THE US Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the sinking of three vessels in the Illinois River near Hardin, Illinois, on July 5.
The USCG Upper Mississippi River Sector had received a report of three tugs and a deck barge that were tied together and began taking on water at the 20.7 mile marker. When the USCG team arrived, it found all three tugs fully submerged.
The USCG identified the three as the Chatty Sue Smith, Mary R and the Mary-Fern, owned and operated by Hex Stone Inc.
The owners said the vessels contained around 4,850 gallons of diesel fuel and oil and they contacted an oil spill removal service to mitigate the spill and deploy containment booms. The owners also hired a salvage company to remove the sunken vessels.
USCG personnel remained on the scene during the 12-day salvage and recovery operation to ensure safety and minimise any environmental impact.
The last of the sunken vessels was raised on July 17.
After the operation, the USCG sector commander, Captain Scott Stoermer, said: “The vessel owner took all appropriate measures to protect the navigable waters in which the incident occurred. Hex Stone’s appropriate and quick response minimised any potential environmental impact.”