Photos: Third Sunken Tug Raised on Illinois River

The raising of the Mary R, July 17 (USCG)

Published Jul 19, 2019 3:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the sinking of three tugs on the Illinois River near Hardin, Illinois earlier this month. 

On July 5, Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report of three moored tugboats and a deck barge that began taking on water at mile marker 21 on the Illinois River. Sector UMR responded to the scene to find all three vessels fully submerged. The vessels - the Chatty Sue Smith, Mary-R and Mary-Fern - were owned and operated by Missouri-based marine services firm Hex Stone, Inc.

The owner reported that the three vessels contained a combined 4,850 gallons of diesel fuel and oil. According to the USCG, Hex Stone quickly took action and contracted an oil spill removal service to mitigate the spill and deploy 1,500 feet of containment boom. The owner also hired a salvor to remove the sunken vessels.

Scene of the sinking, July 7 (USCG)

Spill response, July 7 (USCG)

Spill response, July 7 (USCG)

The raising of the Mary R, July 17 (USCG)

Coast Guard responders remained on scene during the 12-day salvage and recovery operation to minimize any potential environmental impact. On Wednesday, the salvor removed the last of the sunken vessels, bringing the salvage and pollution response phase to a close. 

“The vessel owner was extremely cooperative, taking all appropriate measures to protect the navigable waters in which the incident occurred," said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Sector UMR. “This is an unfortunate situation. However, I am extremely pleased with the efforts of Hex Stone. Their appropriate and quick response minimized any potential environmental impact.”