Great Lakes ore carrier catches fire at Ohio terminal

A Great Lakes ore carrier tied up at the Port of Toldeo in Ohio was the scene of a Saturday night fire that drew in eight local fire companies but caused no injuries, according to the Coast Guard.

The 770’x92’x30’, 44,800 dwt St. Clair, operated by the American Steamship Company, Williamsville, N.Y., was undergoing winter season repairs and was moored at the CSX Torco terminal in Oregon, Ohio, on Feb. 16 when watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Detroit were notified of the fire at about 9:30 p.m. by the Coast Guard station at the Toledo port.

The exterior fire broke out on the stern of the vessel, which had no one on board and no cargo, the Coast Guard said.

The Oregon Fire Department set up a command post where they were joined by senior Coast Guard officers from Sector Detroit. Firefighters conducted their attack using mainly water from  tank trucks, and brought the fire under control. Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) was used overnight and was cleaned up by vacuum trucks. During and after the blaze firefighters also protecting adjacent ships, spraying water to keep them cool.

At first light Sunday a helicopter crew a pollution responder from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit surveyed the scene and determined there was no pollution in the Maumee River. The American Steamship Company contacted the National Response Corporation, which contracted with Marine Pollution Control, Detroit, Mich., to come on scene and prepare to respond to any possible pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also conducted air quality tests in the vicinity of the ship and found the air free of pollution from the fire.

About the author

Kirk Moore

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been a field editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for almost 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

1 Comment

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    late reply….Not much said about this major mistake…of course the belt caught fire hence..all the firefighter probs…But only way to catch major rubber on fire…neglected fire watch…I assume some hot work had to be done early in day…NO OTHER WAY A SHIP CONVEYER BELT LIGTS UP…..SAME THING Happened on SS NICKOLEL…AMERICAIN SS OWED..except at that time they WELDERS/ BURNERS were working in close contact with belt….left for lunch break….NO FIRE WATCH….game time……. St Clair …puzzles me as how external fire burns down… hot enough to burn through steel……missing a few # s……..So is Coast Guard….you find out let me know…. USMM JIM Brown

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