MARIETTA, OH (WOWK) – Another explosive device was found on an Ohio River towboat between 9:30 and 10:00 Tuesday night, making it the third such incident in days, officials said.
The latest device, which did not go off, was found on a Marathon Petroleum towboat carrying fuel barges down-bound. The boat was transferring the barges near Muskingum Island when they found the device at the stern of the tow, near the head of the boat.
A federal law enforcement source tells 13 News that a law enforcement bulletin described these devices as “pipe-bomb-like” but that they were possible “hoax devices.”
West Virginia State Police along with the FBI, ATF and US Coast Guard is actively working on a joint investigation to find out where the devices are being put on the boats and barges and who is to blame.
Lieutenant Colonel D. M. Nelson of the West Virginia State Police told 13 News, that they are asking people to be vigilant about what they see near the river. From north of Parkersburg to Marietta and Williamstown to St. Mary’s, these are the areas that the devices have been found.
The list of companies and boats that these devices have been found is random. When contacted Tuesday morning at the corporate communications office, Marathon said that they cannot comment on the incident at this time.
The first in a string of possible explosive devices on the Ohio River was found on a barge near St. Marys in Pleasants County, West Virginia on Thursday, October 21. Troopers said the West Virginia State Police Explosive Response Team rendered the device safe and removed it from the barge.
Two more suspicious devices were then found late Monday night on a towboat on the river near Williamstown in Wood County, West Virginia, causing the Coast Guard to shut down part of the river between 9:15 p.m. on Monday and 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday.