DOUGLAS, MI (WHTC) - What was to be a slow return by the SS Keewatin to its port of origin in Georgian Bay dragged even further this morning when an unanticipated amount of silt near its docking in Kalamazoo Lake kept the vintage 350-foot steamship from leaving its mooring as scheduled. The boat had sat there for 45 years since RJ Peterson saved it from the scrap heap in 1967. The marina owner from Douglas sold the craft to Canadian interests last fall, who will renovate the vessel before turning it into a museum in Port McNicoll, Ontario. Part of the seven-figure price tag for the purchase went for needed dredging in order to get the Keewatin into open waters. A video link to the events in Kalamazoo Lake is available through the Saugatuck/Douglas Convention Bureau (http://www.saugatuck.com/Keewatin_skycam.asp).
Meanwhile, police are investigating a report of somebody trying to steal items off the Keewatin before it left port. A caller said he had seen up to four people inside the ship Tuesday night, apparently to steal some artifacts along with several life jackets. A search of the ship by the Allegan County K-9 unit turned up no suspects.