Salvage crews lifted the stranded Stephen L. Colby from the water two weeks after it sank and leaked petroleum in the Mississippi River at LeClaire, Iowa.
The boat was carrying an estimated 89,000 gallons of diesel fuel plus more than 1,000 gallons of other petroleum products when it ran aground Monday, November 25, 2013. Nine crew members were aboard, and they all escaped unharmed. The wreck closed an eight-mile stretch of the Mississippi River.
Hundreds of gallons of petroleum initially leaked from the Stephen L. Colby into the Mississippi River, and wildlife authorities were concerned about the potential environmental impact on migrating birds and other wildlife in and near the water. Drinking water sourced from the river was not impacted for several local communities downstream from the leak.
The Coast Guard later assessed nearly 40,000 gallons of an oil-and-water mixture had been removed from the river.
Crews battled frigid weather and a snow storm as they worked to pull the vessel out of the water. The Colby was lifted from the water Monday, December 9. The boat was dewatered in an operation that involved crews on land and divers in the water. Temperatures that day were below 20 degrees with wind chills in single digits.
Once the boat is removed from the water and refloated, it was expected to take an additional four days for crews to pump the remaining water and fuel from the vessel.
The damage will then be patched and the boat will be ready to be towed to a repair facility about 300 miles downriver.