Nova Scotia shrimp trawler returning to port after ice encounter in Labrador Sea

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The Mersey Phoenix is heading back to Nova Scotia after it was damaged by ice in the Labrador Sea. (Submitted by Eric Abbott - image credit)
The Mersey Phoenix is heading back to Nova Scotia after it was damaged by ice in the Labrador Sea. (Submitted by Eric Abbott - image credit)

A Mersey Seafoods shrimp trawler headed back toward its Nova Scotia base Thursday after suffering ice damage while fishing off the coast of Labrador earlier this week.

The bow of the 70-metre Mersey Phoenix struck ice. It caused a small crack that led to a small amount of water leaking into the ship.

Mersey Seafoods CEO Greg Simpson said the vessel, with a crew of 30 on board, is not in any danger.

The ship is en route to its home port of Country Harbour, where the catch will be unloaded and divers will assess the damage. It will arrive in the next few days.

"It's really a non-issue," Simpson said Thursday. "But it's standard procedure. You follow procedures and talk to the coast guard. They're going full speed and, really, no issue … or concern on board.

"We're really just being cautious to bring it back."

The 20-year-old ship was part way through its trip when the accident occurred.

The Canadian Coast Guard said it was notified by the vessel of a small crack below the waterline at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The ship was 90 nautical miles off the coast of Nain, N.L.

"Although the vessel was taking on water, they indicated no immediate danger because on-board pumps were able to keep ahead of the water ingress," the coast guard said in a statement.

The icebreaker CCGS Captain Molly Kool was dispatched from St. John's in response.

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