Tanker-barge collision spills chemicals into Mississippi RiverJanuary 18, 1997
Web posted at: 4:45 p.m. EST
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- An 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River reopened Saturday after being closed for several hours because of a chemical spill caused by the collision of a chemical tanker and a grain barge.
The U.S. Coast Guard said the Liberian-registered Stolt Spray, a 541-foot chemical tanker, reported losing its steering moments before it slammed into a grain barge loaded with corn at about 2:00 a.m. Saturday near Wallace, Louisiana.
After the collision, the Stolt Spray ran aground, spilling pyrolysis gasoline, a byproduct of ethylene manufacture with a high concentration of benzene, into the river. An estimated 4,400 gallons of the chemical spilled before the leak was stopped.
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