Empty freighter strikes, damages Michigan swing bridge

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:


(ST. JOSEPH, Mich.) — Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven, Mich., responded to a bridge allision on the St. Joseph River, which occurred shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The ship Manistee, a U.S. flagged freighter 620 feet in length, allided with the CSX Swing Bridge. The Coast Guard immediately contacted the owners of the bridge, who found evidence of damage to the bridge’s fendering system. Structural engineers have determined that the bridge can safely carry rail traffic. The ship, which was empty, has sustained only minor damage and is not taking on water. No pollution or injuries were reported.

The cause of the incident is under investigation. The Coast Guard is conducting interviews of the witnesses and the vessel’s crew, and has begun the required drug and alcohol testing.

Among the Coast Guard’s many missions is the responsibility for licensing mariners, inspecting commercial vessels and investigating maritime casualties. Investigations of casualties involving commercial vessels are conducted to learn why the accident occurred in order to reduce the risk of further incidents.

For further information or media inquiries contact Lt. Ben Russell, Sector Field Office Executive Officer at (616) 502-5469.

By Professional Mariner Staff