Unified command begins removal of barge breakaways on Ohio River

A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners dewaters a partially submerged barge at Emsworth Lock and Dam near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 21, 2018. Preliminary damage assessments indicate there is no significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental concerns from pollution. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland.

A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners dewaters a partially submerged barge at Emsworth Lock and Dam near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 21, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland.

PITTSBURGH – A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners is beginning the removal of barges involved in the breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Moundsville, West Virginia, Sunday.

Salvage of sunken barges has begun at Emsworth Lock and Dam. Two barges have been successfully cleared from above the dam.

Preliminary damage assessments indicate there is no significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental concerns from pollution. A more thorough damage assessment will be completed after all barges are removed from the Emsworth Lock and Dam’s main and back channel dams.

The unified command of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the navigation industry received support from Monongalia County Homeland Security Emergency Management and the Morgantown Police and Fire departments.

Monongalia County provided a drone to which produced a birds-eye view of icepacks on the rivers. Morgantown Police and Fire departments provided side-scan sonar survey equipment to help locate barges believed to be submerged in the upper or lower pools at Emsworth.

The unified command is continuing to maintain a forward operations base at Bellaire Harbor Service to facilitate salvage operations.

Transit at mile marker 95.7 near Bellaire, West Virginia is continuing on a case by case basis.

Two safety zones, full waterway closures, have been established from mile marker 95 to mile marker 105 and mile marker 2 to mile marker 20 on the Ohio River due to risk of channel obstructions.

The public and industry personnel are urged to ensure barges and vessels are strongly secured due to heavy ice flow on the Ohio and Allegheny River.

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