Collision of Barges Triggers Oil Spill in Mississippi River

Crude oil leaked into Mississippi River following the collision of 2 oil barges close to Vicksburg, MS, on Sunday, according to the United States Coast Guard.

The barges were laden with oil. The towboat Nature Way Endeavor was pulling the barges when they damaged after striking the Vicksburg Rail Bridge, according to a release by the United States Coast Guard.

One of these barges started releasing crude oil into the Mississippi River, officials say. It was not clear how much crude was spilled into the river. The United States Coast Guard says the spill’s source, a spilling tank filled with approximately 80000 gal of oil, was contained.

The cleanup’s in charge is the Coast Guard Marine Safety Division Vicksburg. A portion of the Mississippi river has been closed following the oil spill. Ryan Gomez, a spokesperson representing the United States Coast Guard, said oil booms have been set up close to the barges in order to contain oil.

Nature Way Marine LLC is the owner of Nature Way Endeavor, according to officials. Neither the company nor the Coast Guard was immediately available to comment on the news. Nature Way Endeavour is a 3000 horsepower, 90 foot tow boat constructed in year 1974. It was rebuilt completely in year 2011. This tow boat has 2 generators and 2 engines.

According to the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board), another towing vessel owned by the company – Nature Way Commander – hit a United States Army Engineers Corps deck barge closed to Port Allen Lock, LA, in February while pushing a hopper barge. The accident caused damages of more than US$100000. The NTSB criticized the Nature Way Commander’s pilot for causing the 2012 February accident.

Nature Way Marine had also been sued in a year 2010 case filed by a LA hydroelectric corporation claiming that a few of the company’s barges, pulled by the tow boat of some other company, hit and injured a river bank close to the MS River location of the company.

The lawsuit stated that those barges were unseaworthy as they were spilling. However, the company settled the case out of court.

The company was also took part in the oil cleanup following the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill (BP oil spill), a federal suit filed against the British oil giant and the Nature Way Marine by a cleanup crew member whose employer was a subcontractor of the company, indicates.

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