FUEL OIL SPILL on the RIVER! River is Open!
UPDATES: (Wednesday) The spill on the Mississippi was NOT crude oil! Brought to my attention by local writer that drilling opponents, McCain opponents, and some of our 'major media', have been using this accident to fuel their 'positions'
The oil spilled was fuel oil, and the tanker that collided with the barge was not carrying crude either. get this straight. (having problems, will finish later)
Updates: The river will reopen to commercial traffic Tuesday. Safety Zones stay in place to inspect and clean transiting ships. Local barges and boats will also be scheduled for cleanup (owners can arrange this) and inspection.
Ranges and others continue to use various methods to scare off waterbirds from river and other areas affected by the oil spill. Regular inspections up and down river to identify trouble spots are ongoing and continuous.
UPDATES: (Sunday) More ships are being passed through. With two Decontaminations stations open, the second near the mouth of the river.
Posted the video from the USCG Decontamination Station. (glitches: can't get this bold off, and keep getting interrupted by fierce thunderstorms)
UPDATES: (Saturday) Just days before this tugboat/tanker accident the owner of the tugboat had another tugboat sink in the Mississippi river. Two accidents in less than two weeks! And the second one a major environmental and economic disaster. Many blame the lack of supervision, not checking for proper credentials, others cite the scarcity of good pilots.
Wildlife rangers and others are trying to scare off birds from the river to prevent them getting 'oiled' by shooting off shotguns along the river. About 50 birds and a beaver and a muskrat have been spotted with oil on them, but all but one dove have eluded capture.
Wildlife Refuge staff have placed floating beams at vulnerable locations to prevent the oil from getting into the Refuge.
A Decontamination Zone has been established upriver from New Orleans, to pressure wash ships already in the river and move them out of the spill area. Oil washed off inside containment beams and collected. (See photo)
Over 800 responders are working on the cleanup, with 70+ boats, and tugs, skimmers and vacuum trucks.
Friday: The US Coast Guard and the National Emergency Response have set up web pages with ongoing reports and images of the Mississippi River oil spill incident in New Orleans. I'll be posting some photos and videos from them throughout the day along with updates on the cleanup progress.
Huge losses for the port of New Orleans and all workers, water shortages for crops and drinking, and it stinks!
UPDATES: Coast Guard is allowing limited traffic on river. Let's through crude oil deliveries! (Take that oil speculators!) Four tankers move upriver.
The twists and turns of the river are helping cleanup, with oil spooling in the curves.
UPDATES: Friday: Good news! Little oil seen on the banks along the Moonwalk, the river front of the French Quarter just downriver from the bridge and site of the accident.The noxious smell is gone.
Two ferries back in service, upriver from the bridge. Cleanup is making good progress, it appears.
About 200 ships are waiting for the river to reopen, but crude oil imports are not effected. The only US port capable of handling the large oil tankers is located on the coast, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP).
One freight tanker did travel upstream this morning past the New Orleans Crescent City connection and the remains of the barge waiting for salvage.
UPDATES: Lawsuits filed by local citizens on behalf of themselves and "all residents and inhabitants of New Orleans who have suffered any damages and/or losses" from the accident near the Crescent City Connection, against Laurin Maritime, the Houston firm that operates the Liberian-flagged tanker MV Tintomara; that ship's owner, Gibraltar-based Whitefin Shipping Co. Limited; American Commercial Lines Inc., the Indiana company that owns the barge; DRD Towing, the Harvey company that owns the tug, the M/V Mel Oliver; and the New Orleans-Baton Rouge Steamship Pilots Association, one of whose members was in command of the Tintomara at the time of the collision. (Did they leave anybody out?)
National Wildlife Refuge near the mouth of the Mississippi, workers trying to protect it.
No more Rollin' on the River for a while, Riverboats take a big hit. And with the ferries shut down too, many forced to seek alternative transportation. A big hardship for an area that traditionally has favored public transportation, streetcars, buses and the ferries. (Know most of you don't get it, but if you have ever driven the pot-holed streets of New Orleans, you would. If you work in the Quarter, and many do, there is a severe lack of parking and what's available is hard to find and expensive.)
