The double hull barge that went aground in the Hudson River April 4 carrying 60,000 bbls. of gasoline came away without damage to its hull, according to inspections at the Reinauer Transportation Companies headquarters at Staten Island, N.Y.
A dive and internal inspection of the 458’x72’ RTC 150 showed the bottom was undamaged by the incident, as the barge and its ATB mate, the 119’x40’x22’, 7,200-hp tugboat Meredith C. Reinauer, were hauling the fuel to Albany.
The barge went aground around 8:30 a.m. at a stone channel marker on the west side of the river, at the village of Catskill just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. In a statement Friday, Reinauer officials said the grounding happened in heavy fog that morning.
“We continue to fully cooperate with the Coast Guard in its investigation and will take all steps to be certain it does not happen again,” the company said. “We will provide more information as it becomes available.”
The ATB remained grounded, surrounded by Coast Guard and state and local response agencies, until a rising tide Tuesday night freed the barge. Reinauer had sent its 114’x40’x17’, 4,000-hp tug Craig Eric Reinauer with the 413’x74’ barge RTC 103 in case it became necessary to lighter, but the RTC 150 was found to be intact and proceeded to Albany to unload the next day.
Built for Reinauer in 2003 by Alabama Shipyard, Mobile, Ala., the RTC 150 and its Atlantic II-class tug were part of the double hull recapitalization of the U.S. tanker and barge fleet, mandated by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, passed by Congress in response to the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.
Over 25 years of OPA 90 and phasing in double hull building requirements, petroleum transportation spills fell from 16 gals. per 1 million gals. moved, to between 2 and 3 gals. per 1 million, according to Coast Guard statistics.
“While this was an unfortunate event, it was handled properly and professionally, and everyone came together to reach the best possible outcome,” said company vice president Bert Reinauer.
“Environmental safety is front-and-center for all of us at Reinauer. The fact that our vessel is double-hulled, together with the careful, quick response of our crew avoided any leakage of fuel and any harm to the environment, demonstrating our commitment to the environment, a commitment that’s priority number one for everyone at Reinauer,” he said.