Unified Command continues response to oil spill near Paducah

D8 LogoPADUCAH, Ky. – The unified command in Paducah continues to respond to a spill in the Mississippi River at mile marker 937 Saturday morning.

Shoreline assessment crews conducted a scan of the Mississippi River shoreline by small boat and found no visible signs of oil along the riverbank.

Vessel traffic on the Mississippi River is now open with restrictions; however, a safety zone is still in effect from mile marker 938-934. Vessels can transit one-way during their assigned 12-hour slot.

The vessel queue as of 7 a.m. Saturday was 27 vessels awaiting transit up and 10 vessels awaiting transit down.

Response crews have begun warming the remaining oil on the barge to safely remove it from the secured tanks.

Oil samples have been taken for testing and fingerprinting to assist in the development of recovery tactics.

A staging area has been established next to the Columbus Boat Ramp in Columbus, Ky.

In total, approximately 100 people have joined the response efforts as of 7 a.m. Saturday, including National Strike Force technical specialists and members of the NOAA scientific corps and Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health. To date, eight boats are supporting the response, along with side-scan sonar, various sorbent boom, and a submerged oil recovery system. Water quality sampling and sediment quality sampling has been conducted and results are pending.

The cause of the collision is currently under investigation by the Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board.

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