Stephen L. Colby Sinking: Salvage and Cleanup Continue on Upper Mississippi River

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December 4, 2013

LE CLAIRE, Iowa – The salvage and response crews for the Stephen L. Colby continue to cleanup oil in the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa, Dec. 3, 2013. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

Salvage, cleanup and environmental protection efforts continue in response to the sunken towboat Stephen L. Colby on the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa, the U.S. Coast Guard said late Tuesday.

Efforts to contain and clean up oil discharged from the vessel have been ongoing since the 144-foot towboat struck a submerged object and partially sank close to shore on November 25 with approximately 100,000 gallons of oil onboard. All nine crewmembers were able to make it to safety.

A Unified Command set up in response to the incident says it has deployed 3,700-feet of containment boom, 3,480-feet of sorbent boom, four skimmer vessels, five workboats and approximately 160 response personnel responding to the cleanup and salvage operations.

FULL COVAGE – Stephen L. Colby Incident

Approximately 61,970 gallons of oily-water mixture has been recovered from the river, 88,801 gallons of oily-water mixture recovered from the Stephen L. Colby, and more than 1,800 cubic-feet of oily waste has been collected.

Earlier this week officials said that operations would shift this week from lightering to salvage of the sunken towboat.

The Unified Command, which consists of the Coast Guard, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and local and industry representatives, is also working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent wildlife from pollution exposure.

As a reminder to the public and mariners, the unified command says a safety zone has been established along the Iowa riverbank extending outward 1,000 feet from the vessel to protect the public and response crews during salvage and cleanup operations.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

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