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Oil spill closes part of Mississippi River

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 1:00 p.m. CDT
Caption
In this aerial photo, river traffic is halted along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Vacherie, La., due to a barge leaking oil in St. James Parish, La., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. The collision happened Saturday afternoon near Vacherie, 47 miles west of New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says it is conditionally reopening 40 miles of the Mississippi River from New Orleans upriver, but 25 miles remain closed after oil spilled into the river.

Port spokesman Matt Gresham says each vessel's hull must be certified clean of oil before it can move along the reopened stretch.

About 31,500 gallons of light crude oil spilled from a tank barge that hit a towboat on Saturday. The Coast Guard says nobody was hurt and there have not been any reports of oiled wildlife.

The Coast Guard says 29 vessels are waiting for the river to reopen.

The river had been closed from below the Port of New Orleans to Vacherie, nearly 50 miles west of New Orleans. It's now closed from Vacherie to near Hahnville, which is 30 miles from New Orleans.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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