Ohio River update: Seven barges over dam, two sections of waterway closed

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

(PITTSBURGH) — A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners is continued its response to barge breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa., and Moundsville, W.Va., on Wednesday.

An updated report stated 34 barges broke away from fleeting areas at mile maker 94 on the Ohio River near Moundsville and 34 barges have been located.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is continuing to survey the surrounding area with side-scan sonar to assess the condition of the channel and look for possible obstructions.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing icebreaking and removal operations at Emsworth Lock and Dam to open the area for salvage crews.

Mariners are advised to be cautious of potential heavy ice floes resulting from the ice breaking efforts at Emsworth Lock and Dam.

Twenty-five of the 27 breakaway barges from Jack’s Run fleeting area at mile marker 4 on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh have been accounted for.

The two unaccounted-for barges are reported to be located above the dam.

The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation in both locations.

The barges broke away due to ice and high water.

There are no reports of significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental concerns from pollution.

Two safety zones, full waterway closures, have been established from mile marker 93 to mile marker 110 and mile marker 2 to mile marker 20 on the Ohio River due to risk of channel obstructions.

The public and industry personnel are urged to ensure barges and vessels are strongly secured due to heavy ice flow on the Ohio and Allegheny River.

By Professional Mariner Staff