Crowley Barge successfully refloated from Sandbar in Kanektok River

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, Crowley and Alaska Department of Conservation have successfully coordinated the removal of Crowley barge 160-1 grounded on a sand bar in the Kanektok River near the Quinhagak Village south of Bethel on the eastern shore of the Bering Sea at 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The response crews were able to remove the barge at high tide with the assistance of the Crowley tug Sesok. There was no release of fuel.

The barge 160-1 grounded on a sand bar in the Kanektok River while navigating shallow water enroute to making a fuel delivery to the Quinhagak Village on Sept. 14. At the time of the grounding the barge had a cargo of 71,000 gallons of gasoline and 71,000 of jet fuel on board.

“The unified command came together in a spirit of cooperation to help ensure the safe removal of the barge,” said Cmdr. Steven Pearson, federal on-scene coordinator. “This spirit of cooperation really showed itself in the hospitality and understanding of the local community. Without their help this process would have been infinitely more difficult.”

“Navigating shallow rivers to deliver fuel to remote villages in Western Alaska presents considerable challenges for our vessel crews,” said Stephen Wilson, Crowley’s incident commander coordinating the response to the grounding. “I appreciate the cooperation of the Coast Guard, Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation and Village of Quinhagak in assisting Crowley with our response. We are very pleased the barge refloated without any injury or release of product. ”

Now free, the barge proceeded to the Quinhagak Village to discharge its cargo of gasoline, with the jet fuel having been removed earlier as part of the process to remove the barge from the sandbar. After the cargo has been delivered, the tug and barge will travel to Bethel so the barge can be inspected before it returns to regular fuel delivery service.

The unified command was implemented as an effort to bring agencies of singular expertise together to quickly, safely and efficiently remedy the situation.

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