Freighter grounded near Soo Locks

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DULUTH -- The St. Marys River between lakes Superior and Huron was partially closed to commercial vessels as of Thursday morning, Aug. 10, after a U.S. cargo ship ran aground less than 3 miles east of the Soo Locks.

The 629-foot Calumet departed Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and was transiting downbound in the St. Marys River to its next port of call in Brevort, Mich., when it ran aground 20 minutes before midnight Wednesday, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a news release.

The Coast Guard is on scene and no injuries have been reported. As of morning, the vessel was aground and stable, and there were no signs of pollution.

The freighter is stalled near the north end and west side of Michigan’s Sugar Island.

Following the incident, the St. Marys River was closed to commercial vessels from the Soo Locks east to 6 Mile Point — a roughly 9-mile stretch. An average of 23 freighters per day transit through the 77 nautical miles of St. Marys River between lakes Superior and Huron.

The vessel’s company, Grand River Navigation Inc., is taking precautionary measures to help ensure the safety of the environment and developing a salvage plan, said the Coast Guard.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

Additional vessels are beginning to queue up before and after the Soo Locks and in Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay, outside the river.