Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers respond to runaway barge on Columbia River

13th Coast Guard District NewsASTORIA, Ore. — The Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers are responding to stabilize a runaway barge on the Columbia River.

The 80- to 100-foot derelict barge broke away from its mooring 3 miles downriver from the Dalles Dam at approximately 9:12 a.m., Sunday, and drifted about 5 miles before grounding near mile marker 184 at 3 p.m. The barge was recently inspected and was found to be free of any hazardous materials by Coast Guard personnel. It presents no pollution threat, but does pose a potential threat to safe navigation on the Columbia River.

Wasco County Sherriff’s Department reported the runaway barge to Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Astoria and monitored the vessel while Coast Guard personnel were dispatched to the scene. At 2 p.m., Sherriff’s Department personnel reported the barge was aground but at risk of floating back into the river.

The barge broke free again at 8:45 p.m., Sunday, before grounding approximately 12 miles east of the Hood River Bridge near Lyle, Wash. Contractors arrived with a tug to secure the barge at 11:32 p.m. Army Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard officials will assess the barge’s condition Monday morning before determining a safe location to secure it away from the navigational channel.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River has instituted a Safety Zone around the barge and directs all vessels transiting within a mile of the barge’s location to contact the Coast Guard for the latest safety information.

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