Press Release

A barge that sank Jan. 30 in the Elk River near the C & D Canal will be recovered Saturday, March 4, by a marine salvage operation under the supervision of the U.S. Coast Guard. The Maryland Department of the Environment and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the recovery effort, which will begin at 8 a.m. It is expected that the actual raising of the vessel will occur around 9 a.m.

The barge, which is owned by PQ Corporation of Philadelphia, contains more than 1,000 tons of sodium silicate. Test results of the water surrounding and downstream of the barge show no elevated levels of pH, which indicates that little, if any, sodium silicate has escaped from the vessel. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor water quality during the recovery.

Over the past several weeks, salvage divers have been readying the barge for recovery by inspecting its stability and attaching four giant lift straps. Tomorrow, a large marine salvage crane will be used to raise the barge.

Note: A very limited number of press passes are available to observe the recovery from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin. News media interested in observing the recovery from the cutter must contact Tim Zernick of the U.S. Coast Guard at 410-576-2693. The observation party will leave promptly at 8 a.m. from Dann Towing, 299 Boatyard Road, Chesapeake City. Boatyard Road is west of the Route 213 bridge and runs along the C & D Canal. Other media may observe the recovery from Elk Neck State Park/Turkey Point.

Rich McIntire with the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Office of Communications will be onsite to assist with any news media needs. His pager is 410-716-8784.