Freighter American Spirit cleared to get underway to next port of call

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SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., – The American Spirit, a 1004-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the Straits of Mackinac since Thursday afternoon and which was refloated early Friday morning, has been cleared by Coast Guard marine inspectors to proceed to its next port of call.

After being refloated, the freighter anchored in St. Ignace, Michigan, where it was inspected by Coast Guard marine inspectors and American Bureau Shipping surveyors 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 American Spirit 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.

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