Hundreds of icebergs clog shipping lanes, causing ships to reroute
More icebergs have drifted into major shipping lanes in the North Atlantic, further clogging the crucial transit routes and causing new headaches for marine traffic that have to steer clear of the massive mountains of ice.
Gabrielle McGrath, commander of the United States Coast Guard International Ice Patrol, says 616 icebergs have moved into the lanes off Newfoundland so far this season, compared to 687 for the entire period at the end of September last year.
She says an aerial flight last week showed about 100 icebergs southwest of St. John's, after the iceberg influx started at the end of March.
McGrath says that's forcing ships transitting the Atlantic to Europe or heading south to divert well out of their way, adding on time and money.
Chad Allen of the Shipping Federation of Canada says ships tend to deviate further south to avoid colliding with the icebergs, which increases fuel costs and makes scheduling more challenging.
McGrath says she has not heard of any ships striking an iceberg after heeding the patrol's warnings, but a floating oil platform off Newfoundland came close to an iceberg the size of a small office building that brushed past it last month.