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November 14, 2005

Safety zone around holed barge

A four mile safety zone is now in effect around the damaged K-Sea Transportation barge DBL 142. The barge is at at position 29 12.3 degrees north, 093 28.14 degrees west, about 29 miles due south of the Calcasieu Pass, La. and about 100 miles due west of Galveston, Texas.

The barge is listing approximately 50 degrees to starboard and its bow is resting on the

bottom in 55 feet of water. The owner has conducted a stability assessment, and dive and salvage operations are in progress.

As reported earlier, sometime shortly before midnight on Thursday, the double hulled barge struck an unknown submerged object while on a voyage from Houston to Tampa, Fla.

Underwater survey operations yesterday revealed that oil continues to leak from the barge's damaged cargo tank. An oveflight revealed a sheen and black patches of oil extending three miles southwest of the barge.

There is a 35-foot long by 6-foot wide hole in the starboard bow. There was approximately 300 thousand gallons of oil in the damaged tank. The barge was carrying almost 5 million gallons of number-six fuel oil.

Approximately two thousand feet of containment boom is being placed around the barge to contain the spill, and oil skimmers are on scene to remove the surface oil.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. Sharon Richey, is advising fishermen not to fish in the vicinity of 29 8.8 degrees north, 093 14.9 degrees west, approximately 32 miles south of the Calcasieu Pass, La. There is a strong possibility of heavy grade oil floating partially submerged or on the bottom in the area .

The barge is not obstructing marine traffic, and all area waterways remain open.

The cause of the incident is under investigation by the Coast Guard.