Cement barge damages railroad bridge at St. Joseph, Mich.

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ST. JOSEPH, Mich.) — Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan is currently investigating an integrated tug and barge allision with a CSX railroad bridge that occurred in the afternoon today on the St. Joseph River in Michigan, causing an unspecified amount of damage to the bridge. 

The cement barge, Innovation, pushed by the tug Samuel De Champlain apparently allided with the CSX railroad swing bridge en-route the Lafarge cement dock in St. Joseph, Mich. Operated by Andrie Inc., the integrated tug and barge is 583 feet in length and is designed to carry dry cement.

The Coast Guard is currently conducting the initial stages of a marine casualty investigation along with members of CSX Railroad and officials from the state of Michigan.  Mandatory drug and alcohol testing for the master of the tug is being administered in accordance with federal law.

The Captain of the Port for Sector Lake Michigan is located in Milwaukee, Wis. and is responsible for the proper investigation of all marine casualties throughout the ports of Lake Michigan. 

The primary purpose of a marine casualty investigation is to ascertain the cause(s) of the accident to determine if remedial measures should be taken and whether any violation of federal law or regulation has occurred. 

Information garnered from these investigations play a major role in changing or developing new laws and regulations as well as implementing new technologies to help prevent future casualties.

For more information contact the Sector Lake Michigan Public Affairs Officer at (414) 238-4526.

By Professional Mariner Staff