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July 31, 2008

Oil Spill In The Mississippi

There has been a massive oil spill in the Mississippi River. A tanker and a barge collided causing more than 400,000 gallons of fuel to spill. 29 miles of the Mississippi River, stretching from New Orleans southward has been closed by the Coast Guard. The clean up process looks like it will take a long time.

The Mississippi is a major shipping route and New Orleans is situated in the perfect spot for shipments from Mexico and the Midwest. Without this area being open a lot of ships will need to be rerouted. Over 30 ships are already waiting to get through the closed zone. The river may not be open for many more days so the ships be stuck waiting until that happens.

More than 45,000 feet of inflatable booms have been put out to contain the spill. An additional 29,000 feet will also be contained in the next few days. This spill is much smaller than some of the other ones that have plagued the area. However, we all know that an oil spill is terrible news for the environment and all of us her in the gas guzzling world.

Who was responsible of the crash this time? Well, the two ships involved were a Liberian flagged chemical tanker Tintomara and a barge that was being pushed by the tug Mel Oliver. It happened at about 1:30 a.m. Central Time. The spill took place off of the coast of downtown New Orleans, close to the bridges that connect downtown and the west bank of the Mississippi.

The cause of the accident is not yet know so no real blame can be laid yet. Of course, it doesn’t really matter who is to blame. The oil is already spilled and the wildlife is suffering. Over the next few days it will be crucial for rescue teams to get into the gulf and save as many animals as possible.

Are we just too careless with the precious resources that we have? This oil spill is minor compared to the one that occurred after Hurricane Katrina in the same region. Oil spills seem to be quite common in our world. As we continue to see increases in oil prices and the looming threat of a shortage, we still have oils spills rather frequently. It seems that will something as valuable as oil, we would be more careful. Yes, mistakes do happen but they seem to be rather common. Perhaps we need to reevaluate whatever is being done at sea. There has to be a way to prevent at lest some of the spills that occur.

The only good thing about this oil spill is that it is much smaller than the 7 million gallons of oil that spilled in the Mississippi in 2005. That was a massive oil spill that further complicated the Hurricane Katrina situation. That was just three years ago and here we have another one. As hurricane season gets into full swing, Hurricane Dolly could also cause some slowdown to this clean up effort. Hopefully the damage will not be too devastating for shipping or the wildlife. As far as the oil goes, we’ve lost it.

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