Tugs KARL E. LUEDTKE & PAUL L. LUEDTKE towing dredger DERRICK BOAT No.16 at Lock 3, Welland Canal
Two tugs, assisting three barges, were upbound at Lock 3 on the Welland Canal, June 16, 2017. The lead tug was KARL E. LUEDTKE, pulling the dredging barge DERRICK BOAT No. 16, which was tied off to Barge No. 70, which was tied off to barge No. 73, and following up as the brake tug was PAUL L. LUEDTKE.
As the convoy was being raised, something snapped on Barge 70 (hear sound at 02:42) where it and Barge 73 were tied together.
There was chain which had been attached, on one end, to a cleat on Barge 70’s deck, and on the other end, to a steel pipe turnbuckle; this turnbuckle was attached to a steel wire cable, which looped around one of the yellow bollards on the port side of Barge 70, near the lock wall, and then the cable carried back to attach to Barge 73. (see 01:52)
The same setup was also in place on the starboard side of both barges, and all these connections appeared firm when the barges entered the lock.
Somehow, the turnbuckle and the steel cable had snapped away from the port chain, and were pulled to the edge of Barge 70; much of the loosened cable went down between the hull and the lock wall, and the turnbuckle (see 03:08) was laying right at the edge of the deck, near the lock wall. The crew quickly managed to fish out the steel cable and get the turnbuckle reattached to the chain, using a power winch to pull the barges back together (see 04:40), and then using the turnbuckle to further tighten the chain and cable (04:51). All the while, the lock kept on refilling.