March 12 A tug boat pushing an oil barge struck
a pipeline in waters near New Orleans on Tuesday, setting off a
fire and injuring the vessel's captain, and there were reports
of oil in the water, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Tuesday.
The Coast Guard said that all crew members had been able to
escape the 47-foot (14-meter) tug, although the captain was
reported to have suffered second- to third-degree burns.
It added that the Coast Guard had responded by helicopter
and boat to the incident near Bayou Perot, 30 miles (48 km)
south of New Orleans, and said there had been reports of "oil in
the water" but gave no further details.
There were no further details about the size of the spill or
the type of pipeline hit.
"We are aggressively responding with our state and local
partners to mitigate the fire and prevent any potential impacts
from oil that entered the water," Coast Guard Commander Russ
Bowen of the New Orleans sector said in a statement.
The incident came roughly two weeks after a boat collided
with an inactive oil and gas well near New Orleans and caused a
small oil spill in inland water off Plaquemines Parish.
There has been a heightened awareness of spills of any
magnitude since the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11
rig workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf
of Mexico in 2010.
Oil company BP is currently on trial in a civil case
in New Orleans over the spill.
Potential liabilities stretch into the tens of billions of
dollars if the judge determines BP or the other defendants were
grossly negligent. Oil came ashore from Texas to Florida,
threatening livelihoods and state economies dependent on seafood
(Reporting by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)