Coast Guard clears Hylebos waterway

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard Captain of the Port in Seattle cleared the Hylebos waterway to all marine traffic on Friday, Dec. 19th, 2008.

This lifts the safety zone that had been set around a submerged barge, restricting commercial vessels from transiting the waterway.

On Dec. 5th, the Coast Guard was notified of an abandoned and partially sunken barge, named BMC-33, which had drifted about 80 feet from shore into the 200 foot wide Hylebos waterway in Tacoma, Wash. The barge, which eventually broke into two sections, severely narrowed the channel and created a hazard to navigation to commercial deep draft vessel traffic.

After a collaborative ten day effort, the bow section of the barge was salvaged Wednesday evening; however, the safety zone that restricted commercial deep draft vessel traffic was not lifted until the stern section of the barge was successfully salvaged on Thursday evening. The channel was verified to be clear of any remaining debris by both a bottom and side scan survey conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“Thanks to the aggressive efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers, Global Diving and Salvage Company, the Puget Sound Pilot’s Association and all the stakeholders that depend on the safe navigation of the Hylebos waterway, we were able to work together as a unified team to ensure that this operation was carried out safely and effectively” said Capt. Suzanne Englebert, Coast Guard Captain of the Port.

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