Tow runs aground in Monongahela River; sheen reported

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PITTSBURGH) — The Coast Guard is responding to a report of a sheen on the Monogahela River following a vessel and barge grounding Tuesday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley received a call from Braddock Lock and Dam at approximately 4:30 p.m. and reported an oil sheen in the vicinity of a grounded barge. The uninspected towing vessel Carrie Mays was down bound with 14 empty barges at mile marker 9 on the Monongahela River when the lead barge became grounded on the right descending bank.

The UTV and barges originally blocked the navigable channel; however, the Coast Guard has reopened the river to all traffic.

The sheen was reported as approximately one-quarter of a mile in length along mile marker 9.

"We are working closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to mitigate any potential impact to the martime community and the waterway," said Lt. Cmdr. John R. Dittmar, acting commanding officer for Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Pittsburgh.

MSU Pittsburgh pollution responders and marine casualty investigators will continue to investigate the marine casualty and the source of the pollution. This investigation will include a first-light assessment in coordination with DEP at the location of the incident.

Questions concerning this matter should be directed to Lt. j.g. Alyssa McDonald at (412) 644-5808 ext. 2121 during normal working hours between 7:30 am and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.  After normal working hours, contact the MSU Pittsburgh duty officer at (412) 670-4288.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

By Professional Mariner Staff