Video: Barge runs aground

updated 3/21/2005 2:25:46 PM ET 2005-03-21T19:25:46

A barge containing as much as 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel broke free from a tugboat and ran aground in an area rich with wildlife and historic landmarks, authorities said.

A tugboat was pulling two barges across the Columbia River in severe weather Saturday night when one ran aground after drifting 3½ miles, state ecology and Coast Guard officials said in a statement Sunday.

Two environmental cleanup companies had crews and equipment at the scene by early Monday but were unable to deploy containment booms because of high wind and waves, said Sandy Howard, a spokeswoman for the state Ecology Department.

“The weather has been really blowing hard this morning ... really battering the barge into the rocks,” Howard said.

Area home to clam beds, waterfowl
Cargo holds of the oil barge Millicoma were empty, but there was some diesel fuel in a double-hulled 5,000-gallon fuel tank, said Gary Faber of Foss Maritime, which owns the tugboat. Howard said it was unclear how much fuel was in the tank.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the accident was under investigation.

The barge ran aground near Cape Disappointment State Park in an area rich with wildlife, razor clam beds, waterfowl areas and historic landmarks, Howard said.

Faber said the barge was heavily damaged. The other barge was towed to safety.

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