The Search For Missing Tugboat Crewman Continues

The search for a missing crewman continues in the Houston Ship Channel following last night's sinking of the J.R. Nichols. The 56-foot long tug boat sank quickly near the Simms Bayou turning basin. Rod Rice has more.

The tug went down about 10:30 last night with five crewmen aboard.  Craig Cook with the Texas General Land Office says nearby workers who were first on the scene found crewmen and leaking diesel fuel.

"Lyondell personnel deployed their response boats and deployed their boom and quickly contained the spill as well as rescued the four individuals that were on the boat that they could find."

The fuel was leaking from fuel vents. Coast Guard Captain James Whitehead says they will be sealed today as part of the preliminary vessel recovery effort.

"The main operations will be tomorrow; expect it may continue Friday maybe into Saturday, we don't know at this point."

He says that the blocked ship channel is keeping seven vessels from moving up stream and three from heading down stream.

Captain Whitehead says all four rescued crewmen were treated at hospitals and released.  He says the cause of the sinking is under investigation.
 

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...