New Orleans: Hundreds of gallons of oil leaked into the Mississippi River near Convent, Louisiana, on Monday afternoon after a runaway vessel collided with at least two others, causing the spillage, the US Coast Guard said.
About 420 gallons of oil were estimated spilled in the river after the Privocean, (81,434 dwt, built 2013) a 751-foot bulk carrier, broke free from its mooring and became an uncontrollable battering ram as it drifted down river.
First it hit a 98-foot towing vessel, the Texas, then it did the real damage when it hit the Bravo, an 816-foot tank ship, which was off loading crude oil at the time. Oil spilled onto the deck (an estimated 126 gallons) and into Mississippi.
The river was closed for nine miles as cities and towns in the New Orleans area were warned to protect their water supplies.
When the Texas was hit it began taking on water but was able to ground itself on the river bank before sinking. All three ships were later secured. Crew members of the Texas were taken to the hospital for medical evaluation.
The cause of the incident is under investigation. No injuries were reported as of Monday night.