The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(CLEVELAND) — The Coast Guard coordinated and oversaw the collection of a runaway barge on Lake Superior, in the vicinity of Manitou Island, early Saturday afternoon.
There were no injuries or pollution reported.
At approximately 1:45 a.m., a search and rescue coordinator from Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. received a mayday call from the tug Victory, the motor vessel James L. Kuber’s tug, reporting a barge broke loose from the 673-foot motor vessel. The barge, located approximately 27 miles east of Manitou Island, was carrying a load of iron ore and had 8,500 gallons of diesel fuel aboard.
The tug Victory had 15 crewmembers aboard and all were accounted for. At the time of the breakaway the weather and sea conditions were 31 degrees with 10-12 foot seas and winds of over 20 MPH.
The search and rescue coordinator directed the launch of an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug homeported in Rockland, Maine, temporarily assigned to the 9th Coast Guard District to assist with ice breaking.
While the Victory was waiting for the weather to subside before attempting to reestablish the tow, the tug lost sight of the barge. Meanwhile the motor vessel Saginaw arrived on scene and provided a lee to the tug Victory to minimize the effects of the weather on the tug.
The Coast Guard aircrew arrived on scene at approximately 12:30 p.m. and reported no damage to the tug and no pollution and the cutter Thunder Bay was stood down.
The James L. Kuber’s owner, Black Creek Shipping Company, arranged for tug Anglian Lady to assist the tug Victory. The Anglian Lady arrived on scene at approximately 1:30 p.m. and they will tow the barge to Esser Steel in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
Coast Guard marine inspectors will investigate the cause of the breakaway and will conduct an initial damage assessment with a comprehensive exam to follow.