Arrested Freighter Cleared to Leave Great Lakes
U.S. Coast Guard authorities have said that they have reached a departure agreement with the owners of the general cargo vessel Cornelia, which was arrested in November over alleged “violations related to the discharge of oily water.”
“We have reached an agreement and the vessel is making preparations to depart Duluth, [Minnesota],” said Petty Officer Third Class Christopher Yaw of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District. The Cornelia and her crew had been detained at anchor off Duluth for six weeks.
Vessel agent Stephen Sydow confirmed the departure agreement to local media, and said that the freighter would be leaving Duluth on December 18.
Local seafarers center pastor Douglas Paulson, who had visited the Cornelia's 19-member crew several times before her detention, met with them again on Thursday when the vessel was permitted to dock at Duluth for departure preparations. He said that the crew, from Ukraine, Croatia, the Philippines and the Czech Republic, were in good spirits and ready to be under way.
December 18 was the last day that the Cornelia could sail in order to make it through the St. Lawrence Seaway before it closes. The Seaway shuts December 30 due to winter ice.
The 17,000 gt Cornelia is under charter from German operator MST for a trip carrying steel to Minnesota and then grain to either Italy or Tunisia. She can carry up to a million cubic feet of grain, and she completed her cargo ops at Duluth before the detention occurred.
Mr. Sydow had previously said that the outcome of the detention could hinge on talks between the ship's owners and U.S. authorities on the dollar amount of a fine or settlement.