Coast Guard personnel, along with state and local agencies, were responding Wednesday to a report that the motor vessel Manitowoc was spilling diesel in Lake Michigan, approximately 1.5 nautical miles offshore Manistee, Mich.
At approximately 2:50 p.m. the 630’x68' bulk carrier Manitowoc reported a hull breach on its starboard diesel tank. The maximum spill potential is 45,174 gals. 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 Coast Guard said.
The Manitowoc has activated its response plan and the company's diesel spill removal organization is on scene 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, according to the Coast Guard.
The Manitowoc is owned by Rand Logistics Inc. and operated under its subsidiary Grand River Navigation Co. The self-unloading vessel was built in 1973 and was purchased by Rand in 2008. The Manitowoc is designed to carry a variety of cargo types including grain, iron ore, coal, aggregates, salt and other bulk commodities. The vessel has a 260' unloading boom and an unloading rate of 5,000 tons per hour. For propulsion, the vessel has diesel engines producing a total of 5,600 hp., giving the Manitowoc an operating speed of 14 mph. It has a draft of 26'.
In response to the diesel spill, a Unified Command has been established to oversee and direct cleanup response efforts. Representatives from the 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 and Benzie County Sheriff’s Offices, and the City of Manistee are working together on the cleanup.
There is 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.
Updates will be provided via the Ninth Coast Guard District’s Twitter page: @USCGGreatLakes