The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating an allision between a towing vessel and a wellhead in the Barataria Waterway at approximately 1 a.m., July 27. The tug vessel Pere Ana C, pushing the dredge barge Captain Buford Berry, allided with the wellhead while it transited the Barataria Waterway.
The wellhead is currently emanating oil and natural gas into Barataria Bay. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans issued a Broadcast Notice to Mariners that a report of oil release was detected. An Air Station New Orleans MH-65C helicopter has deployed with a marine pollution investigator on board to assess the scene and determine impact.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been enacted to provide monetary support for any clean-up operations. The government has contracted Environmental Safety and Health for the clean up, and they are currently on scene. Also responding is the U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala.
A safety zone has been established at two miles around the incident location to protect vessels and mariners from the hazards associated with the release. The cause of the incident is under investigation.