Coast Guard responds to report of crude oil spill in Mississippi River.
A unified command, consisting of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), local authorities, law enforcement and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature’s Way Marine LLC has been established in response to a report of crude oil in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., on Jan. 27.
The USCG Sector Lower Mississippi River received notification about the oil leak early on the morning of Jan. 27, from two tank barges, which were being towed by the tug Nature's Way Endeavor, which collided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge. Both of the tank barges contained with crude oil were damaged; one of the barges has released oil into lower Mississippi River. The barge is owned by Nature’s Way Marine LLC.
According to the USCG the actual amount of product released into the lower Mississippi River has not yet been determined.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Vicksburg has dispatched a pollution response team to assess the size of the spill and oversee cleanup operations. The source has been contained and tank levels are being monitored for further leakage. The actual amount of the spill has not yet been determined, but the leaking tank contained about 80,000 gallons of light crude oil.
A spokesman for the USCG says that the Coast Guard has reached the site and has a 2,500 foot boom that is being used to contain the oil spill. The Coast Guard also has begun skimming operations to remove the leaked oil. As of late morning on Jan. 28 the Mississippi River between mile markers 425-441 near Vicksburg are closed to barge traffic.
The spokesman says that while the USCG continues to work on the cleanup as quickly as possible, they want to make sure to work on the cleanup as safely as possible.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened and no injuries were reported.