Ice breaking operations scheduled for Picton Bay later this week

The McKeil Spirit docked at Lehigh Cement Company's Picton plant in May, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Brian Arnold)

A mid-March start to the transporting of cement materials from Lehigh Cement in Picton means ice breaking will be taking place later this month on Picton Bay.

Burlington area shipping company McKeil Marine is letting Prince Edward County residents and visitors they have arranged for icebreaking tug services in the Bay of Quinte and Picton Bay areas on March 10, 2021 to permit the transit of their cement carrier vessel, the McKeil Spirit.

According to McKeil, members of the public should also be aware that marine operations are expected to continue in and around the Bay of Quinte and Picton Bay areas on March 11 and 12. 

To facilitate icebreaking operations and ensure public safety, it is requested all recreational users of the ice – pedestrians, fishers, snowmobilers, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators — leave the ice in the above areas as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday March 10, 2021 and remain off the ice for the duration of the day. Before resuming recreational activity on the ice, it is recommended to exercise extreme caution as the ice will remain unstable after icebreaking operations are completed. 

The McKeil Spirit will depart Toronto on the morning of March 10. She will round Sodus Point on Lake Ontario and head north to the Bay of Quinte at approximately 6 p.m. before continuing westward to Picton Terminals  arriving close to 9 p.m. This same day (March 10), any time after 9 a.m., support tugs will be breaking ice to create a safe passage for the McKeil Spirit. Tugs will come from the deep east in the Bay of Quinte and then move westward towards the shipping lane and Picton Terminal docks. 

The Spirit is expected to take on a cement shipment some time Thursday.

The McKeil Spirit is a Canadian-flagged cement carrier owned and operated by McKeil Marine Limited and makes regular stops at Lehigh . She measures just under 140 metres in length and is 21 metres wide.