Responders prevent disabled tug, barge from grounding in Texas

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

(HOUSTON) — Coast Guard response and incident management teams coordinated with G&H Towing and T&T Marine Salvage to prevent a disabled tug and barge from running aground on Galveston Island on Saturday.

At 2:19 p.m., an agent for the integrated tug, OSG Independence, and its barge, OSG 243, contacted Sector Houston-Galveston watch standers to report that the tug separated from the barge in heavy seas off the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier, while dragging both anchors. They worked to connect the emergency towline, which went under the tug and fouled their starboard propeller.

Marine Safety Unit Texas City incident management personnel and the Galveston Police Department were on scene at approximately 3:15 p.m. to monitor the situation and provide public safety on shore. A Station Galveston boat crew provided on-scene visibility as well as an Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew.

Shortly after the incident occurred, the crew activated their vessel response plan, which guided response efforts. The tug Thor arrived on scene at around 4 p.m. and began providing assistance. Thor’s crew gained control of the adrift barge at 8:45 p.m. and began towing them away from shore.

Efforts to assist Independence were joined by the tugboats Deacon, Captain and Holt T. There are no injuries to the six people aboard the tug and two people aboard the barge. No pollution has been reported.

The barge was empty of any cargo. It was previously carrying gasoline and the cargo tanks were filled with inert gas to neutralize danger from residual fumes.

The seas were reported to be 6 to 8 feet at the time of the incident and are expected to reach up to 12 feet with 40-knot winds.

By Professional Mariner Staff