The Coast Guard Captain of the Port for Seattle has ordered the immediate closure, until further notice, of the Hylebos Waterway in Tacoma, Wash., to all large, oceangoing vessels and restrictions through this waterway for tug, barge and all other boating traffic.
The Coast Guard was notified that an abandoned and partially sunken barge named BMC-33 has drifted about 80 feet from shore into the 200 foot wide Hylebos Waterway channel. The barge severely narrows the channel and creates a collision hazard to vessel traffic.
The temporary restricted area, known as a safety zone, is from the East 11th Street Bridge to the Hylebos Boat Haven/Lower Turning Basin.
All large, oceangoing vessels 300 gross tons or greater are restricted from transiting through this safety zone. Tugs towing barges and other smaller craft are advised to proceed through this area with extreme caution and at a slow speed.
Divers have examined the wreck and reported that about 10 to 20 cubic yards of gravel remain on the barge and there appears to be no oil or hazardous materials that could be released and cause pollution.
Coast Guard Sector Seattle and the Army Corps of Engineers are working to remove the sunken barge and return the Hylebos Waterway to normal vessel traffic flow.