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Stranded tanker carried CBO

An oil tanker carrying carbon black oil (CBO) was freed yesterday after becoming stuck in mud for several days about 5 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The 800-foot tanker Ratna Puja was southbound when it got stuck Monday night. Ships were able to get around the stranded vessel, but the incident highlighted the dangers of the swollen Mississippi.

Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana’s second district used the incident to warn that such events may become more frequent.

Richmond said he has addressed the matter with the White House and the Army Corps of Engineers. Record water flow in the Mississippi River this spring has deposited additional sediment and reduced the operating depth of the river, putting large cargo ships at risk of running aground. Richmond warns closure of the Mississippi to heavy cargo traffic would cost the country as much as $295 million a day. “The solution is simple,” he said in a statement. “The president must immediately request a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the Army Corps of Engineers dredging work. In the long term, Congress must use the $6 Billion in shippers’ tax money set aside for this very purpose in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.”
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