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Loaded Barge Flips at Port

by Staff
Capital Press, April 4, 2003

PORTLAND -- Port of Portland and salvage workers rushed to reopen Terminal 6 this week, after a heavily loaded barge capsized Friday, dumping dozens of containers into the Columbia river, alongside Berth 604, in the middle of the port's busiest dock.

When it rolled over, "Big Bin," operated by Tidewater Barge Lines, was carrying 102 containers of peas, lentils and paper products loaded at the Port of Lewiston, Idaho. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the Port of Portland, tidewater and the U.S. Coast Guard, said Aaron Ellis, marine public affairs director for the port.

The incident created an immediate crisis for the port, which needs the space for docking the largest ships, Ellis said. A Hyundai Merchant Marine container ship was to arrive Wednesday.

"Berth 604 is in the middle of Terminal 6 and that could have been a major problem for us. Fortunately, there wasn't another ship due at that berth, so we were able to work it out," Ellis said.

All but two container loads are a total loss, said Stephen Frasher, president of Tidewater Barge Lines. "They had unloaded only two containers when the barge started to roll over. It went completely upside down, and the rest went into the water."

Frasher estimated that the cost of the incident, including destroyed cargo, damage to the dock and salvage costs, could exceed $2 million. "The value of the cargo alone was $1 million," he said.

Loaded Barge Flips at Port
Capital Press, April 4, 2003

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