The Coast Guard lifted its waterway restriction on the Mississippi River at New Orleans on Friday. The Unified Command, consisting of the Coast Guard, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office, Gallagher Marine, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and response personnel are continuing cleanup efforts.

The 587'x88' cargo ship Pac Antares struck a pier Thursday near the Nashville Avenue Wharf on the New Orleans waterfront, releasing heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River.

“We are grateful for the cooperation between all members of the unified command and their efforts to quickly restore commerce and minimize environmental impact,” Capt. Wayne Arguin, commander, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, said in a prepared statement announcing the reopening of the waterway.

Weather could be a problem for cleanup efforts as a strong line of thunderstorms packing high winds and several inches of rain was rolling through the area Saturday morning. Cleanup operations will continue as long as it is safe to do so. The Unified Command has deployed 121 people, 29 boats and six skimmers to remove oil from impacted waterways and shorelines.

Air monitoring continues along the impacted region, and air quality remains safe. There have been no reports of impacted wildlife. The cause of the incident is still under investigation.


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Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.