Shannon Warnock, far right, a salvage hand with Big River Ship Builders & Salvage, secures his flotation device after loading a boat with MDEQ employees at Le Tourneau Landing to work on the damaged barge stalled on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 near Vicksburg, Miss. Photo by: AP Photo/The Vicksburg Evening Post, Melanie Thortis
February 2, 2013 8:49:43 PM
VICKSBURG -- The Coast Guard has reopened the Mississippi River to vessel traffic in both directions after finishing the cleanup of thousands of gallons of oil from a leaking barge.
Officials said in a news release Saturday that the safety zone has been reduced to one mile on either side of the two barges that collided with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg last Sunday, causing a leak from one barge. Vessels are not permitted to pass or overtake other vessels within the zone.
The news release said the light crude oil was "effectively removed" to allow for a damage assessment, temporary repairs and transit of the barges to a maritime facility. More than 250,000 gallons of a mixture of oil and water was removed.
The Coast Guard said its investigation of the incident is continuing.
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