VIDEO: Breakaway barges pile up against McAlpine DamWritten by Marine Log Staff
Shortly after 2 a.m. on March 28, 2023, a vessel towing 11 barges made contact with a stationary structure at the entrance to the Portland Canal near the McAlpine Lock and Dam, the Kentucky Emergency and Environment Cabinet (EEC) reported yesterday.
“As a result, 10 of the 11 barges broke loose, with three barges settling against the lower McAlpine Dam structure,” said the EEC. “The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating the cause of this incident. All barges are accounted for at this time.”
The cargoes carried aboard the breakaway barges are soy, corn, and one vessel with three independent cargo holds containing approximately 1,400 metric tons of methanol. There is currently zero evidence of a tank breach or any leaks, and air and water monitoring resources are in place.
“Safety is the top concern – safety of the public and first responder personnel,” said EEC “There is currently no impact to Louisville Water’s water intake or water quality. The river waterway is open through the use of the local vessel traffic services.”
A Unified Command structure has been stood up with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley and the Louisville Metro Government Emergency Management Agency is the lead coordinating agency. The Kentucky Environment and Energy Cabinet is currently monitoring water quality and CTEH is monitoring air quality.
In the scale of barge breakaway incidents, this one looks to have been comparatively minor.
In an update today, local media report officials as saying that one barge has been removed and that there are no health hazards.