US Coast Guard's unified command is dealing with a crude oil spill from a damaged barge in Vicksburg, Miss.
The barge had earlier been damaged through contact with a bridge support while in tow, and the Mississippi River remains closed to all traffic for a 16-mile distance between mile marker 425 and mile marker 441 near Vicksburg. Currently there are 21 northbound and 34 southbound vessels affected due to the river closure.
A lightering and salvage plan has been approved by the unified command and multiple response crews have been dispatched to begin removing oil from the barge.
Response crews have deployed 2,800-feet of boom to contain the source of the oil leak. Skimming vessels have recovered approximately 2,300 gallons of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred. The tank levels are being continually monitored. The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil. An estimated 7,000 gallons of oil is unaccounted for with an unknown quantity potentially contained in the void spaces of the damaged barge.
Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala., are on scene as part of a unified command effort to oversee cleanup and salvage operations. The unified command consists of representatives from the Coast Guard, State on-scene coordinators from Mississippi and Louisiana and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature's Way Marine LLC.
The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.