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Over 3,400 gallons released in Mississippi River oil spill near Natchez

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Pekrul

The Coast Guard Sector Lower Mississippi River has responded to a discharge of oil from a barge located near Natchez.

Kirby Inland Marine reported a discharge from one of their barges being transported by the towing vessel Leviticus at mile marker 339 around 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Pollution responders from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and Sector Lower Mississippi River were then deployed to assess the situation on the scene.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Pekrul

The crew of the Leviticus secured the source of the discharge and estimated that approximately 3,402 gallons of oil entered the water. An additional 1,000 gallons were also discharged but were contained to the deck of the barge.

Kirby is currently working with two Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSROs) to clean up the discharged product.

“The Coast Guard is working diligently with Kirby Inland Marine and the OSROs to ensure a timely and effective cleanup to mitigate any environmental impacts,” Capt. Ryan S. Rhodes, Commander of Sector Lower Mississippi River and Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the incident, said. “Responders from each organization are working tirelessly to assess and remove the product from the shoreline and waterway.”

On Sunday, an estimated 1,000 feet of hard and sorbent boom were deployed to contain the product in the water. At this time, an estimated 800 gallons of oily water mixture has been recovered with no reports of wildlife impact.

The cause of the discharge is currently under investigation.

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