Barge Capsizes and Sinks Near Boston Harbor

Image courtesy USCG Northeast / Twitter

Published Dec 3, 2018 5:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday night, a barge carrying construction equipment capsized and likely sank about two miles off Nahant, a small town just northeast of Boston. 

The captain of tug boat Big Jake notified the Coast Guard at 0930 hours Sunday morning that two of five barges in his tow had broken free and gone adrift. Crew members from Coast Guard Station Point Allerton and the Coast Guard cutter Key Largo responded to the scene, along with the tugs Smith Predator, Justice, and Kendall J. Hebert. While Big Jake was being escorted to shore, two more barges broke free, bringing the total number adrift to four.

Each of the three escort tugs located and rescued one barge. The fourth barge, which was carrying construction equipment, capsized and likely sank two miles southeast of Nahant. The Key Largo remained near the barge's last known position through the night, and the Massachusetts State Police began a sonar search on Monday. As of Monday afternoon, the USCG said that it believes the wreckage has been located at a position outside of the main shipping channels. Search crews will be back on scene on Tuesday to confirm the site of the sinking so that the owners can begin a salvage plan.

According to the Boston Globe, the forty-by-eighty-foot barge was headed for a dredging project site, and it carried an excavator, a crane and a Winnebago. This equipment held a maximum of 500 gallons of diesel fuel and 400 gallons of hydraulic oil. 

The Port of Boston remains open, but mariners are advised to use "extreme caution" when transiting the area of the suspected sinking. The Coast Guard has asked all parties to report any sighting of debris to the Sector Boston command center.