Offshore InjuryBlog

Tugboat Crash in New York; 1 Dead, 2 Missing

Early on Saturday at approximately 5:15 a.m., a 90-foot tugboat named the Specialist collided with a construction barge on the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge. At the time of the incident, the tug, which had departed from Albany, had been steering a barge carrying a crane to Jersey City.

According to a police spokesman, the tug struck a fixed construction barge that had been underneath the bridge; the tug began to take on water and sank with three people aboard. Per authorities, one body has since been recovered; however, the other two individuals are still missing. There were 13 workers aboard the barge, but none of them were hurt. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation and the search for the two missing crew members are ongoing.

"We offer our thoughts and prayers to loved ones of the crew members aboard the tugboat," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a statement. "The state is actively working with our partners in law enforcement in locating the missing crew members and minimizing environmental damage along the Hudson River."

The tug sank near the widest span of the river where the water is approximately 35-40 feet deep. Due to rough currents, divers are unable to safely enter to search for the vessel that remains underwater. Thus, searches are limited to the surface, although solar technology has been enlisted in the search.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation, with the help of a private contractor, is working to contain 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the tug, which created a 100 yard by 5 mile slick.

Warnings Issued Earlier This Month Regarding the Area

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice to mariners on March 3 regarding the area around construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge, stating that there are "over a hundred pieces of floating equipment and supporting vessels" present, as well as more than 30 different equipment moorings. "Mariners are advised to transit the main channel, reduce wake and use extreme caution while transiting the area in the vicinity of the Tappan Zee Bridge, especially during inclement weather and darkness, and pay particular attention to vessel movements," stated the notice.

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