US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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William Lafferty wrote: August 7, 2022, 1:09 pm The Coast Guard routinely oversees such operations.
The original post indicated the USCG would be the monitoring agency but the question was more directed at the direct involvement of a USCG vessel in assisting the refloating of a stranded commercial vessel. From what I have seen the refloating of commercial vessels is usually done by commercial salvage or towing companies on a plan approved by the USCG and not directly involving its own assets. From the responses generated by this inquiry, it seems obvious that poor weather conditions prioritized the refloating of the Charles M. White to prevent further damage or possibly a breakup of the vessel.
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Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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An earlier poster mentioned a 948mb low, but I can find no such low that is so deep. There is a low south of Milwaukee, but it's 996mb at 7:00am Sunday April 14, 1974. That chart can be found here: https://library.oarcloud.noaa.gov/docs. ... 740414.pdf

I have two screen-captures images from the May 1975 issue of Mariners Weather Log that provides a month-by-month review of the 1974 navigation season on the Great Lakes. It provides the maximum wind speed and wave heights by lake and by month as was sent to the NWS by cooperating weather observing US Great Lakes vessels. Sadly, there is no way for me to post these screen-captures.
William Lafferty
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Joined: March 13, 2010, 10:51 am

Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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The Charlles M. White grounded on Waverly Shoal thirty miles south of Escanaba on 13 April 1974. The combined efforts of the Lauren Castle, John Purves, John M. Selvick, and Charles Asher with the Coast Guard's Mesquite and Raritan freed it late on 16 April 1974. Part of its cargo of taconite pellets loaded at Escanaba was lightered during the effort. The Coast Guard routinely oversees such operations.
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Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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The photo is stamped April 18, 1974, so that may be the publication date. I don't know how to post an image in this new format discussion thread but the photograph appears to have been taken in calm weather, so must have been taken between periods of high winds.
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Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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Newspaper articles state that two Coast Guard vessels and three commercial tugs tried for three days to free her. She was stuck from Saturday morning, April 13 until Tuesday morning, April 16. It was stated that the vessels were hampered in their attempt to free her by sometimes gale force winds, which finally abated somewhat Monday. Weather charts from the period show a low passing just south, over Milwaukee, Sunday morning, with northeast winds, visibility of one-eighth mile in rain, and pressure dropping to 948 mb!
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Re: US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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Do you have a date for the photo? There were several extratropical cyclones over the Great Lakes during the month of April 1974, with one tied to the April 3-4, 1974 Super Outbreak (tornadoes). On April 22-23, 1974 there was a storm over Lake Michigan that caused shore erosion and lakeshore flooding in the South Grand Haven area. The John Sherwin reported 40-knot winds from the north on Lake Michigan.
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US Coast Guard Assist in Refloating Operation

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I recently purchased a photograph of three tugs and USCG buoy tender assisting in refloating the Charles M. White which had gone aground in Lake Michigan in April of 1974. I found it interesting that the Coast Guard buoy tender, which appears to be the Mesquite - WLB-305, is actually assisting with a line running from its stern to the White. I would have assumed that unless there was a significant danger of the ship breaking up or potential loss of life, the salvage of a grounded vessel would have been left up to civilian towing vessel firms with the USCG being the monitoring agency. Could this situation have developed due to an oncoming storm, or does (or did) the US Coast Guard actively assist in the refloating of grounded vessels?
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