Navigation restricted on the Mississippi River following vessel sinking

St. LOUIS – The Coast Guard has lifted the operating restrictions on the Upper Mississippi River from mile marker 194.5 to 197.5 which were established in response to the sinking of the tug boat Hartford Beaver at mile marker 196.5 Wednesday, March 11.

Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a call at approximately 3:30 p.m. Wednesday from a representative of National Maintenance and Repair, the owner of the tug boat, stating that one of their vessels had sunk. All three crewmembers aboard the vessel were rescued with minor injuries by company personnel who were on scene at the time of the incident. The boat’s position is currently stable and is located 60 yards off of the left descending bank which allows ample channel for safe passage of commercial traffic.

The vessel has been marked with magnetic lighted buoys and is being continuously monitored by National Maintenance and Repair personnel to ensure no shifting of the boat occurs and to monitor any pollution discharge.

A survey has been conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers to help assist with salvage and recovery operations. Preliminary salvage operations are on hold until river conditions improve. Current flooding conditions would make the necessary dive operations too dangerous for dive personnel.

The maximum fuel capacity of the vessel is 1600 gallons but the operator estimates that only 900 gallons of fuel was on board when the boat sank. No visible pollution has been observed, National Maintenance has cleanup and containment resources in place and the vessel will remain in place until the river is deemed safe for salvage operations.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

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