1004-foot freighter aground in Straits of Mackinac is refloated

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Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., – The 1004-foot freighter American Spirit that had been hard aground in the Straits of Mackinac since Thursday afternoon, was refloated early Friday morning.

The vessel is making way to St. Ignace, Michigan, where it will anchor. Coast Guard marine inspectors and American Bureau Shipping surveyors will inspect the vessel prior to the vessel getting underway again.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received a report from the crew aboard the motor vessel American Spirit, a 1004-foot U.S. flagged freighter, stating that they ran hard aground on muddy/sandy bottom at Round Island Passage, located between Mackinac Island and Round Island.

The motor vessel was transiting to Gary, Indiana, with 64,800 tons of iron ore. The crew reported being pushed against the south side of the channel by strong winds.

No pollution or flooding resulted from the grounding or from the refloating operations.

Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie marine inspectors received and approved a salvage plan from the American Steamship Company early Friday morning. The plan included lightering 5,700 tons of taconite from the American Spirit to the freighter Sam Laud.

“The Coast Guard, along with the crew of the American Spirit, have worked through the night and morning to develop and execute a salvage plan that safely and expeditiously refloated the vessel,” said Lt. j.g. Derek Puzzuoli, public affairs officer at Sector Sault Ste. Marie.

“This has been an excellent example of collaboration and coordination between the Coast Guard and shipping industry.”

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