Baykeeper Update

Update: Sunken Barge Removed from the Bay

A barge and crane that sank in San Francisco Bay during a violent storm in April has been removed from the Bay.  

In July, divers cut the barge into three pieces and a salvage company used a giant crane to bring the pieces up. The photo above (from July 13) shows two of the three pieces of the barge atop a larger salvage vessel after they were hauled up. The barge pieces are the gray structure to the left and the white structure with the blue stripe.

The sunken barge, named Vengeance, sank south of the Bay Bridge during a storm on April 7. It contained up to 4,000 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of hydraulic oil.  Reports indicate that the barge leaked fuel in the first few hours after the incident, but the total amount leaked into the Bay remains unclear.

After the barge went down, Baykeeper conducted regular boat patrols in the area to monitor the site. We also stayed in regular contact with the US Coast Guard to ensure that measures were taken to protect the Bay. The salvage companies’ divers first assessed the situation with sonar equipment, then flipped the barge over (a process called “parbuckling”) to stabilize the vessel, and plugged the barge’s holes and cracks. The responsible agencies proceeded with extreme caution and careful planning both because of the sensitivity of the Bay and the location of the barge, which landed atop the 30-foot deep layer of sediment covering BART’s trans-Bay tunnel.   

We are glad to report that neither the barge nor the crane removal appear to have caused significant harm to the Bay.  And no additional fuel has leaked.

Baykeeper is working hard to make sure protections are in place to prevent oil spills and vessel pollution in the Bay, and to prepare a rapid and effective response when events like this do occur.

Photo by Tim Eichenberg