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Fuel spill causes Mississippi River to close near Granite City, IL

HOUSTON, March 4, 2016 (PCW) -- Mississippi River traffic was halted Thursday afternoon after a tug boat’s fuel tank ruptured, spilling fuel unto the water.

According to US Coast Guard Lt. Sean Haley, the vessel was moving through Lock and Dam 27 in Granite City, IL, when it made contact with the lock’s gate.

Haley said the cause of the rupture is under investigation, but added that there is a six-inch protrusion on top of the gate and that the boat sustained damage on the very bottom of its hull.

The boat’s fuel tank holds 20,000 gallons of fuel when full, but only between 200 and 300 gallons spilled.

Haley said boat operators are required to have a cleanup company on call in case of a spill. He said the Coast Guard is overseeing the cleanup company’s progress and will be on scene “until all recoverable quantities are removed.”

“We anticipate that happening before daylight, if not sooner,” Haley said.

Booms used to absorb fuel were stretched across the lock. Haley said the fuel had not escaped into the main channel. -- Donna Todd

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