Grounded bulk carrier Mississagi successfully refloated in St. Marys River

Cargo from the grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi (right) is offloaded onto a barge as lightering operations commenced to refloat the vessel April 25, 2015. The Mississagi became grounded early Wednesday while transiting downbound the St. Marys River near De Tour Village. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Traverse City)

Cargo from the grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi (right) is offloaded onto a barge as lightering operations commenced to refloat the vessel April 25, 2015.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Traverse City)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The grounded 603-foot Canadian bulk carrier Mississagi was successfully refloated on the St. Marys River following operations to offload approximately 2,000 tons of stone, Saturday.

The motor vessel, carrying more than 17,000 tons of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario early Wednesday when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay, approximately 4 miles northeast of De Tour Village.

Lightering operations began at 8 a.m. under the supervision of Coast Guard marine inspectors and pollution responders. The vessel was successfully refloated by 1 p.m. then anchored in a new location near Big Trout Island with no injuries or pollution.

While at anchor, the vessel underwent a thorough internal and external inspection by Coast Guard marine inspectors and commercial divers. The Coast Guard concluded that no primary structure on the vessel had been damaged. After inspections were complete, the vessel was cleared to depart anchorage at around 6:30 p.m. The Canadian Coast Guard concurred with the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel will reload its cargo of stone in Bruce Mines, Ontario.

At about 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, the master of the Mississagi notified a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, that the carrier was hard aground.

Personnel from Coast Guard Stations Sault Ste. Marie and  St. Ignace, Michigan responded. A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard a Dolphin helicopter, provided an overflight of the vessel to confirm there was no pollution.

Coast Guard marine inspectors completed a post-damage survey Wednesday afternoon and determined that ballast tanks had no significant damage or ingress of water. In addition, fuel tanks located near the stern of the vessel did not sustain any damage.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn, a 100-foot buoy tender, conducted an aids to navigation verification survey Wednesday and determined that all aids were in position in the water when the grounding occurred.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

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