As the Gulf of Mexico faces decades of healing from 2010’s Deepwater Horizon/BP disaster, more unfortunate news comes today, of a significant oil spill in the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss. This time, the leak apparently comes from an Ala.-based towing vessel, Nature’s Way Marine LLC, a company involved in the BP spill cleanup, as reported today in the Los Angeles Times. The paper also points out that a cleanup worker sued the company after not being provided a proper safety mask or suit or advised of proper precautions.
The US Coast Guard, 8th District New Orleans issued a press release just moments ago about the spill that occurred yesterday. They said that today, unified command “continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River” near Vicksburg.
Tank soundings indicated that the barge is still leaking product into the waterway. Containment boom has been deployed around the area at the leak and skimmers are being used to recover product.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River received notification yesterday morning at 1:30, reporting that two tank barges, towed by the tug Nature’s Way Endeavor, allided with the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge, the Guard said. Both barges were full of crude oil, and the Guard says both were damaged. One of the barges has “released oil” into the lower Mississippi.
Personnel from 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. The tank levels are being constantly monitored for further leakage. The leaking tank contained approximately 80,000 gallons of light crude oil.
The Mississippi River remains closed to all traffic from mile marker 425 to mile marker 441 near Vicksburg, the Guard said. Mississippi River vessel traffic will resume normally as soon as it’s safe to do so.
No injuries were reported in association with the incident, the Guard claims, and says the investigation is ongoing.
After publication, the Examiner contacted Nature’s Way Marine for comment. They e-mailed and said to please contact the Joint Information Center in Vicksburg for more information: (618)225-9008. We will report more as it becomes available.