Stephen L. Colby Response crews shift to salvage operations

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LECLAIRE, Iowa – The Stephen L. Colby Unified Command are shifting from lightering operations to salvage operations, Sunday.

Response crews have been preparing the vessel Stephen L. Colby for salvage operations to begin raising the vessel out of the water. The crews continue to conduct cleanup and recovery operations of the oil in the water.

“As we shift from lightering operations to salvage operations the unified command is still focused on the safety of all personnel involved with the Stephen L. Colby Response and are working to ensure minimal impact to the environment,” said Chief Petty Officer Chris Lynch, response safety officer. “Within the next few days we will be slowly lifting the vessel from the riverbed to lessen the impact to the environment and ensure public safety.”

The unified command has deployed 3,000-feet of containment boom, 2,900-feet of sorbent boom, three skimmer vessels, four workboats and 29 response personnel for cleanup and salvage operations.

Approximately 51,685 gallons of oily-water mixture has been recovered from the river, along with the 88,601 gallons of oily-water mixture recovered from the Stephen L. Colby.

As a reminder to the public and mariners a safety zone has been established along the Iowa riverbank extending outward 1,000 feet near Ferry Street to one mile down river near Canal Shore Drive SW, to protect the public and response crews during salvage and cleanup operations.

Vessels desiring to transit the safety zone should contact the vessel Marc on VHF-FM radio channel 16 and nine or call 563-320-5382.

“The risks to migrating birds along the river remains low as the oil is being contained and cleaned up within the booms,” said Mike Coffey, pollution biologist with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Natural resource agencies continue to monitor bird movements.”

The unified command urges the community not to handle any wildlife for public and wildlife safety, but to immediately contact the Joint Information Center at 563-505-4548.

To report a property claim related to the incident please contact 1-800-280-7118.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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