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Great Lakes Towing works against conditions and clock to refloat freighter

Aug 1, 2014 12:49 PM

Three of the company's tugs combine to pull Federal Rideau free in Lake St. Clair

The Hong Kong-flagged freighter Federal Rideau sits hard aground in Lake St. Clair on July 28.

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The Hong Kong-flagged freighter Federal Rideau sits hard aground in Lake St. Clair on July 28.

The following is the text of a news release from The Great Lakes Towing Co.:

(CLEVELAND) — The 656-foot freighter M/V Federal Rideau was refloated by The Great Lakes Towing Company early Tuesday morning after the vessel went aground in Lake St. Clair early Sunday morning. The vessel was carrying 22,672 tons of wheat from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Montreal. The towing company’s tugs Superior, Nebraska and Mississippi responded to the grounding at the request of its long-term customer, Fednav, which has been a full service Lakes-wide towing contract customer of the towing company for many years.

Joseph Heaney, tug captain in Detroit and Toledo, was the first to respond on Sunday morning. "We were working against the environment and the clock," says Heaney, who has worked for the company for over 24 years. Heaney further explained that the efforts of all crews of the company’s tugs contributed to the successful refloating of Federal Rideau. "When we got to the scene, we noticed that the boat was fighting the current, the wind was picking up, and there was a structure just 6 feet away from the vessel that we had to stay clear of. It was a tough situation.”

The company is committed to providing great customer satisfaction. Heaney explains, "Customer satisfaction is our primary driver, we'll do whatever it takes. When one of our tugs arrive at the scene, our customers can be confident that they will receive a job well done because they can count on 116 years of experience from the company. I'm proud to say I've been here in Detroit and Toledo for over 24 of those great years."

The Great Lakes Towing Company’s full service Lakes-wide towing contract offers comprehensive towing service with readily available "around the clock" tugs and crews. In addition to harbor services, the company provides emergency assistance to vessels that are wrecked, disabled or in distress on the Great Lakes. No claim for salvage under the maritime laws is made by the towing company for emergency services provided under the company’s contract.

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