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Published: Saturday, 8/9/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Steel freighter impounded at Port of Toledo


A freighter delivering steel to the Port of Toledo has been impounded by the U.S. Marshals Service because of an unpaid fuel bill, a marshals service representative said.

It’s “still up in the air” whether the current or previous owner of the M.V. Fritz, registered in Liberia, owes the unpaid $900,000 in fuel bills.

“That will have to be worked out in court,” said Steve Miller, a supervisory deputy for the marshals service in Toledo. But until legal arrangements are made to release the vessel, he said, it will remain “arrested” in Toledo.

Joe Cappel, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s director of cargo development, said the matter does not affect the port authority or Midwest Terminals of Toledo International — the stevedore that operates the port-owned international cargo docks on the Maumee River — because Midwest’s services are paid for by the steel shipper, not the ship operator.

“In 10 years, this is the first time I can recall something like this” happening to a ship at Toledo’s port, Mr. Cappel said, noting that most of the freighters that call on Toledo are owned by large fleets, while the Fritz is an independent, or “tramp,” vessel.

The Toledo impoundment is not the Fritz’s first trouble during its current Great Lakes voyage. Late last month, it was delayed in Oshawa, Ont., when Transport Canada placed a “detention order” on it, according to the Oshawa Express, a local newspaper. The order applied to the ship’s physical condition, and was rescinded July 23, which was long enough for the Fritz to travel to Hamilton, Ont., for repairs, the newspaper reported.

While in Oshawa, the ship’s crew protested not having been paid and being short on food and water, but the ship’s acquisition by a new management company appeared to have resolved those issues, according to the newspaper. Oshawa is a suburban city east of Toronto on Lake Ontario.

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