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With Bentleyville in the background, the Orsula leaves Duluth shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, with a cargo of durum wheat. The Orsula was the last saltie to leave the Twin Ports this year. (Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com)

Twin Ports' last saltie of the season runs aground at entrance to St. Lawrence Seaway

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Twin Ports' last saltie of the season runs aground at entrance to St. Lawrence Seaway
Duluth Minnesota 424 W. First St. 55802

The last saltie to leave the Port of Duluth-Superior this shipping season has run into trouble making it back to saltwater.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported Saturday that the 656-foot Orsula remained aground near Tibbetts Point, N.Y., on Lake Ontario at the entrance of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times reported that the Orsula went aground early on Christmas Day. There were no injuries or pollution as a result of the grounding and it poses no risks to other ship traffic in the area, the Coast Guard reported; the incident remains under investigation.

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The Coast Guard said a dive survey revealed that most of the ship's hull is resting aground, and there is significant damage to the propeller.

McKeil Marine has been hired by the Orsula's operators to conduct salvage operations, including lightering the cargo of wheat to a barge, and refloating the vessel.

The St. Lawrence Seaway is scheduled to close for the winter on Monday, and it was not clear Saturday if the Orsula would be able to make it out before then.

The Orsula left the Twin Ports on Dec. 19, bound for Italy filled with durum wheat from the CHS and Gavilon grain terminals in Superior. It is flagged in the Marshall Islands and operated by Fednav Limited, operating out of Canada.

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