Barge Leaking Oil Capsized in Gulf

U.S. Coast Guard Photo of barge in Gulf of Mexico
The Coast Guard says that huge sea-going barge that's been leaking oil since last week has capsized, and it's now "belly-up" in the Gulf of Mexico, 30 miles off the Louisiana coast.

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Something underwater ripped a big hole in this barge, and about 10,000 gallons of fuel oil have leaked out of one of its large onboard tanks. The 442 feet by 76 feet barge was listing at a steep angle until just before midnight last night, when wave action finally capsized it. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Wine says this makes their job of salvaging the barge and its remaining oil a lot harder.

Wine says right now they're doing everything they can to make the barge as stable as they can, upside down, because bad weather is heading their way with a cold front that's expected tonight or tomorrow.

The barge was carrying five million gallons of number six fuel oil, which is much thicker and heavier than ordinary motor oil. The Coast Guard spill response team has containment booms in place around the barge, and most, but not all, the leaked oil has been contained. It's not obstructing ship traffic, but fishermen have been advised against fishing in that area for a while.