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A barge with 1,400 tons of methanol breaks away from a tugboat in the Ohio River and triggers alarms


Authorities deployed a team of hazardous materials experts who ensured that the locks are closed until navigation is restored.

By Dennis Romero –

NBC News

Three barges, including one

carrying 1,400 tons of methanol

, were stuck against a levee on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday, officials said.

The three rigs were part of a group of 10 that broke loose from a tug around 2 a.m. Tuesday after striking a structure at the entrance to the Portland Canal near the McAlpine Lock and Dam, the Management Agency said. Emergency Department in a statement.

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One of the barges remained attached and all of the barges that broke away, except one carrying methanol, were carrying soybeans and corn, the agency said.

"There is no evidence that a tank has been punctured or leaked. Air and water monitoring equipment has been placed on site," the statement added.

The situation forced authorities to limit traffic on the river while state and federal agencies tried to remove the three barges, said Chris Davis, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

Image taken from Twitter of the three barges stuck in the Ohio River.Twitter @KentuckyEEC

Traffic on the river was halted and gates that had reopened were likely to close again overnight while officials assessed the situation, he added.

"We have prohibited the traffic," Davis said.

"Salvage operations are going to take place and it's going to be dangerous."

The Louisville Water Company said the incident occurred downstream, so there has been no impact to the city's drinking water.

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"The water is safe for consumption," the company said on its Facebook page.

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The other seven barges that broke off were recovered by other vessels in the area, the Army Corps of Engineers reported.

No injuries were reported and there are no missing persons, he said.

Methanol is used in car windshield cleaners, gas line antifreeze, carburetor cleaners, copy machine fluids, perfumes, and other products.

It is part of the so-called "toxic alcohols".

The chemical can be "extremely dangerous" to humans if ingested and can cause death, coma, and respiratory and circulatory system failure, according to a report released by federal health officials.

The Coast Guard was investigating the cause of the accident.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-29

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