Coast Guard response to report of crude oil in Mississippi River continues

8th Coast Guard District NewsNEW ORLEANS — The unified command continues its response to the release of crude oil in the lower Mississippi River near Reserve in St. John’s Parish, Friday.

The Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. Pete Gautier, is allowing vessels headed southbound on the river to transit one at a time through the affected area until 6 p.m., Friday. From 6 p.m., to 6 a.m., Saturday, northbound traffic will be allowed to transit.

“One of our priorities is to facilitate the safe continuation of commercial traffic,” said Gautier. “Safety is paramount, and the unified command is working to minimize the impact this spill has on people, the environment and commerce.”

Although the precise quantity of oil spilled is yet to be determined, Coast Guard and Settoon crews who have been assessing the damage, now estimate the spill to be less than 10,000 gallons of Louisiana sweet crude oil. These estimates are based on the amount of product known to be in the tank prior to the incident and soundings that have been completed on the tank since the incident. Determining the actual amount of oil spilled is part of the investigation.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received notification at 1:58 a.m., Friday, that a construction barge, towed by the tug Alydar, and a tank barge, towed by the motor vessel Clarence W. Settoon collided near mile marker 139, approximately 50 miles upriver of New Orleans.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened and ES&H has been contracted as the oil spill response organization.

No injuries were reported.

The unified command consists of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office and Settoon Towing’s Spill and Emergency Management Team.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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