The towboat Nature Way Endeavor banks a barge against the western bank of the Mississippi River Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 near Vicksburg, Miss. A barge carrying thousands of gallons of oil struck a railroad bridge and began leaking before dawn Sunday. The accident forced the closure of a 16-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi, a major inland corridor for vessels carrying oil, fuel, grain and other goods. (AP Photo/The Vicksburg Evening Post, Eli Baylis ) MANDATORY CREDIT
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Coast Guard is letting southbound vessels pass through a closed section of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg to test how they will affect efforts to remove oil from a leaking barge.
Chief Petty Officer Paul Roszkowski tells The Associated Press a 16-mile stretch of the river remains closed four days after two barges struck a railroad bridge.
The leaking barge is pushed against the Louisiana shore. Crews hope to start moving the oil to another barge Wednesday.
Roszkowski says southbound barges are being allowed to pass so crews can monitor the effects on cleanup operations. The Coast Guard could permit test runs with northbound barges on Wednesday afternoon.
The Guard said 7,000 gallons of crude oil were unaccounted for, but some could have seeped inside the barge.