Barge Collision Causes Oil Spill, Closes Stretch of Mississippi River

By MarEx 2012-02-17 13:43:31

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to an oil spill in the Mississippi River after two barges collided in the predawn hours of Friday morning.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans say they received a call at 1:58 a.m. reporting that a construction barge being towed by the tug ALYDAR and a tank barge, towed by the motor vessel CLARENCE W. SETTOON collided approximately 50 miles upriver of New Orleans at mile marker 139.

Officials say the tank barge was loaded with Louisiana sweet crude oil and suffered a 10-foot by 5 foot gash above the waterline, releasing oil into the river. The damaged tank was holding 3,535 barrels (148,470 gallons of crude oil). The amount of oil that spilled has not yet been determined.

A pollution investigation team has been dispatched to the area to determine the extent of the spill and contain the oil.

Capt. Pete Gautier, Coast Guard Captain of the Port New Orleans, has closed a section of the river, from mile marker 135 to marker 140, while investigations and clean-up take place.