‘Pipe-bomb-like’ device found on third towboat on Ohio River

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WOWK) — Another explosive device was found Tuesday night on an Ohio River towboat, making it the third such incident in days, officials said.

The latest device, which did not go off, was found between 9:30 10 p.m. on a Marathon Petroleum towboat carrying fuel barges down the river. The boat was transferring the barges near Muskingum Island when the device was found near the front of the boat.

A federal source told WOWK 13 News that a law enforcement bulletin described these devices as “pipe-bomb-like” but that they were possible “hoax devices.”

Photo recently taken near Muskingum Island on the Ohio River.

The West Virginia State Police, along with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Coast Guard are conducting a joint investigation to try to find out where the devices are being put on the boats and barges and who is to blame.

Lt. Col. D. M. Nelson of the West Virginia State Police told WOWK 13 News that they are asking people to be vigilant about what they see near the river. The devices have been found along a stretch of the river from between St. Marys, West Virginia, and Parkersburg, West Virginia.

The list of companies and boats that the devices have been found is random, authorities said. When contacted Tuesday morning at the corporate communications office, Marathon said the company 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 on Oct. 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,West Virginia. That prompted the Coast Guard to shut down part of the river between 9:15 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday.

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