Crews begin pumping oil cargo from sunken barge in Lake Erie

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Salvage crews begun an underwater operation on Nov. 21 to pump a hazardous oil-based substance from a sunken barge apparently sitting undiscovered on the bottom of Lake Erie for nearly 80 years.

Crews have been monitoring the site near the U.S.-Canadian border since discovering a small leak in October that appeared to be coming from a barge called Argo; the barge sank during a storm in 1937.

A statement by the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which are overseeing the project, says the first of Argo’s eight tanks was tapped Nov. 21.

The wreckage is one of 87 shipwrecks on a federal registry identifying the most serious pollution threats to U.S. waters.

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