NTSB reports on towboat grounding and sinking

U.S. Coast Guard estimated 2,096 barrels of petroleum product was recovered from the vessel and the rive U.S. Coast Guard estimated 2,096 barrels of petroleum product was recovered from the vessel and the rive

JULY 28, 2014—The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined the probable cause of the November 2013 grounding and sinking of towing vessel Stephen L. Colby.

The Stephen L. Colby was operated as a line haul boat by Marquette Transportation Co. and was transiting upriver from St. Louis, Missouri, to Clinton, IA, to pick up 15 loaded dry cargo barges when it struck hard bottom and partially sank off the right descending riverbank in LeClaire, IA, on November 25, 2013, at 1555 central standard time.

Six of the nine crew members on board made it to the riverbank on their own. The nearby towing vessel Aaron F. Barrett recovered the remaining three crew members from the partially sunken vessel. No one was injured.

The vessel carried an estimated 2,156 barrels of petroleum product when it sank―2,128 barrels of diesel and 28 barrels of lube oil. The U.S. Coast Guard estimated 2,096 barrels of petroleum product was recovered from the vessel and the river.

Probable Cause

The NTSB determines that the probable cause of the grounding and sinking of the Stephen L. Colby was the failure of the master and mate to ensure sufficient underkeel clearance for the intended transit through the accident area.

It appears that the squat effect may have played a role in reducing the clearance.

Read the NTSB report HERE