Terral Towboat Sinks Near Blytheville, Ark.

The U.S. Coast Guard responded in the early morning hours of January 24 to a vessel that sunk near Mile 823 on the Lower Mississippi River near Blytheville, Ark. Terral RiverService Inc. notified Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River around 5:30 a.m. that the mv. Virginia Renee had sunk while moored at Hickman Landing, Ark., downriver from Caruthersville, Ark.

The Virginia Renee, a 68-foot, 2,000 hp. towboat that was built in 1971, reportedly was carrying 10,000 gallons of diesel, and according to the Coast Guard, the sunken vessel was discharging oil.

Agencies involved in the response included Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Enhance Environmental and Emergency Services (also known as E3), Budwine & Associates Inc., and Big River Shipbuilders.

Immediately after the sinking, boom and absorbent pads were used to address the oil discharge, with divers on scene. Speaking a day after the sinking, Johnny Martin, chief operating office for Terral RiverService, said salvage operations would be underway by January 26.

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“We don’t know the cause of the sinking yet, but are very thankful that no one was hurt,” Martin said in a statement. “The salvage rig is expected to arrive tonight and operations will begin at daylight to raise the boat.”