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V882, V883, V884, V885

Mile 179.0 Upper Mississippi River, St. Louis, Missouri | 1983-Apr-02

Initial Notification: At approximately 2315 on April 2, 1983, the M/V City of Greenville with a tow of four tank barges struck the Illinois pier of the Poplar Street Bridge near downtown St. Louis, Missouri, on the Mississippi River. Weather at the time was cloudy and overcast with light rain. Visibility was 8 miles with winds gusting from the northwest to 25 miles per hour. Crew error was the primary cause of the accident. The barges, V882, V883, V884, and V885, were laden with a total of approximately 65,003 barrels of Montana Mix sour crude oil. One of the barges exploded on impact and burst into flames. As the fire continued to spread, the tow broke, setting three of the burning barges adrift down the river. The tug and attached barge V885 were moved to the Peabody Coal facility at mile 179.2 for lightering and inspection. The three drifting barges caused extensive damage to facilities and other barges along the left descending bank on the Illinois side of the river. While traveling downriver, one of the barges struck the Pillsbury Grain dock facility. The fire spread to the dock, the grain elevator, and trees and bushes on the shoreline. Three grain barges nearby caught fire as well. A coal barge on the Missouri side of the river ignited from contact with one of the barges. The Monsanto dock caught fire after being struck by one of the barges, and the impact ruptured a pipeline on a walkway, releasing approximately 100 pounds of monochlorobenzene into the river. Barge V884 suffered the most damage, both the barge and its discharged cargo on the river's surface were in flames. After drifting downstream, V884 sank at mile 178.2 Upper Mississippi River (UMR) near the Cahokia Power Plant. The barge continued to release its total cargo of 10,882 barrels of crude oil. While burning out of control, barge V883 lodged bow first into the bank above the Cahokia Power Plant. The fire spread uncontrollably onto the shore. An hour later, V883 broke loose and continued drifting down the river, still engulfed in flames. The M/V Katie eventually grounded V883 by pushing it into the bank at the Pillsbury Facility. The leading barge, V882, was forced into the Arsenal Island barge fleet area after being controlled by the M/V Gary D. Partridge. The USCG Cutters Obion and Cheyenne fought the fire on V883 as well as the fire at the Phillips facility. The cutters used all but two of their fire fighting foam cans. To reduce the probability of reflash, the Cheyenne applied a low-velocity water fog to V883. The M/V Tom McConnel used her propwash to keep burning oil on the water from reaching the Cheyenne during firefighting operations. By 1330 on April 3, the fires on the three escaped barges, the three grain barges, and the Pillsbury dock were out. Valley Towing Service, Inc., the owners of the tug and barges, assumed financial responsibility for the cleanup. Three pollution cleanup sites were established at mile 177.6, 176.6, and 176.2 UMR. A joint Regional Response Team (RRT) Region V and VII meeting was held in St. Louis on April 5, 1983. USCG district 9. Keyword: Adverse weather conditions, Gulf Strike Team (GST), deflection booms, vacuum truck, sorbents, airboats, manual removal, oil snares, fire, explosion, reoiling..

Incident Details
Products of concern:Montana Mix sour crude oil
Latitude (approximate): 38° 40.00′ North
Longitude (approximate): 90° 15.00′ West
On-Water Recovery: Unknown/Not applicable
Shoreline Cleanup: Unknown/Not applicable
Dispersants: Unknown/Not applicable
In-Situ Burn: Applied
Bioremediation: Unknown/Not applicable