Crews cleaning up oil spill from damaged barge near Louisiana

About 10,000 gallons of thick, heavy oil has leaked from a damaged oil barge about 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana as crews worked Sunday to contain the spill, the Coast Guard said.

The vessel contained 119,000 barrels of oil when it left Houston shortly before midnight Thursday en route to Tampa, Florida. But the 441-foot (132-meter) barge hit an unknown submerged object, which gouged a 30-foot-by-6-foot (9-meter-by-2-meter) hole in the starboard bow, and early Friday crew members called the Coast Guard when they noticed the barge was slightly listing south of Lake Charles.

Mike Hanson, a spokesman for the owner of the barge, New York City-based K-Sea Transportation, said Sunday the leak appeared to be intermittent because the oil was thick and sticky.

National Response Corp. contractors hired by K-Sea had placed 2,000 feet (600 meters) of containment boom around the barge to contain the spill and skimmers were on the scene to remove surface oil, Hanson said.

"It's more like a molasses coming out of the refrigerator," he explained. "They'll keep going until it's cleaned up."

He said the barge wasn't expected to sink. K-Sea had assessed stability and dive and salvage efforts were ongoing Sunday, AP reported. V.A.

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