Extreme ice conditions close upper Cook Inlet to single-hull barges

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Upper Cook Inlet was closed to single-hulled tanker barges Friday after an Anchorage-bound vessel encountered impassable ice floes.

The master of a Carl Anderson Towing tug reported having trouble maneuvering a powerless barge through heavy pack ice, the Coast Guard said. The barge was hauling aviation fuel and diesel.

After two hours battling the ice, the tug managed to turn around and head south to open water. The 100-by-400-foot barge being towed was undamaged and no spill occurred, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said the upper Inlet will remain closed to this type of barge until the risk of ice is reduced.

The closure only applies to tanker barges, unpowered vessels used to haul petroleum products.

All ships in the Inlet have been under heavy ice rules since Nov. 29. That means they must travel low enough in the water to prevent ice from clogging water-intake vents. And crews must have foul-weather gear and equipment such as docking winches must be operational in icy weather.

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