Sunken Rhode Island barge surfaced as salvage efforts near completion

Coast Guard District 1 NewsBOSTON – The U.S. Coast Guard, in coordination with Donjon Marine, Clean Harbors and partner agencies oversaw the surfacing a barge that sank Oct. 31, 2011, directly under the Newport/Pell Bridge in Newport, R.I., Monday.

The construction barge is owned by Abhe & Svoboda, Inc. and was being used as part of a major painting operation on the Newport/Pell Bridge.

After several weeks of coordination with port and industry partners, salvage crews hoisted the sunken barge to make it easily accessible for hazardous materials recovery. Crews then rigged fuel removal lines and have recovered approximately 1,900 gallons of diesel.

“The fuel recovery is going well,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Mason Pierce, who is helping with the removal. “Efforts have been largely succesful, even with unfavorable weather conditions.”

The combined total capacity of the tanks and equipment is estimated at 3,900 gallons of diesel fuel. Approximately 2,400 gallons were reportedly aboard originally.

“We’re the lead agency in these sorts of scenarios, but we could never operate so efficiently alone,” said Lt. Joe Klinker, 1st Coast Guard District public affairs officer. “And in a maritime community like Newport, where recreation and commerce depend on it, we wanted to move quickly to ensure the waterways are safe, efficient, and navigable.”

The unified command is planning to remove the barge this week pending weather and tidal conditions.

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