Sept 5 (Reuters) – Barge shipping traffic on the Mississippi River resumed on Saturday after the U.S. Coast Guard reopened a stretch of the river that had been closed due to an oil spill earlier in the week, officials said.
Some 37 barges were awaiting passage after the reopening early Saturday morning in a backup created by a tow-boat accident and oil spill late Wednesday, which prompted the Coast Guard to close a 17-mile (27-km) stretch of the river near Paducah, Kentucky.
The barges were hauling commodities such as oil and grain through the key shipping waterway between river mile markers 922 to 939, 10 of them heading downriver and 27 of them heading upriver, according to a statement released Saturday by the Coast Guard.
There were no visible signs of oil on the riverbanks, the statement said. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.
Responders have deployed booms to contain the estimated 120,588 gallons slurry oil spilled. The response includes National Strike Force specialists, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, the statement said. (Reporting by Karen Brooks; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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