

The song accompanying the YouTube video is "The Drunken Sailor/The Bag Of Spuds" (Hornpipe And Reel) by Liz Carroll.  It was provided by YouTube and has no relationship to any events relating to the grounding of the Orsula.

Video by Dennis McCarty

Khris Hunt, from Hunt Underwater Specialists provided this slide show.

[Click on photograph to enlarge, use arrow keys to move through the slide show]

On Wednesday January 1, 2014, it was reported that the grounding-damaged saltie Orsula cleared St. Lambert lock at 1:30pm and docked in Montreal harbor. They planned to load her with additional grain for the trip overseas with her next destination reported to be a port in Spain. As of January 8th, the Orsula is still in Montreal Harbor. 

By Dennis McCarthy with additional photographs by Khris Hunt of Hunt Underwater Specialists, Watertown, NY

Khris Hunt of Hunt Underwater Specialists local commercial diving company based out of Clayton NY has traveled throughout the eastern seaboard performing commercial diving services for municipalities, hydroelectric, industrial and Government agencies. Most recently involved with the salvage of the MV Orsula."

Dennis McCarthy retired in 2009 from his professional career in engineering management in the Consumer Electronics and CATV industries. Having traveled to 28 countries in his business profession, he now prefers to spend his time with his wife Kathi living in Cape Vincent, NY and enjoying the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River. A certified scuba diver for over 40 years, he made his first dives in the River in 1971. Current interests are photography, scuba diving and local history.  Dennis has written, co-authored and published several Scuba diving guides to the Thousand Islands. 


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lynda crothers
Comment by: lynda crothers ( )
Left at: 9:42 AM Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Great Story and Pics. thank you : )
Comment by: Bill ( )
Left at: 12:35 PM Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Really nice work on the video piece. Great to see that there were no injuries or pollution. Amazing to see how much effort is involved in correcting a situation like this. It's always great to see pictures and video of the mighty St. Lawrence.