One Missing After Towboat Capsizes on Mississippi

Seattle Slew (file image courtesy Turn Services)

By The Maritime Executive 03-19-2019 02:52:19

The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for the master of the towboat Seattle Slew, which capsized at 2012 hours on the Mississippi near Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana. 

The Slew went down near Myrtle Grove Fleet, a fleeting facility about 50 miles downriver from New Orleans. Two crewmembers jumped over the side and were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel's captain, identified as David Mills, remains missing. The Crescent River Port Pilot's Association confirmed Tuesday that the wreck has been located, but the search for Mills continues.

According to local media, the Seattle Slew was attempting to move an empty barge when she began to take on water and capsized. 

"At this moment our entire focus and attention is geared towards the search for our missing teammate," said Mario Munoz, the president of vessel operator Turn Services. "We extend our sincere thoughts and prayers to all the crewmembers involved, their families and to the rest of our Turn Services team."

The Slew is the second vessel to capsize on the Mississippi this week. On Thursday, the towboat Michelle Ann made contact with a bulker's anchor chain at an anchorage near Baton Rouge, leading to her capsize and sinking. All four of the Michelle Ann's crew survived by transferring to their barge tow. 

The Upper Mississippi drainage is experiencing historic flooding levels, and many areas on the Lower Mississippi are above flood stage as well. According to the USACE's river gauge monitoring system, water levels are below flood stage from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico, including the area where the Seattle Slew went down.