On February 22, the 18 meter long towboat Leland Speaks caught fire on the Mississippi River near Greenville, Mississippi. The Leland Speaks was pushing 21 barges when fire broke out on the towboat. The crew was unable to extinguish the blaze and requested assistance. Local towboats responded and rescued the eight crew. No reports of injuries. The towboats pushed the burning Leland Speaks aground near the riverbank. No reports of pollution released. The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the incident.
On January 24, the towboat Virginia Renee sank on the Mississippi River at Hickman Landing near Blytheville, Arkansas. The towboat had sunk at its berth releasing oil pollution into the river. Booms and absorbent pads were placed around the Virginia Renee to contain the pollution.
Reports state the towboat had some 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the sinking. The Coast Guard has launched an investigation into the incident. No reports of injuries.
On January 24, the 42 meter long towboat George King caught fire on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Mississippi. The fire started in the vessel’s engine room and quickly engulfed the superstructure. The nine crew on board were able escape the flames by climbing onto the barges being pushed by the George King. The 168 foot long towboat Michael Reeves came to their assistance and pushed the George King ashore onto the river bank. No reports of injuries.
The Coast Guard along with other local and state authorities arrived on scene a short time later. River traffic was restricted while authorities extinguished the blaze. A boom and absorbent pads were placed around the George King to contain any pollution. Reports state there was 65,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board the George King.
The fire had gutted most the towboat’s superstructure and no reports if the George King will be salvaged or scrapped.