Lake Huron dredge salvaged 12 days after sinking

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


(PORT HURON, Mich.) — Weather conditions at the worksite of the dredge Arthur J have improved and allowed for safe salvage operations to continue and the dredge was successfully re-floated Monday at approximately 3 a.m.

The Arthur J, a 100-foot dredge sank approximately two miles off the shore of Lakeport, Mich., in Lake Huron Thursday, July 18.

Salvage crews resumed dive operations Sunday at about 9 a.m. and, following a long day of preparations, successfully re-floated the dredge by using compressors to blow air into watertight compartments.

The calm sea state and calm winds Sunday and Monday were a marked improvement and allowed for the crews to safely work through the night to successfully re-float the dredge and remove it from the site for further cleanup and repairs.

“Safety of the salvage crews, divers and environmental responders has been paramount throughout the incident,” said Cmdr. Gary Koehler, incident commander for the Coast Guard, “Although challenged by adverse weather conditions and sea state throughout the week, everything came together today to execute a safe, technical and organized salvage operation.  The professionalism and cooperation from all parties involved was truly impressive and instrumental to eliminating any further threat to this pristine international waterway.”

MCM Marine, Inc., the owner and operator of the dredge Arthur J and Tug Madison, has been proactive from the onset of the response, quickly hiring the necessary environmental and salvage experts to responsibly mitigate environmental impacts and recover the dredge.

All local area beaches remain open.  Cleanup crews will complete a final inspection of the beaches to ensure they meet approval by the state of Michigan and St. Clair County Health Department officials once the dredge and containment boom are cleared from the site.   If debris washes up on shore, the public should not disrupt the debris and should call the St. Clair County Dispatch at 810-985-8115.

By Professional Mariner Staff