Crude oil spills into Mississippi River after oil barges crash

Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:24pm EST

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Jan 27 (Reuters) - Two oil barges pushed by a tugboat slammed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Sunday, causing one to leak crude oil into the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Officials used a boom to contain the undetermined amount of oil that leaked into the river after the collision which occurred shortly after midnight and damaged both barges, Lieutenant Ryan Gomez said.

"A towing vessel was pushing two barges side-by-side and they struck one of the Vicksburg railroad bridge piers," Gomez said.

No one was injured in the accident, which sent federal, state and local officials to the scene, including the industry's Oil Spill Response Organization.

Gomez said he did not have information about any of the companies involved in the oil transport. Both barges were carrying oil but the amount was not known, Gomez said.

The barges were pushed up against the river bank while a team at the scene decided how to clean up the spill, he said. (Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Edith Honan and Mohammad Zargham)

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