Cargo ship that sank 120 years ago in Lake Superior has been found

(ABC 6 News) – The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) announced that a cargo ship that sank in Lake Superior 120 years ago has been found.

Barge 129, a 292-foot Whaleback vessel, was found in Lake Superior, 35 miles off Vermilion Point in 650 feet of water according to GLSHS.

GLSHS says Barge 129 was found along with 8 other wrecks in 2021 using Marine sonar technology.

Barge 129 sank on October 13, 1902 when it ran into a strong storm. Barge 129 was in tow of the steamer, Maunaloa, when the storm whipped up powerful waves and wind which snapped the towline connecting the two ships.

Maunaloa / Courtesy: The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society

The crew of the Maunaloa tried to reconnect the towline, but the wind and waves slammed the two ships together causing Maunaloa’s port side anchor to rip into the side of Barge 129.

According to GLSHS, as Barge 129 began to sink, the crew struggled to launch their lifeboat. The crew of the Maunaloa eventually helped the Barge 129 crew onto their ship as the Whaleback dove to the bottom of Lake Superior.

GLSHS Director of Marine Operations Darryl Ertel Jr., said the ship is “totally destroyed on the bottom. It’s nowhere near intact. It’s at least 4 to 5 big pieces and thousands of little pieces. It’s just disintegrated.”

Bruce Lynn, GLSHS executive director, said it was an incredible moment seeing the distinctive bow of the ship with a part of the towline still in place.