Mississippi River closure continues

SEPTEMBER 4, 2015 —As of 10:50 a.m. today, 23 vessels were awaiting transit down river and 10 were awaiting transit up as the Mississippi River remained closed to all traffic except response vessels between between mile markers 939-922.The safety zone has been put in place following a collision between two towboats at mile marker 937, near Paducah, KY, at 8:22 p.m. Wednesday (see earlier story)

The collision caused damage to one barge containing clarified slurry oil, rupturing a cargo tank and discharging approximately 120,588 gallons of oil into the Mississippi River.

Media sources identify the barge as being owned by Inland Marine Services,

The Coast Guard says that as active commercial traffic is critical to the lifeblood of the region, opening river traffic is a priority while continuing to minimize environmental impact as a result of this spill. It said that responders were conducting assessments on the river and in the water column to determine locations of oil and best tactics for cleaning it up.

Slurry oil is a residual product from the refining process. When spilled, it tends to clump together and sink or become suspended in the water column.

Both the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the incident

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