Four barges break free, one capsizes near Boston

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

(BOSTON) — The Coast Guard is warning mariners to use caution and avoid the North and South Boston main channels after a barge carrying construction equipment capsized and possibly sank Sunday morning approximately two miles southeast of Nahant.

The captain of tugboat Big Jake notified the Coast Guard at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday that two of five barges they were towing had broken free and were adrift.  

Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Point Allerton and Coast Guard cutter Key Largo responded to the scene along with the tugboats Smith Predator, Justice, and Kendall J. Hebert.

While Big Jake was being escorted to Hull, two more barges broke free, bringing the total number of adrift barges to four.

The three tugboats each located a barge and brought them to safe havens.

The fourth barge, which was carrying construction equipment, capsized and possibly sank two miles southeast of Nahant.

Coast Guard cutter Key Largo remained near the last known position of the barge through the night.

The barge was carrying construction equipment which held a maximum of 500 gallons of diesel fuel and 400 gallons of hydraulic oil.

The Massachusetts State Police and Boston Harbor Pilots are scheduled to use sonar Monday to search for the barge.

The Port of Boston remains open; however, mariners are advised to use extreme caution when transiting the area. The Coast Guard recommends no vessels transit the North or South Boston main channels until further notice and report any sighting of the barge or debris to the Coast Guard Sector Boston command center at (617) 223-3201.

By Professional Mariner Staff