The River’s Open Again; Sunken Barges To Be Raised and Salvaged

Ingram Barge

(above, unrelated photo of an Ingram Barge tugboat from www.littleriverbooks.com)

We love a good Ohio River story, especially one about stuff either sunk or re-surfaced in the riverbed. So while we didn’t get a chance to post about the sinking of two barges carrying iron ore near the Portland Canal last Friday (from Business First), we thought we’d follow up today with the Coast Guard’s plan to fix the mess (from the Courier-Journal):

The Coast Guard and waterfront authorities will likely sign off today on a plan to recover two barges that sank Friday on the Ohio River near the McAlpine Locks.

A news conference will be held this morning at the Spirit of Jefferson riverboat to give the public more information about how long it will take to remove the barges.

Ingram Barge spokesperson Keel Hunt said a salvage plan was developed last weekend and they were waiting for approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We will likely have to put a crane in position to lift the barges out and put them back on top of the surface,” Hunt said.

Equipment to raise the barges arrived yesterday from Pittsburgh, Hunt said. He said they will be in place to begin work soon.

It was the first of two barge accidents at Louisville.

At 3:50 a.m. yesterday, the towing vessel Helen Lay, owned by Lay Leasing Inc., lost one of 12 coal barges while heading upriver. The barge struck the wall near Joe’s Crab Shack.

Coast Guard Lt. John Adkins said the collision occurred after the operator of the vessel lost steering in the river channel, which had been narrowed because of the two iron ore barges that sank Friday.

“We don’t have any evidence linking the two incidents, but we are investigating,” Adkins said.

Ronald Elliott, chief of public affairs for the Corps of Engineers, said traffic was halted about 4:30 a.m. yesterday and reopened about 10:30 a.m.

“It’s just unfortunate that these incidents happened, due most likely to high water,” Elliott said.

We’re not sure we’ll get a chance to update this post after the very-important news conference mentioned in the article, so if you’re on the Ohio this morning, keep an eye open!

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