The following is the text of a press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard:
(NEW ORLEANS) — A grounded tank vessel is currently blocking deep-draft shipping traffic near the mouth of the Lower Mississippi River.
The Coast Guard is responding and monitoring efforts to free the vessel from ground. The tank vessel Eagle Tucson grounded in the Lower Mississippi River’s shipping channel near Pilottown, La. at 2:45 a.m. this morning. A 33-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Venice arrived on scene and detected no evidence of pollution. The Eagle Tucson’s crew has sounded the ship’s tanks, and encountered no signs of oil leaking or water ingress.
The Coast Guard is closely monitoring efforts to remove the vessel from ground, which are being coordinated by the vessel’s operators. Four tug boats are currently on scene to assist the grounded vessel, and a lightering vessel is nearby to remove cargo from the ship if necessary. The Eagle Tucson is currently loaded with approximately 602,000 gallons of crude oil.
Deep-draft vessels are currently unable to transit through the area. Eight vessels are waiting in cue for the waterway to be cleared.