Crew rescued after dredger capsizes on Lower Mississippi

(NEW ORLEANS) — The U.S. Coast Guard is overseeing a pollution response Monday after a dredging vessel capsized in the Mississippi River in the vicinity of mile marker (MM) 85 near Meraux, La.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watch standers received notification at 12:50 a.m. that the dredging vessel W.B. Wood capsized, and the two people aboard were rescued and accounted for by the crew of the good Samaritan towing vessel Omaha.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Incident Management Division is coordinating with Wood Resources LLC in overseeing the pollution response and plans to salvage the capsized vessel. The responding oil spill response organization, Environmental Safety & Health Consulting Services (ES&H), has three response boats on scene, is conducting skimming operations, and has recovered more than 3,360 gallons of oily water mixture.

ES&H deployed 940 feet of hard and soft boom and contained the discharge.

Boom is deployed around W.B. Wood after it capsized Sunday on the Mississippi River near Meraux, La. U.S. Coast Guard photo

A Coast Guard overflight of the area has verified sheening from the incident location down to MM 64, which is expected to dissipate naturally.

All correlating pollution reports are being investigated by the Coast Guard to ensure no additional areas along the Mississippi River have been impacted.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans closed the waterway from MM 81 to MM 86 for eight hours, but since opened the waterway with specific restrictions in place in order to facilitate safe recovery operations.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

– U.S. Coast Guard

By Rich Miller