PORT ARANSAS (KIII NEWS) - According to a recent press release, the U.S. Coast Guard says they are continuing efforts to clean up and recover the barge that caught on fire Friday, October 20th. The barge was three miles off shore near the jetties in Port Aransas.
The barge was carrying nearly 135,000 barrels of crude oil and eight crew members. The Coast Guard says they are continuing to search for two members who are unaccounted for but according to a city official, one of those members is dead.
The press release adds that there are multiple oil clean up and recovery efforts on scene in addition to an oil boom. The Coast Guard says the incident has had minimal impact on Mustang Island and advises that no one handles the oil.
For the time being, the Entrance and Jetty Channels remain closed until further notice. The Lydia Ann Channel and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway are open but there is a 1,000-yard zone around the barge that is closed off to boaters.
In a statement a Coast Guard Official says:
"Search and rescue, environmental protection, and opening the entrance channel are amongst our highest priorities," said Capt. Jason Smith, the Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi acting sector commander. "We are working diligently to secure the source and contain the discharge of oil in order to open the channel and mitigate environmental impacts."
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