COAST GUARD INVESTIGATES CHEMICAL SPILL ON MISSISSIPPI
The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the release Friday of 42,000 gallons of Xylene into the Lower Mississippi River at mile marker 144, near Garyville, La.
The Coast Guard said the chemical leaked from the 549-foot Norwegian-flag tanker “Bow Lion” after the vessel collided with the “Cooperative Spirit,” a U.S.-flagged towboat.
The towboat, pushing 38 grain barges upriver, received slight damage in the incident, which occurred at 12:30 a.m. April 25. The “Bow Lion” suffered a 75-foot gash that measured one foot at its widest point and was located three feet above the waterline along the tanker’s starboard side.
The crew of the “Bow Lion” secured the spill “by conducting internal transfers of the product which mitigated further discharge,” said a statement from the Eighth Coast Guard District in New Orleans.
Xylene, comparable to paint thinner, may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness if inhaled.
The Coast Guard said Ceres Hellenic Shipping Ent. Ltd., owner of the “Bow Lion,” would conduct air-monitoring tests around the vessel, which remains near the scene of the collision.