Coast Guard continues response to barge collision on lower Mississippi River

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NEW ORLEANS — The Unified Command continues response operations in connection with the E2MS 303 incident on the Mississippi River near Vacherie, Monday.

It is calculated that approximately 31,500 gallons of light crude oil was discharged from the collision of the E2MS 303 tank barge and the motor vessel Lindsay Ann Erickson, a towing vessel, into the waterway Saturday.

The lower Mississippi River is reopened with conditions from mile marker 90 to mile marker 130. The river remains closed from mile marker 130 to 155. There are currently 29 vessels in the queue waiting to transit the Mississippi River.

Response crews with Environmental Safety & Health, an oil spill response organization, has strategically deployed containment boom to protect the water intakes for three parishes in the affected area. All impacted water intake facilities in the affected area are taking precautionary measures to prevent contamination. As of Monday, there are no reports of contamination to drinking water.

The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health is conducting air monitoring for air pollution threats. No exposure concerns to the public have been detected through this monitoring.

The unified command consists of the Coast Guard, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, Environmental Safety & Health and Forefront Emergency Management. Also responding are representatives from Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and with participation from the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness along with St James and St John the Baptist parishes.

There are currently no reports of oiled wildlife.

“Our highest priorities in this response are the safety of the public and responders, and protection of the environment, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Rebecca Ore, E2MS 303 Incident Commander.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

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