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Crews continue removing oil from leaking barge

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm •  Published: February 1, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Operations continued Friday to remove thousands of gallons of oil from a leaking barge on the Mississippi River, and vessel traffic remained restricted, a Coast Guard officer said.

Lt. Aaron Jozsef said Friday that crews had removed more than 250,000 gallons of a mixture of oil and water from the barge. The barge began leaking after crashing into a railroad bridge Sunday near Vicksburg.

The damaged barge is pushed against the bank on the Louisiana side of the river, directly across from Vicksburg's Riverwalk and Lady Luck casinos.

The oil is being pumped off the damaged barge and onto another barge, a process known as lightering. It's not clear how long the process will take.

Once the oil is removed, the Coast Guard will check the structural soundness of the barge before moving it.

"We're taking it slow, one step at a time, being methodical," Jozsef said.

Jozsef said some restrictions will remain in place until the oil is removed from the empty barge and salvage operations are completed.

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