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Dredging Barge Now In Dock, Investigation For Cause Of Sinking Underway

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(credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Port Huron, Mich.)

(credit: U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Port Huron, Mich.)

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LAKEPORT (WWJ) – A dredging barge that sank in southern Lake Huron earlier this month during stormy weather has been salvaged, and is now at a maintenance dock.

Public Affairs Officer Lt. Justin Westmiller said bad weather kept them from doing it earlier, but the barge was brought into the maintenance dock Monday.

“The barge has actually refloated using float bags and an air system, it pumps air into all the tanks .. and that allowed it to refloat,” said Westmiller.

Westmiller tells WWJ about the diesel fuel that had leaked out of the 110-foot barge.

“Diesel fuel dissipates. When it gets into the environment, it dissipates very quickly. So at this point we don’t expect any, or very little, effect to the environment,” he said.

Westmiller says they will now investigate what caused the barge to sink. He says the recovery operation stalled last week because of the bad weather.

“We are going to conduct an investigation into the sinking of the Arthur J.and we are also … beginning a thorough investigation and going through the vessel to ensure that it’s sea worthy and making sure the vessel … doesn’t have any other issues with it,” said Westmillier.

The barge recovery operation stalled last week because of strong winds and choppy waters.

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