Man seriously injured when barge capsizes

A barge capsized in New Bedford Harbor Monday and gravely injured the legs of a mariner. — Courtesy NBC 10

Updated Nov. 27

A Tisbury Towing and Transportation barge capsized Monday afternoon in New Bedford Harbor, seriously injuring one man. The vessel turned over “north of the Route 6 Swing Bridge” between 1:30 and 2 pm, New Bedford assistant harbormaster Brian Joseph told The Times. Joseph said he believed the barge was taking on aggregate material — sand or gravel — when the accident occurred, and was tied to a bulkhead with the tugboat Sirius nearby. The unidentified victim was taken by the New Bedford Marine Unit to Pier 3 and placed in an ambulance, Joseph said.

Tisbury Towing and Transportation owner Ralph Packer confirmed an accident occurred Monday afternoon in New Bedford. Packer said the barge that capsized was one of two rafted together.

“A very splendid young man got hurt very seriously,” he said.

Packer said he was still in the process of gathering information on the accident, and declined to comment further on it until he could learn more himself.

The victim suffered injuries to both his legs “as a result of being pinned between two barges,” New Bedford Deputy Fire Chief Paul Coderre Jr said. Deputy Chief Coderre said one barge flipped over against another. He said his department responded from land with an engine, ladder, and command vehicles.

The barge was in the process of loading sand, Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Barresi said. Coderre said sand is loaded onto vessels in the location of the accident by either frontend loader or conveyor belt. His department wasn’t immediately able to determine what method was being used at the time to load sand. The Coast Guard did not launch a vessel, according to Barresi, because local assets had already responded. It did, however, issue a hazard to navigation warning for a “partially submerged barge.” The need for the warning was short-lived, he said, as the barge was quickly moved out of normal vessel paths.

Deputy Chief Coderre said he recalled the capsized barge “being tended by a tug to keep it out of the shipping lane.”

“It’s under investigation as a marine casualty, because there was an injury beyond first aid,” Sector Southeastern New England Assistant Inspection Chief Carl Moberg said. Lt. Amanda Styles, senior investigating officer for the sector, traveled to New Bedford Monday to review the mishap, he said. Lt. Styles was joined by Chief Warrant Officer Glen Brown from the marine inspection office, Moberg said.

Updated to add more information. -Ed.