Coast Guard approves salvage plan for vessel involved in Eggners Ferry Bridge collapse

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Reporter - Robert Bradfield
Photojournalist - David Dycus

PADUCAH — The Coast Guard approved a salvage plan Friday to remove both the supply ship Delta Mariner and a section of the Eggner Ferry Bridge that remains on its bow following a collision a week ago.

Salvage operations are anticipated to begin Saturday. Foss Maritime, owner of the Delta Mariner, has brought in numerous support vessels and technical salvage equipment in anticipation of debris removal operations.

"The Coast Guard is working closely with Foss Maritime to ensure the safest and most efficient salvage of the ship," said Cmdr. Claudia Gelzer, commanding officer of Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah. "The company is cooperating fully and bringing the appropriate resources to bear in support of the operation. The goal is to free the ship from the bridge span debris and assess damages so it can be repaired and put back into service."

The Coast Guard has been enforcing a safety zone from mile marker 41 to mile marker 43 on either side of the bridge on the Tennessee River to protect the public from the damaged bridge and stricken ship since Jan. 26. The river was opened to commercial traffic on Jan. 28, with speed restrictions.

The Coast Guard Cutter Obion and a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and crew from MSU Paducah remain on site to ensure safety of salvage operations.  The Coast Guard is working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife and Marshall County Police.

There are no reported injuries or pollution at this time.

The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.

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