Coast Guard investigates as tugboat sinks on Lake Superior in Duluth


A tugboat on Lake Superior in Duluth is sinking and the US Coast Guard is investigating.

A photo posted on Facebook by Paul Scinocca shows the stern of the boat underwater on Monday morning. Scinocca told Bring Me The News he took the picture of the vessel, named Lake Superior, at 8:45 a.m. Monday from the Compass Minerals wharf, directly opposite the tug.

In a statement to Bring Me The News, the Ninth Coast Guard District, which includes Duluth, said:

“The Coast Guard is aware of this situation and investigators from the Duluth Marine Safety Unit are responding. There have been no reports of pollution or environmental impact.”

Jayson Horn of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority told Bring Me The News the vessel was previously a US Army Corps of Engineers tug but is now privately owned.

“The US Coast Guard is currently investigating, but very early in response efforts,” Horn said at 11:16 a.m. Monday.

According to the Great Lakes Tugs and Workboats websitethe lake superior was built in 1943 for the U.S. Army and named Major Emil H. Block before being transferred to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1950 and renamed Lake Superior

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The tug was retired from service around 1995 and was acquired by the City of Duluth, which used it as a floating museum, according to the website. A private owner – Billington Contracting of Duluth – purchased the vessel in 2007 and it has lain idle.

The 114-foot steel-hulled live-aboard tug went on sale, according to an announcement which has since expired.

Here it does not flow:

It is not the first ex-US Army Corps of Engineers tug to take on water in Duluth. Les Essayons, which was built in 1908, sank to the bottom of its slide on Lake Superior on March 24, 2009, according to the media. A local businessman had owned the tugboat since 1994 and hoped to turn it into a bed and breakfast.

The Essayons engine is now on display at the Duluth Marine Museum in Canal Park.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.


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