Towing Vessel Omaha Salvage And Pollution Containment Operations Continue On the Missouri River

ST. LOUIS – Response to the recent fuel release during the recovery operation of the towing vessel Omaha has been highly successful. The clean up involved the use of a swift water boom, vacuum truck and a skimmer, recovering the majority of fuel.

The fuel release occurred 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 points. Current wind and river conditions did allow a small amount of fuel to escape producing a light sheen down river, which has evaporated today.

The proactive booming measures, taken directly after the incident and quick response by the contractor, Environmental Restoration, have really made a difference in how successful the clean up has been.

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.

The salvage operations will continue today and throughout the weekend. River levels and weather will play a role in how soon salvage of the vessel can be completed.

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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