Army Corp of Engineers Salvages Sunken Tug Boat (With Photos)

By KBJR News 1

Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District

Army Corp of Engineers Salvages Sunken Tug Boat (With Photos)

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July 4, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2014 at 11:36 AM CDT

Detroit, MI (NNCNOW.com) --- It was an eventful week for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Detroit, MI after crews pulled a sunken tug boat from the bottom of the St. Mary's River, near Lake Superior.

Monday morning, around 3:30am, the USACE tug Donald J. Billmaier was underway from the USACE Duluth Area Office to the Soo Area Office towing three barges and the tug Hammond Bay.

While preparing to lock through the Soo Locks, the crew of the Billmaier lost sight of the tug boat.

The St. Mary's River was closed to commercial vessel traffic as crews searched for the tug boat. The lost Hammond Bay was finally found 37 feet underwater in the river.

On Wednesday, a crane barge, with assistance from two derrick barges, lifted the vessel out of the channel. The tug was raised to the surface using divers to rig the vessel and then it was pumped out to refloat.

The tug is being taken to the Soo Area Office to assess the vessel and refurbish where possible.

During initial inspections of the vessel, the crew noticed it looked structurally sound with all windows intact and no visible leaks. One crew member said that the tug looks the same as it would if it were sitting at a dock.

Officials are investigating what caused the tug boat to sink.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns
kburns@kbjr.com