River traffic resumes at Racine Locks


By Beth Sergent - bsergent@civitasmedia.com



This tow boat became stuck at the Racine Locks and Dam on Thursday morning. Due to a swift current and high water, officials were waiting to remove the vessel, hopefully on Saturday. The lock chamber has since reopened and river traffic has resumed.


Gary Coleman/Courtesy

RACINE — River traffic has resumed after a tow boat hauling three barges became stuck early Thursday morning at the Racine Locks and Dam.

According to Chuck Minsker, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of Huntington, W.Va., river traffic resumed around 9 p.m. Thursday night, after a breakaway barge had become displaced in the lock chamber.

As previously reported, Minsker said the M/V Austin C. Setton out of Louisiana, was pushing three barges Thursday morning but at around 6 a.m., one of the barges broke loose and that barge ended up being secured in the lock chamber. Meanwhile, the tow boat with its two remaining barges, was pushed up and stuck against, the actual dam. The tow boat and two remaining barges was tied off and secured on Thursday.

The plan was to remove the vessel possibly on Friday but with the high water and swift current, that plan was tentatively delayed until Saturday. The U.S. Coast Guard will be overseeing this project with assistance by vessels from American Electric Power’s River Division which will help remove the tow boat and barges from the area, Minsker said.

No one was hurt in the incident and though it was unclear how many crew members were on the vessel, everyone was evacuated from it. The Associated Press reported the three barges were loaded with more than 3.7 million gallon of natural gas condensate when it hit the lock wall. It is still unclear what exactly happened to cause the incident.

Prior to the lock chamber reopening Thursday evening, the Associated Press was reporting the Coast Guard said it left a queue of 13 vessels that were upbound and 11 downbound.

This tow boat became stuck at the Racine Locks and Dam on Thursday morning. Due to a swift current and high water, officials were waiting to remove the vessel, hopefully on Saturday. The lock chamber has since reopened and river traffic has resumed.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2017/03/web1_3.4-PPR-Barge2.jpgThis tow boat became stuck at the Racine Locks and Dam on Thursday morning. Due to a swift current and high water, officials were waiting to remove the vessel, hopefully on Saturday. The lock chamber has since reopened and river traffic has resumed. Gary Coleman/Courtesy

By Beth Sergent

bsergent@civitasmedia.com