Monday, November 20 , 2017, 11:26 am | Fair 68º


Local News

Damaged Barge Off Point Conception Moved, Sunk

Vessel relocated from environmentally sensitive area before being scuttled

A 260-foot barge that partially sank near Point Conception earlier this month was re-floated and removed from an environmentally sensitive area before being allowed to sink, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The agency was still investigating the cause of the incident, Coast Guard spokesman Adam Eggers said.

The Coast Guard received a distress call from the tugboat Calvin on June 8, reporting that the barge Nash was sinking near the Point Conception State Marine Reserve.

The vessel — carrying carrying 3,900 metric tons of magnesium chloride at the time of the incident, most of which were released into the water — was successfully scuttled offshore on Tuesday.

Eggers described the substance as a "non-hazardous derivative of sea water," adding that its release into the water should have "no projected or observed environmental impact."

The barge initially sank stern first, leaving the bow extended above the water, Eggers said, and air spaces in the cargo tanks were crushed and the hull breached.  

The vessel came to rest about a half-mile south of the oil and gas pipelines extending from the Platform Hermosa Platform to the shore near Point Conception, Eggers said.

Tugboats watched over the wreckage to make sure the barge did not shift or move during salvage efforts.

Representatives from the Coast Guard, the California’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Global Diving & Salvage also were on scene to watch over the safety of the salvage operations.

The Coast Guard worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate a deep ocean disposal location offshore where the barge could be scuttled safely with minimal impact to the environment. Eggers said.

The owner of the barge, Seattle-based Salmon Bay Barge Line, Inc., contracted with Global Diving & Salvage, Inc. to provide a team to restore sufficient buoyancy to the badly damaged hull, allowing it to be towed offshore and sunk away from the sensitive areas, Eggers said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >