UPDATE: Cleanup Continues -- River Traffic Halted

January 30, 2013 04:49 AM

The cleanup continues on the Mississippi River after a tanker barge allided with the Vicksburg Rail Bridge early Sunday morning. The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) reports the river remains closed to all traffic through the 16 mile stretch between mile markers 425 and 441.

A salvage plan has been approved and crews are working to remove what is left of the 80,000 gallons of light crude oil from the damaged vessel. USCG said yesterday, "An estimated 7,000 gallons of oil is unaccounted for with an unknown quantity potentially contained in the void spaces of the damaged barge."

Traffic is backed up in both north and southbound lanes leaving 55 vessels waiting on the go-ahead to pass through the stretch of river. Response crews have deployed 2,800-feet of boom to contain the source of the oil leak. Skimming vessels have recovered approximately 2,300 gallons of oil-water mixture since the incident occurred. The levels of oil remaining in the tanker are being continually monitored.

Coast Guard sources say, "Mississippi River vessel traffic queue management is ongoing. Vessels will be allowed to transit the area as soon as it is environmentally and operationally safe to do so."

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