Navigation Restored At Emsworth Dam As Barge Recovery Underway

The incident command post Joint Information Center for the barge breakaways on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pa., and Moundsville, W.Va., was disestablished January 24. A unified command consisting of the Coast Guard, the Pittsburgh Engineer District and industry partners continued the removal of barges involved in the breakaways January 23.

Five barges have been successfully cleared from above the dam at Emsworth, including two that were blocking salvage crews’ access to a barge lodged against Gate 8.

“We’re back in business at the Emsworth Lock and Dam,” said the Pittsburgh District. “Thanks to the coordinated effort of the navigation industry, Coast Guard, Corps and supporters—especially the Monongalia County (W.Va.) Emergency Management Agency and the Morgantown (W.Va.) fire and police departments.”

The barge breakaway incident ocurred on January 13 after more than 60 barges broke loose from their moorings due to ice and high water on the river.

Sign up for Waterway Journal's weekly newsletter.Our weekly newsletter delivers the latest inland marine news straight to your inbox including breaking news, our exclusive columns and much more.

Industry partners are continuing salvage operations near Moundsville and have successfully removed one barge from the channel at Mile 104.7.

Preliminary damage assessments indicate there is no significant damage to Emsworth Lock and Dam and no environmental concerns from pollution.

The Coast Guard has rescinded both safety zones on the Ohio River. Salvage operations will continue; however, mariners transiting the area are urged to use caution.