Oil spill on the Mississippi as another bridge hit by barges

The US Coast Guard (USCG) on Friday was responding to the after-effects of a towboat and bridge impact on the Mississippi River that led to an apparent spillage of a polluting substance.

The incident on Thursday involved the towing vessel Amy Francis hitting the Natchez-Vidalia bridge while having six petroleum barges in tow. Four of the six were carrying oil slurry and two were empty. Two of the four loaded barges were damaged and one leaked an unknown amount into the river.

Crew estimated 76,00 gallons were unaccounted for, USCG said.

USCG was liaising with state and local agencies, plus the owner of the barge to determine the amount of slurry oil that has been discharged.

Amid the recent flurry of crashes in which Mississippi bridges have been struck by tow boats or their barges non had reported potentially polluting leaks until this one.

The most frequently bashed bridge in recent weeks has been the Vicksburg Railroad Bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi. On Thursday the Captain of the Port of Vicksburg had issued a restriction on towing vessels carrying barges beneath bridges on a defined stretch of the river.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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