Barge grounds near Dillingham

The Coast Guard is monitoring a loaded fuel barge that ran aground early Sunday near Dillingham.

The barge, carrying about 1.2 million gallons of fuel, was being towed by the tug boat Seneca, owned by Crowley Maritime Corp. The tug's propeller got caught in a fishing net, causing it to drift, said Petty Officer Jeff Dickey.

The barge went "soft aground," meaning stuck on something like a sandbar, not rock, said Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Roberto. The Coast Guard was alerted to the trouble around 12:30 a.m. The grounding happened in Nushagak Bay, south of Dillingham.

The double-hulled barge was carrying 249,000 gallons of jet fuel, 612,000 gallons of diesel, and 349,000 gallons of gasoline, according to Dickey.

Crowley sent out another tug to lighter off fuel. Crews were able to remove about 103,000 gallons by mid-afternoon.

Crowley tried to refloat the barge Sunday morning but the high tide wasn't high enough, and the attempt failed, Dickey said. The company was going to try again around midnight.

No fuel has spilled, the Coast Guard said.

Anchorage Daily News /