Taconite freighter takes on water in Lake Superior after underwater collision

The Michipicoten as it arrives to port in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Photo credit: Michael Hull (Supplied)

A freighter carrying taconite was taking on water in Lake Superior near Grand Portage, Minn., after colliding with something underwater Saturday morning. 

The U.S. Coast Guard officials say they received a report around 7 a.m. about a bulk carrier, the 689-foot Michipicoten, taking on water about 35 miles southwest of Isle Royal in Lake Superior after it collided with something underwater. 

Pumps onboard the freighter were used to remove some of the water spilling in. The U.S. Coast Guard said there are currently no signs of spillage of taconite due to the collision.  

Half of the 22-person crew was removed from the freighter for safety, according to officials. 

The Michipicoten near Isle Royale. Photo credit: Jeff Leech (Supplied)

Another bulk carrier, the Edwin H. Gott, along with U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol and National Park Services vessels are currently alongside the Michipicoten as it heads to a nearby port for inspection and repairs, authorities said. 

The cause of the collision and flooding will be investigated once "the situation is stabilized," the U.S. Coast Guard said. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, taconite is a low-grade iron ore which is mined in the Mesabi Iron Range in northern Minnesota, and is transported to steel mills around the Great Lakes region.