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Dec 20, 2017

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America

In the 29 years that towboat captain Joe Gray has worked flotillas of barges up and down the Ohio River, he has witnessed the decline at the heart of industrial America in what is known as the country's Rust Belt.

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
1

Twenty-five year-old lead deckhand Chase Osborne stands in the fog at the head of 15 barges being pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally though the New Cumberland Locks on the Ohio River in Moraine, Ohio, U.S., September 10, 2017. Osborne has been working as a deckhand for six years. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
2

Twenty-five year-old lead deckhand Chase Osborne pulls a line onto a barge to be pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River outside Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
3

A disused stone and rock conveyor belt sits in a field at the Paul H. Rose Dearborn Terminal on the banks of the Ohio River in Aurora, Indiana, U.S., September 22, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
4

A road sign points to "America" along the Ohio River in Villa Ridge, Illinois, U.S., September 19, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
5

Eight year-old Shalynn Billingsley rides a dinosaur in a playground in Racine, Ohio U.S., September 24, 2017. The playground is on the banks of the Ohio River and across from the retired AEP Philip Sporn Power Plant in Letart, West Virginia. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
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Crew members arrive to work the night shift on tugboats at CGB-Waterfront Marine Service in Cairo, Illinois, U.S., September 19, 2017. Cairo sits at the end of the Ohio River, where it flows into the Mississippi River. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
7

Thirty-five year-old sternman Jeremy Kinder (bottom) and thirty-three year-old lead deckhand Joshua Taylor tighten lines connecting barges pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River passing Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
8

Twenty-three year-old sternman Rocky Sheppard holds a line as Campbell Transportation Company's towboat Tommy H reaches the Montgomery Lock on the Ohio River near Industry, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 7, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
9

Barges, including one filled with coal (C), are pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Stratton, Ohio, U.S., September 10, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
10

The Tanners Creek Generating Station, a former 1000 MW, coal-fired electrical plant, is being taken down along the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, U.S., September 14, 2017. The plant was shut down in 2015. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
11

The remnants of a plant are stuck on a barge pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
12

Twenty-one year-old deckhand trainee Jacob Bumgarner (top R) salutes departing crew members during a crew change on Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Chilo, Ohio, U.S., September 13, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
13

Twenty-five year-old sternman Tygert Phalen climbs a ladder on the wheelhouse of Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Crown City, Ohio, U.S., September 12, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
14

Canned goods sit in the pantry in the galley of Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River passing Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
15

Thirty-three year-old lead deckhand Joshua Taylor uses his mobile phone in the galley of Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Lewisport, Kentucky, U.S., September 16, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
16

Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally passes ADM Grain Company on the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana, U.S., September 17, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
17

The Ohio River is reflected in the wheelhouse window as forty-six year-old Captain Joe Gray pilots Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally pushing 15 barges near Ironton, Ohio, U.S., September 12, 2017. Captain Gray began working on towboats as part of a high school work study program in 1988. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
18

Thirty-three year-old lead deckhand Joshua Taylor and twenty-three year-old sternman Patrick Uphold take a break in the galley of Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Wheeling, West Virginia, U.S., September 10, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
19

A tugboat crew member leaves work at CGB-Waterfront Marine Service on the Ohio River in Cairo, Illinois, U.S., September 19, 2017. Cairo sits at the end of the Ohio River, where it flows into the Mississippi River. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
20

A boy carries his fishing gear as he rides his bike to the banks of the Ohio River in Evansville, Indiana, U.S., September 20, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
21

A worker treats metal at Neville Galvanizing on Neville Island in the Ohio River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 25, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
22

The name of the Cairo Evening Citizen newspaper is seen on its shuttered offices in Cairo, Illinois, U.S., September 20, 2017. Cairo sits at the end of the Ohio River, where it flows into the Mississippi River. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
23

A cross with "Jesus Saves" written on stands on the banks of the Ohio River in Chesapeake, Ohio, U.S., September 23, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
24

A U.S. flag is painted on the side of a home along the Ohio River in Joppa, Illinois, U.S., September 19, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
25

Barge number "666" is pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Mt. Vernon, Indiana, U.S., September 18, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
26

The "Bow" is marked on a barge being pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Brandenburg, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
27

The Shawneetown Bank, which shut down in 1942, stands on Main Street in downtown in Old Shawneetown, Illinois, U.S., September 20, 2017 along the Ohio River. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
28

The Willow Island Baptist Church cemetery sits in front of Cytec Industries along the Ohio River in Belmont, West Virginia, U.S., September 24, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
29

Barges sit in the Ohio River at sunrise near Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
30

Twenty-one year-old deckhand trainee Jacob Bumgarner holds a line while wearing a headlamp shortly before sunrise on Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., September 14, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
31

Rust and scraped-off paint are visible on a barge being pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Brandenburg, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
32

A combination picture shows markings and signs along boats and locks along the Ohio River, U.S., between September 15, 2017 and September 18, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

Ohio River towboat captain navigates a changing America
33

The word "Big" is painted on a barge being pushed by Campbell Transportation Company's towboat MK McNally on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., September 15, 2017. BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

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