Crew rescued as towboat sinks in Louisiana; sheen reported


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

(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard and good Samaritans responded to the sinking of the towing vessel St. Rita on the Mississippi River near Laplace, La., on Thursday. 

At approximately 3 p.m. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report that St. Rita, owned and operated by Marquette Transportation Co., sank on the right descending bank of the Mississippi River.  

The five crewmembers that were on board the vessel were rescued by the good Samaritan towing vessel Rod C., and then transported to shore. No injuries were reported.  

“We are working with our federal, state and local partners and the responsible party to oversee the salvage and cleanup operations with the goal of minimizing the impact to the marine transportation system and the environment,” said Cmdr. Zachary Ford, chief of the Sector New Orleans Response Department.

St. Rita is estimated to have approximately 13,000 gallons of diesel on board. 

A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was diverted to conduct an overflight of the sunken vessel and reported a visible sheen from mile marker 132 to mile marker 117.

A Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Incident Management Team was also deployed and conducted a visual shoreline assessment with representatives from Marquette Transportation and confirmed a silvery, rainbow-colored non-recoverable sheen on the river. 

There are no reported impacts to vessel traffic and the river remains open.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

By Professional Mariner Staff