Big bucks sought for damages to laker

Following a conversation this morning with Brent Reichert, attorney for American Steamship Co., I learned that the company could seek up to about $5 million in damages for the partial sinking of the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. at a Superior dock two winters ago.

You may recall the well-publicized mishap. The McCarthy arrived at Hallett Dock No. 8 in Superior on Jan. 14, 2008, with the 1,000-footer’s crew planning to tie up for the season. But while they were maneuvering the laker into place, it struck a piece of submerged concrete and punctured its hull. Water poured into the ship, flooding its engine room and causing the vessel to come to rest in about 20 feet of water.

As we reported last week, American Steamship has filed suit against both Hallett Dock Co. and Fraser Shipyards, also of Superior, claiming that their negligence led to the accident. But we had no information at the time about how much money the carrier was seeking.

Wonder no more.

Reichert said it cost about $4.3 million to repair the McCarthy. But repairs also kept the vessel from getting out of the gates quickly at the start of the next shipping season, and Reichert calculates the laker lost $500,000 to $600,000 in revenue as a result.

Tack on another $135,000 spent to contain and clean up prospective pollutants from the wounded ship, and the total bill could run from about $4.9 million to $5 million.


2 thoughts on “Big bucks sought for damages to laker

  1. Hang on there. Why doesn’t the Steamship Co. take some responsibility? If you are going to back your car into some place to park and your car strikes a sign pole or some other impingement -isn’t it your fault you didn’t check out the area to verify it’s dimensions and suitability first?
    I understand the expense but why wouldn’t their insurance cover it?

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