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Mississippi re-opened after being closed because of a barge accident

May 24/2011

(ICIS) -- A nine-mile (14km) stretch of the Mississippi river at Baton Rouge has been re-opened after being closed over the weekend because of a barge accident, a US Coast Guard (USCG) spokesman said on Monday. Its open but there are restrictions, said Petty Officer Bill Coldclough.

Three grain barges sank in the river at Baton Rouge on Friday after colliding with a dock. The 195-foot (59 metre) vessel Crimson Gem was pushing 20 barges of grain, according to a USCG release. No one was injured and there was no pollution from the accident, Coldclough said. The re-opened area extends from mile marker 228 to 237, Coldclough said.

Southbound traffic to New Orleans is restricted to daylight travel with a tow, and northbound traffic from New Orleans to Baton Rouge must check in with New Orleans vessel traffic service, he added.

Several chemical plants and refineries are on the Mississippi, downriver from Baton Rouge. Water in several parts of the river are near record highs, making it more difficult and dangerous for vessels to navigate the waterway.

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