|USCG Sector Corpus Christi held a Port Coordination Team (PCT) conference call at 1300 hours today to update the industry on the status of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Your WGMA Maritime Affairs team participated on the call and has the following report:
The Coast Guard briefly described the incident and current situation:
· A deck barge (30’x45’) flipped over/capsized this morning
· The location is near Light 36, the La Quinta intersection
· The barge is currently upside down but afloat and secured alongside the Dredge LAVACA
· There are no reports of oil sheening or other pollution
Upon receiving a report of the incident, the Harbormaster proactively stopped all deep draft vessel traffic and USCG has established a safety zone for the area.
A Marine Safety Information Bulletin (MSIB) has been issues, and a Safety Zone with
restrictions is in place; no traffic of 500 GT or greater are permitted to transit the area without Coast Guard permission. Please see MSIB 112-23 for complete details.
The Orion Marine spokesperson on the call advised:
· Their deck barge flipped over/capsized earlier today
· No personnel were involved; no injuries have occurred
· Vessel is secured alongside their dredge
· Safety and operational teams are on site
· All required notifications to the authorities has been done
· The vessel has been boomed, but no spill has been seen
· A derrick barge has been mobilized, however due to high winds, it is likely the vessel will not arrive to the site until early morning tomorrow
· A diving team has been mobilized as well
· The plan is to initiate an operation to flip the vessel over tomorrow, when and as conditions and planning permit it to proceed
· Once the vessel has been righted it will be removed from the waterway and secured at a landside facility
Since the barge is stabilized in its position secured against the dredge, US Coast Guard is considering opening the waterway to barge traffic – a single transit only as a test move. Depending upon that they may reopen the channel for tows only.
At this time, Coast Guard is not expecting to reopen the waterway until the salvage operation has been completed and the vessel has been completely removed from the waterway. Based upon the current assessment of the situation and timetable for salvage, that is expected to be early afternoon tomorrow.
Agents are reminded to maintain close dialogue with the pilot dispatch and Harbormaster offices. Agents are also reminded to keep the eNOA/D’s updated for their vessels.
Based upon the present situation and running some test tows, another PCT conference call has been scheduled for 1700 hours today. Your Maritime Affairs team will participate on the PCT conference call and report to our membership afterwards.