Grounded Bulker Refloated on St. Marys River
The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday.
The motor vessel, carrying more than 17,000 tons of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario early Wednesday when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay, approximately four miles northeast of De Tour Village.
Lightering operations began at 8 a.m. under the supervision of Coast Guard marine inspectors and pollution responders. The vessel was refloated by 1 p.m. then anchored in a new location near Big Trout Island with no injuries or pollution.
Once on scene, The Great Lakes Towing Company’s Tug Missouri responded and freed the vessel within five hours, the company said. Captain Mike Patterson, Tug Captain for The Great Lakes Towing Company in Sault Ste. Marie was the first to respond. “One of the things I’ve always liked best about this job is that a captain can’t do it alone. We work as a team.” Captain Patterson worked with his crew to quickly and safely free M/V MISSISSAGI. Captain Paterson’s crew included Mate Evan Keating, Engineer Fred Carr and Deckhand Dan Gallagher.
While at anchor, the grounded vessel underwent a thorough internal and external inspection by Coast Guard marine inspectors and commercial divers. The Coast Guard concluded that no primary structure on the vessel had been damaged. After inspections were complete, the vessel was cleared to depart anchorage at around 6:30 p.m. The Canadian Coast Guard concurred with the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel will reload its cargo of stone in Bruce Mines, Ontario.
At about 1 a.m. Wednesday, the master of the Mississagi notified a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, that the carrier was hard aground.
Personnel from Coast Guard Stations Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace, Michigan responded. A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard a Dolphin helicopter, provided an overflight of the vessel to confirm there was no pollution.
Coast Guard marine inspectors completed a post-damage survey Wednesday afternoon and determined that ballast tanks had no significant damage or ingress of water. In addition, fuel tanks located near the stern of the vessel did not sustain any damage.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn, a 100-foot buoy tender, conducted an aids to navigation verification survey Wednesday and determined that all aids were in position in the water when the grounding occurred.
The cause of the grounding is under investigation.