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BREAKING NEWS - New Orleans River Spill.

The Alex

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This is not good.


"A 29-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed this morning after a tanker collided with a barge being pulled by a tugboat, slicing the barge in half and causing thousands of barrels of heavy fuel oil to spill into the waterway.


No injuries were reported in the collision, but the heavy smell of fuel hangs the air in the French Quarter and other parts of the city. The Coast Guard has closed the river between mile markers 70 and 99 in the vicinity of the Harvey Locks.


State Department of Environmental Quality officials warned the unrefined, tar-like # 6 fuel oil is so thick that it could sink, complicating the cleanup efforts.


Residents in Algiers, Gretna, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish are also being asked to conserve water, as water intakes for those communities are closed to prevent contamination of the drinking water supply. Water flowing through the tap is from reserve supplies, which could run out in many areas by afternoon or early evening, officials said.


The spill did not affect the east bank water system, whose intake is upriver from the accident.


The barge was carrying 10,000 barrels of oil, and most spilled into the river, said Rodney Mallet, the press secretary for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. A DEQ contractor has set up "boom" boats to protect local water intakes and marsh areas, a typical cleanup measure, Mallet added.


Young says the crash between the tug "Mel Oliver" and the 600-foot-long motor vessel "Tintomara," an oil and chemical carrier, split a barge being pushed by the tug in half. The vessels collided at 1:30 a.m., said Lt. Cmdr. Michael McKean, a Coast Guard spokesman. The river was closed about 3:30 a.m. The tug is operated by DRD Towing Co., LLC, of Harvey, while the Tintomara is owned by Laurin Maritime of Houston.


The Liberian-flagged Tintomara, carrying styrene and biodiesel fuel in separate compartments, was traveling downriver when it collided with the 61-foot barge being pulled by the tug, said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri' Ben-Iesau.


Three other tug boats are holding both halves of the barge in place as strong river currents rush around it. The Mississippi was at an unusual summer height of 10.4 feet at the Carrollton Gauge in New Orleans today, the result of late spring rains in the Midwest.


The Coast Guard has dispatched a helicopter and a boat to the scene, and is investigating the cause of the accident. Federal and state officials will hold an 11 a.m. news conference at the River City Casino dock to discuss plans for salvaging the barge and cleaning up the waterfront.


American Commercial Lines Inc., based in Jeffersonville, Ind., issued a statement saying it owned the barge involved in the accident.


The spill is visible along the New Orleans riverfront, with a thick coat of black muck washing up along the rocks near the Moonwalk.


Mark Takai, a tourist from Hawaii, said he was running along the river this morning when he was overcome by the stench being put off by the spill. "Has this ever happened before?" he asked. "It looks like I could be a really dangerous situation."


Joshua Lewis said he rode his bike to the riverfront to see for himself after hearing news of the spill.


"They said the water is fine, but I bought some gallons of water this morning," Lewis said. "I don't think I'm ever drinking this water again. It was never a clean river, but this is a big mess."


Stay with Nola.com as the story develops."


View the story here.



Now, I don't know if you heard that correctly. [/b]90,000[/b] barrels of biodeisel fuel into the Mississippi River, and NOT going in your gas tanks. I think gas is at $5.89 per gallon, or at least that's what a national news headline said somewhere.


10,000 barrels is the equivalent of approximately 400,000 gallons of fuel.

9,000 barrels is the equivalent of almost $2,000,000 in gas. I did the number crunch, and it's exactly $1,890,000. Ouch.

And last, but not least, 9,000 barrels = 378,000 gallons of gas. All gone in the Mississippi River because a tanker collided with a tug boat at 1:00 am this morning. The river is closed as of 3:00 am, and you can smell the diesel in the air.


The Riverwalk/Moonwalk and parts of the historic French Quarter are unbearable to be in because all three of these tourist destinations (that's where we get our money from, you know) are located RIGHT NEXT TO, if not on top of, the River. The Moonwalk -a long stretch of levee that has many outdoor pavilions and sightseeing opportunities- has the river-side of it's bank coated with oil. The smell is intolerable.


Water supplies have been cut off in Algiers, Gretna, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish because their water intake lines would now be affected/contaminated by the oil spill. I live in Algiers, and a lot of locals think the water surplus we have will be out by this afternoon.


This isn't a "small incident" like the news headlines have said. This is big, possibly even a catastrophe.




I'll post more news as this develops. If you want, check out www.nola.com for the latest news on.. well.. everything there is about New Orleans (sorry, no Six Flags news there).

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Ruh-oh, Raggy.


You're right, though, given the size and possible (likely) aftershocks of this spill, CNN's really not getting into it much at this hour.


A sad irony... the first Gulf hurricane of the year misses Nola, and you get a massive oil spill on the same day as landfall...

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^It was 9,000 barrels, not gallons.


Noted! My bad.


Nevertheless, I think The Alex is overreacting a bit. Sure, this is by no means good, but it's still not what I would call a catastrophe. It isn't even making headlines on most news sources.

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To the oil traders (or traitors ) this will probably cause the price of oil and gas to jump, all it takes is a small leak that is leaking no oil for them to jump the price of oil which causes a almost immediate jump in gas prices even though it takes months for those prices to reach the market.

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Well, it may not be a catastrophe depending on how you define it. I like 3 miles or so away from the river, and I can smell diesel fuel when I go out into my yard.


The water supply for my local area may be drained before the day is over, and I haven't heard of any EPA people down here yet. We've got coast guard, but I'm not going to be satisfied until we get some EPA. Sure, it's going to take time for everyone to get down here, but when they do we've still got 378,000 gallons of diesel fuel to clean up.

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