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Ohio River barge containing 1,400 metric tons of methanol breaks off ship in Kentucky and becomes ‘partially submerged’

A late-night collision on the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, freed several barges from the towing ship — including one carrying 1,400 metric tons of methanol.

The “navigation accident” occurred around 2 a.m. Tuesday in the lock rooms at McAlpine Locks and Dam, which is located in the Ohio River, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. The ship, which was towing 11 barges carrying various products, including soybeans and corn, collided with what Metro Louisville emergency services described as a “fixed structure At the Portland Canal’s entrance near the dam.

No injuries were reported, but when the ship hit the hull, 10 of the ship’s 11 barges detached. The Legion said that three of them ended up with it.installedopposite the bottom of the dam and one of them was installed on the pier of the Louisville, Indiana bridge. The barge carrying the methanol was placed in the dam, according to The Kentucky Department of Energy and Environment was “partially overwhelmed.”

Methanol is a “toxic alcoholic” substance that is used in various industries, including pesticides and alternative fuels. Methanol poses an explosion hazard in some cases, such as when methanol vapor mixes with air and when runoff ends up in sewers, according to Center for Disease Control.

The Cabinet was among the organizations that sent teams to help clean up.

The Emergency Response Team (ERT) is currently responding to a barge incident that occurred this morning in Ohio…

Posted by Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet on Tuesday, March 28, 2023

“There is currently no evidence of a tank breach or any leak,” the Louisville Emergency Services Agency said in an update Tuesday. Air and water monitoring resources are in place… There is currently no impact on Louisville Water’s water intake or water quality. The waterway of the river is open through the use of local ship traffic services.”



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