Sunken barge clean up and removal efforts completed near Point Conception, CA

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Coast Guard has completed clean up and removal efforts of a barge that sank near Point Conception State Marine Reserve, on June 8, 2014.

Around 12:15 p.m. on the 8th, the Coast Guard received a distress call from the tugboat Calvin, reporting that the 260-foot barge Nash was sinking. The barge had a cargo of 3,900 metric tons of magnesium chloride, a non-hazardous derivative of sea water. The barge sank stern first leaving the bow extended above the water. During the sinking, air spaces in the aft cargo tanks were crushed and the hull breached. The barge is resting approximately 1/2 mile south of the oil and gas pipelines extending from the Freeport-McMorRan Hermosa Platform to the shore near Point Conception. Tugs have maintained watch over the wreckage to ensure it did not shift or move during salvage efforts.

The cargo of Magnesium Chloride was largely released during the initial sinking event with no projected or observed environmental impact.

A Unified Command Post was established with representatives from the Coast Guard, California’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Global Diving & Salvage to protect marine life and environmental concerns and ensure the safety of salvage operations. The Coast Guard worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate a deep ocean disposal location offshore where the barge could be scuttled safely with minimal impact to the environment.

The barge was successfully scuttled offshore June 17.

The owner of the barge, Seattle-based Salmon Bay Barge Line, Inc., contracted with Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. to provide a team of marine salvors to restore sufficient buoyancy to the badly damaged hull to allow it to be towed offshore and away from the sensitive areas.

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