Barge collision closes Miss. River north of Memphis, 3 hospitalized

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Posted: Jul 27, 2010 1:26 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2010 2:47 PM
Source: Associated Press

  Rating: 5.0 (1 vote)

Topics: Mississippi River, Memphis, Acrylonitrile, Coast Guard

Twenty-five vessels were backed up on the Mississippi River at midday, 13 hours after a chemical spill closed a stretch north of Memphis.

A barge collision at about 9 p.m. Monday spilled the chemical acrylonitrile. Three tugboat workers were hospitalized as a precaution and the river was closed at 10:22 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Elizabeth Bordelon said a lightering vessel that could offload the remaining acrylonitrile from the damaged barge was on the way but would not arrive until Wednesday.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry website, acrylonitrile is a man-made, colorless, liquid chemical with a sharp onion- or garlic-like odor. It can be dissolved in water and evaporates quickly.

The accident happened near the line between Tipton and Lauderdale counties on the Tennessee side and about 8 miles south of Osceola on the Arkansas side.

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