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Coast Guard: No Oil Spilled after NOLA Barge Crash; Fire Still Burning

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A fire is still burning nearly a full day after a tug pushing a barge crashed into a pipeline in a bayou south of New Orleans Tuesday evening, but the Coast Guard said there is no visible oil in the water.

Earlier Wednesday, the Coast Guard had said a mile-long sheen was visible near the site of the incident, but it now says that was actually ash from the burn of the liquefied gas in the pipeline.

The pipeline fire is now about 30% smaller than it was earlier in the day, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

The barge, which the Coast Guard said is still intact, was carrying 2,215 barrels of oil when the tug crashed into the pipeline in Bayou Perot in Lafourche Parish, about 30 miles south of New Orleans, according to the Coast Guard.

The pipeline, which transports liquefied petroleum gas, is owned by Chevron Corp. and the tug by Settoon Towing LLC, according to the Coast Guard.

A spokesman for Chevron said the company has shut in the pipeline, which connects the Venice, La., gas plant to the pump station in Paradis, La. The company said products are being rerouted to avoid the pipeline, and the company has mobilized emergency crews to help with the response.

The Coast Guard said all crew members were able to exit the tug, though the captain is reported to have suffered second- and third-degree burns.

ES&H, an oil-spill response organization, has deployed thousands of feet of containment boom, a skimmer, and several response vessels, the Coast Guard said. The Coast Guard will fly over the area Wednesday afternoon to assess the damage.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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