Coast Guard, agencies monitor salvage of sunken sailing vessel; C&D Canal remains closed to maritime traffic

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and local and state agencies are monitoring the salvage of a sailing vessel today that sank early Monday morning in the Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal, about two miles west of Chesapeake City, Md.

The waterway, which connects the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay, is closed to all vessel traffic until a time when the sailboat can be removed as a hazard to navigation. All crewmembers aboard the sailing vessel have been rescued.

At this time, there are eight tugs with barges awaiting transit through the C&D Canal – four attempting to transit from the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay and four awaiting transit the opposite direction.

Coast Guard Sector Baltimore was notified at about 3:40 a.m. Monday that a collision had occurred between the tug Schuylkill and the sailing vessel Heron at the west end of the canal. The Coast Guard immediately launched a rescue boatcrew from Station(Small) Stillpond, in Kent County, Md., and began issuing an urgent marine information broadcast, warning mariners of the accident.

Also responding to the accident were the Maryland State Police, Maryland Natural Resource Police and Cecil County Fire and Rescue. All three people aboard the Heron were rescued by a boatcrew from Cecil County Fire and Rescue and were transported to Union Memorial Hospital with reportedly minor injuries. The names of the sailing vessel’s crew are not known at this time.

The Army Corps of Engineers promptly closed the C&D Canal to marine traffic and the Coast Guard began transmitting a Broadcast Notice to Mariners over marine radio, alerting mariners that the waterway was closed.

The owner of the Heron has contracted the salvage of the sailing vessel with a commercial company. There have been no reports of significant damage to the tug Schuylkill. It currently resides at its mooring in Baltimore.

Investigators from Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, with assistance from the Maryland Natural Resource Police, are investigating the cause of the accident, which is not known at this time.

For more information about the C&D Canal and its operation, as well as the current closure due to this accident, contact Ed Voigt at the Army Corps of Engineers at (215) 656-6515.

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