Crew Safe After Towing Vessel Burns On Lower Miss

The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that the mv. City of Cleveland caught fire at about 4:15 p.m. February 26 near Mile 349 on the Lower Mississippi River, south of Natchez, Miss. The vessel was traveling upriver with 15 loaded dry cargo barges and three empties when it caught fire.

The crew aboard the City of Cleveland made it safely off the vessel, with other towboats in the area responding to the fire. The incident remains under investigation, but a Coast Guard spokesperson noted the vessel’s engineroom was involved in the fire. The City of Cleveland’s crew battled the blaze, as did the mv. Susan K. Good Samaritan vessels pushed the City of Cleveland to the left descending bank, according to the Coast Guard

“The vessel was pushed in by the mv. Susan K and mv. Jackson Platte,” said Alexandria Preston, with Coast Guard District 8 External Affairs. “The mv. Big J.O. later relieved the Susan K.”

The Coast Guard said there was no reported pollution and no damage beyond the City of Cleveland.

The City of Cleveland is part of Rosedale, Miss.-based Jantran’s fleet. Jantran is the river towing division of Bruce Oakley Inc.

Leslie Jenkins, director of human resources for Jantran, said the company was, first and foremost, thankful that the City of Cleveland’s crew was safe and accounted for. She also expressed heartfelt thanks to the vessels that responded when the call for assistance went out from the City of Cleveland.

“We’d like to extend our appreciation to the two companies that came alongside to assist us last night,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins noted that the City of Cleveland was really in a remote part of the river.

“Those that came behind us didn’t hesitate,” she said.

The Susan K is part of the SCF fleet, while the Jackson Platte and Big J.O. are with Yazoo River Towing.