A barge that was intentionally run aground on San Francisco’s waterfront Tuesday morning leaked a “small amount” of fuel into the Bay and is now docked in Oakland, authorities said.
A tugboat captain piloting a 230-foot barge reported the vessel’s engine room began taking on water around 7:30 a.m. The captain ran the vessel aground near San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club to prevent it from sinking and possibly causing an environmental disaster, company officials said.
The barge had the capacity to hold 4,800 gallons of diesel fuel, hydraulic fuel and lube oil, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Laura Williams said. It was not clear exactly how much fuel leaked into the Bay, Williams said.
The leak appeared to be residual fuel from the engine room that took on water, Williams said.
“It was a small amount,” Williams said. “It wasn’t thousands of gallons.”
Moving the damaged barge required the help of two other barges, Williams said. The vessel was transporting sand for a dredging operation. The sand weighed the boat down. To lighten the load, a crane barge scooped up the sand and loaded it onto a third barge. Once the damaged barge was light enough to float, the tugboat pushed it to Oakland, Williams said.
Investigators are probing how the vessel became damaged, she said.
A crane barge remained near the yacht club on Wednesday. It will be moved once the weather permitted, Williams said.
Spokeswoman Joan McCoy of barge operator Foss Maritime Co. said the tugboat captain ran the barge aground so that “fuel and other oil could be removed from the barge without it sinking.”
A small sheen of oil was spotted on the water and boom was deployed around the barge to contain any leaking fuel, Williams said.
Coast Guard pollution investigators and a 25-foot response boat were at the scene of the grounding most of the day. No injuries were reported.
The barge was shipping sand for a dredging operation, Williams said.
The stuck barge was not blocking passage for boaters.