An undetermined amount of oil spilled into the Mississippi River early Friday morning near New Orleans after an oil barge collided with another vessel, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Many of the details of the accident were not available early Friday morning. Coast Guard Petty Officer Elizabeth Bordelon said that a five-mile stretch of the Mississippi about 50 miles upriver from New Orleans had been closed to river traffic as pollution investigators and other officials responded.
Bordelon told The Times that the accident occurred sometime before 2 a.m. CST. She said that the oil barge was being moved along the river by the towing vessel Clarence W. Settoon when the collision with another towing vessel occurred. That vessel, the Alygar, was pushing a crane barge.
The oil barge suffered a 10-by-5-foot gash at its waterline. As of 7:30 a.m. CST, it had been pushed up on a riverbank and was no longer leaking, Bordelon said.