The Coast Guard received a report that a towing vessel sank on the Mississippi River near the Phillips 66 Facility. The boat went down about 20 miles north of St. Louis, at a town called Alton IL.
When The Alton Fire Department arrived, the craft had already settled down in the stern. Luckily the crew got off safely prior to the sinking, and no injuries were reported.
“When our boat got there, the tugboat … was not tied to a barge,” the Alton Fire Chief said. “It had already completely [sunk].”
The vessel had a 2,200 gallon capacity, and was leaking diesel fuel and oil when it went down.
The local firefighting crew is working closely with Phillips 66’s emergency response team in an attempt to keep the harmful chemicals from drifting downriver toward St. Louis. A hazmat container, consisting of more than 200 feet of rigid floating tube, was placed around the tow boat to skim or capture the leaking fuel and oil. A special crew from Heritage Environmental Services has been called in to retrieve the boat off the bottom of the river.
The Coast Guard is looking into the cause of the incident.
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