ATB needs escort after locking-pin problem near Columbia River

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ASTORIA, Ore.) — The Coast Guard is keeping a watchful eye on the ATB Corpus Christi and the barge Petrochem Supplier as the vessels wait out severe weather near the coast of Astoria, Saturday.

The Coast Guard was notified by the crew of the Corpus Christi, Friday, that the vessel was experiencing problems with the mechanical locking pins that connect the tug to their barge. The vessel was transiting the Oregon coast en route from Anacortes, Wash., to Long Beach, Calif.

The Corpus Christi is mechanically connected to the barge Petrochem Supplier, which is carrying a cargo of approximately 150,000 barrels of Vacuum Gas Oil (VGO.)

The Coast Guard is requiring the vessel to maintain station 20 miles from the Oregon coast until conditions permit safe transit on the Columbia River Bar.

The vessel owners have coordinated with Washington State Department of Ecology to have the 7200 hp Tug Hunter rendezvous with the Corpus Christi and remain on scene to escort the vessel across the bar. At no time was there a loss of propulsion. Neither the Corpus Christi or the Petrochem Supplier were ever in danger and there has been no pollution.

Even if the locking pins were to fail completely, the Corpus Christi is fully capable of taking the barge in tow using an emergency tow cable. Having a second tug on scene allows the Corpus Christi to retain positive control of the barge.

By Professional Mariner Staff