Investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Office New Orleans are responding this morning to a vessel collision
at about mile marker 144 of the Lower Mississippi River near Garyville, La.
The collision, between Norwegian-flagged tanker Bow Lion and U.S.-flagged
Spirit, occurred at about 12:30 a.m. and resulted in the
release of the chemical Xylene into the water and a temporary closure of the
waterway from mile marker 132-138; the river is now reopened to vessel
The up-bound towboat, pushing 38 grain barges, suffered slight damage while
the 549-foot down-bound tanker suffered a 75-foot gash along its starboard
side. The gash, three feet above the waterline and one foot at the widest
point, was enough to release an estimated 42,000 gallons of Xylene into the
The spill was secured by the Bow Lion's crew by conducting internal
transfers of the product which mitigated further discharge. The vessel
owner, Ceres Hellenic Shipping Ent. Ltd., has personnel en route to conduct
air monitoring tests.
The Bow Lion is at anchorage at the LaPlace Anchorage in LaPlace, La.
Xylene has been compared to paint thinner. Health hazards associated with
the inhalation of Xylene include headaches, dizziness, nausea and
Coast Guard Marine Safety Office New Orleans is investigating the cause of