Crew escapes as towboat burns on Lower Mississippi

The following is a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard is responding to a vessel on fire on the Lower Mississippi River near Greenville, Miss., on Wednesday. 

Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River watch standers received a report at 7:20 a.m. of the towboat Leland Speakes adrift and on fire.

Towboats gained control of the vessel and pushed it aground at mile marker 509.  

Leland Speakes has an estimated 80,000 gallons aboard and was pushing 21 dry barges.

There are no reports of hazardous material aboard the barges.

The Coast Guard issued a waterway restriction from mile marker 500 to mile marker 520 to limit vessel traffic in the area.

There were eight people aboard Leland Speakes when the vessel caught fire. The crew reportedly departed the burning vessel onto towboats in the area. There are no reports of injuries.

There are no reports of pollution or impacts to the environment.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff