Response to tug and barge accident on Ohio River continues

The Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Towing Company, the responsible party, continue their response to a tug and barge accident on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, December 28, 2018. The Coast Guard reopened the Ohio River to all vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to McAlpine Lock and Dam. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley/Released)

The Coast Guard continues their response to a tug and barge accident on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Coast Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers and Tennessee Valley Towing Company, the responsible party, are continuing their response to a tug and barge accident on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, Saturday.

The water at the McAlpine Dam fell approximately one foot Friday evening causing two additional barges to sink and one other to shift, making recovery efforts unsafe.

Nine barges are currently lying on the dam just above the falls. Six of the nine barges have sunk.

The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps of Engineers and the responsible party to evaluate the ever-changing situation each day and plans to stage heavy-duty salvage equipment to retrieve the barges one by one.

The Coast Guard opened the Ohio River to vessel traffic from Twelve Mile Island to McAlpine Lock and Dam, but traffic is only permitted during daylight hours and with an assist vessel, which is available pre-stationed at McAlpine Lock and Dam.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley received a report at approximately 8:10 p.m., Tuesday, that the towing vessel Debbie Graham, which was pushing 15 loaded coal barges, made contact with the 2nd Street Bridge on the Ohio River.

The contact caused the vessel’s 15 barges to break free.

Six barges have been recovered.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

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