Tidewater New Dawn grounding

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

A barge being pushed by Tidewater Barge Line's tug The Chief went aground while navigating in the Columbia River channel on an uncharted sand bar at mile 169, below the Hood River Bridge. 

Summary information

Date of incident:  July 9, 2009

The mouth of the Hood River is about 56 miles east of Portland, Oregon, on the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon

Type of incident: Gasoline, no quantity lost. Barge hauling 1 million gallons
Cause of incident: Under investigation
Responsible party: Tidewater Barge Lines Inc.
The Tidewater's New Dawn grounding

The Tidewater's New Dawn grounding. Photo by Ryan Paulsen, Ecology Spills Program staff.

Status updates

July 13, 2009

On Friday, July 10, 2009, at 6:54 p.m. Tidewater Barge Line safely re-floated its barge New Dawn frm the sand bar where it went aground near Hood River, Oregon, early Thursday morning.

In order to free the vessel, Tidewater safely transferred approximately 500,00 gallons of gasoline from the stranded barge to another double-hulled barge stationed along side. No gasoline was release during the transfer. A U.S. Coast Guard inspection confirmed that the barge was not damaged. The New Dawn will continue to its destination to deliver the remaining gasoline.

The Unified Command, consisting of Tidewater, the Environmental Protection Agency, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Washington Department of Ecology, with assistance from other local and tribal agencies, worked together to manage the operation to safely re-float the barge.

July 9, 2009

At approximately 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, 2009, a barge being pushed by Tidewater Barge Line's tug The Chief went aground while navigating in the Columbia River channel on an uncharted sand bar at mile 169, below the Hood River Bridge. The tug had in tow a loaded petroleum barge, a loaded container barge carrying containerized solid waste and two additional empty barges.

Tidewater response personnel and governmental authorities were promptly contacted and mobilized to the site.  Tidewater and Coast Guard personnel inspected the double-hull of the barge. There is no indication of any damage to the hull of the barge from this incident. There has been no release of any cargo and no impact to the environment. There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

Tidewater Barge Lines is working with state and federal agencies, including the US Coast Guard, US Army Corps of Engineers, EPA, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and Washington Department of Ecology to develop a plan to free the barge from its current location.

The Coast Guard will establish a security zone around the boat and barge to ensure public safety during the re-float operations. The public is requested to remain a safe distance from the vessel.

Attempts to free the grounded barge New Dawn with an additional tugboat near Hood River, Oregon, were unsuccessful Thursday.

Working closely with Tidewater Tug and Barge, the owners and operators of the New Dawn, the Coast Guard approved a salvage plan to free the barge from the sandbar. The plan calls for an empty fuel barge to be brought alongside in order to transfer gasoline off the grounded vessel. This process, known as lightering, will decrease the draft of the New Dawn so that it may be freed from the river bottom.

The lightering operations will commence at first light on Friday morning.

News releases

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact, ty.keltner@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990