Over 450 icebergs have drifted down into the North Atlantic shipping lanes, 363 of which have arrived over the past 7 days. This is forcing vessels to either dramatically lower their speed to navigate the icebergs, or take detours which can add up to 400 miles to the trip.
In the image above, you can see how this vessels return path from the U.K. has dropped south compared to the voyage back in January.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard's International Ice Patrol, this number of icebergs is not usually seen until May or June. The average for this time of year is about 80.
Climate change has long been blamed for the accelerated melting of the Greenland ice shelf, however, experts are attributing the sudden increase on uncommonly strong counter-clockwise winds that are drawing the icebergs south.
Oceanex cargo ships are slowing down to 3 or 4 knots as they return to their homeport in St. Johns, which can add up to an additional day on top of their voyage. One ship was taken out of service for repairs after hitting a chunk of ice. "It makes everything more expensive," Captain Hynes said Wednesday. "You're burning more fuel, it's taking a longer time, and it's hard on the equipment."