On January 25, seven vessels broke free from their moorings on the Hudson River near Albany, New York. Five barges, one tugboat and the 140 foot long passenger ship Captain JP III broke free after rains and warming weather caused the water level on the river to rise and released several ice jams. Pulled downstream, the Captain JP III drifted until it struck the railroad bridge. The passenger ship was too tall to pass under the bridge and became wedged under the span. Many of the other vessels were able to pass under the bridge without mishap, but several did strike the bridge.
Multiple tugs were dispatched and were able to free the Captain JP III and recover the other unmanned tugboats and barges. No reports of injuries.
Authorities report the bridge did sustain some minor damage, but the bridge should remain in operation. The Captain JP III sustained significant hull damage to its stern.
The 38 meter long former barge Tyee Princess caught fire while being scrapped at Surrey, British Columbia. Workers were cutting the walls with blow torches when some insulation caught fire. Dense black smoke was released into the air around the Tyee Princess. The local fire brigade was contacted and extinguished the blaze. No reports of injuries. The Tyee Princess was built in 1945 and converted into a coastal freighter after 1974. The vessel was later donated to the Maritime Heritage Society of Vancouver.
The 44 meter long, 661 dwt towboat Defiance and the 186 meter long, 42,800 dwt barge Ashtabula ran aground in the Straits of Mackinaw in the Round Island Passage between Mackinac Island and Round Island, Michigan. The vessels departed from Cedarville bound for Buffington, Indiana when the vessels had run aground and became stuck on the clay bottom. The vessels remained stuck for several hours until currents pulled the tug/barge vessels free.
The Coast Guard conducted a flyover the vessels and found no pollution had been released. The vessels proceeded to an anchorage after the grounding. No reports of injuries or pollution released. The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the incident.