Oil cleanup ongoing on Mississippi
VICKSBURG, Miss. — Experts said the stretch of Mississippi River where vessel traffic was halted because a barge hit a railroad bridge on Sunday is one of the most dangerous on the 2,500-mile-long river.
Late Monday, cleanup crews were skimming oily water near Vicksburg, a day after a barge struck a bridge, rupturing a compartment holding 80,000 gallons of oil.
Authorities said that the spill was light and that only a sheen had been spotted. Orange boom was stretched across part of the river downstream from the barge, and small boats patrolled the area as oil was pumped from the ruptured tank into another tank on the same barge. Officials hope to transfer all the oil to another barge.
Tugs were holding the barge at the bank on the Louisiana side of the river, directly across from Vicksburg's Riverwalk and Lady Luck casinos.
Coast Guard Lt. Ryan Gomez said a tug was pushing two tank barges when the crash occurred about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Both barges were damaged, but only one leaked. Authorities declared the bridge safe after an inspection.
Gomez said United States Environmental Services, an oil spill response company, was collecting oily water.
Officials did not yet have an estimate of how much oil had been pumped out, or how much spilled into the Mississippi.
Another Coast Guard spokesman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Lally, said the oil was contained and skimmers would work through the night collecting it. He said a flyover by a Coast Guard helicopter from Vicksburg 50 miles to the south found no evidence of shoreline impact.
Authorities said a major environmental disaster was unlikely as the swift current dispersed the sheen. They were less certain when the river would reopen to vessels.
Drew Smith, a hydraulic engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, wouldn't speculate on the specific cause of Sunday's crash, which is under investigation by the Coast Guard.
But he said the Mississippi at Vicksburg is challenging for southbound vessels, mostly barges carrying grain and other products from the nation's heartland.
Southbound tows must travel faster than the flow of the water for their rudders to steer effectively. At Vicksburg they must negotiate a 120-degree turn on the meandering Mississippi, then straighten up to pass under the railroad bridge and the Interstate 20 bridge.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- White House orders plan for antibiotic resistance problem
- Dog found in Oregon will fly to Pa.
- British hostage in Islamic State video talks of showing ‘the truth’
- ‘Easy Rider’ bike set for auction
- Global heat records tumble once again
- Al-Qaida cell poses as great a danger as ISIS
- Man arrested in Calif. wildfire
- Home Depot warns 56 million cards at risk
- Red tide threatens Florida economy
- Yellowstone bison could be culled by 900
- House panel OKs move to split Amtrak, focus on profitable Northeast Corridor