81 Year Old Great Lakes Cargo Vessel Catches Fire

Lake Erie at sunset
Updated Published

The US Coast Guard reported a fire on the Cuyahoga, the oldest operational cargo ship navigating the Great Lakes. At 81 years old, the vessel is currently ablaze.

The fire erupted while the ship was moored in Ashtabula, near Erie, Ohio, on Lake Erie. The US Coast Guard (USGC) has confirmed the safety of the ship's captain and crew. Local and federal fire response teams have been mobilized to address the situation. The USGC is providing support through both boats and helicopters to help fight the fire.

There are unverified reports suggesting that the fire has been put out and damage assessment is underway.

The Cuyahoga measures 18 meters in length and breadth, with a carrying capacity of 18,000 tons. Constructed in 1943, it was the tenth of sixteen A1-type Maritime Class Bulkers. Known for its distinctive and elegant design during its prime, it was the pioneer in incorporating a cruiser stern design and was the first of its class to be propelled by a double-compound steam engine.

Initially named J. Burton Ayers, the ship played a crucial role during World War II, delivering iron ore for the production of tanks, aircraft, and artillery. Acquired by Lower Lakes in 1995, along with its sister ship Missisagi, it now transports materials like stone, iron ore, and coal.