MARSEILES, Ill. (April 23) – The first of seven barges resting near the Marseilles Dam was removed under supervision of the Unified Command Tuesday morning.
Salvage efforts on the barge, which is loaded with iron ore fines, commenced at about 10:30 a.m. after the Unified Command approved the safety and salvage plan.
Two tugs owned and contracted by Ingram Barge Company pulled the barge away from the dam during the complex operation. Tugboat M/V Lloyd Murphy, owned by American Commercial Lines and operated by Inland Marine Service, assisted.
Ingram salvage crews are currently working to pump water from a barge in advance of removing some of its cargo of steel coils. These steps will allow the barge to be pulled away from the dam tomorrow.
"Ingram is working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that all salvage operations are handled in a safe and secure manner," said Scott Noble, senior V.P of ingram Barge Company.
"Today we made substantial progress in removing the first barge safely from the area and we began work on salvaging a second barge."
Representatives from the USACE will now examine the gates to the dam more closely to determine how extensive the damage is.
Removal of additional barges will resume tomorrow.
Last Thursday evening, 14 cargo barges were downbound on the Illinois River approaching the Marseilles Lock canal when heavy currents broke away seven loaded barges and diverted them to the Dam.
There have been no reports of pollution. In addition, members of the Unified Command stressed that there is no threat to additional flooding in surrounding communities.
"Today's events and the commencement of salvage operations is encouraging," said Capt. Matthew Sibley, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.
"However, this is a challenging process that may take time to complete safely."
A safety zone remains in effect between the Marseilles Lock and Dam and the Dresden Lock and Dam.
For more information, contact the Joint Information Center at 216-389-0420
The Unified Command consists of representatives from Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, the Army Corps of Engineers and Ingram Barge.