nature's way endeavor tugboat

Nature’s Way Endeavor, image via Natures Way Marine

NEW ORLEANS – A unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 434 in Vicksburg, Miss., the U.S. Coast Guard said late Monday.

As gCaptain reported Sunday, the USCG received notification at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning reporting that two tank barges being pushed by the tug Nature’s Way Endeavor allided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge, causing damage to both barges and the release oil from one into lower Mississippi River.

An update Monday from the Guard Guard said that tank soundings indicated that the barge is still leaking oil into the river. Containment boom has been deployed around the area at the leak and skimmers are being used to recover product, the Coast Guard added.

The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil but at this point it is unclear as to how much of that has leaked into the river.

The Coast Guard said that personnel from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team from Mobile, Ala., are on scene and continue to assess the size of the spill and oversee cleanup operation. Meanwhile another team is drafting a plan for lightering and salvage operations for Coast Guard review.

At this time, the Mississippi River remains closed to all traffic from mile marker 425 to mile marker 441 near Vicksburg. The latest queue is 12 northbound and 19 southbound, according to the USCG.

The unified command consists of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, local authorities and law enforcement and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature’s Way Marine LLC. The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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