The spill started when a Nature's Way Marine LLC vessel struck a railroad bridge at Vicksburg. This is a company involved in the BP oil spill cleanup and which had inspired a lawsuit for not allegedly providing proper safety gear.
The US Coast Guard issued a press release about 4 p.m. CT today stating that about 2:30 p.m. today, the tow-barge that is on scene started removing fuel from the damaged barge MOC-12. The damaged barge will be inspected and prepared for "transit to a maritime facility nearby Vicksburg after oil removal operations are complete," the Guard said.
“Despite the response crew efforts to contain the seeping oil, an unspecified amount has broken through the containment boom due to the difficulties of working on a dynamic and powerful river current,” said Capt. William Drelling, Federal On Scene Commander for the Vicksburg oil spill.
"Skimmers are on scene to help minimize the environmental threat of any additional potential releases.”
Response crews have deployed 2,800 feet of boom to contain further oil release, the Guard said. Skimming vessels have "recovered" about 3,900 gallons of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred early Sunday morning. The tank levels are being continually monitored, the Guard says.
The Mississippi remains closed for 16 miles near Vicksburg. However, the unified command is working with the Coast Guard’s Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit "to coordinate the transit of vessels to test the effects on response operations."
Currently, there are 34 northbound vessels with 532 barges and 37 southbound vessels with 524 barges affected due to the river closure.
More information will be forthcoming as news comes in.
Bold marks are those of the Examiner's.