Captain Missing As Towboat Sinks On Lower Miss

The towing vessel mv. Seattle Slew, operated by fleeting company Turn Services, capsized on the Lower Mississippi River near Point à La Hache, La., on the night of March 18.

It was the third towing vessel sinking in less than 12 days in Louisiana.  On March 7, the mv. St. Rita sank near La Place, La., with all five crewmembers escaping safely. On March 14, the towboat Michelle Anne sank after it allided with an anchored bulk carrier upriver near Baton Rouge, La. All four crew members in that incident were rescued.

The Lower Mississippi is continuing to experience high water from heavy rains and snowmelt.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watch standers received a notification that the 54-foot-long Seattle Slew  had capsized at 8:12 p.m. with three persons aboard. The Coast Guard closed the river from Mile 55 to Mile 58 as crews searched for the missing person, later identified as Capt. David Mills.

Mario Munoz, president of Turn Services, released this statement on March 19: “Last night, the mv. Seattle Slew, a pushboat operated by our company, sank near Myrtle Grove, La., with three crewmembers onboard. Two of the crewmembers were rescued from the river by one of our Turn Services vessels. … We extend our heartfelt thanks to our team members and industry colleagues who immediately and heroically responded to the incident. … We extend our sincere thoughts and prayers to all the crewmembers involved, their families and to the rest of our Turn Services team.”

The Coast Guard suspended its search on March 20.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The 1,200 hp. Seattle Slew was built in 1982 by Crumpler’s Shipbuilding Company in Bridge City, Texas. It has been owned by Turn Services since May 2009.