Mississippi River reopens to traffic after weekend oil spill


The Mississippi River reopened to water traffic with restrictions Monday afternoon after a weekend oil spill forced its closure, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Officials had closed a 65-mile stretch of the river and the Port of New Orleans after 31,500 gallons of light crude oil spilled from a barge that ran into a towboat Saturday about 50 miles west over land from New Orleans.

Earlier Monday, officials reopened part of the river east of the spill to vessels with Coast Guard approval. Part of the port was also reopened as the threat of pollution there was lifted.


The Coast Guard said it had confirmed with local officials that drinking water was not affected. In addition, it said in a statement, no oiled wildlife had been reported.

“Response crews with Environmental Safety & Health, an oil spill removal organization, [have] strategically deployed containment booms to protect the water intakes for three parishes in the affected area,” the Coast Guard said. “All impacted water intake facilities in the affected area are taking precautionary measures to prevent contamination.”

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