Shifting Winds Free MV John 1 from Newfoundland Shoal

MV John 1 aground, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Photo credit: Shawn Herritt
MV John 1 aground, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Photo credit: Shawn Herritt

Shifting winds allowed the MV John 1 bulk carrier to free itself from a shoal just off the southern coast of Newfoundland after the ship ran aground Saturday afternoon.

A statement from a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) confirmed that the vessel became free overnight Sunday and is now securely at anchor just off the coast of Newfoundland.

“Overnight, a change in wind direction moved the John I moved off the shoal on which it was grounded,” said the DFO’s spokesperson. “The vessel remains at anchor, and the anchor is holding.”

As gCaptain reported over the weekend, the 180-meter MV John 1 ran aground Saturday at about 1:30 p.m approximately 1.6 km from Rose Blanche, NL. All 23 crewmembers were later airlifted from the vessel by a Cormorant search and rescue helicopter without injury.

PHOTOS: 23 Airlifted from Grounded MV John 1 Off Newfoundland

A Transport Canada surveillance flight on Sunday morning found no pollution, supporting reports from CCGS Earl Grey which was on-scene and monitoring the vessel closely. A second surveillance flight later in the day recorded a very small sheen on the surface of the water near the vessel estimated to be about eight liters, although an inspection could not identify the source of any discharge.

Attempts to pull the John 1 from the shoal by the tug Ryan Leet were suspended Sunday due to deteriorating weather and sea conditions.

The Canadian Coast Guard is working closely with Environment Canada and Transport Canada to respond to this incident, and as of Monday morning the CCGS Earl Grey was enroute back to Rose Blanche from Port Aux Basque after loading environmental response equipment.

An overflight Monday morning confirmed the vessel is floating, secure on its anchors and no oil sheen was spotted in the vicinity.

Current conditions are westerly winds 35-40 Knots (~70 to 80 KPH) with clear skies, the DFO statement said.

A Svitzer salvage team arrived in Newfoundland last night and, conditions permitting, plans to board the vessel today for an assessment which will determine next steps.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the grounding.