Once the barge fire was extinguished, crews began planning its salvage. Photo courtesy of DNREC

Salvage of Burned Barge Complete in Delaware Bay

Two weeks after a barge was engulfed in flames in the Delaware Bay, the vessel has finally been removed from the water.

As Bay Bulletin reported, the barge was carrying scrap metal from household appliances when it caught fire in the wee hours of May 23. The fire quickly grew to consume the entire 40-foot-tall pile of cargo on the 400-foot-long barge. Burning in the shallow waters nine miles south of Port Mahon, not far from Dover, Del., smoke was visible from the shore.

The fire lasted some 36 hours and drew a huge response, including the New York City Fire Department and other fire boats from New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Once it was finally under control, efforts quickly switched to salvage operations. Salvagers and naval architects made a plan to “safely assess the condition of the barge, then verify the vessel’s stability and seaworthiness for transit,” according to the Coast Guard.

 The barge, CMT Y Not 6, was towed to its original destination of Camden, N.J., where the scrap metal will be removed and recycled.

“Thanks to the close collaboration and coordination between the Unified Command, crews were able to stabilize the vessel and minimize impact to the maritime transportation system and environment,” said Capt. Jonathan Theel, the commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. 

The Unified Command is comprised of representatives from Eastern Metal Recycling, New Jersey’s emergency management and environmental protection departments, the Coast Guard, and Cumberland County, N.J. emergency management.

There was said to be no major environmental impact from the barge fire.

-Meg Walburn Viviano