Nov 7, 2014

Back in February, some Richmond leaders were a tad bummed that the Port of Richmond was not considered to house the once-mysterious Google barge, a multistory ship meant to be floating technology center.

Turns out Richmond lucked out, as it was recently discovered by the The Wall Street Journal that Google has abandoned the barge project after Coast Guard officials expressed concern about the possibility of a deadly fire breaking out on a boat that would hold many people.

The Post obtained email exchanges that included this statement from Robert Gauvin, Coast Guard’s acting chief of commercial vessel compliance (we pulled the quote from the San Francisco Chronicle).

“These vessels will have over 5,000 gallons of fuel on the main deck and a substantial amount of combustible material on board,” Gauvin wrote in a March 2013 e-mail.

Back in February, the barge was not fully built and was docked at Treasure Island. It created international buzz when a reporter discovered Google was behind its construction, but it also drew negative attention when it was discovered the tech giant lacked the proper permits to dock at Treasure Island.

At the time, when Richmond considered inviting the barge, city staffers reportedly were unable to get a hold of the company.

Instead Google moved the barge to the Port of Stockton, where it “still sits idle,” the Chronicle noted.


  1. The Google barge was a great idea for Richmond to try and win. Indeed I agree with Mayor elect Butt pitching the idea . I was on the Google temporary Ferry trying to work on a ferry connection from Richmond to San Francisco , I did meet with a contractor working with Google on the Barge on the Google Ferry , The problem was the port of Richmond didn’t have the permit with BCDC.

    The basic Idea was to try and land the Google ferry and back fill 120,000 square feet of vacant space in Marina Bay and 100,000 square feet in the Ford building and build part of UC second campus . Indeed , Google did review a detailed package through their broker. Also UC approached Google as well separately , with the idea of that Google could be part of the second campus.
    The idea has been floated for a couple of years of having large companies work with UC and LBNL , come to Marina Bay point Richmond in a economic development zone .
    In my opine , the fact the barge has a little bit of fuel that needs to be pumped out isn’t a big deal. If Google had come to Richmond that would have changed everything in our city.
    So we would have taken the barge in a heartbeat

    Richard Poe | Nov 8th, 2014
  2. Wow very interesting Richard. Thanks for sharing this information.

    Mike Aldax | Nov 8th, 2014

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.