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22 March 2024

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Around 1400 hrs  Canada time of Friday 15th March, 2024 , the oldest laker that sails the Great Lakes – CUYAHOGA caught fire which a preliminary investigation found the cause to be welding, which ignited paint on the inside of the cargo hold and took about three hours to put out.

According to the USCG Great Lakes, she was getting work done in preparation for the upcoming shipping season when the fire broke out.

The fire onboard the vessel broke out when she was docked in Ashtabula, southwest of Erie, Ohio, on Lake Erie. The US Coast Guard (USGC) has reported that the captain and crew of the vessel are safe, and the city and the national administration have dispatched fire teams to the vessel. The USGC stated that they have deployed their boats and helicopters to assist in combating the fire.

With a length overall (loa) of 202m ,  beam of 18 m, and a capacity of 18,000 ts, she was built in 1943 as the tenth in a series of sixteen A1-type Maritime Class Bulkers.  Built in USA by Amship Lorain at Ohio, back in her heyday, the vessel was one of the most unique and stylish vessels in service, with the vessel’s class being the first to feature the use of a cruiser stern design. The vessel was also the first to be powered by a double-compound steam engine.

Originally named as J.BURTON AYERS, she  supplied iron ore to the mills in the production of tanks, aircraft, and artillery during World War II. The vessel was later acquired by Lower Lakes in 1995 and is now used to transport commodities such as stone, iron ore, and coal.

Timeline image is courtesy of USCG Great Lakes and Images of CUYAHOGA  are by our correspondent Mr. Nathan Attard at Welland Canal, Canada .

 

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