Electronics malfunction grounds bulker in Detroit River

Mark W. Barker traversed the Great Lakes from Duluth to Buffalo during its first

(DETROIT) — Mark W. Barker, a 639-foot lake freigher that ran soft aground in the Detroit River due to an electronics malfunction, was successfully refloated at approximately 12:10 p.m. Wednesday with the assistance of commercial towing.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit responded to the initial report of the incident after the bulk carrier lost propulsion and ran soft aground near the south side of Belle Isle at 8 a.m. Throughout the incident, there were no immediate threats to people or the environment.

Mark W. Barker traversed the Great Lakes from Duluth to Buffalo during its first
File photo of the bulk carrier Mark W. Barker. Interlake Steamship Co. photo

Mariners were advised to stay clear of the area but were able to continue transiting the river. Carrying approximately 21,000 metric tons of salt and 105,000 gallons of diesel fuel, Mark W. Barker remained stable throughout the incident with no signs of pollution discharge or hull damage reported.

“We worked closely with all relevant parties to ensure the safety of our waterways and the prompt resolution of this incident,” said Lt. j.g. Adeeb Ahmad, Sector Detroit’s public affairs officer. “The successful refloating of the Mark W. Barker highlights our commitment to maintaining the safety and continuity of our maritime transportation system.”

The Coast Guard worked closely with the vessel owner, Interlake Steamship Co., as well as port partners and the Canadian Coast Guard to develop and execute the refloat plan. The ship was assisted by towing vessel to the Belle Isle anchorage, where Coast Guard investigators will be on scene to assess any damage and ensure repairs are completed as necessary before the vessel resumes its voyage.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller