DAMAGED BARGE MOVED TO SHIPYARD

DAMAGED BARGE MOVED TO SHIPYARD

The damaged barge Cibro Savannah was moved from the Arthur Kill to a Brooklyn, N.Y., shipyard for continued cleanup and inspection, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.

The 400-foot barge was towed Thursday through the northern portion of the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull to the New York Shipyard at Erie Basin on Brooklyn's western shore, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Paul A. Milligan.He said the move was made to hasten the opening of the Arthur Kill, a major shipping channel that has been partially closed since the March 6 explosion on the Cibro Savannah.

When the waterway is closed, shipping traffic must take a 30-mile detour through the Kill Van Kull to reach Port Newark.

About 63,000 gallons of an oil-water mixture that remains in the barge will be unloaded at the shipyard, the Coast Guard said.

Lt. Cmdr. Milligan said a bomb squad sent by the New York state Attorney General's office checked the barge earlier last week and found that the blast was not caused by a bomb. The ship was carrying 4.3 million gallons of diesel fuel when it exploded at the Citgo Petroleum Corp. dock in Linden, spilling 127,000 gallons into the Kill.

No cause has been found for the explosion. The Coast Guard has taken testimony from crew members on the barge and a nearby tugboat and the testimony will continue through this week, Lt. Cmdr. Milligan said.