Methanol Barge Safely Removed From McAlpine

A barge carrying methanol that lodged against the McAlpine Dam on the Ohio River near Louisville, Ky., has been removed with no leaks detected.

The barge carrying approximately 1,400 metric tons of liquid methanol was successfully removed about 3 p.m. April 8 after the methanol was offloaded into a receiver barge. It and two other barges, both containing corn, had become pinned against the dam, at Ohio River Mile 606.8, after breaking away from a tow March 28.

Louisville Metro Emergency Services said there was no indication any of the methanol barge’s cargo tanks were ever breached and that testing results never showed any detectable methanol in the air or water. More than 3,000 air quality samples were taken in addition to water quality samples from five locations below the dam.

One stranded dry cargo barge, carrying a load of corn, remained lodged against the dam, but it was not impacting navigation, according to Petty Officer Gabriel Wisdom, a Coast Guard spokesman. He said salvage crews hoped to begin work soon to try to remove it.

Following the removal of the methanol barge that had been pinned against the dam, the Coast Guard approved for it to be transported to a fleeting facility below the dam, from which it will be transported to a shipyard for repairs, according to Louisville Metro Emergency Services.

Ingram Barge Company owns the pinned barges, which were among 10 of 11 that broke away from the tow of a motor vessel after hitting a stationary structure near the mouth of the Portland Canal. The Coast Guard has never publicly named the vessel involved or its owner. Ingram Barge Company has said while it owned the barges, it was not operating the motor vessel. Ingram brought in T&T Salvage to remove the pinned barges.

The Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident.