Barge runs aground after towline snaps

One of the largest deck barges operating on the Great Lakes ran aground after a towline parted in strong winds in Lake Michigan.

The Coast Guard said the tugboat Donald C was pulling two empty deck barges Nov. 24, 2011, when the line snapped during a transit from Chicago to Menominee, Mich. The barge AMC 300 broke loose and ran aground near Sheboygan, Wis.

The 180-foot deck barge AMC 300 lies aground along the Wisconsin coastline of Lake Michigan. The barge broke loose from its tugboat when a towline parted. (Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard)

AMC 300 and AMC 100 were to be loaded with rocks for the construction of a break wall, said Coast Guard investigator Lt. Maria Wiener. The 2,400-hp twin-screw tugboat was operating in a rough sea state with 17 knot winds and gusts to 23 knots.

AMC 300 ran aground on a beach three miles south of Sheboygan at 1700. The barge stayed stuck for 36 hours while the Coast Guard monitored the situation. A salvage company recovered the barge Nov. 26.

AMC 300 is 180 feet long with a beam of 54 feet and a draft of 12 feet. It has a cargo capacity of 2,000 tons.

Coast Guard inspections revealed that little if any damage was sustained by the barge. "The vessel came to rest on an area with a very soft bottom," said Lt. Wiener. "There was no structural damage at all."

The Coast Guard is still investigating the exact causes of the incident. No information was released regarding the towline.

Donald C and AMC 300 are operated by Kindra Lake Towing, based in Chicago. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

By Professional Mariner Staff