Construction barges break away, run aground in North Carolina

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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(WILMINGTON, N.C.) — The Coast Guard is monitoring two barges that broke free from their moorings and ran aground on Hatteras Island on Sunday.

The 140-foot construction barges were moored to the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew.

Personnel at Coast Guard Sector Field Office (SFO) Cape Hatteras received a call from the Dare County Emergency Operations Center at about 1:50 p.m. Sunday, stating one barge went adrift in Pamlico Sound and was aground in the vicinity of Weakfish Drive in Avon, in close proximity to waterfront properties.

The barge contains approximately 300 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of hydraulic oil.

Local authorities evacuated people from homes in the vicinity of the grounded barge at approximately 2:15 p.m. No injuries were reported.

The responsible party, PCL Construction Services, sent an equipment manager along with personnel from SFO Cape Hatteras, who arrived on scene around 3:30 p.m. to investigate.

PCL Construction Services personnel determined Sunday that the second 140-foot barge had broken free of its mooring at the Bonner Bridge and was also adrift in Pamlico Sound.

An aircraft crew with Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10 conducted overflight patrols and located the second barge at about 11 a.m. Monday, grounded approximately seven miles south of the first barge.

The second barge contains approximately 200 gallons of diesel fuel and 300 gallons of hydraulic oil.

There have been no reports of pollution from either barge.

"We will continue to monitor the grounded barges as the responsible party plans salvage efforts," said Capt. Patricia Hill, commander, Sector North Carolina in Wilmington. "We will ensure the responsible party conducts a timely and safe salvage in order to mitigate the potential threats to the environmentally sensitive Pamlico Sound."

By Professional Mariner Staff