Efforts Continue to Offload Hazardous Material from Damaged Barge

PADUCAH, Ky – Efforts continue today to remove 164,285 gallons of Cumeme from a damaged barge in the vicinity of Lock and Dam 52, near Brookport, IL. It is estimated that approximately 10,300 gallons of Cumene have been released from a damaged cargo tank. Kirby Inland Marine Representatives report that a large portion of the spilled product remains in the barge void and that an undetermined amount has entered the water. The barge is loaded with a total of 960,000 gallons of Cumene stored in six separate cargo tanks.

Last night plans were in place for an empty tank barge to arrive on scene so that lightering operations could begin. While attempting to couple the empty barge with the damaged barge, the towboat, Motor Vessel (M/V) Louie Leone, sustained damaged after striking the lock wall at Lock and Dam 52. Lightering operations were delayed until damage on the M/V Louie Leone could be determined and the vessel stabilized. Divers are expected to arrive today to conduct assessment of the towboat and perform temporary repairs.

The damaged barge Kirby 31300 refloated due to a rise in the river level and has been relocated approximately ½ mile down stream. Lightering operations are expected to begin today once the M/V Louie Leone is safely transported from the scene. Severe weather is forecast across the area today and is expected to delay the lightering operation.

After extensive chemical related atmosphere testing by the Coast Guard, Kentucky and Illinois Civil Support Teams, and Kirby Inland Marine, the Ohio River was reopened 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to vessel traffic.

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