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Barge Cynthia M; Kearny, New Jersey

Kearny, New Jersey | 1994-Mar-15

Initial Notification: On March 15, 1994, the barge Cynthia M was found listing 70 degrees to port while tied to a pier at the Kuehne Chemical Company south of Kearny, New Jersey. The 202-foot Cynthia M, with a capacity of 340,000 gallons, was loaded with 310,000 gallons of a 30 percent solution of caustic soda. Her list was suspected to have been caused by open valves that allowed free communication of liquids between internal tanks. The weather onscene was winds from the southwest at 15 to 20 knots. The tidal excursions for the Hackensack River were estimated to be between three-quarters of a mile and one mile. The port side of the barge was completely submerged from center line to rail, resting solidly on the bottom. The USCG, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy, and New Jersey Marine Police went to the scene and assessed the situation. Initially, the capsizing of the vessel and its subsequent loss of cargo were the greatest concerns. On March 16 it was estimated that approximately 150,000 gallons of cargo had been lost into the Hackensack River and Newark Bay. The caustic soda escaped from a vent on deck that had submerged because of the vessel's list. At 1235 water testing of pH near the barge showed readings of 12; by 1535 the readings were 9, indicating that pH was returning to normal levels. The responsible party hired a marine salver to raise the barge, and state and federal agencies monitored the water pH until it returned to normal. The USCG was onscene about two weeks monitoring the spill response and salvage. USCG district 1. Keyword: water monitoring, salvage.

Incident Details
Products of concern:caustic soda (sodium hydroxide)
Total amount at risk of spill: 150,000 gallons
Latitude (approximate): 40° 44.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 74° 6.00′ West