CityDeck docks closed for ship damage investigation

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A ship hit the docks at the CityDeck on Sunday afternoon and damaged the Ray Nitschke Memorial Main Street Bridge in Green Bay.

According to witnesses, the Kaye E. Barker, a bulk carrier, struck the CityDeck, then a dock, before hitting the drawbridge.

The U.S. Coast Guard tells Action 2 News the boat had dropped off a load of coal and was backing up when incident occurred. The vessel went off course and appeared to be slightly misaligned or pushed off course, according to investigators.

"This big boat was coming and and they had the drawbridge open. He came by, and it started to slip toward CityDeck docks, and we're like you know, it's getting awful close. Next thing I know it's getting really close and went by my boat by about a foot. We exited my boat, got up on the dock, turned around and watched it hit this boat behind me which is submerged now and it's destroyed," said witness Eric Moberg.

One small motor boat was caught up between the dock and ship. It capsized. No one was on board the small motor boat, and no one was hurt in the incident.

The Coast Guard tells us a maintenance walkway was the only part of the bridge to be damaged.

Green Bay police say the ship left red paint transfer on a CityDeck railing, then its thrusters stirred up the water under the floating dock, pushing the dock up 3-4 feet.

Green Bay Police say no one was hurt thanks to people's awareness.

"This is a pretty big event here on CityDeck, and for a freighter of that size to crash into CityDeck and for people to be situationally aware and escape that area, escape any injuries, and thankfully, no one's injured in this incident," said Capt. Kevin Warych, Green Bay Police Dept.

The CityDeck docks are closed indefinitely. Over the next few days, investigators will pull the docks out and tow them to Leicht Park for inspection out of the water.

Police and the U.S Coast Guard are investigating the incident. The Coast Guard says investigators have spoken to all people involved in the incident, including the crew on the ship, bridge operators and the owner of the small boat that was damaged.

The Coast Guard said the investigation would take "some time." They are not aware of mechanical failure on the ship.

The Main St. Bridge was shut down for three hours while it was inspected. It reopened around 6:45 Sunday night.

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