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Miss. River remains closed after barge accident

Holbrook Mohr, Associated Press

CORRECTS DATE TO JAN. 28, NOT JAN. 18 - The towboat Natures Way Endeavor banks a barge against the western bank of the Mississippi River, Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 as an 18-wheeler crosses the Interstate 20 bridge. Cleanup crews with booms skimmed oily water from the Mississippi River Monday, a day after a barge with more than 80,000 gallons of oil struck a railroad bridge near Vicksburg, spreading a sheen of light crude that kept part of the waterway shut to ship traffic Monday, authorities said. (AP Photo/Eli Baylis)

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) -- The Coast Guard says nearly four dozen vessels are stacked up on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, awaiting clearance as crews work around the clock to clean up an oil spill.

Coast Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally told The Associated Press early Tuesday workers are skimming oily water since a barge holding 80,000 gallons of oil struck a railroad bridge and began leaking Sunday.

Lally says oil was being contained and a helicopter crew found no evidence it washed ashore downriver. Boom was stretched across part of the river as oil was pumped from a ruptured tank into another tank on the barge. Officials hope to later transfer the oil to another barge.

The river remained closed to traffic for 16 miles Tuesday, with 47 vessels waiting for it to reopen.