Towboat, fuel barges run aground in Ohio River; 5 barges loose

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


(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) — Coast Guard personnel are responding to a grounding of a towing vessel and barges on the Ohio River near Owensboro, Ky.

At approximately 11:00 p.m., Thursday, May 28, 2009, the towing vessel Ned Merrick ran aground with 13 barges at mile marker 758. Five barges broke loose, and one was significantly damaged.

The damaged barge has nearly 500,000 gallons of lube oil on board. The damaged barge is afloat, but has flooding in two empty compartments. As a precaution, the Coast Guard ensured boom was placed around the vesssel. Neither personnel onscene or an Coast Guard overflight noted any pollution. The barge is double-hulled.

Coast Guard marine inspectors are evaluating the condition of the barge with the cooperation of company officials. The oil will be transferred from the damaged barge once an empty barge is brought to the scene. Coast Guard personnel will monitor the transfer operation, and are investigating the cause of the incident.

There are no waterway closures or obstructions, and no injuries were reported.

By Professional Mariner Staff