VICKSBURG, Miss. — The unified command continues to respond to a crude oil spill in the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 436 in Vicksburg, Miss.
On Thursday morning, response crews had removed fuel from the damaged barge MOC-12 after reconfiguring oil-pump equipment. The damaged barge will be inspected and prepared for transit to a maritime facility near Vicksburg after oil removal operations are complete.
“Despite the response crew efforts to contain the seeping oil, an unspecified amount has broken through the containment boom due to the difficulties of working on a dynamic and powerful river current,” Capt. William Drelling, Federal On Scene Commander for the Vicksburg oil spill, said in a statement. “Skimmers are on scene to help minimize the environmental threat of any additional potential releases.”
Response crews have deployed 5,300 feet of boom to contain any additional oil releases. Skimming vessels have recovered approximately 8,400 gals. of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred. The tank levels are being continually monitored.
A safety zone restricting traffic to commercial vessels is in effect on the Mississippi River between mile markers 425 and 441 near Vicksburg. The unified command is working with the Coast Guard’s Marine Transportation System Recovery Unit to coordinate vessels moving northbound at night and southbound during the day. A total of 62 vessels and 974 barges have been cleared to head upriver and downriver since the restrictions have been put in place.
On Thursday morning, there were 29 northbound vessels with 439 barges, and 19 southbound vessels with 315 barges waiting in queue. Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing.
The unified command consists of representatives from the Coast Guard, state on-scene coordinators from Mississippi and Louisiana and the owner of the towing vessel, Nature’s Way Marine LLC. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River, Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force are on scene as part of a unified command effort to oversee cleanup and salvage operations. The Coast Guard investigation into the incident is ongoing. For further information or media inquiries contact the Information Center in Vicksburg at 601-801-3521.As
Check out the Coast Guard’s Jan. 31 flyover of the spill here: