Towboat Owner to Pay Costs of Sinking

December 6, 2013

The company that owns a towboat that sank in the Mississippi River in LeClaire, Iowa, has pledged to pay all the costs of the accident and to ensure the area is thoroughly rid of spilled fuel.

Chris Myskowski, senior vice president of operations for Marquette Transportation Co. of Paducah, Ky., vowed at a LeClaire City Council meeting Monday that conditions in the water would return to normal, The Quad-City Times reported. A price tag on the entire operation has not been released.

“Marquette is fully responsible for all the costs incurred, and we plan on making things as good as they were on Monday at 4 o’clock (before the accident) as opposed to what it is right now,” he said.

The Stephen L. Colby hit a submerged object in the Mississippi River on Nov. 25 before it began to sink. Nine crew members escaped without injury.

Efforts to raise the towboat began Monday, after several days of spill cleanup that included use of absorbent booms.

The U.S. Coast Guard is still trying to figure out how much diesel fuel and oil has spilled, because what’s been recovered so far has mixed with water. The Colby was carrying 91,000 gallons before the accident, and about 88,000 gallons of oily water has been recovered from the boat. But about 59,000 gallons of oily water has been recovered from the river.

Officials said they’re racing to get the boat out before frigid weather arrives. Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Mariana O’Leary with the Coast Guard said she hopes to finish raising the boat this week.

“We’re happy with where we’re at so far,” she said.

Officials said the freezing weather could delay the time it takes to completely restore the area. Some oil residue could remain until spring because oil at the shoreline could freeze. Officials said they’ll monitor for such a scenario.

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