State News

River traffic backing up after oil spill

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Posted: Feb 24, 2014 11:16 AM by Russell Jones
Updated: Feb 24, 2014 1:00 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)

Topics: oil spill, mississippi river, barge collision, river traffic

NEW ORLEANS - The Coast Guard said more than two dozen vessels are waiting to get through the Mississippi River after an oil spill Saturday between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

The Coast Guard reopened 40 miles of river with conditions, including the Port of New Orleans, but a 25-mile stretch remains closed. A port spokesperson said each vessel's hull has to be certified that it's clean of oil before moving into the reopened area.

The Coast Guard said 29 vessels were waiting Monday morning to move through the closed portion of the river.

The spill dumped 31,500 gallons of light crude oil according to the Coast Guard's Unified Command. It happened when the tank barge E2MS 303 collided with the tow boat Lindsay Ann Erickson.

Officials said oil booms were deployed to protect water intakes for the three parishes in the affected area, which includes St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes. As of Monday the Coast Guard said there are no reports of contamination to drinking water, and health officials are conducting air monitoring at the site.

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