M/V Thomas K Off Cape Rock

Cape Rock 05-02-2014No trip to Cape is complete without at least one trip to Cape Rock. I got there just as the M/V Thomas K was pushing a string of barges south. Click on the photos to make them larger.

Thomas K was once Kay A. Eckstein

Cape Rock 05-02-2014Dick’s Towboat Gallery reports that the Thomas K was originally named the Kay A. Eckstein when she was built in 1982. The name was changed in March 1989.

Shipwrecklog reports that the Kay A. Eckstein lost 16 of the 30 barges she was pushing on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg March 23, 2011, when she struck a railroad bridge when the river was flooding. The story is a bit confusing because the first site said the name changed BEFORE 2011.

One Kay A. Eckstein became reef

There may have been more than one Kay A. Eckstein. A report by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Mississippi Gulf Fishing Banks, Inc., said that “On May 23 1999 an engine room fire erupted on the Kay A. Eckstein. The vessel was proceeding upriver in the Mississippi River, near St. Francisville, La., pushing 29 barges. All 10 crewmembers aboard the vessel were safely evacuated. Due to the 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board at the time of the incident, the fire continued for 12 hours, and the vessel sank near the bank of the river as a result of the water burden created during fire-fighting. The vessel was re-floated, and after completing an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the fire, Marquette Transportation agreed to fund the expense associated with cleaning and preparing the hull as a reef donation and the cost of transporting the vessel to the deployment site.

On May 20, 2005, the vessel was sunk to become a fishing reef after the wheel house was cut off to keep it from becoming a hazard in the shallow water.




6 Replies to “M/V Thomas K Off Cape Rock”

  1. There was another M/V Kay Eckstein. It was owned by a company called Wisconsin Barge Line. The were a big company during the 70’s. They are no longer around as are several other big companies that got broke up.

    1. I was curious WHO Kay Eckstein was to make her so popular a name for boats with unfortunate histories. A quick, but not exhaustive, Google search didn’t answer that question.

  2. Cape Rock was (is) a great place from which to watch river traffic, although I had a greater appreciation for the whole view from the scenic overlook at Trail of Tears. (That is, until someone spoiled it by building the “improved” viewing platform. Prior to that, an adventurous person could climb below the old railing to perch on the limestone tongue that juts out toward the railroad tracks. It afforded an unequaled view not only of river traffic but of the Larue swamp, Pine Hills, and the Shawnee Forest beyond.) Trail of Tears for the view, Cape Rock for the history.

  3. I (SEMO ’67) well remember taking my now wife of 46 years (SEMO ’68) to Cape Rock to watch the ‘submarine races’ on those warm Cape Girardeau evenings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *