Three mariners are presumed dead after two towing vessels collided on the Mississippi River
Salvage of a sunken tug is set to begin after a search for missing mariners was suspended in the US.
Pusher tug Creppel sank after colliding with towing tug Cooperative Spirit on the Mississippi River in Luling, Louisiana, on 26 January.
Of the four crew members on Creppel, only one was rescued with the three others missing, presumed dead.
Creppel was pushing two barges laden with sulphuric acid near Luling when it was struck by Cooperative Spirit, which was badly damaged during the accident. One of the barges was also damaged emitting sulphuric acid vapour into the local atmosphere.
US Coast Guard (USCG) and local agencies responded to the accident, halting river traffic and searching 835 nautical miles for 67 hours for survivors, but they were unable to find the three missing mariners.
USCG has suspended the search and re-opened the Mississippi River to traffic. However, this area is still subject to restrictions put in place by USCG sector New Orleans’ vessel traffic service.
McKinney Salvage was contracted to conduct salvage operations of the affected barge. USCG said, “air monitoring in the area will continue until the salvage operations of the affected barge are complete.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and USCG have started an investigation into the cause of the fatal collision.
Meanwhile, tugs were required to assist a gas carrier that had run aground near Houston, Texas. LPG carrier Clipper Eirene grounded while sailing out of Houston on 26 January.
According to Fleetmon, up to three tugs were at its side, and two others on standby, as Clipper Eirene was refloated.
Outside of North America, tugs have responded in a string of dry cargo ship incidents. In Russia, four tugs have been dispatched to assist general cargo ship Zernograd after it grounded in the Don river estuary of the Azov Sea. It was en route from Rostov-on-Don to Trabzon, Turkey, laden with grain when it ran aground.
In the Mediterranean, Greece-based tug Karapiperis was deployed to assist bulk carrier Ormi, which suffered mechanical failure, south of Rhodes Island, Greece. Karapiperis towed Ormi and its cargo of soybeans to the southern coast of Karpathos for repairs on 25 January, and then to Piraeus.
In South America, bulk carrier Star Athena grounded off its berth in Rosario port, Parana river, Argentina on 24 January. It was being loaded with soya beans and needed assistance for its refloat.