Update on loose barges against the lower McAlpine Dam

March 28, 2023
Disclaimer: This is an archived news item. Some links may have expired or were changed over time.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on March 28th, 2023, a vessel towing 11 barges made contact with a stationary structure at the entrance to the Portland Canal near the McAlpine Lock and Dam. As a result, 10 of the 11 barges broke loose, with three barges settling against the lower McAlpine Dam structure. The U.S. Coast Guard is currently investigating the cause of this incident. All barges are accounted for at this time.

The cargoes carried aboard the barges are soy, corn, and one vessel with three independent cargo holds containing approximately 1,400 metric tons of Methanol. There is currently zero evidence of a tank breach or any leaks, and air and water monitoring resources are in place.

Safety is the top concern – safety of the public and first responder personnel. There is currently no impact to Louisville Water’s water intake or water quality. The river waterway is open through the use of the local vessel traffic services.

A Unified Command structure has been stood up with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley and the Louisville Metro Government Emergency Management Agency is the lead coordinating agency. The Kentucky Environment and Energy Cabinet is currently monitoring water quality and CTEH is monitoring air quality.

The next media briefing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 29th at 1 p.m. at Lannan Park, 901 N. 26th Street, 40212.

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