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Barge carrying light diesel adrift on Beaufort Sea

A barge carrying diesel fuel is adrift in the Beaufort Sea, after it broke away from its tugboat during a severe storm earlier this week.

The 134-foot barge was heading to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. Although initial reports said the barge was loaded with diesel, the barge is unloaded. It is carrying 3,5000 litres of light diesel for its engines.

The barge is currently unmanned. 

The U.S. Coast Guard, along with the Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, are currently monitoring the vessel.  If the barge appears to be drifting toward shore, oil spill responders will head to the area to intercept it.      

Cmdr. Shawn Decker, with the U.S. Coast Guard, told the CBC it could be challenging to retrieve the barge because the ice is forming fast on the Beaufort Sea.  

"This time of year, our water assets are very limited in that region, so right now we are looking for other means to potentially track it," Decker said. 

"And then when it does — or if it does — come in contact with the shoreline at that point we can take action on it."

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