Coast Guard to set safety zone for salvage operations in Columbia River

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Coast Guard is scheduled to establish a safety zone to assist with salvage efforts on the Columbia River beginning Friday morning.

Operations to remove the sunken tug ‘Diane’ will begin Friday after sunrise and is scheduled to take three days to complete, with all work being done during daylight hours.

To mitigate the risks associated with the recovery effort, the Coast Guard will establish a safety zone around the area of the wreck. This will effectively close the waterway between river mile markers 142 and 143.

Coast Guard personnel and small boats will be on scene to monitor the salvage efforts and enforce the daily 12-hour safety zone.

The Coast Guard has reached out to affected industry partners to coordinate this effort. Vessel operators understand the risk posed by the salvage effort and will keep their vessels upriver during this time.

The Bonneville Dam lock is closed at this time to vessel traffic so the Army Corps of Engineers can effect repairs to damaged concrete.

Bonneville Power Administration will be reducing daytime flows from the Bonneville Dam during the three-day process to support safe dive operations. This will help reduce the current so crews can safely remove the tug from the river bottom. This reduction in outflow will also result in lower water levels downstream.

The ‘Diane’ is a 45-foot recreational tug that sank after an engine fire Oct. 31, 2017, near the Bonneville Dam south of Ives Island.

Currently, the vessel is resting 14-feet below the waterline and is considered a hazard to navigation.

The Coast Guard is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage and Diving to conduct safe removal operations for the tug.

“The safety of the salvage crew is paramount and as such, we need to mitigate risks associated with this operation,” said Capt. Jeremy Smith, commander Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “We understand the impact this closure has on the local river users, and we hope to have the waterway back open as soon as possible.”

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