Enbridge Energy sues shipping firm in Mich. spill
Lansing – A Canadian energy company is the latest to sue the shipping company whose tugboat anchor allegedly dented an aging oil and gas pipeline in Michigan earlier this year.
Enbridge Energy’s lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for Michigan’s Western District is the third against VanEnkevort Tug and Barge Inc., MLive reported. American Transmission Company, which owns two power cables that were severed during the incident, also filed suit against VanEnkevort on Tuesday.
Enbridge is seeking to recover costs for repairs and assessments made after the purported anchor strike April 1 beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The two lawsuits allege VanEnkevort acted negligently and failed to be cautious.
A VanEnkevort spokesperson declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The shipping company was first named in April when state officials filed a lawsuit in Ingham County Circuit Court for alleged violations of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
Twin oil pipelines were dented during the anchor strike and about 600 gallons (2,270 liters) of mineral oil insulation fluid leaked from two electric cables. Crews capped and sealed the leaking cables in late April.
The Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigated the incident. The state attorney general said a tugboat anchor was the cause.
There was only an advisory about dropping or dragging an anchor in the straits before the April incident. Gov. Rick Snyder signed an emergency rule the following month that banned anchor usage in a two-mile portion of the straits.