Coast Guard says roughly 10,000 gallons spilled into water
By WorkBoat Staff
2/20/2012 NEW ORLEANS — Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received notification at 1:58 a.m. Friday of a barge collision and oil spill. A construction barge, towed by the tug Alydar, collided with a tank barge, towed by the motor vessel Clarence W. Settoon. The tank barge was loaded with Louisiana sweet crude oil and suffered a 10-foot by 5-foot gash above the waterline, resulting in a release of oil into the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 139, approximately 50 miles upriver of New Orleans, Friday.
While a pollution investigation team was dispatched to asses the size of the spill, Coast Guard Captain of the Port New Orleans, Capt. Pete Gautier, closed the lower Mississippi River to all traffic from mile marker 135 to mile marker 140 near LaPlace.
The Rev. Clarence W. Settoon is a 66’x24’x9’, 1,300-hp towboat owned by Settoon Towing, out of Houma, La. The 15,00-hp Alydar is one of 15 towboats and five launch boats operated by Turn Services out of New Orleans.
By Sunday, the impacted cargo tank on the barge, had been emptied and relocated, the remaining oil in the barge holding tanks was removed, and the barge was relocated to a repair facility in West Wego. According to the Coast Guard, the barge was holding 3,535 barrels of crude oil, but the amount of oil released into the Mississippi is believed to be less than 10,000 gallons.
The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fundhas been opened and ES&H has been contracted as the oil spill response organization. A total of 101 response personnel from the Coast Guard, ES & H and OMI Environmental Services remained actively engaged in the cleanup as of Monday night.
Since operations began Friday, 100 bags of oiled debris and 40 bags of oiled sorbents have been collected, according to a Coast Guard release. A total of 4,700 feet of hard containment boom has been deployed in an effort to minimize environmental damage.
You can find aerial footage of the clean-up effort here.
The Coast Guard, Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office and Settoon Towing have established a unified command to respond to the incident.