The Coast Guard is supervising the salvage and pollution response operations of a sunken towing vessel in the Mississippi River at Mile Marker 161.5 near New Orleans. The cause of the sinking is still under investigation.
Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report around 2 a.m. Thursday that the 56-foot towing vessel Justice, owned by River Ventures LLC, had begun taking on water and sank around midnight. Three people aboard the tow vessel were able to get off before it sank.
The Coast Guard responded to the scene at approximately 6 a.m. to oversee pollution response operations. Boom was deployed and the Coast Guard is continuing to monitor the situation to identify shoreline impacts. The vessel was carrying 5336 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of lube oil when it sank. The actual amount of fuel discharged into the Mississippi River is unknown at this time; however, current estimates indicate the full amount of fuel and oil carried aboard the vessel has not released into the water. Divers were able to plug the fuel vents Thursday. The Lower Mississippi River Waterworks Network is currently monitoring water intakes in the area, but there have been no impacts to drinking water and none are expected. Mckinney Salvage and Heavy Lift are scheduled to commence salvage operations.