Grain barge sinks closing part of Mississippi River

PADUCAH, Ky.- The Coast Guard was notified at approximately12:30 p.m. Thursday that a vessel had reported striking bottom or an unknown object, resulting in one grain barge sinking in the navigable channel, in the vicinity of mile 83 on the Upper Mississippi River, near Grand Tower, Ill.

The incident occurred at approximately 12:15 p.m. while the towing vessel, the Riley Elizabeth owned by Marquette Transportation Company Inc.,was pushing 25 loaded grain barges southbound. As a result of the incident the Captain of the Port Ohio Valley has closed the Upper Mississippi River to all vessel traffic from mile marker 82 to mile marker 84.

Coast Guard responders and investigators, company officials, divers and a marine surveyor are en route to the scene to investigate the cause of the incident and locate and mark the sunken barge.

Once the sunken barge is located and marked, the Captain of the Port will determine if the river can be safely reopened to vessel traffic, and the company which owns the barge, will be required to develop a salvage plan.

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