Tom Kowalczk, CLUE


 The U.S. Coast Guard is moving ahead – very, very carefully, it says – with  plans to recover hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel from a sunken barge that's been sitting at the bottom of Lake Erie for more than 70 years.

The barge is believed to be the Argo, which sank in the 1930s and was reportedly carrying some 200,000 gallons of petroleum products, including crude oil. 

For years, no one was sure exactly where the Argo went down, until shipwreck hunters discovered it this summer.

Tom Kowalczk

The Coast Guard has been responding to a leaky shipwreck on the bottom of western Lake Erie.

The shipwreck is believed to be the Argo. It’s a tank barge that sank in 1937 and it’s considered the biggest pollution threat from a shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Pinhole-sized leak plugged on sunken barge in Lake Erie

Nov 7, 2015
Tom Kowalczk

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The U.S. Coast Guard says divers in Lake Erie have found and plugged a pinhole-sized leak on a sunken barge near where an oil-based substance has been spotted in recent weeks.

The Coast Guard says there appeared to be a colorless liquid coming from the tiny leak.

Crews have been monitoring the site near the U.S.-Canadian border since discovering a sheen on the surface late last month.

The substance is believed to be coming from the barge that sank in 1937 and is on a federal registry of the most serious pollution threats to U.S. waters.

Tom Kowalczk

The Coast Guard says it has not found any active oil leaks from a 78-year-old shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Erie. The wreck site is 12 miles northeast of Sandusky.

The tank barge is believed to be the Argo. Records show it was carrying about 100,000 gallons of crude oil when it sank. No one knows what's still on board, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration considers the Argo to be the biggest pollution threat from a shipwreck in the Great Lakes.

Tom Kowalczk

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - A dive team is searching for the source of what appears to be an oil-based substance leaking from a barge that sank in Lake Erie during the 1930s.

  The recently discovered barge is one of nearly 90 shipwrecks on a federal registry created two years ago to identify the most serious pollution threats to U.S. waters.

  Most of those wrecks are along the Atlantic seaboard and were sunk by German submarines during World War II.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

The Coast Guard is investigating a leak from a 78-year-old tank barge in western Lake Erie that's believed to be the Argo.

It sank in a storm in 1937.

Tom Kowalczk, CLUE

Update - Monday, October 26, 10:10 a.m.:

The Coast Guard is sending out a crew from Station Marblehead in Ohio along with members of the Atlantic Strike Team from New Jersey to the wreck site this morning. They'll start doing air monitoring at the site. 

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher M. Yaw says the team will work to get a "good, clean sample" of the unknown substance that appears to be leaking from the barge so they can identify it.

Historical Association of South Haven

The Titanic and the Lusitania. Those ships are known around the world because of the horrific loss of life when they sank in the Atlantic.

But do we know the name Eastland?

It was 100 years ago this week when the steamer Eastland capsized at its dock in the Chicago River. 844 passengers died in that disaster and the majority of the dead were under the age of 25.

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

The 34th Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival will take place this Saturday at Washtenaw Community College.

Veteran shipwreck hunter David Trotter will be speaking at the event about the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell in November 1966, and his discovery of the boat in 1979. He calls Trotter one of the state's major shipwrecks.

Archeologists studying a wooden beam pulled from northern Lake Michigan this summer can't say whether it is a piece of the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes or a post from an old fishing net. The group managing the project is close to issuing a report to the state archeologist, but it won’t reach any firm conclusion.

Read on to discover the evidence that points to each conclusion.

user Brucegirl / wikimedia commons

It's been a mystery that has haunted Lake Huron since the Civil War: What happened to the Keystone State?

The wooden steamer set out from Detroit, bound for Milwaukee, around November 9th, 1861.

She never made it — and no one knew the Keystone State had run into trouble until wreckage washed up on the shore near Lexington.

But thanks to David Trotter, the Keystone State has been found — in nearly 175 feet of water.

Listen to the full interview above. 


Organizers are still raising money for what's expected to be an almost $13 million project and they're in the process of putting the final touches on all the exhibits at the museum.

Once the The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio opens you'll be able to learn about how booze was transported across the waterways from Canada into the United States during Prohibition.  Along with lots of other cool things about the Great Lakes.

Here's what the museum says on its website:

Library of Congress

Last month, Jerry Eliason, Kraig Smith and Ken Merryman discovered the Henry B. Smith, a freighter that sank in a storm in November of 1913. There were no survivors. The wreck was found 30 miles north of Marquette.

According to a story by the Duluth News Tribune, the photos and video that the group brought back in May didn't include any shots of the ship's name, so they couldn't confirm that it was the Smith:

In addition to footage of the ship's name -- the group also caught a glimpse of the name on the Smith's bow -- the return trip revealed more details of how the ship is sitting on the lake bottom.

It's like a "V," Eliason said -- broken in the middle with the largely intact bow and stern sections rising up from the lake bed amid a spilled cargo of iron ore. 

Getting that video footage was challenging because of a still-standing mast and guide wires on the bow section, which did snag the camera for a while last week before the group was able to work it free. 

In northern Lake Michigan today explorers are stepping up their effort to find a ship that sank in 1679.

French and American archeologists are on the Lake looking for a ship sailed by the French explorer Robert de La Salle, the Griffin.

So far, the top marine archeologist from France says he thinks they are close to the hull of a ship in northern Lake Michigan. Michel L’Hour says the beam of wood now exposed is likely a bowsprit.

The team excavating the site says the beam is at least 20 feet long and the construction details are typical of colonial ships.


ON LAKE MICHIGAN NEAR POVERTY ISLAND, Mich. (AP) - In a remote part of northern Lake Michigan, divers have started looking at an underwater pit, hoping to find the resting place of the Griffin, a ship commanded by the 17th century French explorer La Salle.