Salvage crews lift sunken towboat

Response crews work to dewater the 154-foot towboat Stephen L. Colby during the lift phase of salvage operations near LeClaire Response crews work to dewater the 154-foot towboat Stephen L. Colby during the lift phase of salvage operations near LeClaire U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Mariana O'Leary

DECEMBER 10, 2013 — The Coast Guard reports that response crews yesterday commenced lifting operations of the 154-foot sunken towboat Stephen L. Colby from the Mississippi River bank near LeClaire, Iowa, Monday.

The 144 ft Marquette Transportation Co. towboat sank after striking a submerged object near LeClaire, November 24. At the time of the sinking, nine crew members were aboard and all were able to make it to safety. Approximately 100,000 gallons of petroleum products were aboard.

Yesterday, salvage crews worked to cradle and dewater the vessel in an effort to remove extra weight while lifting the towboat. Crews dealt with below freezing conditions and long hours throughout response efforts and continue to conduct pollution mitigation through cleanup operations.

Approximately 39,900 gallons of oily-water mixture has been recovered from the river (rather than the 61,900 gallons earlier reported due to an error in calculations), 89,000 gallons of oily-water mixture recovered from the Stephen L. Colby, and more than 6,800 cubic feet of oily waste has been collected.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.