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The towboat Nature Way Endeavor banks a barge against the western bank of the Mississippi River Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 near Vicksburg, Miss. A barge carrying thousands of gallons of oil struck a railroad bridge and began leaking before dawn Sunday. The accident forced the closure of a 16-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi, a major inland corridor for vessels carrying oil, fuel, grain and other goods. (AP Photo/The Vicksburg Evening Post, Eli Baylis ) MANDATORY CREDIT

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - The Coast Guard has reopened the Mississippi River to vessel traffic in both directions after finishing the cleanup of thousands of gallons of oil from a leaking barge.

Officials said in a news release Saturday that the safety zone has been reduced to one mile on either side of the two barges that collided with a railroad bridge near Vicksburg last Sunday, causing a leak from one barge. Vessels are not permitted to pass or overtake other vessels within the zone.

The news release said the light crude oil was "effectively removed" to allow for a damage assessment, temporary repairs and transit of the barges to a maritime facility. More than 250,000 gallons of a mixture of oil and water was removed

The Coast Guard said its investigation of the incident is continuing.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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