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Federal ministry investigating Shell dock crash

TYLER KULA The Observer

Federal ministry investigating Shell dock crash

Posted By JACK POIRIER

A massive refueling dock on the St. Clair River has been shut down after a freighter crashed into the Shell structure this morning.

It marks the second time in two years that a ship has crashed into the refueling station.

Shell officials say the CSL Spruceglen struck the north end of the dock while coming in to refuel around 9 a.m. this morning.

“We are investigating the extent of the damage,” said Shell spokesperson Kristina Zimmer.

Shell officials, along with OPP, Ministry of Environment and Transport Canada officials were on the scene investigating. Federal officials with Transport Canada are leading the investigation.

No product escaped as a result of the collision with the 740-foot Canada Steamship Lines freighter. There were no injuries reported.

Zimmer said an outside agency may also be called in to help the company with its investigation.

The Lambton OPP reported damage could be as high as $2 million, but Zimmer said it is too early in the investigation for a damage estimate.

“It’s doesn’t take long to get up to $2 million,” she noted, however.

Damage was visible at the north end of the dock, with a large six-inch crack encircling one of the large concrete supports. There was also portions of the steel dock that appeared to be twisted.

There was fog in the area at the time and investigators are looking to determine whether its was a factor.

Zimmer said officials will also be considering what can be done to prevent further incidents, considering Friday’s accident marks the second dock collision in two years.

“We’re just as surprised as anyone that this has happened for a second time,” she said.

A 200-foot section of the north dock sustained significant damage in November 2006 when the 768-foot bulk freighter John G. Munson, owned by Key Lakes Inc., lost control while pulling into the station. The 54-year-old ship plowed into the dock’s north end, nearly shearing off a large section.

A nearby neighbour said Friday’s crash was nothing like the calamity following the 2006 freighter collision.

“The first one sounded almost like a helicopter coming in. It was loud,” said a woman living across the street that only identified herself as Cathy.

She said she didn’t even hear Friday morning’s incident.

“I’m not concerned. They’ve got all kinds of safety mechanisms.”

Booms that prevent product from escaping into the river are frequently deployed around the dock. They were in place as a matter of routine prior to Friday’s collision.

Stretching 3,000 feet and comprised of three parts, the dock is considered the largest on the Great Lakes.

Two portions of the dock are for loading and the third is used to re-fuel Great Lakes ships.

There is no timetable for when the dock will reopen.

http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1082600

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