River reopened after ship collision near Gretna ferry

FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo
FOX 8 photo

GRETNA, LA (WVUE) - The Coast Guard reopened the Mississippi River to all traffic transiting around the International Matex Tank Terminals between mile markers 96 and 98 Wednesday.

The disabled vessel, Flag Gangos, is no longer impeding traffic. The slow-bell requirement is still in effect in the vicinity of the IMTT facility.

The Coast Guard is investigating the multiple vessel collision near Gretna that caused a ship to break free while transferring fuel, causing oil to spill in the river.

The U.S. Coast Guard, Jefferson Parish Emergency Management and Gretna Police responded Tuesday night to the scene. The accident reduced the river to one-way marine traffic between mile markers 96 and 98.

Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts said one of the ships carrying grain lost power, striking another vessel docked at IMTT. He added that there is an unknown amount of fluid leaking in the water.

Roberts stated that there is "absolutely no concern for water supply, as Jefferson's water supply is up river." While the Gretna water supply is farther down, the intake was closed and had enough water stored to prevent an issue, Roberts said.

Coast Guard officials say that a Maltese-flagged vessel lost power and steering on the lower Mississippi River. The ship collided with a Liberian-flagged vessel and a barge both moored at the International Matex Tank Terminals. The Coast Guard states they were conducing transfer operations at the time of the collision.

Crews were transferring fuel oil from the barge when the barge broke free, Coast Guard officials state. Oil was discharged into the river from the transfer hose. The hose was shut off immediately following the incident.

Both vessels and the barge sustained damage. No injuries were reported.

The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the incident.

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