Coast Guard investigators from Marine Safety Office (MSO) St. Louis are investigating the breakaway of over 76 barges that happened Sunday evening in the Port of St. Louis. No injuries or pollution were reported in conjunction with the accident. The breakaway forced the closure of the river by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, St. Louis, from 11:03 p.m. Sunday, to 6:30 a.m. Monday. The closure affected a 10-mile stretch of the river beginning at the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, extending south to mile marker 158, near Kimmswick, Mo. All of the barges were corralled by about 3:00 a.m.
The breakaway was reported to the Coast Guard at about 10:30 p.m. Sunday, by the towing vessel Richard C. Young. The breakaway began at the No. 2 Jefferson Barracks fleeting area at mile marker 167.4 on the Upper Mississippi River
, just south of the Jefferson Barracks Bridge. As barges from that fleeting area drifted downriver, they impacted barges in the No. 3 fleeting area. Drifting barges then impacted fleeted barges in the Lewis and Clark No. 4 and No. 4-B fleeting areas. No barges carrying oil or hazardous materials were involved in the breakaway. Nine barges were reported damaged in the breakaway. Some damage resulted in the flooding of barges, but no barges sank as a result of damages sustained in the breakaway.
Efforts to corral the errant barges at one point involved 15 towing vessels including
the Kansas City, Floyd H. Blaske, Normania, Marvin E. Norman, Richard C. Young as well as vessels from the ARTCO fleet.
The cause of the breakaway is under investigation. - (Reuters)