The diesel powered freighter ship Edwin H. Gott is seen leaving Duluth, Minn., in 2020.

The diesel powered freighter ship Edwin H. Gott is seen leaving Duluth, Minn., in 2020. (Alex Kormann, Star Tribune)

A ship carrying iron ore across Lake Superior collided with something underwater Saturday morning, puncturing the vessel and allowing water inside, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Michipicoten, a carrier ship longer than two football fields, began taking on water around 6:53 a.m. about 35 miles southwest of Isle Royale. At least 22 people were on board, the Coast Guard said. Half of that crew have safely evacuated.

Boat crews, a helicopter and members of the U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol and National Park Service have responded. The Edwin H. Gott, another lake freighter, also responded. Coast Guard officials said pumps aboard the Michipicoten had removed some water on board.

The ship is carrying taconite, a low-grade iron ore often mined from the Mesabi Iron Range. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, such ships sail to Indiana, Ohio and other steel-making areas around the Great Lakes where the taconite is melted into steel.

None of the taconite on board the Michipicoten was believed to have spilled so far.

Isle Royale is about 20 miles east of Grand Portage, Minn., just south of the Canadian border. It’s not immediately clear whether the ship is in Minnesota or Michigan waters.

The carrier ship is now headed to a nearby port for inspection and repairs. Officials say details about the collision, and what caused it, will be released after “the situation is stabilized.”

©2024 StarTribune.


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