Update November 26, 2013 – The U.S. Coast Guard, Illinois EPA, Illinois DNR and local emergency crews continued their response Tuesday to a vessel sinking and oil discharge into the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa, Tuesday.
The Coast Guard says that approximately 700 gallons of oily water mix have been recovered through skimmers and absorbent boom. The vessel continues to discharge product at a reduced rate into the Mississippi River, the Coast Guard said.
The vessel queue is two southbound tug and barges and one northbound tug.
November 25, 2013 – The U.S. Coast Guard and local emergency crews responded Monday night to a sunken towboat and oil discharge on the Upper Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa.
The Coast Guard said it was notified at approximately 4:30 p.m. Monday that the 144-foot towboat Stephen L. Colby sank after striking a submerged object in the river. All nine crewmembers who were aboard at the time were able to make it to safety, the Coast Guard said.
The Captain of the Port closed the Mississippi River from mile marker 493 to mile maker 501 on the upper Mississippi River to allow for cleanup and salvage operations.
Approximately 100,000 gallons of petroleum products are reported to be onboard the sunken vessel, the Coast Guard said.
Photos show the towboat half-sunk in the river with boom surrounding the vessel.
Coast Guard personnel, along with Illinois EPA and local emergency response crews are responding to the incident and taking action to evaluate and respond to environmental damage, the Coast Guard said.
The Stephen L. Colby is owned by Marquette Transportation and was built in 1967.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies are rapidly assessing and responding to the evolving situation” said Capt. Byron Black, commander, Sector Upper Mississippi River, “Our primary concern is to ensure the safety of people, the environment and the waterway. We have personnel on scene actively responding to the incident.”
The cause of the incident is under investigation.