ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Mich. -

A dredge barge and its tug boat have sunk in Lake Huron.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Justin Westmiller said the 110-foot dredge boat and a 38-foot tug boat started taking on water during stormy weather about two miles from the shore of Lakeport just after 4 a.m.

Both boats then sank about 22 feet. The stern of the dredge barge and a portion of the tug boat is still visible in the water.

The dredge boat was carrying between 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel, which is now leaking into the water.

Westmiller said pollution crews are at the scene and the company that owns the boats – MCM Marine Inc. – has already hired Marine Pollution Control to begin the clean up.

There were six people on board, but they were safely put onto other tug boats.

The diesel is expected to quickly evaporate and not cause any serious problems for area wildlife.

IMAGES: Barge, tug boat sink in Lake Huron

Published On: Jul 19 2012 01:40:26 PM EDT

The U.S. Coast Guard says a 110-foot dredging barge sank in Lake Huron, spilling an unknown amount of diesel fuel.

Barge sinks Port Huron
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What is dredging?

According to Education.usace.army.mil underwater excavation is called dredging. After the initial excavation needed to establish a channel, the periodic dredging that must be done to keep it clear and safe for navigation is called maintenance dredging. Once sediments are dredged from the waterway, they are called dredged material.

A dredge is a machine that scoops or suctions sediment from the bottom of waterways or is used to mine materials underwater. People have been dredging channels in one way or another since primitive people began to irrigate crops.