After damaged Michipicoten freighter docks in Thunder Bay, TSB assessing whether to investigate

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is collecting information to determine if it needs to investigate after a damaged ship arrived in Thunder Bay, Ont.’s harbour on the weekend.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) was informed the Michipicoten, a 213-metre-long bulk carrier, was taking on water on Saturday morning. Initial reports indicated it struck something while travelling near Isle Royale, a Great Lakes island that’s part of Michigan.

“Our initial report was there was a serious amount of flooding coming in,” said Lorne Thomas, chief of external affairs for the Ninth Coast Guard District based in Cleveland. “The ship heard a loud bang which indicates, probably, extensive hull failure of some sort.”

Thomas said the USCG dispatched a boat and helicopter — the Canadian Coast Guard also dispatched a boat — to the scene, and 11 of the Michipicoten’s 22 crew members were evacuated.

“If things had gotten worse, it’d be easier to take 11 people off versus 22 if we get into a crisis situation,” Thomas said. “So that was a prudent move on their part.”

Cause under investigation

The ship was stabilized and made it to Thunder Bay, where it’s docked at Keefer Terminal.

The exact cause of the damage is unknown, Thomas said, adding divers inspecting the ship found a four-metre crack in its hull.

The crack, he said, could have been caused by stress on the vessel or steel fatigue.

“Kind of an unknown, and subsequent investigation will probably determine this 

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