TACOMA, Wash. -- A barge coming from Canada to the Schnitzer Steel scrap yard in Tacoma made it all the way to Commencement Bay before getting into trouble.

Over the weekend the barge started taking on water north of Tacoma and Browns Point. The barge began to list and some of the vehicles toppled from the top of the heap into Puget Sound.

We don't know exactly how many cars, maybe eight to nine, maybe more, during efforts yesterday did fall off, said Ron Holcomb, Lead Spill responder, Deptartment of Ecology

Gusty winds Monday afternoon delayed the half-mile tow to Schnitzer Steel on the Hylebos Waterway, where the load of scrapped cars from Canada will be recycled.

Divers with Global Salvage and Diving repaired a crack in the hull of a listing barge and stablized the ship in Commencement Bay near Tacoma.

Holcomb said the cars have to be removed from the water and it will be the responsibility of the shipper to do so. It will be no easy task in 250-foot-deep water.

Holcomb said the cars have been drained of their fluids but still have residual amounts that cannot be left underwater.

Officials are investigating what caused a 15-inch crack in the hull of the barge.

The barge is owned by a Canadian company, Amix Marine Services.

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