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ATB Tug Partially Sinks in Port Milwaukee

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 5, 2023

(Photo: U.S. Coast Gard)

(Photo: U.S. Coast Gard)

Multiple agencies are responding to prevent any potential environmental damages after a tug partially sank at its moorings on the Kinnickinnic River in Port Milwaukee.

The Coast Guard said its watchstanders at Sector Lake Michigan were notified by the National Response Center at 11:27 a.m. on Monday that the vessel Michigan, part of an articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit, began taking on water and partially sank in 26 feet of water.

Photos shared by the Coast Guard earlier this week show the stern of the 115-foot-long tug submerged while its bow remains above the waterline, attached to the light products tank barge Great Lakes.

The Coast Guard's pollution responders were able to confirm that the vessel is not actively polluting, though 100 feet of hard boom with absorbent material have been deployed as a preventative measure as the stricken vessel is said to have up to 40,000 gallons of oil and fuel on board. The barge is empty, a Coast Guard spokesperson told MarineLink.

“At this point in time, the Coast Guard’s focus is the marine environmental protection and the potential waterway impacts,” said Capt. Seth Parker, Commander of Sector Lake Michigan.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Milwaukee Harbor Patrol, the Port of Milwaukee and representatives of Michigan are also on scene responding to the incident.

The tug's owner, Appleton, Wis.-based U.S. Venture, has activated its vessel response plan and contracted a marine salvage organization to respond. Salvors have started to pump water from the sunken vessel, and its stern has risen above waterline, the Coast Guard spokesperson said.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Michigan is a 3,900-horsepower twin screw tug built by Bay Shipbuilding in 1982 and currently operated by Muskegon, Mich.-based Andrie.

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