The Calamitous Calumet


Calumet Aground

The big news in the Soo is that the lake boat Calumet (630′) ran aground in the Saint Mary’s River, forcing the closure of the locks. The Marine Traffic app already shows about a dozen freighters waiting for the shipping channel to reopen. The boat ran aground at its bow on Wednesday, near midnight. 

The above photo was taken near Clyde’s burger stand, which is downriver from the locks. If you look closely at it, you can see that the port bow is riding a little higher than the starboard side. The boat is well out of the channel, but when you already have one shipwreck, you certainly don’t want another one to occur, so the Coast Guard is exercising caution. The zodiac in the foreground is a Coast Guard vessel and the one by the stern, I believe, is the contractor’s boat, who deployed the yellow oil spill boom. Currently, there has been no oil leakage.

The Calumet had just offloaded its cargo in the Soo and was in ballast when it grounded. Which begs the question, how are they going to lighten the boat to get it off the rocks? I suppose that the Corps of Engineers could release more water from Lake Superior, with the hope that a rising tide floats all boats. Just saying. 

This is not the Calumet’s first rodeo either. Last year, in another accident, the boat struck a Cleveland restaurant, Shooters, on the Cuyahoga River. All of which begs the question, how did this latest accident occur? What was the captain thinking? To help answer these questions, I offer up the following top ten excuses that the Calumet’s captain could use for running aground:

  1. The sun got in my eyes.
  2. Is starboard on the left-side or the right-side of the boat?
  3. Canadian pirates. (Arrrgh-eh!)
  4. A Soo Locks Boat Tour boat sideswiped me and I ended up in the ditch.
  5. I was sitting right back and telling a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…
  6. Buoys! Buoys! We don’t need no stinking buoys.
  7. Who wants burgers and fries from Clyde’s?
  8. The 1st mate yelled, “rock” and I started jamming on my guitar.
  9. Red and green lights always reminds me of Christmas. 
  10. Iceberg, dead ahead!

4 thoughts on “The Calamitous Calumet

  1. Goodness, the pilot will never live this down.
    Do you remember when the new Coast Guard Cutter, Mackinaw, left the shipbuilders in Wisconsin, crossed the Lake and ran into the Grand Haven pier. That commander lost his job. I wonder if anyone was fired here.

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