USCG Sector Upper Mississippi River received a report of three tugboats and a deck barge that were tied together and began taking on water at mile marker 20.7 on the Illinois River on Friday, 5 July and responded to the scene to find all three vessels fully submerged.

The vessels were identified as Chatty Sue Smith, Mary-R and Mary-Fern, owned and operated by Hex Stone, Inc.

The vessels contained approximately 4,850 gallons of diesel fuel and oil. The owner quickly took appropriate action and contracted an oil spill removal service to mitigate the spill and deploy containment boom.

The owners also hired a salvage company to remove the sunken vessels.

USCG responders remained on scene during the 12-day salvage and recovery operation to ensure safety and minimize any environmental impact.

The salvage company removed the last of the sunken vessels on Wednesday.

This is an unfortunate situation. However, I am extremely pleased with the efforts of Hex Stone. Their appropriate and quick response minimized any potential environmental impact,

...said Capt. Scott Stoermer, commander, Sector UMR.