Coast Guard investigates barge sinkings

(BEAR MOUNTAIN, NY — September 14, 2007) The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the grounding and sinking of two barges on the Hudson River near the Bear Mountain Bridge in Bear Mountain, N.Y., after the two barges broke free of the tug Buchanan 12 at 0400 on Sept. 11.

The barges dumped thousands of tons of crushed stone into the river, according to a Coast Guard press release. There were no reported injuries and no reports of pollution.

Buchanan 12 was pushing 13 scow barges south, probably towards New York City or a quarry on the river in Haverstraw, according to Newsday.

The tug master immediately notified Coast Guard Sector New York Command Center on Staten Island, N.Y. that two barges broke free of the tow.

Barge B2002 drifted, took on water, then overturned 1.5 miles downriver, dumping 12,000 tons of crushed stone. It remains partially submerged on the west bank of the Hudson River, northwest of Iona Island, N.Y.

Barge C546 remains partially submerged with its entire cargo, about one-half mile north of the bridge in the vicinity of buoy 33, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that the submerged barges pose no threat to incoming traffic. Buchanan Marine of New Haven, Conn., the owner of the tugboat and barges, set markers in the water to alert passing mariners.

Buchanan Marine dispatched contracted divers from RandDive and Donjon Marine Co. Inc. of Hillside, N.J. to determine the condition of the barge. Once the dive survey is complete, a salvage plan will be submitted to refloat and move the two barges.

By Professional Mariner Staff