Coast Guard responds to barge aground in Naknek, Alaska - Photo

Coast Guard responds to barge aground in Naknek, Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Coast Guard is responding to a fuel barge that settled in the mud and began to show signs of structural stress while offloading petroleum product on the Naknek River in Naknek, Wednesday.

No pollution has been observed and no one has been injured. Product is currently being offloaded from the barge, and approximately 50,330 gallons of gasoline and 95,410 gallons of diesel remain onboard.

The Coast Guard and contracted cleanup professionals are standing by on site in the event that any fuel enters the water.

Personnel aboard the Crowley BC-152 barge reported to the Coast Guard at approximately noon Tuesday that the barge had settled in the mud, and that the deck of the barge was showing signs of stress, including a cracked check valve.

Coast Guard Sector Anchorage immediately diverted Marine Safety Task Force responders working in the region to assess the situation.

“This barge did not run aground, but became stuck in the mud during low tide yesterday as it was offloading product,” said Lt. James Nunez, incident management division chief for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. “Our job is to ensure the potential for pollution in this situation is mitigated. We will continue to stand by on site until the product is offloaded and we are satisfied that there is no longer a threat. Protecting the environment is our top priority.”

Looks like the barge is resting on flat mud beach but the deck is showing signs of stress according to the release.

Without knowing anything more about this supposed incident than in the previously posted snippet, it looks like the bow is high and dry while the stern is still afloat. It’s not an abnormal condition for those rigs, but maybe the 50+ year old barge structure is finally giving up the ghost and sagging in a more permanent way. Too bad the guys willing to report the issue get the bad press while the other companies continue to slide under the radar.


Oil barges under 10,000 bbl operating in Alaska west of 155 W are exempt from the double hull requirements. The theory is that double hull barge cannot be built shallow draft enough for Western Alaska rivers. I doubt that.

Most of these small Western Alaska barges are far far past their prime. Beach landings and intentional groundings are routine. So are unintentional groundings in uncharted places.


That’s what I thought. The article leaves out the key points that the oil barge is a POS and the regulators are letting them get away with it.

You don’t mean ‘regulators’, you mean Congress. If the regulators had ‘let it go’, Congress wouldn’t have had to force them to let it go.

§3703a. Tank vessel construction standards

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a vessel to which this chapter applies shall be equipped with a double hull-

(b) This section does not apply to-

(4) a barge of less than 1,500 gross tons (as measured under chapter 145 of this title) carrying refined petroleum product in bulk as cargo in or adjacent to waters of the Bering Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Arctic Ocean and waters tributary thereto and in the waters of the Aleutian Islands and the Alaskan Peninsula west of 155 degrees west longitude; or

I was referring more to the condition of the barge. If it’s leaking sitting on a flat beach most likely it’s in very poor condition. I would think it’s at risk of being damaged in rough seas as well.

I’ve worked tug/barge in Alaska, it’s standard practice to work cargo like this.

I’m aware of the practice. But I’m also aware that regulators don’t ‘let it go’, at least, not as much as owners do. Don’t they deserve a mention?

I don’t even know if those oil barges are even inspected come to think of it.

As far as I know, all oil barges are inspected vessels under Subchapter D.

I do not understand how some of the very old small oil barges in Western Alaska get through USCG inspection.

I have seen the USCG be very strict and require unnecessary or excessive repairs on fairly new barges in very good condition. I’m have also seen them pass old barges that are long overdue for scrapping.

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