St. Mary

Mar 29, 2011 11:43 PM by Maddie Garrett

Landry Calls Corps of Eng. "Inept" in Case of Sitting Barge

It's been almost a year since an oil rig barge capsized in the Charenton Canal in St. Mary Parish, and today it's still there. Now parish and state leaders say they're fed up with the problem.

The enormous 2,000 ton vessel has sat on it's side right in the middle of Charenton Canal for 11 months.

"They got roughly 100 feet between the barge and the bank on the other side," said Parish President Paul Naquin.

Naquin says the obstruction has slowed business through the canal and poses a danger to anyone traveling the waters. And he's not the only one who wants it gone.

"It certainly has me upset," said Congressman Jeff Landry.

Landry wants this barge removed, and he wants it done now. When asked why he thought it had gotten to this point, Landry said, "Because the Corps is inept."

He wants the Army Corps of Engineers, the authority over the canal, to step up and take control of the barge.

"We have to get the corps to recognize that the law clearly gives them the right to seize the barge immediately by operation of law and get a contractor out there to remove the barge," said Landry.

The barge capsized on April 30, 2010. In November 2010, the owner Tina Moore, turned over ownership of the barge to Greenco Industrial Services. Greenco promised to take care of it but that hasn't happened yet. Now Landry is going straight to the Army Corps of Engineers himself.

In a hearing between Landry and the Corps of Engineers three weeks ago, Lt. General Robert Van Antwerp said it's the owner's responsibility to remove it, not the federal government's. Landry answered back, saying the Corps of Engineers has the authority to intervene when it wants to.

"We got what I thought was some movement in negotiations of getting the barge out, but it certainly isn't happening as fast as I'd like it to," said Landry about the hearing.

Money is the issue here. But both Landry and Naquin said the Corps of Engineers has the means to recoup the money it would cost to remove the barge by selling the parts and then suing the party responsible.

Meanwhile the barge sits idle and Naquin feels it's an accident waiting to happen. If the canal were to flood and the waters rose too high, the barge could shift or even flip back over, causing even more damage or completely cutting off the canal.

"That's it, all traffic would stop," said Naquin.

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