Saturday, September 22, 2007
A tugboat pushing an empty barge on the Columbia River beached itself at Chinook Landing in Fairview after it hit an unknown object and began taking on water. After it was pumped out and inspected by the Coast Guard, the 57-foot “Lori B” was refloated. The tug master, whose name is unavailable, piloted the craft about a mile upriver to Sundial Marine Construction & Repair in Troutdale, where it is undergoing repairs. When the tug master noticed the craft was taking on water, he decided to beach it on the south bank of the Columbia River to avoid sinking, said Joshua Mattulat, ensign with the Coast Guard’s Portland district.
The tugboat Lori B and an empty barge sit beached on the Columbia River at Chinook Landing.“It’s not a common thing if you can dewater (the craft),” he said, but he speculated that the pilot thought beaching it was the safest option available. Bernert Barge Lines Inc. of Oregon City owns the Lori B, and its home dock is at Bernert’s facility at The Dalles on the Columbia River. As of press time, Bernert officials had not returned telephone calls. A Coast Guard investigation is pending on the incident as well as the tug master. The Coast Guard is typically involved when a watercraft runs aground, addressing safety and environmental concerns, Mattulat said.