Towing vessel Omaha salvage and pollution containment operations continue on the Missouri River

ST. LOUIS – While crews were making preparations for the salvage of the towing vessel Omaha, an unknown amount of fuel was released with the majority collecting in the double containment boom around the salvage site and in the down stream collection point. Current wind and river conditions did allow small amounts of fuel to escape producing a light sheen down river.

Clean-up crews are using swift water boom, a vacuum truck and a skimmer to recover fuel contained in collection booms.

The owner of the vessel has contracted more crew and equipment to assist in the salvage operation. Current contractors include Okie Moore Diving and Salvage and Environmental Restoration, who have worked with the Coast Guard in placing absorbent boom in several areas along the Missouri River and its tributaries to minimize environmental impacts.

The total amount of fuel spilled is unknown at this time. An accurate assessment of the amount cannot be determined until the vessel is raised and the fuel tanks can be surveyed.

A portion of the Missouri River between mile markers 10.5 and 11.7 remains closed to commercial traffic and recreational boaters are urged to exercise extreme caution in the area of the incident.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. Friday, May 30, the towing vessel Omaha reported to the Coast Guard that they were taking on water with 7 persons on board. In order to mitigate the risk to the crew, the vessels crew intentionally grounded the vessel along the bank of the Missouri River and used mooring lines to secure it to the shore. The crew was safely rescued and there were no reported injuries.

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