KUTTAWAY, Ky. – Tug and salvage operators spent most of Wednesday working to free the LST 325, a World War II ship now outfitted for tours, from the shores of Lake Barkley here. The vessel was returning from stops in Nashville and Clarksville, Tenn., and on its way to its home port in Evansville, Ind., when it left the channel, according to Coast Guard reports, and ran aground. Luckily, the 328’x50′ LST (Landing Ship, Tank) was designed to run aground and deliver troops and vehicles as part of the war effort, and no damage was reported.
The incident happened not far from where the Delta Mariner struck the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge.
It is unclear why the LST 325 traveled outside of the channel, but LST board member Chris Donahue told the News and Tribune on Wednesday that the channel is narrower than the Ohio River, on which the LST normally travels, and misty, rainy weather may have contributed to a lack of visibility. The LST was scheduled to return to Evansville on Tuesday.
According to the West Kentucky Star, the vessel was freed from the bottom by around 6:20 p.m. yesterday and will stop for fuel in Paducah before heading to home port, assuming all checks for damage and leaks don’t turn anything up.
The LST-325, first commissioned in 1943, is scheduled go into drydock in 2013 and has an active campaign going to raise as much as $2 million for needed renovations. You can learn more about the effort here.