POSTED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 2:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 2:04am
New Orleans, La — The Coast Guard, together with the Louisiana Department of Envrionmental Quality and Plaquemines Parish, is responding to a report of a fuel oil discharge, Tuesday, on the lower Mississippi River near mile marker 84, approximately 10 miles downriver from New Orleans.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received notification at 10:08 p.m., Monday, reporting that the 803-foot tanker vessel, Overseas Beryl, was discharging No. 6 heavy fuel oil into the Mississippi River following vessel refueling operations at Nine Mile Anchorage.
A Coast Guard pollution response team from Sector New Orleans arrived at the vessel and discovered fuel oil discharging from a ballast water overboard discharge pipe and into the water. The pipe was plugged at approximately 4 a.m., which stopped the flow of oil.
Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., is the responsible party and has contracted Marine Spill Response Corporation as the oil spill response organization, and O'Brien's Response Management as their spill management team. Two skimming vessels, response boats and personnel from U.S. Environmental Services, Clean Gulf Associates and MSRC are on scene and crews are deploying boom to protect sensitive areas. Responders have installed protective boom at Plaquemines Parish water intakes, and the parish has secured the intakes as a precautionary measure.
The Coast Guard issued a safety marine information broadcast to mariners, and the waterway remains open.
A Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65C Dolphin helicopter and crew is scheduled to conduct an overflight assessment of the affected area this morning.
"We're still assessing the amount of oil spilled and potential impacts, but we're responding aggressively in an effort to minimize impacts along the Mississippi River," said Capt. Pete Gautier, the Coast Guard Federal On-Scene Coordinator.
There are currently no injuries or impacts to wildlife reported.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.