The tugboat that sank in the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities three weeks ago is headed for the repair shop. Despite the brutal cold, divers were able to help raise the tugboat Stephen L. Colby and patch its ripped hull.
The boat is now being towed about 300 miles down river. Coast Guard Lieutenant Colin Fogerty says it’s a “precarious” task as there’s ice on the river and they must also navigate around other vessels. “We will be working very closely with the river industry to ensure that all safety precautions are taken, and that we don’t have any repeats of this vessel sinking,” Fogerty says.
The tugboat was carrying about 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Fogerty estimates about 90-percent of what leaked has been cleaned up. “The United States Coast Guard, along with Marquette (Transportation Co.) — the responsible party, is going to return back this spring to conduct a cleanup assessment, as well as to cleanup much of the riff-raff, the rocks, and the riverbed,” Fogerty said. “Our end goal here is to return LeClaire, Iowa back to its pristine beauty.”
What the tugboat struck, causing it to sink on November 25, remains unknown. The Stephen L. Colby was built in 1967 and is 154 feet long and 40 feet wide. All nine crew members aboard the tugboat made it to safety.