Tugboat, barge break free in West Virginia ice jam


The following is the text of a online report from WOUB News:

(PARKERSBURG, W.Va.) — River ice put the Blennerhasset Island's boat in a jam.

It broke loose and went for a wild ride on the river.
The Wood County 911 Center called island workers Wednesday morning, telling them their tugboat and barge were floating on the river.

The Blennerhassett Island superintendent says they keep the boat and barge at the mouth of the Little Kanawha River.

The ice jam reported Tuesday broke two 2-inch barge lines that tie the boat there.

Island workers jumped on a pontoon boat and caught up with the tug and barge between Point Park and the Island.

They were even able to get the tugboat started. But then it was a waiting game.

"We drifted, we were fighting the ice, of course and were able to maneuver it towards the Ohio and got it over to the Ohio bank about three quarters of a mile down river from Belpre marina and what we ended up doing was just waiting there up against the bank and just waited out the storm, in essence, because the ice, it got worse at that point, the ice got worse and there was just no navigating it so we just stayed there for about two to three hours," says Blennerhassett Island Superintendent Matt Baker.

They eventually docked the tugboat and barge at Civitan Park.

They'll be taken back to the Little Kanawha once the ice breaks up. The vessels are used to haul equipment to the island.

By Professional Mariner Staff