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The 689-foot bulk carrier Michipicoten has safely anchored in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after combating flooding in Lake Superior. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The 689-foot bulk carrier Michipicoten has safely anchored in Thunder Bay, Ontario, after combating flooding in Lake Superior. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Massive Crack Discovered in Hull of Great Lakes Freighter After Flooding

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 23481
June 11, 2024

The Canadian-flagged Great Lakes freighter Michipicoten was discovered to have a four-meter-long crack in its hull after a flooding incident on Lake Superior over the weekend.

The crack was found during an underwater inspection conducted at Keefer Terminal, where the ship remains docked.

According to a Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson, the crack seems to have resulted from fatigue or structural failure. A US Coast Guard spokesperson, Lorne Thomas, stated that the rupture is located where the side shell turns to the bottom plate, indicating a clear hull failure, according to reports.

The Michipicoten was carrying taconite from Two Harbors, Minnesota to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario when the incident occurred Saturday morning. The distress call was made at around 7 a.m., with the crew reporting an unexpected collision with an underwater object, causing the vessel to take on water.

At one point the ship was listing by as much as 15 degrees to starboard, prompting the evacuation of 11 of 22 crew members over fears that it could capsize.

Reporting indicates the ship’s crew reported hearing a loud bang while the ship was in deep water, which could have coincided with the hull failure.

The investigation into the ship’s route will consider potential initiating events like striking a submerged object or running aground, although there’s currently no evidence suggesting the ship struck something before the hull failure.

The ship was able to reduce its list from 15 degrees to 5 degrees, minimizing the risk of capsizing, as the ship was escorted safely to Thunder Bay, Ontario. Despite the severity of the situation and initial fears of capsizing, no injuries were reported among the crew.

Authorities from both Canada and the U.S. will purportedly jointly investigate the incident, with Canadian officials taking the lead.

The M/V Michipicoten was originally built in 1952 and converted to a motor vessel in 2011. It is operated by Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., a subsidiary of Rand Logistics.

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