Sunken Towboat Blocks Upper Mississippi River At Mile 43

The Upper Mississippi River was closed in both directions after the mv. Boone sank at Upper Mississippi River Mile 43, near Thebes, Ill., early August 12.

No one was injured.

The mv. Boone was being towed upriver by the mv. David A. Lewis Jr., owned by American Commercial Barge Line, as a dead tow. The captain said he began hearing noises outside the pilothouse, looked out, and the lines connecting the vessels snapped, said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Weiser of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit in Paducah, Ky.

The Boone sank at 4:40 a.m. Central Daylight Time in the middle of the channel, Weiser said. It was marked with an 8-foot hazard buoy with a solar light, according to information provided by Haynes Marrs & Associates LLC as part of a Notice to Navigators for the Upper Mississippi River. The notice indicated the Boone was sitting upright at a depth of 30 feet with approximately 3 feet of water over its top but also noted the Thebes river gauge showed a level of 21.8 with a slow drop forecast over the next few days.

“Initially the mast could be seen,” Weiser said. “It is no longer visible.”

Additionally, he said, an oil sheen was visible on the water. Because of the speed of the river, no boom could be deployed to contain it. No sensitive environmental areas were nearby, he said. It was not immediately known how much fuel was on board the Boone or how much had leaked.

The Coast Guard immediately closed the channel in both directions, and a salvage rig from Okie Moore Diving & Marine Salvage was expected to arrive late in the day August 13. Weiser said the Coast Guard was considering allowing a test tow northbound to see if could permit a reduced towing configuration past the sunken boat. Another Notice to Navigation Interests indicated it was unlikely a large, southbound tow would be able to transit the area until the boat is salvaged.

According to the 2020 edition of the Inland River Record, the Boone is a 900 hp. twin-screw towboat built in 1980 by Dravo SteelShip Corporation of Pine Bluff, Ark. It was listed as 60 feet by 22 feet. The vessel was originally owned by Cincinnati Gas & Electric Company until sold to Duke Energy Kentucky Inc., of Union, Ky. It was most recently operated at East Bend Station, Rabbit Hash, Ky., by McGinnis Inc. of South Point, Ohio, but had been returned to Duke.