SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – Authorities were still dealing Tuesday night with a barge that ran aground after taking on water and becoming stuck near San Francisco’s St. Francis Yacht Club, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

Lt. j.g. Laura Williams said the barge, which was transporting sand and rock, likely from a dredging operation, ran aground around 7:30 a.m.

The unmanned barge was being pushed by a tugboat, Williams said.

Tugboat operators noticed the vessel was taking on water in the engine room and intentionally ran it aground, she said.

“They did it so the vessel wouldn’t be stuck in deep water,” Williams said.

Investigators are trying to determine why the vessel was taking on water.

The barge could have been carrying thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, and there were reports of a sheen in the water, Williams said.

Pollution investigators responded due to the potential hazard, Williams said, and double boom was deployed around the vessel to contain any leaking fuel.

The barge could have up to 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel, Williams said.

Earlier, Coast Guard officials weren’t sure how much oil was on board, but “a very small amount” made it into the water, Williams said.

The Coast Guard sent its 25-foot Cutter Hawksbill response boat and a MH-65 helicopter to the scene.

Crews used the helicopter to survey the water.

“There doesn’t seem to be any more sheen in the water,” Williams said Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries have been reported, Williams said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)


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