Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Port Arthur
is responding to a marine casualty on the Sabine-Neches waterway involving a barge under tow, which became unstable and dumped its cargo of rock into the water.
The Coast Guard received a notice that the towing vessel Kacie Luhr, pushing four rock barges, was taking on water and one of the rock barges had dumped about 1,650 tons of rock into the navigation channel. Coast Guard smallboats transported all six crewmembers from the towing vessel safely to a nearby tug. The Kacie Luhr and two of its barges remain partially in the waterway.
Coast Guard investigators conducted an initial survey of the towing vessel and the two damaged barges, while the two rock barges that were completely unaffected by the incident were disconnected from the tow. The local Army Corps of Engineers Office
has aided and successfully located the channel blockage with a sonar scan. In addition, local salvage team T&T Marine is currently on scene getting ready to safely remove the damaged vessels.
A broadcast notice to mariners was issued yesterday and a safety zone is in effect to keep all vessel traffic a safe distance from the incident.
The waterway is currently closed to deep-draft traffic but open to most towing vessels and small boats.