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The U.S. Coast Guard closed 98 miles of the Mississippi River from New Orleans, Louisiana, southward after a fuel barge and a tanker collided early Wednesday, spilling more than 400,000 gallons of fuel oil.

The closure -- on what is a major shipping route between the Midwest and the Gulf of Mexico -- could last days, and the cleanup could take weeks, said Capt. Lincoln Stroh, the Coast Guard chief in New Orleans.

The collision between the Liberian-flagged chemical tanker Tintomara and the barge pushed by the tug Mel Oliver happened about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, splitting the barge nearly in half and dumping more than 419,000 gallons of oil into the river, the Coast Guard said. Read full article »

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