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Mississippi facing oil spill from leaking barge

06 February 2013

The US Coast Guard is evaluating how barge traffic will affect efforts to remove and clean up oil from a leaking barge near Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, a USCG spokesman said. This follows the closure of a 16-mile stretch of the river after two barges struck a railroad bridge. 

A small number of barges have been allowed to pass through the closed area to allow the Coast Guard evaluation to take place.

More than 70 vessels and hundreds of barges are stuck above and below the closed section, seriously affecting one of the US’s vital commercial routes. 

The Coast Guard has started pumping oil from the leaking barge onto another barge but it is not clear how long that process will take. It said 7,000 gallons of crude oil were unaccounted for, but it is not yet clear if it all spilled into the river or if some seeped into empty spaces inside the barge.

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