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Coast Guard Reopens Section Of Mississippi River After Spill

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing efforts to clean up an oil spill along a stretch of the Mississippi River near Columbus, Ky., after two tow boats — one carrying about 1 million gallons of a potentially toxic petroleum product — collided earlier this week.

As we reported on Thursday, the Coast Guard closed a 16-mile section of the busy waterway as part of an effort to contain the spill of clarified slurry oil, the size of which wasn't immediately known.

Today, however, all but a small "safety zone" between mile markers 938 and 934 has been reopened. The collision occurred Wednesday night near Mile Marker 937.

The Coast Guard said in a statement that "no visible signs of oil [have been found] along the riverbank."

"Vessels can transit one-way during their assigned 12-hour slot," the statement said. "The vessel queue as of 7 a.m. Saturday is 27 vessels awaiting transit up and 10 vessels awaiting transit down."

Response crews are warming the remaining, highly viscous, oil in the barge to be able to safely remove it, the Coast Guard said.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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