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Coast Guard: Dredging Pipeline Lights Taken Down before Death

GULFPORT -- Lights to warn of a dredging pipeline off the Biloxi shore had been taken down before Mark Barhanovich's boat struck a partially submerged pipeline and he died, a U.S. Coast Guard report shows.

The report, part of a lawsuit, said Barhanovich was familiar with the waterway and the dredging area had been lighted in the past, but the lights were taken down before Hurricane Isaac and had not been put back up, the report said.

Barhanovich died Sept. 12, 2012, in a boating accident reported about 6:20 a.m. It was dark and just before sunrise, the Coast Guard report said.

"The dredge pipeline should have been lighted," the report said.

The Coast Guard found four orange fenders, floats to raise up dredging pipes and identify them, tied to 3,800 feet of pipeline used for the Deer Island Restoration Project.

As Coast Guard personnel were leaving the scene about 3 p.m., they saw barge workers tying other fenders to the floating pipeline, according to the report.

The report gives some insight to a federal criminal charge filed Friday against C.F. Bean LLC, a Louisiana-based dredging company.

The widow and children of Barhanovich filed a lawsuit against C.F. Bean and Archer Western Contractors in 2013. They agreed to a settlement Sept. 5 but the money, an unspecified amount, has not been released to the family.

All parties agreed to file a motion to dismiss their claims in a telephone conference call on Monday. Court records show they will file their motions by Oct. 23 or sooner.

The original lawsuit was combined with other suits as the businesses counter-sued.

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