2018-10-06 / News

Tug, Barge Run Aground in Round Island Passage During Windstorm


Gale force winds pushed the barge Defiance off course, causing it to run aground in the Round Island Passage Friday, September 21. Anthony Arabie of Great Turtle Kayak Tours took this photograph at Windermere Point on Mackinac Island. Gale force winds pushed the barge Defiance off course, causing it to run aground in the Round Island Passage Friday, September 21. Anthony Arabie of Great Turtle Kayak Tours took this photograph at Windermere Point on Mackinac Island. As strong winds pummeled the Straits of Mackinac area Friday, September 21, the 720-foot integrated tug and barge Defiance and Ashtabula ran aground in the Round Island Passage. The incident was reported to Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie at 2:52 p.m. Friday afternoon.

The vessel was freed from the clay bottom between Mackinac and Round islands by the water current at 4:31 a.m. Saturday morning, September 22.

The barge was carrying 97,918 gallons of diesel fuel and 2,917 tons of stone. It departed Cedarville and was on its way to Buffington, Indiana when it ran aground.

While it was stuck in the passage, the crew assessed the ship for damage and didn’t find any injuries, pollution, or flooding.

While the vessel was in the passage, the U.S. Coast Guard established a safety zone, prohibiting vessels weighing more than 100 gross tons from the passage. All vessels were prohibited from traveling within 200 yards of the ship.

The Coast Guard flew a helicopter in the area Friday night and Saturday morning, looking for signs of pollution, which were not found.

Saturday, the Coast Guard inspected the vessel, which was moored off of St. Ignace, and cleared it for travel that evening.

The Coast Guard is still investigating how the vessel ran aground.

During the weekend’s strong winds, ferry boat passenger traffic to Mackinac Island continued, but reported some delays and cancelled shipments.

A group of visitors from 4-H Clubs in Genesee County tried to travel to the Island with their horses Friday, to participate in the second Dr. Edwin and Jean Deer Mackinac Island Horse Show. Star Line did not ferry the horses to the Island Friday because of rough seas. The horse show was delayed until the following day, and activities were held Saturday, September 22, and Sunday, September 23.

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