Coast Guard Investigates Barge Sinkings

Thursday, September 13, 2007
The Coast Guard continues to investigate the grounding and sinking of two barges on the Hudson River near the Bear Mountain Bridge in Bear Mountain, N.Y., after the two barges broke free of the Tug Buchanan 12.

The Buchanan 12 was pushing 13 scow barges when two broke free. A scow barge is a flat bottomed, square bilged vessel that typically carries rocks, gravel, dirt, and other similar loose products. The tug's master immediately notified the Coast Guard Sector New York Command Center on Staten Island, N.Y. The Coast Guard issued a broadcast notice to mariners, dispatched an inspector and an investigating officer, and notified the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The tug master reported that the barge B2002 lost most of its cargo of crushed stone after breaking free of the tug. It drifted, took on water and then overturned 1.5 miles down river, and remains partially submerged on the west bank of the Hudson northwest of Iona Island, N.Y. The other barge, C546, remains partially submerged with its entire cargo one-half mile north of the bridge in the vicinity of buoy 33. There is no report of pollution and no reported injuries.

Buchanan Marine dispatched contracted divers from the RandDive and Donjon Marine Companies to determine the condition of the two barges. Once the dive survey is complete, Buchanan will submit a salvage plan to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port to re-float and move the two barges.

The Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers determined that the two submerged barges pose no threat to incoming traffic on the waterways. Buchanan Marine set markers in the water near the submerged vessels to alert passing mariners.

Coast Guard Sector New York personnel, working with the owner of the Buchanan 12, ensured that the remaining 11 scow barges and the tug were safe to finish the voyage to New York Harbor. As a precaution, Sector New York required an additional tug to escort the Buchanan 12 and the 11 barges in case another break away occurred. The Buchanan 12 and the remaining barges transited down the Hudson River with the tug escort and arrived safely at New York Harbor. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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