Grain barge sinks near Grand Tower, Ill.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A vessel had reported striking bottom or an unknown object, resulting in one grain barge sinking in the navigable channel, in the vicinity of mile 83 on the Upper River, near Grand Tower, Ill., according to Lt. Wayne Chapman of the U.S. Coast Guard. The incident occurred at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday while the towing vessel, the Riley Elizabeth, owned by Marquette Transportation Company Inc., was pushing 25 loaded grain barges southbound. As a result of the incident the Captain of the Port Ohio Valley has closed the Mississippi River to all vessel traffic from mile marker 82 to mile marker 84. Coast Guard responders and investigators, company officials, divers and a marine surveyor began investigating the cause of the incident plus locating and marking the sunken barge after they were notified of the incident at 12:30 p.m. Once the sunken barge is located and marked, the Captain of the Port will determine if the river can be safely reopened to vessel traffic, and the company which owns the barge, will be required to develop a salvage plan.

-- From staff reports

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