South Dundas bids bon voyage to freed tanker

The Chem Norma, shown tied up at the Iroquois Locks on Tuesday morning, June 4. The tanker left minutes later, ending an unexpected week-long stay in South Dundas — most of that time stuck in a submerged berm on the Morrisburg waterfront. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

SOUTH DUNDAS — They didn’t quite move heaven and earth to get that ocean-going oil tanker unstuck from the Morrisburg waterfront last week, but the St. Lawrence River had to be adjusted upward by more than a foot to free the Chem Norma.

And after almost six days as focal point of a carnival atmosphere drawing hundreds of people nightly to the nearby Morrisburg Dock, she finally broke loose Sunday evening with the help of three tugboats in combination with the rising waters. But the Chem Norma wasn’t through with South Dundas quite yet — spending Monday tied up at the Iroquois Lock for inspection and repair before resuming her journey to Sarnia with a load of refined product Tuesday morning.

The captive spectacle was good for Morrisburg while it lasted.

The operators of the Docksyde chip and ice cream stand estimate that sales went up about 35 percent as a result of the extra traffic. “It was also wonderful weather, so everything sort of came together,” says Linda Robinson.

“If there’s entertainment, people will come,” adds her husband, Keith Robinson.

The Robinsons manage the popular ice cream bar on behalf of the Morrisburg Lions Club, with all profits going back to Morrisburg’s waterfront committee.

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