Blame the metric system! Conversion confusion over stalled fuel barge’s cargo

The Gulf Cajun tug, right, tows the Zidell Marine 277, a 430-foot fuel barge on Nov. 27. A day earlier, the barge detached from its tug, the Jake Shearer, far left, in Canadian waters Nov. 26 near Bella Bella, British Columbia. (Photo courtesy of Canadian Coast Guard CCGS Gordon Reid)

A Skagway-bound fuel barge that broke free from its tug in Canadian waters was hauling more than three times as much diesel and gasoline than initially reported.

The barge and tug was carrying 3.7 million gallons when it ran into trouble Sunday afternoon. Both vessels remain anchored near Campbell Island and are awaiting inspection by Canadian and U.S. authorities before they will be allowed to proceed to Skagway.

Canadian authorities said the error over its fuel load stemmed from confusion involving the metric system.

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