Ship hits docks and portion of Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge

The Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge is up after an incident Saturday, July 16, 2017. (WLUK/Jessie Basinski)


Thomas Wynne, the Vice President and General Counsel for Interlake Steamship Company, released a statement late Sunday night.

“Earlier today, while departing Green Bay, the M.V. Kaye E. Barker came in contact with the protective fendering around the Fox River’s Main Street bridge and with a small pleasure boat moored on a floating dock immediately south of the bridge. The pleasure boat, which was not occupied, sustained damage. Fortunately there were no injuries, nor was there any damage to the M.V. Kaye E. Barker. We are sorry for this unfortunate incident and the damage that occurred. Interlake is cooperating with the United States Coast Guard as it conducts its investigation.”

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A cargo ship crashes into multiple locations in downtown Green Bay.

The ship is called the Kaye E. Barker. The Barker is described as cargo ship built in 1952 and carries stone iron ore, or coal according to Interlake Steamship Company which owns the ship.

The incident happened around 3:30 Sunday afternoon as the ship was moving north to the Bay of Green Bay. After crashing into the dock, the ship then crushed and sank a 16-foot-boat tied up in the area.

Jason Murphy witnessed the crash and said, "we heard a loud crunching noise and noticed people running towards the deck."

Marshell Adams described the sound to "crushing a can" like "metal just twisting."

That crunching sound was the Barker crushing a small boat tied to the City Deck docks.

Adam said, "after that he moved his bow out away from the dock and proceeded to go in the main bridge."

Murphy added, "we thought the action was done and we heard another noise and we heard it hit the bridge too."

Green Bay police Captain Kevin Warych says the actions from the captain of the freighter is still a mystery.

"The freighter left town when the crash occurred. Coast guard were on scene when crash occurred," Capt. Warych said.

Warych added that coast guard officials were able to to make contact with the cargo ship on a marine radio to get the captain to stop, apparently unaware of what he left in his wake.

Officials say when the freighter hit the dock, water pushed underneath it capsizing a boat and damaging parts of the deck that can't be seen from the City Deck view.

"If you're on the river looking back in you'll see a lot of damage and rub marks on the city deck," Warych said.

Tom Wynne, the vice present and general council of Interlake Steam Ship company said he's still trying to get more details, but the Barker encountered swift currents while on the river and it came up against a floating dock and a small fishing boat.

Wynne said it hit the protective fender around the bridge and the catwalk. Wynee doesn't think the actual structure of the bridge was damaged.

The ship is in a slip west of the Fox River and north of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge and Wynne says the Coast Guard will investigate the incident.

The Ray Nitschke bridge reopened around 6:40 Sunday night.

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