Sunken towboat leaks oil into Big Sandy River in Wayne County

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WAYNE COUNTY, W.Va (WSAZ) - The Coast Guard is on the scene of a sunken towboat that is leaking oil into the Big Sandy River near Butler, West Virginia, just south of Kenova.

Huntington's Marine Safety Unit says they received a report at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday that the motor vessel Gate City sunk at its mooring and was discharging oil into the river with a maximum potential of 5,000 gallons.

No one was on the boat at the time of the incident.

Cleanup crews are on the scene and a boom has been placed in the water to try to contain the oil and keep it from getting into the Ohio River.

The Marine Safety Unit says there is no direct threat at this time to homes or anyone nearby.

The West Virginia National Guard's 35th Civil Support Team announced Thursday afternoon that it will provide support in the overall clean-up effort. It reports that it will provide personnel for environmental sampling and monitoring.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the spill is contained to about a mile and a half stretch of the Tug River.

“The issues we are having right now some of them are with the ice on the river. It’s hard to get to the river with the steep river banks, there not being any boat ramps, it’s hard for our responders to get down and access to the oil where it’s spilling," said Chris Blank with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The boat is sunk from the main deck and below.