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Tanker Spills Flammable Chemical Into St. Lawrence Seaway Lock

July 27, 1989

MASSENA, N.Y. (AP) _ A tanker rammed the side of a lock on the St. Lawrence Seaway on Wednesday, spilling up to 3,000 gallons of a flammable chemical and halting ship traffic for the day, Seaway officials said.

The spill, contained inside the lock chamber, did not leak into the open water of the St. Lawrence River, said Shelley Beaudry, a Seaway Development Corp. spokeswoman said. There were no injuries reported.

The chemical was cleaned up by Wednesday night and the waterway was to reopen once tests were completed, said Dennis Deuschel, the corporation’s director of communitions. Seven ships were delayed passing through the Snell Lock because of the spill, he said.

The Lake Anne, a 569-foot-long tanker owned by Arne Blystad of Norway and registered in Singapore, hit the lock wall about 5:15 a.m., spilling xylene into the lock area, said Beaudry. Xylene is a petroleum-based substance often used as a solvent in the paint industry.

The accident caused an 18-inch cross-shaped rupture above the waterline of the tanker. It appeared damage was not serious to the ship, she said.

The tanker was en route from Sarnia, Ontario, to Montreal, Quebec, with a final destination of England, she said. It has a crew of 27.

The Snell Lock is about 90 miles downriver of Montreal, near the border of the United States and Canada.

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