Operation begins to remove fuel from sunken barge in SF Bay

U.S. Coast Guard officials said Wednesday that they and partner agencies began removing fuel from a barge that capsized in San Francisco Bay in April.

The 112-foot freight barge Vengeance capsized on April 7 south of the Bay Bridge and settled above the subterranean BART Transbay Tube, which is protected by a 25- to 30-foot layer of earth, according to Coast Guard officials.

During fuel removal operations, which began shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday, the fuel that remains on the Vengeance barge is being pumped from the barge into fuel containers positioned on a second work barge for disposal, Coast Guard officials said.

The commercial diving services company Global Diving and Salvage was conducting the fuel removal operations Wednesday.

A discharge of fuel is not expected to occur during the transfer process, but divers are securing an underwater fuel containment dome over the Vengeance fuel fill connection as a precaution to prevent any fuel from reaching the surrounding waters during the transfer, according to the Coast Guard.

A pollution containment boom will also be available for deployment in case there’s a larger pollution discharge.

SEE RELATED: Sunken barge in SF Bay is settled on sea floor above Transbay Tube

Coast Guard officials said fuel will be removed from the Vengeance in order to prepare the barge for removal from the sea floor at a later date.

Plans for removing the barge from the sea floor are still in progress and could take several additional weeks once fuel removal is complete, according to the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard officials said the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, Vortex Marine Construction and BART are all overseeing the fuel removal operation.

Coast Guard officials said mariners are asked to abide by the 350-meter safety zone and to monitor local media channels since the safety zone is subject to change.

Marine information broadcasts to local mariners will continue while the safety zone is in effect, according to the Coast Guard.

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