Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 12, 2012 - 8:03 am

Ice, fog, southeast winds delay Iqaluit sealift

“We’re waiting for more favorable weather”

DAVID MURPHY
The MV Aivik, seen here in an undated file photo. The ship's owner, Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Ltd., has re-routed the vessel to Cambridge Bay. The MV Aivik will call at Iqaluit on its return voyage. (FILE PHOTO)
The MV Aivik, seen here in an undated file photo. The ship's owner, Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Ltd., has re-routed the vessel to Cambridge Bay. The MV Aivik will call at Iqaluit on its return voyage. (FILE PHOTO)

The waters are mostly calm just outside Frobisher Bay.

Southeasterly winds are pushing ice into the bay, making it impossible for an icebreaker to escort cargo vessels towards Iqaluit.

The problem is that winds keep the ice concentrated inside the bay, while fog reduces visibility.

“We have tried to get in with [an] escort, but it’s just not working,” said Linda Leblanc, superintendent of the icebreaking program for the Coast Guard’s central and Arctic regions.

“So… we’re waiting for more favorable weather,” she said, adding some ships are waiting to get in.

“It’s best when the ice escorting vessel is close behind you, but the last couple days there has been dense fog out there,” Leblanc said.

“It’s not safe with the fog for the other vessel to be too close, and if we did hit a hard piece of ice to slow us down, and the other vessel can’t stop in time… you need good visibility between the two ships so you can see what the front one is actually doing,” Leblanc said.

This means Iqalummiut will have to wait for sunnier weather and northwest winds so ice can drift out of the bay.

It might take up to a week until sealift vessels arrive. Environment Canada said the winds might not change until the middle of the month.

But there is sunny weather forecast for Iqaluit. On Friday, July 13, it’s expected to be sunny with a high of 15 C, but fog is forecast until then.

The forecast was bad enough to cause the rerouting of a vessel operated by Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping.

Its ship, the 110-metre MV Aivik, was supposed to land in Iqaluit July 8 or July 9.

It was then rescheduled until July 12, but that also changed.

The Aivik will now sail for Cambridge Bay. After that, it will make its usual rounds and call at Iqaluit on its return voyage, but no arrival date has been set.

“It’s quite unpredictable with the ice melting, and it has to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis,” said the assistant marketing manager at NEAS, Ronald Paroud.

He said customers with food orders shouldn’t be too worried.

“There’s not many perishables or anything,” said Paroud. “We’re not really worried about the situation.”

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