U.S. Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley watchstanders received a call about a collision between two towboats at mile marker 937 at 8:22 p.m. Wednesday.
The collision caused damage to one barge containing clarified slurry oil, rupturing a cargo tank and discharging approximately 120,588 gallons of oil into the Mississippi River.
A safety zone is in place on the Mississippi River, and is currently closed to all traffic except response vessels between mile markers 939-922.
The vessel queue as of 10:50 a.m. is 23 vessels awaiting transit down and 10 vessels awaiting transit up.
As active commercial traffic is critical to the lifeblood of the region, opening river traffic is a priority while continuing to minimize environmental impact as a result of this spill.
Responders are conducting assessments at this time on the river and in the water column to determine locations of oil and best tactics for cleaning it up.
What Is Slurry Oil?
Slurry oil is a residual product from the refining process. When spilled, it tends to clump together and sink or become suspended in the water column.
How Is an Oil Spill in a River Different Than One in the Ocean?
Rivers present a different environmental challenge than an oil spill in the ocean. Read more about those challenges here. <http://ift.tt/1UxeyAE>.
More Information About Oil Spills
Find basic information related to oil spills <http://ift.tt/1JTPqlS>, cleanup, impacts, and restoration as well as NOAA’s role during and after oil spills.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the incident.