The incident occurred while the vessel was leaving Duluth fully laden with 68,000-tonne coal cargo. It failed to get around the Aerial Lift Bridge. According to eyewitnesses, the vessel was trying to avoid a smaller boat. There were no reports of injuries or pollution.
Later the same day, at about 7:20 pm local time, MV Paul R. Tregurtha was freed with the assistance of tugboats and moved to the Duluth Seaway Port Terminal where it was inspected by the USCG.
The 301-metre Paul R. Tregurtha (MO number 7729057 and MMSI 366904940) was built in 1981. The longest ship currently in operation on the Great Lakes has a deadweight of 69,172 DWT. Operator of the vessel is the Interlake Steamship Company (Ohio).