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Abandoned Barges

Empire, Louisiana | 1989-Jul-03

Initial Notification: NOAA/OMA was notified of the incident at 0805 on July 3, 1989 by MSO New Orleans, and requested to review the circumstances of the case and provide recommendations on how to proceed with cleanup and management of the abandoned vessels. On-site, the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) observed two badly corroded barges lying nearly end-to-end, leaking an unknown oily substance into the waters of the channel. Some boom had been deployed around portions of the barges and numerous vessels of lengths up to 35 feet, in various stages of maintenance or disrepair surrounded the barge hulls. Because the barges were unattended and threatened by local high water runoff and local vessel traffic, the SSC recommended immediate efforts to double boom and isolate the barges. Security measures were suggested to prevent tampering and further damage to the barges until the material within could be properly identified, safely removed and isolated for disposal. "Core" samples from each tank and Level B personnel protection were also strongly recommended. In addition, the SSC recommended that local and state water board, storm levy and canal lock officials be contacted to ensure immediate emergency response should waters from the spill site and Doullut Canal have to be isolated from the Mississippi River and the sensitive areas of Adams Bay and surrounding wetlands. NOAA further advised the Coast Guard of the presence, year-round, of Eastern oyster in Adams Bay and Bastian Bay downstream, south and west of the site. NOAA indicated that sample analysis results were not atypical of oil production wastes. USCG district 8.

Incident Details
Products of concern:Oil
Total amount at risk of spill: 500,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 29° 28.84′ North
Longitude (approximate): 89° 41.55′ West