A tanker barge carrying 80,000 gallons of light crude oil struck a railroad bridge outside Vicksburg, Mississippi on Sunday around 1:30 am, according to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). The barge was part of a two barge flotilla propelled by the Nature's Way Endeavor tug, a 90 foot 3000 hp craft. Only one of the two tankers is leaking oil, although both are reported to have suffered damage.
USCG reports, "The Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt. William Drelling, commander of Sector Lower Mississippi River, has closed a section of the lower Mississippi River to all traffic from mile marker 425 to mile marker 441 near Vicksburg." This move has more than 20 barges headed up and downstream standing-by while cleanup efforts continue.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has been opened to pay for cleanup and while it is still unclear just how much oil spilled into the river, the slick atop the water is visible for a reported five miles downstream.
The rail bridge, which is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, is maintained by the Kansas City Southern Railway and remains open to rail traffic.
Photo credit -- flickr.com/photos/exothermic/1317677098/