The heavy grade oil is coming from an oil transport barge that hit some submerged debris early Friday morning. Coast Guard spokesman Adam Wine says the 441 foot barge is partly submerged in 55 feet of water, floating at a 50 degree angle with the bow sitting on the bottom. Repair crews are working to refloat it and get it anchored down.
Wine says the barge is loaded with five million gallons of number six fuel oil, which is thick and heavy -- like molasses. A little over ten thousand gallons have leaked out, and cleanup crews are busy keeping the goopy mess from spreading.
Tugboats were pushing the barge from Houston to Tampa Florida when it hit something that gouged a hole 35 feet by six feet in the starboard bow. The oil that doesn't leak will be transferred to other barges when this barge is stabilized. Even so, the Coast Guard is advising fishermen to stay out of that area for a while.