OAKLAND -- Concerns that a container ship's anchor hit the Transbay Tube early Friday proved unfounded after officials found that the barge was not over the BART tracks at the time and the tube was unscathed, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
No one was injured, but train service was snarled during the lunch hour Friday.
Coast Guard investigators and inspectors are probing how the container vessel lost propulsion while mooring at Berth 35 in at the Port of Oakland at 8:45 a.m. Friday.
"The ship was not over the BART tubes when the anchor was deployed, but due to the proximity, the Coast Guard notified BART personnel as a precautionary measure," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Loumania Stewart.
The 3.6-mile-long tube did not sustain any damage after the incident in the Oakland Outer Harbor Channel, BART spokesman Jim Allison confirmed.
Two tugboats helped the ship move up to the pier, Stewart said.
BART passengers on two trains inside the tube did not report hearing any type of noise and the tube's alarms were not sounded.
As a precaution, two BART trains in the tube were stopped at 11:55 a.m. while workers inspected the BART tracks and the inside of the tube, BART officials said.
"We did our inspections," Allison said. "If the anchor hit it, there was no damage. We have an extensive network of alarms in the tubes that include water alarms and none of those alarms were triggered. We also have ultrasound testing we can do from the inside out."
The tube, Allison said, is made of a 5/8-inch thick reinforced steel tube, covered by a 3-foot concrete liner. At its lowest point the tube is located 132 feet deep below sea level.
Trains began running again about 12:20 p.m., but there were delays of 15-25 minutes. Service was restored to normal by about 1 p.m., a BART official said.
BART runs five lines, four of which go through the tubes. They are: Pittsburg Bay Point to SFO, Fremont to Daly City, Richmond to Daly City and Dublin/Pleasanton to Daly City.
Allison said he could not recall a similar incident in the past decade.