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Barge with 80,000 gallons oil hits bridge, leaks

bargeYahoo News – by JANET McCONNAUGHEY | Associated Press

A barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil hit a railroad bridge inVicksburg, Miss., on Sunday, spilling light crude into the Mississippi River and closing the waterway for eight miles in each direction, the Coast Guard said. A second barge was damaged.

Investigators did not know how much had spilled, but an oily sheen was reported as far as three miles downriver of Vicksburg after the 1:12 a.m. incident, said Lt. Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard’s office in Memphis, Tenn.

Authorities were still trying to determine the source of the leak, but it appeared to be coming from one or two tanks located at the stern of the first barge, Gomez said. He said there was no indication that any oil was leaking from the second vessel, and said it was still unclear whether the second barge also hit the bridge or was damaged through a collision with the first.

“Investigators are still trying to figure out what happened,” he said.

The privately owned response-and-remediation company United States Environmental Services was working to contain the oil with booms before collecting it and transferring it to one of the barge’s undamaged tanks, then ultimately to a separate barge, Gomez said. He could not say how long the river would remain closed in the area. Five northbound and two southbound vessels were waiting to pass, he said.

“It’s still considered an active leak,” Gomez said. “We don’t have an estimate or accurate amount of what was released.”

Railroad traffic was allowed to continue after the bridge was found safe for trains, Petty Officer Carlos Vega said.

The barges are owned by Third Coast Towing LLC, Gomez said. According to a website listed under that name, the company is located in Corpus Christi, Texas. No one answered the telephone at the company Sunday night.

Both vessels were being pushed by the tugboat Nature’s Way Endeavor. The website for Nature’s Way Marine LLC of Theodore, Ala., identifies the vessel as a 3,000-horsepower, 90-foot-long boat, making it the largest and highest-powered of the company’s five tugs. It was built in 1974 and underwent a complete rebuild in 2011, according to the company.

A company manager referred calls to the Coast Guard command center at Vicksburg.

The last time an oil spill closed a portion of the lower Mississippi River, it was for less than a day last February after an oil barge and a construction barge collided, spilling less than 10,000 gallons of oil. In 2008, a fuel barge collided with a tanker and broke in half, dumping 283,000 gallons of heavy crude into the waterway, and closing the river for six days.

The oil sheen from Sunday’s incident was unlikely to pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico, located 344 river miles south of Vicksburg.

Residents and businesses in Gulf Coast states are still recovering from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.


McConnaughey reported from New Orleans. Associated Press Writer Lisa J. Adams in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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6 Responses to Barge with 80,000 gallons oil hits bridge, leaks

  1. NC says:

    Gee…The Gulf of Mexico is contaminated and now the Mississippi River. What’s next? The Great Lakes? Maybe they’re trying to pollute our water supply through manufactured accidents. Are we going to have to start importing our water from other countries now?

    Oh, and trust me, you don’t want to drink the water made in China. I know some scientists who can’t even identify half of what is in their water over there. If it ain’t bottled water, I don’t drink it over there.

    • diggerdan says:

      Oh yea, NC. Don`t you just love it. We must be the oil spill capital of the world by now with all these oil spills these last few years, and that doesn`t even include those that we all haven`t heard about and were covered up. These oil spills of any kind have got to stop. Just wait for when they start up those big oil pipelines they all have been talking about running from Canada to Texas?, I think it is. That is going to be another big on land oil disaster just waiting to happen.

    • Wolf says:

      The Pacific is loaded with Plutonium from Fukushima (which is TODAY radiating the west coast) they are planning to spew more. The Atlantic coast of the US is nuke haven just one earthquake in the right spot…poof end of life in the oceans. Documentary is NUCLEAR INSANITY. We have to rid our planet of this toxic crap. We cannot allow these nuts to run our planet then our lives into a tomb. I believe that this gun grabbing is to distract us from this inevitable death to all living creatures…what kind of evil would do this? Are they human? If so what kind of human? It does not make sense that this is happening. Too much for us to wrap our brains around. Iceland is correct…put them in prison.

    • # 1 NWO Hatr says:

      They won’t pollute the Great Lakes, NC.

      They’re shipping that water to China, remember?

  2. Jolly Roger says:

    Exactly how stupid (or drunk) do you have to be to hit a bridge with a ship?

    Have you ever seen an automobile hit the booth while trying to pay the bridges toll? Seems to me like it would be a lot easier to navigate a ship between the bridge’s support towers.

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