Coast Guard responds to sunken tugs on Illinois River

The Coast Guard responded to three vessels that sunk on the Illinois River near Hardin, Ill., Sunday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report Friday of three tugboats and a deck barge that were tied together and began taking on water at mile marker 21 on the Illinois River.

The sinking tugboats are holding approximately 4,850 gals. of diesel and oil.

Sector Upper Mississippi River dispatched personnel to work with the tugboat company to minimize potential environment impact.

The three tugboats are holding approximately 4,850 gals. of diesel and oil. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexandria Preston

Coast Guard officials conducted 11 miles of shoreline assessment and oversaw 1,500′ of oil and fuel absorbing boom deployment to create a collection point to contain any discharge.

Smaller sheen-producing quantities of unrecoverable product have been substantially contained by an aggressive booming strategy.

“While ensuring responder safety is always paramount, minimizing any potential environmental impact is a clear goal of the salvage effort,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Sector Upper Mississippi River. “I am encouraged by the committed effort of the vessels’ owner.”

This incident is considered a major marine casualty and is under investigation.

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