U.S. Coast Guard: Barge traveling down Arkansas River gets stuck near Fort Smith, frees itself

The Arkansas River Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
The Arkansas River Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FORT SMITH -- A vessel was able to free itself after getting stuck on the Arkansas River in the River Valley on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jaiden Hartley, who works with the Coast Guard's District 8 Public Affairs, said Wednesday a vessel named the Saint Christopher notified Coast Guard watchstanders it had run aground at mile marker 296.6 on the Arkansas River about 12:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Hartley said the Saint Christopher was pushing five barges with dry cargo and grounded on the right descending bank without blocking the channel. No pollution, injuries or damages were reported.

Marty Shell, president of the Van Buren-based transportation and warehouse company Five Rivers Distribution, said the vessel was en route to New Orleans and carrying wheat.

An online U.S. Army Corps of Engineers river mile markers map places the site of the incident at between Fort Smith and Van Buren.

The Coast Guard doesn't have the exact time in which the Saint Christopher freed itself Tuesday, according to Hartley.

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