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BELLE ISLE, Mich. – A freighter hauling salt ran aground Wednesday, May 17, 2023 in the Detroit River near Detroit’s famous island, Belle Isle.

The United States Coast Guard says the 639-foot Mark W. Barker freighter lost propulsion and ran aground just feet away from Belle Isle around 8 a.m.

Officials said this was a “soft aground,” meaning the freighter is stuck in dirt or mud. It was carrying about 21,000 metric tons of salt and 105,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Giant freighter hauling 21,000 tons of salt runs aground on Detroit’s Belle Isle

The freighter was successfully refloated around 12:10 p.m. Wednesday with the help of a tow. There was no pollution or hull damage, officials said.


Here is a statement from Interlake Maritime Services:

At approximately 0735 local time this morning, the M/V Mark W. Barker was transiting upbound in the Detroit River passing Belle Isle with a cargo of salt from Cleveland, Ohio bound for Milwaukee, Wisconsin when it experienced a loss of power and maneuverability.

The vessel turned to port unexpectedly and the Captain dropped the anchor before the bow grounded on the soft bank of the channel.

No one was injured in the incident nor does there appear to be any risk of pollution or damage to the vessel.

Working with the United States Coast Guard and with the assistance of a tug, the vessel was able back away from the bank and get underway to make its way to the Belle Isle Anchorage where the crew will continue to assess the vessel and work to determine the cause of the incident.

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