A Coast Guard boat crew surveys the scene where the motor vessel Paul R. Tregurtha, a 1,000-foot freighter.
Credits: REUTERS/USCG/Sault Ste. Marie Vessel Traffic Service/Handout
The Tregurtha, measuring more than 1,000 feet long, ran aground around 3 a.m. Wednesday on the west side of Neebish Island, about 25 km southeast of Sault Ste. Marie.
U.S. Coast Guard officials say the ship's bow struck the rocky bottom, then the stern swung to the east side of the channel where it became grounded as well, effectively blocking the entire downbound channel for shipping traffic.
Downbound traffic was rerouted to the east side of Neebish Island, which is normally for upbound traffic. The shipping channel connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
The vessel, which is carrying roughly 62,000 tons of coal, was freed around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
The coast guard said crews shifted ballast water from the front of the vessel allowing tugboats to swing the bow out into the channel and free the Tregurtha.
Damage to the Tregurtha was assessed again Thursday morning, and it was cleared to proceed to nearby Potagannissing Bay for temporary repairs before travelling to St. Clair, Mich., to offload some of its cargo. The remainder of the Tregurtha's load will be delivered to Detroit. The vessel is then expected to go to drydock for repairs.
The accident isn't believed to have caused any environmental damage.