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Cargo ship refloated after grounding in St. Marys River

Aug 10, 2017 09:46 AM

The incident involving Calumet closed the river from the Soo Locks to 6 Mile Point

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.) — The cargo vessel Calumet, a 629-foot ship that ran aground on the north side of Sugar Island on Wednesday, was re-floated Friday at approximately 8:50 p.m. after the Coast Guard approved a salvage plan submitted by the vessel’s owner.

The St. Marys River, which had been closed to commercial vessel traffic from the Soo Locks to Six Mile Point following the grounding, was reopened at 9:30 p.m. Friday after the Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the bottom of the river in the vicinity of the grounding and found that no debris was obstructing the channel.

After Calumet was refloated by offloading ballast water, it then sailed under its own power to anchorage near Lake Nickolet where it underwent an exterior and interior examination. No warping, indentations, or other damage to the hull was found.

There were no injuries during the incident or salvage operations. Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie conducted a sunrise search on Saturday morning for any signs of pollution; no impact to the environment was found.

There were seven vessels waiting to transit upbound and downbound on the river. Delays to commercial traffic on the St. Marys River were expected to cease Sunday. 

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.) — The U.S. Coast Guard continues to monitor a 629-foot U.S. cargo ship that ran aground on the north side of Sugar Island in the St. Marys River on Wednesday at about 11:40 p.m.

The merchant vessel, Calumet, departed Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and was transiting downbound on the St. Marys River to its next port of call in Brevort, Mich., when it ran aground. The vessel was not carrying any cargo.

The Army Corps of Engineers conducted an assessment of the river bottom around the vessel.

Contracted divers conducted an initial assessment of the vessel's stern and determined that it is structurally sound. Divers were expected to survey the rest of the vessel Thursday afternoon.

Grand River Navigation, the owner of the ship, has hired an oil spill removal organization to place boom on the surface of the water near the front of the vessel to protect the environment as a precaution.   

The Coast Guard conducted two aerial flights Thursday, one with an MH-60 helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, and one later in the day by a Coast Guard Auxiliary air patrol. A Coast Guard pollution aerial observer was aboard both flights and saw no pollution.

An investigating officer and safety officer from the Coast Guard are on board Calumet. In addition, a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie remains on scene to monitor the safety of the vessel and any possible environmental impact. The Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay is scheduled to arrive on scene Friday afternoon to provide support.  

The St. Marys River will remain closed to commercial vessels from the Soo Locks to 6 Mile Point.  

Grand River Navigation is finalizing a salvage plan and will present it to the Coast Guard for review and approval later Thursday.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich.) — A 629-foot U.S. cargo ship ran aground on the north side of Sugar Island in the St. Marys River on Wednesday at 11:40 p.m.

The merchant vessel Calumet departed ESSAR Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and was transiting downbound in the St. Marys River to its next port of call in Brevort, Mich., when it ran aground.

The U.S. Coast Guard is on scene and no injuries have been reported. The vessel is currently aground and stable.

There are currently no signs of pollution.

The St. Marys River is closed to commercial vessels from the Soo Locks to 6 Mile Point. The vessel’s company, Grand River Navigation Inc., is taking precautionary measures to help ensure the safety of the environment and developing a salvage plan.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

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