On March 28, the 102’, 3,000-hp, towboat Queen City, pushing 11 barges along the Ohio River, struck an unidentified stationary structure, dislodging 10 of its 11 barges from the tow. Three of the barges were caught up inside the McAlpine Locks and Dam near Louisville, Ky.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, two barges were still stuck in place in the dam — one carrying corn, one carrying methanol. Operations were underway to offload the methanol in order to stabilize the barge.
Once the barge containing methanol has been stabilized, a plan for salvage of the barge carrying corn will be finalized. The situation is dynamic and subject to change due to river conditions and equipment performance. Updates will be provided as additional information is reported through the Unified Command structure.
For safety purposes, crews on-site suspended work overnight and resumed at daybreak Wednesday. Throughout Tuesday’s operations, there remained no sign of methanol leakage from the tank barge.
The Coast Guard is currently working with the responsible parties in recovering the barges and with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) as the investigation in ongoing at this time. The Coast Guard has resumed downbound river traffic.
Water testing on samples collected from five locations below the McAlpine Dam on Monday, April 3, showed no detectable presence of methanol in the Ohio River.