Grounded Roger Blough Prepares for Lightering

After being stuck on Gros Cap Reef in Lake Superior for almost a week, the bulk carrier Roger Blough is now scheduled to undergo lightering operations on June 3, according to US Coast Guard.

Plans continue to progress to free the 1972-built bulker, which ran aground on Friday evening, as the USCG set a date for the lightering operations and assigned the work to the motor vessel Philip R. Clarke.

DonJon-Smit salvage divers have completed their underwater survey of the Blough’s hull and the salvage plan is being revised to reflect on-scene conditions, the coast guard said.

Additionally, the authority decided to keep boom in place at the rear of the 46,833 dwt vessel as a preventative measure against pollution, while the Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel remain on stand-by in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, for all possible ship-source spill scenarios.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be providing assistance for lightering operations and will ensure the Birch Point Range channel is safe for navigation after the Blough is removed from the grounding site.

Image Courtesy: USCG
Image Courtesy: USCG

The bulk carrier grounded “with reports of flooding,” therefore the coast guard conducted exterior draft readings, while the vessel’s crew conducted interior soundings of the tanks to ensure flooding remains under control.

The USCG said that “there have been no changes in the rate of flooding,” adding that all crew members remain in good condition.

Current reports show that there are no signs of pollution in the water.

The cause of the grounding in under investigation.

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