(CONVENT, La.) — Divers are investigating the extent of damage to an oil tanker after it was struck by a bulk carrier Monday afternoon on the Mississippi River, The Times-Picayune reported. The 751-foot Privocean broke from its moorings, drifted downriver, struck a towing vessel and then struck the 816-foot Bravo, which was offloading crude oil at the Ergon-St. James terminal. An initial inspection determined none of the ship's cargo tanks were breached but four ballast tanks sustained damage.
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The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(NEW ORLEANS) — The Coast Guard is responding to an collision on the lower Mississippi River near Convent, La., Monday.
Watch standers at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received report at approximately 4 p.m., the motor vessel Privocean, a 751-foot bulk carrier, broke free from its mooring and drifted downriver and collided with the 98-foot towing vessel Texas which was moored at the time. The crew of the Texas was taken to hospital for medical evaluation but no injuries were reported at this time.
The Privocean continued to drift downriver and also collided with the motor vessel Bravo, an 816-foot tank ship, which was offloading crude oil at the time of the incident. The Bravo was able to complete emergency shutdown procedures before breaking free of her moorings and connection points, causing an oil spill.
The Privocean was able to get underway and anchor at mile marker 162. The Bravo is half a mile down the river from its original position and is anchored with a two-tug escort. All vessels are being actively being monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard response teams.
The Mississippi River is closed from mile marker 163 to mile marker 154.
The Texas is currently stable and not taking on water or discharging any oil.
The Bravo currently has a three-tug escort, the vessel is stable but taking on water in the ballast tanks. The Bravo’s propeller is currently fouled with a mooring line, but remains stable at anchor with tug escorts.
The facility arms, the source of the discharge, were secured and containment boom was deployed by an oil spill response organization. Coast Guard response teams along with OMI Environmental Services are currently responding to the spill.
Approximately 126 gallons of oil were spilled on deck of the Bravo, but was contained and is currently being cleaned.
Initial assessments show approximately 420 gallons of oil discharged into the river. The Coast Guard informed the downriver parish officials to protect municipal water supplies.
U.S. Coast Guard is actively monitoring the situation of all three vessel and affected areas downriver. U.S. Coast Guard will continue to evaluate any potential impacts to the environment.
The cause of the incident is currently under investigation.