ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Future of tug Seneca remains unclear

The tug Seneca will be towed to a marine construction company dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., U.S. Coast Guard officials said Sunday. The fate of the tug, owned and operated by Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, is unclear. "We're going to have one o...

The tug Seneca will be towed to a marine construction company dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., U.S. Coast Guard officials said Sunday.

The fate of the tug, owned and operated by Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, is unclear.

"We're going to have one of our engineers go out and take a look at it this week,'' Zenith Tugboat Co. owner Franz VonRiedel said Sunday night. "He'll give us a rundown. We need to determine the extent of the damage.''

The tug grounded in Lake Superior, 21 miles east of Grand Marais, Mich., early this month. It was refloated, then pulled from where it was beached -- 50 yards from shore in a remote area of the lake. The Seneca was towed to Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday afternoon.

"It's like losing a member of the family," VonRiedel said. "I'm very sentimental about it. It was the first boat in our fleet, the prettiest tug in the fleet.''

ADVERTISEMENT

Last week, divers made repairs to the 67-year-old tug so it could be refloated.

The Seneca was set adrift in rough weather Dec. 3 after a tow rope broke loose from the Susan Hoey, which was pulling the craft. No crew members were on board at the time. The crew of the Susan Hoey barely made it to safe harbor on 10-foot seas.

The Seneca was emptied of potential contaminants -- diesel fuel, lube oil and waste oil -- before the salvage was attempted.

VonRiedel fears the 94-foot tug could be a total loss because of ice and water damage. "I'm concerned about the internal damage," he said.

He's also waiting for the bill from the U.S. Coast Guard, which coordinated the salvage effort.

For now, VonRiedel is making due with the company's other tug -- the Anna Marie Altman. "It's fortunate that there's not been much ice [in the Duluth harbor] because we're down to the one boat," he said.

"It was a workhorse in Duluth,'" VonRiedel said of the Seneca. "It was the first generation of diesel-powered harbor tugs. It's got those classic 1939 lines."

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.