Lightering Ops Underway for Grounded Freighter in Lake Superior [PHOTOS]

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June 3, 2016

The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke arrives on scene with the motor vessel Roger Blough, which ran aground May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 2, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The U.S. Coast Guard has reported that lightering operations on the grounded MV Roger Blough began Friday a full week after the American freighter ran aground in Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior on May 27.

The receiving vessel Philip R. Clarke arrived on scene Thursday afternoon and lightering operation started at about 5:45 a.m. Friday. The Clarke is scheduled to remove some of the taconite from the Blough in order to lighten the freighter so it can be refloated.

The safety perimeter surrounding the Roger Blough been increased from 500 yards to 750 yards.

The U.S. Coast Guard says that plans continue to progress to safely free the vessel from Gros Cap Reef through the combined efforts of Canadian partners, company representatives and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boom remains in place at the rear of the vessel as a preventative measure against pollution and Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel are in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, with a large inventory of pollution control equipment with procedures in place for all possible ship-source spill scenarios.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be providing assistance for lightering operations and will ensure the Birch Point Range channel is safe for navigation after the Blough is removed from the grounding site.

There have been no changes in the rate of flooding and the crew remains in good condition.

A Transport Canada overflight was conducted Thursday afternoon and reported no pollution.

The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke arrives on scene with the motor vessel Roger Blough that ran aground on May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 3, 2016. The Clarke is scheduled to remove some of the taconite from the Blough in order to lighten the Blough so it can be refloated, and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn is on scene to enforce the 750-yard safety zone around the ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Craig Gorman)
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke arrives on scene with the motor vessel Roger Blough, which ran aground May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 2, 2016. The Clarke is scheduled to remove some of the taconite from the Blough in order to lighten the Blough so it can be refloated. (Photo courtesy of Transport Canada)
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke receives taconite by conveyor belt from the motor vessel Roger Blough that ran aground on May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 3, 2016. The Clarke is scheduled to remove some of the taconite from the Blough in order to lighten the Blough so it can be refloated. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Craig Gorman)
The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke receives taconite by conveyor belt from the motor vessel Roger Blough that ran aground on May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 3, 2016. U.S. Coast Guard Photo
The motor vessel Phillip R. Clarke receives taconite by conveyor belt from the motor vessel Roger Blough that ran aground on May 27, near Gros Cap Reefs Light in Lake Superior, June 3, 2016. The Clarke is scheduled to remove some of the taconite from the Blough in order to lighten the Blough so it can be refloated. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Schmidt)
The U.S. Coast Guard Photo
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