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Resolve Marine Frees Ice-Bound Platform Barge off Alaska Shoreline

Jul 27, 2020 | Arctic, Environmental, Mining, News, Transportation

The Tagiuk Provider, a platform barge used for placer gold mining, grounded in ice west of Nome.

Resolve Marine Alaska

By Resolve Marine Alaska

In April, Resolve Marine Alaska mobilized teams and resources in response to mining platform barge Tagiuk Provider, used for placer gold mining, which was grounded in shallow water west of Nome Harbor. Response teams executed thawing operations to free the icebound barge as they developed plans to move the 205-foot, 1,500-ton cargo barge onto the beach and lift the vessel to conduct comprehensive casualty surveys. With April temperatures around 30°F warming up in May and reaching highs around 50°F and growing restrictions surrounding COVID-19 safety, Resolve’s teams successfully adapted their response plans as they overcame unforeseen environmental, logistical, and locational challenges.

Response teams from Resolve’s Dutch Harbor facility transported pumps, hoses, rigging, and spill packages as they commenced ice thawing operations on the vessel drawing 5 feet water aft/4 feet water forward. Due to the vessel’s proximity to the shoreline and heavy ice conditions, response teams utilized air and land routes to the grounding site transporting heavy-duty equipment used to free and reposition the casualty, secure dead men anchors, and prepare for hauling and pulling operations.

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Welding and marine services teams prepared the cargo barge for movement while response teams on the beach had to burst through the frost layer to grade the sandy shoreline for hauling and anchor operations. Using Resolve barges and bulldozers, the barge was repositioned, enabling teams to pull and stabilize the vessel on the beach. Even with 1.5-meter roller bags under the hauled vessel, teams only created a 24-inch clearance from the keel and needed more height to properly place stands under the barge. Additional equipment and crew were secured to elevate the barge with enough clearance for stands fabricated onsite to be placed, securing the vessel for repair surveys.

Resolve Marine Alaska crews hauling the platform barge onto the beach.

Resolve Marine Alaska

Resolve Marine’s response to the grounded mining barge, executed while adhering to strict safety protocols, required detailed coordination between land and sea operations. “Working in cold Arctic waters, negotiating air and sea logistics, managing heightened safety requirements, and fabricating onsite created an intricate response scenario for Resolve,” says A.W. McAfee, general manager for Resolve Alaska. “This is definitely one project where experience and innovation played a key role in our ability to efficiently position the cargo barge for the repair and recovery phase.”

Over two months, Resolve successfully executed an intense response operation resulting in the vessel’s stabilized and elevated status on the Nome shoreline in preparation for recovery operations.

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