A commercial bulk carrier that ran aground at the entrance to the Muskegon Channel is about to move forward, U.S. Coast Guard officials said Friday.
The 750-foot-long vessel, the Kaye E. Barker, ran aground on a sandbar at the entrance to the channel late Thursday evening, the Lake Michigan Sector U.S. Coast Guard said. The ship was heading towards Muskegon with a load of stone aggregate.
The agency and the Grand Haven Marine Safety Detachment had worked with the shipowner, local salvage organizations and the ship’s crew to free the stranded boat.
They said Friday’s work was to transfer the cargo to another vessel to free it from the sandbar.
By 5:30 p.m. Friday, the ship had been “refloated” with a lighter load, the coast guard said on Twitter.
“It is no longer aground. However, there are questions about whether it is light enough to call at,” said Coast Guard Sector Public Affairs Officer Lt. Phillip Gurtler.
The ship was expected to remain anchored overnight with plans to bring in additional cargo on Saturday, Gurtler said.
No injuries were reported and initial inspections indicated no pollution, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of the vessel’s grounding.
The shipping company that owns the ship, the Interlake Shipping Company, said in a statement posted on its Facebook page that the vessel ran aground around 8:30 p.m. Thursday as it approached the port.
The company is based in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. According to its website, the Kaye E. Barker was built in Toledo in 1952 and can carry approximately 26,000 gross tons of cargo.
“The vessel is loaded with approximately 25,000 net tons of Port Inland stone,” he said. “During the approach, the vessel was positioned in the center of the channel and was moving at a slow speed before the incident.”
He also said that a survey of the bottom of the lake confirmed the presence of sand around the vessel.
“No injuries were reported,” he said. “There was no pollution or damage to the environment. Also, there does not appear to be any damage to the vessel.
“Interlake is working diligently with the United States Coast Guard and developing a plan to free the vessel from the sandbar to resume sailing.”