Efforts were underway at nightfall this evening in an attempt to refloat a Great Lakes freighter that went aground causing a local tourist attraction along the St. Clair River in Michigan. TV cameras and residents were in a park along the river watching as the 636-foot American Courage remained firmly stuck in the river.
Reports started coming in early this morning, November 7, that one of the Lakers had stranded although they said there were no injuries or signs of pollution. The U.S. Coast Guard for the Great Lakes region said it was notified of the incident at 7:21 a.m. and they issued a marine safety broadcast telling other vessels to use caution in the area around Marine City, Michigan. They, however, reported that the river remained open for shipping as the vessel was outside the shipping channel.
The U.S.-flagged American Courage, owned by Grand River Navigation, had departed Stoneport on Lake Huron and was approaching its destination, the Marine City Terminal this morning. It is north of Detroit and Lake Saint Clair, between Lake Erie and Huron.
A Coast Guard spokesperson told WWJ Newsradio that they believed the vessel “missed their turn and got stuck on the edge of the shipping channel.” The Coast Guard reports the vessel is loaded with 20,000 tons of stone and that they were looking for a tugboat while working with the vessel’s owners on a plan to refloat the freighter.
The American courage ran aground on the St. Clair river at Marine City this morning. pic.twitter.com/cU6IQpSnya— nickegriff01 (@nickegriff01) November 7, 2023
Residents wrote on social media that they saw a small boat circling the self-discharging bulker early this morning likely looking for damage or pollution. One tug was alongside the vessel for most of the day, and by this evening two additional tugs had arrived. Photos on social media showed the tugs straining this evening in an effort to pull the vessel free.
The USCG said a full investigation will be undertaken to determine why the vessel grounded. After it is refloated, it will be inspected for damage.
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