There were some hopeful tidbits in the news this afternoon. As a result of the recent progress and the recent weather, Captain Brian Penney of the Coast Guard said that if the winds hold steady for the rest of the week, the entire fleet could be freed (Canadian Press). Here are some highlights.
- The heavy icebreaker CCGS Terry Fox is currently west of Stephenville and will make its way through the Strait of Belle Isle, then will scoot down the areas clearing on the west side of the Northeast Coast so as to help out between the Baie Verte Peninsula and Notre Dame Bay. She’ll be the largest icebreaker on site and should be a great help, as until recently the ice has been so thick that icebreakers had to team up at times to make progress.
- The CCGS Henry Larsen and the George R. Pearkes were able to open up a passage for stranded boats about to be driven onshore with the ice (CBC).
- Last week there were 100 vessels stranded. As of today there are
- 43 virtually locked up solid
- 21 able to manoeuevre to varying degrees
- about 10 have sustained ice damaged and may need assistance returning to port. There may be more damage and other ships affected as the situation develops (CBC NL)
- about 5 have been abandoned
- about 50-60 non-essential crewmembers have been evacuated
- emergency provisions have been dropped via helicopter to 22 boats so far
There are a couple of good things guaranteed to happen. Areas open to the east, and the east sides of the Northern Peninsula, the Bay Verte Peninsula, and Southern Labrador will start clearing out, as will the western portions of Bonavista Bay, the northwest part of Trinity Bay, some of the Labrador coastal part of the Strait of Belle Isle, etc. As the main field moves further away from the shore parts of it may start breaking up, making it easier for the icebreakers to escort the longliners through it. Some longliners may be able to scirt the pack to make it to port. The weather for much of Wednesday to Friday won’t be severe, with moderate to strong westerlies throughout (with some southwesterlies and northwesterlies mixed in).
The news is sounding more hopeful.