BOLIVAR — A collision between two vessels shut down traffic on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway for about six hours on Sunday.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said about 1 p.m. Sunday they were notified of a collision between a tugboat and a 15-foot fiberglass pleasure craft at mile marker 338 in the waterway, near East Canal Drive on Bolivar Peninsula.

Coast Guard Lt. Melissa McCafferty, the command duty officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, said the pleasure craft stalled in the middle of the 200-yard wide canal. The tugboat, named the Dixie Courage, could not stop in time and collided with it.

The pleasure craft sank following the collision. The people who were on the pleasure craft abandoned ship before the collision and swam to shore.

No one was injured. Only one of the people in the pleasure craft was wearing a life vest, McCafferty said.

“Everybody was safe,” McCafferty said.

McCafferty said the cause of the collision was still under investigation, but said it appeared to be an accident.

The waterway was closed for about six hours following the collision as authorities tried to locate and recover the sunk boat.

“If the pleasure craft is sitting at the bottom, we don’t want anyone to run over it and cause damage to their vessel, so we’re trying to locate it and salvage the vessel,” McCafferty said.

The sunken boat was located and towed to a safe place by a Good Samaritan, a Coast Guard spokesman said Sunday night. The waterway was then completely reopened to traffic by 7:25 p.m.

There were no reports of pollution related to the collision.

The Dixie Courage is owned by Kirby Inland Marine.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson@galvnews.com.

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