Re-opening the river still days away. or is it weeks?
UPDATES: River now closed 100 miles all the way to the Mouth of the Mississippi. Port Authorities claim losses amount to over $100 million a day.
Water supplies for communities along the river are somewhat mixed. Though buffers were quickly put in place in front of water intakes to prevent intake of oil, areas around them are not yet clear.
Walked outside this AM and could smell heavy oil stink in the air two miles from the river.
I was wrong, we just had a huge thunderstorm on the West Bank, and lots rain and cooled down. Hopefully that helped get the smell of the noxious fumes down a little too, though my sister reports there was little rain across the river in the French Quarter.
No updates of the report on the operator investigations yet from the Coast Guard.
Many involved in cleanup, financed by barge owner. The tugboat owner and the tanker involved don't seem to be taking responsibility for this accident. All were to be tested for drug and alcohol.
And there also seems to conflicting reports on who actually caused the accident: the tanker or the tugboat.
Oh, and Sen. John McCain canceled his trip to New Orleans yesterday. Anybody wonder about this? Do follow the link, and check out local reactions. You might even laugh.
by Chris Kirkham and Ramon Antonio Vargas, The Times-Picayune
Wednesday July 23, 2008, 9:07 PM
Crews continued to work overnight Wednesday to corral a huge oil spill on the Mississippi River that now stretches more than 80 miles below New Orleans and threatens the fragile delta ecosystem. Government officials, meanwhile, are scrambling to bolster water supplies downriver from the spill and some anticipate possibly having to truck in water.
More than 400,000 gallons of thick industrial fuel oil spilled just upriver from the Crescent City Connection in the collision early Wednesday morning between a tanker and a barge being pulled by a tugboat.
Coast Guard is investigating the incident, so far has only released info that the tugboat operator only had an apprentice mate's license, none of the crew had any licenses to drive the tug. No names have been released yet.
American Commercial Lines of Jeffersonville, Ind., the owner of the barge carrying the oil, is paying for the cleanup effort but has not been found responsible for the collision.
About 1:30 in the morning the Liberian-flagged tanker, Tintomara, owned by Laurin Maritime of Houston, rammed the barge which split in half.
"This is not our first rodeo; we've seen spills before," said Roland Guidry of the Oil Spill Coordinator's Office.
But massive efforts are underway to swiftly corral the heavy oil before it sinks and to prevent it from drifting to areas where levee breaks would allow the oil into the fragile wetlands.
Port authorities said the losses just for the port are $100,000 a day, and that's not counting all the different workers and services. Ships are stalled and cannot enter the river. River closed for 80 miles from Upper New Orleans to Tiger Pass in Plaquemines Parish.
Drinking water and irrigation water in short supply. Algiers, Gretna, St. Bernard Parish and Plaquemines Parish are in reserve supplies.
There's lots of chatter on the Times-Picayune webpage. The entire Moonwalk, the riverfront along the French Quarter is coated with the thick black oil, and residents complain that the smell is intolerable.
It had been a remarkably busy summer season up till now. Lots of visitors, especially from the South. Many residents of the area get hotel rooms and spend the weekend in the Quarter this year, especially with the high gas prices. So there's huge concern that this will spoil the rest of the season which is usually slow as it is.
One person asked, will drinking water be $5 a gallon now?
UPDATE: Renovatio from Jakarta caught this story before I did. Spill could close part of Mississippi for days.
The collision happened just above the Crescent City Connection Bridge, or the 'Chocolate City Connection' as some humorously call it. (they are never going to let Mayor Nagin forget that) some tugs came to the rescue and managed to keep the wreckage and the tug from colliding with the piling supports of the bridge.
I'm going to put up a photo of mine of that area. These photos are pre-oil spill when river was at the highest. River still high from MidWest rains, but has gone down to below 11 feet.
Locals are hoping for rain to hold down the noxious fumes from the oil on the river. But rain chances are very low today.