The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(ST. LOUIS) — The Coast Guard is responding to three vessels that sunk on the Illinois River near Hardin, Illinois, Sunday.
Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report Friday of three towboats and a deck barge that were tied together and began taking on water at mile marker 21 on the Illinois River.
The sinking towboats are holding approximately 4,850 gallons of diesel and oil.
Sector Upper Mississippi River dispatched personnel to work with the towboat company to minimize potential environment impact.
Coast Guard officials conducted 11 miles of shoreline assessment and oversaw 1,500 feet of oil and fuel absorbing boom deployment to create a collection point to contain any discharge.
Smaller sheen-producing quantities of unrecoverable product have been substantially contained by an aggressive booming strategy.
“While ensuring responder safety is always paramount, minimizing any potential environmental impact is a clear goal of the salvage effort,” said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander of Sector Upper Mississippi River. “I am encouraged by the committed effort of the vessels’ owner.”
This incident is considered a major marine casualty and is under investigation.