Miss. River reopened to vessels after oil removed

February 2, 2013 - 7:30 PM
Oil Barges Hit Bridge

The towboat Harold B. Dodd pilots south on the Mississippi River as vehicles cross the Interstate 20 bridge in Vicksburg, Miss., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. Commercial traffic for southbound vessels on the Mississippi River resumed Wednesday after closing Sunday. (AP Photo/Vicksburg Post, Eli Baylis)

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — 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.