The Coast Guard, along with the Louisiana Department of Envrionmental Quality and Plaquemines Parish, said it responded to a fuel oil spill late Monday and into Tuesday on the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 84, approximately 10 miles downriver from New Orleans.
The Coast Guard received notification at approximately 10:08 p.m. Monday night that the 803-foot tanker Overseas Beryl was discharging No. 6 heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River following vessel refueling operations at Nine Mile Anchorage.
A pollution response team from CG Sector New Orleans arrived at the vessel and discovered fuel oil discharging from a ballast water overboard discharge pipe and into the water. The Coast Guard says the pipe was plugged at approximately 4 a.m., which stopped the flow of oil.
Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., who owns and operates the 94,799 dwt Overseas Beryl, is responsible for the cleanup and has reportedly contracted the Marine Spill Response Corporation to head the spill response and O’Brien’s Response Managements as the spill management team.
According to the Coast Guard statement released earlier today, two skimming vessels, response boats and personnel from U.S. Environmental Services, Clean Gulf Associates and MSRC were on scene as of this morning and crews have deploying boom to protect sensitive areas. The USCG also says that responders have installed protective boom at Plaquemines Parish water intakes, and the parish has secured the intakes as a precautionary measure.
The Coast Guard issued a safety marine information broadcast to mariners however the portion of the Mississippi remains open.
“We’re still assessing the amount of oil spilled and potential impacts, but we’re responding aggressively in an effort to minimize impacts along the Mississippi River,” said Capt. Pete Gautier, the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator.
There are currently no injuries or impacts to wildlife reported and the Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.