Coast Guard responding to towboat allision with Natchez-Vidalia U.S. 84 Bridge

A barge carrying slurry oil being pushed by the towing vessel Amy Francis allided with the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge, Jan. 21, 2016. The barge reportedly has a maximum potential of more than 1 million gallons of slurry oil on board. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River)

A barge carrying slurry oil being pushed by the towing vessel Amy Francis allided with the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge, Jan. 21, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Coast Guard is responding to a towboat allision with the Natchez-Vidalia U.S. 84 Bridge on the Mississippi River, near Natchez, Miss. Thursday.

Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River watchstanders received a call about  an allision involving the Amy Francis  and  the Natchez-Vidalia U.S. 84 Bridge at mile marker 363 on the Mississippi River at 1:02 p.m., Thursday.

The towing vessel Amy Francis was transporting six barges, four reportedly loaded with slurry oil and two reported to be empty, which allided with the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge.

The allision caused damage to at least one barge containing slurry oil, and discharging an unknown amount into the Mississippi River. An oily sheen was reportedly observed in the vicinity of the allision. The Coast Guard is working with State and Local agencies, the barge owner to determine the amount of slurry oil that has been discharged.

The barge reportedly has a maximum potential of up to 1,006,026 gallons of slurry oil on board.

The Captain of the Port has issued a waterway restriction from mile marker 363 near Natchez, MS north to mile marker 438 near Vicksburg, MS. The restriction is for towboats pushing barges to not transit under the bridges.

The incident is under investigation.

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