RACINE — Though things didn’t go initially as planned, a tow boat and its barges were removed from the Racine Locks and Dam over the weekend.
The M/V Austin C. Settoon was removed from the Racine Locks, Saturday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. However, its two remaining barges were removed the next day.
As previously reported, the Settoon, pushing three barges loaded with approximately 3,780,000 gallons of natural gas condensate, allided with the lock wall at approximately 5:30 a.m., Thursday. A barge subsequently broke away. That barge was secured in the lock chamber and removed, while the vessel and its two remaining barges were secured at the dam on Thursday to await removal, according to Chuck Minsker, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of Huntington, W.Va.
On Saturday, it was determined the best cause of action was to let the vessel actually passed through the dam after the cables securing it began to break, according to Minsker. After passing through the dam, it was literally “caught” and secured by a recovery vessel, Minsker added. The Coast Guard reported at 1:24 p.m. Saturday, the Settoon was disengaged from the structure and was towed by the M/V Alabama. It was then moored to the auxiliary lock chamber at the Racine Locks. The Settoon was dewatered after being recovered and transferred to Amherst Madison facility by the M/V Alabama, which caught the Settoon when it was adrift in the Ohio River.
However, on Saturday, two of the Settoon’s barges remained pinned against gates seven and eight of the dam and were reported as stable. Then, on Sunday, the two pinned barges were finally removed. According to the Coast Guard, at approximately noon on Sunday, the M/V M.K. McNally towed the two barges from the dam and placed them in the auxiliary lock chamber for an initial survey prior to being towed by the M/V Alabama to Amherst Madison facility in Henderson, W.Va.
The unified command consisted of the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Settoon Towing Company.
The Coast Guard reports there have been no reports of injuries or pollution, and the cause of the incident is under investigation.
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