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U.S. Coast Guard responding to oil release from sinking vessel near Iowa

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 | 11:17 PM ET

Nov 25 (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard said it was responding to a sinking vessel and oil discharge into the Mississippi River near Le Claire, Iowa, on Monday.

"Approximately 100,000 gallons of petroleum products are reported to be on board the sunken vessel," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

On Monday afternoon, a 144-foot towboat, Stephen L. Colby, struck a submerged object near Le Claire and began to sink. All nine crew-members on board were able to make it to safety, the Coast Guard said.

The Captain of the Port has closed the Mississippi River from mile marker 493 to mile maker 501 to allow for safe, effective cleanup and salvage operations.

The cause of the incident was under investigation and the U.S. Coast Guard, along with Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and local emergency response crews, were taking action to evaluate and respond to environmental damages.

(Reporting by Koustav Samanta in Bangalore; Editing by Anand Basu)