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Barge disrupts Mon River traffic near Brownsville

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 8:18 p.m.

Commercial river traffic on the Monongahela River south of Brownsville resumed Friday evening after being halted most of the day because a loaded coal barge hit bottom and began taking water, a Coast Guard officer said.

The towboat Francis J. Blank was pushing three barges between the Maxwell Locks and Dam in East Millsboro and Brownsville when the Coast Guard was notified at 6:45 a.m. that the lead barge struck bottom in the navigation channel, Coast Guard Lt. Alanna McGovern said.

The captain pushed the barge onto the left riverbank to prevent it from sinking, McGovern said. The navigation channel remained closed until 7 p.m. while a salvage crew used a crane barge to transfer the coal onto a hopper barge, she said.

There were no injuries and no indication of environmental damage, McGovern said.

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