The German cargo ship that's been at anchor outside Duluth's harbor for nearly a month is being investigated for possibly breaking environmental laws by dumping oily water, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.
The Coast Guard's statement says the alleged discharge appears to have occurred elsewhere, not in Duluth.
Until Thursday, the U.S. had not been specific about the possible environmental infractions being investigated.
With the shipping season winding down, the prospect of the Cornelia spending the winter on Lake Superior is being mentioned.
The Associated Press reports ocean-going ships normally leave Duluth by Dec. 18 and the canal connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario is scheduled to close on Dec. 26.
A spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority told the news service this week that if the investigation of the Cornelia is not resolved, its 19-member crew could be in for "a long winter's nap."
The Coast Guard says the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis accepted the case for investigation on Nov. 9.
It adds that negotiations underway with the ship's owner and operator are aimed at allowing the Cornelia to leave the port "while protecting the integrity of the investigation."
After delivering steel to the Great Lakes, the ship stopped at a CHS terminal in Superior, where it was loaded with grain bound for Tunisia, but was stopped by authorities before leaving, the News Tribune reported
KBJR 6 says the costs to the ship's owner of keeping the Cornelia anchored in Lake Superior have been estimated at $10,000 to $20,000 per day.