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Salvors begin barge removal after pileup at Ohio River dam (UPDATE)

Jan 21, 2018 07:27 PM

Commercial navigation is restored through Emsworth Lock and Dam

Courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(PITTSBURGH) — A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners continues to remove barges involved in the breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa., and Moundsville, W.Va., on Tuesday. 

Five barges have been successfully cleared from above the dam at Emsworth including two that were blocking salvage crews' access to a barge lodged against Gate 8. 

Industry partners are continuing salvaging operations near Moundsville and have successfully removed one barge from the channel at mile marker 104.7.

The Coast Guard has rescinded both safety zones on the Ohio River. Salvage operations will continue, however, and mariners transiting the area are urged to use caution.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(PITTSBURGH) — A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners continued the removal of barges involved in the breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa., and Moundsville, W.Va., on Monday.

Commercial navigation has been restored through Emsworth Lock and Dam with some restrictions put in place by the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize recovery efforts. 

The Coast Guard has rescinded the safety zone, a full waterway closure, from mile marker 2 to mile marker 20 above the Emsworth Lock and Dam.

Salvage of sunken barges involved in the breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh and Moundsville is continuing at both locations. Three barges have been successfully cleared from above the dam at Emsworth. 

A safety zone is still in effect from mile marker 95 to mile marker 105 on the Ohio River due to risk of channel obstructions. Transit through this safety zone is continuing on a case-by-case basis. 

The public and industry personnel are urged to ensure barges and vessels are strongly secured due to heavy ice flow on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers.

PREVIOUS REPORT

(PITTSBURGH) — A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, United States Army Corps of Engineers and industry partners is beginning the removal of barges involved in the breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa., and Moundsville, W.Va., on Sunday.

Salvage of sunken barges has begun at Emsworth Lock and Dam. Two barges have been successfully cleared from above the dam. 

Preliminary damage assessments indicate there is no significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental concerns from pollution. A more thorough damage assessment will be completed after all barges are removed from the Emsworth Lock and Dam's main and back channel dams.

The unified command of the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and the navigation industry received support from Monongalia County Homeland Security Emergency Management and the Morgantown police and fire departments.

Monongalia County provided a drone which produced a bird's-eye view of ice packs on the rivers. Morgantown police and fire departments provided side-scan sonar survey equipment to help locate barges believed to be submerged in the upper or lower pools at Emsworth.

The unified command is continuing to maintain a forward operations base at Bellaire Harbor Service to facilitate salvage operations.

Transit at mile marker 95.7 near Bellaire, W.Va., is continuing on a case-by-case basis. 

Two safety zones, full waterway closures, have been established from mile marker 95 to mile marker 105 and mile marker 2 to mile marker 20 on the Ohio River due to risk of channel obstructions.

The public and industry personnel are urged to ensure barges and vessels are strongly secured due to heavy ice flow on the Ohio and Allegheny rivers.

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