The USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul passing through the Soo Locks in Michigan in 2022. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul passing through the Soo Locks in Michigan in 2022. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(Tribune News Service) — A northern Michigan marine dock is suing the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, alleging that a 388-foot combat ship caused more than $2.5 million in damages to the facility’s seawall, dock and the surrounding lakebed.

North Shore Marine Terminal & Logistics Inc. said in a lawsuit filed earlier this month in federal court that the USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul backed into the seawall at the Escanaba facility three times while attempting to berth in 2022.

In addition, despite an agreement to the contrary, the ship used its massive gas turbine engines while departing and arriving at the dock, the lawsuit said, causing “extensive displacement of bottom materials on the lakebed adjacent to the seawall.”

Lockheed Martin has not yet filed a response to the lawsuit.

Asked about the case, a spokesman for the company said, “In general, it is our company practice not to comment on pending litigation.”

North Shore’s owners did not respond to phone messages left this week.

The USS Minneapolis St. Paul is a littoral combat ship, designed to operate near the shore. It was received by the U.S. Navy in the fall of 2021 and commissioned on May 21 of the following year, shortly after the events alleged in the lawsuit would have taken place.

North Shore’s contract for berthing and support of the ship was with Lockheed Martin.

In an August 2022 letter to both the Navy and Lockheed Martin that was included in the lawsuit, North Shore said that, shortly after the incident, a tug boat had been grounded leaving their dock and further investigation found that “bottom material displaced during the departure and return using the gas turbines” had created ridges in the channel that ships used to access it.

Dredging that channel will cost an additional $600,000, the lawsuit said.

“Please advise on how to proceed with this, and we appreciate your time in reviewing this again,” North Shore said in the letter. “We want to have this addressed as soon possible as it has been quite a while since any attention has been focused on this issue.”

©2024 Advance Local Media LLC.


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