Tugboat, empty barge strike Maine’s Casco Bay Bridge

The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(PORTLAND, Maine) — A tug and barge, with more than 21,000 gallons of fuel aboard, struck the Casco Bay Bridge in Maine around 7 a.m., today.
Coast Guard Sector Northern New England contacted the Casco Bay Bridge at 7:09 a.m., following a report that the bridge was stuck in the open position and learned that the Energy barge being towed by the tug Ruby M had allided with the bridge.
No injuries or pollution were reported.
The 95-foot tug and 328-foot Energy barge were outbound to New York harbor when the barge hit the bridge fender on its right side. The barge was not carrying any cargo when the incident occurred.
A 47-foot boat crew launched from Coast Guard Station South Portland to assess the damage and maintain a 250-yard safety zone around the allision site, while a Falcon jet aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched to do an over flight of the area.
The 47-foot boat crew arrived on scene at 8:30 a.m., and transferred a Coast Guard marine investigator and marine inspector to the Ruby M and barge to begin an investigation.
Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug from New London, Conn., was on a routine patrol in the area and diverted to the scene to help enforce the safety zone.
A Coast Guard aids to navigation team launched a 26-foot boat crew from South Portland to evaluate the damage to the bridge.
Coast Guard Sector Northern New England issued a safety marine information broadcast after the allision to inform boaters in the area of the situation and also contacted local, partner agencies for coordination including Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Maine Department of Transportation.
It is undetermined if the allision and bridge malfunction were related, but the case is under investigation.
“We take these reports especially serious and thoroughly investigate them quickly,” said Capt. Jim McPherson, commander of Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. “We were concerned about the integrity of the tug and barge, and respond based on the maximum pollution potential of 300,000 gallons. Protecting our marine environment in New England is one of our most important missions.”
By Professional Mariner Staff