The barge Kivalina was safely removed from a beach near Red Dog port late
last night and is now being towed to a buoy offshore where divers will inspect it for damage. The 22,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board the barge will be offloaded once it is secured to the buoy and stabilized.
“We’re extremely pleased with the results of last night’s activities to remove and stabilize the barge,” said Capt. Ron Morris, U.S. Coast Guard
. “The team conducting the salvage did an excellent job and I commend them. It’s definitely a relief to have the barge away from the shore.”
Officials at Foss Maritime
, owners of the barge, stated that its tug, Stacey Foss, began towing the barge to the buoy at approximately 10:45 this morning. The buoy lies approximately one mile offshore. It is used frequently to moor barges. The barge will remain at that location until inspections are completed and Foss prepares a repair and voyage plan, which must be approved by the Coast Guard.
While the barge has been stabilized, it did sustain some damage, the extent of which will be fully determined after the divers conduct their inspection. However, the Coast Guard confirms that no diesel has been released. Air is being pumped into compartments near the barge’s stern, which were flooded following last Tuesday’s incident.
“It appears that several compartments at the rear of the barge were damaged, and this caused some flooding,” said Don McElroy, Foss Vice President, Marine Transportation. “These flooded compartments grounded the stern of the barge. However, the bow remained afloat.”
He said the pumping of air into the flooded compartments has stabilized the barge so that it can be towed to the buoy and safely moored for an extended period of time.
According to the weather forecasts, conditions at the site are favorable, with calm seas and southerly winds at 10 to 15 knots.