Operations Continue on Asphalt Barge that Leaked in James River

Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The Coast Guard continues to monitor a barge that ran aground and spilled approximately 42,000 to 63,000 gallons of liquid asphalt, five miles south of Richmond, Va., at 4:30 a.m. Monday. The Piney Point was being pushed up river, toward Richmond, by the tug Barbary Coast when it ran aground in the vicinity of Meade Landing State Park. The barge was transporting approximately 930,000 gallons of asphalt when it ran aground. The other seven tanks on board were reportedly not damaged, and workers from the scene report the barge is not leaking. Divers assessed damage to the hull today, and a plan is being developed for patching the hole. Additional equipment will also arrive this morning to further stabilize the barge and prepare for the removal of the remaining cargo, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday. The James River is open to single-barge and recreational traffic only from mile marker 156 to 158. Single-barge traffic must contact the Coast Guard command center at Sector Hampton Roads before transiting the area. The Coast Guard Cutter Chock, homeported in Portsmouth, Va., is patrolling the two-mile safety zone around the barge. Recreational traffic must get permission from the crew of the Chock before transiting the area. The response to this incident is a unified effort, with resources on scene from federal, state and local agencies, as well as representatives from both the barge and tug owners. The barge Piney Point is owned by Vane Line Bunkering, of Baltimore; the tug Barbary Coast is owned by Dann Towing, of Chesapeake City, Md. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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