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Two months after running aground, freighter Roger Blough returns to Twin Ports

The Roger Blough waits at the CN Dock to load iron ore pellets Tuesday afternoon in Duluth. The Roger Blough returned to Duluth for first time since it ran aground a couple months ago near Sault Ste. Marie. (Clint Austin /caustin@duluthnews.com)

The freighter Roger Blough was back in the Twin Ports to pick up a load of iron ore pellets this week, a little more than two months after it ran aground in eastern Lake Superior.

The 858-foot Blough, carrying a load of iron ore it picked up in Duluth, ran aground May 27 near Gros Cap Reefs in Whitefish Bay, about 10 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. It spent a couple weeks there, as its cargo was offloaded to other vessels.

The Blough was freed and started traveling down the St. Marys River, escorted by a tugboat, on June 11, eventually reaching Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for repairs.

The website boatnerd.com reported that the Blough left Bay Shipbuilding on Saturday night and arrived in Duluth on Monday night.

The Blough picked up a load of iron ore at the CN docks in Duluth on Tuesday, departing during the early evening hours.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board have been investigating the cause of the Blough's May 27 grounding.

Canadian National Railway, the owner of the Blough, contracts with Keystone Shipping Co. to operate its lake freighters. Keystone officials told the News Tribune in late May that the company was conducting its own internal investigation into the cause of the grounding.

Messages left with the Coast Guard and Keystone on Tuesday, seeking an update on the status of the investigations, were not returned.

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