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Coast Guard Responds to Listing Barge in Commencement Bay

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The Coast Guard and Washington Department of Ecology are responding to a listing barge in Commencement Bay near Tacoma, Wash., Sunday.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound received a report at approximately 1:15 p.m., stating a 750-foot Amix Marine Services barge, from Canada, anchored in Commencement Bay was listing and possibly taking on water.

Schnitzer Steel 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. Canadian company Amix Marine Services, which owns the barge, has retained Global for further work as needed. The items on the barge are owned by Schnitzer Steel.

Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound launched a 25-foot 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.

The Coast Guard established a 200-yard safety zone around the barge. A Coast Guard HH-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.

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