12 March 2009 18:27 [Source: ICIS news]
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HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A tug boat that sank on Wednesday near St Louis, Missouri, has slowed barge traffic on the Mississippi River, but the waterway remained open, a US Coast Guard (USCG) official said on Thursday.
A safety zone has been established around the sunken tug, from mile marker 185.5 to mile marker 197.5, and salvage operations will begin within the next 24 hours, said USCG Lt Chuck Mellor.
However, salvage operations have not begun yet because of the speed of the river's current, he said.
Barge and vessel traffic has backed up some but not significantly, Mellor added.
"They're letting barges and tows go through in one lane," Mellor said.
The tug boat Hartford Beaver sank at mile marker 197 on Wednesday. "Nobody knows why," Mellor added, saying the investigation is continuing.
The barge was not pushing another barge, he said.
The sunken vessel is marked with a lighted buoy, according to the Coast Guard.
The tug's owner, National Maintenance and Repair, notified the Coast Guard of the sinking and rescued the crewmembers, who suffered minor injuries.
Minor pollution has been reported due to the sinking, and the safety zone will remain in place until the river is deemed safe for normal operations by the Coast Guard. Vessel traffic is permitted to transit with restrictions through the area.To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect
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