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Coast Guard lets barges through closed section of Miss. River, testing effects on oil cleanup

  • db9ab95a84390303280f6a706700e9b1.jpg

    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 (The Associated Press)

  • 722bdee1843b0303280f6a706700ddc2.jpg

    Shannon Warnock, far right, a salvage hand with Big River Ship Builders & Salvage, secures his flotation device after loading a boat with MDEQ employees at Le Tourneau Landing to work on the damaged barge stalled on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Monday, Jan. 28, 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, Melanie Thortis ) MANDATORY CREDIT (The Associated Press)

  • 815d5d6b843c0303280f6a706700183c.jpg

    Shannon Warnock, far right, salvage hand with Big River Ship Builders & Salvage, leaves Le Tourneau Landing with MDEQ employees to work on the damaged barges stalled on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Monday, Jan. 28, 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, Melanie Thortis ) MANDATORY CREDIT (The Associated Press)

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    Crews continue to work on stalled barges on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Monday, Jan. 28, 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, Melanie Thortis ) MANDATORY CREDIT (The Associated Press)

  • 639e35f1843d0303280f6a7067000168.jpg

    Five barges sit to the north of the Vicksburg Tallulah Regional Airport at dusk waiting for traffic to open along the Mississippi River near Vicksburg, Miss. on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013. 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, Melanie Thortis ) (The Associated Press)

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.

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