The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(BATON ROUGE, La.) — The Coast Guard continues the supervision of the salvage of sunken corn barges on the Mississippi River, Sunday, near mile marker 233.
McKinney Salvage & Heavy Lift completed the salvage operations for one of three corn barges, Friday, owned by American River Transportation Company. The salvage of the second barge is scheduled to begin Wednesday. Following the removal of the second barge, the process to remove the third barge will begin.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., May 20, 2011, watchstanders at Vessel Traffic Service New Orleans received a report that a 195-foot tow vessel, Crimson Gem, was pushing 20 barges of grain when the vessel allided with a barge at the Rhodia Dock, and three of the Crimson Gem’s barges sank as a result.
â€œThe Coast Guard has been working with all interested parties in order to ensure the safe and timely salvage of all three barges,” said Lt. Cmdr. Quincy Davis, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge. “Regular sonar scans of the barge locations are taken in order to ensure the barges are not drifting from their original location.”
The incident is under investigation.