Update: Haimark Line Cancels 2nd Cruise Following St Lawrence Seaway Accident

July 3, 2015

UPDATE: (July 3, 5:45 a.m. EDT) -- Haimark Line's Saint Laurent cruise ship, which was damaged when it hit a lock wall on June 18, will not be repaired in time to operate its July 5 cruise as previously reported, according to Travel Pulse. Tom Markwell, managing partner of sales and marketing for Haimark, said the line expects to operate its July 14 cruise." The ship is still undergoing repairs in the Verreault shipyard in Quebec after its steel hull was damaged when it struck a barrier on the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

UPDATE: (June 23, 8:15 a.m. EDT) -- Haimark Line has canceled the June 26 sailing of MS Saint Laurent, but is hoping the cruise scheduled for July 5 will go ahead, according to a report in Travel Weekly. The ship -- which hit a bumper in the Saint Lawrence Seaway last Thursday -- is currently undergoing repairs in Quebec.

UPDATE: (June 22, 5:30 a.m. EDT) -- The cruise ship MS Saint Laurent has been re-floated, all passengers are safely off and the lock has been re-opened, following the collision Thursday (June 18, 2015). In a statement late Saturday afternoon (June 21, 2015), the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation said: "Today, the passenger cruise ship Saint Laurent was safely re-floated and exited the Eisenhower Lock chamber in Massena, New York. At 4 p.m. this afternoon, navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway resumed and vessels are once again transiting Eisenhower Lock. During the approximately 42 hours that navigation was suspended, 15 vessels were delayed."

All the remaining passengers left the vessel Friday, and the ship is now headed to the shipyard for repairs.

(2:45 p.m. EDT) -- Cruise ship MS Saint Laurent collided with a concrete wall bumper on the a lock on the Saint Lawrence Seaway Thursday night, injuring 19 passengers and three crew members.

The accident took place at the westbound door of the Eisenhower Lock, close to Massena, N.Y., around 9:15 p.m. According to John Masson of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District, the Coast Guard was alerted at 9:45 p.m., and first responders evacuated 27 passengers and three crewmembers using cranes and aerial ladders. The ship was carrying 274 people at the time.

The 284-foot vessel is managed by Miami-based FleetPro and was on its way to Toronto from Montreal. Most of the 192 passengers, who have yet to be evacuated, are of Swiss and French nationality. FleetPro reports that the ship is in a safe condition, and a doctor remains onboard with the passengers, which include partner Tom Markwell.

By late morning today, the vessel remained in the lock with the doors shut and the water drained. The ship is still awaiting re-inspection to determine if it can be relocated to a nearby pier for evacuation of the remaining uninjured passengers and crew later Friday afternoon. Until then, FleetPro says all ship services are fully functional.

Those evacuated were taken to Massena Memorial Hospital, where 19 passengers and three crewmembers were treated for injuries. (Others were family members accompanying them.) An interpreter was brought in because most passengers were French-speaking. The hospital reports that 17 were released by 2 a.m., and two others were transported by ambulance to the University of Vermont Medical Center (Fletcher Allen) in Burlington.

The vessel recently celebrated its inaugural cruise under Haimark Line, with a voyage from May 30 to June 8 between Montreal and Portland, Maine. Haimark invested the money for a $3.5 million refurbishment in 2015 (mostly to interior decor) and also changed the name of the ship from Cape May Light. It has five decks, 103 staterooms and is 50 feet wide and capable of sailing up to 12 knots.

At the time the ship struck the 80-foot-wide lock, however, the ship was being chartered by French operator Rivages du Monde under the command of captain Jens Hoybe, who was assisted in the bridge by the local pilot.

The next scheduled sailing of MS Saint Laurent is set for July 5, but there's no word yet if the incident will interrupt the upcoming voyage.

Navigation was suspended in the Saint Lawrence Seaway until further notice, causing the delay of seven commercial vessels.

--Original article by Amber Nolan, Cruise Critic contributor; all updates by Adam Coulter, U.K. editor