Coast Guard responds to grounded laker

SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 — Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie is responding to a 1,004-foot freighter that ran aground in Straits of Mackinac, Thursday evening.

At 6:30 p.m., a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received a report from the crew aboard the motor vessel American Spirit, a 1,004-foot U.S. flagged freighter owned by GATX subsidiary American Steamship Company, stating that they ran hard aground on muddy/sandy bottom at Round Island Passage, located between Mackinac Island and Round Island.

Currently, the vessel has reported no injuries, pollution, flooding or damage. The vessel is currently not blocking the channel or impeding traffic.

The motor vessel was transiting to Gary, Indiana, with 64,800 tons of iron ore. The crew reported being pushed against the south side of the channel by strong winds.

The Coast Guard has issued a special marine information broadcast advising mariners to use caution when transiting the area.

Coast Guard marine inspectors are working with the vessel to develop a salvage plan.

"Sector Sault Ste. Marie will continue to work through the night with the crew of the American Spirit to develop a safe salvage plan," said Lt. j.g. Derek Puzzuoli, public affairs officer at Sector Sault Ste. Marie. "Marine inspectors will continue to carefully monitor the vessel's condition until it has been refloated."

The vessel was successfully refloated early Friday (see story).

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