On January 27, the U.S. Coast Guard closed a 16-mile stretch of the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Mississippi, after two oil barges began leaking light crude following a collision with a railroad bridge.
According to The Associated Press, commercial watercrafts were permitted to pass through again on January 30, but only during designated hours, as officials wanted to see if the movement would affect their clean-up efforts. Not surprisingly, this has inconvenienced many professionals in the area who rely on being able to pass through that section of the river. The source states that at times up to 70 vessels and hundreds of barges have been idled near the affected area, but that regular activity won’t resume until the cleanup is complete.
Officials have encountered challenges during this process and they have had to cease operations in order to reassess the situation. Fortunately, the Coast Guard said that at this point all oil still flowing from the barges is being contained.
“We understand the impact that the closure has had on industry and commerce. One of our main goals besides cleaning up the accident is getting traffic moving again. We will push to keep traffic moving as long as it is safe and doesn’t impact operations,” Chief Petty Officer Paul Roszkowski said.
With the number of risks that come with owning and operating a commercial watercraft, many boat owners and organizations turn to marine insurance providers that can help them find the best rates and ensure that they are covered in the case of an accident. These professionals can advice them to purchase vessel pollution coverage, for example, which is a relatively inexpensive insurance for something that can be very costly to deal with when a claim happens.