USCG removing fuel from damaged barge in lower Mississippi River

The US Coast Guard has started removing fuel from a damaged barge in the lower Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss., where skimmers and 2,800-ft of boom were deployed to contain an oil spill.

The barge, MOC-12, will be inspected and prepared for transit to a dock nearby Vicksburg after oil removal operations are complete. It was one of two barges that hit a railroad bridge on Jan. 27, USCG said (OGJ Online, Jan. 28, 2012).

The tank barges, both loaded with crude oil, were being towed by the Nature's Way Endeavor tug, which is owned by Nature’s Way Marine LLC.

“Despite the response crew efforts to contain the seeping oil, an unspecified amount has broken through the containment boom due to the difficulties of working on a dynamic and powerful river current,” said Capt. William Drelling, federal on-scene commander for the Vicksburg oil spill. “Skimmers are on scene to help minimize the environmental threat of any additional potential releases.”

Skimmers have recovered 3,900 gal of oil-water mixture. A slowly leaking tank contains 80,000 gal of light crude and is being monitored, said USCG, which is investigating the incident.

About 16 miles of the Mississippi River remained closed on Jan. 30 while USCG worked to coordinate the movement of vessels passing slowly through the area to test the effects on traffic on oil-spill response operations.

As of Jan. 30, USGC reported 34 northbound vessels with 532 barges and 37 southbound vessels with 524 barges affected by the river closure.

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