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Sea ice blown into Canadian bay shuts down Nunavut shippers

Eye on the Arctic

Ice off the shores of Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada's eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, is delaying the delivery of cargo off sealift ships, and the ships' departures. An unusual amount of ice blew into the bay this year, and southerly winds pushed massive chunks of ice towards the land.

Tugboats that normally shuttle back and forth between the sealifts unloading cargo are stalled. Right now the ships are about three days behind schedule, and the southerly winds keep blowing steadily.

Craig Maloy of Frobuild Limited, which sells construction material and building supplies, was lucky. His shipment came in before the ice did. "We have it all in stock in the yards," he said. "If anyone is looking for supplies, tell 'em to come on in. We sell."

Not everyone's luck has been as good. Mona Godin, operations manager at DJ Specialties, said she's still waiting.

"All of our containers from this year's sealift are sitting on the boat in the bay," she said. But Godin's biggest concern isn't re-stocking the shelves.

"The worry is about getting the stuff off before the next boat is to arrive," she said.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.