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Jul 7, 2010 1:57 PM by Letitia Walker

Sunken Barge Update in St. Mary Parish

Salvage Operations on the partially sunken Drilling Barge in the Charenton Navigation Canal will begin at 1830 hours on Wednesday July 7, 2010 and continue until Sunday Morning July 11, at 0630 hrs. That means that NO VESSELS (Commercial or Sportsmen) WILL BE ALLOWED TO PASS THAT AREA. The Coast Guard will be at the site to ensure the safety of the Salvage Crews working there.

Salvage crews are beginning the process to remove the barge and will be doing this in stages. They are attempting to remove parts off the barge that will allow larger boats and barges to negotiate the Canal.

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Prior Story Posted May 5, 2010

A different oil rig is causing some concern in St. Mary Parish. The rig rolled into the Baldwin Canal on Friday. It is a drilling barge that was being dismantled for scraps at T. Moore Services just south of US 90.

There wasn't any oil on board because the rig had been out of commission for over 10 years. But, with everyone's thoughts on the gulf and the environmental effects there, this incident may actually affect the local economy.

Director of the Office of Emergency of Preparedness, Duval Arthur, Jr. says the flipped barge is hurting local businesses. The problem is, the rig is blocking a part of the canal and the Coast Guard is only allowing boats 35-feet wide or smaller to pass through.

"There is an oil company there, and they couldn't get the oil barge through. If they don't get the oil, then the gas stations don't get it so it affects everybody really," Arthur said.

Several companies use the canal to transport their goods, including things like sugar, fuel and shrimp. Arthur says these are three big industries in St. Mary Parish. These companies are only allowed to pass if their boat is 35-feet wide or smaller, and if they only have one barge. Several boats have already been turned away by the Coast Guard.

T. Moore Services is working with four other companies and the coast guard to prepare a plan to upright the barge. Once the Coast Guard approves the plan, the companies can begin the process. Arthur hopes that will happen in a about two weeks.

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