Barge collision in river causes oil spill

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012

LAPLACE – The U.S. Coast Guard said this morning that an oil tanker barge collided with a deck barge on the Mississippi River near Reserve spilling oil into the waterway.

The Coast Guard has since shut down a five-mile stretch of the river from mile marker 135 to 140, according to the Port of South Louisiana. There are no reported injuries and no estimation on how much oil was spilled.

The collision occurred about 2 a.m. There is no word on what caused the crash, but Coast Guard officials said the wreck tore a gash into the double-hulled tank of the oil tanker, which was being pushed by a tugboat. Neither vessel sank. The Coast Guard said boom has been laid out and the spill has been contained.

Officials with Environmental Safety and Health are on scene and the Coast Guard launched an assessment team from the Edgard-Reserve Ferry landing.

The St. Charles Parish Department of Waterworks shut down both of its water intakes located in New Sarpy and Luling. They said they have more than enough clean drinking water in storage for the duration of the shutdown.The same is true in St. John Parish, where intake valves were shut off in Reserve and Edgard. St. John Parish spokesperson Paige Braud said that the parish has an adequate supply of clean water in storage tanks for the duration of the shutoff.

Citizens may detect an odor as the oil flows down the Mississippi and leaves St. Charles Parish.