Gallons Of Oil Spills Into Gulf Of Mexico As Barge Hits Bridge In Texas

(MENAFN- AzerNews) Up to 2,000 gallons of oil may have spilled into the Gulf ofMexico after a bunker barge struck a bridge in the island city ofGalveston, eastern Texas, the U.S. Coast Guard estimated onThursday.

The source of the leakage from the barge has been containedafter the accident, said the U.S. Coast Guard. AP reported that theCoast Guard had deployed a boom, or barrier, to contain thespill.

The Coast Guard said it deployed planes and drones to evaluatethe extent of the oil spill on Thursday, while closing about 6.5miles (10.5 km) along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, a busyshipping channel for the region. Galveston is about 50 miles (80.5km) away from downtown Houston, the largest city of Texas.

"We're pretty confident there was much less oil introduced tothe water than we initially estimated," Coast Guard Captain KeithDonohue told a news conference on Thursday.

"We've recovered over 605 gallons of oily water mixture from theenvironment, as well as an additional 5,640 gallons of oil productfrom the top of the barge that did not go into the water," Donohuesaid.

The 321-foot barge, which has the capacity to hold 30,000barrels of oil, was carrying 23,000 barrels, that amounts to nearly966,000 gallons, when it slammed into a pillar of the PelicanIsland Causeway bridge on Wednesday, Rick Freed, vice president ofbarge operator Martin Marine, told the news conference.

A tugboat lost control of two barges "due to a break in thecoupling" connecting them. One of the barges slammed into thebridge, the Coast Guard said.

Freed said an investigation is still underway.

The crash led to the partial collapse of the bridge, forcing theonly land connection from Galveston to Pelican Island to shut down injuries were reported.

"The harmful consequences of oil are once again impacting ourcoastal communities, wildlife, and waters," Joseph Gordon with anocean conservation group named Oceana said in a statement.

The spill will probably have minimal long-term consequences,considering the volume of oil on board the barge, Danny Reible, aTexas Tech University professor, told ABC News on Thursday.

The accident came weeks after a cargo ship slammed into asupport column of the Francis Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 26,claiming six lives.



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