UPDATE: Barge makes its way through Nickajack Lock
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: The barge successfully navigated the Nickajack Lock Friday afternoon around 4:30 and was in the South Pittsburg area. It is heading to Louisiana where a decision will be made on what to do with it.
At roughly 5:31 Thursday afternoon from Ross' Landing, it was the sight many Chattanoogans thought they'd never see, Casey's Barge, off its moors, on the water and on the way out of town after six long years of aggravation, frustration and ultimate bankruptcy for its former owner.
For many in the Scenic City, it's good riddance to bad rubbish.
"Absolutely, worked out good, heavy winds but the captain nailed it and moved it out of here and that u-turn was spectacular," says Harry Phillips.
Phillips has been the point man between the city of Chattanooga, U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the barge's new owner Gulfstream Enterprises Inc, charged with taking the 400-ton water borne behemoth to Alabama's Gulf Coast.
The barge finally shipping off late Thursday afternoon, after more unexpected delays for additional inspections by the U.S. Coast Guard "There's a portion in the back of that aft section, on the port side that was literally on the shore for a long period of time. So, once we got it off the shore, we had to do some improvements and repairs," explained Phillips.
Phillips credits the towboat's crew for barge's smooth transition out of town.
But he also had a little bit of help from his trusty canine sidekick Nellie, who couldn't wait to find us dockside once everything was said and done.
So, did Nellie earn her sea legs or is she a landlubber?
"Ahhh, she's a little bit of both," snickers Phillips of his 8-year old chocolate lab. "At her size she's a full size woman and she probably likes the land more than the sea," concluded Phillips.
So, here you go Chattanooga, your parting shot of Casey's Barge. Gone, but likely not forgotten for quite a long time.
We tried contracting Allen Casey, the barge's former owner but we never heard back from his attorney.
Phillips says it's still undetermined whether the barge's new owners will rebuild it or scrap it for salvage, but says due to its size, the barge will likely end up in the Port of New Orleans.