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US' Newest Great Lakes Freighter Runs Aground

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

May 17, 2023

(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

(Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

The newest Great Lakes freighter in the U.S. registered fleet has run aground in the Detroit River off Belle Isle, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The 639-foot self-unloading bulk carrier Mark W. Barker was headed toward Lake St. Clair from Cleveland when it lost propulsion and ran soft aground at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. The ship, which is carrying 21,000 metric tons of salt, was due to arrive in Milwaukee on Friday.

The Coast Guard said planning is underway to refloat the ship and determine what caused it to run aground. No injuries, pollution or damage has been reported. The ship has 105,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board.

The river remains open to all traffic, the Coast Guard said.

The Interlake Steamship Company's Mark W. Barker—built at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.—entered service in July 022 as the first new U.S.-flagged laker built on the Great Lakes in 35 years.

UPDATE: At roughly 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said a commercial salvage team refloated the Mark W. Barker and is assisting the ship to Belle Isle anchorage. Once anchored, Coast Guard investigators will board the laker to assess any damages and ensure necessary repairs are made.

The Coast Guard said it worked closely with the vessel owner, as well as port partners and the Canadian Coast Guard to develop and execute the refloat plan.

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