Coast Guard, WDOE respond to listing barge, cars in the water

TACOMA, Wash. — The Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology responded to a listing barge in Commencement Bay near Tacoma, Wash., Sunday, after receiving a report around 1:15 p.m. that a 250’ Amix Marine Services barge, from Canada, was listing and possibly taking on water.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound launched a 25’ 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.

Schnitzer Steel, which owned the items on the barge, 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. Amix has retained Global for further work as needed.

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 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.