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  Oil spill shuts Mobile, Ala. shipping channel

    Thursday 1 September 2011

Posted on Thursday, 09.01.11

The Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. — Heavy petroleum spilled into the Mobile River early Thursday, forcing the closing of the shipping channel, Alabama authorities said.

A tank ruptured at a private terminal on Blakely Island, Judith Adams of the Alabama State Docks said.

About 275,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil spilled from a barge at the Gulf Coast Asphalt Company’s facility on the Mobile River, the Mobile Press-Register reported.

An unknown amount of oil flowed into the Mobile River, according to Coast Guard officials. The newspaper reported that oil was floating across a broad area of the river’s surface by late morning, and containment boom equipment had been set up in the area in an attempt to capture the oil, the newspaper reported.

Four companies were hired to help clean up the spill, which occurred around 4:20 a.m., authorities said.

Gulf Coast Asphault released a brief statement Thursday morning saying the oil was no longer spilling and the company was working with authorities to ensure that the surrounding area remains safe and is clean as quickly as possible.

The spill also caused problems for shipping traffic. There are two ships docked on Mobile River than cannot leave the port because of the spill, an Alabama State Port Authority spokeswoman said.

See online : Miami Herald