Container barge breaks free, hits pier on Seattle waterfront

(SEATTLE) — Several buildings along Seattle’s waterfront were evacuated Thursday afternoon after an unattended barge broke free and struck a pier, Fox13 News reported.

King County Metro (KCM) said the barge, reportedly owned by Alaska Marine Lines, was initially spotted and intercepted by the crew aboard Doc Maynard, a King County water taxi.

KCM said the water taxi was heading to Pier 50 from Seacrest Dock when the crew spotted a fully loaded container barge dangerously adrift, heading toward the Great Wheel and the Seattle Aquarium.

The Foss Maritime tugboat Wedell Foss, left, helps guide a breakaway barge to safety Thursday on Elliott Bay. U.S. Coast Guard photo

When the crew realized the barge was moving without the assistance of a tugboat, they used Doc Maynard’s bow to push the barge away from the heart of the waterfront.

At about 1:25 p.m., the barge struck Pier 66 and the U.S. Coast Guard responded, using three tugboats to transport it to Terminal 115.

The Coast Guard reported no injuries or signs of pollution. However, damage to Pier 66 was reported.

By Professional Mariner Staff