Tugboat’s Collision With I-310 Bridge May Have Been 2nd Crash This Year

March 17, 2020

LULING, La. — A tugboat leading a train of barges of grain crashed into a Louisiana bridge, causing two of the barges to sink in the Mississippi River.

The tugboat, identified as Cooperative Spirit, collided with the Luling Bridge early Sunday morning, news outlets reported. It may have been the second crash involving the vessel this year.

Two of the 29 barges being pulled by the tugboat sank. The Coast Guard was working to recover the rest of the barges. No injuries were reported, Coast Guard spokesman John Michelli said.

A portion of the river near the bridge was closed after the crash.

The Luling Bridge is a cable-stayed structure that carries Interstate 310 over the Mississippi River in St. Charles Parish west of New Orleans.

A vessel named Cooperative Spirit was involved in a fatal crash with another tugboat earlier this year, just upriver from the same bridge, local television stations reported.

Marine Log, an online industry publication, reported that on Jan. 26 the Cooperative Spirit collided with the RC Creppel, sinking the barge.

NOLA.com reported that families of two of the dead seamen filed a wrongful death in Orleans Parish District Court against Illinois-based American River Transportation Co., which owns Cooperative Spirit, and Elite Towing Inc. which owns the RC Creppel.

American River Transportation Co. filed a limited liability claim in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, stating that the company is not liable for any injuries or damages related to the Jan. 26 crash, NOLA.com reported.

Coast Guard officials could not confirm that Sunday’s crash involved the same vessel.

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