DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — It was a rare sight in Canal Park Sunday afternoon: A 1,000-foot ship was grounded in Duluth’s Harbor.

The American Spirit, just feet away from hitting the break wall, veered off course while trying to pass through the canal. It is unclear at this time why the ship went astray.

The ship is loaded with taconite and was on its way out to Lake Superior. Officials with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority say the Aerial Lift Bridge is closed to vessel traffic at this time.

duluth ship stuck Ship Grounded In Duluth Harbor Nearly Hits Break Wall

(credit: CBS)

A 500-yard safety radius surrounding the ship is in effect. Spectators on boats are asked to keep their distance. The Duluth Fire Department says no pollution was found.

“So we sent headquarters down here with myself to survey the situation. We launched our small Duluth fire boat to kind of get visual on anything going on, to see if there’s any oil sheen on the water. That was reported negative,” Assistant Chief Chris Martinson with the Duluth Fire Department said. “In a short time, we were able to secure a phone number for I’m assuming the captain on board and I spoke with him. And he gave me a report of they’re not leaking any fuel or oil which I was relieved and I’m sure he is as well.”

Officials say it’s going to take a major tug boat operation to get the grounded ship out of the harbor.  The U.S. Coast Guard Duluth sector is investigating the cause.


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