The U.S. Coast Guard says a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed between Baton Rouge and New Orleans until further notice while crews clean up oil from a barge that struck a towboat.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Bill Colclough said on Monday there’s still no estimate for how long the river will remain closed.

‘It will remain closed until further notice to allow for safe cleanup and recovery operations,” he said just before 10 a.m. on Monday. ‘Cleanup and recovery operations continue. The cause of the spill remains under investigation.”

The collision happened Saturday afternoon near Vacherie.

In St. Charles Parish, officials say public drinking water intakes on the river are closed as a precaution. ‘The water supply in St. Charles Parish remains safe,” parish officials said in a news release Sunday afternoon.

In St. James Parish, officials said the Vacherie, Lutcher and Gramercy intake valves were protected by a boom within hours after the incident. Water plant operators were monitoring the intakes valves and did not close the intakes, officials said.

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

Shortly after the spill, the National Response Center reported that oil was spilling […]

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