SAULT STE. MARIE (WWJ) – A 603-foot freighter carrying iron ore pellets from Canada remained stuck in the lower St. Mary’s River Friday, two days after it ran aground.
U.S. Coast Guard Sault Ste. Marie Lieutenant Junior Derek Puzzuoli said they don’t know how the Mississagi, from Bruce Mines, Ontario, got grounded early Wednesday morning.
“The Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn (was deployed) to conduct an aids to navigation verification, to confirm that all the buoys and aids in the area of the grounding were in position — and they were in position,” Puzzuoli told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “So, right now Coast Guard marine investigators are investigating why the vessel was outside the marked channel.”
Puzzuoli said, Friday morning, the owner of the freighter and a salvage company were working on a plan to get the Mississagi moving again.
“Right now the plan is to have the vessel offload some of its cargo, and that will help to refloat it,” he said.
Puzzuoli says the freighter — stuck around four miles northeast from De Tour Village — did sustain some damage to its forepeak, the extreme forward lower compartment usually used for trimming or storage in a ship.
He said they’ve been flying over the area, but there hasn’t been any pollution.
The Coast Guard is established a 500-yard safety zone around the vessel. There were no injuries.