An aerial shot of the W.B. Wood after it capsized on the Mississippi River near Meraux, Louisiana on Jan. 16, 2023. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Sector New Orleans

Dredging Vessel Capsizes and Spills Oil on Lower Mississippi River

Mike Schuler
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January 17, 2023

A dredging vessel capsized Monday on the Lower Mississippi River, spilling oil but thankfully the two people on board at the time are safe.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that Sector New Orleans watchstanders received notification at 12:50 a.m. that the dredging vessel W.B. Wood capsized in the vicinity of mile marker 85 near Meraux, Louisiana, and the two people aboard were rescued and accounted for by the crew of the towing vessel Omaha.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans Incident Management Division is coordinating with the dredge operator Wood Resources, LLC in overseeing the pollution response and plans to salvage the vessel.\

940 feet of the boom was placed around the capsized vessel W.B. Wood to contain its fuel discharge on the Mississippi River near Meraux, Louisiana on Jan. 16, 2023. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Sector New Orleans

The responding oil spill response organization, Environmental Safety & Health Consulting Services (ES&H), had three response boats on scene, was conducting skimming operations, and had recovered more than 3,360 gallons of oily water mixture as of the latest update published at 10:24 PM EST Monday.

ES&H deployed 940-feet of hard and soft boom and contained the discharge.

A Coast Guard overflight of the area verified sheening from the incident location down to MM 64, which the Coast Guard said is expected to dissipate naturally.

Pollution reports are being investigated by the Coast Guard to ensure no additional areas along the Mississippi River have been impacted.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans closed the waterway from MM 81 to MM 86 for 8 hours, but since opened the waterway with specific restrictions in place in order to facilitate safe recovery operations.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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