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Past Problems for Breakaway Barge Company

Megan Lynch @MLynchOnAir
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Coast Guard photo of one of eleven barges that sank south of St. Louis in flood-swollen Mississippi.

Coast Guard photo of one of eleven barges that sank south of St. Louis in flood-swollen Mississippi.

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ST. LOUIS  (KMOX) – It could be several months before investigators know what caused more than a hundred barges to break free during recent flooding on the Mississippi River.  Meanwhile, KMOX News has uncovered past issues for the company that owns those barges.

In July 2008 a tug owned by American Commercial Lines moved into the path of a tanker on the Mississippi near New Orleans.  The crash broke the barge in half spilling tens of thousands of gallons of fuel into the river.

The Mississippi was closed for miles.

American Commercial Lines had hired another firm to operate it’s tug.  Investigators discovered the crew was not properly licensed.

A federal judge ultimately determined American Commercial Lines was not at fault.  Reports at the time show the company did take responsibility for millions of dollars in clean-up costs.

Last year a shipyard owned by ACL was cited by federal officials after a worker was crushed to death.  It was the third fatality there since 2010.

KMOX News has not been able to make contact with a company spokesperson by phone.

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