Breakaway Barge

Barges being pushed by a New Orleans tugboat got loose when one of them struck a concrete bulkhead near the Houma twin-span bridges Tuesday night, alarming some residents and resulting in a shutdown of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.

No injuries were reported in connection with the incident, which occurred at around 8:30 p.m.

The tug Native Dancer, often seen on local waterways, was pushing barges laden with salt toward New Orleans when the incident took place. Houma Police Chief Dana Coleman said his marine officers aided with shutting down the GICW.

Lt. Karl Beattie responded in an HPD boat after calls were received from residents near the incident alarmed by the sound of the barge striking the bulkhead.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lexie Preston, a spokeswoman, said out of six barges total, three got loose. They were wrangled by Coast Guard personnel and crew and no longer pose a threat to the area, Preston said. A 29-foot Coast Guard response boat was dispatched out of Morgan City to assist with efforts in Houma. The Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Houma is in charge of the investigation.

The 72-foot long tug that was pushing the barges is owned by Fleet Boats of Convent, La., according to NOAA records. The home port of the tug, the Native Dancer, is listed as New Orleans. Barges regularly traverse the Intracoastal carrying salt picked up in the Avery Island area.

Barge vs. bulkhead in Tues night mishapBreakaway barge