Three crewmembers safely evacuated their sinking towboat after it struck a submerged object in the Mississippi River near Venice, La., around 2 a.m. Monday morning.

The 55'x23'x7.2', 900-hp DeJeanne Maria, operated by Denet Towing Service Inc., Boothville, La., was pushing two empty dry cargo barges downbound in Pass a Loutre when it stuck the object, according to Coast Guard officials.

The three people on board the DeJeanne Maria transferred to another towing vessel, the Supporter 1. The DeJeanne Maria sank with its port side above water, blocking Pass a Loutre channel, the Coast Guard said. An assist tug was dispatched to retrieve the barges.

The towboat carried up to 7,000 gals. of fuel and around 60 gals. were reported to have entered the water during the accident. The Coast Guard Sector New Orleans incident management team was mobilized to conduct a shoreline assessment in the area, and spill response contractor ES&H, Houma, La., deployed boom around the vessel.

Overflights by an ES&H drone and a Coast Guard air crew observed no active oil discharge, and the incident is under investigation.