Coast Guard responds to barge breakaway on the Ohio River

Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley LogoPITTSBURGH – The Coast Guard has recovered a barge carrying coal tar light oil with benzene, which broke free from a towing vessel on the Ohio River, April 27, 2011.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley received a report at 4:45 a.m., that the towing vessel, Carl L. Johnson was pushing four barges which broke free from the tow. One barge, which has been recovered, contains coal tar light oil with benzene. The three remaining barges contain steel and coal and have not yet been recovered.

The river current carried the freed barges down the back channel of Neville’s Island under the Fleming Park Bridge, at mile marker 5. Currently, the Fleming Park Bridge is closed to vehicle traffic. There are no waterway closures.

A Unified Area Command has been established and includes the Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety and barge owner, Marathon Petroleum Company.

“The Unified Area Command placed the highest priority on the safe recovery of the tank barge,” said Cmdr. Richard Timme, Incident Commander for the UAC. “We are working together to mitigate any potential hazards to navigation, to the environment and to the community.”

There are no reported injuries or pollution.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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