Sunken Dredge Barge Raised from La Push Channel

Congratulations to Ballard Diving and Salvage for getting the barge Nehalem off the La Push channel entrance without apparent fuel spillage.

La Push, WA (March 7, 2010) – In conjunction with the United States Coast Guard, and various other state agencies, the dredge Nehalem that sunk late last month in the channel entrance of La Push was raised late Saturday night.

“The Dredge sustained minimal damage in the sinking so it was imperative that the salvage team use care in raising the barge to keep the sealed fuel tanks intact and mitigate further damage to the vessel,” said Jesse Hutton, Salvage Master for Ballard Diving & Salvage.   A combination of strong currents, undersea cables and a first for the divers and the dive company, a tsunami warning during early dives added an interesting twist to the operation this week.

The dredge barge was raised late Saturday night with a 135 ton capacity crane barge, the largest that could safely navigate the narrow channel entrance to La Push.  Additional spill containment boom was placed to ensure no unplanned pollutants would be released as the entire operation was performed in the shadow of James Island, sacred to the Quileute Indian Tribe.

“The operation was completed successfully and safely,” Hutton said.  The dredge will return to Oregon for repairs with expectations for it to be working in Alaska this spring according to Nehalem River Dredging President Vern Skovell.

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