Oil spill shuts down Mississippi River

A tanker has collided with a fuel barge on the Mississippi River, in the US state of Louisiana, spilling more than 1.5 million litres of fuel and closing a 93-kilometre stretch of the river.

The tanker, which was carrying styrene and biofuels, did not leak.

The full clean up could take several weeks, Reuters reported. "It’s a significant spill, if for nothing else because of its impact on the water supply," the New York Times quoted commander Ben-Iesau as saying. "We’ve got a lot of commerce dependent on this water supply, so we’re scrambling to get it cleaned up."

Drinking water drawn from the river has been diverted and local residents asked to conserve water until treatment operations resumed.

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