By David Murray
July 17, 2017
The mv. Eric Haney lies almost completely submerged on the right descending bank of the Upper Mississippi River near Cairo, Ill., after its sinking.
(Photo by Aaron Palmer)
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Paducah, Ky., were notified at about midnight July 8/9 of the Eric Haney sinking on the right descending bank in the Upper Mississippi River at Mile 9.7, near Cairo, Ill.. Dramatic video of the sinking shows the boat almost rolling over.
The vessel was carrying about 79,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,600 gallons of lube oil.
AIS images show the Eric Haney striking a dike in a hairpin bend and turning its tow sideways to the current. In response to a distress call, a number of nearby boats were dispatched to assist it before it sank.
American Commercial Barge Line sent three towboats to assist: the mvs. Safety Guide, Dale Robbins and the Mark Glaab. The Safety Guide rescued the Haney crew of nine from the tow’s barges where they had taken refuge, then took them to Wickliffe, Ky., according to a spokesperson for ACBL. The Robbins and Glaab caught the barges after the boat sank and took the tow back to Cairo.
The U.S. Coast Guard established a unified command near Cairo, Ill., on July 9. The unified command includes Coast Guard, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Tennessee Valley Towing.
Members from MSU Paducah and other first responders arrived on scene to assess the situation.
SWS Environmental Services, an oil spill response organization, was on scene deploying boom as a preventive measure. On July 10, the unified command said a minimal amount of residual oil was discovered leaking from the vessel, which was contained and recovered. Water and shoreline assessments showed no other signs of pollution.
Divers attached three additional mooring lines from the vessel to the shore for added stability. Crews were working to salvage and lighter the vessel.
There are currently no restrictions to commercial or recreational vessel traffic due to the incident.
The twin-screw, 170-by-40-foot towboat Eric Haney was originally built in 1966 by Jeffboat. Its 5,000 hp. is provided by two Alco 16-251B diesels. It was operated as the Jack D. Wofford by American Commercial Lines LLC until it was sold in March 2012 to Ingram Barge Company, which in turn sold it to Whitetail Vessel Company LLC in January 2017. It was operated by Tennessee Valley Towing, Paducah, Ky.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.