Coast Guard rescues 3 from sunken tug in Mobile Bay

MOBILE, Ala. — The Coast Guard has rescued three people after the 70-foot tug boat they were aboard sank in Mobile Bay, Saturday.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a call at approximately 3 a.m. that the Capt. Larry Barkins had partially sank outside of the navigational channel near the Fowl River with four people aboard. Watchstanders immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast requesting mariners in the area keep a look out and assist in the search if possible.

An MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans was launched and at approximately 5 a.m., rescued three people who had stayed with the tugboat after it sank. They were taken to Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala.

The survivors stated that the fourth crewmember had gotten in the tug’s skiff.  The man was able to make it ashore in the 14-foot skiff and notified a local fire department that he safe.

Involved in the search were:

  • A search and rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island, Ala.
  • An HC-144 Ocean Sentry from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile
  • An MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans
  • A sheriffs boat from the Mobile County Sheriffs Office

Additionally, the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Hawk, an 87-foot patrol boat homported in Carabelle, Fla., was diverted from a routine patrol in the area to assist in the search.

With all persons aboard the tug safe and accounted for, the Coast Guard has switched to a pollution response stance to ensure the vessel’s fuel does not escape into the environment.

The tug is reported to have approximately 600 gallons of diesel fuel in its fuel tanks. A Coast Guard pollution team and investigators are en route to location of the partially sunk tug to mitigate the impact of any fuel and oil that may leak from the vessel.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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