Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 28, 2013

Barge hits Miss. River bridge; Oil cleanup ongoing

(Continued)

The oily sheen was reported up to three miles downriver from the bridge at Vicksburg on Sunday. Gomez said crews have laid down a boom and also a secondary boom. They also were using a rotating skimmer device to sweep up oily water in the river.

"They have the boom to contain any crude oil that's leaking out of the barge. They have a secondary boom to corral any crude oil that gets past the first boom," he said.

He said crews also were in the process of working to transfer the remaining oil.

"They are continuing to try to remove the product from the damaged tank to one of the non-damaged tanks on the same barge," he added. "The ultimate goal is to transfer all of the crude to a different barge."

He said the barge was southbound at the time of the collision, but investigators were still trying to figure out exactly what happened Sunday.

The oil sheen from Sunday's incident was unlikely to pose a threat to the Gulf of Mexico, located more than 340 river miles south of Vicksburg.

But it appeared to be coming from one or two tanks located at the stern of the first barge, Gomez had said previously. He said that there was no indication that any oil was leaking from the second barge and that it was still unclear whether the second barge also hit the bridge or was damaged through a collision with the first.

United States Environmental Services, a response-and-remediation company, was working to contain the oil with booms before collecting it, Gomez said.

Railroad traffic was allowed to continue after the bridge was found safe for trains, Petty Officer Carlos Vega said Sunday.

The barges are owned by Third Coast Towing LLC, Gomez said. According to a website listed under that name, the company is located in Corpus Christi, Texas. A woman who answered the phone Monday at Third Coast Towing LLC declined to comment.

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