The barges are owned by Corpus Christi, Texas-based Third Coast Towing LLC, Lt. Gomez said. A woman who answered the phone at the company Monday declined to comment.
Both vessels were being pushed by the tug Nature's Way Endeavor. The website for Nature's Way Marine LLC of Theodore, Ala., identifies the vessel as a 3,000-horsepower, 90-foot-long boat. It was built in 1974 and underwent a rebuild in 2011, according to the company.
A company manager referred calls to the Coast Guard in Vicksburg.
The last time an oil spill closed a portion of the lower Mississippi was in February 2012, when two barges collided, spilling less than 10,000 gallons.
The river was closed for about a day. In 2008, a fuel barge collided with a tanker and broke in half, dumping 283,000 gallons of heavy crude and closing the river for six days.
On March 23, 2011, several barges broke loose, and some hit the U.S. 80 bridge and Interstate 20 bridge. One was hung up on the I-20 bridge for about three weeks before it was removed.
Sunday's spill was not expected to create environmental problems for the Gulf of Mexico, 340 miles to the south.
The cargo of 80,000 gallons in the ruptured barge compartment doesn't compare with the more than 200 million gallons of oil that spewed from BP PLC's Macondo well after a blowout in 2010.
The BP well blew wild for months, while the Vicksburg spill has been contained and oil is being moved to safety.
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