Barge Leaks 1,200 Gallons of Diesel Fuel Into James River

A barge spilled at least 1,200 gallons of red diesel fuel into the James River (search) after it ran aground, but officials said it was largely contained by booms.

There were no immediate reports of any dead fish or injured birds, said Jerry Crooks, a spokesman for the Coast Guard (search) in Norfolk.

The 300-foot barge, owned by Vane Line Bunkering of Baltimore (search), had just picked up its cargo south of Richmond when it ran aground on Sunday morning. Crooks said additional fuel had leaked through the night, bringing the spill to 1,200 to 2,000 gallons. An aerial review Monday found that booms had contained the spill, save for a small sheen of oil downriver, Crooks said.

Divers confirmed that the barge had grounded itself and was resting on rocks.

"In the big picture of things, we have been relatively lucky here," Crooks said.

The leak was reported by residents. A few onlookers complained about the stench and said the fumes stung their eyes.

"All of a sudden [the barge] came to a stop, and then this red diesel fuel started pouring out," said Sheron Myers, whose home is along the riverbank.