Mississippi River reopens to traffic after sinking

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Associated Press

Posted on November 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A portion of the Mississippi River between eastern Iowa and northern Illinois has reopened to barge traffic, as officials continue to investigate the sinking of a towboat still leaking diesel fuel and oil.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Colin Fogarty says officials determined Tuesday night that other boats can safely navigate the waterway. A queue has cleared, and boats are traveling through at a slower pace.

A towboat carrying 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel and oil, named the Stephen L. Colby, sank Monday afternoon near LeClaire. Nine crew members escaped. Forgerty says investigating the cause could take months.

Fogarty says officials are determining how much diesel fuel and oil has spilled as absorbent booms collect it. It could take weeks to remove the towboat from the water.

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