Coast Guard watchstanders received a phone call at approximately 3 a.m. from Nathan Brothers Tug reporting that one of their barges broke away while under tow between Bells Rock Light and Back River Channel.
A boat crew from Station Milford Haven was launched at 3:14 a.m. to search for the barge from the mouth of the York River north towards Bells Rock Light, but could not locate it. The adrift barge allided with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and ran aground north of the bridge.
Nathan Brothers Tug has assumed responsibility for the recovery of the barge. The barge was recovered at 12:27 p.m. by the Tug Pathfinder and will be taken to the Norfolk tug yard. The company reports the hopper barge, which normally carries wood chips, is empty and there are no expected environmental impacts.
Bridge Maintenance investigators have inspected the bridge structure and found no damage.
The cause of the break away is currently under investigation.