The US Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report at 11:00 a.m. of the towing vessel Michelle Anne, pushing one empty dry cargo barge with four crewmembers, sinking at Baton Rouge General Anchorage.
The four crewmembers escaped to the barge and were recovered by a nearby tug. There were no reported injuries. The barge was recovered as well.
After the incident, the USCG issued a waterway restriction from mile marker 224.5 to mile marker 226 on the Mississippi River, but it has now reopened the waterway. General Anchorage remains closed.
A Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Baton Rouge incident management team confirmed an oil sheen in the water. There is a reported potential of 18,500 gallons of fuel aboard the Michelle Anne. An unknown amount of oil has discharged into the river.
Due to concerns over responder safety from dangerous river conditions, the Coast Guard and OMI Environmental are managing the spill from shore.
The cause of the incident is under investigation.