Army Corps raises, refloats tug in St. Marys River

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (AP) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it has refloated one of its tug boats that sank while being towed in the upper St. Marys River.

No one was aboard the Hammond Bay, which went down in the waterway between the Upper Peninsula and Canada. Another tug was towing the Hammond Bay and three barges from Duluth, Minn., to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The Coast Guard said it was notified early Monday that the crew of the Army Corps’ tug boat Bill Maier, which was towing three barges and the Hammond Bay, lost sight of the Hammond Bay. The crew found an oil sheen on the water and a Hammond Bay life ring.

The Army Corps vessel Bufe later found the Hammond Bay in the area. According to the Army Corps, the Hammond Bay had 200 gallons of diesel fuel and 15 gallons of oil aboard. The U.S. Coast Guard surveyed the area via helicopter, and said no pollution has been observed from the sunken boat. More monitoring is planned.

Army Corps spokeswoman Lynn Rose said the agency sent three vessels to the scene. She says they raised the tug to the surface and refloated it Wednesday afternoon.

She said there’s no obvious sign of damage to the tug, which will be examined to see what repairs are needed.

The tug was in about 37 feet of water, about 290 miles northwest of Detroit.