Laker hauling 21 tons of salt runs aground in Detroit River

According to Interlake Steamship, the Mark W. Barker was “designed to ensure that it will have a low environmental impact to the Great Lakes.”

Mark W. Barker arrives in Duluth.
The Mark W. Barker glides under the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth for the first time ever Sept. 6. The laker ran aground in the Detroit River on Wednesday.
Steve Kuchera / 2022 file / Duluth News Tribune

A large freighter carrying 21 tons of salt through the Great Lakes ran aground in the Detroit River on Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 8 a.m. when the 639-foot-long boat became stuck in the mud mere feet from the shores of Belle Isle, a popular state park in the Michigan city.

The ship, which was headed to Milwaukee from Cleveland, experienced a loss of power and drifted near the banks of the river.

Interlake's Mark W. Barker is the first Great Lakes ship to be built by an American company since 1983.

“No injuries, pollution, or damage reported. Cargo of salt. River remains open to all traffic,” the Coast Guard said on Twitter. “Planning underway to refloat and determine cause.”

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., the Coast Guard said a tug boat had pulled the freighter out of the mud and silt. “Once anchored, Coast Guard investigators will board, assess any damages, and ensure any repairs,” they explained.


The Dossin Great Lakes Museum, which offers a livestream of the river, recorded video of the incident.

“For such an unfortunate event, it was the best-case scenario. It happened right next to our Coast Guard station on Belle Isle,” Coast Guard public affairs officer Adeeb Ahmad said.

Scheduled to launch its working life later this year, the Mark W. Barker will enter sea trials soon this spring. It’s the first Great Lakes ship to be built by an American company since 1983, which marked the end of a lengthy boom time that included the arrival of the immense 1,000-footers.

The incident is unlikely to have a great effect on shipping in the Great Lakes, unlike when the freighter Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal in 2021 and delayed cargo worldwide .

According to Interlake Steamship, the owner of the freighter, the Mark W. Barker was “designed to ensure that it will have a low environmental impact to the Great Lakes.”

The newly built ship “has a square-shaped, flat-bottomed cargo hold instead of a traditional V-shaped angled bottom” and a carrying capacity of 26,000 gross tons.

The company transports about 20 million tons of cargo a year.

With News Wire Services

©2023 New York Daily News. Visit . Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


This story was updated at 3:35 p.m., Saturday, May 20 to correct the name of the ship. The News Tribune regrets the error.

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