Kirby Barge spills 3,400 gallons of oil into lower Mississippi

About 3,400 gallons of oil was spilled into the Lower Mississippi River from a Kirby Inland Marine barge near Natchez, Mississippi, on Saturday.

The Lower Mississippi River Coast Guard Sector received a notification around 10 p.m. Saturday from Kirby Inland Marine reporting a leak from one of their barges being transported by the tugboat Leviticus at mile marker 339 on the Lower Mississippi River.

Pollution responders from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Vicksburg and the Lower Mississippi River sector were dispatched to assess the situation on the ground.

The crew of Leviticus secured the source of the discharge and estimated that about 3,402 gallons of product entered the water and another 1,000 gallons were discharged but retained on the barge’s deck.

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

An estimated 1,000 feet of hard and absorbent barriers were deployed Sunday to contain the product in the water.

An estimated 800 gallons of oily water mixture had been recovered as of Monday.

There have been no reports of any impact on wildlife.

“The Coast Guard is working diligently with Kirby Inland Marine and the OSROs to ensure a timely and effective cleanup to mitigate any environmental impact,” said Capt. Ryan S. Rhodes, commander of the Lower Mississippi River sector and federal incident coordinator. “Response personnel from each organization are working tirelessly to assess and remove the product from shore and waterways.”

The cause of the discharge is still under investigation.

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