ST. LOUIS – The Coast Guard, Illinois EPA, Illinois DNR and local emergency crews continue to respond to a vessel sinking and oil discharge into the Mississippi River near LeClaire, Iowa, Tuesday.
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.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report at approximately 4:30 p.m., Monday that the 144-foot towboat Stephen L. Colby struck a submerged object near LeClaire causing it to sink. At the time of the sinking, nine crewmembers were aboard and all were able to make it to safety.
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 safe, effective cleanup and salvage operations. Coast Guard personnel, along with Illinois EPA and local emergency response crews, are taking action to minimize environmental damage.
Approximately 100,000 gallons of petroleum products are reported to be on board the sunken vessel.
The vessel queue is two southbound tug and barges and one northbound tug.
The Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a river assessment to evaluate when it is safe for river traffic to commence.
"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 combined quick response helped curb the potential impact to the river and our community.”
The cause of the incident is under investigation.