Fuel Barge Grounds on Columbia River

On January 21, 2004, a barge carrying 42,000-barrels of marine fuel oil ran aground on the Columbia River at Kelly Point, Oregon.

At 1:45 a.m. the 281-foot fuel barge, C.F. Starlight, ran aground where the Columbia and Willamette River meet.

The Olympic Tug and Barge Company has taken responsibility for the grounding and has boomed off the vessel as a proactive measure. No oil has been spilled.

The Coast Guard has responded with two pollution investigators and one marine casualty investigator.

The oil is in the process of being transferred to two other barges. The pollution investigators conducted a pollution prevention regulation boarding and determined that all three vessels were safe and able to conduct the fuel transfer.

When the grounded barge is lightened of its fuel, an attempt will be made to free it from the sandy bottom.

The five crew members on board were questioned and given a drug and alcohol test. Additional information is being collected to determine the cause of the grounding. The accident is still under investigation.

Weather conditions at the time of the grounding were extreme fog, with approximately 100-foot visibility and strong currents where the rivers converged.