Coast Guard oversees tug Specialist hoist near Tappan Zee Bridge

NEW YORK - Coast Guard assets assist partner agencies while a contracted salvage company lifts the tugboat Specialist with their crane, March 24, 2016, near the Tappan Zee Bridge. On the morning of March 12, 2016, the 84-foot vessel struck a stationary barge and sank in 40 feet of water. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi.)

NEW YORK – Coast Guard assets assist partner agencies while a contracted salvage company lifts the tugboat Specialist with their crane, March 24, 2016. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ali Flockerzi.)

NEW YORK – The Coast Guard monitored the hoist of the tugboat Specialist near the Tappan Zee Bridge today.

The Specialist was part of a three-tug group that was pushing a crane barge south on the Hudson River. The 84-foot long vessel struck a stationary barge near the Tappan Zee Bridge at approximately 5:30 a.m., March 12, 2016 and sank in 40 feet of water within a short period of time.

One crewmember was recovered from the water in the immediate aftermath of the collision but could not be revived. Divers recovered a second crewmember’s body at approximately 11 A.M., March 13, 2016. Divers located the third crewmember on March 14, 2016 but were unable to safely remove him from the Specialist.

“The hours and days of planning that went into this are unfolding on the water right now and everything is moving exactly as planned,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andy Frye, Coast Guard Sector New York. “Westchester County Police Department is in charge of investigation and the salvage company is working in concert with the extraction team but the process is done in bits and pieces.”

The waterways were completely closed off to ensure there was no marine traffic while performing the lift.

“One of the primary concerns is bringing closure to the family but we also want to make sure the environment is safe,” said Cmdr. Bernard Sandy, Coast Guard Sector New York. “The last reason we’re here is to oversee the salvage and make sure everybody works together well and we have a safe operation.”

The Coast Guard will remain on scene, coordinating with local agencies and monitoring the site for any pollution or release of debris from the tug.

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