A 41-foot recreational vessel is removed from the Coffeeville Lock January 14. (Photo courtesy of Mobile Engineer District)

Recreational Vessel Removed From Coffeeville Lock

Coffeeville Lock, located at Mile 116.6 on the Tombigbee River, reopened to navigation at 6 p.m. Friday, January 14, after a sunken 41-foot recreational vessel was removed from the lock chamber.

The recreational vessel was traveling northbound on the Tombigbee January 8, when it entered Coffeeville Lock and sank during its lockage. Lock operators and waterway managers from the Mobile Engineer District promptly closed the lock to navigation due to draft concerns in the lock chamber. The vessel settled upright in the middle of the lock chamber, with only 7 feet of clearance over the top of it.

Mobile District officials mobilized the district’s floating plant, the mv. Lawson and floating crane Choctawhatchee, to the lock, along with a salvage crew from Vicksburg, Miss.-based Big River Shipbuilders to perform the diving and rigging at the site. The team made quick progress, arriving onsite January 13, then lifting the vessel out of the chamber and reopening the lock the following day. Lock operators quickly cleared the queue at Coffeeville, which consisted of a handful of vessels both northbound and southbound.