Grounded laker refloated

SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 — The American Spirit, a 1,004-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the Straits of Mackinac since Thursday afternoon (see earlier story), was refloated early Friday morning.

Today, the vessel was making way to anchor at St. Ignace, Michigan, to be inspected by the Coast Guard and ABS surveyors before getting underway again.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie marine inspectors received and approved a salvage plan from the American Steamship Company early Friday morning. The plan included lightering 5,700 tons of taconite from the American Spirit to the freighter Sam Laud.

"The Coast Guard, along with the crew of the American Spirit, have worked through the night and morning to develop and execute a salvage plan that safely and expeditiously refloated the vessel," said Lt. j.g. Derek Puzzuoli, public affairs officer at Sector Sault Ste. Marie. "This has been an excellent example of collaboration and coordination between the Coast Guard and shipping industry."

No pollution or flooding resulted from the grounding or from the refloating operations.

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