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Barge Crash on Mississippi River Causes Crude Oil Spill

It is being reported that two barges being pushed by a tugboat on the Mississippi River collided with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg, with one of the barges spilling light crude oil out onto the riverway. Authorities are unclear on whether or not the second barge also hit the bridge or whether it was damaged by colliding with the first barge. This second vessel was damaged, but it does not appear at this time that any oil has spilled from it.

The accident occurred around one in the morning and authorities are unsure how much oil was actually spilled. All that is known is that there was an oily sheen on the river for as far as three miles downriver of the crash. Authorities are not positive where the leak actually occurred, but are stating that they think it may have come from a couple of tanks near the stern.

The Coast Guard has reported that they have closed the waterway for more than eight miles in each direction following the collision. Lt. Ryan Gomez of the Coast Guard's office in Memphis stated that he was not sure how long the area would be closed. At the time of this blog, more than seven vessels, both north and southbound, were waiting to pass.

Currently, the leak is still considered active and the United States Environmental Services is working to contain the spill. The response-and-remediation company first worked to contain it with absorbent booms before transferring it to an undamaged tank on the barge; it was later transferred to a separate barge.

The first barge, which spilled the oil, was carrying more than 80,000 gallons and was owned by Third Coast Towing LLC. Nature's Way Endeavor, the tugboat, was pushing both the first and second vessel at the time of the collision. The tugboat is owned by Nature’s Way Marine LLC and is a 3,000-horsepower, 90-foot-long boat that was built in 1974 and rebuilt again in 2001. It has two engines and two generators.

At Arnold & Itkin, we know just how severe the consequences of barge accidents can be - especially when they result in crude oil spills. If you or a loved one has been affected by something of this nature, we encourage you to consult with our team of legal professionals as soon as possible. We have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements over the years - helping countless individuals and families get back on their feet. To schedule an initial case consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We also welcome you to visit our online case evaluation form to message us directly.