orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

January 29, 2013

Coast Guard responds to report of crude oil in Mississippi River

Special to The Leader
The Orange Leader

NEW ORLEANS — The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., Monday.



Tank soundings indicated that the barge is still leaking product into the waterway.  Containment boom has been deployed around the area at the leak and skimmers are being used to recover product.



Personnel from Sector Lower Mississippi River, Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala., are on scene and continue to assess the size of the spill and oversee cleanup operation. The tank levels are being constantly monitored for further leakage. The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil.



The responsible party is drafting a plan for lightering and salvage operations for Coast Guard review.



Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received notification Sunday at 1:30 a.m., reporting that two tank barges, towed by the tug Nature's Way Endeavor, allided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge.  Both of the tank barges were loaded with crude oil; both of the barges were damaged, and one has released oil into lower Mississippi River.



The Mississippi River remains closed to all traffic from mile marker 425 to mile marker 441 near Vicksburg.  The latest queue is 12 northbound and 19 southbound.



Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing. Vessels will be allowed to transit the area as soon as it is environmentally and operationally safe to do so.



No injuries were reported in association with the incident.  The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.



The unified command consists of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, local authorities and law enforcement and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature's Way Marine LLC.