A visiting vessel
Barge ran aground on western shore
by Rory Pasquariello
Reporter staff writer
Nov 01, 2017 | 1090 views | 0 0 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A nearly 300-footbarge ran aground on Bayonne’s western shore between 16th Street Park and 21st Street on Monday, October 30, after the rain storm that enveloped much of NJ broke it free of its moor in the Newark Bay, according to Edoardo “Junior” Ferrante, Bayonne Office of Emergency Management Coordinator. Wind gusts of more than 45 miles per hour likely contributed to the barge coming loose.

The barge, owned by the Staten Island-based Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation, is used to store and transport dredged sentiment from the bay bed. From 16th Street Park, residents can spot the barges moored when not in use. They’re tugged behind large dredging ships when in the process of maintenance dredging. Dredging companies are contracted to perform routine dredging to maintain proper shipping channels.

“Just when you thought you’ve seen everything,” said Ferrante, noting the coincidence of the barge washing ashore on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. “Our biggest concern was that no one was hurt, and there was no property damage.”

Residents of the neighborhood woke up to find the unoccupied barge floating within sight of their backyards. By 6:30 a.m., the Bayonne Fire and Police Departments were called to the area to inspect.

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“Just when you thought you’ve seen everything.” – Edoardo “Junior” Ferrante

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A rising tide lifts one ship

With the barge’s hull stuck in the mud in the shallow water by the shore, the plan was to wait for high tide to loosen the ship from the mud; Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation would tug it away on Monday evening.

“That didn’t work,” said Ferrante, who said he heard a tug boat operator say, “I think we’re going to need a bigger boat,” during the failed attempt.

“They thought that with the high tide last night they would be able to get it out, but they couldn’t.”

The company plans to attempt to remove the vessel again at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. If that fails, the company may wait until this weekend when a full moon will raise the tides higher than normal, and it’s hoped, the barge along with it.

“With the tide higher, and possibly more tugboats, they’ll be able to get it out,” said Ferrante, who will coordinate with the Bayonne Fire Department to ensure that the area is safe, and residents maintain a safe distance. Ferrante said that the BFD may use its boat to monitor the process, but the barge’s removal will come at no cost to the city. The Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corporation is responsible for removing its barge. Residents should not to attempt to board or damage the vessel.

It is unclear what exactly is making the barge so difficult to move. Ferrante said that it may have struck a natural feature in the water on 16th Street that is making the process more challenging.

“But it’s not hurting anything,” he said. “No damage. It’s just going to sit there for a few days until they are going to give it a shot again this week.”

“That’s wild,” said Bayonne resident Cheri La Pelusa. “It’s just interesting when you open your blinds, and you see this monster. I don’t know how they’re going to get it out.”

Her husband, Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa, said, “They need to moor these things a little bit better because it’s a big hassle. It could be dangerous, too. What if that thing was just wild and hit another person or boat out there?”

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com.

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