MARSEILLES, Ill. — (June 18) The Marseilles Barge Incident Unified Command announces Tuesday that salvage operators safely removed the last partially submerged barge at the Marseilles Dam, which completes the salvage operations.
Since the incident on April 18, when seven barges broke loose from a tow during historic flooding on the Illinois River, the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers and Ingram Barge Company have been working together as a unified command to ensure the safety of the public in the area during removal of the barges at the dam.
“The level of coordination from all Unified Command members and local officials to safely recover the barges and restore the waterway has been phenomenal,” said Cmdr. Jason Neubauer, incident commander for the Marseilles Barge Incident. “The cooperation provided by the impacted local boating community and commercial towing vessel operators over the duration of the salvage operation is greatly appreciated.”
The unified command was created to monitor the waterway for safety purposes and safely remove the barges at the Marseilles Dam. Although the completion of the barge salvage operations marks the conclusion of the unified command, the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to conduct repair operations at the dam and the earthen dike on the upstream, right descending bank of the river.
As part of the unified command, the Coast Guard monitored the navigation channel issuing notices to mariners and the marine industry regarding restricted navigation areas and safety zones. Periodic waterway restrictions and no-wake zones were implemented to guide vessel traffic around channel obstructions and protect assets involved in cargo lightering and salvage operations.
Five of the gates at the Marseilles Dam were damaged, and two were rendered inoperable during the event of April 18. In the past several weeks, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a temporary rock dike downstream of the dam to reduce river flows to help facilitate both the removal of the barges and make temporary repairs to the damaged gates.
The Army Corps of Engineers now plans to complete an assessment of the dam and to begin temporary repairs of the two inoperable gates.
Release no. USGS