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Barge Accident Spills 300 Gallons of Crude Oil into Mississippi River

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Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – Hundreds of gallons of oil have spilled into the Mississippi River after a barge accident early Friday morning near Alton.

Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty tells KMOX at least 14 barges along with numerous dry docks broke free overnight after a vessel struck them. One of the barges was being loaded with crude oil, causing about 300 gallons of crude oil to spill into the Mississippi.

Currently, all breakaway barges, flats, and dry-docks have been accounted for and are secured.

Fogarty says Coast Guard units are on scene performing inspections of the facilities and barges and conducting a shoreline assessment to evaluate any environmental damage.

“We’re only five-percent done with our assessment, there is still a lot of land to cover, a lot of area to go over and there is still a potential that this may have some environmental impact,” said Fogarty.

Captain of the Port closed the Mississippi River from mile marker 194 to 198 for about an hour this morning to allow for workers to clean the area.

“The Coast Guard is assessing the situation” explained Captain Byron Black, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River, “Our primary concern is to ensure the safety of people, the environment, and the waterway, to that end, we have personnel on scene actively inspecting affected facilities and vessels and evaluating the River.”

No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil officials said Friday that they had repaired a pipeline near the southeast Missouri town of Doniphan.

A resident near Doniphan found oil leaking in his yard Tuesday. All told, about one barrel roughly 42 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Pegasus pipeline. The cause remains under investigation.

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