Sunken barge in Bay settled on sea floor above Transbay Tube

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By Bay City News Service

A sunken barge in the San Francisco Bay south of the Bay Bridge is resting on the sea floor above the Transbay Tube, however, the tube is "not impacted," the U.S. Coast Guard said today.

The barge's location "poses no threat to the Bay Area Rapid Transit District Transbay Tube or salvage operations," according to a statement by U.S. Coast Guard 11th District Public Affairs.

"The barge has settled... above the subterranean BART tube, which is sheltered by a 25-to-30-foot protective layer of earth," the statement said.

Regular sonar scans and tube inspections are being conducted to ensure the BART tube is not impacted and that BART remains safe to operate, the Coast Guard said.

The 112-foot freight barge Vengeance capsized Friday with 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 300 gallons of hydraulic fluid aboard. Initially the barge was leaking, but divers managed to plug the leak that afternoon.

A Coast Guard helicopter flew over the area Sunday and didn't detect oil sheen in the water, according to the Coast Guard.

Agencies including the Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, Vortex Marine Construction and BART are working together to devise a salvage plan.

Vortex Marine Construction, owner of the barge, has hired Global Diving and Salvage to do underwater assessments and put together the plan, the Coast Guard said.

Coast Guard Station San Francisco crews are enforcing a safety zone in the area to ensure safety for those responding to the capsized barge. The Coast Guard also issued a safety marine information broadcast to local

No impact to the shoreline or wildlife has been observed, but shoreline teams and crews are monitoring the area, the Coast Guard said.

The barge, which is usually moored at Treasure Island, is part of work that is periodically done to prevent corrosion in the Transbay Tube, BART Spokeswoman Alicia Trost said last week.