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Crude oil spills into Mississippi River after oil barges crash

(Reuters) - Two oil barges pushed by a tugboat slammed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Sunday, causing one to leak crude oil into the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Officials used an "absorbent boom" to contain the undetermined amount of oil that leaked into the river after the collision, which occurred shortly after midnight and damaged both barges, Lieutenant Ryan Gomez said. The barge that is leaking was holding 80,000 gallons of light crude oil, he said.

"A towing vessel was pushing two barges side-by-side and they struck one of the Vicksburg railroad bridge piers," Gomez said.

No one was injured in the accident. Federal, state and local officials, as well as the industry's Oil Spill Response Organization, were on the scene.

Gomez said he did not have information about any of the companies involved in the oil transport.

The barges were pushed up against the river bank while a team at the scene decided how to clean up the spill, he said.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Edith Honan, Mohammad Zargham and Stacey Joyce)

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