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Coast Guard Investigating If Foreign Ship Violated Environmental Laws

Crew Docked In Duluth-Superior Port Accused Of Discharging Oily Water

Pete Markham (CC-BY-SA)

Coast Guard officials say a ship they’re investigating in the Duluth-Superior port may have discharged oily water.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Lauren Laughlin said they’re investigating the crew, equipment and records of the Liberian-flagged Cornelia. She said they’re looking into allegations that the ship violated environmental laws with the discharge.

“Based upon current information in the investigation, it does not appear that the discharge occurred within the port of Duluth,” said Laughlin.

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Laughlin couldn’t say how much oil may have been discharged or where it occurred. She says the Coast Guard and German shipping company that manages the Cornelia are negotiating a security agreement.

The ship’s crew doesn’t appear to be pulling up anchor soon even though this month marks the end of the shipping season for many vessels. Still, Lauren Jorgenson, the Coast Guard’s district chief, said they don’t know when their investigation will end.

“At that point, there would need to be alternate arrangements for the vessel to moor to pier,” Jorgenson said.

The Cornelia’s 19 crew members are not allowed to leave the ship. But, Jorgenson said the Coast Guard is checking on them daily. The ship’s management company couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.