Freighter Manitowoc involved in fuel spill near Manistee

August 3, 2023

Freighter Manitowoc involved in fuel spill near Manistee

MANISTEE — U.S. Coast Guard personnel, along with state and local agencies responded Wednesday to a report of the motor vessel Manitowoc spilling diesel in Lake Michigan, approximately 1.5 nautical miles offshore of Manistee.

At approximately 2:50 p.m. the 612-foot bulk carrier motor vessel Manitowoc reported a hull breach on its starboard diesel tank. The maximum spill potential is 45,174 gallons of diesel.

At the time of the report, the vessel was at anchor 1.5 nautical miles offshore, northwest of where the Manistee River enters Lake Michigan. A red slick was observed approximately 1.6 miles by 200 yards wide projecting to the northeast from the vessel within a few hours of the report.

The Manitowoc is a River Class vessel, measuring 630 feet in length, 68 feet wide, and 37 feet deep, owned by Rand Logistics and operated under its subsidiary Grand River Navigation Company. The self-unloading vessel was built in 1973 and was purchased by Rand in 2008.

Personnel on the Manitowoc have activated their response plan and the ship’s diesel spill removal organization is on scene at this time working to contain the spill. The vessel is no longer leaking diesel. Internal diesel transfers lowered the level of diesel in the leaking tank below the hole, which has been plugged.

In response to the diesel spill, a unified command has been established to oversee and direct cleanup response efforts. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the responsible party, the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Manistee County Emergency Management, Benzie County Emergency Management, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee County Sheriff’s Office and Benzie County Sheriff’s Office, and the City of Manistee will be working together in this effort, according to a U.S. Coast Guard press release.

There has been no known impact to beaches at this time. However, diesel is a hazardous material and can present significant health hazards, so the public is asked to stay away from areas that have diesel and do not attempt to rescue injured wildlife. The public is asked to call (231) 723-6241 for any confirmed sighting of diesel reaching the shoreline.

There is no known or expected impact to drinking water at this time. The cause of the diesel spill is still under investigation.


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