SAN FRANCISCO – A collaborative unified command has been established, comprised of the U.S. Coast Guard, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, Vortex Marine Construction and Bay Area Rapid Transit District, in response to the sunken 112-foot freight barge Vengeance near the Bay Bridge and has worked with contractors to determine Monday that the barge’s location poses no threat to the Bay Area Rapid Transit District TransBay Tube or salvage operations.
The barge has settled on the sea floor above the subterranean BART tube, which is sheltered by a 25-to-30-foot protective layer of earth consisting of compacted sediment. Regular sonar scans and tube inspections are being conducted to ensure the BART tube is not impacted and that BART remains safe to operate.
Global Diving and Salvage has been hired by the barge owner, Vortex Marine Construction, to conduct underwater assessments and devise a salvage plan. The unified command will review the salvage plan before salvage operations begin to ensure it can be conducted safely and efficiently.
A Coast Guard helicopter crew conducted an overflight Sunday and detected no sheen. Responders remain on scene prepared to deploy boom.
Coast Guard Station San Francisco crews are enforcing a safety zone in the area to ensure the safety of responders. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Francisco have issued a safety marine information broadcast to local mariners.
Shoreline teams have also been deployed throughout the surrounding areas to conduct shoreline assessments to the outlining areas and monitor wildlife. While no impact to the shoreline has been detected, the responding agencies continue to prioritize and prepare for potential impacts to environmentally sensitive sites.
No visibly oiled wildlife has been reported or observed at this time, but crews are monitoring for them. Anyone seeing oiled wildlife should not attempt to capture them but should report the sightings to 1-877-UCD-OWCN.
All agencies are working together to develop a salvage plan, to ensure safety and effectiveness and to mitigate any environmental impacts.