650-Foot Freighter Hauling Salt Runs Aground Near Detroit Island Park

The freighter was stuck in the mud and sand before being freed by a tugboat

The Interlake Steamship Company

A huge freighter hauling salt through the Great Lakes ran aground in the Detroit River on Wednesday, causing a spectacle off the shore of a popular island park.

Freighters regularly travel the waterway but they rarely come so close to land, so the sudden arrival of the Mark W. Barker, which is nearly 650 feet (200 meters) long, turned heads at Belle Isle, a state park in the river.

“I came down here and I looked and I was like, ‘whoa,’” Diane Reid told The Detroit News.

The freighter lost propulsion because of an electronics malfunction and got stuck in mud and sand about 8 a.m., the U.S. Coast Guard said.

It was freed by a tugboat around noon “fairly easily” but will be anchored in the river for an inspection, said Lt. j.g. Adeeb Ahmad.

“There were no concerns for vessel traffic. No one was injured,” Ahmad said. “For such an unfortunate event, it was the best-case scenario. It happened right next to our Coast Guard station on Belle Isle.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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