Canadian Coast Guard Frees Trapped Freighter on Lake Erie

Photo: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Photo: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The Canadian Coast Guard has freed the 26,500 gross ton bulk carrier MV Arthur M. Anderson from heavy ice on the southern shore of Lake Erie near Conneaut Harbor.

After a failed attempt to reach the vessel last week by the USCGC Bristol Bay, the Canadian Coast Guard’s 234-foot multi-mission medium icebreaker CCGS Griffon was called on to free the ship from the ice.

An update Sunday posted to Twitter by Fisheries and Oceans Canada said that the Anderson had been freed and the vessel was moving with assistance from the CCGS Griffon. A later update said the freighter was being escorted by the Griffin and the CCGS Samuel Risley on Lake Erie.

According to media reports, the frieghter was freed from the ice at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The MV Arthur M. Anderson was enroute to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for its winter layup when it became beset by ice near Ashtabula, Ohio last week.

The USCGC Bristol Bay reported 8 to 10 feet of ice in areas and brash ice up to 5 to 6 feet thick as it attempted to reach the vessel. After making slow progress towards the freighter, the Bristol Bay was running low on food and fuel so the Griffin was called in to escort the U.S. Coast Guard ship back to Cleveland before returning to free the Anderson.

“The U.S. and Canada have a strong ice-breaking partnership,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander Coast Guard 9th District. “Both countries coordinate closely to respond to these extreme ice conditions across the Great Lakes. Our goal is to get the commercial traffic moving and keep it moving, so we will keep working to achieve that goal.”

The MV Arthur M. Anderson is famous for being the last ship to be in contact with the SS Edmund Fitzgerald before it sank.