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Press Release | May 17, 2023

Lake freighter runs aground, is later refloated off Belle Isle

Sector Detroit

DETROIT — The Mark W. Barker, a 639-foot lake freighter that ran soft aground in the Detroit River due to an electronics malfunction, was successfully refloated at approximately 12:10 p.m. today with the assistance of commercial towing.

Coast Guard Sector Detroit responded to the initial report of the incident, after the ship lost propulsion and ran soft aground near the south side of Belle Isle at 8 a.m. today. Throughout the incident, there were no immediate threats to persons or the environment. Mariners were advised to stay clear of the area, but were able to continue transiting the river. Carrying approximately 21,000 metric tons of salt and 105,000 gallons of diesel fuel, the Mark W. Barker remained stable throughout the incident with no signs of pollution discharge or hull damage reported.

“We worked closely with all relevant parties to ensure the safety of our waterways and the prompt resolution of this incident," said Lt. j.g. Adeeb Ahmad, Sector Detroit’s public affairs officer. “The successful refloating of the Mark W. Barker highlights our commitment to maintaining the safety and continuity of our maritime transportation system.”

The Coast Guard worked closely with the vessel owner, Interlake Steamship Company, as well as port partners and the Canadian Coast Guard to develop and execute the refloat plan. The ship was assisted by towing vessel to the Belle Isle anchorage, where Coast Guard investigators will be on scene to assess any damages and ensure repairs are completed as necessary before the vessel resumes its voyage.

For further updates or inquiries about the situation, please contact Lt. j.g. Adeeb Ahmad at (313) 910-1234.

To report a person in distress or the need for search and rescue, contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit Operations Center 24-hours a day at 313-568-9560.

—USCG— News Release