Statement from TZC re Runaway Barges

Amid strong public reaction and financial discipline from the state after the third breakaway barge incident in six months, Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) spokeswoman Carla Julian addressed concerns and explained what happened, outlining extra safety measures.

“Tappan Zee Constructors, LLC (TZC) places safety as our top priority, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that our work site is safe for workers, boaters and the surrounding public,” TZC spokeswoman Carla Julian said in a statement Tuesday night.

Following a full investigation of the barge separation Sunday, March 30, at approximately 3:45 p.m., Julian said, “TZC determined that high winds and rough seas caused two, three-inch lines from the mooring buoy to the barge to fail from severe abrasion and high heat created from friction.”

In addition to the ongoing inspection of the barge lines, she said, “TZC has developed a plan to prevent this from occurring in the future. New mooring lines are being installed that are more resistant to abrasion and friction during severe weather, high winds and rough seas. Additionally, anti-chafing sleeves will be installed to further protect the mooring lines from abrasion where appropriate.”

The previous barge separations (September 22, 2013, and January 3, 2014), Julian said, “were from a different cause. Previously, the lines failed from barges that were tied to other barges, not directly to a mooring line. TZC put new protocols in place at that time and they have worked as that type of separation has not occurred since.”

Protocols include:

  • Repositioning of barge orientation to cause less stress on lines from the movement of the full barge grouping
  • Implementation of a new TZC adverse weather safety checklist
  • Increased TZC marine security patrols to 24-hours-a-day and seven-days-a-week
  • Enhanced training for TZC rigging crews
  • GPS tracking for TZC vessels and barges (currently being tested)
Sample web image tracking GPS location of barges/Courtesy of New NY Bridge press release March 31, 2014

Sample web image tracking GPS location of barges/Courtesy of New NY Bridge press release March 31, 2014

“TZC continues to work in partnership with the New York State Thruway Authority and the U.S. Coast Guard with respect to the U.S. Coast Guard Regulated Navigation Area,” she said, “and will continue to refine our processes in order to ensure the highest level of safety on the project.”

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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