Oil closes New Orleans port, part of Miss. river

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Coast Guard says a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River, including the Port of New Orleans, is closed until further notice while crews clean up oil from a barge that hit a towboat between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough (KOHL-klah) said the collision happened Saturday afternoon near Vacherie (VASH-uh-ree), 47 miles west of New Orleans. Colclough says nobody was hurt and all barges remained secured. He said by late Sunday afternoon, 26 vessels were waiting for the river to reopen.

The barge was one of two loaded with light crude being pushed by the Hannah C. Settoon. Colclough said it hit the Lindsay Ann Erickson, which was pushing grain barges.

Colclough says officials don't know how much oil spilled, but only a sheen of oil is reported on the river.

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