A Liberian-flagged freighter detained for about six weeks at the port of Duluth-Superior amid an investigation into environmental crimes has been cleared to leave Lake Superior.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it reached an agreement on Tuesday with the German owner and operator of the MV Cornelia allowing the vessel to depart the Great Lakes region before the winter lock closures.
The 175-meter bulk carrier has been held in Duluth, Minnesota since early November as investigators probe allegations involving violations related to the discharge of oily water. The Coast Guard has not provided many details on the investigation thus far, but has said it does not appear that the discharge occurred within the port of Duluth – Superior.
“The Coast Guard and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota take any allegations involving environmental pollution very seriously,” the Coast Guard said in an update this week. “At the same time, both agencies recognize the importance of the flow of commerce through the port of Duluth – Superior and are making every effort to ensure all vessels transit our waters safely and responsibly.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota accepted the case for criminal investigation November 9, 2015.
The Coast Guard said that throughout the detention, personnel have been continuing to check in with the master of the Cornelia to confirm that the crew has adequate food, water and other necessities.