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Damage to Lee III is shown in Coast Guard photograph

March 2, 2004

Formal investigation of Lee III incident begins

The Coast Guard wass scheduled to convene a formal investigation today to gather information into the collision between the offshore vessel Lee III and motor vessel Zim Mexico III in which five Lee III crew members were lost.  The fact finding inquiry, which is presided over by a one-person board, will will continue through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  The investigation will be open to the public and the media.

A Coast Guard formal investigation is a fact-finding inquiry where all testimony is recorded and taken under oath.  All information gathered from the investigation will be compiled and organized into an official report and sent to Coast Guard Headquarters for review. 

The Mississippi River’s Southwest Pass was opened Sunday at 10 p.m. after salvage crews completed the removal of the offshore supply vessel Lee III.

The upriver-bound 534-foot cargo ship Zim Mexico III and the downbound 178-foot Lee III reportedly collided at 5:20 a.m on Feb 21..  After the collision, the Lee III capsized.

The Lee III is being transported to Amelia, La., and is scheduled to arrive at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

The ZIM Mexico III arrived Sunday morning at the Buck Kreihs Company, Inc., dock located at Napoleon Ave. Wharf on the West Bank for repairs.

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