Back in the late fall of 2011, a nor’easter struck Newport and sunk a barge that was was being rented by Abhe & Svoboda Inc. to paint and repair the Claiborne Newport Pell Bridge.

Almost 5 years later, the incident has become a maritime insurance dispute (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Abhe & Svoboda Inc.) over information the company did not provide the marine insurer regarding renting of the barge.

The insurance company claims that the bridge repair company did not tell them of the rental, while the bridge repair company claims that the insurance company did not request them to complete an application for insurance and accepted an application from their previous insurer.

“A nor’easter that sank a barge being used by a bridge repair company has resulted in a maritime insurance dispute that the U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to resolve, returning the case to Minneapolis federal court,” BusinessInsurance.com shared on the dispute and court case in “Sunken barge insurance dispute tests good-faith dealing legal principle“.

Recovery Of The Barge

Donjon Marine, Co., Inc. was contracted in early November 2011 to raise a 300-ton barge used as a platform for painting supplies and disposal equipment that sank in 100 feet of water after a violent Nor’Easter storm near Newport Pell Bridge in Newport, Rhode Island.  The barge also contained oil in three tanks with a reported 2,400 gallons of fuel at the time of the sinking.
Working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the barge owners, underwriters, and environmental groups, Donjon’s salvage crews and divers devised a salvage plan, worked to clear the barge of hazardous materials and oil, and with its 1,000-ton floating crane Chesapeake 1,000, lifted the barge with a number of slings.  The job was successfully completed in 33 days.
“This project required experience in professional heavy lift salvage, deep water diving, and environmental remediation, to name just a few,” said John A. Witte, Jr., Executive Vice President of Donjon.  “Donjon Marine brings all of these capabilities and over 40 years of cost-effective service in response to the needs of the marine community to each job it completes,” he continued.

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Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.