Shipping lanes in North Atlantic plagued by hundreds of icebergs
NORTH Atlantic shipping lanes have been inundated with more than 400 icebergs over the past week, forcing ships to slow to a crawl and take detours, American Shipper reported citing Associated Press.
"As of April 4 2017, 455 icebergs have drifted or been sighted south of 48 degrees North in the transatlantic shipping lanes. On average, 83 icebergs drift south of this latitude by the end of March, based on data collected between 1900 and 2016," according to the weekly iceberg outlook released by the US Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol (IIP).
Experts are attributing the surge in icebergs to unusually strong counter-clockwise winds that are drawing the icebergs south, and possibly from global warming, AP said.
The icebergs are causing ships to take precautions in waters close to where the Titanic sank in 1912. Instead of cutting straight across the ocean, transatlantic ships are taking detours, which can add hundreds of miles to the trip.
Close to the Newfoundland coast, cargo ships owned by short-sea vessel operator Oceanex are slowing down to just 3-4 knots as they sail back to their home port in St. Johns.
Oceanex executive chairman Captain Sid Hynes said this can add up to a day to the trip. After hitting a chunk of ice, one ship was pulled out of service for repairs, Mr Hynes said.
"It makes everything more expensive," he said. "You're burning more fuel, it's taking a longer time, and it's hard on the equipment."