A unified command team continues its response Friday to an oil spill
in the Mississippi River following
a collision between two towboats at mile marker 937 in Paducah Wednesday morning
A barge containing clarified slurry oil suffered damage from the collision. Its cargo tank was ruptured, discharging approximately 120,588 gallons of oil into the river, according to the Coast guard.
The Mississippi River is closed to all traffic except response vessels between mile markers 939-922, and a safety zone is in place.
A queue of 23 vessels awaiting transit down and 10 vessels awaiting transit up has formed as of 10:50 a.m. this morning.
The Coast Guard said it intends to minimize the environmental impact of the spill, though opening river traffic is a priority as active commercial traffic is critical to the lifeblood of the region.
Responders are conducting assessments
at this time on the river and in the water column to determine locations of oil and best tactics for cleaning it up.