Crews were working Wednesday to free a grounded 1,000-foot coal freighter that was blocking traffic on the outbound channel of the St. Marys River that links lakes Superior and Huron, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
No one was injured during the early-morning accident, which the Coast Guard said didn't puncture the cargo hold or fuel system or put the freighter at risk of overturning.
The Paul R. Tregurtha is owned by Interlake Shipping Co. of Richfield, Ohio, and carried 62,000 tons of coal, the Coast Guard said. The ship was grounded on the west side of Neebish Island, spanning the shipping channel.
"Smaller vessels can get by," but larger freight-carriers needed to wait for the coal-hauler to be refloated, said Petty Officer Levi Read.
Inbound traffic was continuing unimpeded.
Lt. Kenneth Scott said crews were hopeful they could refloat the freighter by late Wednesday or early Thursday. He said three vessels were backed up, and a fourth was approaching on Lake Superior.
The outbound channel is dredged to a depth of 27-28 feet, while the open, inbound channel has a 26-foot clearance, Scott said. The shallower draft means that some outbound vessels would need to lighten their loads should authorities decide to alternate traffic directions in the open channel.