Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur responds to collision of two towing vessels

PORT ARTHUR, Texas— Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Port Arthur is responding to a collision between the towing vessel Caroline and the towing vessel Miss Stacie at mile marker 312 on the Intracoastal Waterway, Tuesday.

The collision occured just east of the High Island Bridge while both vessels were pushing barges. After the collision, the Caroline began taking on water. The five crewmembers from the Caroline were rescued by the crew of towing vessel Redeemer, which was nearby at the time. There were no injuries reported. After rescuing the five crewmembers, the Redeemer assisted with the Caroline’s five barges.

The Intracoastal Waterway is closed to all traffic from mile marker 310 to mile marker 315.

A Unified Command comprised of Canal Barge Company, Texas General Land Office, and the Coast Guard has been established to respond to the incident. The Unified Command ensured assets were quickly dispatched to the scene, said Captain J.J. Plunkett, comanding officer of MSU Port Arthur and captain of the port.

“We have put together a great team. Canal Barge Company has been very responsive and forward leaning in addressing all the environmental and salvage issues. Once we have assessed the situation more thoroughly, our next priority will be to get barge traffic moving,” said Plunkett.

Protective booming has been placed around the Caroline which is partially submerged. Initial reports indicate only a minimal oil sheen, most of the Caroline is located within protective booming. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department provided air support to assess any potential environmental damage.

The Unified Command is developing and evaluating salvage plans for the Caroline.

The Coast Guard is currently investigating the cause of this incident.

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