Mississippi River Oil Spill: Coast Guard Still Investigating Spill Of 120K Gallons Oil Near Kentucky

On Wednesday, a Mississippi River oil spill occurred after a tow boat accident. The collision was large enough that the U.S. Coast Guard had to close down a 17-mile stretch of the river reaching Paducah, Kentucky.

Yahoo News reports that barge shipping traffic had backed up even more on Friday.

Responders have sent out booms to minimize the spread of the 120,588 gallons of oil that leaked. The Coast Guard is assessing the Mississippi River oil spill from the air to learn more about the official damage.

Right now, key waterways that shipping depends on between mile markers 922 and 939 are compromised due to the oil spill, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

It’s unclear how long closures will take. Officials are still investigating the spill.

As the Associated Press reports via MSN, two tow boats collided on the Mississippi River Wednesday near Kentucky. It damaged at least one barge carrying clarified slurry oil. Oil spilled after the tank got ruptured. The barge was carrying an estimated one million gallons of slurry oil, but there was only one area of it affected since just one of the six tanks was damaged. According to the report, that tank is capable of holding 250,000 gallons, but at that time, it was uncertain how much had actually spilled into the river. The Coast Guard coordinated efforts with barge owner, Inland Marine Services, and an oil response organization to determine the exact amount of oil that spilled.

A long gash was evident on the smaller tow boat that was involved in the collision.

It’s noted in the report that California experienced a pipeline rupture on May 19. An estimated 143,000 gallons of crude oil spilled, according to documents from Plains All American Pipeline. Consequences of that caused a popular state park to close for two months, and substance from the spill washed up on beaches as far away as 100 miles.

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In July 2008, another Mississippi River oil spill happened as a direct result of another boat collision. A tugboat and a barge carrying oil on the Mississippi River in New Orleans leaked 282,000 gallons of it into the water, which closed the river.

ABC News reports that Lt. Takila Powell says everyone is trying to get things back to normal in the latest oil spill in Mississippi.

“We are working diligently to try to restore our marine transportation system. We understand that it is vital.”

Powell adds that the boat operators have been interviewed by the Coast Guard and underwent drug and alcohol testing, the results of which are pending.

[Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons]