NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A towing vessel sank early Friday on the lower Mississippi River near New Orleans after striking a piling, the Coast Guard said.
The three crew members of the Altro Donna were able to get off the vessel and escaped injury, said Petty Officer Steve Lehman. The vessel was pushing eight empty barges downriver normally used to carry fuel or other hazardous materials. The barges did not sink and were secured.
Lehman said the vessel was carrying 11,500 gallons of diesel fuel and 52 gallons of lubricant for its own use. As a result, a cleanup team was dispatched to the site as a precaution.
“There have been pockets of sheen around the area. It could be just remnants from the ship sinking,” Lehman said.
Lehman said the vessel struck a piling shortly after midnight and the crew attempted to dock at Marrero, a West Bank suburb of New Orleans. After that, the towboat sank, he said.
The Coast Guard said it was unclear if the vessel had originally intended to dock at Marrero since crew members had not yet been interviewed.
The river remained fully open, but the Coast Guard established a safety zone around the sunken vessel.
An investigation was continuing.