Barge loaded with auto hulks headed to Schnitzer Steel.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Washington Department of Ecology have responded to a report that a barge loaded with auto hulks was listing in Commencement Bay near Tacoma, Wash., on Feb. 24.
According to a Coast Guard release, the USCG Sector Puget Sound received a report at about 1:15 p.m. on Feb. 24 stating a 750-foot Amix Marine Services barge, from Canada, anchored in Commencement Bay was listing and possibly taking on water.
Schnitzer Steel hired Global Salvage and Diving to inspect the barge’s hull. Divers located a crack in the hull and were successful in making repairs and stabilizing the barge. Canadian company Amix Marine Services, which owns the barge, has retained Global for further work as needed. The items on the barge are owned by Schnitzer Steel.
Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound launched a 25-foot response boat crew from Station Seattle to investigate, while Ecology dispatched spill responders to the area. The Coast Guard boat arrived on scene with a Tacoma Fire Department boat to find the barge, which had stacks of crushed cars on it, to be listing. An undetermined number of cars fell into the water, causing oil sheen. The barge reportedly contains no pollutants and the crushed cars were reportedly drained of all fluids prior to being crushed and loaded. Even though the cars have been drained of fluids, residual amounts of oil are present in the vehicles.
The Coast Guard established a 250-yard safety zone around the barge. A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles conducted an overflight just before nightfall and reported a light sheen in the vicinity of the barge. The barge has been anchored between 300 feet to 500 feet off the port of Tacoma.
A spokesman for the USCG says they are checking out the barge to ensure the damage has been properly repaired. “If we can confirm the problem has been fixed we will move it to Schnitzer,” the spokesman says.
The Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology will continue to work with the Canadian barge owner and contractors to mitigate any pollution threats or navigational hazards associated with the barge.